Blood Work and Why I Am Changing

On Monday, Feb 20, I had my fasting blood work done for:

  • CBC with differential
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel

I have to have this done periodically because of medication I am on which can cause high cholesterol and blood sugar.  Well…. I wasn’t expecting anything earth shattering because I considered myself to be somewhat healthy.  I thought, surely, there would be nothing wrong with my blood work because I haven’t gained weight since the last time I had it done (haven’t lost much since, either), and I haven’t changed my habits.

Well.  I was horribly wrong.

So when I had my blood checked in Dec. 2015 my Triglycerides were 173 – which is higher than it should be, but not scary.  My doctor told me to exercise, lose weight, and eat better.  I tried half-heartedly and forgot about it.

My Triglycerides this go around: 261

If you’re not aware of what a normal range is for my age it would be 0 – 149.

The scary talk came in.  My doctor essentially told me  “You are killing yourself slowly”.  He said that regardless of genetic factors, you can do things outside of medication to stay in a healthy range.  I have obviously not been doing those things.

From The Mayo Clinic:

What are triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly “easy” calories like carbohydrates and fats, you may have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).

What’s considered normal?

A simple blood test can reveal whether your triglycerides fall into a healthy range.

  • Normal — Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or less than 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)
  • Borderline high — 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L)
  • High — 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 to 5.6 mmol/L)
  • Very high — 500 mg/dL or above (5.7 mmol/L or above)

 

SO… now what?  Well I have another meeting with the doctor on March 17 to get an action plan, but, The Mayo Clinic states:

What’s the best way to lower triglycerides?

Healthy lifestyle choices are key:

  • Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 pounds can help lower your triglycerides. Motivate yourself by focusing on the benefits of losing weight, such as more energy and improved health.
  • Cut back on calories. Remember that extra calories are converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. Reducing your calories will reduce triglycerides.
  • Avoid sugary and refined foods. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and foods made with white flour, can increase triglycerides.
  • Choose healthier fats. Trade saturated fat found in meats for healthier monounsaturated fat found in plants, such as olive, peanut and canola oils. Substitute fish high in omega-3 fatty acids — such as mackerel and salmon — for red meat.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink. Alcohol is high in calories and sugar and has a particularly potent effect on triglycerides. Even small amounts of alcohol can raise triglyceride levels.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most or all days of the week. Regular exercise can lower triglycerides and boost “good” cholesterol. Take a brisk daily walk, swim laps or join an exercise group. If you don’t have time to exercise for 30 minutes, try squeezing it in 10 minutes at a time. Take a short walk, climb the stairs at work, or try some situps or pushups as you watch television.

So guess what I am doing.

Daily Goals:

  • 200 oz of water a day
  • At least 30 minutes of exercise per day in addition to a dog walk*
  • Track everything and by everything, I mean everything.
    • Lean proteins
    • veggies and fruits
    • whole grains unrefined
    • limit alcohol
    • limit dairy
  • Removing stress – I know this is hard and almost impossible, but other than the gym I am going to take at least 20 minutes a day to unplug, and just sit.  With this weather we have been having here in the DC area, I find myself wanting to be outside alllllllll the time.  I think I can manage 20 minutes on the patio reading.

I apologize if I haven’t been present lately.  I apologize if I haven’t been a good friend.  I’ve been feeling physically horrible for a while now, and getting all this medical information recently has shed light on why this has been happening.

 

Please be patient.  I’m coming back.

 

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