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Wellness Center

Change in blood test

02/08/2008

Question:

i`m a 22 y/o female. other than recently being diagnosed with endometriosis, i do not have any other known history. i usually have a blood test every 6 months just to monitor mmy cholesterol and all the basic stuff. a blood test done on july of 2007 showed my chol total = 124, trig =39, chol hdl=52.7, and ldl chol =63.5. the only "abnormal" thing on it at that time was my rbc which was 4.18. at this time i was exercising and eating rather healthier than i have been recently. my most recent blood test from 2/1/08 is as follows: bun/crea= 8.5, chols total=197, trigl=67, chol hdl=70.3, ldl chol=113.3. why such a change? sure i have not been exercising but i can`t say i have been eating "bad". i`m feeling okay, but i`m just really worried..aside from nutrition..what can be a possible cause for such a change?..i dont have any fam history of cholesterol..only my mom has high chol of 256 but that was developmental with age (after 45 y/o) thank you so much.

Answer:

Thanks for your question.  It is great that you are so young and already concerned about your health.

As for your lipid levels, you hit the nail on the head when you ask "aside from nutrition, what could be affecting this"?  Both diet and exercise affect lipid levels.  A healthy, low fat diet can help lower total cholesterol, LDL (lousy/bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels in the blood.  Exercise also influences HDL (healthy/good cholesterol), by raising it.  On the flip side, eating a higher fat diet and not exercising will likely increase lipid levels.

If you have stopped exercising and your diet is not as "clean" as it had been, it is very possible that this is the reason for your increased lipid levels.  By improving your diet and getting back into a regular exercise routine, your levels should go back to what they were previously.

On a high note, your levels (although higher than this summer), are all within normal limits.  Cholesterol should ideally be below 200 mg/dL, HDL ideally should be over 40 (over 60 is "desirable" to reduce heart disease risk).  Triglycerides should be below 150 mg/dL and LDL should be below 130 mg/dL.

The fact that your mom has high cholesterol is a potential risk factor for you in the future.  A woman's risk for heart disease increases with age as she enters menopause (because estrogen is cardioprotective).  Your best bet is to get back on your healthy diet and exercise and continue these good habits for life.

I hope this information was helpful.

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati