Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Diagnosis: Healthy

My employer offers free health screenings every year. It's probably cheaper for them to have several thousand employees spend 15 minutes in the cafeteria than to send them each to the doctor and have a round of bloodwork ordered. Assuming folks are even bothered to go.

Both years that I've taken advantage of the program, my numbers have all been good. Here's this years:

Total Cholesterol 160 ("Desirable" is <200)
HDL Cholesterol 41 ("Low" is < 40, "Optimal" is > 60..I was at the same level last year too)
LDL Cholestoerol 99 ("Optimal" < 100)
Triglycerides 101 ("Desirable" < 150)
Glucose 94 ("Normal (Non-Fasting)" < 140)
Blood Pressure 94/57 ("Normal" < 120/80)
BMI 24.0 ("Normal" = 18.5-24.9)
Body Fat 29.8% ("Healthy" for my age is 21-33%)

Yes my blood pressure is low. And no, I don't get dizzy (they asked!). The only time I came close to that "normal" range was about 8 months pregnant. I salt my food, too (though I don't like a lot of packaged or canned stuff). My mom began having trouble with higher blood pressure after age 40. I'm keeping these numbers for as long as I can, thankyouverymuch.

It is interesting that my BMI and Body Fat % have been pretty much the same for over ten years (not counting a few select months post-partum). I used to stress about the body fat % thing--I used to be on the borderline between "healthy" and "overweight". My age is now my excuse. Hooray for thirtysomethings!

My cholesterol levels were about the same last year. The only near "ding" on my record is really that hdl level--it's lower than optimal. Last year I chalked it up to breastfeeding, and having the fat literally sucked right out of me. This year, well, I guess it's just diet & exercise. But as the "counselor" explained, the ratio of my hdl to my total cholesterol is good. I'm just low overall.

I do need to exercise more, but I already eat plenty of nuts & use olive oil almost exclusively when cooking (& canola for baking). I tried a fish oil supplement once--it gives me heartburn. We don't eat a lot of fish in our house, which might also boost that number. I am not particularly comfortable cooking a lot of fish dishes (lack of experience manly), and honestly, the midwest is not a great place to buy it.

As part of the health screenings, they will feed our numbers into a computer system for a health survey. They will ask us additional questions about our diet and lifestyle, which will doubtless be used for research of some sort. I remember last year having to answer the question "Do you eat a low-fat diet". My answer was marked "medium-fat" diet, which is a more accurate description. I like meat and butter, and am never skimpy with the olive oil. And it's not hurting me so far. But despite low overall cholesterol numbers, the system still chided me for not eating a "low-fat" diet. Hmmph.

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