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Re: Cholesterol and exercise

Posted By tommy on November 04, 1998 at 12:59:49:

In Reply to: Re: Cholesterol and exercise posted by CCF CARDIO MD - MTR on November 03, 1998 at 15:20:45:

In an answer to an earlier post,  I noticed that you said diet and exercise  will lower cholesterol at best by 15%.  
My cholesterol was at 308 but my diet was horrible.  As an active weightlifter I was consuming about 8 eggs a day and around 1 - 2lbs of red meat.  Since the findings,  I have practically cut out all red meat and begun cardio-intensive exercise 25 minutes 3 times a week in addition to weightlifting.
Can I expect better than 15% reduction?  The doctors seemed to think that weight loss and diet would fix the problem without medication.
My internal medicine doctor and cardiologist want me to wait between 3 - 6 months to retest my cholesterol.  Is this a reasobable amount of time to wait to see if the diet is working.

Dear Tommy, thank you for your follow-up question.  Your diet was indeed horrible.  Red meat is high in saturated fats and eggs are very high in cholesterol - both items should be eliminated from your diet.  You should focus on eating complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and you should avoid processed foods, foods high in saturated fats, butter, whole milk, fatty cheeses, fried foods, and junk food.  While weightlifting is fine, it is not good exercise for the heart alone.  Generally, we recommend daily moderate intensity aerobic exercise for 30-45 minutes a day which will help to lose weight, lower cholesterol, improve cardiac conditioning, and help to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.  If you want to weight lift in addition to aerobic exercise, that would be fine.  But, weight lifting alone is not enough.  Since you do not have established coronary disease at this time, vigorous exercise and the proper diet may achieve the cholesterol reduction you need.  So, your doctors are reasonable to wait to recheck your lipid levels after diet and exercise have been implemented.  But, the "ball is now in your court" so work hard on your diet and aerobic exercise.  Also, it may help for you to see a dietician for dietary advice.  
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. Please feel free to write back with additional questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.   The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.

Thank you very much for your response(s).  This is indeed a cool forum and a great public service.  We have so many questions we just forget to ask the doctors when we are in the office and we can't exactly call them up and chat.  
I have a followup question regarding diet.  This may not apply to most of the general public but I will ask anyway.  I am an avid powerlifter who is trying to convert his diet from the horrible to the healthy.  I am 260lbs,  pretty lean, and believe I have above average calorie and protein requirements.  
Is it safe to assume that I can replace all the red meat I was eating with fish, lean cuts of turkey, and chicken breast (all cooked with no butter and oil of course).  I have heard some say that fish is also loaded with cholesterol.  Also,  instead of eating whole eggs,  is it safe to eat 8 egg whites a day.  I am very concerned about my health,  but at the same time I do not want to give up my hobby.   I find I have somewhat of a talent for it and it is the joy of my day.  I have already begun to add cardiovascular exercise to my regimen.  My goal is 30 minutes of cardio 3-4 times a weak with a target heart rate of 155,  sustained for most of the 30 minutes.  
Thank you again for your time!

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