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Cholesterol Tests. You ever had one?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
For yourself I mean, not for your cat (not that it wouldn't be a bad idea for your cat)

Been feeling like c r a p lately. Lethargic, dizzy, fainted a couple weeks ago. Pressure (rushing sound) in my ears when I bend down, and general unattentiveness. Sleepy more than not.

Could these be signs of a cardiovascular problem? Any of you had cholesterol testing? And if so, what did they tell you afterwards?

Since I am without health insurance, I am thinking of calling the county health services to have this done cheaply (good idea / bad idea?).

Stories? What else should I be doing about this?
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikeman View Post
For yourself I mean, not for your cat (not that it wouldn't be a bad idea for your cat)

Been feeling like c r a p lately. Lethargic, dizzy, fainted a couple weeks ago. Pressure (rushing sound) in my ears when I bend down, and general unattentiveness. Sleepy more than not.

Could these be signs of a cardiovascular problem? Any of you had cholesterol testing? And if so, what did they tell you afterwards?

Since I am without health insurance, I am thinking of calling the county health services to have this done cheaply (good idea / bad idea?).

Stories? What else should I be doing about this?
I've had full blood panels several times. What is most important is your ratio of good cholesterol to bad, and not so much the overall total. I'm sure there will be some here who disagree with me, and you are welcome to your opinion.

The symptoms you describe could be due to other bodily systems being out of wack than just your cholesterol and cardiovascular system. It could be many bodily systems that are out of wack. Your digestive system could not be working properly causing a myriad of problems in other areas; your immune system could be depressed; your liver could not be functioning well, and your thyroid function could also be low.

Can you share with me, a few things about yourself? Do you have any silver/amalgam fillings? And, what your typical meals are like? Outline like, three days worth of meals and snacks. Tell me the type of foods you crave the most. Everything you put in your mouth, and what is your blood type, if you know it. In addition to all that, take this test first thing in the morning tomorrow, and tell me what the results are.

If you are not interested in doing any of this, please just ignore this post; no hard feelings at all.

ETA: I don't recommend any of the products on that are linked on that page. I just linked to it so you can see how to perform the spit test. That's it.
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprocket View Post
I've had full blood panels several times. What is most important is your ratio of good cholesterol to bad, and not so much the overall total. I'm sure there will be some here who disagree with me, and you are welcome to your opinion.
.
Yep I have been preaching this for yrs ... As most our granparents DIDNT die of heart diesease yet there diet were High in animal fats and thus cholesterol... Now finally some of the conventional medical community are finally catching up....
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
With a username of Bikeman, how could I not reply to a username of Sprocket? Hehehehe.

I forget what blood type I am. But I have never had a doctor tell me what I have is a risk factor. Not that it should be ruled out.

Male, 50, no history of diabetes, blood pressure or thyroid problems (but haven't had those checked lately). Underweight if anything. Not a smoker, only occasional red meat eater.

Most, if not all silver fillings have been replaced with newer types long ago.

Butter. I don't like margerine's taste, and most margerine is bad stuff and takes 180 days to dissolve in blood and cells. The amount of butter I do eat is fairly normal.

Snacks include p-chips/pretzels, and I eat too much of those. I also like ice cream and go through a carton every week to 10 days. Other than that, not really too much bad stuff. We eat skinless chicken, little if any deep fried food (a few times a year maybe). I don't drink beer or hard liquer. I have recently begun drinking a few ounces of red wine every other day (a week or more per bottle).

Fish maybe once per week. Less fruit than I should have, but equivelant to an apple and 5 bananas per week. Vegatables (brocolli, green beans & peas) about every day.

Cereal. I eat a lot of that. Not the Count Chocula type, more of the puffed rice variety, honey nutty cheerios.

Don't drink milk at all. I do go through a ½ gallon of vanilla soy milk every 5 days. Coffee = to ~ 2 cups per day. I also make tea sweetened with honey. I don't like to use sugar. Average amt. of salt.

Homemade soup (Mrs. Bikeman is responsible for that) one a week - all healthy stuff in there. I don't ever ever ever eat fast food. In fact, we don't go to restaurants much at all. The chinese place we frequent doesn't use msg, and can prove it.

Other than the few bad foods... hmmmmmm.... nothing I can think of is in the catagory of dangerous behavior food-wise.

Exercise. Usually more than average, although just having gone through winter, I haven't been doing much. Bike riding season has just begun, but I had better get my health checked first before I do 30 miles or more.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikeman View Post
For yourself I mean, not for your cat (not that it wouldn't be a bad idea for your cat)

Been feeling like c r a p lately. Lethargic, dizzy, fainted a couple weeks ago. Pressure (rushing sound) in my ears when I bend down, and general unattentiveness. Sleepy more than not.

Could these be signs of a cardiovascular problem? Any of you had cholesterol testing? And if so, what did they tell you afterwards?

Since I am without health insurance, I am thinking of calling the county health services to have this done cheaply (good idea / bad idea?).

Stories? What else should I be doing about this?
What you describe could be any number of things.

Cholesterol in itself is only a precursor for something more serious. High cholesterol causes plaque to build up inside your arteries, which leads to a narrow opening for your blood to flow through, which then leads to your heart having to work harder to push the blood through the narrowed arteries, which leads for the heart to have to increase in size (like a body builder building muscle in order to be able to lift heavier weights), so that it can work harder. Eventually if the plaque buildup is so bad it causes complete blockages which have their own set of problems.

It's a good idea to get a yearly physical including a number of blood tests including a cholesterol level. I'm in Canada and our healthcare is paid for through our federal and provincial taxes, so I don't know the cost of a cholesterol test.

When you say "Dizzy", do you mean the room spins around as if you had been turning around in circles and stopped? If that is what you mean then it could be an inner ear problem.....labrynthitis. That is the most common cause of "dizziness" where the room spins around on you.

If by "Dizzy" you mean "light headed" where you feel like you are going to faint, see stars in front of your eyes, greying vision and a rushing or sea sound inside your ears, then that's something else entirely. Something like this could be caused by any number of things....often times cardiovascular related either through blood pressure (too high or too low), too rapid or too low of a heart beat, irregular heart beat etc. I'm actually having this particular issue myself. I go to see a cardiologist in April to see if she can figure out why I get prefainting and fainting episodes.

Anyway, do your body a favour and go and get it checked out. Even if you don't have health insurance it's your right has a human being to have basic medical care, which includes a yearly medical exam. Surely you have free clinics there for those who are not in a position to pay for private insurance?
post #6 of 24
I'm not a doctor (but I have been through pharmacy school) and it's hard to diagnose over the internet, but it sounds to me like you have high blood pressure (not just the mild kind everyone has either, it sounds bad enough to be a hypertensive crisis or some cardiac arrhythmia).

Anyway, I'm glad you're going to the doctor. I hope everything turns out okay. It's good to go in for a checkup once in a while anyway.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikeman View Post
With a username of Bikeman, how could I not reply to a username of Sprocket? Hehehehe.

I forget what blood type I am. But I have never had a doctor tell me what I have is a risk factor. Not that it should be ruled out.

Male, 50, no history of diabetes, blood pressure or thyroid problems (but haven't had those checked lately). Underweight if anything. Not a smoker, only occasional red meat eater.

Most, if not all silver fillings have been replaced with newer types long ago.

Butter. I don't like margerine's taste, and most margerine is bad stuff and takes 180 days to dissolve in blood and cells. The amount of butter I do eat is fairly normal.

Snacks include p-chips/pretzels, and I eat too much of those. I also like ice cream and go through a carton every week to 10 days. Other than that, not really too much bad stuff. We eat skinless chicken, little if any deep fried food (a few times a year maybe). I don't drink beer or hard liquer. I have recently begun drinking a few ounces of red wine every other day (a week or more per bottle).

Fish maybe once per week. Less fruit than I should have, but equivelant to an apple and 5 bananas per week. Vegatables (brocolli, green beans & peas) about every day.

Cereal. I eat a lot of that. Not the Count Chocula type, more of the puffed rice variety, honey nutty cheerios.

Don't drink milk at all. I do go through a ½ gallon of vanilla soy milk every 5 days. Coffee = to ~ 2 cups per day. I also make tea sweetened with honey. I don't like to use sugar. Average amt. of salt.

Homemade soup (Mrs. Bikeman is responsible for that) one a week - all healthy stuff in there. I don't ever ever ever eat fast food. In fact, we don't go to restaurants much at all. The chinese place we frequent doesn't use msg, and can prove it.

Other than the few bad foods... hmmmmmm.... nothing I can think of is in the catagory of dangerous behavior food-wise.

Exercise. Usually more than average, although just having gone through winter, I haven't been doing much. Bike riding season has just begun, but I had better get my health checked first before I do 30 miles or more.
Is there any way you can find out your blood type?

Great that your fillings were replaced (with porcelain I'm guessing), however, how long ago was it, and I'm wondering if the dentist used safe removal practices.

Consider ditching highly processed snack foods made from wheat and corn, completely, as well as commercial cereals. It would depend on your blood type what I would recommend to replace commercial cereals.

The ice cream is terrible. Consider making your own sorbets/smoothies for a sweet treat using fresh fruits and crushed ice.

Why type of soy milk do you consume? Most soy milks have additives that contain powerful lectins for all blood types. The ideal soy milks are unsweetened. Then again, there are some blood types where soy should be avoided completely due to lectin.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
When you say "Dizzy", do you mean the room spins around as if you had been turning around in circles and stopped?

If by "Dizzy" you mean "light headed" where you feel like you are going to faint, see stars in front of your eyes, greying vision and a rushing or sea sound inside your ears...
Both types of dizzy. The room spinning around began yesterday. The faint type has been going on for a few weeks.
post #9 of 24
With your symptons your blood sugar should be tesed too.
My husband has been on Lipotor for a few years now which really brought his cholesterol numbers down. He does need to work on his weight a bit.
Have you tried switching your diet to more 100% whole grains. I have been switching over to 100% whole wheat pasta-too me you can't really notice a difference-might be a bit more chewy.
For snacks you might want to slowly switch over to again the more whole grain crackers-chips/pretzels are my downfall-if I want them I try to buy the package that has the "single serving" size to limit how much I eat. Also if you are craving "crunchy" have some nuts on hand-not the processed stuff-just plain nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans like one would use for baking. Also I have been snacking on the organic frosted mini wheats.
Read ingredient labels-watch for foods that have HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) which is in lots of prepared items.
But I would get to a doctor/clinic to have some bloodwork done along with a physical. At 50 your prostate needs to be checked along with having a colonoscopy.
post #10 of 24
Those symptoms sound like an inner-ear problem, such as Meniere's disease. Its caused by an imbalance of fluid, in the inner ear. My Pops has this and has been on Antivert, for about 30 years.

http://oto.wustl.edu/men/

You do need to be checked out, though. Fifty is when men usually begin to fall apart: heart, cholesterol and your good buddy, the prostate.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
The County no longer does heart tests of any kind, including cholesterol lipid levels. Our tax money at work. Grrrrrrrr.

Now attempting to make appt. w/ private doctors. None yet can give me a price of appointment or tests before I actually go there. WTH is wrong with health services today?
post #12 of 24
Yup- be sure to have the numbers seperate - don't go by the total number -it is NOT accurate. Instead- have it split and find out what your LDL is and what your HDL. About a year and a half ago i was having some health issues (they thought it was my heart- wound up not being thankfully!) But while i was there my cardiologish did a blood test and seperated the ldl and hdl. (the doctor who sent me there before did not and said i had high cholesterol because he only looked at the total cholesterol count. When i saw the cardiologist - he split the numbers (LDL and HDL) and said that yes, my total number was high- but it was because i had a very good amount of the healthy kind which was raising my numbers. He then said i had the type of cholesterol that can lead to longevity SO you can not trust the total number- you need to make sure they tell you your LDL and HDL to find out if your bad cholesterol is too high Don't freak out until you do that. /From what you've said though- it sounds like you have high blood pressure. Also your potassium could be low as well if you're really tired. The safest thing to do is just have it checked out
post #13 of 24
I am always greatful for Canadian universal health care when I hear about this kinda stuff!

I just recently had mine check with a simple blood test and my levels are good.

I would just recommend getting a full physical and blood work done to check all the possibilities.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikeman View Post
The County no longer does heart tests of any kind, including cholesterol lipid levels. Our tax money at work. Grrrrrrrr.

Now attempting to make appt. w/ private doctors. None yet can give me a price of appointment or tests before I actually go there. WTH is wrong with health services today?
While you're there, find out your blood type if you can. Have them test you.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikeman View Post
For yourself I mean, not for your cat (not that it wouldn't be a bad idea for your cat)

Been feeling like c r a p lately. Lethargic, dizzy, fainted a couple weeks ago. Pressure (rushing sound) in my ears when I bend down, and general unattentiveness. Sleepy more than not.

Could these be signs of a cardiovascular problem? Any of you had cholesterol testing? And if so, what did they tell you afterwards?

Since I am without health insurance, I am thinking of calling the county health services to have this done cheaply (good idea / bad idea?).

Stories? What else should I be doing about this?
I am going to assume that you are male due to your username. I looked at your profile and do not know your age but if you are over 40, have your PSA done at the same time. Do not go for that business of not needing the test until you are 50. Had I waited until I was 50, I would be dead now. Prostate cancer is more likely to kill you than the highest of cholesterols. Yet, a simple PSA blood test can save 90% plus. Yes, I preach about this because I am a 12 year survivor and try to save other men's lives through education. You can PM me for any additional information.
post #16 of 24
On my way out and haven't read all the other replies yet, so forgive me if I'm duplicating -- but it sounds to me like high blood pressure, and I mean seriously high! Please get it checked out immediately!

And I'm uninsured, too, so I know what you're facing... but blood pressure isn't something you can put off. Go tomorrow!
post #17 of 24
Okay, back. Having read everything, I'm glad to see that some other people also hear blood pressure in your symptoms... glad, because if that's what it is, it's most likely easy to treat.

I hope you found someone who can see you tomorrow, or at least this week! Meanwhile, take it easy, okay? And you might stop adding salt to your food altogether until you know where you stand.

Let us know what you find out!
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
I went to the local clinic today (sounds cheap -- isn't), to get an appointment to discuss what tests should be done, and within reason for someone without health insurance. So I explain why I'm wanting to see someone soon about all this, and they had someone take my BP. 110/80. They probably didn't want me to have an attack as I was walking down the hallway. 110/80 is not dangerous, but they hastily got that reading, so I'm not taking that as accurate just yet.

And at the very least, they can use it as a comparison.

Wednesday (tomorrow) I see a real doctor about what to do next. If I had everything checked that has already been advised, we'd be talking selling all my worldly posessions and renting the cats out to pay for it all. So we just have to hack away at the most likely possibilities first and spread out the rest until a later date.

The U.S. has got to be the only country where if you're really sick, they don't want you as a patient. Totally screwy backwards system.

I tried calling the other county clinics asking about bloodsugar level and cholesterol checks and they all mentioned they used to do all that, but in the last 5 years, all programs for heart health have been discontinued. Great. And my taxes still go UP to pay for that nothingness.

So I will know a wee bit more after tomorrow.

Thanks for the suggestions so far.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
Yep I have been preaching this for yrs ... As most our granparents DIDNT die of heart diesease yet there diet were High in animal fats and thus cholesterol... Now finally some of the conventional medical community are finally catching up....
Don't get me started. My high cholesterol and very high triglyerides go down when I eat butter, full fat cheese and eggs, and really moderate my carb consumption....and the addition of a great salmon oil has given me the kind of hdl number I used to dream of
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Today's BP 107/70. Pulse much lower. Blood taken and will get results of all heart-health related indicators in a couple days. Also had an EKG (those only cost $40? - WOW!). Doctor thinks its something vascular or heart related something or other based on my stories and Q:A. Wants me to take a stress test followed by an immediate Echo imaging. That will be discussed following results of the bloodwork. But that's a LOT more money. They were kind today with the bill. I've had one of the cats in for half hour for much more $$, and they had me there today 1.5 hours.

EKG showed a small abberation. (He also mentioned 10% of the population has what he saw - not to be alarmed over it, so I'm not). He's sending the 10-second trace to a cardiologist to see if it may warrant further readings. Question - 10 seconds? They can't tell much in that small amount of time, can they? (like if I'm alive or not).

So this story will continue later.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikeman View Post
Today's BP 107/70. Pulse much lower. Blood taken and will get results of all heart-health related indicators in a couple days. Also had an EKG (those only cost $40? - WOW!). Doctor thinks its something vascular or heart related something or other based on my stories and Q:A. Wants me to take a stress test followed by an immediate Echo imaging. That will be discussed following results of the bloodwork. But that's a LOT more money. They were kind today with the bill. I've had one of the cats in for half hour for much more $$, and they had me there today 1.5 hours.

EKG showed a small abberation. (He also mentioned 10% of the population has what he saw - not to be alarmed over it, so I'm not). He's sending the 10-second trace to a cardiologist to see if it may warrant further readings. Question - 10 seconds? They can't tell much in that small amount of time, can they? (like if I'm alive or not).

So this story will continue later.
Your blood pressure is a bit on the low side but many have that range of pressure. The number they use to compare "normal" is 120/80. But that is just a number they have decided to use as a measuring stick to determine high or low pressures. "Normal" for me is about 140/85 or 90. While it may be considered "high", each person has a normal that their body is comfortable with, and that's mine.

I'm glad that you are getting checked out.

As someone who works in the healthcare system (Canada) with a socialized healthcare system in place, I can't help but abhore the way the USA treats their citizens. They seem to have billions to throw away for war efforts, but they can't put some of their money into a healthcare system that provides basic healthcare needs to it's own citizens!!!!!!!!!!!! GRRR!!!!!!! Don't get me started on that!!!!
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
I can't help but abhore the way the USA treats their citizens. They seem to have billions to throw away for war efforts, but they can't put some of their money into a healthcare system that provides basic healthcare needs to it's own citizens!
Amen, sister! We have carried capitalism to a dangerous and inhumane extreme, and we apply it in areas where it doesn't belong at all -- healthcare foremost among them.

And it's getting even worse under the current administration. Bikeman mentioned the heart programs that were cut, and just today my parents got a notice that, though they have both Medicare and Tricare (the latter being the best available program for retired military), they will now have to pay about three times as much for their prescriptions as they used to.

My dearest friend works for the American Cancer Society, and he hears horror stories every day from people who cannot get the lifesaving treatment they need because their insurance company is stalling them, withholding approvals, hoping the patient will just go ahead and die and save them the money. And those are the lucky ones, who have insurance!

I don't understand it. I grew up so in love with my country, so proud of its principles... but in my lifetime, many of those principles have been compromised into near-oblivion. America has traditionally been a global champion of human rights -- but is there any more fundamental human right than simply being cared for when you're ill?

I know that Canada's healthcare system isn't perfect -- but it's far, far more humane than the totally profit-driven system here in the US. I hope and pray we will soon begin to follow Canada's example... maybe right around January 2009...

Thanks for creating an opportunity to rant about this, Bikeman. I surely hope they can quickly find -- and fix -- what's causing your symptoms.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Bloodwork came back today.

HDL (good cholesterol) level was 56. 60 or greater is good and helps fight heart disease. 40 or lower is bad.

LDL (bad cholesterol) level was 101. 100 or less is optimal. So this is excellent.

Triglyceride level was 108. Below 150 is normal. 108 is excellent.

Blood sugar was 90. I don't know what the scale limits are on this but I was told 90 is good.

So..... No markers yet for a direction to go. He recommends a stress test with prolonged EKG and an Echo. Bucks. Big bucks.

I am thrilled the cholesterol and other indicator levels are great, but that doesn't tell me what's up. There is not enough oxygen getting to my brain. So what's the problem? An anemic condition? I wasn't told if they had a blood count for red/white. I should get the full results in the mail in a day or two.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikeman View Post
So..... No markers yet for a direction to go. He recommends a stress test with prolonged EKG and an Echo. Bucks. Big bucks.

I am thrilled the cholesterol and other indicator levels are great, but that doesn't tell me what's up. There is not enough oxygen getting to my brain. So what's the problem? An anemic condition? I wasn't told if they had a blood count for red/white. I should get the full results in the mail in a day or two.
You asked before if 10 seconds of an ekg could tell them anything. I would think so, since what it shows if your heart is beating as it should...it can show arrthymias for one, and a heart not beating properly can certainly give you episodes of faintness etc.

Here is a good site that explains what an ekg measures etc.
http://www.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/tu6256abc.asp

So long as they did a cbc (complete blood count) when you get those results, an anemia will show up in the HCT (hematocrit) and HGB (hemaglobin) results.

I hope you can proceed with the stress test and echo, sounds prudent to me.
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