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Gettin’ Old

Got back from the doc this morning. I was worried my blood work would come back a hot dumpster fire, but I was happy all my internal organs are functioning normally. BP is down but still too high. I have high LDL (bad cholesterol) but my good (HDL) is also high. She predicts statins in my future, but BP is the immediate priority. Triglycerides were OK. The only real bad news is that I’m pre-diabetic. Liver enzymes were a bit off, but she attributed that to being overweight. I don’t have any problems that can’t be attributed to just getting old.

In short I need to diet, lose weight, exercise, and keep experimenting with anti-hypertensives. So all in all, I feel pretty good about things. It’s all stuff I can manage. Lack of control is a big driver in my fear of medicine, so when I learn it’s stuff I can control  through my own actions, I feel a lot better.

10 Responses to “Gettin’ Old”

  1. Observer says:

    You might want to talk to your doctor about Metabolic Syndrome. I was diagnosed about a year ago, and it seems to run in families. Key symptoms include high BP, high LDL, a tendency to gain weight around the belly area, and high blood sugar (but not diabetes-levels – yet).

    The good news is that it’s relatively easy to treat and manage, if you catch it before it develops into worse problems (diabetes, heart disease, etc). A lower carb (but not Atkins-low), low glycemic index diet will work wonders for the BP, blood sugar, and weight. Those, in turn, help bring the cholesterol down.

    After I was diagnosed, I started targeting about 100 net carbs per day. I’d do a simple breakfast (cheese omelette – about 1 carb), a light salad for lunch (often around 5-8 net carbs), cheese sticks for snacks (usually 0 carbs), and then I could have a relatively normal dinner (just don’t overdo things like bread, rice, or pasta), and even ice cream for dessert. Doing that took me from 210 pounds down to 180 in about 6 months. I’ve since gone back up a little (hard to follow a regime like that when moving cross-country, but I was at 187 today), but I’m on my way back down.

    After about 3 months of that, my BP was back in the normal range, my HDL was up and LDL was down, my blood sugar was down, and I was feeling a lot better all around.

    Good luck!

    • Sebastian says:

      I went on a 100 net carbs a day diet for a bit and did lose some weight on it. The issue for me was that my grocery bill went up a good bit because carbs are a cheap way to fill up. But I think I’m going back on it.

      All the issues I have run in the family. My father has diabetes. My mother died at 43, so I don’t know if she would have it, but all her brothers and sisters do, so probably.

      • Observer says:

        It doesn’t have to be significantly more expensive. For example, We’ve started using thinly sliced zucchini in place of spaghetti. It cooks quicker, and it adds extra vitamins, while being about the same overall cost (about $1/pound).

        One of our favorite low-carb meals is to take split chicken breasts and add some sort of seasoning to them, then roast them in the oven (30minutes at 425, another 30 minutes at 350). We usually just throw together whatever spices smell good together (start with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, then add whatever you feel like), and it almost always comes out great. If you watch for sales, you can get the chicken for around $1-$1.50/pound.

        Salads can be a great option at a reasonable price, and as long as you don’t use a high-carb dressing (stick with ranch or blue cheese, if you can) you won’t blow your carb budget. You can even throw in various meats for protein.

        There are many low-carb vegetable options, including both fresh and frozen. Broccoli, asparagus, squash, and even bell peppers are all relatively low-carb. Berries are also relatively low-carb. When you go for something higher in carbs, try to make it have a low glycemic index (whole grains, high in fiber, etc). Nuts and cheese are wonderful snacks that you can use to help between meals.

        For me, the key really is two things: 1) I refuse to go out of my way to find “low-carb” ingredients or substitutions. If I wouldn’t normally stock it in my kitchen, and I can’t get it easily, I won’t use it. 2) Always budget for dessert. It’s my reward for being good the rest of the day, and helps me feel more satisfied with my diet. (Of course, one of my hobbies is making homemade ice cream, and I refuse to give that up. We have fresh blackberry chocolate chip in the freezer right now. I picked the blackberries on Wednesday.)

  2. Arnie says:

    I concur with observer. I would avoid statins if you can – they have side effects including muscular pain. I am old. I switched from aerobic jogging to intensity interval exercises (weights one day, wind sprints the next) and simply moderated (not banned) my diet with regard to sugars and starches. I also took Plexus Slim supplement drink at a half rate ($40 per month). Blood pressure improved from ok to optimal while LDL dropped from 189 to 91 in 4 months. Blood sugars normal. Feel young again! You can do it, sir!
    – Arnie

    • Sebastian says:

      My dad has been on statins. He has occasional muscular pain, but otherwise tolerates them well. I will probably take them if advised, but with the aim to get off them by losing weight.

  3. richard asch says:

    Good for you. If I can be of help, email me. I have some simple ways of reducing sugar problems and weight which will go a long way to solving your problems. Regards.

  4. Whetherman says:

    I have to admit to being amused when someone the same age as my son complains about “getting old.”

    Not intending to be a downer (which I’m sure I will be) I need to comment that I could stand to lose some weight, but a big demotivator was, that the last time I did it had positively none of the positive benefits (BP, cholesterol) touted for it.

    I fought taking statins for a long time but have been taking them for a couple years now with no negative side effects so far, and they work. So, don’t go too nuts trying to avoid them. None of the diet supplements that are supposed to help did a single thing.

    A friend who is a doctor himself claims he cured his own diabetes by adopting the Paleo diet. If I were faced with that problem, I would try some low carb approach, because low carbs were far and away the most effective thing I found for weight loss. But, find a low carb diet you can tolerate permanently could be hard to do.

    • Sebastian says:

      That’s my plan on the low carb. I tried it once and it worked for me, and wasn’t hard to stay on…. but we got off it because it was more expensive grocery bill wise, and I didn’t have the motivation to continue. Now I have motivation, so we’ll see. I definitely can stand to lose weight.

      • Chris from AK says:

        I switched over to a pseudo-primal (paleo with dairy) diet about three months ago. I also aim for around 100 grams of carbs a day.

        MyFitnessPal.com is a great way to track what you’re doing. I tracked everything for about 2-3 weeks until I got a good handle on what the typical macros were with my diet (carbs/fat/protein). Now I just use it to check new recipes and log my weight.

        I’ve been down 1.8 lbs/week with no calorie restriction and no crazy workouts — just watching carbs and eating as much whole, unprocessed food as possible. I walk the dog and go for hikes on weekends with the family and a little weightlifting but no hardcore serious cardio time.

        The good news is that paleo is hip/popular these days which makes it a lot easier to do. The hardest thing was getting over the whole “Fat is bad” that was drilled into me as a kid. Low fat/high sugar is a recipe for disaster! The food pyramid is a trap…

        The grocery bill is a bit higher but I’ve been mitigating that at Costco with some bulk food buys and a chest freezer:
        – Cooked rotisserie chicken to pack work lunches out of
        – Bulk eggs and egg whites (egg whites are cheaper — 2 real eggs and a dollop of egg whites every AM)
        – Bulk bacon
        – Bulk chicken
        – Bulk ribeye steaks (works out to ~$5/steak)
        – Bulk coconut oil and Kerrygold butter
        – Nice high quality olive oil (get the Kirkland signature brand with glass bottle and green top)
        – Veggy blends
        – Protein powder (for morning coffee when time is short to cook — tablespoon of heavy cream, scoop of powder, good to go)

        There are some great “hacks” for cauliflower “rice” and spaghetti squash noodles which taste great and are low carb/high nutrient.

        I figure spending a few extra bucks on groceries is well worth the health benefits. I’ll either spend the money on groceries or on medical stuff.

        Last thought — I found “Why we get fat” and “The Big Fat Surprise” to be pretty interesting audiobook listens. May be worth checking out.

        Good luck!

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