My cholestrol just back from GP is 6, my diet is good w regular exercise. Last blood test 2 years ago was 5.4. I'm curious why the increase?

The new variables are stress levels up from PTSB and completed a prescribed 6 month course of lexapro (10mg) in August. I'm 43 year old female so also may be age related? Diet has not changed much over the years. I'm 9st (always, this varies very little) and 5 ft 6 inches. Walk and cycle regularly. No known heart disease on either parents side. My younger brother who is very health and fitness conscious, also like me doesn't smoke, was baffled when his GP told him recently his Cholesterol was 5.4.

Any comments would be welcomed. Can stress or medication (lexapro) be a factor to cholesterol?

10 Replies

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  • Hi SummerDays,

    Personally I don't think either readings are too drastic and it hasn't increased that much. Yes, I think you're right in saying that levels tend to go up as women get older. There is also a seasonal variation, but which way I can't remember.

    Another factor I have noticed is that different labs produce slightly different results. When I was taking atorvastatin 10mg a blood test in March gave me a reading of 5.6 from one hospital and a reading of 4.6 from another hospital a month later. Isn't the average level in the UK 5.5?

  • Hi Aliwally,

    I feel relieved from what you say about my readings being ok- ish. I think I will leave it a few months and go get a check done elsewhere to compare as it is interesting in that my 2 readings and my brothers readings although with different GPs would I think would be sent to the same local hospital for testing.

    Now the UK average of 5.5? is that what is the upper range in the UK? Because here in Ireland it is somewhat lower at 4.6 I think. And there are so many people here on Lipator which maybe they need not be .....

    Thanks for putting my mind at ease somewhat and I have to accept I am middle-aged :(

  • Recommendations for Total Cholesterol levels.

    NICE.....National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence....(Gp's go by this)......Total Chol...5

    British Cardiovascular Society.....(Cardiologists go by this)...Total Chol....4

    I know this is correct because my GP and Cardiologist have both told me face to face. Whether these levels apply to normal people or just people who have had a heart problem i do not know. I was given these recommendations after a heart attack and subsequently being diagnosed with FH.

    Hope this helps but if anyone knows better then please feel free to correct me.

  • I agree about your levels, they seem very good. Did you get a breakdown of your figures from your GP? LDL and HDL levels, and Lipids? These should give you a much better idea of where you actually are with your cholesterol.

    If you are keeping well, eating healthily with an eye to the amount of carbs you are eating, keeping a healthy weight and are not doing a stressful job with poor rest and breaks (which can be the ultimate problem with this modern life of ours) there shouldn't be too much to worry about. Worry can make things worse!!

    As we get older our body ages with us. With that fact comes the realisation that cholesterol (which we need for healing our body) will increase as it copes with changes in our body, such as arthritis, and wear and tear on our internal organs especially the gut and stomach (hence the propensity of the older person getting ulcers, pancreatic problems and dietary problems) I take a probiotic, Omega 3, Glucosamine, Calcium with Vit D, a muli vitamin and dandelion supplement for water retention and I feel very well. I am 59, BMI 24 and eat as well as I can. I walk every day (I don't drive).

    If you are concerned leave it for 6 months, follow a healthy regime and then go back and get some more bloods done. Read up on cholesterol (and read some of the blogs here. There are some very informed bloggers who can guide you to good websites to get more info.) and I wish you well.

  • Thanks very much for your lovely reply patch14, from what you say its not a high level to be worried about. I didn't get any other readings on the Cholesteral (all my other blood test results came back normal) as given over the telephone but I will collect the full test results when I get chance to call into the clinic.

    Funny you should talk about worry making things worse and it has been a rollercoaster of a year for me and I was told yesterday my job of 13 years is being moved to the US and I will be redundant in December (sign of the times for sure) - could be a blessing in disguise. I do tend to worry a lot despite my best efforts and my adrenaline works overtime.

    I have taken cod liver oil (liquid form) for years and I'd swear by it for warding of colds and flu and thankfully I am never sick. Over the past while though I have been feeling exhausted all the time so I stopped the CLO and started on Omega 3 Flaxseed oil (liquid form again) as Omega 3 highly recommended for all sorts of things. Unfortunately I haven't found any increase in energy levels so I've more or less discontinued it and I'm not taking anything now. The probiotic I've heard is very good for the stomach lining so I'm thinking that is something I will try and I sometimes drink dandelion or nettle tea also good for the stomach and detox. I've cut out coffee and drink tea by the potful which I should try and replace with these, that way less temptation for the biscuit or cake with it. Another thing I've tried is aloe vera juice (for cooling the stomach it is excellent).

  • Have you thought that perhaps you could be a bit anaemic? When you are next at the GPs ask if you could have a blood test for iron levels. My husband had been feeling exhausted for months some years ago and found he had an iron level of 4! The proper level is about 12! After a course of iron tablets and several tests later he is firing on all cylinders and doesn't need to take any more medication. He was advised to eat more dark green vegetables, liver, and other iron rich foods. I am lucky to have a garden and grow spinach, broccoli and kale which are very good for iron levels.

    I'm sorry to hear that you are having work troubles. One more thing to worry about. I hope that you will soon be able to get back on an even keel with work and your health and wish you well.

  • I would agree that I am anemic - all my life I have a very pale complexion, my hair started thinning when I was 18 and has never returned to its former glory, I am a redhead (shhhhh as I have been "blonde" for years which hides it better and my scalp not as obvious) and the volume of my hair halved along with losing half the number of hair which fell out practically overnight at the time (this coincided with surgery to remove my appendicis shortly beforehand but I wouldn't think there is any linkage). I used to be a blood doner but at least every other time I went to give blood they said my iron levels were too low and sent me home to return in 6 months.

    However, my test results for FBC came back "normal" - as I haven't the breakdown of these recent ones I looked at my results from 2 years ago

    My Haemoglobin was 13.3 (range 12 to 17) which I think is the one your husband tested at 4 - I may be looking at the wrong one so my other ones are

    RBC 4.13

    WBC 5.8

    Hematocrit 38.2

    Platelets 440

    B12 came back normal so my ability to absorb iron is grand

    Thryroid came back normal

    So I've ruled these out as causes for my hair loss.

    Anemia is still at the back of my mind but bloods are ok from the results so the GP tells me. I did take iron tablets previously (like after I would try to donate blood) but I only felt nausous and constipated taking them - my pallor or hair condition didn't improve unfortunately.

    Thanks for your kind words - I think the change will be good - and I wish you all the very best also.

  • Funny you should mention your hair change after your appendix operation. My daughter had her appendix out when she was twelve, and HER hair fell out in handfuls, then grew back curly!!!! She has cursed it ever since and has spent a fortune on state of the art straighteners!! Although the actual curliness has decreased over the years (she is now 37) she still has a "kink" at the front that drives her mad!!

    As a Celtic redhead (you can't hide your genes you know) and probably with freckles (I have Irish blood too and they pop up in the family every now and then!) the skin is at risk from sunburn so you need to keep pale and interesting!!

    Seriously though,I am glad you have no worries on the anaemia front, and I would suspect that the weak hair etc., is probably down to your stress levels. It's not unknown for hair loss to eventually be put down to stress and improves when there are lifestyle changes.

    I hope all goes well with you and you find a new outlook after redundancy. 2013 is going to be a good year to begin.

  • What do you usually eat? Do you sleep ok?

  • Hi concerned,

    Sleep is not a problem for me - though it maybe a little irregular as for years I commute to work 2 days and get up those mornings at 5.30 and the other 3 days work from home so usually 8ish rise and weekends a bit later. Go to bed between 10.30 and 11.30 usually. For a while now I get up feeling tired and even after a good 8-9 hours sleep I would be feeling wreaked.

    For breakfast I eat porridge or boiled egg w toast. Cut out coffee so only drink black tea now.

    Dinner typically is red meat, chicken or pork with steamed veg (usually carrots, turnip, or brocalli), green cabbage or mushrooms and potatoes either boiled or mashed. Love fresh fish and smoked salmon but wouldn't have it more then probably once every 2 weeks. Don't eat lamb.

    Tea and cake, biscuit or chocolate - could have this twice or even 3 times in a day.

    Don't tend to eat desserts.

    Days in the office it could be tuna/sweetcorn or chicken and salad sandwich or wrap. Sometimes carton of soup or maybe a banana sandwich for convenience or pasta with pesto sauce and olives I bring in with me.

    Other things I eat, though not on a regular basis are chips and sausages, indian food with pilau rice/naan bread, italian food especially pasta/lasagne/garlic bread, the very odd pizza, chinese rice or noodles.

    Eat apples, peaches, plums, strawberries, grapes.

    Don't eat oranges, tomatoes or drink soft drinks.

    I have the occasional glass of wine at home or out for dinner, coors lite if on a night out which maybe once a month and if wedding or special occassion a couple of gin and tonics.

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