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Old 12-10-2004, 12:11 PM   #11
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Mud, we have the same thing in my family where our HDL is really high, but our LDL is too. I've always heard the same thing that the high HDL negates the high LDL, but I agree that it's something we still need to watch!

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Old 12-10-2004, 12:40 PM   #12
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oops, you are correct mudbug. :oops:
sorry, i am editing to correct it.

check out this site for good info: http://www.womenshealth.org/a/cholesterol_ratios.htm

"Thunderbolt and lightening,
very, very frightening me!" Galileo
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Old 12-11-2004, 07:46 PM   #13
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Lots of good info here! Very well said and described, MJ, Bucky, mouse and Mudbug! And your suggestion on remembering the difference in the two is very helpful, bug!

ITK, FIRE your doctor and find a new one!! That is one blessing the US offers us as an option to incompetence, which some of our neighbors in this world would give anything to possess. Doctors, secretaries, chefs are all first people. Some are captivated by their professions and strive constantly to learn more and do better, and others have a capacity to become apathetic. They’re just people. It's too bad you have to endure the trial and error process until you find one that "fits," but you do.

By no means am I an expert in nutrition or cardiology, but I do know a thing or two, especially about the aftermath of a few years of high cholesterol and its effects upon this body of ours. So here are a few facts for you guys to “chew” on…

Cholesterol does three very bad things to us humans:

1. Cholesterol is what forms the lipid core of the plaque that gets deposited on the interior walls of our arteries, narrowing them down, day after day, making our hearts work that much harder to supply blood to our entire body. Over the course of a few years, that heart gets pretty tired of working harder and harder each successive day.

2. Cholesterol also plays a role in what we call “foam cells” that tend to destabilize chunks of the plaque and cause them to dislodge from arterial walls, float into a chamber or valve and directly lead to a heart attack.

3. High levels of lipids in the blood after a single fatty meal cause platelet aggregation, meaning they stick together into dense clusters, along with some other blood products naturally attracted to the nasty lipids, which can and do get snagged upon scaly plaque lining an artery and cause an obstruction. This is referred to as a thrombosis, which is a lot like a clot, but different because of its specific cellular composition. Thromboses are most unpleasant and cause a lot of problems, to say the least.

As MJ pointed out, these spectacular machines known as our bodies produce their own cholesterol naturally, and this amount is all that our bodies need or want based upon the kind of diets we eat and the amount of regular exercise we get that consumes fat, which is merely a fuel source, if you will. All the extra cholesterol, whether we eat it or produce it ourselves, gets deposited in the bloodstream to wreak havoc within the cardiovascular system. Either you are a closet Nutritionist, MJ, or you have one in the family because your list of foods was right on the mark! Ironically, game meat, be it elk, moose, deer, bear, whatever is exceptionally low in fat, as I understand it. I would certainly appreciate some of our experts in game meat to comment on that before the weekend’s up and the keyboard is pried from my DiscussCooking fingers!

MJ, I would amend those road mark levels you cited a wee bit, if I may. The risk from cholesterol begins to rise after a serum cholesterol (LDL) level of 160 in men, and 190 in women. The MEDIAN serum cholesterol of the average person with a Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) in the US, before the attack happens, is 240. (You can’t look at cholesterol levels during or shortly after an MI, of course, because the MI itself causes levels to go down for a while.)

Again, half of the people who are going to have heart attacks this month in the US will have a serum cholesterol level BELOW 240, and a great number of those will be dancing just under and just above the 200 mark! Anytime I hear some nut chirp about how people have heart attacks with no risk factors (LDL below 150, doesn’t smoke, semi-vegetarian diet, regular exercise, unremarkable family history) makes me want to swat them for the misinformation! There is another critter known as a homocysteine that is a reknown culprit. But I’m getting a little over-technical here. Suffice it to say cholesterol alone is a very large part of an incredibly huge picture in heart health.

Generally speaking though, most people are much more likely to die of cancer than an MI or Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) if their serum cholesterol level remains below 150. Rarely, very rarely are MI's seen in that neighborhood and people in that range almost always have great plumbing, too.

It is true that the major determinant of cholesterol blood levels is saturated fat intake. However, dietary pre-formed cholesterol, and particularly pre-formed oxidized cholesterol, also raises cholesterol blood levels, but nothing to the extent that saturated fats do.

Vegetables, as a rule, have zero cholesterol, yet many a 100% VEGAN has high cholesterol. Why? GENETICS!! Those DNA road marks called genes control precisely how your individual body deals with cholesterol and everything else, which is why family medical histories are so very important to maintain. In the case of a total vegetarian, it is quite possible for one to have bad enough genes to make too much cholesterol. The extra overflows into the blood stream and whamo, plaque! Also, there was a study done on a African tribe of hunters (I believe) that consumed some 1500-1800 grams of fat daily and had LDLs below 100. Why? GENETICS and EXERCISE! No cars or even electricity in their world. These are extreme examples, but I hope you understand my point in making them.

For a little light reading on the subject, go to http://www.framingham.com/heart/ and read a little of the Framingham Study, one undertaken over the course of 50 years. It is a required course of study for any medical student because it completely redefined heart health and was the impetus behind the very birth of common day cardiac care in the US and far, far beyond. Another worthy of review, for those of you so inclined, is the China Health Study, a massive study completed about 12 years ago of a very large semi-vegan population whose “average” total cholesterol was only 150 mg/dl and with data down to 90 mg/dl or so, and you see something interesting: no coronary disease deaths, but a strong correlation with infectious diseases like pneumonia. I don’t have a link to that one, but I’d bet it would be found easily with google.

In a perfect world, I would want someone to keep their serum levels between 150 and 160, but that’s almost impossible in the common American lifestyle. To do it, you need a balanced low-fat diet with a predominance of vegetables and fruits and grains, utilizing some poultry, fish and game meat, and much less beef and pork especially, coupled with exercise...REAL rounded, structured exercise, not just a daily walk around the neighborhood. Because of this, it’s just easier and more achievable for most folks to be given meds, usually statins, to reduce cholesterol levels. Despite the controversy with Baycol’s recall (which I call a “me-too statin” that was rushed onto the market without the long, multi-year study done on its predecessors), death is the greatest side-effect of high cholesterol and we have meds that successfully reduce that death rate. Most cardiologists I know stick to the better-tested statins like Mevacor, Zocor and Pravachol. I long for the day when Diabetics have such a handy tool available!!!

ITK, a glass of red wine a day has been strongly supported in good clinical trials as very helpful to the cardiovascular system. Part of this could be the alcohol that somewhat reduces plaques in atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries). And red wine has an extra large effect, probably from the bioflavonoids (the stuff in the wines that makes them red) that inhibit platelet aggregation, which is an important step in atherogenesis. That's the presumed mechanism, but nobody knows for certain yet (I don't think...).

Sorry to take up so much real estate, folks! I hope you find some of this helpful…
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Old 12-11-2004, 09:17 PM   #14
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Hi Audeo!

So glad you could join us once more! And likewise thanks for your "learned" discourse, a disturbing amount of which I actually understood!

A few follow-ups, that you may still have the time to comment on (and the rest of the readers, please remember that I am marginally competent to either "Heimlich" you or give CPR...I'll do the rib cracking thrusts as I'm not all that big on the "breathing side" of rescucitating, and don't "carry a tube" should the opportunuty arise!

Anyways...the so called "Mediterranean Diet" which is a source point of the "red wine" thing...I doubt that anyone can find centenarians in Greece or Italy, or wherever else that can bear this "urban legend" out...the Mediterranean peoples all die, too, (only one exception in 2000 odd years!), red wine or not, I guess you just die of "other causes"...

Carrying on a bit, adding "tomato" to the diet reportedly but not "provably" may reduce the risk of Prostrate cancers/problems to men...and, again, from "legend" of other older than me guys that have had this "problem" you are "genetically engineered" to get it...you only have to live long enough...

(From other "weird" readings I've done, in many, if not "most" coroner's posts, people die of things that are long building, "out of the blue" things, and not the ones we so carefully protect ourselves from...which is NOT to say that one should not exercise, eat well and healthy, and so on!)

About 20 years ago, somebody mentioned that Doctors and Dentists get to hang up their "scroll" on the "I love me" wall, but do not have to mention if they passed with an "A" or a "C-"...just as each of us, in our jobs, "make mistakes" on any given day, with hopefully "correctable" results, so do Doctors have their "bad days", or have patients that they don't get on with, or who mis-inform them of symptoms, conditions, etc...

If your Doctor gives you direction, advice, prescription whatever, that makes you uncomfortable, downright "sick", unhappy, or whatever, then of course its reasonable that you exercise your "right" to GET A SECOND OPINION!

If the "second" or "third" opinion isn't to your liking, sooner or later, you have to accept that once or twice in this life, "YOU" might be "wrong", and carefully weigh the option of transcending to the "next life", as opposed "toughing it out" through this one...Your call! (Note your family and friends will NOT be there with you, and conditions will change A LOT!)

Okay, "wild" meats, versus farm fed ones...

We've all revelled in how "Kobe beef" is fed beer, or whatever, through its brief life span, and "massaged" daily, by hand...pretty luxurious lifestyle, until you are racked up at the slaughterhouse, ain't it? And this in order that your "fat cells" are engendered and enhanced...

As opposed this, deer, moose, elk, and to some extent "buffalo" are self sustaining animals, eating as "Darwin" begat them to eat, in a manner in which they might sustain both Life and progeny as long as possible...whose meat do you think is going to be "healthier"? We all affect to like "fat" in our meat, and the smooth globular cells of it roll down out guts so much more sweetly!...but we are pretty much killing ourselves with "kindness"...

(Beginning to make a connection to the fattened calf or goose liver?)

We human forms have "discovered" technology and have advanced our life lines as a result...100 years ago, the average male lifespan was 47 years of age!, and the female not much better!...

We can "understand" that eating granola bars (or whatever) can strip some of this horrible "chloresteral" from our systems (and they can taste pretty good, too!) and enable some of us to "rip away" at the chloresteral issues...

I was AMAZED this week that Becel margerine was not available for sale in the USA, and that its "formula" changed outside of Canada...likewise, "our" parliamentarians are actively considering the "requirement" of "listing" the amounts (and "types") of "fats" on any given recipe offered as a menu item, and "banning" the use of "trans-fats"...

I've referred to the common "fish and chips" meal as "double grease" before, but will re-state how I just about got sick, when I saw "my" fish and chip supplier dumping literally GALLONS of hardened "white grease" (which I recognise as "chloresteral"in its finest sense) into a deep fryer wherein my "dinner" was about to be cooked...and I got the sense I was going to "ingest" about a cup of that goop...refined, of course, to its heart clogging maximum...

Okay, having "challenged" Audeo on who can "clog up" more "band width" with our posts, I will try to "shut up" (thank you's are appreciated, but not neccessary!), and let the members ask questions, and those among us who are "competent" (be back here for us , Audeo and MJ!) reply...

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Old 12-12-2004, 11:36 PM   #15
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Lot of interesting facts have been discussed about cholesterol. Since I am a physician, I thought let me add to waht has already been told.

1) Always get your lipid profile done and not just cholesterol. a PROFILE includes all types of cholesterol

2) Blood should be tested after a 12 hour fast. That is after you last meal preferrable the dnner, get yourself tested in the morning. Avoid even a cup of coffee. The week prior to testing follow your routine diet do not get yourself tested after a big party.

3) Cholesterol should be always less than 200 mg/dl. If you have Diabetes that is high blood sugar, then your cholesterol should be less than 150 mg / dl

4) In addition the LDL should be less than 160 mg / dl

5) HDL the good cholesterol should be high.... always more than 35... and higher the better.

To lower cholestrol

1) Exercise daily.... a brisk walk / swimming / aerobics etc
2) Reduce saturated fats... as are present in egg yolk animal fats and butter.
3) In case this doesnt help there are cholesterol lowering medicines which your physician can perscribe for you.

It's a funny thing about life, if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it. - W. S. Maugham
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Old 12-14-2004, 10:21 AM   #16
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Thank you all for your time and attention! When do you have an appointment opening? My doctor could have said all this if he even knows it. I am going to print this out and give it to him. But I am going to study it more closely because he may ask me questions. I am truly grateful you are all so knowledgeable about this topic. It does put a fear in you when he said he will have to prescribe medication if it does not come down. But according to the information that is not necessarily going to help unless the DL factors are registering right. As I said this takes time to 'digest' and I am anxious to read it over again. Thank you all. Knowledge is a strong defense. Thanks.

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