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Day 15: An Alert from Lee-2011 About HEART HEALTH

Saturday, January 15, 2011

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!


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am happy to report that since August 10' my cholesteral and HBP numbers are down and as of Sept 10' no longer take meds .... just another great benefit of losing weight and getting healthy.
    3702 days ago
    emoticon Great information, thanks for sharing
    3702 days ago
    Thanks for the reminder. Both my parents passed away at 49 and I have heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer running rapid in my family. I need to get my numbers in line too.

    3702 days ago
    For so many years we just assume that our checkups keep us healthy . . the doctor says the blood test are ok, and we leave with a -false- sense of security. We need to understand our test readings and how each affects the other, AND what we need to do to improve and work with our individual situations. Good job, Kasey, in caring for YOUR family!!
    3702 days ago
    Don't forget about lowering your salt intake if you haven't already. The latest news says less than 1500mg, the older limit was less than 2300mg.

    The good news about salt in prepared foods is that everywhere now I'm seeing foods with greatly reduced salt content!
    3702 days ago
    3702 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5080021
    I am good on the BP, but the cholesterol has been high for awhile. Everytime they put me on the meds, I have trouble with them. I haven't had it checked in awhile. Hopefully the weight loss has helped.
    3703 days ago
  • DR1939
    Exercise helps with HDL. Also LDL for people with diabetes should be below 100.
    3703 days ago
    Good information! I just started working on the Heart Healthy promo for school. Teenagers (ok, and the rest of us!) need to be better informed. Thanks for sharing.
    3703 days ago
    Excellent info Kasey! I'm waiting for results on my cholesterol now and am anxious to see how I'm doing.
    Strokes run in my mom's side of the family...but mainly with the smokers. I've never smoked, but lots of other risks. Not the way I want to go!!
    Ignorance is not necessarily bliss where this is concerned... Got to stay on track!
    3703 days ago
    Just as I was beginning to slack off, you have reminded me why I don't have that luxury! Well timed blog - thanks for sharing!
    3703 days ago
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