As a post offering, - until Monday, 11/14, I bring you my crucial two part series on Cholesterol....Mahalo
Cholesterol, so what’s the big deal? Well, it’s only a big deal if in fact, you happen to care about your heart, your health and your overall longevity on this planet! If however, you truly care nothing about your risk of heart disease and dying, then I suppose it’s no big deal at all!
While I realize that’s a bit harsh for an opener, looking at it from my perspective, it’s not nearly “IN YOUR FACE ENOUGH”. I’m trying to help save your life and no, that’s not in the least bit overly dramatic. I mean really folks, do ya think you could be kind enough to get off of your ‘Denial Duffs’ just long enough to get a stink’in blood test? (she said lovingly because she cares). Can you HEAR the frustration coming from my keypad?
Listen guys, honestly- I do what I do, because I care. For those of us who have dedicated our lives to trying to help the rest of you “live long and prosper” (quoting Spock, the Vulcan - not the famous child psychologist), we actually understand and have a grasp on the gravity of these types of issues. So, I’m sorry, but I can’t and won’t just “RELAX and let it go”. A bold
statement that I was once ‘told to do’ by a client (Once and ONLY ONCE), as we were discussing the fact that he wanted to call all the shots and just chill for a while about his much needed weight loss. I’m sure you can imagine how that didn’t sit well with me at all. Let’s just suffice to say, I moved on and wish him well!!!!
You see for me, daily I’m looking at and researching facts that could possibly curl my poker straight hair. Facts like;
Heart Disease is the number one killer among both men and women in this country. That means it causes approximately 800,000 deaths per year.
I have to check facts like the ones that tell me according to the CDC, approximately one in every six adults, that’s 17% of the U.S. adult population has high blood cholesterol, which greatly increases the risk for heart disease, our leading killer. SO yeah, I’m a bit concerned. Since obesity is off the charts in this country as well and many of these same issues cause blood pressures to rise, which even increases our risks for coronary artery disease; Yeah, I’m serious and I’ve actually watched this stuff happen, SO… I’m NOT GOING TO RELAX and I’m not joking around!
I’m so concerned in fact that, considering my heritage includes that I’m part Cherokee, (and may I say I’m VERY proud of it), here’s what I’m willing to do. If every person who reads this, will go out an get their cholesterol levels checked…( I’ll need a doctor’s note of course). I’m willing to darn myself in full feather head dress, war paint and do my rendition of an “ANTI - DENIAL RAIN DANCE” in celebration of your choice to get with the program. If that’s what it’ll take to get you to engage here, I’m in, REALLY IN. After 20 years of this, folks, I have nothing to lose. I’ve already begun walking around like a babbling idiot, mumbling lines from famous movies like “HELP ME, HELP YOU, HELP ME…HELP YOU”!!! It’s not going well.
One of the reasons I am so passionate here is because many people believe that if they exercise and eat a healthy low fat, high fiber diet , it means they’re safe! While that is exactly what you should be doing, no matter what our numbers may be, HERE’S THE LOW DOWN on why I’m willing to wear feathers and dance around like a chicken.
Cholesterol doesn’t always play by the rules. I know it has been a source of contention (in a friendly, fun kind of way) in our home for many years now. Why? Because whether we like it or not, cholesterol levels are one of many health related conditions that have a very high possibility of being controlled by an often ‘way to’ unfair, pre-dispositional SPIN OF THE GENE POOL WHEEL! To show this in action, we’re going to take my husband and I For example. You would think that my cholesterol would be stellar! IT ABSOLUTELY IS NOT! Thanks mom and dad. My husband loves to laugh this off as a reason for me to get off of his back so he can stop exercising. Not gonna happen and here’s why dear. HE is lean, but exercises ONLY if I’m here to make him and though he is a bit “careful” with his diet, it’s only to keep him as lean as he is. I assure you it’s not because, well it’s not because he’s like me. He’s not a concerned HEATH FOOD NUT as he would probably put it. Meaning it’s not unlike him to eat Stuffed Manicotti shells with Cheese and Meatballs. He’d eat more of it if it didn’t cause him to gain weight. The exercise that he does …if I’m chasing him - is weight training ONLY and he does no cardio at ALL. Yet he just gets the biggest kick out of the fact that he is a FREAK according to our doctor when it comes to Superior cholesterol levels. According to our doctor ( and from what I know about the issue, he’s correct in this assessment), my husband freakishly has the best total cholesterol and level ratios than any man, woman or child he has EVER MET! And you have to know that somewhere back in his gene pool, he shuld be thanking his Kin Folk!!
Happy honey? (I know he’s laughing but even though this irks me, as my husband…I thank GOD for it and could not be more pleased)! But it still chaps me!!!!! Enough said and moving on.
If I was overweight and or - didn’t exercise or regularly consumed a diet that included a decent amount of nasty saturated fats and other unhealthy fare, then according to the RULES, I would fit the bill for someone you might expect would possibly ‘deserve’ to have a problem here. In which case, I WOULD BE MORE INCLINED TO GET IT CHECKED or at least you would think. However, another fly added to the ointment here, is that High Cholesterol Doesn’t have symptoms. Why? Well, let’s take a quick look at what cholesterol is, to see why elevated levels have no symptoms. Simply put, Cholesterol is a waxy, fat –like substance found in our bodies and in many foods. Interestingly enough, we need cholesterol for our bodies to function normally and because our bodies are so smart, they know this and usually make all that we need. But cholesterol is also found in many food choices out there and often we consume too much for our bodies to break down and our levels increase. Increased levels don’t feel like anything, so there really are no symptoms that would make us FEEL that we have anything to worry about. Until things morph into other issues like heart disease and often then (thank GOD NOT ALWAYS) it’s too late to deal with it.
SO, even though we might fit the profile of one who would possibly have a problem, getting prime time offenders to the doctors is often harder than the rest of the lot! They don’t feel sick, so what’s the problem! Starting to see the bigger picture here? Of course then the other side of the coin can also be a disaster. Take a look at the so called “non – offenders”. The ones, who fit my profile are often not the least bit interested in getting their numbers checked. I mean after all…….right? That thinking has caused MANY A HEART ATTACK! These so called, Health conscious people, (though if you’re not willing to get a check up, how HEALTH CONSCIOUS can you be), go about just smugly assuming all is well. They tell themselves they exercise, eat righter than rain and work diligently to keep their weight down and yet, if their genetics are set against them, they may be oblivious to a long standing elevated cholesterol issue causing clogging and narrowing of their arteries. They lace up their shoes, go out for a run and never come home. It’s an all too familiar news story of late and it’s scary as hell. I, like them, live a reality much different than my levels SHOULD reflect. IF DIET, exercise and body mass was all there were to it I’d be sitting pretty. I exercise more than most people EVER WILL, it’s obscene really. I eat so clean my plate squeaks and I feel pretty confident in saying that, when it comes to my BMI or body fat percentage, well let’s just say I’m LEAN! However, over the years my cholesterol has deteriorated and because of the scenario I have just painted for you…soon it most likely won’t be within my power to fix it without intervention anymore. ANYMORE? That’s right. You see there are two kinds of cholesterol…briefly breaking it down, there is,
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL)....it makes up the majority of the body’s cholesterol and is often referred to as the “BAD CHOLESTEROL” because high levels can lead to heart disease and stroke.
High-density Lipoproteins (HDL)....called “good cholesterol”because high levels reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke. In fact scientists think that (HDL) absorbs bad Cholesterol or (LDL) and carries it to the liver, which then flushes it from the body.
Ideally, our Total Cholesterol level should remain less than 200 mg/dL (LDL) less than 100 mg/dL And (HDL) we would hope to find at 40 mg/DL or HIGHER!
This is exactly why I haven’t had to be treated yet. While My total number is elevated. My total number right now is approximately 180 mg/dL or so. The good news is that my (HDL), good heart disease reducing type of lipoprotein, has been running around about 88 or so. This is over double what the CDC suggests for GOOD levels of GOOD CHOLESTEROL. SO, I have more GOOD than bad. Which means essentially, when you run the ratios, it kind of puts me in a negative risk category for heart disease. HOWEVER, we believe I have been accomplishing that due to exercise. YES EXERCISE CAN RAISE your HDL levels. That’s good news. So, up till now, I HAVE BEEN MY OWN PRESCRIPTION and have exercised myself off of any treatment through medication.
But with age, even though I have kept my exercise at the same levels as well as keeping my stellar diet intact, my genetics are catching up and my HDL levels …while still good enough to keep me on my OWN, without MEDICATION ..are beginning to lower a bit. Time will tell. Considering my family history, my gene pool evidently….and the fact that I have yet to take a pill for it, and I’m turning 50 Christmas day….. I’ll take it.
BUT AMERICA…wake up please.
I have been willing to do the work. One day, I may not be able to best the spin of the wheel and I’ll be so glad they can treat me. But don’t just give in.
We have shown the twisted side of High Cholesterol but generally speaking, in most cases IF you are;
Do Not Exercise
And eat a diet High in saturated fats and low in fiber,
It’s very likely that you may causing your elevated levels, or at least, not helping them.
Good news, if you are being medicated now,( and PLEASE, if your numbers are high…be treated) you may one day, through exercise and a healthy diet, along with a few other steps you can take, be able to change those numbers and reduce your risk of heart disease.
There are several steps you can take to keep your cholesterol normal and these are things that we all should do:
- Get a blood test
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t SMOKE
- Treat high cholesterol
You never know when I might be testing you on this…and that’s no joke.
SO, until next time…don’t assume your diet is all there is to it, be smart
And get your levels checked…
Power On and be wise,
People love you, don’t leave them too soon,