Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Better Diet Is Giving Me Better Health

This morning I had my annual physical.  Ever since I turned 40, my physical has included a blood lipid test.  The first time I got my cholesterol results, my LDL and total cholesterol were both borderline.  Not wanting to control my cholesterol with medication, I learned how to control it with diet.

Since then, I’ve increased my HDL (a.k.a. “good” cholesterol) and decreased my LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol.  While I was able to bring by numbers back within the normal range, there was still room for improvement.

In recent months, I’ve decreased my consumption of saturated fats and increased my consumption of unsaturated fats.  I’m also getting more exercise, as I ramp up my mileage to train for for the Across the Years 48-Hour Race.  I was looking forward to seeing how these changes affected my cholesterol.

After a physical, I used to have to wait a week to get the lab results in the mail.  Now they’re available online the same day, so I already have the results.  My LDL has dropped to 88, which is the lowest it’s been.  My HDL is 78, which is very good.  Mission accomplished.  I’m pretty confident at this point that I’ll be able to continue controlling my cholesterol through diet and exercise.

Since I was getting an exam, it occurred to me to ask my doctor for a medical certificate indicating I’m fit enough to run a marathon.  That’s something that’s required if you want to race in France or Italy.  I’ve considering doing the Rome Marathon next year.  At this point, it’s just a possibility, but I printed out the form so my doctor could sign it while I was there anyway.

It’s good to know I have a clean bill of health.  While running has health benefits, it doesn’t make us immune from health problems.  Everyone should still get an annual physical.

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