Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bum Cholesterol

Well, I'm a bit bummed about my LDL "bad" cholesterol. My doctor called me on the phone about it this morning. My LDL is 138. The optimal is <> From what I've been told, the LDL cholesterol level greatly affects my risk of a heart attack and stroke. The lower my LDL cholesterol, the lower my risk. This 138 puts me in a borderline high catagory. The doctor said that since I'm working out, don't smoke, have good blood pressure and I'm at a good weight, he's more "concerned" about this being elevated.

My total cholesterol is 214. This is supposed to be under 200. I'm not grossly over, but not optimum.

My HDL "good" cholesterol is 60. My doctor said this is a good number. It makes my overall ratio on target at 3.6:1.
According to the American Heart Association, the ratio is obtained by dividing my HDL cholesterol level of 60 into the total cholesterol of 214. The goal is to keep the ratio below 5:1; the optimum ratio is 3.5:1.

My triglycerides
are 82 mg/dL. Normal triglyceride levels are less than 150 mg/dL. No issue here.

I learned online that LDL is calculated: LDL cholesterol = total cholesterol - HDL cholesterol - (0.2 x triglycerides). So mine is 214-60-16 = 138.

Hey can stress just make the bad numbers go up? According to the National Cholesterol Education Program,"Stress over the long term has been shown in several studies to raise blood cholesterol levels. One way that stress may do this is by affecting your habits. For example, when some people are under stress, they console themselves by eating fatty foods. The saturated fat and cholesterol in these foods contribute to higher levels of blood cholesterol." This makes sense to me.

What are the next steps?
  1. Add lower my cholesterol to my to do list.
  2. Alter my diet -- less ice cream, less cheese, more veggies.
  3. Keep working out for marathon
  4. Blood test again in 3-months
I'm now a walking (and running) experiment. This will be fun!