Monday, January 20, 2014

Cholesterol Numbers {finally where they need to be}

I remember back in August of 2010 when I got my first news my cholesterol numbers weren't great.  This all started when I had talked to my family doctor (at the time) and requested I get a physical. I had just lost a friend to Breast Cancer at the age of 34 and I wanted to get on top of my health.  I felt like I had let myself down health-wise when I got the news. I mean, I already knew I had weight to lose, but this was a real hit to my self esteem. I had already been off Diet Coke for almost 30 days at that point. I was trying to make a difference.

But, let's be real, I knew I hadn't taken care of myself like I should have. I was told that day I needed to start on a statin drug to get my numbers where they needed to be. The doctor said I could try to make a change in 3 months on my own before deciding and see if the numbers lowered.  I happily agreed to try to lower it on my own. I had heard so many bad things about Statin drugs and their potential side effects.

I remember getting the call of the results of the second or third set of tests (not sure which) and pulling over in a parking lot to write them down. Again the nurse said my doctor wants me to start medications right away. I was in tears at this point. Yes, my triglycerides had dropped by half but the other numbers didn't budge. I felt defeated. Was I making the dumb and irresponsible choice to not go on medications and in turn setting myself up for a heart attack down the road?  I had a family! I had two kids! I wanted to make the right decision.

I had already consulted with two doctor friends that lived out of state and they both suggested I don't start the medications since my numbers weren't that high. I agreed and decided to embrace the heart healthy lifestyle with hopes I could lower my numbers naturally. What really got me annoyed about my past doctor is the fact the nurse told me to start medications on the phone and I pushed back and said I got two other opinions that suggest not to go on medications right now given my numbers aren't "that" high and my age.  Within a couple of minutes of the nurse consulting my doctor (I cried while waiting on her return call) the nurse said "I talked to the doctor and she said she's fine if you don't start medications.". WHAT? Wow. Ok, I am going to move on. I have a doctor now I love.

I was getting cholesterol numbers checked every 3 months so I had many results that were total bummers. I had many chances to just give up. Walk away from this {clean} life I had created. I had a gap of time between some tests as I was on a wait list for my new doctor. I must say I enjoyed the break of worry. My first results with my new doctor were in June of 2013. They weren't horrible, but still not great. It's probably my fault because out of spite I had fattening pizza the night before my test!  I don't recommend that. 

On January 13th, 2014 (3 years+ since I started this journey) I had another test. FINALLY, I got the results I had prayed for...

My overall cholesterol was 188 (needs to be <200)
HDL was 42 (needs to be >40)
LDL was 122 (near optimal is  100-129)
Trigs was 118 (needs to be < 150)

My ratio needs to be 5.00 or less.
It is now 4.48!

Also, my doctor ran a HsCRP test, also know as C-Reactive Protein.

C-reactive protein -- or CRP -- appears to be correlated to heart disease risk. Inflammation (swelling) of the arteries has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.

Low Risk: < 1.0
Average Risk: 1.0-3.0
High: >3.0-10.0
Indeterminant: > 10.0

Mine was .67

This was great news! I am so grateful for this journey to better overall health. I no longer have to worry about weight loss. I maintain my weight easily. I remain good energy levels and feel younger. I feel good about my decision and I am beyond happy to finally get a result I am proud to call mine. 

Make sure you know your numbers.

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