Back in January I was called in to the GP for a checkup. Apparently they were seeing all men 50-55 who they hadn't seen for a while. I was told that I was not overweight and that my heart-rate, blood pressure, liver (amazingly) and prostate were all very good. My cholesterol level however was too high at 6.7 (should be 5 or less, ideally 4) although my ratio of 'good' HDL to total cholesterol was OK at 3.4 (should be less than 4). The GP wanted to prescribe me a daily statin which I politely refused saying I would improve my lifestyle instead.
That is why I started doing C25K. I graduated 9 weeks later and have been running on and off up to 10k ever since. I also changed my diet. I switched from white bread to brown, ate more fruit and replaced my daily lunch of a Ginsters cornish pasty (yes really, I had one almost every day) with super-healthy mackerel on toast. I also stopped drinking wine midweek which reduced my weekly units considerably. The impact of all this was that I lost nearly a stone so I am now a very slim 10.5 stone and really pretty darn fit for my age.
So last week I went back for a retest to see the impact of this healthy lifestyle on my cholesterol and guess what? It has gone up! My 'good' HDL is up from 1.9 to 2.3 but my 'bad' cholesterol has stayed exactly the same so my overall level is now 7.1. My ratio of 'good' to total though has improved from 3.4 to 3.0. I spoke to a different GP this time and she said that I definitely did NOT need to take a statin as all my risk factors were now low. This is a good thing I suppose but boy am I confused. Has anyone else had similar contrarian results since taking up running?