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Venting... new cholesterol issue

Crankin2012-05-25 04:14:38 +0000 #1
OK, I have always had a high level of "good" cholesterol (HDL), slightly above normal total cholesterol (down from a higher #), and average "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. In the past year, I have made a concerted effort to eat more nuts, olive oil, and salmon/tuna. I also have cut my carb intake.

So, I went for my physical last week and got the results of my blood work via a phone call from my new doc, who is supposedly, a wellness oriented physician. When I went to the exam, once she heard about my lifestyle, she didn't have much to tell me! Anyway, my HDL is now freakishly high... 107 (above 40 is considered good), an unheard of number. It was 81 last year. However, the bad news, is that my total cholesterol has gone from 217 to 278, which may have been caused by the increase in HDL, and not the most concerning. My LDL (bad cholesterol) is now 163, up from 130.

On the phone, she said "Don't worry, I am not putting you on medication. We will talk about lifestyle changes." Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I said, "Do you remember who you are talking to? What else exactly do you think I can do?" I suggested maybe eating grass and exercising 7 days a week? She said no.

So, she wants me to go back and get retested in 6 weeks, as it might be a lab error. We will take it from there. I also got a "You *are* 58 years old." .

Everything I read says there is just no agreement about how much the effect of good cholesterol fights the bad. Most specialists would not put me on statins. I have no real family history of early heart disease (before 45 for men, 55 for women). My dad had a heart attack at 83, got stents, etc. after 60 years of smoking and no exercise (he is thin, though). My mom died at 67 of liver disease, though she did go on blood pressure meds in her late fifties.

No one else (grandparents) have a history of early heart disease. My paternal grandfather had a heart attack around age 55- 60 (?), but he smoked and was overweight all his life.

I have always been freaked out about heart disease. The thing is, I am allergic to IV contrast dye, so I can't go have a stress test with dye, unless I want to risk a reaction. Of course, I will await the results of the re-test, but I am thinking of going to the cardiologist at the Brigham that DH went to, to get a second opinion. Yes, this is what drives up health care costs, but I don't need special approval and I don't really trust any local physicians.

goldfinch2012-05-25 04:19:01 +0000 #2
I would wait for the retest before worrying about a second opinion. Have you had a CRP test for inflammation? Isn't there different kinds of HDL too? Maybe the retest should have an even more detailed lipid profile.

The good news is that it sounds like you don't have other risk factors. Given that I have all sorts of risks factors with my mother dying of a heart attack at 39, father of heart failure at 63 (neither smoked and were not obese), skinny brother with stent in his 30s, me with high BP, bad LDL and only half decent HDL though good triglycerides, I have been on statins and a baby aspirin for 20 years.
shootingstar2012-05-25 04:49:23 +0000 #3
I did get a lab test error for my blood sugar test. So I got retested but using the more real test which is ingesting pure glucose.

So 2nd lab test meant I was not diabetes 2 as thought earlier. But still, I reduced some of my high glycemic foods alot... white rice, white bread.. It made a difference to how I feel..which is better. Probably has controlled my weight more than I realize.

So retesting is worth it if already your lifestyle is healthy.

(By the way, my partner is finding that now when he's eating nuts, he feels a bit odd. He's not sure he's going to monitor his reactions more closely now.) I eat nuts once per month or so. I find nuts abit heavy.
Crankin2012-05-25 04:37:03 +0000 #4
Shooting Star, your boyfriend may be allergic to nuts. He should be careful. It often begins with just a feeling of gastric distress.

I am not going to get a second opinion until after the re-test. It does take awhile to get an appt. at the Brigham, but it may also take me awhile to get an appt. with a cardiologist locally, too. The one my DH goes to is the chief of the dept. at our local hospital, but he is quite old and often "dozes" off during appts. He's been great for my DH, though, and treated him very aggressively when no one else did and my DH has been symptom free for 5 years.

As I was shopping today, looking at all the people in the grocery store, I keep wondering, gee, they are all out of shape, overweight, and they probably will live longer than me.
lph2012-05-25 05:22:04 +0000 #5

Originally Posted by Crankin

As I was shopping today, looking at all the people in the grocery store, I keep wondering, gee, they are all out of shape, overweight, and they probably will live longer than me.

I would like to say "Of course they won't!" But the bummer is that there's only so much lifestyle can do. There's a large portion of genetics and plain luck in there as well, that you just can't control.

I have high HDL as well, and last time I checked it was high enough to make my total cholesterol higher than it "should" be. I had a re-test, and it was quite a bit lower then, after a few weeks. I know what it's like to stress about stuff like this when you feel you're doing all you can. Good luck with the re-testing!
OakLeaf2012-05-25 04:40:35 +0000 #6
(((((Crankin))))) Hope it turns out to be a lab error, or the effect of something unusual you ate before the test.

FWIW, if I'm not mistaken, the thallium marker they use for stress tests is different from the iodine-based contrast they use for other types of imaging, the one people are most likely to be allergic to.



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