Saturday, February 4, 2012

Annual Physical

Yes, I have one every year.  I never used to, but in 2008, I had a one-off incidence of something called an ocular migraine, which is, essentially, a migraine without any pain, just flashing lights and such.  I thought maybe I had torn my retina (the symptoms can be similar).  The eye doc said I needed to have a physical, and I sort of - well, not sort of - I did ignore him.   He asked about my blood pressure, which was fine.

I thought about it a little more, and had a friend who is a nurse take my blood pressure - which was fine, and she was curious as to why I was asking about it - I told her about the ocular migraine, and she said, "you need to have a physical."


I asked why, and when she said that an ocular migraine can also be a symptom of a mini-stroke, I thought again. As mentioned before, strokes and heart stuff run in my family . . . I decided I had better find an internal medicine doc.  I did. He's awesome.  I had a brain MRI.  The good news was that I do, indeed, have a brain  ;-D  And the better news was that there was no evidence of any stroke of any sort.  I've never had to have another brain MRI, but ever since, I have an annual physical.

So yesterday I had my annual physical, and they do all the results and stuff online now, so I got them back today (that's pretty awesome!).  Everything's fine and dandy.  Except I sort of think I could do better in the cholesterol area. My cholesterol is 221.  The doc says that it's OK (I think because my HDL is pretty high (which is good)), but I'm thinking that I would like to see my total number below 200.

I went back over my test results for the past five years, and I think it's really important to work with your doctor on this stuff because they explain things better than just reading a report.  Although I think my current numbers are higher than I would like, my doctor assures me that I'm OK - and I think that means that the healthier I get, the better these numbers are going to look. 

In 2008, my cholesterol was 181.  Sounds better than now at 221.  But there were some bad things, mainly my triglycerides.

Triglycerides (that's the amount of fat/sludge in the blood) were 242 (that's REALLY high)
HDL (that's the good cholesterol) was 39 (which is too low)
LDL (that's the bad one) was 94 (which was really good)

Within the year, I got my triglycerides down to 129 (that was way better), and my total cholesterol down to 177, which was pretty good, but my HDL was still low, and LDL too high.

By 2010, my total cholesterol was 211 - triglycerides were steady, and I'd gotten my HDL up to 50, but the LDL was still too high.

Last year, my total cholesterol was 209 - and my triglycerides had climbed to 167.  HDL was low again, and LDL still too high  :-D

So, I think I have some work to do, and it can all be accomplished by the choices I make every day in terms of the food I put in my mouth and the amount of exercise I get.  I'm going to see what I can do for next year's check  :-)

One other thing we talked briefly about, was inflammation.  I have concerns . . . I'm doing some research and I'll let you know what I find.

p.s.  Stevia in the Raw does have a sort of aftertaste.  It's not horrible, though. 


Michelle said...

My total cholesterol is higher than that, but my "risk factor ratio" is really good and my triglyerides stay right below 100, so I don't worry about that total number at all. My DH, on the other hand, has a MUCH lower total cholesterol (thanks to being on Lipitor since his heart attack), but his HDL is too low (LDL is good at 74; target is 70) and his triglycerides are over 200! The doctors have said the only way to raise his HDL is through exercise; I know triglyerides are affected greatly by what one eats. Perhaps Rick is still not eating as well away from home as I thought....

Linda said...

I didn't realize you didn't see the doc every year until recently. Bad, Adrienne! ;-)

I see my internal medicine doc every year and go over labs. Since I'm on thyroid replacement like you we always run a thyroid panel (TSH, free T3, and free T4) as well as the usual stuff. As for inflammation, there's a test they can add on to your next blood panel that helps a lot. I'll try to find it before I see you next.

Last year my glucose levels were higher than the previous year, which I think is because I haven't been getting enough exercise and was eating out more with Bob. I've been trying to get back into a regular exercise regime, but you know how hard that is.

Being sick this past week has helped me in one way. The loss of appetite allowed me to reduce my portion sizes without a lot of problems. I'm trying hard to eat smaller portions. So instead of a full bagel for breakfast I'll eat half of one; instead of a full, giant navel orange, I'll eat half and finish the other half with lunch or as a snack later.

My total cholesterol has always been pretty good, but it does tend to climb as you age, which may be why your doc isn't worried. High triglycerides are often linked with eating a lot of carbs, especially simple and processed carbs. For example, my breakfast of a bagel is really not that great for triglyceride levels. It would be much better if I ate an egg and some fruit or veggies.

I think you're cutting back simple carbs already due to WW, right?

A :-) said...

Linda - I always see Dr. K every year, but I didn't have an annual physical until the ocular migraine incident. I never was really sick, and if I was, I went to urgent care.

I try to eat pretty balanced with WW - I don't cut out anything, but I'm definitely eating more fruits/veg/protein, which is good - particularly since I'm reasonably sure I could live on carbs and fats. Not good.

I think the test you mean for inflammation is C-reactive protein. I looked over my results but it was not one of the tests. I think he would have ordered it if he felt it was a serious concern. I'm more concerned about it on my own, I think. I'll ask him about it, though.

A :-) said...

Michelle - it's really a balancing act, isn't it? :-) I will look forward to seeing my own results in a year. This is really my year for all this stuff :-D

yarnsnob said...

I wonder if what I have are occular migraines...

A :-) said...

Time to check in with your optometrist, Jamie :-) I've never had one again, thankfully - it was bizarre. Like a jagged-edged Mondrian painting with flashing marquee lights all around it. I really thought I had torn my retina somehow.