Friday, March 5, 2010

Holy Cholesterol!

I went for my blood test last Saturday before my ten mile run. On Tuesday, I called the doctor because I had not heard anything yet. They said they did not get my results but would check into things and get back to me. I was surprised when they actually did what they said they were going to do and got back to me the same day. I was prepared for them to tell me that there was no real change and that the past 2 months of nonexistent limited alcohol and caffeine did no good. That wasn’t the case and I was pleasantly surprised for the nurse to say, everything looks fine. I said hold on a minute; I have been trying different combinations and doses of medicine to get my numbers down for years and everything is fine. What does fine constitute, I asked. The numbers are:

(Insert drum roll)


HDL 38 (HDL above 60 is optimal)

LDL 64 (LDL below 100 is optimal)

Total Cholesterol 131 (Less than 200 desirable)

Triglycerides 144 (Below 150 is normal)

Kidney Function 21 (normal range is 10-20)

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to find this news out. The cardiologist told me there is no reason to come back here and call my regular Dr. to go over the results. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from me. I certainly now realize that I will have to consume alcohol in moderation, compared to my use prior to this test. That will be to be the most difficult thing, since I do love beer. I can live with cutting the caffeine down. Lack of caffeine didn’t seem to bother me so much. While my results may not compare that great to some of you, for me it is a tremendous improvement. My last testing, I believe my cholesterol was at 255. I never realized what an impact that alcohol and caffeine can have on this. As far as the kidney function being elevated, I read that it can be due to a high protein diet and further read that the cholesterol medicines can breakdown skeletal muscle tissue which can affect the kidney. Of course, I am consuming a high protein diet and I need to talk with my doctor further to discuss minimizing some of these medicines. I think my genetic make up may also play a role in the low HDL number. But the overall cholesterol is good and the ratio is more important than just the HDL number. These numbers are with me on medication. I am taking Zocor and Zetia for cholesterol and Toprol-XL for high blood pressure. My blood pressure has been in check for years with the medication and exercise.

Back in college I was economics major. Every year, the Economics Dept. from my Alma matter (Eastern Illinois University) brings ten students to Chicago for the weekend. They take a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank and other cool things in the city. This Friday, the alumni in the area get together with the group of students and professors for drinks and dinner in Chicago. It is a nice way to meet the students and reminisce of old times and catch up with old friends. I was fortunate enough to develop friendships with two of my professors and when they make the trip, I always try to attend. This year they have asked me and a few others to be mentors to the existing students. I am honored and have offered to help out in any capacity I can. In years past, I have always stayed with my professors at the hotel so I could take in the night life after dinner. This year, I will be taking a late train home and running in the morning. These are some of the lifestyle modifications I will need to get used to.

Sorry for the long winded post. I hope everyone has a great weekend and good running.


  1. Good for you. Now you just need to keep that train on the tracks!

  2. Yay yay yay! I am so happy to hear there was some improvement in your neighbors! It is so inspiring to know that lifestyle changes really do make a difference.

    Have fun being a mentor today! I bet it is really fun to meet the students :)

  3. Hi Tony,
    That is awesome news!! I am happy for you...and look at that awesome cholesterol score:) I think it is very cool that you were chosen to be a mentor for the current students of your Alma matter...thats exciting Tony!! I also love it when I can reconnect with some of my favorite professors!! It sounds like you have many reasons to celebrate this weekend!! Okay, in moderation:) Happy Friday!!

  4. I'm glad the changes work - congrats. Have a fun weekend!

  5. Fantastic numbers! I too am vigilant about cholesterol and just hate when they say 'fine' and don't even get to the details.
    I had no idea alcohol and caffeine had such an effect! Have a great weekend!

  6. That's great, I'm happy for you. Have a great run this weekend!

  7. Tony,
    Excellent news to start the weekend. You should be congratulated for your efforts- nothing short of amazing.

    I, too, did not know caffeine/ alcohol were such contributors. I drink so much now has me thanks.

    I'm an Econ major, too! You're gonna have a great time. Have a great weekend..:)

  8. Yea for the good news!!! I would love to have a kidney test done, I will have to look into that one! Have a great weekend :).

  9. Congrats on the new numbers that is a huge improvement (mostly to your life span) it is inspiring this whole being active thing just might actually be worth it :)