I finally had a chance to get some solid data on the results of my no-sugar, no-processed food lifestyle of the past six months when I went in for my annual physical last week. Overall, my health is great. Everything checked out, I had no complaints, everything is working, I don’t need medicine or treatment for anything. The doc offered me a nasal spray for my sinuses, but honestly the mild chronic congestion is barely a blip on my radar, not worth spending money or taking a drug every day to manage.
Here’s what came up on my lipid panel:
Total cholesterol 241
Chol/HDL ratio: 4.0
Fasting blood glucose 92
So my total cholesterol and LDL are high–still. I think the lowest TC I’ve ever had in my life was about 200, and I’ve always been in the borderline zone. This is the first time I’ve come up high. However, my HDL is really excellent and my triglycerides are super low. I don’t have any previous results in front of me, but I believe in the past my triglycerides have been around 145, and my HDL closer to 45 or 50. Fasting glucose is actually higher than it’s ever been, but well within normal range so no concern there.
So I have several thoughts about this:
1. Obviously getting off sugar, white flour, and processed foods in a very strict way has done wonderful things for my HDL and triglycerides. Go me!
2. I am not that concerned about the LDL for a couple reasons. One is that my mother was on statin drugs for a time for her supposed high cholesterol, and yet her autopsy showed pristinely clear arteries. And that is the case sometimes–high LDL/TC numbers don’t automatically translate to artery disease. (Statin therapy does not reduce or eliminate plaque in arteries. It just reduces LDL, thereby, theoretically, reducing future plaque development and cardiovascular risk. So Mom’s arteries were not clear as a result of treatment.They were clear because they were always fine.) That doesn’t mean mine are pristine, but it does make me less inclined to worry about one value when it’s literally the only cardiovascular risk factor I have.
3. Furthermore, there is some science indicating that there are two types of LDL. Pattern A LDL is a larger, fluffier particle and is thought to be benign. Pattern B is a denser particle, and is thought to be linked to higher risk. You can’t know which kind you have without a special type of test. However, a low ratio of triglyceride to HDL is highly suggestive of Pattern A. My Tri/HDL ratio is close to 1. This is *very* low, and definitely a ringer for the Pattern A type. Some doctors accept this as valid, others don’t. It is not settled science, yet, but it also suggests I don’t have anything to worry about.
4. My doc referred me to a nutritionist. I’m not sure if I feel like doing that or not. I think it could actually be pretty positive, since at this point I am an extreme health food nut, and, hey, I wouldn’t mind being told I’m doing well by a pro. But I’m awfully busy and I think there’s not much that can be accomplished by tweaking my diet at this point.
5. That said, it wouldn’t kill me to go a bit easier on the red meat and butter. Living with a growing teen boy, we’ve fallen into a pattern of eating vast quantities of red meat, because that is what he is craving for his growth. Plus, butter has become my go-to vice in the absence of any sort of regular access to sugary treats. (Well, butter and GIN.) I could work on that. I only need to drop two points to get back into the borderline range, and then everyone would be happy. (Well, I think my doc still doesn’t like me being in the borderline range, but hey.)
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the checkup and the overall results of my diet. I continue to have improved energy. In fact, my doctor gave me a lengthy explanation of how she has to put “fatigue” on my chart in order to get insurance to pay for a Vit D level. But she also let slip that she assumes every working Mom is chronically fatigued. Guess what? I’m not. I get all the sleep I need, and have plenty of energy every day, even though I do probably have a lifestyle just as stressful as any other working Mom. I’m glad that thus far my state of advanced youth has not begun to affect me. I can’t stave it off forever, but so far WINNING.
I’ve lost about 22 pounds in the past year. I think there are another 10 to 20 that could shake off. Since I am not actually driving that bus–not counting calories, fat, carbs–I don’t know where my weight is going to settle. That should be interesting to find out, and I like the idea of my body finding its own weight, rather than me picking a number from a chart and then trying to get TO it.
My blood pressure was 114/84, which is really high for me, personally. I’d been having a very anxious day for reasons unrelated to the appointment, so I think in the future I may see my BP back to my personal normal of 90/60, but the number I got is normal and fine and of no concern. My heart rate was 60, which surprised me since I was anxious and I have not historically had a lower-than-average heart rate. Hopefully, that indicates good cardiovascular condition, rather than bad timekeeping by the nurse, or something.
(Another theory on the BP is that my yoga practice has improved the tone of my nervous/circulatory system so that it doesn’t bottom out like it used to. That would actually be a positive. Don’t know if it’s the case.)
My creatinine was 1.0, which is at the tippy top of the normal range. I was alarmed, at first, but when I tracked down more information, it turned out this just probably means I have good muscle mass, and no surprise as I work out a lot.
My vitamin D level was well into the normal range, which is great since I had been treated for low Vit. D in the past. My hemoglobin was 13.7, also great since I’ve been anemic in the past.
All in all, it looks like I’m going to survive.