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  #1  
Unread 03-14-2017, 10:05 AM
Fitnesschicky Fitnesschicky is offline
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Default Cholesterol

I know Lyle has written about cholesterol before. I'm 31 and just had mine done. My levels are considered "within normal" but if you'll notice, I'm right at the boundary and it's freaking me out a little. I'm 5ft 2 and for the last five years, I've fluctuated around 113-118. So I'm not out of shape.

Triglyceride: 79
Cholesterol: 198
HDL: 54
LDL: 128

My mom is in great shape too, eats super clean at 61, works out every day and naturally has high cholesterol. She's had it since she was 16. So it looks like I have her genetics to thank. (Thanks, Mom).

What can I do about it to lower it and/or prevent it from going any higher? I eat super clean...most of my carbs and fiber come from fibrous veggies (I'm a cauliflower fiend, I eat a ton of Brussels sprouts too). I don't eat red meat. I eat chicken and egg whites. I've gotten away from eating oatmeal daily. Should I start incorporating that again? I have also gotten away from taking my fish oils. Should I start those again? (My plant-based protein powder does have omegas in it from hemp, chia and flax - 740 mg of omega 3s, 360 mg of omega 6s, and 220 mg of omega 9s). I still have a bottle of Nordic Naturals.

My activity level fluctuates depending on how crazy work is. Some weeks, I get in 5 or 6 workouts and other weeks, I'm lucky to get 2-3. But my eating is consistently clean, no matter what. I'll admit, my sleep at certain times of the year does get impacted by work and I could be better about getting more rest.

Any other suggestions? Anything work well for you guys? Really appreciate you guys' help. Trying not to beat myself up over this. I don't feel like I could have done anything differently to prevent it.
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  #2  
Unread 03-14-2017, 02:54 PM
JLow
 
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My understanding is that some people are just predisposed to have higher cholesterol. Also that diet can only do so much. It could be that because of your healthy lifestyle you are improving what would be higher numbers.
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  #3  
Unread 03-14-2017, 05:15 PM
lylemcdonald lylemcdonald is offline
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If it's genetic, you can't do a single thing about it.
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  #4  
Unread 03-14-2017, 07:42 PM
Raquel130 Raquel130 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitnesschicky View Post
........Any other suggestions? Anything work well for you guys? Really appreciate you guys' help. Trying not to beat myself up over this. I don't feel like I could have done anything differently to prevent it.
For me it was the saturated fat. My total cholesterol went up to 287 (normal is <200), with LDL at 203 (normal is <100). This happened when I was eating a paleo diet which is typically high in saturated fat and meats.

I quit paleo, cut back on saturated fat, meats, eggs, butters, cheeses, oils etc about 2 yrs ago and it dropped nearly 100 points. At my last test, Total Cholesterol was down to 179 and LDL was 109. Now I eat a higher fiber diet and more whole grains like oats, brown rice, potatoes, beans, lentils, fruits etc which I used to limit before.
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  #5  
Unread 03-14-2017, 10:43 PM
kc2010 kc2010 is offline
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Like Lyle said, if it's genetic (familial hypercholesterolemia, for example), you'll have very little to no control over your levels using just diet and exercise. You'll need prescription meds to get the levels down if or when you and your doctor decide to act.

I've got FH. I had my first lipids panel somewhere around age 20 or 21, and was already above the normals by then. After doing some basic research and noting my family history of high cholesterol but no heart disease, I became dubious of the lipid hypothesis of CHD. That, and what I'd read about statins and the negative side effects claimed by some caused me to resist such treatment. My doctors over those earlier years, for their part, didn't push them either, noting as I did that all I had was high cholesterol and no other risk factors. For the first ten years or so (age ~20 to ~30 or so), my numbers seemingly (and I note seemingly as it was simply non-scientific self-observation) varied a bit with my weight, diet, and exercise regimes. When I was really good with all of those, my numbers seemed to decrease a bit (well, actually total, LDL and TG would creep down, and HDL would rise a tad); the opposite appeared to be the case as well. But I'm talking minor changes, as in perhaps 5% or 10%. Never did I approach anything that close to normal, and like I said, I have no way to prove any real connection. So anyway, after about age 30, it no longer seemed to matter what I did. Total cholesterol and LDL-C started a slow but steady upward trend. Although still not worried about cholesterol levels per se, when I got to within spitting distance of 300 on my total and 250 on LDL-C, my doctor suggested, and I accepted, starting on a statin. Even for a doubter such as myself, those numbers and their seemingly relentless upward trend started making me a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately for me, I appear to be a strong responder, and with only 10 mg of atorvastatin once daily (the lowest commonly available dose of that drug, I believe), my levels are currently in the 130 to 140 range for total C and 80 to 90 for LDL-C (a response way beyond what is typically expected at that dose). I've had no noticeable outward signs of side effects such as muscle pain or 'brain fog'. If the statin is producing negative side effects that I'm not feeling, they're likely and hopefully limited in scope given the relatively tiny dose I'm able to get away with.

Anyway, sorry if I got a little wordy. Sometimes I get going and then simply keep going.
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  #6  
Unread 03-15-2017, 08:01 AM
lylemcdonald lylemcdonald is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raquel130 View Post
For me it was the saturated fat. My total cholesterol went up to 287 (normal is <200), with LDL at 203 (normal is <100). This happened when I was eating a paleo diet which is typically high in saturated fat and meats.

I quit paleo, cut back on saturated fat, meats, eggs, butters, cheeses, oils etc about 2 yrs ago and it dropped nearly 100 points. At my last test, Total Cholesterol was down to 179 and LDL was 109. Now I eat a higher fiber diet and more whole grains like oats, brown rice, potatoes, beans, lentils, fruits etc which I used to limit before.
IF it's GENETIC, which it is in her case, none of this matters
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  #7  
Unread 03-15-2017, 09:35 AM
Raquel130 Raquel130 is offline
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The only way she (or anyone) can know for certain whether diet (low in saturated fat) matters or not, is if she tried and failed. Luckily, it usually takes just a few months to see a difference.
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  #8  
Unread 03-15-2017, 10:09 PM
Fitnesschicky Fitnesschicky is offline
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I haven't consumed saturated fat products in eight years and that was when I developed an eating disorder and would binge eat and throw up. Before that, I ate very clean and even did fitness shows. (I haven't thrown up or binged in eight years, by the way). I don't indulge in fatty cheat meals (a cheat meal for me is extra hummus or extra protein pudding). My mom was a vegan working in a health food store when she was diagnosed with high cholesterol. My grandmother, who is a tiny thing at 4ft 10, she has it too, apparently. So I guess I just got the crappy genes on that.
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  #9  
Unread 03-15-2017, 10:11 PM
Fitnesschicky Fitnesschicky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc2010 View Post
Like Lyle said, if it's genetic (familial hypercholesterolemia, for example), you'll have very little to no control over your levels using just diet and exercise. You'll need prescription meds to get the levels down if or when you and your doctor decide to act.

I've got FH. I had my first lipids panel somewhere around age 20 or 21, and was already above the normals by then. After doing some basic research and noting my family history of high cholesterol but no heart disease, I became dubious of the lipid hypothesis of CHD. That, and what I'd read about statins and the negative side effects claimed by some caused me to resist such treatment. My doctors over those earlier years, for their part, didn't push them either, noting as I did that all I had was high cholesterol and no other risk factors. For the first ten years or so (age ~20 to ~30 or so), my numbers seemingly (and I note seemingly as it was simply non-scientific self-observation) varied a bit with my weight, diet, and exercise regimes. When I was really good with all of those, my numbers seemed to decrease a bit (well, actually total, LDL and TG would creep down, and HDL would rise a tad); the opposite appeared to be the case as well. But I'm talking minor changes, as in perhaps 5% or 10%. Never did I approach anything that close to normal, and like I said, I have no way to prove any real connection. So anyway, after about age 30, it no longer seemed to matter what I did. Total cholesterol and LDL-C started a slow but steady upward trend. Although still not worried about cholesterol levels per se, when I got to within spitting distance of 300 on my total and 250 on LDL-C, my doctor suggested, and I accepted, starting on a statin. Even for a doubter such as myself, those numbers and their seemingly relentless upward trend started making me a bit uncomfortable. Fortunately for me, I appear to be a strong responder, and with only 10 mg of atorvastatin once daily (the lowest commonly available dose of that drug, I believe), my levels are currently in the 130 to 140 range for total C and 80 to 90 for LDL-C (a response way beyond what is typically expected at that dose). I've had no noticeable outward signs of side effects such as muscle pain or 'brain fog'. If the statin is producing negative side effects that I'm not feeling, they're likely and hopefully limited in scope given the relatively tiny dose I'm able to get away with.

Anyway, sorry if I got a little wordy. Sometimes I get going and then simply keep going.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with it. It makes me feel not so bad. So glad you've been able to benefit with a small amount of medication. Rather than feeling a certain level of guilt, I'm going to ask my doctor at what point I should consider going on it.
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  #10  
Unread 03-16-2017, 02:22 PM
kc2010 kc2010 is offline
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Quote:
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with it. It makes me feel not so bad. So glad you've been able to benefit with a small amount of medication. Rather than feeling a certain level of guilt, I'm going to ask my doctor at what point I should consider going on it.
You're welcome! Happy to discuss further if you'd ever like to.
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