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emily_in_nc
02-18-2007, 07:07 PM
I recently had a cholesterol screening with the following results:

Total cholesterol: 145
HDL: 75
LDL: 51
TC/HDL: 1.9 (should be 4.5 or less)
Triglycerides: 96

At first I thought "GREAT!" But then I remembered hearing on the news that "very" low cholesterol could be associated with other health problems than high cholesterol. So, a bit of googling later, I found that total cholesterol levels < 180 are associated with a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, among other things, and if cholesterol is even lower (< 160), emotional disorders like anxiety, depression, and a higher rate of suicide. :confused:

Interestingly, I don't make a strong attempt to eat a low-fat diet, having lost 15 lbs. doing low-carb five years ago and keeping it off by eating more of a zone-type diet. I eat real salad dressings (full fat), butter, eggs, cheese, and some meat (not a lot, mostly fish and chicken breasts), and lots of nuts for snacks. I also eat fruit, one low-fat yogurt a day, whole grains, and several servings of vegetables a day. I drink one glass of wine most days, and have about 1 oz. of dark chocolate one day. We cook mostly with olive oil.

I attribute my high HDL to diet and the amount of exercise I do. I have a fast metabolism and need to snack and eat small meals all day not to feel hungry but I don't think I'm hyperthyroid, which has been suggested as one cause of low cholesterol. I'm not sure if I need to try to raise my cholesterol or not, and since I already eat a reasonable amount of saturated fat, how exactly to go about that!

I found this article indicating that very low cholesterol may be caused by a malfunctioning gallbladder:

http://www.mercola.com/1999/archive/low_cholesterol.htm
(http://www.mercola.com/1999/archive/low_cholesterol.htm)

Based on this, I went ahead and ordered the supplement he mentions to try, since the CT scan I had for my pelvis showed "sludge" in my gallbladder, which my doctor said not to worry about, that most people my age have it.

Anyone else here have very low cholesterol or know more about it?

Thanks!
Emily

Bikingmomof3
02-18-2007, 08:09 PM
Hi Emily!

I have every low cholesterol as well. Also low BP and I am hypoglycemic. I have not read the article yet, but will. I had my gallbladder removed about a decade ago. My doctor has not been concerned. My husband's is the opposite, he may qualify as a solid. :( We eat mainly the same things, huge difference is I exercise and he does not, or at least not to the extent I exercise. I have had a stroke but my cholesterol levels were not questioned. It gives me something to ask my doctor about next visit.

RoadRaven
02-18-2007, 09:48 PM
There is so much conflicting documentation around cholesterol... I have never bought into it and have no idea what my level is.

I have known people who have followed a diet to lower it, only to have their cholesterol go up.

I have known others who can't be bothered with following a doctor recommended diet, eat all the wrong things, and have their cholesterol measured lower.

I understand our brains are made of cholesterol, and someone told me if our body choleserol gets too low, the body will take cholesterol from our brains... urban myth? or reality? not sure on that one...

I do know if I feel like eating 3 eggs in a sitting I do. And I don't consider my cholesterol count at all.

Really not sure on how the cholesterol thing truly pans out, but it seems to be quite an individual thing at times. Thanks for posting the article.

Thorn
02-19-2007, 06:12 AM
My initial response to your post as someone who struggles to keep her cholesterol in line was, "oh, sure, go ahead and gloat", but I suppose, like anything, too low can be a problem just as too high can. Never thought about it.

That said, may I suggest that you take what you read from that web site and put it through a very strong filter. He has some very good information, but he can cross over the fringe very quickly.

Personally, my favorite source for the cross-over between traditional and scientific medicine is the People's Pharamcy (http://www.peoplespharmacy.org/index.asp). I tend to believe they do a better job at research than Dr. Mercola. If you search for low cholesterol on their site, they have some references to articles.

Sorry to interject, but needless to say I've been "Dr. Mercola quoted" to exhaustion.

SouthernBelle
02-19-2007, 06:28 AM
I'm going to echo what Thorn said about Mercola's website. Lots of people consider him a bit of a nut. Much of what he says is based on his wish to sell stuff. I also periodically check Dr. Weil's site. Admittedly he sells stuff too, :p but he has a much better reputation.

anakiwa
02-19-2007, 02:23 PM
Your cholesterol sounds excellent to me.

I'd focus on continuing to exercise and eat well- and not worry about it any more than that.

SadieKate
02-19-2007, 05:25 PM
I posted these numbers back in October.

Total cholesterol = 166
TRI = 58
HDL = 82
LDL = 72

My nurse practioner was ecstatic as were all my docs. No one mentioned worry about it being too low.

DarcyInOregon
02-19-2007, 05:42 PM
Hi Emily,

I have low cholesterol. I've always had low cholesterol, probably because I don't like meat that much. And I've had a high fiber diet most of my life.

I asked my doctor if my cholesterol could be too low. He said "NO!", that my cholesterol is fine. I am very healthy, except for arthritis in my spine, and the arthritis is mild, not severe. I've never suffered from depression or anxiety or any type of mental disorder.

My last cholesterol was:

Total - 109

Trigs - 110
HDL - 46
LDL - 41

My cholesterol has been under 150 for the last 20 years, and under 120 for the last 5 years.

Darcy

emily_in_nc
02-19-2007, 05:44 PM
Hi Emily!

I have every low cholesterol as well. Also low BP and I am hypoglycemic. I have not read the article yet, but will. I had my gallbladder removed about a decade ago. My doctor has not been concerned. My husband's is the opposite, he may qualify as a solid. :( We eat mainly the same things, huge difference is I exercise and he does not, or at least not to the extent I exercise. I have had a stroke but my cholesterol levels were not questioned. It gives me something to ask my doctor about next visit.

Hi Jennifer,

Was your stroke classified as hemorrhagic? I think I read that this type of stroke makes up only about 20&#37; of strokes. I thought it was interesting to read that you also had low cholesterol and had had a stroke at a fairly young age.

I think there are a lot of genetics involved in cholesterol too -- my mom, who is overweight and never exercises, has low cholesterol as well, though not as low as mine.

Thanks,
Emily

DarcyInOregon
02-19-2007, 05:48 PM
Emily, if you are worried about the strokes, you need to be tested for your homocysteine levels and perhaps the CRP levels. Both tests are an indicator of cardio function. High homocysteine levels will lead to strokes. A person with low cholesterol may have high homocysteines, and not know it, thus the strokes. It isn't just about one component, such as cholesterol, but the total health of the body.

Darcy

emily_in_nc
02-19-2007, 05:55 PM
My DH is really into Dr. Mercola, but I agree that he is pretty extreme. OTOH, he was talking about the dangers of soy vis-a-vis thyroid and other issues way before I read it anywhere else, and turns out he was right on that one (http://thyroid.about.com/cs/soyinfo/a/soy.htm). He is also very anti-Splenda, so DH has banished it from our pantry. We used to eat a lot of it.

Anyway, I'm still not sure, but I definitely don't want to have a stroke! I figure I'll try the supplements for a few months as it's a small price to pay, and if my numbers don't change, then I won't waste my money. BTW, the supplements I ordered are not from Dr. Mercola; they are from another site based on what he said he takes (http://www.totalsupplement.net/shop/index.php?shop=1&itemid=31). Course, he may well get kickbacks from them, but he didn't link to them -- I had to find them on the web.

We'll see. Thanks for all the replies!

Emily

emily_in_nc
02-19-2007, 06:00 PM
Emily, if you are worried about the strokes, you need to be tested for your homocysteine levels and perhaps the CRP levels. Both tests are an indicator of cardio function. High homocysteine levels will lead to strokes. A person with low cholesterol may have high homocysteines, and not know it, thus the strokes. It isn't just about one component, such as cholesterol, but the total health of the body.

Darcy

High homocysteine levels are associated with ischemic stroke -- the other kind. That's the type that folks with high cholesterol have to worry about. I'm not worried about that. I don't think there's any test that can show a tendency towards hemorrhagic stroke, other than, perhaps, a cholesterol test as we're discussing. But as this article points out, the studies that have shown a correlation don't break down HDL/LDL, which may well make a difference (http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9902/06/strokes/index.html).

Thanks!
Emily

DarcyInOregon
02-19-2007, 09:32 PM
That is an interesting article. It seems that the risk for a bleeding stroke is very low. I think more data is needed, like how old were the bleeding stroke victims, and what else was going on in their lives.

I am old enough to remember the hullabaloo about eggs. I never gave up eating eggs. I remember when the headlines screamed that if you burnt your toast you would get cancer. I like my toast crisp. If enough time passes, the story will change, because there will be more data and more completed studies. In other words, I don't react to every new thing that gets printed in the media. I am sensible and logical about it all.

Darcy

Bikingmomof3
02-20-2007, 06:23 AM
Hi Jennifer,

Was your stroke classified as hemorrhagic? I think I read that this type of stroke makes up only about 20&#37; of strokes. I thought it was interesting to read that you also had low cholesterol and had had a stroke at a fairly young age.

I think there are a lot of genetics involved in cholesterol too -- my mom, who is overweight and never exercises, has low cholesterol as well, though not as low as mine.

Thanks,
Emily

Emily,

I have a very rare form of migraines (insert incredibly long, yet impressive sounding, medical term) which make me an extremely high stroke risk. My migraine aura mimicks a stroke. We were actually suprised that it took me so long to have a full stroke. I had several TIAs throughout the years. Looking back we think I suffered my first small stroke when I was 30.

Long story cut very short, for me, my stroke risk is associated directly with what is going on (or not properly going on in my brain) due to my form of migraines. There is no test that can predict when I will have another, although it is known that I will. :(

My cholestrol played no part in my past strokes or TIAs.

As I mentioned earlier, my husband flunked all his cholesterol tests and was classified as a solid. (As an example, his "good" cholestrol turned bad and his tgriglyceride level was 450):eek: He was 36 at the time of those tests. We eat the same foods, I exercise a heck of a lot more. Even with exercise he has to take medication to lower his. He recently found out all his family members have to take medication for their cholesterol. None have any other health issues.

I personally do not like to rely too much on internet health info I personally have seen a lot of misinformation so I tend to no longer look.

If you are concerned, and you sound like you are, I highly recommend going to see a specialist. If nothing else it will put your mind at ease.

Hopefully this made some sense. I am behind on my caffeine intake. :)

Edited to add: I forgot to mention I am on anti-seizure meds, which also play a part in my body chemistry. My medical background is a neurological nightmare at times. I think all toll it is amazing I am inas good of shape as I am. ;)

caligurl
02-20-2007, 07:53 AM
My DH is really into Dr. Mercola, but I agree that he is pretty extreme. OTOH, he was talking about the dangers of soy vis-a-vis thyroid and other issues way before I read it anywhere else, and turns out he was right on that one (http://thyroid.about.com/cs/soyinfo/a/soy.htm). He is also very anti-Splenda, so DH has banished it from our pantry. We used to eat a lot of it.


oh terrific.... i have to go read this article, now.... i changed to soy milk because of the lower fat/lower calorie content and we use splenda..... *sigh*

and i'm another with really low cholestoral... but i attributed it to my lifestyle of exercise and eating properly (for the most part) so i'm off to read that one, too!

SJCzar
02-20-2007, 01:28 PM
I've always had low cholesterol. The last time I had it checked I had finally increased into the low 130's. I don't always eat that healthy. My mother had high cholestrol and she was very fussy about eating healthy. I figure that as I get older it will probably keep creeping up so I'm glad it's low for now.

My husband on the other hand has high cholesterol, but his good is so high that they're not concerned about his overall total .... and of course he eats way too much junk food and isn't much for exercising so where all those good levels come from I have no idea.

emily_in_nc
02-20-2007, 06:41 PM
Emily,

I have a very rare form of migraines (insert incredibly long, yet impressive sounding, medical term) which make me an extremely high stroke risk. My migraine aura mimicks a stroke. We were actually suprised that it took me so long to have a full stroke. I had several TIAs throughout the years. Looking back we think I suffered my first small stroke when I was 30.

Long story cut very short, for me, my stroke risk is associated directly with what is going on (or not properly going on in my brain) due to my form of migraines. There is no test that can predict when I will have another, although it is known that I will. :(

My cholestrol played no part in my past strokes or TIAs.

As I mentioned earlier, my husband flunked all his cholesterol tests and was classified as a solid. (As an example, his "good" cholestrol turned bad and his tgriglyceride level was 450):eek: He was 36 at the time of those tests. We eat the same foods, I exercise a heck of a lot more. Even with exercise he has to take medication to lower his. He recently found out all his family members have to take medication for their cholesterol. None have any other health issues.

I personally do not like to rely too much on internet health info I personally have seen a lot of misinformation so I tend to no longer look.

If you are concerned, and you sound like you are, I highly recommend going to see a specialist. If nothing else it will put your mind at ease.

Hopefully this made some sense. I am behind on my caffeine intake. :)

Edited to add: I forgot to mention I am on anti-seizure meds, which also play a part in my body chemistry. My medical background is a neurological nightmare at times. I think all toll it is amazing I am inas good of shape as I am. ;)

Jennifer,

Thanks for your detailed response! Wow, you have really been through a lot. I'm so sorry. I feel very blessed to have as good health as I do. And actually, I'm not that concerned, just interested...I don't think there are any tests they can do to show a higher tendency towards hemmorhagic strokes, unfortunately. They have just been found to be twice as likely in folks with cholesterol below 180, and mine is 145. A blood vessel bursting is not something that can be predicted; it just happens, and when it does, it is obviously a medical emergency. I will talk to my primary care doc when I next see her, but I'm not in a panic. I'm just trying to be an informed medical consumer and be aware that although most people might "admire" my low cholesterol, it's not necessarily without risks at this level.....

I do appreciate all the responses here. It's all very interesting. I'm just one of these curious types who does lots of research about stuff, and I've always been very interested in medical stuff, wanted to be a doctor when I was growing up, stuff like that, so I pay more attention to test results than the average Joe, I think.

Emily

Geonz
02-20-2007, 07:15 PM
I'd want to know where that data came from (the "double the risk" stuff). I've heard that low cholesterol was bad - but low as in 90, not 140-ish. Mine was up from 140 to 156 last time I had it checked; the nurse said "come back in five years." Just 'cause somebody's right about a couple of things doesn't mean I'd trust that individual to draw the right conclusions about other thigns; I'd want to know what they were basing it on. Let's face it, there could be somethign in any given supplement that's a risk factor, too.

emily_in_nc
02-21-2007, 07:12 PM
I'd want to know where that data came from (the "double the risk" stuff).

High cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for stroke. But new research suggests that low levels of cholesterol in the blood may also increase stroke risk. The study linking low cholesterol to increased stroke risk was presented recently at the 24th American Heart Association Conference on Stroke and Cerebral Circulation which was discussed in last week’s newsletter. About 80% of all strokes are ischemic, and 20% are hemorrhagic.

The researchers compared the cholesterol levels of the stroke patients to 3,700 other people in the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound who had not had a stroke. They found that as an individual's cholesterol level rose above 230 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), their risk of ischemic stroke increased. For example, a person with a cholesterol level of 280 mg/dL had twice the risk of ischemic stroke as a person with 230 mg/dL.

But the researchers also found that as cholesterol dropped, the risk of -hemorrhagic stroke increased significantly. A person with a cholesterol level below 180 mg/dL had twice the risk of that type of stroke compared with someone at 230 mg/dL.

About 10% of the population have cholesterol levels below 180 mg/dL. It is not clear if the cholesterol is indeed the cause of the stroke, or related to some other cardiovascular factor that is responsible. High cholesterol levels probably increase blockages.

The theory with low cholesterol is that it is necessary to maintain integrity of the vessel wall. Low levels of cholesterol might lead to "leaky vessels." The Japanese have typically low cholesterol levels and a higher than average rate of hemorrhagic stroke.

Source: http://www.mercola.com/1999/archive/low_cholesterol.htm