1

votes

What's the deal with my cholesterol? (Updated)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 13, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I'm new here. So bear with me. I saw my doctor recently because I had been feeling very fatigued, grouchy, depressed, anxious and generally like I would like to crawl back into bed and forget the world exists.

She ran basic blood tests and then freaked out because my cholesterol is so high. She's already talking cholesterol-lowering drugs if I don't get the numbers down in the next six months.

Numbers are: Total: 242 Tri: 41 HDL: 67.3 LDL: 166

I have eaten gluten and grain-free (with the exception of rice) since October 2011. I eat no processed foods. I eat veggies, eggs, nuts, fruits and most meats. I don't eat fish very often. (I live in the middle of the Canadian prairies). I use olive oil, coconut oil and butter to cook. I am 38 years old. Female. I am 5'2" weigh roughly 118 lbs and have never had an issue with my weight.

I eat relatively low carb (I'd say under 100 g carbs most days). I used to walk/run and lift weights, but just didn't have the stamina for it starting about last summer. It's gotten worse in the last two months.

Other numbers of interest: Fasting glucose: 88 TSH: 2.86

Everything else according to my doctor was "perfect".

Oh and after freaking me out about my cholesterol, she then told me the way to fix my low energy problem was through exercise. (Um... okay...? But if I could exercise we wouldn't be having this conversation!)

Anyone have any thouhts? Thanks in advance!

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who offerd their thoughts and advice. I decided to focus on getting the depression, fatigue and anxiety under control first. Exercise may help with the LDL reading, but first I need to feel well enough to do it.

After doing a ton of research (got the square eyes to prove it!) I made some changes to my supplements. I've added in a cod liver oil supplement, some extra vitamin D, and 5HTP. I have been feeling like I am returning to the land of the living. I have way more energy. I'm not 100 per cent, but definitely on the upswing. The anxiety is in check for the most part. And I find myself smiling and enjoying things again. Yay! In fact, I have gone for walks the last couple of days and I am looking at ways to get more active. Just the fact that I am thinking about it is a HUGE deal. So thanks everybody! Will keep you posted!

Also should mention: I think I may have a low functioning thyroid. So I'm continuing to research how to approach dealing with that.

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 19, 2012
at 02:53 AM

Wow. I'd never heard of that before, Tyler. Learned something new. Thanks!

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on March 16, 2012
at 12:49 AM

It should be noted that using the more accurate Iranian formula yields an LDL count of 125.

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 01:06 PM

No, I converted them all because I figured most on this board would be Americans. ; )

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on March 14, 2012
at 08:41 AM

81 nmol/L is just acceptable; you may want to try upping the vitamin D intake a tad (try 2000 IU/d). I don't think this has anything to do with your elevated LDL, though it may help the fatigue. And 100 g of carbohydrate is, given your fatigue, pretty low. If you can fix your energy problems and get exercising again, you will find that your LDL will come down :) (Just a question about units -- are they using mg/dL for the lipid panel in Saskatchewan?)

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 03:19 AM

It could simply be burn out, now that I consider my last year. I switched jobs in July, before I took my two weeks of vacation. Meaning I haven't had more than a day off here or there since September 2010. The switch in jobs, while desirable, was quite stressful. I went from a position I was very proficient at with a small company to a position with a large company I don't feel very proficient at. The only other major life event was discovering I was gluten-intolerant. (Which led me to paleo eating.)

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 03:13 AM

I'll look into Deans' blog. Thanks!

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 03:08 AM

My bad, Phoenix. I converted all the numbers, but forgot with the vitamin D. That was 81 nmol/L.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on March 13, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Do you know if that vitamin D level of 81 was ng/mL or nmol/L? If you're in Canada, it may be nmol/L, and 81 nmol/L is equivalent to 32 ng/mL, which is actually low by most standards in the paleosphere.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 13, 2012
at 09:44 PM

I kinda doubt that's enough butter to make a difference. Coconut oil is about the same?

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 13, 2012
at 09:29 PM

Thanks so much. Good info for me to research. : )

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 13, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Oh cool. Good to know!

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 13, 2012
at 09:15 PM

I don't really eat dairy, with the exception of butter and small amounts of cheddar cheese. I have never liked it (even as a kid). Whole cream would be a very special occasion or a treat. I fry three eggs in butter with veggies (mushrooms, broccoli, grated carrot, or whatever is in the fridge) every morning for breakfast for the hubby and myself to share.

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 13, 2012
at 09:10 PM

I drink two cups of tea per day (sometimes more, sometimes less). Black tea. Herbal stuff can aggravate my allergies. I usually get a solid seven hours of sleep a night. I live in what most Americans would call " the north". My vitamin D levels were 81. I was thinking they would be low actually, but then again, I have been taking 1000 iu per day most of this winter. Hemoglobin (that's iron, I think) is at 127. This is another level I thought for sure would be in my shoes. But according to this I'm within normal range.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 13, 2012
at 08:58 PM

"... ...you go to her with bad fatigue, and all she does is look at your cardio-risk profile? Sounds like you might need a more enlightened doc..." +1

537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on March 13, 2012
at 08:56 PM

maybe add more starchy fruit and or tubers

537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on March 13, 2012
at 08:56 PM

maybe start adding some fruits and tubers to your diet to see if that helps.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 13, 2012
at 08:49 PM

How much butter and coconut oil are we talking about per day? Any whole cream?

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9 Answers

4
0a0afca93a127c82ec4192a2e99647f4

on March 13, 2012
at 08:53 PM

  1. What kind of caffeine habit do you have?
  2. How's your sleep?
  3. You are at a northern latitude, how's your vitamin d status?
  4. How's your iron status?

Regarding cholesterol, it seems the general consensus is that the sat-fatty-acids in dairy are the main drivers of high total cholesterol in some folks. Perhaps limit the dairy?

Regarding your doctor...you go to her with bad fatigue, and all she does is look at your cardio-risk profile? Sounds like you might need a more enlightened doc.

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 01:06 PM

No, I converted them all because I figured most on this board would be Americans. ; )

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 13, 2012
at 08:58 PM

"... ...you go to her with bad fatigue, and all she does is look at your cardio-risk profile? Sounds like you might need a more enlightened doc..." +1

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 03:08 AM

My bad, Phoenix. I converted all the numbers, but forgot with the vitamin D. That was 81 nmol/L.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on March 13, 2012
at 10:42 PM

Do you know if that vitamin D level of 81 was ng/mL or nmol/L? If you're in Canada, it may be nmol/L, and 81 nmol/L is equivalent to 32 ng/mL, which is actually low by most standards in the paleosphere.

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 13, 2012
at 09:10 PM

I drink two cups of tea per day (sometimes more, sometimes less). Black tea. Herbal stuff can aggravate my allergies. I usually get a solid seven hours of sleep a night. I live in what most Americans would call " the north". My vitamin D levels were 81. I was thinking they would be low actually, but then again, I have been taking 1000 iu per day most of this winter. Hemoglobin (that's iron, I think) is at 127. This is another level I thought for sure would be in my shoes. But according to this I'm within normal range.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on March 14, 2012
at 08:41 AM

81 nmol/L is just acceptable; you may want to try upping the vitamin D intake a tad (try 2000 IU/d). I don't think this has anything to do with your elevated LDL, though it may help the fatigue. And 100 g of carbohydrate is, given your fatigue, pretty low. If you can fix your energy problems and get exercising again, you will find that your LDL will come down :) (Just a question about units -- are they using mg/dL for the lipid panel in Saskatchewan?)

2
B4661e44912c6f7c5eb26f36d15dd604

on March 14, 2012
at 01:04 AM

"I am 38 years old. Female."

Don't let you doctor put you on cholesterol lowering drugs then. There isn't a good base of evidence to suggest that the benefits of statins out weigh the risks for women.

2
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 13, 2012
at 08:56 PM

Cholesterol looks fine. Congrats on trigs, thats really low. HDL is good too.

You are going to get "eat more carbs" and "TSH is a crap thyroid" test as answers.

Eating more carbs is faster and easier to try! We don't know your total energy requirements either, or if you are just under eating.

Good luck. I would read up on thyroid and fatigue symptoms and see if they match how you feel. That can be more reliable than TSH. The TSH issue is a real problem. If you need better info most drs are still 25 years behind the times and still just focus on TSH. (T3 makes more sense to test).

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 13, 2012
at 09:29 PM

Thanks so much. Good info for me to research. : )

1
4815ce60a36f08fb6878bb458c249034

on March 13, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Assuming blood pressure is ok, your risk of a heart attack in the next 10 years is less than 1%. US guidelines are for the ldl to be less than 160. Even if you want to go by the guidelines, you're close enough for now.

The real issue should be why do you feel "very fatigued, grouchy, depressed, anxious and generally like I would like to crawl back into bed and forget the world exists?" You feel depressed and most of your symptoms are consistent with a depressive disorder. You might want to look at Emily Deans' blog, evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com. Any new sources of stress that could have triggered your symptoms? You have pretty significant symptoms of depression, a second opinion might be in order.

Good luck.

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 03:19 AM

It could simply be burn out, now that I consider my last year. I switched jobs in July, before I took my two weeks of vacation. Meaning I haven't had more than a day off here or there since September 2010. The switch in jobs, while desirable, was quite stressful. I went from a position I was very proficient at with a small company to a position with a large company I don't feel very proficient at. The only other major life event was discovering I was gluten-intolerant. (Which led me to paleo eating.)

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 14, 2012
at 03:13 AM

I'll look into Deans' blog. Thanks!

0
7b8651ebf0af7af9b7ba8149f96725e1

on March 21, 2012
at 03:54 AM

I really don't think there is anything to worry about just purely on the figures. Overall at 242 may not be regarded as "good" by your doctor but the HDL component is pretty good.

My wife has 250 and the doctor was just too eager to put her on statin but I objected. Her good HDL is more than 100! Can you see the blindness here?

I know for a fact that even a small increase in HDL will lower inflammation in the artery wall - which will eventually reduce the bad cholesterol. So, in my wife's case, her good cholesterol is actually quite excessive and is obviously doing a great job at combating bad cholesterol - now only at 142.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 14, 2012
at 01:20 AM

Your numbers are better than mine. I've been to three Paleo friendly physicians with my results and not one even made a peep about my numbers. They know what I was doing and why I was doing it, and realized I was way healthier than they were. (They were Paleo "friendly", not Paleo"eating".) They knew my fibromalgia/chronic fatigue history and saw what I was doing/looking like. Any problem you have is elsewhere. Probably thyroid/adrenal.Please find a more aware doctor. They're not going to be Kruse or Harris, but they will be better than the JOKER you have now! Statins for a 240 TC with a 66hdl. What a pathetic attempt at being a healer. Good luck edit: Your tsh is not perfect. I've been to many doctors like yours. Everything thing they say is ass backwards. Your chol number are much closer to "perfect ". Everything is ass backwards and they charge hundreds of dollars any hour. Wow!

0
537001f30670e73eb0ac45779af649a5

on March 13, 2012
at 09:49 PM

ya don't freak out your cholesterol is fine

http://cholesterol.emedtv.com/hdl/hdl-ldl-ratio.html

0
3c71c8cec5921a8e0672108616f69843

(50)

on March 13, 2012
at 09:03 PM

umm, i don't think your lipid numbers are that bad. is it just me? your tris are low-great! your hdl is not low-great. your ldl is "high", but there's no way of knowing how that breaks down-how much is ldl vs vldl. tsh alone is a total useless test. If thyroid is a concern, you need a more extensive panel. your glucose is within normal limits. honestly, maybe i'm misinformed but my chol #s were (total-264, HDL-112, Tri-43, LDL-144 ((again, not measured-figured)) and i'm not worried. any one else want to chime in?

0
3c71c8cec5921a8e0672108616f69843

(50)

on March 13, 2012
at 09:00 PM

oh, and your ldl:hdl ratio is good, even by CW. I think anything over .3 is considered beneficial.

76a279a99da30a70a5da9eb805b0d780

on March 13, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Oh cool. Good to know!

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