Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cholesterol Test

Want to see something scary?

;-/ (woah!)

That was my blood lipid profile mid 2005.

Just in case you are not familiar with desirable lipid levels, they are:

Total Cholesterol: Less than 4 mmol/L
LDL: Less than 2.0 mmol/L
HDL: Greater than 1 mmol/L
TC/HDL ratio: Less than 4.0
Triglycerides: Less than 1.7 mmol/L

The 'H' indicates 'get thee to a doctor you are in the cardiovascular danger zone' (otherwise they just put a *, which means 'pay attention to this'). My LDL's were trying to kill me.

When my doctor saw these results she wanted me to start taking statins immediately. I told her that I intended to try a lifestyle intervention first. I said that in front of the practice nurse, who replied 'that won't work for you'.  The idea is that familial (genetic) high cholesterol is only minimally affected by lifestyle factors.

At the time of scary cholesterol test, I was on the paleolithic diet, paying little attention to saturated fat intake, and holding firmly to the belief that carbs, not dietary fat, were the cause of fatty blood. Obviously, I was wrong. Over the next year I adjusted to a higher carb diet, took Omega 3 and Vitamin C, reduced sat fats, exercised and, to the surprise of everyone, slowly watched the numbers go down.

One year later I was out of the danger zone.

Over the last few years, I've increased my saturated fat intake somewhat due to my obsession with unbaking and sticking things together with coconut oil.

I thought it might be time to see if this has impacted negatively on my bloods, so on Tuesday morning I toddled off at ridiculous o'clock for a cholesterol test.

The result:

Nearly identical to 2006. I'd still like to get TC under 4 and LDL under 2, but at the current level they are in the 'keep an eye on it' category, rather than 'heart attack tomorrow'. It wasn't until I got the results that I realised I'd been mentally preparing myself for the worst. I'm thrilled to be almost normal, still.

I also had a c-reactive protein test, which was right where it should be. CRP is a marker of inflammation and indicates increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

My new mission: get those numbers into the ideal range within three months :D Watch this space.

When did you last have a cholesterol test?


  1. Woah! You did good! That is serious improvement just using diet and exercise.

    1. Last cholesterol test about a year ago. I must get on that.

    2. I am also amazed that it worked. Apparently it can all fall to pieces at menopause, so lets see what happens then...

  2. Hi Sara, I have familial high cholesterol too. Had my last test about two months ago and total cholesterol was 6.4 (H), HDL 1.82, LDL 4.4 (H). My mother and grandmother are usually over 8. Interesting to know that the coconut oil hasn't negatively affected your results, as there seems to be conflicting info as to its effects.

    1. I know. I've been nervous about it for ages, wondering what it was doing in there! I'm not crazy with it though - I mostly use olive oil for cooking generally, and coconut oil in baking (sometimes butter). I go through about 400g a month, but know some people that eat that much every week! I think there's a post in the near future about what I did to bring down that cholesterol. Also, there is the discussion about just how dangerous (or possibly not) elevated cholesterol actually is. ..

  3. Wow that's awesome... sure beats taking meds for something you can make such an improvement on through lifestyle.

    I've never taken a test - but there seems to be a history of high-readings in my family (even though they all live a pretty healthy lifestyle) - maybe I should as it may be a hereditary thing.

    1. Hereditary or not, I think the main thing is still lifestyle and you seem to have that covered!

  4. Nice to see your progress! Healthy diet and healthy lifestyle do make a difference in controlling cholesterol.Wishing you good health!



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