Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My doctor says I can't lower my cholesterol

February is Heart Month

"You're not going to be able to lower your cholesterol," my doctor told me a couple of weeks ago. "You could eat nothing but salads all day, and it wouldn't matter. It's heredity."

I struggled not to burst into tears right in front of the good doc. It was enough a blow, in September 2007, to find out that I have Type 2 diabetes. Now my doctor wants to put me on cholesterol medication as well!

Buying some time?

Initially, I agreed--albeit reluctantly--to take the cholesterol medication, and the doctor even called in the prescription. But despite his assurances that I would NOT be able to lower my LDL--the bad cholesterol--without medication, I wanted at least a chance to try.

Type 2 diabetics are at a higher risk of coronary disease than other people, so it IS important that my LDL be low. The doctor had never mentioned being concerned about my cholesterol until last October (2008). Now, in January, he is concerned enough to put me on medication.

I asked for three months to try to lower my LDL on my own. That gives me until roughly the end of April.

I write down everything I eat on a daily basis in a notebook every day, along with whether/how much I've exercised, my blood sugar numbers morning and night, and whether I've taken my apple cider vinegar twice a day.

Slacking off a bit?

I pulled out my notebooks from previous months to see if I've been doing anything differently.

Sure enough, even though I exercise regularly, I had not been exercising as much as I was initially. In the months after my diagnosis, I was exercising five or six times a week. Since getting my blood sugar in check, it's been more like three to four times a week.

I was checking my blood sugar just two or three times a week--and even though my A1C was a respectable 6.1, it had been lower in the past.

Whereas I used to take my apple cider vinegar faithfully morning and night, my ACV-taking had become sporadic...and sometimes I would go days without taking it. (Although scientific studies on the subject are limited and most evidence is anecdotal, I firmly believe taking the ACV played a major role in me being able to bring my blood sugar down so dramatically...and I believe it could also lower cholesterol and blood pressure.)

And while I studiously count carbs as my diabetes educators taught me to, I don't always limit foods like eggs and cheese, and I definitely was NOT eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Bottom line, I was slacking off a bit.

Cue the "Rocky" theme song...

So I've pushed everything up a notch. I'm exercising almost every day, with more intensity.

I'm eating oatmeal, Cheerios, almonds, fish, avocados, fruits and vegetables more. I'm looking into supplements that might help. I'm taking my ACV religiously, and checking my blood sugar morning and night again.

Oh, and there's the fact that I need to lose more weight. I need to take off at least 20 more pounds, and I'm now re-doubling my efforts to do just that.

My doctor may be right...maybe there's nothing I can do to lower my cholesterol on my own. If that's the case, I'll go pick up my prescription.

But if I don't lower my cholesterol, it won't be for lack of trying.

By the way, any advice would be appreciated! Comment below.

If you're interested, from dlife.com, here's 10 ways to lower your cholesterol.


Kay Day said...

I agree with Maureen's post, too.
I think that the changes you are making would have to be far more beneficial. Even if the numbers don't change.
A couch potato on meds, or an active person eating a healthy diet? No comparison. But then, I'm no expert.

Solameanie said...

You really ought to talk to Dr. John Koehler at Physicians Immediate Care in Rockford. He's really done a lot in nutritional medicine in the past few years, and has had some remarkable success with diabetics etc. A nurse in his office who struggled with weight and diabetes even managed to reverse her diabetes if I remember correctly. Tell him I told you to call.

Ann-Marie said...

You go, Cindy! We are living parallel lives. I am being treated for Type 2D and hypertension, and before we started "trying" to get pregnant I was on meds for high cholesterol, too. Your story is so inspiring! I'll be watching to see how you succeed!

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