Chiropractic Blog Section

My Personal Cholesterol Experiment

Although I have always exercised 5-6 times a week and eaten a good balanced diet – rarely touching a take away or drinking alcohol and being unable to ever remember purchasing a ‘ready meal’ – I still had remarkably high bad cholesterol levels (LDL) at 24 years old. Don’t panic, I’m not super human – I do have a massive weakness for sugar and more particularly for chocolate! So how can we take an active roll in controlling cholesterol?

I requested my first cholesterol check at 24 years of age due to a family history of high cholesterol. The nurse told me ‘30% of cholesterol can be genetic’ which I could not control, but my overall cholesterol level was nearing the upper limit of the acceptable range and therefore it would be likely I would need to go on statins in the near future! I have to admit I was in complete shock at this statement and did start doing some research into diet choices. However the other half of my brain was saying this is crazy! I lead a relatively active lifestyle with a varied diet so I’m going to live my life and carry on.

At 29 years old, following a bout of IBS, I made some drastic changes.  I completely removed anything processed and, although not a big drinker, I completely stopped alcohol. And the big one for me – I cut out sugar. Three months into these changes, and one stone lighter, I was walking down a London street and noticed a free health check station including NHS cholesterol checks. What a fabulous idea I thought, but after a quick chat with staff I found I was not eligible as I was under 40! We chatted further and I explained how odd I thought it was they were turning away younger people as surely prevention was far better than cure. Anyway with our further discussion and the fact no one was waiting, the man performed a ‘roadside’ cholesterol check on me.

From my recent research into controlling cholesterol it seems that overall cholesterol reading is not as important as once thought and in fact we should be more concerned with the cholesterol/HDL ratio. There are two types of cholesterol, good ‘HDL’, and bad ‘LDL’. What scientists are now drawing our attention towards is increasing HDL levels. Let’s look at my readings since my personal experiment:-

Karen 24 yrs 03/11/11 Karen 29 yrs 28/10/16
Total Cholesterol (should be under 5 unless its HDL pushing it up) 5.5 6.09
LDL (Bad cholesterol), highest risk of heart disease) 3.4 3.3
HDL (Good cholesterol) 1.56 2.43
Trig (should be under 1.5) 1.19 0.79
Chol/HDL ratio 3.53 2.5

 

So even though my overall cholesterol has gone up from 5.5 to 6.09, the LDL reading has marginally lowered and the HDL dramatically increased bringing my overall ratio down from 3.5 to 2.5 which current research suggests is a success!

Chiropractors generally like to look at the whole body approach and realise that lifestyle and diet play a key role in our overall health and recovery. We can help with the functional side of problems and help you accelerate healing with a combination of treatment and lifestyle advice. If you would like help with your back, neck or joint pain call us on 0203 633 0565.