Cholesterol levels


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Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 16, 2012 - 01:26pm PT
Just had annual physical and looking at bloodwork trying to navigate good cop / bad cop cholesterol levels.

Total Cholesterol 175
HDL = 78
LDL = 80
Triglycerides = 85

A quick check of a website suggests these numbers are pretty danged good. I know there are some knowledgeable folk on this board on this topic... am I going to die?

I eat fatty foods, try not to overindulge on sugar and starch, drink more than is healthy, eat junk food and exercise only by climbing and hiking. I live on the road and eat all sorts of food from junk to French Death to sushi, on a regular basis.

I never bought into the low-fat dietary regime - it made no sense and given my numbers continues to make no sense. Eating fat doesn't make you fat (sugar, does). But I have worried about ldl - this seems to suggest I don't need to worry much in that regard?

Just don't tell me I have to stop drinking... its all I've got left! :-)


Nov 16, 2012 - 01:30pm PT
Looks good. LDL below 100 is a good sign.

Here is a recent study about heart attacks and cholesterol levels

It's a pretty complicated subject, so it's easy for people to push their agenda.

Trad climber
Fumbling towards stone
Nov 16, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
You and I are in the same ballpark. My doctor said that they pay less attention to the overall numbers and more to the individual ones these days. I'm with your thinking. Some of us are wired differently. One size does not fit all. I think you are doing fine, but what do I know. :-)

I'm sure better informed folks will follow up.


Social climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
You're doing okay. Wish my triglycerides were that low and I'm on crestor.

Cholesterol Guidelines
National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines recommend that all adults over age 20 have a cholesterol test at least once every 5 years. Take a look at the guidelines below to get a better idea of where your cholesterol levels should be.
Total cholesterol level
Less than 200 mg/dL Desirable
200-239 mg/dL Borderline high
240 mg/dL or higher High

Total cholesterol is based on your LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol counts. Generally, a lower cholesterol level is better.
Less than 100 mg/dL Optimal
100-129 mg/dL Optimal/borderline high

130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL or higher Very high

LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol because if you have too much LDL in your bloodstream, it can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries over time, known as atherosclerosis. Generally a lower LDL cholesterol level is better.
60 mg/dL or higher High
Less than 40 mg/dL Low

HDL is considered the "good" cholesterol because it helps return cholesterol to the liver, where it can be eliminated from the body. Generally, a higher HDL cholesterol level is better.

Less than 150 mg/dL Normal
150-199 mg/dL Borderline high
200-499 mg/dL High
500 mg/dL or higher Very high

Triglycerides, like cholesterol, are another substance that can be dangerous to your health. Like LDL, you want to keep your triglycerides low.
Source: National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)


Social climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 02:01pm PT
I don't know much about those numbers but I use the goodol METAMUCIL to keep cholesterol in check... it sez so on the label !!!! :-)

And it makes fer GREAT POOING !!!!

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Nov 16, 2012 - 02:12pm PT

So is an hdl number higher than the provided range even better then?

Example: Would an hdl of 80 be GREAT? (normal range: 40 -60) 100 even better still?

"Researchers found that 54.6 percent of patients had HDL levels below 40 mg/dL. Developing more effective treatments to boost HDL levels may help reduce the number of patients hospitalized for heart attacks, according to the authors."

I've tried several things now over several blood draws to get my hdl up. Nothing seems to work. Stuck at 38 or so.

I try to see the silver lining. If I do have an "event" I'll probably be doing something aerobic - like a hard lead in the sierra. Also, I won't be posting here anymore.

In the interim I take the 81mg aspirin.


Link between hdl and testosterone:
Athletes who abuse testosterone and other androgenic steroids have a sharply increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. And in high doses, testosterone can have a negative effect on cardiac risk factors, including HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:06pm PT
The numbers say YOU MUST SEND NEXT YEAR!
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:12pm PT
Have heard that recent studies indicate sugar is far more of a problem (contributor to heart disease) than fatty foods are.

Nov 16, 2012 - 03:16pm PT
HFCS, supposedly, higher HDL numbers are better. But, there are are several populations in the world with very low HDL numbers who have very few heart attacks, such as the traditional Okinawan, rural chinese, etc.

I've also read that using drugs to raise hdl or lower ldl and total cholesterol have little effect on total mortality. They make your numbers look better, but the end result is not as good.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:19pm PT
Believe I read or heard some where that 30% of sudden death from MI or heart attack occurs in individuals that had Cholesterol and blood pressure within normal limits. Is that true?

Nov 16, 2012 - 03:19pm PT
Yep, it's true. First sign is sudden death in supposedly healthy people.

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:31pm PT
Also look at:

VLDL cholesterol
Total/HDL ratio

CRP (C reactive protein)

As some have pointed out above. there is a lot more to the story than just those four numbers. There are many other measurements that can be done. If you're concerned, check out The Berkeley Heartlab.

One of the great mysteries of cardiology is the fact that 50% of people with coronary artery disease have blood cholesterol levels similar to those of people who do not develop the disease. In fact, a recently published study of over 17,000 people with low LDL cholesterol levels showed that a surprising number of them still developed heart disease. In other words, the majority of people at risk of having a heart attack may be unaware of this risk and may not be taking appropriate preventative action. The stories of people surprised by sudden heart attacks are becoming more common and it is perplexing that these patients had not been identified as at risk for heart disease. Obviously, today's routine cholesterol tests are failing to identify the majority of people who are at risk for heart attacks. The limited focus of these tests on "good" and "bad" cholesterol is simply not good enough when it comes to identifying individuals at risk.

Interestingly, further evidence of how best-practice procedures in medicine are prone to change; it is now no longer considered necessary to fast before having lipid measurement done.

Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:41pm PT
this is driving me crazy. i got high levels two years ago, the first time in my life. i've been trying to bring it down, and i can't. they want me to take their drugs, whatzzimacallem. i take fish oil, krill oil, not bringing it down. i eat well, exercise perhaps not quite enough but not too bad, no junk food, mostly red wine in the drinks department. i figure it's a product of aging. when i was a young buck like you, dingus, i had those numbers to be proud of.

so the half-educated nurse who administers cases like this says there's a nine percent chance of having a major cardiac event in the next ten years. i'm now 65, and most males in my family, both sides, have had these cardiac events by the time they're 75, at which adios amigos. so, doing the math, all other things being equal, i have a 73 percent chance of reaching age 95, no?

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:45pm PT
One thing that can whack out cholesterol levels is thyroid problems. At the time I was diagnosed as hypothyroid, my cholesterol was above 300 (way more than it had ever been or has been since starting synthetic thyroid hormone).


Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:49pm PT
Tony, try green tea. My sister and cousin's husband swear by it.

I think cholesterol levels are a function of genes. I know a gal who lives on oatmeal, veggies and fruit. Here levels are high 300s. I'm a bacon snackin' fool, and in the mid 100s.

So it goes.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 16, 2012 - 03:52pm PT
Yeah, I think it has a genetic / familial disposition.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 16, 2012 - 04:19pm PT
Yer gonna die. But, I also eat junk food exclusively and have low cholesterol levels and we're probably about the same age. If you climb regularly you're in better shape than 99% of your neighbors. That's what I attribute my good health to.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Nov 16, 2012 - 05:03pm PT
Stress is a much bigger factor, both external and, in particular, self-imposed. Self-imposed stress is a function of personality type, such as perfectionism, narcissism, and repressed rage. If you combine those three with constantly drinking alcohol, you're looking for health problems sooner or later.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2012 - 05:20pm PT

I'm in serious trouble. But then again what else is new?


Nov 16, 2012 - 05:56pm PT
nice. i just had mine done too. my ldl was 61.
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