Study Proves Exercise Staves Off Bad Cholesterol

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I’ve been in an exercise black hole since January 29th – the day I hurt my elbow shoveling. Since I had tennis elbow surgery 10 years ago, I knew this time to immediately stop playing tennis and quit spin to let my elbow heal. Suddenly it was 4 months later and I’ve gained weight and am out of the regular exercise habit.

YES, I could have done some other exercise. YES, I have both a treadmill and an elliptical in my home. NO, I didn’t use them and instead wallowed in my sadness that I’d reinjured my elbow.


Cholesterol Results 2014

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So I finally bucked up and got my cholesterol tested in November and the results were surprising.  First of all, my cholesterol – after a year of reasonably careful eating and a lot more exercise, but no Metamucil or Fish Oil pills – actually moved in the right direction.

Details in a second.

Not only that, my new cardiologist (again, more in a sec on why I needed to finally see a cardiologist) actually called my cholesterol results “enviable.”

Enviable, people.

This shocked me. Especially because I gave up on the fish oil pills which apparently now,


Calculate Your Heart Attack Risk Online

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Did you know there are quick, easy-to-use, online calculators that will tell you how likely you are to have a heart attack in the next 10 years?

There are several, in fact.  Most of these online risk calculators are based on the Framingham risk score, which assesses heart disease risk in the next 10 years based on six pieces of information: age, sex, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, smoking status and systolic blood pressure.

The Reynolds risk score goes beyond the Framingham risk score.  In addition to all the factors required by the Framingham risk score, the Reynolds risk score asks for C-reactive protein test results (which are not included in a typical lipid panel) and whether a parent had a heart attack before age 60.


Grapefruit Pros and Cons

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In all the ‘bazillion ways to lower cholesterol’ lists I’ve read, not once did I see grapefruit listed. Well, it may have been listed (I don’t like grapefruit so it’s entirely possible likely I, um, skipped by it) but grapefruit is certainly not prominent on any list of foods that can help lower cholesterol.

And yet, apparently, it should be.

At least according to a 2006 (small) Israeli study posted online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. While the study is a few years old and included just  57 people, these were a pretty motivated group IMHO: they’d been unsuccessful lowering cholesterol with Rx statins,


Cholesterol Test Results!

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The results are in!  The results are in!  Three months of lo-co lifestyle changes and the results are…..(wait for it!)…. Mixed.

Mixed.  Can you see my eyes rolling?

OK, so here’s the great news:

  • My total cholesterol dropped from 267 to 227.  Still not at/below the 200 target, but a significant improvement.  And a return to my ‘normal’ cholesterol level.
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol also dropped from 167 to 139.  This is close to the <130 goal, and again, a more ‘normal’ result for me.

And the bad news:

  • My HDL (good) cholesterol dropped from 81 to 50.