Monday, February 2, 2009

The State of My Health

The last time I remember getting a physical was more than 20 years ago while getting ready for a 50-mile hike as a boy scout.

I rarely get sick, and I usually feel strong and healthy. Life has been about making sure the rest of my family is healthy and getting them the medical attention they need.

Now that I have reached my mid-30s, I thought it might be a good idea to get some things checked out. Every year, in our little town, they hold a health fair. For the past few years I haven't taken advantage of it, but this year I did, to an extent.

A few weeks previous to the health fair and after a 12-hour fast, the lab at the hospital/health clinic took my blood sample and tested it for a couple dozen different things. The intent is for us to go and pick up our results at the health fair and be able to discuss these results with doctors and nurses, and take advantages of other health screenings, etc. I had to work that day, and couldn't make it, but I went to the hospital this morning and picked up my blood test results.

They tested for all kinds of things like, glucose, sodium, calcium, protein, phosphates, triglycerides, etc. Two things came back as out of the normal range: my Overall Cholesterol and my LDL Cholesterol. My numbers are in the borderline-high category (between normal and high).

So now, I'm learning all I can about cholesterol and LDL and HDL.

Some of my early findings: LDL is commonly known as the "bad" cholesterol. HDL is commonly known as the "good" or "healthy cholesterol". My HDL number is toward the higher end of the normal range. A higher HDL is better (I think) and can help to offset a bad LDL number. To bring my cholesterol numbers down, I need to avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats. I need to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables and soluble fiber. Oatmeal can be a big help here.

I'm happy that my cholesterol is the only result that came back on the high end of things. Otherwise, I'm a healthy, healthy Brad. I've never had any idea of what's going on in there. And now, it's good to have some kind of base line for the future.

The moral of the story: Bring on the oatmeal !!! :)


Sonja said...

It's great that you're taking the initiative with your health and doing what you can to be healthy. Many people don't care and they don't bother until something goes wrong (heart attack, etc).

I had high LDL and low HDL in my mid 20's after having David. I started taking vitamins and drinking a soy protein drink. 30 days after doing that, I had a retest and there was a dramatic difference. I started exercising and the HDL went up as I was hoping. So diet and exercise really do have a huge impact on cholesterol!

I bet you'll see a real difference if you make a few changes, I'd be interested in seeing a cholesterol update in the future.

CrazyChel said...

Great reminder for the new year. I know being a parent it's easy to remember all the check-ups the kids need, but it's a bit harder to remember to take care of ourselves! :)

Brad said...

How embarrassing! I read through my blog post and found a few spelling/gramatical errors. Sorry about that. They're fixed now. I should proof-read better, huh? :)