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Jump in cholesterol levels
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whanthatapril posted:
Hi-- I never thought I'd be posting on this board, but a recent blood test result has me really worried about cholesterol.

First, some background on me: I'm 23 years old, I run for two miles 5-7 days a week, I don't eat red meat, and I only drink skim milk. I'm at a healthy weight (between 120 and 125 pounds), and my blood pressure is good. I've never had any significant health problems, and the only medication I take is oral contraception (Ocella, the generic Yasmin).

But my cholesterol levels have risen since last year, from a total cholesterol of 150 to a total of 191. I'm very close to the cut-off for normal at 200, and this has me perplexed and scared. My LDL is at 109, so of course, I need to get that lower. I've started making adjustments to my diet already, by eating oatmeal for breakfast every day and cutting out anything but skim milk and non-fat yogurt for dairy products.

I spoke to a lab technician at my doctor's office today, and she said that the jump in levels may be due to a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol. My father has been on cholesterol-lowering medication after he had heart surgery five years ago to repair a congenital valve defect. My grandmother had a stroke and my grandfather died of arteriosclerosis-- but they were both in their 80s. Still, I'm terrified that if I can't get my cholesterol levels back down to where they were a year ago, I might have to start medication at only 24 years old.

These levels just don't make sense to me, and I was wondering if there could be any other explanations for this significant rise. I did the 12-hour fast before getting my blood drawn, but this was two days after Halloween. So, I was wondering if the M&Ms from the day before might still be in my system and explain the high levels. Would all of the extra cholesterol and saturated fat be out of my system in just 12 hours?

I haven't eaten any candy since, and I very rarely eat sugary, high-fat snacks; I'm well aware of the genetic factors I have stacked against me, and I feel like I've taken every precaution possible, so part of me feels like the lapse in careful diet may have caused these surprising blood results.
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bobby75703 responded:
whanthatapril,

You stated that you are "terrified." First, don't panic. Second, relax.

You are young. You are doing the right thing getting aerobic exercise. And you watch your diet. Congratulations on being ahead of the majority of the population.

The recent changes you have experienced in blood lipids may be due to the Yasmin. I became immediatly suspicious of this as being a possible cause of the recent changes because hormones play an important role in regulating blood lipids. So I looked it up and sure enough, it states that some people taking Yasmin may have changes in blood lipids.

This is just one possibilty I thought I would mention. Take care.

Bobby
 
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bobby75703 responded:
Second thought, you may want to go to the official yasmin website, or the package insert that comes with the drug and look at the precautions. If a cardiovascular event is your primary concern, you may want to consider their statements about this with oral contraceptives.

Bobby
 
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toneman84084 responded:
As Bobby stated, nothing to be terrified over, still pretty good numbers. An LDL of 109 is fine, it just should stay below 130. You did not mention your HDL or I missed it. If it went up it would raise your total as well and a higher HDL is a good thing.

Can I ask what you HDL and Triglycerides were? That would help everyone provide more insight.

Tony
 
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whanthatapril responded:
Bobby and Tony--

Thank you for the responses. I asked the lab technician if she thought that the Yasmin could have caused the elevated cholesterol levels, and she said that she had never heard of that but would ask my doctor; my doctor would call me back regarding the effects of the birth control pills, so that's still a possibility. I know that hormonal birth control raises the risk for blood clots, which is part of why I'm concerned.

I didn't mention my HDL or triglycerides. HDL is at 67, which is up but I expected that since I do a lot more aerobic exercise and eat meat more often now than I did last year. My triglycerides were 71, also up from last year.

Thanks again!
 
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DeadManWalking56 responded:
HDL of 67 is excellent, as is 71 for triglycerides.

That means your total cholesterol is comprised of 67 + 71/5 + LDL = 191. So your LDL = 191 - (67+14) = 110, also very very good.

As a heart patient myself, and former athlete and coach with an avocation in exercise physiology, you could improve your exercise habits.

1-2 hard workouts a week, and 2-4 light and moderate workouts is a better plan. 10 minute active warmup for everything, 6-10 minute cooldown. That means a jump started 2 mile run has essentially neither, and is no more than 20 minute total, probably less. My typical week has 2 hours of short walks, 3 hours treadmill walking, and 90 minutes on a rowing machine.

The warm-up preps the heart for more exercise related heavy work, the cooldown helps ease blood out in the muscles back to the torso. You don't ever need to exercise so hard you are breathing hard. Its a mild indication of cardiac stress from insufficient oxygen. Get stronger, get better stamina, work out longer once you warm-up. You'll also discover that after a warm-up, you are faster and stronger, because your heart is ready to deliver for you.

Its sort of like having someone come up to you and ask for a race in 10 minutes. You stretch, they come back in an Formula 1 race car. Pick any distance, you lose. A proper warm-up can be that effective for you.

Also, extend your workout times, and your LDL and triglycerides may drop another 20 points each within a few months. My numbers are 47, 55, 51 for HDL, LDL, and Tri's.

DMW


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