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.”
This shocked me. Especially because I gave up on the fish oil pills which apparently now,
It’s been rather a long while since I wrote about the importance of finding reputable online resources for learning about cholesterol. You can permanently locate links to educational resources on my Resources/Info Links page, but I thought it might be helpful to discuss in a post.
Well, quite frankly it’s because when discussing high cholesterol and heart disease risk, many doctors – who speak daily, probably, about cholesterol – rush through the conversation and use unfamiliar terms. On the receiving end it can feel like a tornado rather than a give and take discussion of personal cholesterol results and the resulting medical goals.
A standard cholesterol lipid panel provides four measures: Total Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides. But did you know that there are two other blood tests — and one ratio that’s easy to calculate — that can better predict your risk of heart disease? Which means that even with high cholesterol, you might not need a statin medication if these tests show low cardiac disease risk.
Or you might think you don’t need a statin … and in fact do.
And yet, your doctor probably has not told you about these tests. So let me.
Bless me, doctor, for I have sinned. It’s been 11 months since my last cholesterol test. (Sorry, could not resist putting this in Catholic confessional format!)
So, I finally worked up the courage to have my cholesterol tested a few weeks ago and the news is – well – fine. Not great. No movement in the right direction. Indeed, some movement in the wrong direction. BUT the following magic words were uttered by my doctor, “We can keep monitoring – no need to start you on statins.”
She didn’t say ‘yet’ but I know she was thinking it.
Reviewing my latest cholesterol test results with my doctor last week, she bandied about a term I’d never before heard: non-HDL cholesterol.
Here is how Discovery Fit & Health describes non-HDL cholesterol (which is VITAL to understand if you have diabetes or other cardiovascular disease risk factors). Unless you’re a doctor, don’t get too fussed about the jargon – I kept it here for those who like all the details. If that’s not you, just skim over the jargon and keep reading and it should all make sense:
“Non-HDL cholesterol is the total of VLDL and LDL cholesterol,