I was heading toward an entirely different topic for this blog, but I was browsing through some of the team updates and came across Lee's blog from yesterday.
Now, it's not that I don't pay attention to my health. Perhaps I've come to it a bit late in the day, but certainly after my blood pressure began to creep up into the 'yellow alert' zone and I was diagnosed with diabetes (both of which may well be attributed to my obesity - I was more than double what would have been a 'healthy' weight for me at the time) I've taken it seriously. Added to the family history of heart disease (my father's side of the family, at any rate) and I sat up and took notice.
Himself has high cholesterol: mine is usually well within a good range, but I tailor our diet to accommodate both his problem (we have lots of high-fiber foods, oats, beans / pulses / legumes, vegetables, fruit) and mine (low-GI carbs, sugarfree meals). Mostly it works. My blood glucose numbers have improved, his cholesterol is in the normal range for the first time in years, and we have both lost weight.
So imagine my surprise when I checked the link Lee included in her blog - it's from the AHA - only to find I am 'borderline' on several counts! First, there's the link between diabetes and heart disease. I knew about it... well, I knew OF it, but I didn't realize just how they are connected. That's one factor.
The high blood pressure? Yes, I knew about that: that's another factor. And mine is still not well-controlled, even tho I'm on medication for it.
There are some other things that play a role - exercise is a big one - but the 'little' one that really surprised me has to do with cholesterol.
As I said above, my cholesterol number is well within the normal range - which it is, even according to the AHA. The trouble is, the HDL number (that's the 'good' cholesterol) is marginal. So even though the LDL (bad) cholesterol is in an okay range, it makes up a higher percentage of the total than the HDL does. In other words, while I'm doing a lot of things right, I need to see how I can improve the ratio between the two types of cholesterol - how I can raise the amount of HDL, which in turn will help decrease the LDL.
I hope I've made sense with the explanation. The AHA site itself is very clear and easy to use; it has a self-check test you can do to see where you stand. You'll need numbers from your last bloodwork - and if you don't have those numbers, think about making an appointment with your GP and getting a test lined up.
The last thing any of us wants is a stroke or a heart attack, and women are more at risk now than at any other time in medical history. Fortunately, so much more is known about the risk factors and how to combat them, that the odds of remaining heart healthy are also higher than at any other time in history.
And Lee - HEARTfelt thanx, my friend! Really glad you posted your blog about the AHA 'Go Red' campaign!