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Old 07-26-2012, 01:23 AM   #1
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Default Questions about Cholesterol

I did a follow-up visit with my doctor today after having blood work done last week. She didn't seem overly-concerned with my numbers but still wanted to go over them with me. One of the subjects that came up was my cholesterol.

Overall, I'm at 151, which is good. I'm guessing that my healthier eating has been paying off! Triglycerides look good too at 96. My ratio is 4.87, a reasonable number. LDL is 101, which looks good as well. But the HDL (the good cholesterol)? It's low at 31. This sorta puzzles me. I mean, I understand the possible risks and why it happens, but not why it's specifically happened to me . . .

She suggested that I take flax oil supplements to raise my HDL, but the odd thing is that I already have been taking flax pills daily for the past five months. I've started increasing my dosage as of today, but wonder what my numbers would have looked like had I not been taking them at all!

I had a hard time comprehending all these numbers being thrown at me all at once at the office (I'm looking over my numbers again now), and I'm also having a hard time understanding what the ratio means exactly. Anyone here got any insight to share? Even the doctor found it odd that my HDL was low when everything else looked ok.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:33 AM   #2
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Are you having some blood sugar control issues?

That's the first thing that comes to mind, for me. I have a good friend who is diabetic and we were just discussing this the other day. When her sugar gets wacky her HDL gets really low, too.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ValRock View Post
Are you having some blood sugar control issues?

That's the first thing that comes to mind, for me. I have a good friend who is diabetic and we were just discussing this the other day. When her sugar gets wacky her HDL gets really low, too.
Ah, that's interesting to know. My fasting glucose was at 113, which is actually questionable since I was fasting for 17 hours instead of the usual 8 (I have another thread specifically about that here). My doctor says I seem to be doing great with my diet (I've lost almost 25 pounds since March) and wants me to come back in three months to check all my numbers again.
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Last edited by Elladorine : 07-26-2012 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:27 AM   #4
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At the moment I have no explanation of why you hdl is what it is. Tomorrow I'll figure out the conversion rate as I'm used to seeing the values in Canadian values - on the other and the ratio looks not too bad.

Did the doc give any handouts explaining what the different cholesterol were?

Have a good nite
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:47 AM   #5
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I don't think your cholesterol numbers are particularly worrisome. I've had HDL numbers that low for years, and a lot of it is genetic, which you can't control. You can raise your HDL a bit with cardio exercise, as well as eating well. The American Heart Assn. has a heart attack risk assessment can give you some good feedback. Continue to lose weight, eat sensible and exercise--you're doing all the right things!
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:23 AM   #6
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Cholesterol's notorious for being a moving target. Plus, what's an issue for one is irrelevant to another depending on your family history and lifestyle. My HDL is only responsive to exercise. It's such a predictable correlation that my doctor can just about tell me how many hours I exercised in the last month from the number. I totally agree with gt26 and your doctor - hang tight, keep doing what you're doing, and recheck it again down the road. One data point does not determine a trend!
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:02 AM   #7
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113 for fasting is on the high side of the normal range... but we're talking about Cholesterol!

What increases HDL, is cardio exercise. Spinning (which is what I do) increased my HDL to really healthy levels, without taking flax oil supplements.

Side note, some people say that flax oil supplements aren't very good because flax oil oxidizes very quickly -- the best thing to do is to get the freshest flax seeds (small amounts) and grind them to eat them.

And to verify who you are procuring your oil from.

But you can also get similar health benefits from olive oil as well.

Exercise was the key for me.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:12 AM   #8
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Yes, my hdl is also low and just about everyone has said that cardio is the way to raise it.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:40 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I had to put my exercise regime on hold for the past month or so due to the issues I've been having with my eyes, so maybe that explains things. I've been cleared to go back to my normal routine just this past week (right after the blood test actually) so maybe I'm already on my way back to a healthier number.

I do use virgin olive oil every day for my dressing and sometimes for cooking, and I also sprinkle on whole flax seeds to my salads (maybe I should be grinding them?). I also use chia seeds daily, and make no-sugar-added muffins that contain chia seeds, flax meal (which I grind myself in a Magic Bullet just before using), and walnuts. Eating salmon, other fish, or even taking fish oil supplements are out of the question for me since I have a seafood allergy; since I was concerned about maybe not getting enough omega-3's naturally it's why I started taking flax oil in the first place.

My mom didn't have any cholesterol issues that I know of, but my dad definitely did. I don't know anything about his numbers, but he did have cartoid artery surgery when he was in his 60's (if I remember right, the one side had a 90% blockage)! I do know that's something I never want to go through.

Thanks again for your input! I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do in the following months and how my next set of test results turn out.
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