Yesterday I got a little card in the mail informing me of the results of the routine blood test I took last week. On it were some numbers I didn’t understand and a note saying “Slightly elevated cholesterol levels. Watch diet and continue exercise.”
Elevated cholesterol? Huh?
Of course I went immediately to Google and started reading about it, because if we’re being honest, when I gave cholesterol any thought (which was rare), I usually associated it with problems facing people my parents’ age, not people in their 20s.
As I was reading the foods to avoid, I was getting frustrated. I don’t eat that stuff! If you went by the lists, my diet is basically exactly what it’s supposed to be for a normal level of cholesterol. And yes, I could exercise a little more, but in general, I’m the poster child for a cholesterol-happy lifestyle.
And then I scrolled down to the next section: genetics. So I called my mom.
And yup, she has it too, has since she was a kid. In addition to inheriting her great eyebrows (among other qualities), I got her cholesterol.
My levels aren’t super high, but that didn’t stop me from kind of freaking out about it and reading WAY too much information. If ignored, high cholesterol can lead to clogged arteries and heart problems later in life. But in the end, it’s something totally manageable without medicine (at least in this stage in life) and there are things I’m going to try to lower it a little.
Oatmeal in the morning (I just finished my first bowl since the winter. I’m not a huge fan of it in the summer, so I might have to switch to Cheerios).
Less cheese. This one is going to have to be a conscious effort because UNconsciously, I eat a lot of cheese. I can’t help it, it’s good.
A more regular exercise plan. I do exercise, but it’s not daily anymore and it should be. I am going to make a solid effort to finally find a dance class, too.
Natural supplements. This one I’m holding off on until seeing if the other things work, but there is one — red yeast rice — that has been used as a natural way to help lower the levels. There is debate over whether or not it works and it’s not recommended for use when pregnant (I’m not, but hope to be jumping on that bandwagon soon. In which case, I don’t want to mess around with my body.), so I won’t be taking it any time soon.
This isn’t a huge deal. I’m healthy, but could stand to get the levels down a little. So I’m going to try. In the meantime, I urge you all to get a routine physical and have them run some blood tests. I’m learning that it’s important to be proactive about your health. What we do now is going to make a difference later. And I don’t know about you, but I’d like to stick around for a long time.