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Old 04-16-2008, 03:01 PM
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Do you know your cholesterol level?

Is it common for young women to have high cholesterol? My doctor told me that my LDL (I think) is 164, which is really high.
He didn't recommend medication at this point because I am not overweight or inactive or eating a horrid diet, but he basically told me to stop eating all sugar and processed flour.
I am ignorant and thought that things like red meat, eggs, cheese, etc were the biggest contributors to high cholesterol but apparently bread, pasta, sugar, etc are the culprits in a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet.
I am surprised because it's the first time I've had any issue with this, but I know both my parents have it.
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:09 PM
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Mine is (was) over 200. I hope it has gotten better since I have been on meds.
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:10 PM
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Hey Jess, I have been battling with high cholesterol for about a year now. It came out of nowhere. I have eating whatever I wanted my whole life without any problems until recently. I just went today for my 3 month follow up and it had dropped 45 points! My total cholesterol was 172 (supposed to be under 200). My LDL dropped to 127 (it is supposed to be under 129), it was previously 168. It is hereditary, so if your parents have it you have a higher chance. My mom is on medication to regulate it. It's weird how some people are affected by what they eat and others arent. My grandfather ate eggs for breakfast every morning until the day he died and never had high cholesterol. lol.
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:12 PM
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Shelley, did you change your diet to make it drop, or did it drop on its own?

I was just surprised because I eat very little saturated or trans fats, and I've never ever had an issue with cholesterol until this year!
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:29 PM
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my mom's had it her whole life and i think it is hereditary i think as a child i was once tested and it was "borderline" but i haven't had it tested since then...i eat a very healthy diet so i'm guessing it's not a problem anymore and i don't remember the doc bringing it up at my last physical. how's your blood pressure? i think high cholesterol and high bp can be related.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:38 PM
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My research is related to CV diseases, and I'm pretty sure that you should be more concerned if your ratio of Total Cholesterol:HDL is high, so it would be good to get those numbers and ask your doc to explain them.

HDL is "good cholesterol" since it carries fatty acids and cholesterol to the liver to be metabolized (and gotten rid of), while LDL is "bad cholesterol" since it transports FA+Chol to your tissues, and can plug up your blood vessels (leading to high BP, stroke, heart attack, etc).

A lot of it is genetics - for example, South Asians have higher prevalence for CVD, but lower prevalence for cancer mortality, and this is opposite for ppl of Chinese descent.
Whether you're more prone to it or not, lifestyle choices can have a big impact - regular aerobic exercise, cut the saturated fats and red meat, eat more fibre, quite smoking, pretty common sense stuff....in terms of dietary supplements, there have been some studies that show benefits in omega 3, niacin and antioxidants. (There are tons of "study results" that come out everyday, but I believe these are pretty established. There's also a ton of junk studies that the media inexplicably latches onto.) Most of these aim to increase HDL, not lower LDL. LDL is typically lowered with statins, and it's so commonly prescribed now that it's almost impossible to conduct a clinical trial if statins are on the list of exclusion criteria.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:15 PM
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Shelley - that is amazing! I remembered you talking about high cholesterol previously. What did you do to change things?
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivkah View Post
Shelley - that is amazing! I remembered you talking about high cholesterol previously. What did you do to change things?
i remember this too! well done Shelley.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:26 PM
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Thanks everyone. I'm not really sure what caused such a drastic drop. I haven't had an exercise routine. I did cut out soft drinks, eating chocolate (not completely but much less than before), and fast food. I lost three pounds, which may have helped. I did take Flaxseed Oil supplements to help my skin. I do believe the supplements had something to do with the significant drop. If I were you, I would give them a try. It can't hurt.

Jess, I do know people that eat healthy diets and have regular exercise routines and they STILL have high cholesterol. Sometimes you cannot control it with diet and exercise. It doesn't sound like you have a bad diet. Do you do any exercise at all? Exercise can make a big difference.
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:37 PM
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Shelley, that is awesome! I need to get mine checked.

Jess, find out if your parents or grandparents had high cholesterol--like Shelley said, it can be hereditary and even if you ate a perfect diet, you could still have it!
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Old 04-16-2008, 06:50 PM
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I'm just wondering if all of you fasted for the required 12-14 hrs?
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:08 PM
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^^ Flaxseed is high in Omega 3 fatty acids.

I'm used to cholesterol numbers reported in mmol/L, but I think US uses mg/dL units...164 is jusssst above what AHA considers borderline high.
Canadian guidelines give different targets, depending on your level of risk. LDL target for low risk is <196, for moderate risk is <135, for high risk is <77 -- I guess the higher the risk, the more they advise you to work on lowering your cholesterol level.

AHA Go Red For Women gives this general advice:
Quote:
# Meet with a dietitian (food expert). Ask about ways to change ingredients in my favorite recipes so they will still taste good but have less fat.
# Ask my doctor about medicines to help me reach my cholesterol goal levels.
# Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
# Eat 3 or more whole-grain foods every day.
# Use olive, canola, corn or safflower oil when cooking or preparing food.
# Eat more chicken, fish and beans than red meat.
# Learn how to read food labels to help me choose healthy foods.
# Ask my family and friends for support.
Heart Check-Up Test

^ I had to return for a fasting blood test at my last physical, because the first results were "abnormal" with high cholesterol. Turns out I have lots of both HDL (57) and LDL (127), so my doctor said it was okay.
The first test just looked at total cholesterol (225, lowered to 196 with fasting but still considered "abnormal").
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:19 PM
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Hereditary plays a big factor. Both my parents had high cholesterol but only when they hit middle age, I think it's mainly because they don't exercise very much, other than walking. The last time I got tested about 1 1/2 years ago I was very low and the doctor told me to go and enjoy myself and eat more fatty foods
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:50 PM
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I'm just wondering if all of you fasted for the required 12-14 hrs?
I did. My levels were over 200. I know there isn't a correlation but my BP is 110/70. The only thing left for me to do is lose some weight. If that doesn't lower my numbers then I guess I have to take meds forever.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:10 PM
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my mom's had it her whole life and i think it is hereditary i think as a child i was once tested and it was "borderline" but i haven't had it tested since then...i eat a very healthy diet so i'm guessing it's not a problem anymore and i don't remember the doc bringing it up at my last physical. how's your blood pressure? i think high cholesterol and high bp can be related.
It has nothing to do with her diet, jessani eats extremely healthy.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:18 PM
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High Cholesterol can be both hereditary and diet related. But jessani for you doctor to just tell you to stop eating all sugars and processed flour seems a bit extreme. But then again, I don't know all that much about vegetarian diets & cholesterol. I would say, if the flour products have fat in them, then they might affect your cholesterol levels but where does sugar play a role?

My cholesterol levels weren't ever all that bad, but after I cut out the excess processed grains (like white bread) and started working out my HDL went and and LDL went down.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:23 PM
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I think this is definitely partly hereditary, but my cholesterol only has been a problem this year, and I've also gained about 10 pounds from the normal weight that I have been for a long time. I'm still at a healthy BMI and not overweight, but I wonder if there is any relationship. When I weighed less, I ate whatever I wanted and never had an issue.
My blood pressure has always been low, it's usually 80-90/50-60.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jessani View Post
I think this is definitely partly hereditary, but my cholesterol only has been a problem this year, and I've also gained about 10 pounds from the normal weight that I have been for a long time. I'm still at a healthy BMI and not overweight, but I wonder if there is any relationship. When I weighed less, I ate whatever I wanted and never had an issue.
My blood pressure has always been low, it's usually 80-90/50-60.
BP is a little too low. Do you have any of these symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and fatigue? You have hypotension (the opposite of hypertension). This isn't usually a problem unless you have other symtoms associated with low blood pressure.
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:23 PM
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My LDL levels were borderline high about 2 years ago (didn't know the numbers back then). My doc said try to eat better and excerise more to lower my LDL levels(I was 5'4 120lbs at the time).

A year later I am put on anti depressants for anxiety and have it checked again 6 months later....my LDL levels were at 7.3!!! (281 for LDL). I was shocked especially after the conscious effort I made trying to eat right. I felt very defeated. I got off the meds and 6 months later it's down to 4.2 (159 LDL). I am sure the rise in my levels were caused by the meds (meds can cause hypercholestemia) and weight I gained due to my anti depressants.

I did also start a regimen of 2000mg of Omega 3 and 1000mg of odorless garlic every day. My eating was not that great at all the whole time so I was thinking I was going to be on meds but my doc wants to see if I can bring it down further.

My biggest downfall on what I was drinking was Tim Hortons Coffee (a double double is a 1/3 cup of cream and 1/3 cup of sugar!!!). I stopped those pretty fast.

As far as I know my cholesterol levels are not hereditary so I am still trying to get them down. I also smoke so trying to quit at the moment as well

Last edited by jasmin3w4; 04-17-2008 at 09:46 PM. Reason: typo omega 3
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:35 PM
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I did also start a regimen of 2000mg of Omega 6 and 1000mg of odorless garlic every day.
Why did you choose to up your Omega 6? I have read that it's important to balance Omega 3 and 6, but that the typical American diet (and I'm assuming that Cdn diet is not hugely different) has about 10x the recommended amount of Omega 6. Excessive Omega 6 is linked to depression and cancer (encourages blood vessel formation)...
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:45 PM
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Why did you choose to up your Omega 6? I have read that it's important to balance Omega 3 and 6, but that the typical American diet (and I'm assuming that Cdn diet is not hugely different) has about 10x the recommended amount of Omega 6. Excessive Omega 6 is linked to depression and cancer (encourages blood vessel formation)...

sorry typo here. I meant Omega 3 pills.
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:51 PM
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^ phew!

I used to drink a double-double, and then changed it to a regular, but now I try to stick with tea (regular) or make my own coffee. If you can get your hands on really good coffee, you don't even need to add any sugar or milk/cream! (I like Intelligentsia Black Cat)
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:54 PM
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I really should be making my own coffee and tea overall because I am a student and it does add up. I am going to look and see if i can find the coffee you suggested.
Thank you
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:21 AM
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I didn't eat anything after 9pm and I had my blood drawn at 8:30 the next morning. I didn't really seem like fasting since I don't eat during those horus anyway.
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:52 AM
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I think this is definitely partly hereditary, but my cholesterol only has been a problem this year, and I've also gained about 10 pounds from the normal weight that I have been for a long time. I'm still at a healthy BMI and not overweight, but I wonder if there is any relationship. When I weighed less, I ate whatever I wanted and never had an issue.
My blood pressure has always been low, it's usually 80-90/50-60.
Unless you are overweight, and you definitely are not, it should not affect your cholesterol level. I honestly think it is just age. Women's bodies go through a change in our mid-late 20s. What does your doctor think?
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