HEALTH

HIGH CHOLESTEROL? WHAT’S CAUSING IT?

Last week, my GP told me I had high cholesterol.  For those of you who don’t know the implications of having high cholesterol, it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. It was the wake-up call I needed, because my GP told me the same thing in December 2019 and, now it’s higher than it was before. I need to find out what’s causing it.

So, for the second time, I have been given two options.

  1. Start taking high cholesterol medication (Statins), or
  2. Exercise regularly and maintain a low-fat diet

My decision is the same as it was in December 2019. I don’t want to pump any more medication into my system. I’m already taking a toxic assortment of drugs, including Steroids, for various autoimmune diseases.  Also, my experience of family members taking Statins isn’t great. The side effects put me off as well, muscle pain, digestive problems, and mental fuzziness.  With various autoimmune diseases, I am getting enough of all those things!

As for my diet, it’s about as low-fat as you can get, so I’m not sure where I’ve been going wrong. So, the last thing I expected to find out from my recent routine blood test was my cholesterol was higher than it was at the end of last year.

On the exercise front, I walk, averaging about 1.5 miles per day.  During Lockdown, I managed to lose weight by stepping up the walking regime but maybe I went off the rails a bit, food-wise, when I started ordering tasty morsels from Amazon, delivered to my door.

In an attempt to find out what has caused my cholesterol spike, I have been analysing some of the foods I treated myself to during Lockdown to find out if they are responsible.

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High Cholesterol: Exhibit Number One – Olives

I went overboard on these juicy little beauties, and I was surprised to learn that the antioxidant nutrients in olives help to prevent heart disease, as well as offering many other benefits.  So it wasn’t them.  They are good guys to add to your diet sheet.

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High Cholesterol: Exhibit Number Two – Prosciutto

It’s good, it’s bad, and it’s salty.  It’s okay, but like with many tasty treats, it should be eaten in moderation.

High Cholesterol: Exhibit Number Three – Pinot Grigio

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There were times after a dismal Downing Street briefing I over-imbibed. On the whole, I am (reasonably) sensible on the booze front, and I’ve also very recently found a cheeky little rosé that I am hoping to enjoy as the sun goes down.

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High Cholesterol: Exhibit Number Four – Peanut Butter

It’s been a favourite since childhood, and now, my mate Marmite has found its way into the mix.  Nuts are good for cholesterol, but not the chunky PB, my Lockdown brekkie. It’s also calorific, especially when heaped on top of two generously buttered slices of bread. So now we are getting closer to my Lockdown naughtinesses.

High Cholesterol: Exhibit Number Five – Cheese

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I’ve always loved cheese. During the first few weeks of Lockdown, we ran out, and, in hindsight, it was during that time I lost weight.   Then we found someone locally who delivered it, along with box loads of healthy legumes.  Joy!  Cheese salads with mayo for lunch and a soupçon (hunk) at supperI think the combination of crunchy peanut butter and cheese has contributed to bumping up my cholesterol level.  I am a disgrace.

To add insult to my high cholesterol, I am also on the list for a replacement knee.  My pre-admission consultation should have been during Lockdown, but now it’s unlikely to be before October 2020.  With this auspicious date looming on the horizon, the hospital physio rang me earlier this week.

‘Have you been doing the exercises we gave you to strengthen the muscles around your knees?’  I think I may be related to George Washington. Telling the odd porky doesn’t seem to come easily.  Okay, she couldn’t see my face turning puce, or my teeth biting my bottom lip, it was the tone of my voice that gave me away.  ‘Not as much as I should have been,’ limped out of my mouth.  Then, I confessed I was only doing them once a week, at best.

Predictably, she gave me a good talking to. The orthopods would refuse to operate unless I lost weight and did the exercises. ‘They’ take you off the list!’

‘But, I’m on Steroids.’ I whined, wanting to tell her that it upsets Cassie the Blog Dog when I do them, but I didn’t. I don’t think that would have improved her mood. ‘The operation doesn’t work for everybody!’ So, by the time she had finished with me, she’d put me off having a knee replacement at all, meanwhile, back to my high cholesterol.

What am I doing about it?

Good guys for your high cholesterol-busting diet. Photo Credit: Saga.co.uk Avocado, nuts and oily fish.

Good guys for your high cholesterol-busting diet. Photo Credit: Saga.co.uk Avocado, nuts and oily fish.

I have friends who take probiotics to keep their cholesterol in check, and they could help certain autoimmune diseases as well. For now, I’ve cut out all dairy products, hidden the peanut butter, and am taking super-strength Green Tea tablets.

I am determined to show the GP and the physio that I can reduce my cholesterol and my weight, despite taking prescription Steroids.

I’ve had the wake-up call, and I neede to get on with my cholesterol-busting diet.  Close members of my family have succumbed to both heart disease and stroke.  I should know better, and been more aware of the content of my mouth-watering Lockdown tidbits.