Jen: do not panic!

A friend wrote this to me and it’s full of good advice.
Jen: Don’t panic. (1) It takes 3-6 months of diet/exercise to make a change in cholesterol. (2)Your Cholesterol panel looks pretty good actually. I recall that you have PCOS, yes? But you are not diabetic, right? LDL goal of <100 generally is reserved for those with established heart disease or diabetes. Your numbers are borderline/acceptable. Treatment with medications would generally be held for those with LDL>160 or Triglycerides 400+.
Stop the fish oil. It is reserved for treating high triglycerides, and can INCREASE the LDL (bad cholesterol). Might be why your LDL is higher, even after a week of healthy habits. Plus the fish oil has antiplatelet activity (like aspirin) and can cause bleeding. Normally not a concern, but would not recommend if TTC.
Lipid goals for women < 55 who are otherwise healthy go more like this: LDL (bad cholesterol) < 130 “near optimal”, LDL 130- 160 “borderline high”. Drug therapy is not considered appropriate unless LDL > 160.
HDL “good cholesterol” >40
Triglycerides 150-199 “borderline high” (I wouldn’t treat these numbers), > 200 is high. In the past < 200 was considered acceptable. Disregard the total cholesterol number…it is only a screening tool. You can have a “high” total cholesterol, but be okay if your HDL is very high (>60). The LDL, HDL, and triglycerides are what we use to determine treatment.
Your HDL is low. The best fix for this is exercise. Think aerobic. Walking 30-45 minutes daily—at a minimum.
Triglycerides are best helped by reduced carbs (less simple sugars, no alcohol). Also by eating fatty fish (salmon, sardines, bluefish).
Overall tips to improve lipid panel:
-weight loss (even 10 pounds can normalize an elevated lipid profile)
-Add oats to your diet (bread, cereal, breakfast bars)
-Add more fruits/veggies
-Replace butter and margerine with Benechol (plant sterols added)
-Add Yoplait heart smart yogurt to your diet (plant sterols added)
-Add soy to your diet (soymilk, soy nuts, fortified foods)
Bottom line is, relax and keep eating healthy and exercising. Stop the fish oil.
AFTER you are done having babies, if the numbers remain high (LDL > 160 or Triglycerides > 400) after a 3-6 month trial of diet/exercise/wt loss then worry about medications.
Hope that helps
*****
I really like the yogurt advice- didn’t know it existed. We already use light butter with plant sterols. I really hate tofu, at least stir-fried tofu (nasty sponge cubes) and the nuts are barely edible (barely) but maybe I can find something else. I do feel better now.

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