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Bloodwork back, total cholesterol is high, I am freaking out a little bit

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  • Bloodwork back, total cholesterol is high, I am freaking out a little bit

    So I recently got some bloodwork done, I have been tired. (I struggle with insomnia, partly because I have a daughter with a seizure disorder, but that story is for another time.)

    I was curious to see what my cholesterol level was going to be. It was high.

    Total cholesterol: 251
    Triglycerides: 70
    HDL cholesterol: 109
    VLDL: 14
    LDL: 128

    My ratios seem good, but that total cholesterol number sticks out like a sore thumb, it's freaking me out a bit. I have been eating primal since Thanksgiving time, I exercise 5x/week, my carbs are under 75 grams/day. I fluctuate between 80/20 and 90/10. I love the way I feel, so happy I don't have to feel hungry to be "healthy" and "fit". The primal way of eating seems like a good fit for me, until I got these results. Can anyone relate to this and what should I do? The doctor didn't mention anything, but he can be flakey sometimes, lol. Any input would be appreciated, thank you.

  • #2
    I've read that in the 70's, the healthy level was 280 (I can't verify that, I just remember reading it somewhere) and there was a lot less heart disease then than there is now. My mom recently had bloodwork done and her total was around 200, and her doc told her that that was too high, and that it should be under 170. It seems like they just keep lowering the standards, but heart disease rates continue to rise. So, I wouldn't put too much faith in those standards. As long as your ratios are good, you're probably perfectly fine.

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    • #3
      Those numbers are fairly excellent. Keep up the good work!

      To set your mind at ease:

      5 reasons not to worry about your cholesterol numbers


      The Straight Dope on Cholesterol: 10 Things You Need to Know – Part 1 | Mark's Daily Apple

      Your total cholesterol number may very well be the most useless piece of information ever gained from a blood test. It baffles me that any doc would rely on it. This info has been out for many years now. Even traditional docs can't be that far behind. Ahhhhh statins, how we love thee.
      Last edited by Neckhammer; 01-31-2013, 10:53 AM.

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      • #4
        Neckhammer, thank you for that article!!!!!!!

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        • #5
          No Problem

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 14emom View Post
            My ratios seem good, but that total cholesterol number sticks out like a sore thumb, it's freaking me out a bit.
            Why?

            I believe lowest risk of all-cause mortality is a total cholesterol in the 200-240 range. Below 180 starts becoming a health risk.

            Your total cholesterol number isn't correct, anyway. Your trigs are too low, so your LDL cholesterol isn't calculated correctly. It's not a direct LDL measurement, it's almost certainly an estimate based on the Friedewald formula for LDL calculation. As you can see, when trigs are low, the number is wildly inaccurate. This guy's calculation (posted above) was off by over 45 points!

            In short, you do not know your total cholesterol. Your LDL is a calculation, likely off by about 20-30%, which will skew your totals horribly. It's all wrong.

            Get a direct LDL measurement, an LDL particle test and a C-reactive protein test. Add this info to your HDL and trig numbers and you'll have a better feel for your health.
            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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            • #7
              I want to add:

              Total cholesterol = (trigs/5) + HDL + LDL. In your case: (70/5)+109+128=251

              Realistically, your LDL is probably 20% high due to calculation error (as detailed above). If that is the case and your LDL is around 102 (probably more reasonable), redo the calculation.

              TC = (70/5) + 109 + 102 = 225

              That puts you smack dab in the middle of lowest risk of all cause mortality.

              Happier?
              Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                Why?
                Your total cholesterol number isn't correct, anyway. Your trigs are too low, so your LDL cholesterol isn't calculated correctly.

                In short, you do not know your total cholesterol. Your LDL is a calculation, likely off by about 20-30%, which will skew your totals horribly. It's all wrong.

                Get a direct LDL measurement, an LDL particle test and a C-reactive protein test. Add this info to your HDL and trig numbers and you'll have a better feel for your health.
                I am so confused by what you said....

                So....your total cholesterol wrong is because your LDL was wrong, because your LDL was based off a calculation from total cholesterol? Circular thinking much?

                I'm pretty sure total cholesterol was measured correctly, whereas LDL was just wrong due to the calculation error.
                My chocolatey Primal journey

                Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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                • #9
                  LDL is frequently calculated rather than measured. But the equation for that calculation does not work when you trigs are quite low. It just throws the whole equation off.

                  Here is the equation

                  LDL = TC - HDL - (TG/5)

                  So you measured the TC, Trigs and the HDL but you depend on a quotient of the trigs. If the trigs are low this imbalances the equation.

                  This one works better when trigs are bellow 100

                  LDL = TC/1.19 + TG/1.9 - HDL/1.1 - 38

                  A little algebra gets you from the LDL= equation to the TC= Equation that choco posted, but that kinda messed you up cause its actually the LDL that is calculated and his equation makes it look like the TC is what was calculated. No big deal, the point is the is still valid that LDL was incorrectly calculated. But, having a VLDL listed in her numbers seems to indicate hers were done by direct measurement I believe....

                  Either way OP your LDL (even at 128) is bellow the level to worry about even in traditional sense (even the biggest statin pushers put it at 130).

                  I think we've fairly well mucked this up. I stand by my first response
                  Last edited by Neckhammer; 01-31-2013, 12:40 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Choco, as an afterthought:

                    Or are you saying that the methods for them to measure total cholesterol are wrong, so you are better off getting your LDL measured and calculating total cholesterol from that?
                    My chocolatey Primal journey

                    Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sakura_girl View Post
                      I am so confused by what you said....

                      So....your total cholesterol wrong is because your LDL was wrong, because your LDL was based off a calculation from total cholesterol? Circular thinking much?

                      I'm pretty sure total cholesterol was measured correctly, whereas LDL was just wrong due to the calculation error.
                      It's not circular. What I'm saying is when trigs are low (<100), the Friedewald equation is usually off on calculating LDL by around 20%. I'm assuming if you're giving a direct LDL measurement, you'll be about 20% lower. I'm simply taking 80% of her LDL number and plugging it back into the equation. It's not perfect, but it's probably more accurate than what it is now.
                      Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sakura_girl View Post
                        Choco, as an afterthought:

                        Or are you saying that the methods for them to measure total cholesterol are wrong, so you are better off getting your LDL measured and calculating total cholesterol from that?
                        Yes.

                        I'm saying get your LDL, HDL and trigs directly measured. Then, calculate your TC. Basing your LDL's and totals off a standard cholesterol test is kind of silly. IMO, it's only valid to see your HDL:trig ratio. In this case, it is EXCELLENT.
                        Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                        • #13
                          Okay, makes sense to me.
                          My chocolatey Primal journey

                          Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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                          • #14
                            This whole conversation is very interesting and makes a lot of sense. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to comment.

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                            • #15
                              No no no choco....

                              LDL is calculated.

                              TC, HDL and Trigs are measured.

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