Recently, I decided to address my life insurance situation, which required a routine health screening. No sweat, I thought; after all, I have been the picture of health for my thirty-six years of life. Sure, I could stand to lose fifteen or so pounds, and yes, I could stand to be more active, but I had no reason to suspect that I would get anything but good news.
Suffice it to say that I was less than pleased when my blood test results came back with elevated triglicerides and almost nonexistent HDL (aka "good" cholesterol). The life insuarnce company promptly tripled the rate they had quoted me, and I reluctantly set up an appointment with an actual internal medicice doctor (my normal level of medical interaction is a visit to the doc in the box if I simply have no other choice).
I did some homework and was prepared to meet the doc. We went over my numbers (he of course took his own blood samples), and I expressed a desire to avoid medication, if posible.
He informed me that it was good that I felt that way, as cholesterol medications are used to lower "bad" cholesterol - they do not help to raise the "good" number. We talked about the lifestyle changes I had already put into place - some jogging and light weights, adding fiber to my diet (aka daily oatmeal, bananas or apples, and "heart healthy" nuts), some reduction of my junk calories, and addition of fish oil supplements - with an eye towards shedding those pounds.
All of the above items were great, he told me - I was doing absolutely everything that he would recommend. However, he let me know, there are only two real ways to raise HDL - exercise and alcohol.
We had a talk about my beer consumption, specifically the fact that I typically only drink one to two beers per week. I asked him about the amount of beer that I should drink. To gain the benefit to my HDL, he told me, I would really need to increase that to at least three to four beers per week... but he would prefer that I not go over one drink per day.
"Please, Brer Fox! Don't throw me into the briar patch!"
As a result, I have reluctantly forced myself to enjoy twice as much craft beer as I once did - I usually hit that four drinks per week level. My wife has been supremely supportive; she's picked me up mixed six packs on several occasions already, and has made sure that I always keep beer in the fridge. I have of course used the excuse to annoy my teenaged daughter by adoping a horrible redneck accent and informing her from time to time that it's "time for mah medication". This irritates her severely... which to me is a sign of effective parenting. It's even better when my wife points out to her that since the beer is good for my heart at these moderate levels, it really is medicinal, and that she shouldn't take offense at the idea.
I love that woman.
At any rate, I've been on this regimen for six weeks or so, and in another six weeks, I'll head back to the doctor to see if I've made any progress. In the meatime, I'll continue to enjoy that medicinal craft beer.
Tags for this post: alcohol, beer, cholesterol, hdl, triglicerides, heart health
Finally a person that puts some real work into a blog. I do like what you have done with the blog.
posted by John Michael Sheehan on 11/05/2012 at 07:27:27 AM
so any news on your hdl levels
posted by Marty on 1/09/2013 at 04:58:27 PM