March 30, 2022|Health

Brett’s Cholesterol Conundrum

It wasn’t until very recently, after a good friend suffered a heart attack at 43, my age, that I discovered South Asians (people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka) have a higher risk of heart and vascular disease than any other ethnic group. Thankfully and miraculously my friend survived his heart attack, but this was a wake up call.

Since both my parents were born in Sri Lanka, I was curious to know my fate. After more than two years it was time for a cholesterol check. Given my reasonable fitness level and diet, I expected a low cholesterol but on this occasion it wasn’t to be. My LDL (low-density lipoprotein), also known as “bad” cholesterol, was higher than my “good” cholesterol which meant my risk for heart disease and stroke had just risen!!!

My Doctor explained that for some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. Bad cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet.

After listening to the Doctor’s advice, I’ve decided I’ll have a go at making a few small adjustments to my diet;

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids:
– Salmon and Walnuts
Increase soluble fibre:
– Soluble fibre can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into our bloodstream. Soluble fibre is found in such foods as apples and pears.
Add whey protein:

– Studies have shown that whey protein given as a supplement lowers both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.

In 3 months time I’ll recheck my cholesterol and if my bad cholesterol level doesn’t drop, I’ll await further advice from my doctor which may include medications to force my “bad” cholesterol levels down. At least now knowing my cholesterol status, I can stay in control of my health. “What we measure, we can improve!”

At the end of the day it’s my body, and I’m ultimately responsible for my own health. This is why it’s important to be our own health advocate. No one should care more about our health outcomes than ourselves!

Brett Thiedeman

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