Cholesterol question


#1

Hi everyone -

I just got some pretty good numbers back from my endo (A1C - 6.9!), but my LDL “bad” cholesterol is living up to its name and clocking in much higher than she or I would like.

Being only 24 and previously the healthiest kid on the block, I have no idea how to lower my cholesterol, especially with T1 diabetes. There’s a bunch of stuff I don’t understand, like how my HDL can be excellent, but my LDL can be too high, but I know that I want to try and bring it down without meds at least at first.

I’d love to know if anyone has any suggestions out there?


#2

Nice improvement on your A1C :slight_smile:

I’m running just a little high in my LDL as well and I’m not interested in going on any meds unless I’m convinced it’s necessary. I added a daily handful of almonds as a mid-morning snack (only 5g carbs, so it’s easy to cover with a bolus) to my diet and hope that’s able to give me a 5% LDL reduction. I won’t know if it works for a few months as my cholesterol is only measured annually.

Here’s an article from the Mayo clinic that might help get you started:
Cholesterol: The best foods to lower your cholesterol and protect your heart


#3

I didn’t want to take cholesterol medication but my endo said that my LDL would be that much better and I hate to say she was right, and it really wasn’t that bad. I do watch my carbs about 130-145 a day. I eat what I want and I just got my A1c 2 days ago and it was 5.7% down from 5.8%. 10mg of Zocor does the trick. If you can bring it down without meds I congratulate you. It is enough to bolus and watch or at least have to think about everything I eat and the last thing I wanted was to have to think about lowering my cholesterol using diet and more restriction. Just my $.02 cents!!! Dave


#4

Even though my LDL was in the normal range, my primary physician AND my endo recommended I take medication on a prophylactic basis to keep it down. I take 10mg of Lipitor each night. But I’m twice as old as you. I also have good insurance coverage.

Follow the link Ken supplied, it looks like a great place to start with your diet, and keep up the exercise.

Terry


#5

Hi Lizzy: : o)

Good job on getting your A1c under 7.0. I consume many of the foods
mentioned in the article. I don’t like sea food but I’ve always taken cod
liver oil capsules and I’ll have the occasional tuna sandwich… I also don’t
like eggs which is a plus and minus since the yolks too often is supposed
to raise the LDL but eggs are supposed to be good for you also. I have
about 8 a yr. Dairy products are supposed to be consumed in moderation.
Tea has been one of my choice beverages since I was a teenager which is
supposed to be Good in the lipid area. I do enjoy almonds and walnuts daily.
Aerobic exercise is recommended but I would think any fast exercise should
be helpful. Losing weight and not smoking is beneficial regarding cholesterol.

I’ve never been on drugs for cholesterol even though my GP thinks I should
be since I’ve had Diabetes so long. I still haven’t had the prescription filled
however since my Endo said I don’t need to be on drugs for it since my high
HDL will protect my heart and my heart is Fine so far(kow). My numbers
are pretty Good. High cholesterol does run in some Families so it’s hard
for some to get theirs down no matter how hard they try.

If I remember correctly the test shows a non-Diabetic’s HDL should be above
1.30 mmol/L (mine is 2.24) and the LDL is supposed to be 2.5 mmol/L or less
(mine is 2.2). My GP said for a Diabetic, it is supposed to be 2.0 mmol/L or less.
Gosh! Give me a break. Trigs should be below 2.30 mmol/L(mine are 0.52)

My GP also gave me a prescription for Ramipril(5mg) which I do use even though
my Endo says I don’t need those either since my kidneys are Good. The max for
Creatinine should be 88.0(which is acceptable) (mine was 66.0). My highest ever
was 83.0 once.

I don’t like taking extra drugs though I take enough since i have 2 other chronic
diseases. I do realize Lab test results and Drs. opinions certainly differ. I know…
TMI. ; )


#6

I’m in the same boat as you. My total cholesterol is 97, and (in American measurements) people at risk want to keep theirs below 100. Of course, I’m already a vegetarian, and I don’t eat eggs or dairy either. So I can’t do much with my diet. We adjusted my thyroid medication. (Thyroid can have an effect on cholesterol). And exercise is supposed to help too.

That mayo clinic diet that Ken linked to is called the Portfolio Diet. Here’s another link to more information about it http://www.portfolioeatingplan.com/ . My warning is that the Web site is presented by the Almond Board of California, so it pushes almonds. Most other nuts should work just as well. But the diet itself is backed by science.


#7

Lizzie,

What are your triglycerides like?

Also, what are the cholesterol profiles like of other people in your family?

I have extremely high LDL, but I also have very high HDL and very low triglicerides. My dad’s total cholesterol was 340 at age 70, and he lived to be 100 and only retired at 92. It turns out some of us have very large LDL molecules that are good for us. My dad and I were in the study that discovered this. Light fluffy LDL cholesterol measures high but doesn’t seem to cause the dangerous plagues that small LDL molecules do.

It also turns out that triglycerides and HDL are much more predictive of heart attack risk than LDL. The research pointing towards LDL is flawed. If you want the details, it is all in Gary Taubes’ new book, “Good Calories Bad Calories.”

But that said, for many of us, cutting carbs down to where our post-meal blood sugars don’t spike is the best way to lower LDL.
6.9% is a good number for lowering the risk of retinopathy but it is still very high for heart attack risk. So if you can work towards lowering your post-meal blood sugars safely, and get down under 6%, you might see the cholesterol improve.


#8

I cut out animal fats and started consuming massive quantities of almonds (who knew they tasted so good?) and upped my whole grains. That dropped my LDL by 30 points in 3 months.


#9

My doc put me on 5 mg of Zocor. I also tried to cut out a lot of fried foods, started buying 2% cheese (it’s good, I promise!), and eating egg beaters instead of eggs (even though I still cook with real eggs). It helped a lot. I didn’t understand a whole lot about it either. I am only 26, and it was a shock to have my doctor tell me I had high cholesterol last year! It helped me out a lot though. But watching the cholesterol I was consuming, I inadvertently lowered my fat intake & lost 15 pounds in 6 months. I have gained about 5 of it back, but it was still very nice to know that I could loose that weight if I wanted to. Good luck with your cholesterol levels.


#10

Hi all -

Thanks for all of your suggestions! I’ve started making some key daily changes in my diet - eating a handful of walnuts every day and eating oatmeal every morning. Last week was actually the first time that I had had oatmeal in a YEAR. I used to eat it pretty regularly, but with my diabetes diagnosis came an irrational fear of whole grains, I guess. It wasn’t as hard to bolus for as I had expected, and I am now happily back on the Quaker train. I’ve cut out carbs later in the day to compensate for the extra 20g hit in the morning. I’m going to work on incorporating some good seafood into my weekly eating, but I’m a “convenience is key” kinda gal, so that may take some adjustment.

I’ve also been flirting with the idea of vegetarianism. Why get my protein from an animal that got its protein from a plant when I can just eat the plant to begin with - you know? Problem is - the animal tastes pretty good, in my opinion.

Jenny - I don’t actually know what my triglicerides are, my doc and I only talked about HDL and LDL, but those were the only two that showed up as high on my lab sheet (the lab is nice and puts the high values in bold for you). The high HDL is good, the high LDL probably not so good. I’m starting on my new insulin pump on Wednesday, so with the better control, I’ll be working even harder toward a lower A1C, too. Also, how does lowering carbs lower your LDL? Cholesterol is from all the stuff that I’m eating instead of carbs, right? Lean turkey, chicken, fish, and occasionally beef. I’m on a pretty tightly carb restricted diet (probably less than 60grams a day, mainly from vegetables and that bowl of oatmeal), I’m not sure what more I can cut.

Thanks!!


#11

I was told the strongest influence over your cholesterol is your family genes. I think I inherited good ones (at least for the cholesterol part!), as my endocronologist told me I’m his only patient over 40 that he does not have on a statin. I don’t expect that to be forever though. Although not a vegetarian, I am not much of a meat eater and eat low fat. Are you on a pump? I eat quite a bit of carbs, but take symlin and use the pump to keep the post-meal sugars down.


#12

hey lizzie,
my cholesterol right now is decent even though my a1c and both parent’s (non-diabetic) cholesterols aren’t great. I don’t know if its from my diet, but I eat TONS of almonds and other nuts, as other people have suggested. Fruit with soluble fiber like apples is also good.

Also - you mentioned convenience - if you want to make sure you’re getting the good seafood benefits but don’t want to deal with cooking fish all the time, try fish oil pills. I have to admit sometimes they result in some nasty burps (sorry if that was TMI, but wanted to warn you) but if you have them with ice water it’s not as bad, and definitely very easy and good for the heart.