Sunday, June 30, 2013

Blood Work

I am home and tired! When I got home, there was a letter waiting for me about my blood work. Last week I went for my routine checkup with my doctor. He has me do regular blood work while I am doing Medifast to make sure things are looking good. Over the past year, I haven't done Medifast regularly; instead, I spent months on a Primal/Paleo eating plan, then tried just counting calories but eating more healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil. Of course, my exercise plummeted due to foot pain. I got to see the results of all of this in my blood work this time. Here are some numbers, compared to my blood work numbers in November 2007 (I weighed in the 250's and had been trying to eat healthy via calorie counting for 3 months) and in May 2010 when I was a couple months into Medifast.

First, fasting glucose, which checks for diabetes. The 'normal' range for this test is 65-99. If you hit 100, that indicates pre-diabetes.

2007: 93
2010: 86
2013: 93

Oh.... that made me really sad. I totally went backwards on this, even though I weigh a lot less than I did in 2007. Also I read a study that fasting glucose over 85 adds to risk of heart attack. I've also read that 74 is close to ideal. Apparently exercise and cutting carbs are the best ways to bring this back down.

Total cholesterol (under 200 is desired):
2007: 192
2010: 139
2013: 182

Yikes. Another bump in the wrong direction. Too many eggs? Too much fat overall? I have cut back recently to keeping it under 30%, but last summer and fall was eating 45-60% of calories from "healthy" fats.

Triglycerides (under 150 is desired):
2007: 112
2010: 66
2013: 40

Wow! How on earth? I have no idea...

HDL (over 40 is desired; this is the good cholesterol):
2007: 46
2010: 40
2013: 60

Well *this* is good! Perhaps those healthy fats made a difference? The doctor told me exercise would increase this but until this month I've been very sedentary. Maybe this is where the healthy fats had some benefit.

LDL (under 100 is desired; this is the bad cholesterol):
2007: 124
2010: 86
2013: 114

Oh, ugh. Another disappointing result. This is too high.

He also ordered a TSH thyroid function test, which I also had a little over a year ago. Normal range is 0.45 - 5.10 so this came back fine.
2012: 2.13
2013: 2.03

I also had a complete blood count and a comprehensive metabolic panel, both of which looked perfect.

I have not talked to my doctor yet about the results, but I think if I continue with a max of 30% fat and increasing exercise, I will be able to bring my LDL and total cholesterol back down again.


timothy said...

most of the ones you seemed disappointed in were in the normal range even if they deviated from your past results, as long as they're good be happy! you set a pretty high standard for yourself and tend to be your own worst critic sweetie. with all your issues and switching back and forth of eating plans i'd say you did wonderfully!

Anonymous said...

I've heard with Cholesterol that the ratio of Triglycerides:HDL is what's important, with the lower the better. Since yours is less than 1, your cholesterol levels are actually really good.

Anonymous said...

Rushing out the door, just wanted to say to be sure to check your ratio... I believe it's overall to HDL? I once had overall over 200, but my HDL was off the charts 100+ so the ratio was exceedingly good... sorry, gotta dash, can't find the numbers for you, but check it out!
: ) ~babs

Jo said...

TSh should not be used to monitor thyroid function, it measures pituitary hormone not thyroid hormone. You should have gotten a Free T3 and Free T4 test instead. Many Hypothyroid people do in fact test low on the TSH range.

Lyn said...


when I asked my doctor last year about thyroid tests, he said the T3 and T4 can be normal even if a person is hypo- or hyperthyroid. He said the TSH will indicate a dysfunction because thyroid function directly affects production of TSH. That is why he screens with the TSH test first, and then if there is an abnormal result he would do the T3 and T4 tests. He uses the newer range guidelines, which I looked up and it is 0.3 to 3.0.

Jo said...

T3 is the actual hormone that the thyroid produces. Your body takes the T4 and turns it into T3. The Free T3 test therefore measures how much T3 (thyroid hormone) you've got in your system. If you have a mid-range to lower Free T3 result, you are probably hypothyroid. TSH only tells you how much pituitary hormone you have. You can read more here: Many doctors are waaay behind on thyroid issues, they simply don't know how to test for it or treat it.

Jo said...

Oh also...the newer range is slightly better....however, you can have a 1.5 or 2.5 TSH and still be hypothyroid. Also, many doctors are still using the old range that says up to 5.0 TSH is normal (mine still does), and still others say that up to 10.0 is normal (no). It's best to follow your gut, and if you have hypothyroid or hyperthyroid symptoms, to get the additional bloodwork (not TSH). Hypothyroidism is running rampant in the U.S. these days, because of all the fluoride (= thyroid killer) in our water, drinks, and food, among other things...

Lyn said...

Interesting, Jo, thanks for the information!

Anonymous said...

I encourage you to look into LDL particle size testing if your insurance covers it (sometimes referred to as VAP or NMR). Many doctors now prefer this kind of test, since the particle size of LDL molecules is much more important than the overall number. Newer research shows not all LDL is "bad" cholesterol as previously thought. I eat a low carb diet/high fat and have high LDL, but VAP testing showed I had excellent particle distributions, so my doctor said the total LDL number was meaningless.

You can google "LDL particle size test" for more info on the newer methods of testing.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend you check out this article.

Em said...

The connection between dietary cholesterol/saturated fat intake and serum cholesterol is not what we thought it was—nor is the link between cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. Anecdotally, in the last year I have radically increased my intake of saturated fat, including regularly eating two dozen eggs in a week, and my cholesterol levels as tested last week are, to quote my doctor, "magnificent."

All of this is to say, I wouldn't use this test as a reason to swear off fat or eggs.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend that you don't take such specific medical advice from non-medical people; do direct research yourself and discuss with your physician.

Ex: Sorry Jo but you're just wrong about some of what you're saying about TSH and T4/T3. It's a complex physiologic feedback mechanism, and if you haven't gone to medical school or have an understanding of biochemistry you're bound to not fully comprehend what you're talking about.

Amy said...

Wow! Your triglycerides and HDL are envyable! Everything else can be dealt with.

Jo said...

By all means, research for yourself. But doctors are not all-knowing gods. Many people are ignorant about thyroid issues, including some doctors.

flora68 said...

FYI, your triglyceride level fluctuates daily with meals and activity. It takes longer to effect the LDL and HDL levels.

Anonymous said...

How was the June 30 weigh-in? I'm concerned that no news is not good news.

Lyn said...


in this case, no news is... no news :)

I didn't weigh.

Anonymous said...

Wow--After nearly six years of not missing a monthly weigh-in, this seems like a big change.

Anonymous said...

Actually, part of the reason that thyroid problems are running rampant in our country today is because people are undereating and that directly results in a drop in free t3 and all other thyroid functions (except, many times, TSH). if i were to be diagnosed as hypothyroid due to my Ft3 or Ft4, the first thing I would do would be to make sure I was eating enough, and then, if things didn't improve, I would consider thyroid medication. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation about that out there, and the first thing people do is ask for medication, which they don't need.

Not to take over your comments section with thyroid stuff, Lyn, but I feel that needs to put out there.

Lyn said...


no problem! Information is good, thank you for sharing. Gives me something to consider.

other Anonymous~

yep. Time for a big change, wouldn't you say? :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous re: thyroid

You made a general statement that people in this country are undereating.

If people are undereating (causing "rampant" thyroid problems) why is the country as whole more obese than ever before?

(By the way, the endocrinologists I have spoken with have said hypothyroidism is actually uncommon and is NOT the reason most people are overweight.)

Anonymous said...

Anon, I don't want to turn Lyn's comment section in to a debate about under eating and the obesity epidemic. I can get fired up when talking about it, and that is not my intention at all in discussing the thyroid information that I put up.

In general, the main causes of obesity (besides inflammatory obesity) are yo-yo dieting, stress and lack of sleep. In addition, the markers for overweight and obese were moved down in 1998, which resulted in over 60 percent of the population being classified as overweight or higher. The people that were on the committee that decided to move the markers pretty much all had direct ties to the weight loss industry (very telling in my opinion). In fact, the country getting fatter has actually leveled off since 2004, as noted by the CDC in 2007. I could go on and on, and put studies up, but that would make for a very long comment, and like I said, I don't want to take over Lyn's comments with such a discussion. Many of the studies can be found starting here:

i think you need to read to the 6th section or so to actually get to the causes of obesity, etc., but the whole series is pretty interesting.

the endos you talked to were right (I'd be interested to know what they actually said caused people to be overweight though). yo-yo dieting downregulates your metabolism and ends up resulting in weight gain in the long run. And if you aren't yo-yoing, then you are restricting, which also downregulates your metabolism so much that if you start to eat anything (sometimes even 800 calories a day) you gain weight.

Anyway, I used rampant as it was used in an earlier comment, but what most people seem to have is euthyroid sick syndrome. Brief definition given here:

If you read a lot of complaints people have about their thyroids, it is that they feel like crap, but their TSH is great. They are encouraged to test their t3 and t4 levels and if those are off to get medication. My guess is though, that many of those people are actually eating at starvation level or lower (believe it or not, the World Health Organization says that starvation starts at anything below 2100 calories). Pretty much all the symptoms these people have are ones that anorexics experience as well, which I also think is pretty telling.

Anyway, this is getting long, so I'll stop there, and hope I made some sense. You can make your own conclusions, but these are things I have found in research I have done.