Blood Work

August 9, 2011

I visited a couple doctors today, and everything is looking good.  In fact, there’s definitely some non-scale victories buried in my blood test results!

This post needs a visual aid, so here's the cool skylights in my doctor's waiting room.

Blood Pressure.  Three or four years ago (at least), way before I started losing weight, I was prescribed Lisinopril, a blood pressure medication.  At the time, my blood pressure was up in the 140s/90s.  I started at 15mg a day, and it helped get my blood pressure under control.  In November, the last time I had a complete blood & urine work-up, my blood pressure was 110/70.  By then, my dosage had been reduced to 5mg a day.  Today, the nurse took my blood pressure at 120/80 – good!  My doctor reduced my dosage once again, to 2.5mg a day, saying that it doesn’t hurt to have a constant little foundation to help even out any blood pressure swings I may have.  Those 2.5mg pills are the smallest pills I’ve ever seen, so it’s no problem to take one daily.

Cholesterol.  Three years ago, my triglycerides (the bad cholesterol) were at 197, which is pretty high – well above 150, which is the upper end of the healthy range.  Today, my triglycerides were at 53.  FIFTY-THREE!  My triglycerides are about a quarter of what they used to be!  My total cholesterol went from 197 three years ago (which is nearly out of the healthy range) to 167 today.

Glucose.  There’s diabetes in my family, so this is important to me.  Three years ago, my glucose reading was at 108, which is in the pre-diabetic range.  When my doctor saw this number, she pulled out a stack of diabetes-prevention pamphlets for me to take home.  I took them, and when I got home, I threw them out without looking at them.  The thought of becoming diabetic was depressing, and I was sure the pamphlets would suggest all sorts of changes in diet that I didn’t think I was capable of making, which I knew would depress me further.  Today, however, my glucose reading was 60.  That’s actually a little bit below the preferred range (which is 65-99), but my doctor chalked it up to me fasting a little too long before the blood test last week.  My glucose number in November was 75.

Eyeballs.  I also had an appointment with my eye doctor for my annual eye exam.  My glasses prescription didn’t change much, and my eyes are in good shape, but I told her about some problems I’ve been having lately – my eyes have been a little dry and itchy – and she recommended I increase my Omega-3 fatty acids intake.  Omega-3s help lubricate blood vessels, and it’s blood that brings oxygen everywhere, including your eyeballs.  I told her I’ve been eating a lot of fish lately (which is true), but it turns out I haven’t been eating fish that are particularly high in Omega-3s.  So I gotta lean away from the sea bass, opah, and tilapia (which I’ve eaten in the past week but didn’t blog about), and lean towards albacore, salmon, and halibut.  I can do that.  I even have some salmon burgers in my freezer right now!  I’ll probably buy some supplements, too, and probably some Horizon Organic fat-free milk with Omega-3s, because that, too, is a good source.

Apart from the good news about my health, the best part of my day was telling my doctors about the good things I’ve been doing to improve my health and lose weight.  My general practitioner said, at one point: “I have a lot of morbidly obese patients who are convinced that the only way they’ll be able to lose weight is with bariatric surgery, but you’re a fantastic example of what can be done with diet, exercise, and determination.”

Keep it up, David!


A Lot To Catch Up On

November 15, 2010

A few odds and ends to talk about today.

1) Sunday Run. It’s been more than a day and a half since it actually happened, but on Sunday morning, I had a really good run.  I set out to run for 45 minutes, and I ended up running for 45 minutes on the nose.  Add in a few minutes for a walking warm-up and cool-down before and after, and it was 51 minutes I was out on the street.  Here’s my route:

I managed a route that took me past zero strip clubs (which are common in my neck of the woods), and was a total of 3.9 miles.  Let’s add it to my running chart:

  • 9/21/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 41 minutes.  MPH: 4.53
  • 9/27/10: Distance: 3.3 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 4.4
  • 10/5/10: Distance: 3.2 miles.  Time: 40 minutes.  MPH: 4.8
  • 10/12/10: Distance: 3.8 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 10/16/10: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 11/1/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 36 minutes.  MPH: 5.16
  • 11/6/10: Distance: 5.1 miles. Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.1
  • 11/14/10: Distance: 3.9 miles. Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.2

My fastest pace yet!

2) Today’s Workout. I ran into an old friend from college, Joe, in Hollywood on Saturday, and we got to talking about exercising, and he invited me to join him and his trainer for a workout.  Yesterday I called Joe back and took him up on his offer, and that’s how I ended up in a park at 8:30am this morning.  I was supposed to be there at 8:15, but traffic was a bitch, and even though I gave myself 45 minutes to get there, it took an hour.  It would take me 20 minutes max on the freeways if there wasn’t any traffic, but the freeways aren’t an option at that hour in Los Angeles, unless you like sitting in a parking lot.

The workout was fantastic.  Joe’s trainer is named Oscar, and he had me work out my chest, arms, back, legs, and abs, mostly using my own weight as resistance and two handles attached to a strap that was slung over a tree branch.  Perhaps that’s hard to visualize, and it doesn’t help that I didn’t bring my camera to snap a photo.  What was great about it was that most exercises worked a variety of muscles throughout my upper body in addition to working the intended muscle group, because the exercises had an element of balance involved, so I was giving it all I had just to stay in position on top of completing the actual exercise.

We were there for about an hour, and I’m going back on Wednesday and Friday morning.  Those sessions will be at 7am, so I should be able to fly there on the freeway before rush really starts.  It will be getting home that’s the bitch.

3) Doctor’s Appointment. I went to the doctor today for a little check-up.  Last week I had some blood drawn for some tests, and everything came back wonderfully.  I’ll share some details:

  • Blood Pressure: 110/70 – very good!  At my heaviest I remember getting blood pressure readings that were around 145/95, and my doctor put me on blood pressure medication.  Although the dosage has dropped significantly, I still take a small amount just to stabilize, at my doctor’s recommendation.
  • Glucose: Today it was 75.  At my heaviest, it was 108, which is in the pre-diabetic range.  This is a big one for me, as I have diabetes in my family, but now I’m towards the lower end of the healthy range.
  • Cholesterol: My total cholesterol fell from 196 at my heaviest to 169 now, which is great, right smack in the center of the 125-200 healthy range.   But what’s really impressive is that my triglycerides fell from 197 (which was way above the healthy range, which ends at 150) to 86 – I’ve cut my triglycerides number by more than half!

Nothin’ like a good health update to put a spring in my step!  Keep it up, David!