Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Thing I am Not a Junkie

I have bad veins - terrible, hidden, spindly little things. Unfortunately for me, I have to give blood regularly, which usually means a few hundred feeble attempts to find a vein, sticking me all the while and causing major bruising and discomfort. Blech! While the whole affair is rather miserable, it is typically quick and usually brings good results.

As I have mentioned previously, I have PCOS, a condition which renders my ticker vulnerable to attack and the rest of my poor body highly susceptible to diabetes. So, we have to keep an eye on things. This last series of tests included a check of my Hemoglobin A1C. What this number reveals is an average blood glucose level over the prior 6-8 weeks. Healthy patients should expect this number to be under 7. (Diabetics typically see a level higher than 8.) Mine was 5.4! Yay! It seems that my regular exercise and healthy diet (aided by my intake of the prescription drug Metformin) are keeping my blood sugar levels stable.

On to the fun stuff - cholesterol! Anyone over the age of 45 is probably familiar with the complicated lingo related to blood lipid levels. In my most basic layman's terms, cholesterol levels are measured 3 ways, total, LDL, and HDL. Total cholesterol is a combination of the LDL and HDL.

LDL is bad cholesterol - found in animal fats like red meat, lard, butter, egg yolks, dairy, etc. This is the "killer" cholesterol that clogs arteries and stops your heart. This number should be less than 130; mine was 88. Yay, again!

HDL is good cholesterol. How can it be good? HDLs actually help to rid your arteries of lipids (fats) and lower the LDLs. HDLs are found in vegetable fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts -- all of which I consume at an ungodly rate. So, it is with no shock and awe that my HDL numbers are good. This result should be greater than 46. Mine was 89. Triple yay!

Total cholesterol should be between 125 and 200. Mine was 195 -- still healthy, but on the high side. What I can only deduce is that I might be going overboard on the daily avocado intake. Perhaps I will slow down, but only a little. I wouldn't want those nasty LDLs to take over the joint!

For more reading, visit the American Heart Assoc. website.

(If there are any medical professionals reading my blog, feel free to give me a head's up if my understanding of such things is at all erroneous! Much appreciated!)

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