Health issues due to the pandemic affected nearly everyone in 2020. Lockdowns and working from home wreaked havoc with exercise routines. For many, stress eating and drinking replaced healthy habits. The result: millions of Americans know they gained weight last year. But many may not realize that weight gain alongside months of anxiety and stress might also have elevated blood pressure. And that is alarming as weight gain, alcohol consumption, and elevated blood pressure all increase risk of heart disease… sometimes significantly.
So if you’ve had—or are about to have—an overdue physical, don’t be surprised if your doctor newly diagnoses you with high cholesterol (or high blood pressure or diabetes.) If that happens,
Did you know that there’s a non-invasive test that can help you and your doctor decide if you truly need a statin medication to lower cholesterol?
It’s called a Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) Scan. While this test is not right for everyone, if your personal risk of heart disease is uncertain it can help guide your medication decision.
That’s what happened with me, which I wrote about in my 2017 post, Coronary Calcium Scan Illuminates Heart Disease Risk. Since then, the CAC scan is being more widely used and it’s something everyone who falls into the ‘unclear’
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. According to the American Heart Association, “Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 836,546 deaths in the US. That’s about 1 of every 3 deaths in the US.”
1 in 3.
What’s your risk? If you know your cholesterol levels and blood pressure you can calculate YOUR risk of heart disease (and take steps to lower it). It’s easy with this online calculator:
Online AHA 10-Year Heart Disease Risk Calculator: Web version *
In June, when I spoke about The Low Cholesterol Cookbook and Action Plan at the Westport Library Cookbook Club, an audience member asked if I post my cholesterol test results. While individual test results are only relevant to that individual, I get this question often enough that it seemed a good time to update with my latest lab scores.
Because I’m a data nerd (and like to discuss cholesterol trends with my doctors…and a visual makes a recap easy!) I’ve graphed them over time.
These latest results were heartening (sorry, pun intended) and indicate the lo-co change I made in mid-February is working.