Cholesterol levels


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 38 of total 38 in this topic
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.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:01pm PT
No doubt about it

doc bs

Social climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
Those are good numbers.

If are over 50, and you dont take cholesterol medicine, and you've never had a heart attack or stroke, and you dont have diabetes, then you probably dont need to check those ever again (at least not until you have a heart attack or stroke or get diabetes).


Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Nov 16, 2012 - 06:26pm PT
LDL = 85!

No, wait. I think it was my IQ. So confusing....

Sport climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 08:43pm PT
those numbers mean drink more!


Ice climber
hartford, ct
Nov 16, 2012 - 08:52pm PT
When you will die naturally is mostly determined by your genes.

So if you know your biological relatives, then I'd start with that rather than focusing on nonsense numbers.

Exercise outside, eat a wide variety of food, avoid stress, don't get fat, have lots of friends. Worry about those things.


Trad climber
da'Raven / Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 16, 2012 - 10:00pm PT
a genetic/famial condition.
Hey, tell me about it!!

You don't EVEN want to hear my stats/life chol. story.

When I was my first year of college and use to surf everyday (did a lot of swimming in big surf also since this was before goon-cords/leashes) my biology teacher use to have us take our vitals every time at the start of class. My average resting heartbeat was 48 bpm. She asked me if I was a marathon runner, lol!

So, I always thought i was in tip-top shape. But, when I was 29 and still very active, I had my first cholesterol fasting blood test. The Doc freaked! His exact words, "If you don't do something about your cholesterol your gonna be dead in 2-3 years! WTF!!!

So I went on a diet. No meat, dairy product, etc! Figured i was good to go. Fast forward to about 10 years later. I get my 2nd chol test. Exact same response from the Doc! WTF!!!

At that point I was in the best shape of my life. I was riding my road bike 50+ miles 3 x week! Climbing, aerobics, running, etc! I couldn't believe it. I just wrote it off as a fluke. He said if it didn't change after one month of a strict diet and exc. that he put me on that he was going to put me on cholesterol meds! I was already on a similar diet, etc, but he insisted, and as it worked out, I never went back in.

Fast forward to 1999 (10 years later). Major heart attack, surgery, etc! It turned out that I have extremely high triglycerides ... like 1700-1800!!!

So they put me on this drug Tricor! It did the trick (you take it in combination with another cholesterol drug/lipitor) anyway, everything was fine for about 2 years ... until I became deathly ill and get diagnosed as having a terminal illness/peripheral nerve disease by Kaisers top docs! GREAT. A WICKED illness (i have already talked about it here on ST). Lose everything I had (A LOT). House worth well over 500K, bank account/savings of nearly 200K, job, etc. (I'm an OTR and was making 100K+ a year) and what I didn't lose/spend i gave away CUZ i was F'n dying!

Well, as you prolie already know because I have already sprayed about it multiple times here on ST, I left Kaiser bcuz I could no longer afford the $1500.00 a month it was costing me for meds & services, etc! And got this lady doc & after a year of her persistent probing into my sickness found out it was a toxic and would have eventually been fatal reaction to the damn Tricor/cholesterol meds. F'n TERRIFIC! pLUS THAT IS THE ONLY MED THAT WILL LOWER MY TRIGYCERIDES. SHEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

Long story short (well kinda late for that ^^^, lol) I am now back (for the last 4 years) with a Triglyceride level thats going through the roof (averages 1600-1800). They say its gonna be sayonara before too long. WUDEVAH!!!

BTW, after my surgery, I was put into a special group for follow-up. There were 7 of us. My doc did not pull any punches. He informed us just before he left, after giving us a strict diet and exercise program to follow, with this statement, "By the way, three (3) of you will not be returning here to our next meeting!" And then he turns and walks away. YIKES!

We new exactly what he was telling us, because he had just told us all how important it was to NOT miss our next meeting with him (one month later). The nurse practioner took over after he left, and I noticed that NO ONE made eye contact with anyone else after he left. There was only seven (7) of us and only four (4) were gonna live to see the next meeting one (1) month away. Sheeeesh!

Well, sure enough, only four of us were at that next meeting! I recall the youngest of us, a 42 year old dood, was one of the ones who didn't make it. We all had the same genetic blood condition. So is life, eh?

Six months later, at my last personal meeting with my cardiologist/surgeon, after he left, the nurse practioner told me that he was VERY happy with my progress so far, and that I was one of the three (3) that he did not expect to return. In fact, she said that I was at the top of the list!

What a long, strange trip my life has been!!!

Social climber
Nov 16, 2012 - 10:39pm PT
Something else to read...

no matter what we do we are run by genetics, diet, and lifestyle. So live your life and remember... do everything in moderation.

Bottom line ...we're all gonna die!

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Nov 16, 2012 - 10:39pm PT
My triglycerides tend to run high if I don't get enough exercise.

Although my cholesterol levels remain low, my triglycerides went high in mid winter.

Summer and Fall, I do long runs, walks, or cycling and mountaineering/climbing perhaps three times a month... usually keeping triglycerides under 130.

Unfortunately, Idaho winters and not getting out enough to ski or run and my levels have gone over 300.

Best wishes for everyone's good health...
Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Nov 17, 2012 - 11:15am PT
you're also a babe, lolli. babes generally live 10 years longer than dudes. there's probably a reason for that, which i don't think has been well thought-out yet.

french, spider
Nov 17, 2012 - 11:18am PT
Hi. So how are you today Dingus?

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 17, 2012 - 11:36am PT
Smashing, actually. I was out too late last night, or not late enough maybe. Anyway, bit of a 'head' on this morning, sipping some English tea with milk in it for krystsake! Maybe I should pop an aspirin or something. Nothing crippling mind you, just a bit of a frown.

Weather is here - on the Pacific coast of America the winter storms come in like big waves. This is the first real winter storm we've had in my opinion. Steady rain, snow in the mountains but with high snow levels, around 7000 feet. This is a 'warm storm' and its in the mid-50s here and was so over night.

Gonna grab my girls today and go... I know, we'll do something fabulous - I'll take them shoe shopping. I promised Kate a pair of boots and it finally feels like fall here.

As soon as the storm passes, though?

Fog. Its coming back. It fills me with the same dread and for the same reason, as a late night middle seat red eye flight in the cheap seats in the back of some chicken wire airline.

I dread the fog. Everything is gray and a pervasive cold seeps into every layer of clothing.

I'd go find the sun today if I could but there won't be no sun today. So I might as well earn daughter points. Hah!

Is this what you had in mind Borut?

How are you, may I ask?


french, spider
Nov 17, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
hey i had that in mind and you really brightened me there. It's now dark here in LJ.

I hope those boots are made for walkin, and that's what they are gonna do
doom doom doom doom (walking bass).

well ya i guess i jes wanned to talk about myself a bit: this morning we went tooling again. I didn't send anything, but worked (TR) a new D6 line. That's the third 6 I'm on, and I must say that this 6th grade is quite extended. In this case, you really got to get those upside-down tool positions straight, on horizontal cracks, for instance when it comes to seriously lying back the moves on the traverse. But what's cool at this crag is that you mainly drop off far away enough from the rock.
-first time mono-pointing today (brand new lynxes!), but still using the quarks and the ol' nepal Xtreme.

even copied this from an other post I just wrote

Have a great day!


Seriously, I heard that cholesterol needs to be checked out over a longer period of time. Myself just try to forget about what I shouldn't eat and concentrate on what I should eat.

french, spider
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:52am PT
Sorry DMT. What I heard about cholesterol is wrong. Or I mixed something up.

All the best!


Trad climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 05:35pm PT
There are two types of LDL - one is called "fluffy" LDL, and one is "dense" LDL. If these terms are starting to make about as much sense as "Dark India Pale Ale," then you are paying attention.

Anyway, there is more research to come in this area. As others have pointed out, some things (like real heart attack numbers) are not always jiving with these cholesterol numbers. The fluffy LDL may in fact not be bad at all for you, and instead be good. Yet if you have high amounts of this, it will look like you're ready for CPR.

My LDLs are crazy high. But my triglydes are 50. Go figure. Time to have a DIPA.

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 21, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
Fluffy? That is one I hadn't heard of, except below.

Apparently the history of science is not mankind's brother, just science.


Dec 10, 2012 - 09:16pm PT
Dr Gregor (; talks about cholesterol at 3 minutes about how most heart attack patients fell within the recommended levels.

Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Dec 10, 2012 - 10:41pm PT
Don't have references handy for this quick response, but the number that is the most predictive of heart disease is the total chol/HDL ratio.

You want to be under 5.
Optimal is under 3.5

Yours: 2.24

An HDL that high is very high and very good. It is unusual.

The other "factor" is the pure LDL, which should be under 100 (above consider treatment), which yours is.

As others have said, it is more complicated that just that.

Genetics are the most important thing, and we have no way to measure that.

It is an emerging area.


Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Dec 10, 2012 - 10:56pm PT
my HDL is always up in the 70's, but my cardiologist acquaintence doesn't think the ratio is as important as it used to be.
Messages 1 - 38 of total 38 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews