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Old 01-30-2012, 02:40 PM   #1
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Need help figuring that cholesterol stuff...

Had a fun get together with two older gal pals up at our little French place this morning. Lots of laughter, and particularly good to be with one who is age 71 and just had an angioplasty procedure a couple of weeks ago after complaining of pain in her chest and shoulder. A very small vessel was almost completely closed off. The rest are about 20% clogged, but 80% open. This friend's father passed away from a heart attack when he was in his mid-50s.

OK, I don't know what values are good and what values are poor and how to do any of the figuring. Can any of you help me? Here are her stats:

CHOL 178
TRIG 59
HDL 43
VLDL 12 (estimated)
LDL 124 (calculated)

Is this pretty good or not so much. I know about what all of this stuff is.. sort of, just don't know where all the various parts should fall in relation to all the other parts.

She exercises and eats what I would call a good diet.

Any help and thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks, BUDDDs.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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What most people don't understand is that cholesterol is about 90% genetic. Our bodies manufacture it, and although we can eat healthily and exercise, we cannot affect a poor genetic inheritance--which is what this seems to reflect.

Is this woman on statin medication for cholesterol? I'm responding as though she isn't because you didn't mention it.

The best number is the triglycerides, which is reflective of good eating habits.

But the HDL is very low. Doctors want the number to be over 40, but this is barely that. The higher the better, and a number in the 65-85 range would be much better.

Lab ranges vary, but most labs use 100 as them limit for LDL. This isn't a very high LDL, but combined with the low HDL, this isn't a very good pattern.

There are things that people do to raise their HDL (for example, supplementing with fish oil to raise the omega 3 level), but if this pattern reflects a genetic problem, such supplementation would probably not be effective.

I'm sure that if she's had a cardiac event already, her doctor will be monitoring all this and prescribing accordingly.
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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Thanks, Leo. She is going for rehabilitation right now, but I don't know what that really is or involves. She's a good friend, we I want her to be well and stay well.

Edited: I don't know whether she takes fish oil. But I'm going to tell her about it.

Last edited by SoHappy; 01-30-2012 at 04:17 PM..
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:54 PM   #4
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My dh had a stent placed in 2007 (at age 42), and when the crisis was over (99% blockage in the "widow maker" artery), we started researching. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, Reverse Heart Disease Now, is the program we started him following. He takes a lot of supplements, but does not take any statins or plavix, and feels great.

On paper, he is NOT a heart patient. (cholesterol of 126, crp very low, triglyc low, etc). But he's a worrier, and stresses about EVERYthing.

I highly recommend the book. There's also an interview with him on Mercola.com.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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Hey Pat

I remember you mentioned earlier that your friend is into exercise.

I second Leo's opinion that her low triglycerides plus low HDL plus healthy eating and exercise habits, probably equals hereditary counts. There are dietary ways to increase HDL. But if genetics is keeping the numbers low, they might not respond to diet. You might search on 'diet raise hdl'.

That is the only red flag I see in those numbers.

Do you know if they tested her for inflammatory markers? Like erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP). For that matter, did they look into blood glucose/insulin?
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- Nancy
GOAL 10/3/12
Still at goal 2/6/13
STILL below goal 2/15/14

I did not "lose" weight. I evicted it. It is gone and it ain't coming back!

JUDDD cares about calories. JUDDD does not care what you eat. Your body probably does.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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Here's some info I found on a website Clackley posted in the ML ( 5 reasons not to worry about your cholesterol numbers ) and I thought this was interesting info about cholesterol:

...the most important number on a conventional lipid panel is the relationship between triglycerides and HDL. (Divide triglyercids by HDL to get it.) If that number is less than 2, this suggests you have mostly large, buoyant LDL – which is not a risk factor for heart disease. If that number is higher than 3, it suggests you have mostly small, dense LDL – which most certainly is a risk factor for heart disease.
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MAINTENANCE since 11/12/11, & have lost more weight. I shake things up all the time with my version of Pirate Jenny's MUDDD, my "Fast 5" & other IF. ...low-moderate fat....and eating "healthy" foods 75+% of the time which lets me have real life and indulgences too I've reached my goals, improved my health & appearance, and enjoy my lifetime woe!
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:52 AM   #7
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No, the 'marker' for the 'better' type LDL is low trigs, but also combined with high HDL. The low HDL suggests this is the worse, 'dense' LDL.

However, Nancy mentioned CRP (C-Reactive Protein), and many cardiologists say that it the best indicator of heart issues. It would be good to know whether she was tested for that.

Cardiac 'rehab' usually involves counseling in diet and exercise for better cardiac health. It's usually individualized for specific patients (depending on their issues). Most people who are compliant will improve greatly by following the program.

Sometimes having a non-fatal cardiac event is a good thing because it gets a person who is at risk under care and receiving preventative treatment.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:52 AM   #8
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"Sometimes having a non-fatal cardiac event is a good thing because it gets a person who is at risk under care and receiving preventative treatment."

You rock, Leo!!!
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