Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ More on My Waxy, Fat-Like Stuff

Have no idea what that is? It's my high cholesterol count. Not all cholesterol is bad. Your liver produces it and it has a job to do. I mean everything in life has a purpose and cholesterol is no different. It makes Vitamin D to prevent Rickets, help digest your food, and it produces hormones. Sounds like a good thing, doesn't it? Your body needs the HDL and LDL to do its job.

But like everything in life, too much of a good thing is bad for you. Too high and it leads to trouble in you arteries. I have high cholesterol. It led to my heart attack in 2006.

Meat products are to blame, usually, for high LDL (bad) cholesterol. Sometimes as with me, it's a genetic make up. My German half not my Japanese half. No matter what cholesterol lowering drugs they put me on, my number of total cholesterol is over 250. I'm on two now too. The American Heart Association recommends a number of 100 or lower if you've had a heart attack or stroke. So I basically out of luck, if high cholesterol is listed as a fixable risk factor.

Over 80% of my food consumption is plant based now. Think 1/4 of a plate in meat, and the other 3/4 vegetables, but still my number is high. My liver, where cholesterol is produced in the body, just generates too much.

So I did some research this past month on how the liver produces cholesterol. Things like sugar and carbohydrates create cholesterol in the liver. This kind of puzzled me because I'm a diabetic and haven't eaten much sugar in years. I use whole grain wheat, rice, and soy flours to bake with so where was my body getting all these carbohydrates from to produce all this cholesterol.

Somewhere I read a few years ago that artificial sweeteners reacted with the liver to form formaldehyde and diabetics were autopsied were partially embalmed, but everybody needs a little sweetness in their diet. That is something that sets my allergies off. Formaldehyde is even used in commercially produced bread as stabilizer. Reading labels carefully has save me more than once over the years. I switched most of my sweeteners to honey. Amazingly enough, I'm deathly allergic to bee, but thankfully not to honey or beeswax.

The only major contributor I could see was rice. Asking a Japanese person to give up rice, is like trying to tell an Irishman to quit eating potatoes. Although, I did switch years ago to brown and wild rices. Growing up rice was the staple in our house as pasta is to an Italian family's house. Sure, we ate pasta and potatoes too (also no-nos as far as cholesterol goes). But whole grain pastas or veggie pasta has good stuff in them too. That's my usual preference anyhow. Potatoes and bananas are a mainstay in our diet for their richness in potassium.

So I really don't see a fix for my cholesterol problem. We actually eat very healthy in this household. There's no fighting genetics, but for the rest of y'all, it might be something you might look into. What is you triglyceride count? If you have high LDL numbers then I'll bet those are high too. Mine are actually in the good range so for me, it's genetics hands down.

I eat a lot of fish and take six triple Omega capsule (Omega 3-6-9) as part of my cholesterol lowering regime. Orientals love fish too. :o)  I'm also on Zetia, but it does nothing for lowering the cholesterol in the blood stream already, according to my doctor. Only statins will do that they say. But I've had a bad reaction to all of them. I get not only severe leg cramps but abdominal cramps as well. That's with taking half a tablet every other day. The doctors have given up prescribing statins for me. Personally, I'm thankful. My muscle spasms and spasticity from my stroke are about all I can handle right now.

So I'm basically up the creek without a paddle as far as this risk factor is concerned. I'm better off working on some of those other risk factors I can change like smoking, exercise, and weight loss because lowering my cholesterol lower than what it is, is a lost cause.

Nothing is impossible with determination--except maybe genetics.

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