Dieting with Obstacles - High Cholesterol & Edema

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07-02-2009, 12:53 AM
Recently I had blood work done and I am borderline high on all 4 of my cholesterol tests. My blood pressure is fine, my blood sugar is fine, thyroid fine, as is everything else. I also noticed I have pitting edema. You guys, I am only 35 years old! Why do I have things like this. I know I am overweight but gosh I have never had health problems.

My question is how do I get it under control?

I assume by loosing some weight, but are there foods I should avoid? I know this is not a place for medical advice but has anyone else dealt with these kinds of things?

I sure could use a little support.

07-02-2009, 12:56 AM
Report to md.Usually related to cardiac issues.

07-02-2009, 03:07 PM
I did report it to my Dr. and she ordered bloodwork to look for any physical problems. There wasn't any thing wrong other than my cholesterol.

I have a sitting job and she encouraged me to loose weight and excercise. But I don't know anything about what to do about high cholesterol other than loose weight.

07-02-2009, 03:57 PM
Very happy to hear your Dr. advised you to lose weight & exercise rather than immediately prescribe a statin drug!:D
You might want to read Dr. Malcolm Kendrick's book "The Great Cholesterol Con".
Diet & excercise, along with the proper supplements do work to reduce cholesterol & DBF's total cholesterol was 275 and his triglycerides were 184....with a change in diet (mainly low carb) & some moderate exercise (bicycle riding) as well as supplements (Fish Oil, Garlic etc.)....his total cholesterol is now 195 and his triglycerides are 114:carrot: And...this is a man who comes from a family who are all on statin drugs for high cholesterol.
All the best to you!

07-02-2009, 08:13 PM
JERSEYGIRL and OP ~ can you share with us how your DBF ate? You mentioned low carb, but is that all? Did he cut down his beef and pork and focus on fish and poultry? I have edema (my calves retain water) but my doctor says that my heart and cholesterol are fine. I am on Metformin and along with healthier eating, that has helped my sugars get back in line (I was pre-diabetic).

Then he just told me not to eat too many eggs; when I told him I only have eggs 1-2 times a week and only eat 2 egg whites + 1 yolk, he said that was fine. My stepmother eat one egg every day of her life and she doesn't have high cholesterol; so maybe we have to have a predisposition for it through family and heredity lines.

My husband's doctor said he needed to work on his cholesterol and so we had to cut back on our animal fats (from high-fat beef, pork, poultry skin, dairy). We now eat very lean beef and pork (only once a week), chicken and turkey without the skin; and fish. If I cook ground meat, I drain off the fat before adding seasoning and other veggies; and we switched to olive oil and use only a tiny bit now.

I know I need to lose more weight for the swelling and I'm working on that. I can't go too low-carb becuz when I do, my hair falls out. I am already taking supplements for that now. Right now, I think I need to work cutting down the 'white' carbs more stringently and replacing them with a few whole grain carbs instead.

We also try to have 1-2 meals a week without meat, like a thick homemade veggie soup, an omelette, etc. I am thinking of increasing that to 3-4 meals (that includes lunch or dinner) to see if that helps too.

OP ~ He has me putting my legs up 2-3 times a day for about one hour (afternoon, mid and late evening). I have to try and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep/rest with my legs up each night; and he said don't let my legs dangle from chairs etc. I also got lower chairs and sofa; and when sitting at my PC, I have to get up and walk around every 15-20 minutes or so.

I also do special exercises to help the 'CIRCULATION' in my lower legs, which many feel contributes to the problem -- by rotating my feet at the ankles in circles to the left and right; and up and down; and calf curls by lifting heels up and down with feet planted on the floor (I got these exercises from a doctor).

I am also trying to watch my salt intake too. My husband opted for changing our diet instead of taking pills too ... :hug:

07-03-2009, 09:33 AM DBF basically ate & continues to eat pretty much a Protein Power type diet. In case you aren't familiar with PP, it was developed by Dr's Michaeal & Mary Dan Eades in 1995. In a nutshell, its 20 - 40 carbs per day....all meats, poultry, fish as well as, eggs, cheese.... dairy products like milk, cream, and yogurt are OK....but, you must read labels on these items and keep count of the carbs. Low carb veggies are permitted on PP, as well as nuts & seeds. Since my DBF was pretty much addicted to sandwiches....he did eat ezekiel bread. PP does not advise grains of any kind.
Frankly I'm surprised you were told not to eat too many eggs. My Dad is a type 2 insulin dependant diabetic (2 injections per day), he's 79 years old & had open heart surgery 3 years ago....his Dr's (both his cardiologist & his primary Dr.) have both told him to eat eggs. He eats at least 2 eggs everyday. In the past, eggs got a bad rap....but....that philosophy has changed:)
When my DBF originally saw the Dr. his total cholesterol was 275, his LDL was 191, HDL was 47, Triglycerides were 184. As I mentioned, he comes from a family (4 brothers, 1 sister & his Mom) who are all on statin drugs for high cholesterol. The Dr. wanted to immediately put him on 20 mg per day of Lipitor...I told him "NO WAY!" It totally infuriated me this Dr. made no mention to DBF of diet or exercise!
I am very thankful he listened to me and changed his eating habits, started to get some moderate exercise and began taking supplements. I know he was skeptical this would work....but....for him, it worked wonderfully! He lost 35 lbs. and most importantly, his #'s are in the ranges they should be in. His total cholesterol is 195, his LDL is 123, HDL is 49, and Triglycerides are 114:carrot:
Please understand, I am not saying there are situations where medication is absolutely needed....but...I think Dr's should be a little more considerate of diet & exercise first before just getting out their prescription pads and prescribing a statin drug!
All the best you & your husband!:hug:

07-03-2009, 10:19 AM
If you go to the American Heart Association's website, they have facts and samples of a diet to reduce chlorestrol. You also should be limiting sodium if you have edema.

07-03-2009, 12:47 PM
Here is a good article on obesity and pitting edema.Blood work alone would not diagnose many of these underlying conditions.Pitting edema in you age group is not usually idiopathic.If you do not see improvement in you edema with a low sodium diet and weight loss I would definately get a second opinion.

07-03-2009, 04:20 PM
THANKS EVERYONE -- for all the good ideas, articles, and plans.

JERSEYGIRL ~ ummm, I was thinking the same as you about the eggs; and then a friend mentioned to me that my doctor was a staunch vegetarian (and who knows, maybe a vegan even); and she felt that influenced some of his advice. They both were SDA's and he was her teacher there. He was a lovely man, and a very caring doctor, but that gives me some perspective now; and he just moved away. I have a new doctor now, but I haven't met him yet, will be meeting him very shortly for my first time, so we'll see what advice he has to give ... eeks. I always get kinda nervous when I have to meet a new doctor (childhood issues).

My husband's doctor put him on new drug at first, and I'm pretty sure it was lipitor too; but we heard so many bad things about it, that he stopped taking it right away and told his doctor we would rather take the diet and exercise root. My husband is only 125 lbs right now as he walks all the time (his hobby involves a lot of walking).

08-01-2009, 10:23 PM
I thought they were through the "don't eat eggs thing." It is an old wive's tale. Your body produces its own cholesterol in your liver. Dietary cholesterol comes from animal products, so I do not understand why "protien power" would be perscribed. Dietary cholesterol remains in your blood stream a certain time and then leaves.
the cholesterol you make in your blood stream is not the same as the cholesterol you eat. I'd read up more on it before I took that advice. Sorry, it just dosen't make sence.

08-01-2009, 11:04 PM
Most doctors don't advice a low carb diet for high cholesterol, especially one that is high fat/ high protein - however it is quite common for people's cholesterol levels to drop on such a diet. Some people experience no change, and some experience an increase in cholesterol levels.

Improvement in cholesterol levels seems counter-intuitive, but it often happens. I've never read an adequate explanation for why improvement occurs, but since it so often does I think it does make sense to give low carb dieting a shot, especially if you have overeating issues with carbohydrate foods.

It's simple enough to discontinue or modifiy the diet if cholesterol levels do not drop, but my cholesterol levels have also improved since reducing carbohydrates. I do eat more animal protein than before, but I try to eat those with a higher proportion of Omega-3's, and I also take fish oil supplements.

Personally, I believe the Omega-3 fats and the quantity and quality of non-starchy vegetables and berries also play a significant role. I would suspect that the people who experience cholesterol increases are those who are eating the fewest vegetables and the most processed meats (which Atkins advices to limit or avoid, such as deli meats, sausages, and bacon - especially those containing nitrates and nitrites).