Cholesterol Support
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New here looking for advice

Hello

This is my first post on here. I saw that this page was recommended on the NHS website. I'm a 29 year old female and back in January I joined a local gym for my first health check my cholesterol was 4.2 which was a good level. At this time my diet was poor and I hadn't been doing any exercise. My BMI has always been healthy though. Fast forward 7 months later and I've been going to the gym 4 times a week and have been working hard to eat a healthy diet I had my next health check and my cholesterol is now at 5.9!!! I really don't understand what has happened and I'm panicking about it now. Does anyone have any similar stories or advice for me? I would really appreciate any help.

Thank you.

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Hi You really need to post up your Cholesterol fractions and also your subfractions. By the former I mean HDL, LDL Triglycerides and by the latter I mean LDL particle number would be one good one to know. You wont get the particle number score from your GP but you will have the others from him/her. Total cholesterol quoting does not really tell you much.

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Ok, thank you I'm actually booked in to see my GP tomorrow. I was told if it is over 5 then that isn't a good thing...

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Your total cholesterol is a poor indicator of heart disease risk. From the simple panel that your GP gives you the best proven indicator is the Total to HDL ratio or even the HDL to Triglyceride ratio.

Find out what you Total, HDL LDL and Triglycerides are if you need help working these ratios ask on here. By the way your GP should be able to give you a free CRP test thrown in so ask for this as well

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Taken from a paper published in The Lancet

"Of various simple indices involving HDL cholesterol, the ratio total/HDL cholesterol was the strongest predictor of IHD mortality (40% more informative than non-HDL cholesterol and more than twice as informative as total cholesterol)."

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Who did these tests. Not the gym i hope.

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Yes it was the gym health MOT appointment. I am booked in to see my GP tomorrow though. The gym did seem concerned that it had gone up so much which made me panic a bit.

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Glad you are seeing a doctor. I wouldn't be happy with any result from a Gym.

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Are you able to comment on you GP appointment?

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My GP seemed quite concerned because it had changed so much in a short space of time...I am booked in for the blood tests on Monday to get a better idea of what is going on. He did say that he doesn't trust the gyms doing these tests....

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Thanks you, may be you can give us your cholesterol blood test details once it has been reviewed by your GP, please ask for a print copy of your results.

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Quoting a single number is like a clock with one hand, ask your GP for a print out of your test results. A/Prof Ken Sikaris has some interesting lectures on You Tube I think one is called understanding the numbers, this may help you to interpret the numbers.

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Oh ok thank you so much that sounds very helpful!

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Total cholesterol, on its' own, is of little value and is not indicative of your cardiovascular health.

Total cholesterol measures LDL (low density lipoproteins), HDL (high density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins, which are carried in triglycerides lipids in your bloodstream).

A total cholesterol test will provide you with a numerical value expressed in mmol/l in most countries, for all of its sub-fractions, and for low-risk individuals should have the following values:

LDL-C < 2.59

HDL-C > 1.55

Non-HDL < 3.37

Triglycerides < 1.7

Medium to higher risk individuals (those who smoke, are overweight, have family history of heart disease, and carry most of their excess weight around their mid-section) should pursue even lower values.

If your TC went up, it is possible that your HDL-C value was mostly responsible and that could be a very good thing, as exercise and a healthy diet will cause HDL-C values to increase, in which case, you shouldn't worry.

LDL particles are atherogenic (they damage the inner lining of arteries, an organ called the endothelium). HDL particles initiate 'reverse cholesterol transport' which scavenges LDL and other VLDL sub-fraction particles and carries them to the liver for elimination by the body. That's why HDL is called 'good cholesterol'. Triglycerides are the fats carried in your blood stream and that are due to high consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white flour products in the form of bread, pasta and pizza dough. Other carbs are white rice, white potatoes and any form of sugar whether it be honey, agave, maple syrup, fruit juices, soft-drinks, and alcoholic beverages among others.

Sugar and simple carbs initiate an inflammatory process in the cardiovascular system that results in plaque accumulation within the arteries in the endothelium which makes that organ less elastic and cause a restriction in blood flow resulting in a higher blood pressure. You can measure inflammation in your body using a CRP blood test and inflammation in your arteries using a test known as MPO (myeloperoxidase).

If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80 it may be an indication of damage to the endothelium due to plaque accumulation and an early indicator of cardio-vascular disease.

However, recent research has placed less emphasis on the LDL-C value as a measure of risk due to the fact that 50% of heart attack and stroke victims have normal levels of cholesterol volume as measured by LDL-C.

What is more important than cholesterol volume is the number of LDL particles (LDL-P). The more particles in your blood stream, the higher the probability that you will have damage to your endothelium.

Measuring LDL-P is not part of the mainstream medical system's routine process which is still following guidelines established over 25 years ago.

When you get your next blood test, request a measure for the following:

Apolipoprotein 'B' (ApoB) and Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1). The former measures LDL particle number, while the latter measures lipoproteins carrying HDL.

The ratio of ApoB/ApoA1 is the most important measure of cardiovascular risk from a blood test. This ratio should be 0.9 or less, and optimally less than 0.8.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

Essentially, it measures the balance between endothelial damaging Apo-B, and the scavenging work of Apo-A1 which removes the dangerous LDL-P.

The major cause of heart attacks and strokes is blood clots. These form when your blood platelets are too sticky. You can measure the stickiness of your platelets with a test called 'fibrinogen' which should be 2.35 g/l or less. How do your platelets get sticky to begin with? It is primarily due to a diet low in folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. A poorly balanced diet will result in these deficiencies which triggers a chemical response in your blood that raises homocysteine levels. You can measure homocysteine levels with a blood test. Ideally they should be below 7 umol/l. You can buy supplements of those vitamins to resolve this issue.

The other cause of blood clots is when the fibrous cap that covers plaque deposits in your endothelium becomes loose and floats through your blood stream. If this material gets caught in a narrowing of your arteries it can block blood flow triggering a heart attack. A blockage in your carotid artery which leads to your brain triggers a stroke. Risk from a fibrous cap rupture can be measured by a blood test called Lp-pla2 also known as the PLAC test. The resulting value should be 75 or less.

Whether or not your current diet is healthy is a subjective self-assessment. Compare your diet to the Pritikin diet pritikin.com/healthiest-die...

Good luck.

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Wow thank you this is a lot of useful information! I have blood tests on Monday.

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Do not stress yourself.

Is your MBI in the healthy range?

Any kit needs to be calibrated on a daily basis to offer good results! From my experience gym kit are not calibrated or looked after and no one understand the calibration. One example is BPM on gym machines. Lloyds pharmacy is a good place to get basic checks, there is a cost.

Explain to your GP about both cholesterol results from the gym. There are a number of blood tests you need to do a risk analysis check, you can ask your GP for this. Before your GP appointment you can read on QRISK and JBS3 tests.

Do not go for the medication option to start with, go for life style change. Ask your self the question "What has changed in the last six months for my cholesterol to increase?" What is your healthy diet?

After blood tests results are available with in two weeks, ask for a printed copy to keep for your records.

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Thank you for this! I have blood tests booked in on Monday. He said that should give us a better idea rather than an overall reading!

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First of all, 'high cholesterol' in itself is NOT a medical problem! Secondly, from several reports that I've read, paradoxical as it seems a low-fat, vegetarian or vegan diet can actually lead to a higher cholesterol level in the blood. This is because the body absolutely needs cholesterol, and if too little is coming in from your food the body will raise the cholesterol level by itself. The way to go is plenty of 'good' saturated fats - no transfats or plant sterols! - such as butter, coconut, fats from walnuts or peanuts, or olive oil. Meat and eggs are also good. I know it sounds weird, but give it a try, you will find it works! Finally, I would recommend against using statins whatever you do. They can have awful side effects - I'm speaking from experience.

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Thank you for this information it's very helpful. I don't eat much meat to be honest. I have been recommended benecol products but I guess what u r saying here is to get the healthy fats from a range of food.

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Everyone is going to gave an opinion on the optimal diet. This is anecdotal information only. The Pritikin Diet Plan is a well-researched plan that has evidence of success in achieving healthy outcomes. You can look it up here:

pritikin.com/healthiest-die...

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Yes, exactly! I would say natural and unprocessed foods are always best. Also, avoiding sugar as much as possible is always recommended (although I can't quite manage to do so myself, I must confess 🙁) In any case 'hidden' sugars in soft drinks etc. (OR low-calorie replacements such as sweeteners) really should be avoided. But do bear in mind that I'm not an expert in nutrition - I've just started reading up on these things since I had some problems after using statins. And I'm a member of a Facebook group that discusses statin side effects - there's a lot of information to be found there as well.

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how do I access this Facebook group? I already have a Facebook account.

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I have to confess that I forgot exactly how I found the group.... In any case you can just do a search, while on Facebook, for 'statin side effects group' and you will find it. It is a closed group so you have to ask to be permitted, but that should take only a day or less.

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