Now for my next challenge ... Cholesterol!

TiredOldGal

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Well I had my HBA1C test (my second one) and I’ve managed to get it down to 59 and am chuffed to bits. It was 104 in October so my DN is very pleased. However, I had my cholesterol checked as I’ve not had that done before and my total cholesterol level is 6. I didn’t understand the other information, but wrote it down and am going to phone the docs to get the report posted out so I can see it on paper. It was Tri-Gliseride 2.8 and LDL 3.8.

So now my next challenge is to lower it. I’m going to read up on it and try my best. Any advice is wholeheartedly welcome.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Triglyceride - commonly shortened to 'Trigs'. However notable by its absence is any mention of HDL - and the ratio between the individual elements is what's important from a heart health perspective, or so I understand anyway. Do you have any blood pressure probs, whether high or low? Or weight?
 

TiredOldGal

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Blood pressure is fine but I am overweight. I’ve contacted the GP for a paper copy of the results as I was given them verbally over the phone, so I know what I’m dealing with. I don’t understand it but will research. I don’t fancy going on statins but may have to in October. But I really want to try to do it myself
 

brisr949

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Well done for getting your number down to 59, near enough half of what is was. Big congrats from me.
 

everydayupsanddowns

Administrator
Staff member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Congratulations on the great HbA1c reduction @TiredOldGal

Good luck with the cholesterol. I think any activity you can add into your routine is supposed to help. Diet can only do so much (lots of your cholesterol is made in the liver).

But your great HbA1c reduction should be reducing your risk substantially!
 

zuludog

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hello TIRED OLD GAL, and welcome to the Forum

I was diagnosed with D just over 20 years ago; as well as medication for that I was prescribed Atorvastatin
It was OK for several years but then I developed the aches & pains of Statin side effects
I saw my GP; my cholesterol level was just under 5 and agreed that I could come off statins, and try to control things by diet and exercise

I was already on a diabetic diet, reducing carb intake, and applied that more rigorously
For a while I had been reducing the amount of meat that I ate, and similarly I worked on that even more

I stopped eating any kind of processed or cheaper meat. even if they were grilled or had the fat fried off; so mo more burgers, mince, sausages, bacon; also joints or chops with fat. Now and again I'll have a lean steak

Don't be afraid of fat! Opinion has changed, and now you can have fat & oil as long as it's the good stuff like olive oil & oily fish

I used to use sunflower oil or anonymous 'vegetable oil' but now I only use olive oil. I don't do much frying now anyway, so just a small amount for that, plus dressings and in recipes. It doesn't need to be the expensive extra virgin, cold pressed etc. stuff, just cheaper to medium priced is OK

I make vegetable stews from the usual stew veg and beans & lentils. I've never had much success cooking dried beans, but search supermarket shelves, Asian shops & similar and there are a lot of beans & lentils ready to use - canned, in cartons, which look like smaller versions of the cartons of orange juice, and plastic pouches - Merchant Gourmet and other brands. You can also put a can of cheap baked beans into a stew; they are simply haricot beans in a tomato sauce

The only dried lentils I use are the small red ones or soup mix. Yes, there is some carb in the barley, but we're only talking about using a small amount, not huge shovelfuls every day

I've been eating more fish
You can use fresh fish, otherwise have a root round Iceland's freezers. Avoid fish in batter or sauces, but you can find plain fish ready gutted or filleted
Also canned or vac packed. I don't like the tomato sauce, so I get them in brine or oil

These changes in my diet didn't happen overnight. I took a few months to gradually change from meat to veg & fish
Oh, and not forgetting an increase in the amount of salad I was eating; I like chick peas salad

Remember, nothing in the body happens in isolation. You may well find that when you make these changes, including more exercise, several things improve at the same time - weight, sugar control, cholesterol, blood pressure, plus generally feeling more lively

Have a look through previous Threads in Newbies and Food sections, I'm sure you'll find more advice
 
Last edited:

KARNAK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Well done @TiredOldGal congratulations.
Hard work on your part with your HbA1c.
 

Eddy Edson

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Everybody is different, but this is me ...

I care mainly about LDL cholesterol, because that is directly responsible for atheroscelrosis etc etc. HDL and trigs are more like markers for how well your system is doing, from what I understand - not as directly responsible as LDL is.

At diagnosis in March 2018, my LDL was 3.2. I wanted to drive it down because I have peripheral artery disease, a form of atherosclerosis, which means all of my other arteries are probably at risk as well, and getting LDL as low as possible reduces progression and can even perhaps reverse it a bit.

By Jan this year I got LDL down to 0.7. This is about as low as you can go without using powerful new drugs, more powerful than statins. It's about the level recorded for hunter & gatherer populations etc.

So a reduction of 3.2 - 0.7 = 2.5. Of that, I estimate based on various personal things, and also expert studies, that about:

- 1.8 is due to taking the max dosage of a strong statin (rosuvastatin).
- 0.3 is due to eating a whole lot of fibre, typically 70g+ per day.
- 0.4 is due to other artery-friendly food choices (very low saturated fats, high unsaturated) and exercise.

So without the statin, I estimate my LDL would be about 2.5, which is higher than the 1.8 maximum recommended by most expert groups for anybody with significant risk factors and much higher than where I want to be.

For me, anyway, getting my LDL to a satisfactory level without a statin doesn't seem possible. I eat an extremely heart-healthy diet and I walk enough to count as "active", but it's not enough unaided to get me to where I need to be.
 

Sharron1

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Everybody is different, but this is me ...

I care mainly about LDL cholesterol, because that is directly responsible for atheroscelrosis etc etc. HDL and trigs are more like markers for how well your system is doing, from what I understand - not as directly responsible as LDL is.

At diagnosis in March 2018, my LDL was 3.2. I wanted to drive it down because I have peripheral artery disease, a form of atherosclerosis, which means all of my other arteries are probably at risk as well, and getting LDL as low as possible reduces progression and can even perhaps reverse it a bit.

By Jan this year I got LDL down to 0.7. This is about as low as you can go without using powerful new drugs, more powerful than statins. It's about the level recorded for hunter & gatherer populations etc.

So a reduction of 3.2 - 0.7 = 2.5. Of that, I estimate based on various personal things, and also expert studies, that about:

- 1.8 is due to taking the max dosage of a strong statin (rosuvastatin).
- 0.3 is due to eating a whole lot of fibre, typically 70g+ per day.
- 0.4 is due to other artery-friendly food choices (very low saturated fats, high unsaturated) and exercise.

So without the statin, I estimate my LDL would be about 2.5, which is higher than the 1.8 maximum recommended by most expert groups for anybody with significant risk factors and much higher than where I want to be.

For me, anyway, getting my LDL to a satisfactory level without a statin doesn't seem possible. I eat an extremely heart-healthy diet and I walk enough to count as "active", but it's not enough unaided to get me to where I need to be.
Hi, Thanks Eddy for explaining that in a manner I can understand. Much appreciated. If you ever want to know about Victorian Governesses, please don't hesitate to ask. Would be only too happy to assist!
 

TiredOldGal

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thank you all so much for your wonderful replies. I’m going to have a proper look at everything at the weekend and in the 6 week holidays. It’s been manic again at school this week, but my GP is posting out my results so I can see properly what every bit is LDL and all that.

This forum is brilliant.
 

DaveB

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1.5 LADA
Hi. Well done for doing all the right things. I've mentioned before on this forum that it is worth getting your surgery to give you access to your test results online. This enables you to take control and means at your regular review you have been able to see your results before the review and hence are briefed and don't waste time while you are told them verbally.
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi
10 years ago I was told my cholesterol was high - over 7 as I recall. I was put on statins for 18 months and had very severe side effects, despite persevering for 18 months. Apart from the usual aches and pains, I developed swelling, rashes, incontinence without sensation, insomnia and depression. My GP eventually took me off them and marked my notes - "highly intolerant of statins". That hasn't stopped every doctor since trying to put me back on them until I point out my history. I have found 2 things helped me get down to 5.4 where I currently am. I take a mini bottle of Benecol every day, and I follow a diet as close to zero fat, particularly saturated fat, as possible, as well as a very low carb diet. This actually contradicts the recommendations for diabetics, where more fat is recommended. I did try that, and my cholesterol promptly shot up. So now I have a diet full of lean protein - chicken and white fish, plus lots of leafy and green vegetables in the form of salads, soups and steamed. In discussions with various GP's they tell me that something like 80% of cholesterol comes from the liver, and there's not a lot you can do about that with diet alone. Exercise also helps, so the sooner I can get back in the swimming pool 4/5 days a week, the better. Good luck - it's a difficult task.
 

Gappy

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I keep getting getting threatened with statins- but not on the last time I was tested, my good cholesterol out weighed the bad. I've been dog walking regularly, taking cod liver oil and once a day an activitia yogurt. I don't have scientific back up just worked for me!
 

TiredOldGal

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Morning everyone, and thanks again for your replies. I now have my paper copy, but I'm still confused lol

Serum cholesterol level 6.0
Triglceride level 2.88
HDL level 0.9
LDL level 3.8

There's some other things like ratio and I've got target ranges on there too

Ho-hum more homework needed for me I think

I've started on a Tesco yogurt drink thing (like Benecol, but cheaper) today and will have one of those a day, in addition to tweaking my diet more
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Morning everyone, and thanks again for your replies. I now have my paper copy, but I'm still confused lol

Serum cholesterol level 6.0
Triglceride level 2.88
HDL level 0.9
LDL level 3.8

There's some other things like ratio and I've got target ranges on there too

Ho-hum more homework needed for me I think

I've started on a Tesco yogurt drink thing (like Benecol, but cheaper) today and will have one of those a day, in addition to tweaking my diet more
This might help you. I was told to get my HDL level greater than 1.5 and I see yours was 0.9. I'm currently at 1.1 Also Tesco and Lidl are cheaper, but their size is bigger and their carb and sugar levels are higher. That's why I returned to Benecol.
 

TiredOldGal

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
This might help you. I was told to get my HDL level greater than 1.5 and I see yours was 0.9. I'm currently at 1.1 Also Tesco and Lidl are cheaper, but their size is bigger and their carb and sugar levels are higher. That's why I returned to Benecol.
Thank you Felina. I've just discussed this with my husband. I've bought them now, but will get the sugar free Benecol ones next week. This whole journey is a very long learning curve isn't it? :)
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thank you Felina. I've just discussed this with my husband. I've bought them now, but will get the sugar free Benecol ones next week. This whole journey is a very long learning curve isn't it? :)
Yes - it does take time to all sink in, but after a bit it just becomes a way of life. I've had plenty of slip ups as I learn! I actually find Benecol tastes better - less wishy washy, but it's just my preference. And if you look for the offers, it works out at about 50p a day, less than a coffee in the newly opened food outlets.
 

grovesy

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I don't like the Benecol ones as they leave a strange after taste. I find it with sugar free jellies as well.
 

Maz2

Well-Known Member
Well done getting your sugars down. I know the feeling. I went pre-diabetic and came here for help. I have had a second normal result and my GP is reducing frequency of hba1c now from yearly as I have had a normal result two years running. I still want to reduce it more so I am going to continue to test.

I too have been told my cholesterol has gone up now. I did not know it was being done so booked an afternoon appointment so had breakfast and lunch before I went. It had gone to 5.8 from 4.6 in two years. My previous one though was starved and this one was not. I thought "oh no, here we go, statins." If I have to have them then i have to but I prefer not to take meds if I can try and sort things out. Anyway, GP said my triglycerides were very good, good cholesterol was very good, my weight is good and I am not pre-diabetic now so there is no need for statins. She has asked me to try to get it down if I can. I will give it a go. I am 67 now so cannot expert everything to be right but will see what i can do.
 

Maz2

Well-Known Member
Hello TIRED OLD GAL, and welcome to the Forum

I was diagnosed with D just over 20 years ago; as well as medication for that I was prescribed Atorvastatin
It was OK for several years but then I developed the aches & pains of Statin side effects
I saw my GP; my cholesterol level was just under 5 and agreed that I could come off statins, and try to control things by diet and exercise

I was already on a diabetic diet, reducing carb intake, and applied that more rigorously
For a while I had been reducing the amount of meat that I ate, and similarly I worked on that even more

I stopped eating any kind of processed or cheaper meat. even if they were grilled or had the fat fried off; so mo more burgers, mince, sausages, bacon; also joints or chops with fat. Now and again I'll have a lean steak

Don't be afraid of fat! Opinion has changed, and now you can have fat & oil as long as it's the good stuff like olive oil & oily fish

I used to use sunflower oil or anonymous 'vegetable oil' but now I only use olive oil. I don't do much frying now anyway, so just a small amount for that, plus dressings and in recipes. It doesn't need to be the expensive extra virgin, cold pressed etc. stuff, just cheaper to medium priced is OK

I make vegetable stews from the usual stew veg and beans & lentils. I've never had much success cooking dried beans, but search supermarket shelves, Asian shops & similar and there are a lot of beans & lentils ready to use - canned, in cartons, which look like smaller versions of the cartons of orange juice, and plastic pouches - Merchant Gourmet and other brands. You can also put a can of cheap baked beans into a stew; they are simply haricot beans in a tomato sauce

The only dried lentils I use are the small red ones or soup mix. Yes, there is some carb in the barley, but we're only talking about using a small amount, not huge shovelfuls every day

I've been eating more fish
You can use fresh fish, otherwise have a root round Iceland's freezers. Avoid fish in batter or sauces, but you can find plain fish ready gutted or filleted
Also canned or vac packed. I don't like the tomato sauce, so I get them in brine or oil

These changes in my diet didn't happen overnight. I took a few months to gradually change from meat to veg & fish
Oh, and not forgetting an increase in the amount of salad I was eating; I like chick peas salad

Remember, nothing in the body happens in isolation. You may well find that when you make these changes, including more exercise, several things improve at the same time - weight, sugar control, cholesterol, blood pressure, plus generally feeling more lively

Have a look through previous Threads in Newbies and Food sections, I'm sure you'll find more advice
I have been asked to try to reduce my cholesterol. Did you find cutting down on red meat helped it then? I eat quite a lot of it. I like to keep my haemoglobin up as I donate blood. Would be happy to cut down on red meat if necessary.
 
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