Friday, July 18, 2008

In case I needed more motivation


I got a call from my doctor's office this morning with the results of the lab work I had done on Wednesday at my 6-month follow-up appointment.  The results are actually worse than I'd feared:

  • Total cholesterol: 246 (high)
  • HDL: 38 (low)
  • LDL: 164 (high)
  • Triglycerides: 220 (high)
YIKES!  I have had borderline high cholesterol before--back in '02/'03, right before losing 35 lbs on Weight Watchers--but it came back down to a normal level without "treatment" once I started exercise regularly and lost the weight.

I've been exercising about twice a week since January and taking Omega 3 supplements to raise my HDL, but clearly I am not doing enough.  The doctor said Wednesday that if my numbers were high, he would consider putting me on a statin to lower them. . . but for the fact that I am no longer on birth control and could (theoretically) get pregnant at any time.  (As you may know from the Lipitor commercials, statins cannot be taken by women who are "nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant.")

I have to say that I am a little shaken by this.  I was reading up about this on the American Heart Association's website.  My total cholesterol level alone has doubled my risk for heart disease!  (It doesn't help that I am currently working on a case where the plaintiff had his first heart attack at 37, the same age I am now.  And the guy was in excellent physical condition and ran up & down mountains for exercise!)

I don't know that I've ever blogged about this, but there is a history of diabetes and heart disease in my family on both sides: my maternal grandmother had severe diabetes that eventually led to her death.  (She had quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery and later chronic renal failure and was on dialysis for almost three years.)  My paternal grandmother had heart disease and died of congestive heart failure at 85.  Worst of all, my father has had high cholesterol since about age 29--and he's not even overweight--as well as high blood pressure and diabetes.  He has had a few "mini strokes" and had triple coronary artery bypass surgery in 2001 and several stents and angioplasties as well.  (My mother has slightly elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, but they are well-controlled with medications.)

With this kind of family history, you would think I would be more diligent about exercising and controlling my weight. . . . but anyone who has struggled with her weight can tell you that it's not that simple.  :-(  There is a gulf or a disconnect between what I know intellectually and what I *do*.

And on that note I start my weekend.  [sigh]


JessiferSeabs said...

DId you have the bloodwork done fasting? I had "scary high" numbers back in 2004 -- that is actually what got me through the door to WW. I was only 25 at the time, and 250 lbs, and was terrified about the impact my weight was suddenly having on my health. I had it rechecked a year later -- fasting, and having dropped about 40 lbs -- and the numbers were totally normal. I also had cut way back on drinking and quit smoking in that timeframe.