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My total cholesterol went from 146 to 217 in 4 months!

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  • My total cholesterol went from 146 to 217 in 4 months!

    OK. I just had a simple quick cholesterol test today at a health fair at work. I realize that it is total cholesterol, which doesn't mean much at all (and probably not very accurate). Nevertheless, it is alarming that in 4 months, it went from 146 to 217.

    4 months ago, my LDL was 92, and my HDL was 54. I started primal about 5.5 months ago.

    Granted, I've been eating dark chocolate, drinkng red wine, and exercising in the interest of trying to raise my HDL. But I don't think that I could have raised it by 71 points in 4 months!

    Should I go get a full lipid test now? Should I be alarmed?
    My primal journal

  • #2
    I went primal and had my blood work done 4 months later.
    total cholesterol 205.
    LDL 99
    HDL 96
    Triglicerides 48

    I'm not alarmed with that, and neither was my physician. But, I'm not a doctor...
    http://meatsleeprepeat.com/
    http://ternioncrossfit.com/

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    • #3
      It is not alarming at all. Mark posted some studies which show that it's better to have a cholesterol reading between 200 and 240 to prevent all kinds of mortality causes.

      Your sexual hormones probably had a boost, too, because of that.
      It's protective and it's nothing to worry about as long as your HDL is high and your trig down.
      Young self-caring Paleo-eater from France.
      (So please forgive the strange way I tend to express myself in your beautiful language )

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      • #4
        Many folks say TC is not a good predictor of CVD. The main focus seems to be LDL-P which requires special testing, preferably NMR. However, top lipidologists like Thomas Dayspring and Tara Dall say non-HDL is an excellent surrogate for LDL-P and should be <150 for moderate risk patients and <100 for higher risk patients. If you believe them, having your TC shoot up without a corresponding increase in HDL-C could mean big trouble.

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        • #5
          Thanks everyone for the comments. I think that it is probably OK. I recall now Mark saying that TC between 200 and 240 is beneficial. Neverthelss, I think that I'll go for a more detailed test to make sure that my HDL has at least gone up in proportion to LDL. In any case, I've been curious if my efforts to increase HDL are working.

          MeatSleepRepeat: I'd be totally happy if my HDL and LDL were more or less 1 to 1 like you have.

          The test I had today also included triglycerides, but it could only confirm they were less than 70. So even if my LDL has gone up, hopefully it isn't the more dangerous kind.
          My primal journal

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          • #6
            Actually, your lower cholesterol number sounds too low, like outside the realm of health. I think there's actually higher mortality for people with very low cholesterol compared to people with higher cholesterol.
            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
              Actually, your lower cholesterol number sounds too low, like outside the realm of health. I think there's actually higher mortality for people with very low cholesterol compared to people with higher cholesterol.
              But what if your TC is low but the ratios are ideal?

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              • #8
                Well, I'm not an expert. It's something I read somewhere. But here's a perspective that suggests maybe it's not so bad. Cholesterol: Can It Go Too Low?
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                  Well, I'm not an expert. It's something I read somewhere. But here's a perspective that suggests maybe it's not so bad. Cholesterol: Can It Go Too Low?
                  In either case, are we NOT supposed to look at TC because it doesn't matter?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KathyH View Post
                    In either case, are we NOT supposed to look at TC because it doesn't matter?
                    It only matters in the extreme ranges.....in those cases it may be indicative of an underlying pathology or genetic predisposition (rarely).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                      It only matters in the extreme ranges.....in those cases it may be indicative of an underlying pathology or genetic predisposition (rarely).
                      What is considered extreme high and extreme low?

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                      • #12
                        Clinical context.... for the large majority of people cholesterol is a worthless number. I would consider anything from 140-300 within normal limits. As you probably realize this is debatable and is my own opinion based on current evidence. Each person is an individual and wile 150 may be fine for one person it could be the culprit for depressive disorders in another. Also recognize that total cholestorol can vary by up to 30 points from one test to the next so you would need repeated draws just like with BP. Currently the best evidence seems to be pointing towards LDL particle number and inflammatory markers such as CRP for evaluating risk.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                          Clinical context.... for the large majority of people cholesterol is a worthless number. I would consider anything from 140-300 within normal limits. As you probably realize this is debatable and is my own opinion based on current evidence. Each person is an individual and wile 150 may be fine for one person it could be the culprit for depressive disorders in another. Also recognize that total cholestorol can vary by up to 30 points from one test to the next so you would need repeated draws just like with BP. Currently the best evidence seems to be pointing towards LDL particle number and inflammatory markers such as CRP for evaluating risk.
                          So basically we don't know what is too high or too low.
                          Thanks. How do you get LDL particle number?

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                          • #14
                            In most cases LDL is calculated using the Friedewald formula which over-estimates LDL when Triglicerides are low. People with low triglicerides should have the LDL calculated with the Iranian formula
                            A comparison of calculated results here LDL Cholesterol Calculator and elsewhere.
                            Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
                            PS
                            Don't forget to play!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KathyH View Post
                              What is considered extreme high and extreme low?
                              It's different for men and women. For women, TC is inversely related to all cause mortality. In other words, the lower your cholesterol is, the more likely you are to die.

                              For men, there's more of a 'U' shape, where very low and very high cholesterol is dangerous. For men, the sweet spot to aim for is 200-280. The further you get from that zone, the higher your all cause mortality becomes.
                              Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                              Griff's cholesterol primer
                              5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                              Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                              TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                              bloodorchid is always right

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