Family health history is not necessarily on my side.
In spite of inheriting my mother's lanky proportions, I've inherited high cholesterol tendencies from both sides of my gene pool.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
It hit me in my mid-30s. I'd been steadily surfing along for years with cholesterol levels somewhere in the 170s (I don't recall breakdowns being important then), until one summer my total weighed-in at 195. It wasn't too alarming considering the test had been done the day after I'd spent 8 hours at the Great Minnesota Get Together* noshing everything from deep-fried cheese curds to pork chops on a stick. It would be back to normal the following summer.
Except it wasn't. 206 that time.
It climbed steadily. Somewhere in the midst of the 230s, my doctor at the time asked could you exercise more? My life at the time included somewhere around 200 racing and training miles per week.
Could I exercise more?!? I looked at her squarely what! you a crazy woman?!? we'd just had the discussion about my "needing to maintain a healthy body weight" in the midst of my telling her I was eating everything under the sun because my life at the time included somewhere around 200 racing and training miles per week. I couldn't keep weight on. My grocery bills had doubled. My life was cycling, driving to cycling events, and logging my cycling.
Could you exercise more?
I tried hard not to give her my exasperated ER-DUH look.
NO. I can't. It's still my most satisfying answer to any question I've ever been asked.
Three years ago with life well back to normal, my cholesterol total topped out at 247. My current doctor wasn't worried, however. Taking into account my lifestyle and that my HDL was somewhere off the charts in the 80s, she explained ratios: ratio of HDL to LDL, ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. My ratios were low, a good thing, but it's still something I watch.
I was amused by test results the following summer, done three days after returning from a week-long bicycle tour along the coast of Michigan. 70-80 miles a day for six days returned a total cholesterol level of 217. It was an interesting aha: all I had to do was ride 450 miles a week.
That's a relief.
Somehow I missed last year's test...probably had breakfast before heading to the doctor and forgot to schedule a follow-up lab test. This morning, however, I got the results of my latest: 176. All my numbers are within acceptable ranges.
Well, or they got my results confused with someone else's.
- The skeptical Old Bag after all, it was a busy morning at the doctor's office....
*Minnesotans love their state fair...it's an odd thing