Late this summer I found out my cholesterol was high, scary high. 281. I’m a healthy eater, I could stand to lose ten pounds but I did exercise two to three times a week. Unfortunately, my father had high cholesterol and died of a heart ache at 72. Darn those genetics.
Once I got over the shock and scheduled an appointment with an Internist, I started to research the problem.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and found in foods from animals such as dairy products, eggs and meat. Our bodies need some cholesterol to function, but too much can cause a problem. When too much cholesterol is present, it may form plaque that adheres to the walls of the arteries leading to the heart. This build up causes atherosclerosis which can leave to heart disease.
What to do?
I started eating oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is a full of soluble fiber which has been shown to lower LDL levels -- LDL is the bad cholesterol. I also tried to have a glass a red wine at night.
By my first visit with the Internal Medicine physician, my total cholesterol had dropped to 267. The HDL – the good cholesterol still stayed on the high side at 69.
The initial reaction by the doctor was to put me on a statin to reduce my cholesterol. Unfortunately, once on a statin medication, I would be on it for the rest of my life.
The most common statin side effects include:
· difficulty sleeping
· flushing of the skin
· muscle aches, tenderness, or weakness
· drowsiness/ weakness
· nausea and/or vomiting
· abdominal cramping and/or pain
· bloating and/or gas
So my doctor and I agreed on a three month trial. Instead of drugs, there are three facets to the changes I am making in my life.
1. High fiber diet 20 to 25 grams of fiber each day
2. 30 minutes of exercise each day
3. Lose ten pounds
My doctor suggested using the website www.sparkpeople.com. I’m loving this website. It helps me track everything I eat and my exercise and tracks fiber content also.
So – knowing that a goal needs to be written down, measurable, specific and achievable, I am going to blog about my journey to lower my cholesterol through behavior and diet modification.