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Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 11, 2021 09:40AM
Generally speaking, I'm pretty healthy but I thought it might be good to get my cholesterol checked. I have a high deductible plan so I didn't want to pay for a doctor visit. healthlabs.com charged me $29 to get tested at the local LabCorp office. I got my test results the next day and unfortunately I have some borderline high values. Some people might shrug their shoulders but I'm an overachiever.

I just got back from vacation a week ago. I was less active and ate out more than normal while on vacation. That might have affected things but its unclear how much. My wife points out that we ate a lot of shrimp and they're high in cholesterol - never would have suspected.

By many people's estimations I'm a heath nut - I get plenty of exercise and eat a lot of home cooked meals with farm fresh ingredients as much as possible. I'm sure there's room for improvement but I'm doing pretty well.

I see a couple of options -

A) I'm overthinking this and its fine. Don't bother doing anything.
B) Retest after I've been on my normal exercise and eating routines for a bit.
C) Add oatmeal to my diet a 3-4x times a week and retest.

What would you do?

--

Update to include results -







Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2021 11:37AM by mattkime.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: Speedy
Date: May 11, 2021 09:46AM
Take a statin.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: May 11, 2021 10:05AM
Quote
Speedy
Take a statin.


.....and take it.....stat.....???



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 11, 2021 10:12AM
Depends a huge amount on family history, I'd say. My GM had high cholesterol. She died at age 97, nothing to do with her arteries.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: rgG
Date: May 11, 2021 10:13AM
Quote
Speedy
Take a statin.

Truly hope you are kidding.
Statins are overprescribed and nearly killed my husband

I like a combo of 2 and 3.
Also, my husband’s cardiologist says cholesterol numbers are not the be all end all for judging heart health. Read a little on how many think they are not as important as once thought.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: May 11, 2021 10:19AM
Quote
rgG
Quote
Speedy
Take a statin.

Truly hope you are kidding.
Statins are overprescribed and nearly killed my husband

I like a combo of 2 and 3.
Also, my husband’s cardiologist says cholesterol numbers are not the be all end all for judging heart health. Read a little on how many think they are not as important as once thought.

I have to tell you that this is the preferred treatment if you were to see a doctor. I tried them and i thought my heart was going to come out of my chest, it was beating so fast. Diet and exercise work, and like you say, the numbers are not everything.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: pdq
Date: May 11, 2021 10:23AM
What are the results?
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: neophyte
Date: May 11, 2021 10:28AM
Quote
mrbigstuff
Depends a huge amount on family history, I'd say. My GM had high cholesterol. She died at age 97, nothing to do with her arteries.

This.

Your liver can make lots of cholesterol all by itself, so check with your family members to see where you stand.

Diet can control the levels to some extent, so try that for a month or so and retest.

Also, triglyceride levels are also important.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: Robert M
Date: May 11, 2021 10:30AM
Matt,

Do have a question about the test. Did you make sure to fast prior to the test? You have to stop eating about 10:00pm the night before you take a cholesterol test. If you didn't, then the results can be skewed. (10:00pm was the time given to me by my primary care doctor and the cardiologist for my last cholesterol tests).

Maintaining a good diet with regular cardio exercise will make a big difference but you also have to factor in genetics. Cholesterol issues can run in the family and there is a point where diet, exercise and even meds hit the point of diminishing returns. That's where I am at this point.

That said, speak to your regular doctor and/or a cardiologist. Send over a copy of the report. He/she/they might say all is good enough and adding a med to the mix won't have enough of an impact to make a difference.

Robert
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: May 11, 2021 10:32AM
.....and remember....chol.......o......rectal.......



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: GGD
Date: May 11, 2021 10:39AM
As my preventive cardiology doctor says "Total Cholesterol is a meaningless number" the levels of the various components and the ratios of some of them are what's interesting.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: May 11, 2021 11:00AM
What GGD says is spot on.

From what I've read, the real issue is the LDLs, and in particular Apo(b). Here's some bits and pieces from a very scientific, albeit somewhat leading edge, medical podcast I listen to.

[peterattiamd.com]

Atherogenic lipoproteins (apoB/LDL-P) are front and center in pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. HDL is no longer primary.

ApoB as a preferred metric over LDL-P [16:30]
Peter switched to ApoB in practice due to consistency factor
Had used LDL-P, but went through 3 technologies (2 generations of NMR plus electrophoresis)
electrophoresis most accurate, but problematic when don’t know what comparing it to – 1st generation NMR (probably still used by many commercial labs) is inaccurate compared to 2nd generation NMR, but those percentiles are still what we use to understand where someone lies
With diagnostics, it matters where the reference range is and if you’re moving it
We can’t always use the same lab, so apoB a better thing to measure
Pick your favorite metric and stick with it (Peter and Tom both use ApoB)
For all biomarkers, try to use the same lab and assay
ApoB assay is commonly available and doesn’t vary widely like NMR
All guidelines talk about ApoB and get you fewer false positives when using ApoB
As NMR got better, we started to see unexplained discordance between LDL-P and ApoB
Peter says 2nd gen NMR is almost too sensitive, seeing discordance that exceeded predicted discordance, so started using ion mobility assay
Also economic reason – not expensive to measure ApoB (in Canada, $3-4), so that’s not an excuse

Is there a limit to the benefit of reducing numbers? Diminishing returns or even harm?

Peter has talked about this with Ron Krauss before. The causal relationship between ApoB and atherosclerosis is as strong as anything we see in medicine (for which we can’t do a perfect experiment)
But it might not be clear what dose/response looks like—What do we know about risk reduction in lowering from 60 to 40 to 20, both pharmacologically and non-pharmacologically (e.g., in Mendelian randomization studies)?
In studies we come across the concept that lower is better — That said, you do need a few apoB-containing lipoproteins because they traffic other lipids, but hypobetalipoproteinemia is not a problem like abetalipoproteinemia.
Studies suggest getting a 50% reduction as the most “bang for your buck” — Beyond that, you do get an incremental reduction, but it’s a much smaller increment of risk reduction.

Overview of Lp(a)

About 1 in 10 people have an elevated Lp(a), which is the greatest genetic driver of atherosclerosis
Some people have heart attacks young, and generally it’s Lp(a) until proven otherwise
Everyone needs to find out if they’re a high Lp(a) carrier (See Anahad O’Connor’s NYT story about Lp(a) carriers)

Until 5 years ago, statins were the most potent drugs to lower LDL (and apoB), but they have virtually no effect on Lp(a).

So how are the latest PCSK9 inhibitors able to lower Lp(a)?








Quote
GGD
As my preventive cardiology doctor says "Total Cholesterol is a meaningless number" the levels of the various components and the ratios of some of them are what's interesting.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: Fritz
Date: May 11, 2021 11:33AM
don't take a statin. My spouse and I both saw what they did to our mums. If you were vastly overweight, then maybe.
I took these for a jar. [amzn.com]
Dropped 239 to just under 200.
Cut way back on butter.
Upped the steel cuts to 5 d/w instead of once.
Normally I walk 3 miles/day 5 to 7 d/w.
That has been curtailed this year by meniscus and now sciatica.
But still the number was way down.
If you're really concerned, get a carotid study.
Those blood cholesterol "reports" can be way skewed as others have pointed out.



!#$@@$#!

If there are spelling issues, please pardon, Owen the cat is sitting on my keyboard.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: May 11, 2021 11:37AM
Simple interpretation: you need to buy a new bike.

Hope that helps.




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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: August West
Date: May 11, 2021 11:46AM
Quote

Simple interpretation: you need to buy a new bike.

Hope that helps.

ftw smiley



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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: freeradical
Date: May 11, 2021 11:49AM
From what I understand, consuming soluble fiber in the form of oatmeal or apples etc. is the only dietary means of reducing cholesterol levels. Your body manufactures the overwhelming amount of cholesterol that is measured in a screening.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: jdc
Date: May 11, 2021 12:21PM
heres mine from a week ago -- I got a "low" on my HDL, everything else normal.

I need to lose weight, more than I want. I walk 2 miles a day, but DR didn't consider it "exercise" cause it wasn't "strenuous". Prob way too many carbs in my diet, but eat plenty of salads and fruit. No coffee, no alchihol. I just eat too much.





----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: May 11, 2021 01:09PM
Mattkime:
LDL of 103 is only high if you are diabetic or have heart disease or peripheral vascular disease or carotid artery disease, in which case you’d need a statin regardless.

Otherwise, your numbers are fantastic.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2021 01:10PM by S. Pupp.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: Michael
Date: May 11, 2021 01:09PM
We use Red Yeast Rice (only 1 a day despite the bottle saying 2 is a "serving"). Our cholesterol levels went from borderline to low enough that our doc is happy.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: Speedy
Date: May 11, 2021 03:00PM
Quote
rgG
Quote
Speedy
Take a statin.

Truly hope you are kidding.
Statins are overprescribed and nearly killed my husband

I like a combo of 2 and 3.
Also, my husband’s cardiologist says cholesterol numbers are not the be all end all for judging heart health. Read a little on how many think they are not as important as once thought.

Ok, how about niacin and fish oil?



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: May 11, 2021 03:19PM
......red yeast rice.....is from Asia......it is also used to make wine.....so drinking red yeast rice wine may hold similar benefits.......?????



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 11, 2021 04:43PM
At this point I'm beginning to think that the numbers are 'good enough' and the understanding of cholesterol numbers has changed so much that they'd need to be pretty severely out of line for any of it to be worthy of worry.



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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: JoeM
Date: May 11, 2021 04:44PM
Quote
Speedy
Quote
rgG
Quote
Speedy
Take a statin.

Truly hope you are kidding.
Statins are overprescribed and nearly killed my husband

I like a combo of 2 and 3.
Also, my husband’s cardiologist says cholesterol numbers are not the be all end all for judging heart health. Read a little on how many think they are not as important as once thought.

Ok, how about niacin and fish oil?

The medical community tossed out Niacin a few years ago. I took it for years until they came out and said , “Nah don’t bother”. I wound up throwing out about 8 bottles of expensive no flush niacin. I take omega 3 fish oil but. I can’t say that it helps your numbers.



JoeM
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: May 11, 2021 04:59PM
Quote
Speedy
Quote
rgG
Quote
Speedy
Take a statin.

Truly hope you are kidding.
Statins are overprescribed and nearly killed my husband

I like a combo of 2 and 3.
Also, my husband’s cardiologist says cholesterol numbers are not the be all end all for judging heart health. Read a little on how many think they are not as important as once thought.

Ok, how about niacin and fish oil?

That usually. It's my triglycerides roughly in half but I always quit taking them. You need time-released niacin.
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Re: Cholesterol testing on the cheap - help me interpret my results
Posted by: Robert M
Date: May 11, 2021 06:56PM
Dennis,

Something like Niaspan. I was on Niaspan for a short time but had to stop using it due to multiple issues.

Robert
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