Saturday, April 15, 2006

High-LDL Good, Low-HDL Bad For Protecting Against Heart Disease

Have I told you lately how much I love and appreciate you for coming to my blog? If not, then consider this my heartfelt and earnest gratitude for what you mean to me. The encouraging e-mails and helpful information you send to me confirms that the hours of efforts I invest in the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog are not in vain. Although I have never met the vast majority of you, I feel like I've known you my whole life. For that, I am honored to know you. Keep sharing your comments with me anytime at :)

One of my devoted readers wanted to share with me her experience regarding cholesterol after she read my recent blog posts about my doctor wanting to put me back on a statin drug again because he was concerned about my LDL cholesterol being too high after looking at the results from the blood work tests he had conducted in March.

Most of my readers agreed with me that I should avoid statin drugs and I have since attempted other ways to get my LDL numbers down. I'm also in the process of having my LDL tested using both the Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test as well as the Liposcience test. These tests are much more detailed with the breakdown of the LDL, especially for people on low-carb where the results from traditional cholesterol tests don't give the whole picture. I'll let you know the results as soon as I get them.

That is what my reader decided to have done when her doctor tried to put her on a statin drug as well after her total cholesterol went up to 237 and her LDL came in at an "elevated" 146. She has no history of heart disease in her family and is in her early 50's.

"My doctor wanted to put me on a statin, but my brother has had horrible, incapitating leg pain, which, coupled with all of the other possible side effects, makes me reluctant to take it unless absoluely necessary."

I know the feeling. When I was taking both Liptor and Crestor, my joints hurt so bad I couldn't take the pain. Sure my cholesterol was lower, but what was that statin drug doing to my body?! I stopped worrying about it when I started livin' la vida low-carb and I've never felt better in my entire life.

Guess what my reader did about her "high" LDL cholesterol? She told her doctor that she wanted a breakdown of her LDL to see what the particle size was since the more dense kind is what leads to heart disease. The results were amazing for this low-carber!

"The majority of my LDL is not only the benign LDL, but is the type that puts me in the LOWEST risk group for coronary heart disease. Now I'm wondering how many other people out there, including my husband, ignorantly follow medical advice that may not be in their best interest. If I have GOOD LDL, and if I were to take a statin to lower it, would that statin change my LDL profile to one that would actually put me more at risk of heart disease?"

Now there's something for you to chew on for a while. THANK YOU to my reader for sharing her experience with us.

Somebody else weighed in this week on how a high HDL cholesterol number is protective against heart disease. And he's not just anyone, it's the very highly respected low-carb expert beloved by millions -- Dr. Michael Eades.

I was privileged to have the opportunity to meet him and his lovely wife, Dr. Mary Dan Eades at the low-carb conference in Brooklyn, New York earlier this year. They are good people and valiantly lead the advancement of low-carb living to the masses.

One of the ways they do that is through Dr. Eades' incredible blog! If you do not already regularly visit his blog, then you are missing out on some extraordinary material that will help convince you even more that you are on the right path nutritionally by choosing the low-carb lifestyle.

Several of you pointed me to this blog post from Dr. Eades about the heart health benefits of elevated levels of HDL. As always, this post is well worth reading for its entertainment factor as well as by the truth he always conveys in his writings.

Reading this American Heart Journal paper on the benefits of high HDL cholesterol, Dr. Eades said "despite any Dean Ornish HDL-cholesterol-is-a-garbage-truck gibberish to the contrary, HDL-cholesterol may be protective against heart disease."

Hey, my HDL is 72, pretty high wouldn't you say? When I noted this to my doctor after my recent physical, he wasn't impressed. His reaction was, "Well, your LDL is still much too high and must come down." But, but, but...oh, nevermind, I forgot he comes from the Dean Ornish School Of Nutritional Closed-Mindedness! It seems most people in the medical profession today have graduated from that school with honors because they're not giving low-carb the respect it deserves.

Dr. Eades agrees and explains why doctors are skeptical about any beneficial properties to HDL.

"If you want to get your HDL-cholesterol levels up, you have to eat fat. Fat intake drives HDL-cholesterol levels up; decreasing fat in the diet--as Dean Ornish has discovered to his chagrin--drops HDL-cholesterol levels."

Ergo, the low-fat diet heralded by the health community for decades as the most virtuous of all eating methods doesn't do diddly squat to make HDL better. In fact, as Dr. Eades points out, it drops, thus putting people with low-HDL at a greater risk for heart disease! Why else would doctors like mine overlook my high-HDL as insignificant? Are they selectively deciding what they want to believe is best for you and ignoring other factors in the process? Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

At the end of his blog post, Dr. Eades makes a statement that will bring a smile to the face of every low-carber out there.

"So, if you want to raise your HDL-cholesterol level by putting something other than your foot in your mouth, try a cheeseburger, hold the bun, hold the fries. It's a lot tastier."

LOL! I love this man, Dr. Eades! Keep speaking the truth, my friend, and we will prevail in the health debate. THANK YOU to everyone who has shared their comments with me about my cholesterol and I promise to keep you informed about the latest developments as I get these tests back and make my return visit to the doctor in August.

Just so you know, I've been taking garlic tablets, plant stenols, and red yeast rice daily to see if it will bring my LDL cholesterol down from 172. It may be a moot point if these other tests show that I am not at risk for heart disease. We shall see very soon, won't we? Take care!


Blogger branruadh said...

A word of gentle caution on the red yeast rice extract, just in case you hadn't heard... taking it too long can do many things to your liver, none of them good. If you think that's only the equivalent drug that'll do that, you're wrong. Especially since that drug is merely synthetic red yeast rice extract. Chemically identical.

4/16/2006 5:06 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Interesting, I had not heard that. I'll be on it for four months and then stop.

4/16/2006 4:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love Dr. Eades' blog! He is such a wealth of controlled-carb information. I highly recommend his blog.

4/16/2006 10:15 PM  

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