Darxus

Cholesterol

Cholesterol

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2009-09-29
My LDL (bad) cholesterol is too high to measure. I asked how high could be reliably measured but didn't get an answer. My total cholesterol is 433. This appears to be dietary, and I have improved my diet. My doctor asked me if I munched down a stick of butter on my way in this time. For some perspective on that 433 mg/dL total cholesterol:
less than 200: good
200 to 239: borderline high
240 or above: high

He recommended omega 3 butter, oatmeal, hummus, tabouli, almonds, and salmon.


Daily dietary guidelines I beat out of him:

At RiskNot At RiskMe, Yesterday
Max Dietary Cholesterol200mg300mg0.0mg
% of calories from fat7-10%20-35%8.7%
Max % calories from saturated fat7%10%2.0%


My typical diet recently has been (only) six cands of Kirkland diet shakes, which works out to the values in the third column.

1g of fat = 9 calories.
  • Yow....

    That's kind of alarming.

    Did he recommend one of the cholesterol lowering drugs?

    Does exercise play a significant, or only helping role?

  • Has your cholesterol been high before? Those numbers sound odd enough I'd think they'd want to double check them.

    A year ago all my cholesterol numbers were in the extreme high range. Now thanks to a better diet and Simvastatin my cholesterol levels dropped 50% down to normal or better levels. So these are fixable things. I hope you have as good luck with them as I.
    • This is at least the third time they've been tested. Probably more. In the time I've actually been seeing a doctor, which is about the last two years. During that time it has always been high.
  • There is that part of cholesterol which is genetic.

    If your values are that high while consuming only diet shakes, I suspect exercise won't help significantly. I'd strongly suggest getting on lipitor or one of the other cholesterol lowering drugs.
  • Before I started on statins I got a result with my LDLs above 200. I don't know if this was a typically gettable number. Also, if there's a different test for when they're expecting high numbers, my blood gets it. LDLs typically range from 100 (when you die, it won't be a heart attack) to 200 (picked out a coffin yet?).

    Aerobic exercise can raise HDLs, it does not affect LDLs, and if it affects triglycerides, it's a small effect, and unproven. Anaerobic exercise doesn't do nearly as much, but it does help.

    You might want to ask your doctor just how much experience he has with very high cholesterol issues, as his recommendations seem kind of odd to me. It sounds like he told you to do more of what would help someone with an overall cholesterol level around 250. He might as well have prescribed niacin & vitamin C. You need a fairly large change, and omega3s only do so much.

    If you are subsisting on Kirkland diet shakes then something else is wrong. It might be genetic, Kirkland might be lying in their nutritional info, you might be missing out on some weird specific micronutrient that controls LDL production...

    I would get a second test to make sure the first one wasn't just wrong (it happens) or someone else's (it also happens). Then I'd try changing my diet to include more foods (but still low fat) and get more aerobic exercise (are you still running?) and get retested in 3 or 4 months. If that doesn't do it, I'd go for a statin.

    There's a couple of hybrid drugs out now that use lower doses of a statin with a cholesterol absorption blocker. Since the likelihood of side effects for both drugs seems to go up with the square of the dosage, using 2 synergistic low dosages seems to be a good thing. Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) is what I'm on now, and it's keeping me at 2xx (from an unmedicated 5xx).

    I'm not a doctor, but I do have 30 years of experience with high cholesterol and treatments thereof. I've changed doctors in the past due to them not knowing as much as I do about this one issue.

    Last, it looks to me like your table has "At Risk" and "Not At Risk" swapped.
    • The issue isn't that the doctor doesn't know how to treat high cholesterol, it's that he knows Darxus is unwilling to medicate for this.

      Under those circumstances, the doctor does the best he can.
    • Also, by recently, he means that since he got those cholesterol measurements he's been living on diet shakes.

      Significantly less than a month, in fact.
  • I'm dubious about the diet-LDL thing

    It has been my experience that genetics plays a huge role, and the links between dietary fat intake and LDL levels. Do you have any information on your parents' or grandparents' cholesterol levels?
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