Recently, I’ve had a number of health-related things to do, and a few tests were on that list. A few days ago, I got the email. The one from the information nurse saying that someone at my doctor’s office needed to talk with me. The one with the subject line that might as well say, “Prepare to freak out, frail human”.
It took a long time and an eventual trip to campus, but I finally got in touch with the information nurse, who told me that my cholesterol was off. This was better news than my runaway imagination was expecting, given that it had over three hours to ponder the possibilities and had finished with all of the reasonable options within the first half hour and had moved to the progressively scarier options. Trouble is, the information nurse didn’t actually have that much information beyond her pronouncement that “something is not quite right”. She had some numbers, but the not the ratio or any of the important details on what exactly was the problem, and she didn’t know how to calculate them out or figure out where the problem was. She suggested a low-far diet and exercise, but when I explained that I was already on top of those things, she didn’t have anything esle to suggest. So, that was about as helpful as you’d imagine, and I was left largely to my own devices. On the up side, I’ll be talking to my doctor soon to work out a plan and get more details, which I hope will help.
In general, this is a bit frustrating. Admittedly, my parents both have slightly high cholesterol, and genetics play a huge role in cholesterol. But I eat well, and I exercise regularly, I’m not overweight and I don’t smoke, and I’m reasonably young. Basically, I do all of the things you’re supposed to do to keep your cholesterol low, and mine’s just…not. It’s more than likely genetics, but this is a concern since I’m going to need to figure out what needs to be done to improve my results when most of the standard advice is stuff that I already do.
In the meantime, I’ve taken a few steps on my own. I’ve added omega 3 and 6 supplements to my diet and will be eating a bit more fish. I’m increasing my fiber intake, especially soluble fiber which helps to reduce bad cholesterol. This means steel cut oats every morning, a veggie-and-legume soup for lunch, and extra nuts, seeds, and fruits and vegetables every day. I’m drinking more green tea. And I’m making sure I get in some exercise absolutely every day.
Happily, none of these changes require any great sacrifice – at most, they demand a bit of extra planning for things like making oats ahead of time, or soaking beans for the next day’s lunch. They’re also not that expensive – most of the food I already had, and picking up some extra seeds, green tea, and dried fruit didn’t add much to the grocery bill for the week. I did need to pick up the supplements, but they were on sale. But even if they weren’t, I think it’s worth spending a bit of money to try and get this under control now before it turns into a bigger issue down the road. It’s certainly not ideal, but things could be much worse. After all, this is something that should be manageable once we figure out what my body needs and how best to keep this under control.
Despite my frustration and concern, I’m actually a bit…well, glad. I’ve recently been talking about stepping up how I take care of my health, and this seems like a good way to get that going. I’ve taken the last few days to read up more on whole foods recipes in general – Nourishing Traditions, Laurel’s Kitchen, and Super Natural Cooking were a great help – and I have some more ideas about recipes to try and things to incorporate. I’ve had an easier time saying “no” to the things I shouldn’t be doing, and I’ve been better about making healthy choices in terms of what I eat and how I exercise. Basically, I’m stepping up the things I already do, and the things that I’m adding are really things I should do anyway. This is the direction I wanted to go. Now I just have a more pressing reason to do so, and a bit more motivation to keep on track.