I am in the midst of a cholesterol mystery. I am a 58 year old male, 6’ 170. I have never had any health problems. I had my cholesterol checked two years ago and then last week (Dec/2010). Over the last two years, I have been on a mission to improve my lipid levels. I quit smoking, I don’t drink at all, and I exercise 30-60 minutes almost daily. I never eat at fast food places anymore. I have been careful if not obsessive concerning fat content in everything I eat. I have been vigilant about avoiding saturated fat/trans fat. I analyze everything before eating. I have been eating everything the experts say to eat - avocados, oat meal (daily), walnuts (daily), olive oil, flax meal, salmon, etc. I only eat organic fruits and vegetables so my fiber intake should be good. Except for salmon and tuna, I am a vegetarian. Here is the big mystery. After all of this, my new test numbers all went in the WRONG direction! I was sure that my numbers would dramatically drop. I strictly adhered to the 12 hour fast. I am totally puzzled. What are your thoughts? Thank you.
Here are my numbers from 2008:
Total cholesterol: 177
Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio: 5.4
Here are my numbers from last week:
Total cholesterol: 198
Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio: 6.0
A couple of things to keep in mind. First off, cholesterol levels are dynamic in nature. Remember that in addition to what you eat, your body also makes cholesterol based on it's needs. One area that the body needs cholesterol in in the creation of cells so if you have an injury that is mending for example your body may create more LDL than normal. In your case you had modest increases in LDL and TGL and your HDL is very low. Your concern should be on increasing your HDL. You already exercise so you should ask about supplements such as fish oil and niacin. Most medical professional will first correct the LDL and then the HDL, but your LDL, although high, is not horrible but should be under 130. Your danger is your LDL is high and HDL is low so there is less opportunity for HDL to bind with LDL to remove it from your system.
Secondly, cholesterol levels can be affected by your thyroid, so it may be wise to ask about a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormoen) test to evaluate how well your thyroid is working. Thyroid testing and subsequent treatment for hypothyroidism can restore the body's metabolism to normal and result in lower cholesterol levels
I wouldn't get too stressed by your numbers, but I would work out a plan with my doctor to attack the HDL issue. You're already doing all the right things to control your LDL so if you are concerned it may be time for a statin.
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