Thursday, September 23, 2004


I would like to make a good write-up about cholesterol and I was not able to put them all together tonight so I hope you guys will come back in a day. Thanks.


When we hear of cholesterol, we often think of it as a bad thing. Let me say that before we think of it as deadly, let us first understand what this is made out of and what is its role in our body.

First, our body’s cells are produced in varying degrees by cholesterol. Cholesterol is responsible in the production of our hormones such as the estrogen and the testosterone. It is also responsible in the building and repairing of our cells. It produces bile acid to help in the digestion of fat in our body. It is only when our cholesterol level go up that it becomes dangerous.

How is cholesterol produced in our body? It is produced when we eat saturated foods made from animal-based foods such as dairy meat. Cholesterol cannot be dissolved in the blood. They have to be carried by molecules we call lipoproteins to our cells.

There are 2 types of lipoproteins, the LDL and the HDL.

The LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) carries the fat to the different parts of the body. This is what we call the bad cholesterol or as my dietitian calls it the “lonely” cholesterol.

The HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) carries the fat from the different parts of the body back to our liver either for reuse or converted to acids for disposal. This is otherwise what we call the good cholesterol or the “happy” cholesterol as my dietician calls it.

There is also a third cholesterol that works with the HDL and the LDL called the triglyceride. This is also a form of fat mainly from non animal fats.

Our goal should have a high HDL count and low LDL and Triglyceride.

You can only identify that you have a high cholesterol from a blood test. You could hardly tell the symptoms unless you have your blood tested that is why we often call it a traitor. The most common results of high cholesterol are coronary disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

Being thin does not mean that you do not have a high cholesterol. You could be a candidate if you come from a family that has a history of coronary disease that is why it is important to note the causes of death of your ascendants and descendants.

My dietician said that it is difficult to give the ideal number of total cholesterol count. Reading the LDL should be read together with the triglyceride. However, you should aim to have a high HDL and a low LDL and Triglyceride. It is best that you should bring the readings to your General Practitioner to find out whether there are other underlying causes as to why you came up with such readings or numbers.

You can raise your HDL by eating good cholesterol foods such as oranges, beans, fish, olive oil, oat bran, onions, soy products and soluble fiber. Changing also your lifestyle by having at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday, avoiding trans fatty acids such as French fries, cookies, cakes and fried food will raise your HDL. Filipinos beware. You are also advised to minimize but not completely eliminate carbohydrates in your diet. I am sure you will find this funny but the deadliest source of food rich in cholesterol are egg yolks, liver, kidney, and brains. Ouch, aren’t our best delicacies made out of these? Leche flan, Dinuguan, Sisig, dinakdakan, Igado.

Lower your LDL by eating cholesterol lowering foods such as avocadoes, almonds, soy beans, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, chili peppers, oat bran, beans and onions. Changing your lifestyle by of course exercising and stopping your smoking habit.

Lower your tryglycerides by reducing the intake of sweets and avoiding fruit juices, candies, cookies and sweet desserts. Also, minimize the consumption of alcohol or totally eliminating it. Maintain a desirable body weight and control the intake of carbohydrates such as pasta and rice.

I am not sending you the message to completely eliminate rice and sweets. Everything should be within reason. The key always is that you don’t feel deprived when you eat. Instead, you can control what and how much to eat that counts.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

How a balanced diet should be like

This is how a balanced diet should be like, a combination of starchy food, vegetables and protein.

Sources of starch would be from grain breads, cereals, pasta, corn, rice, potatoes, noodles etc. Starches are broken down into glucose that your body needs for energy. As much as possible, avoid white breads because they are highly refined thus get converted into energy faster. The faster they get converted into energy, the more our pancreas try to produce insulin. When our insulin cannot cope up with the energy we produce, they get stored and thus become fat.

Eat foods high in fibre because they help you feel full and may lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

Vegetables and fruits are the main sources of anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants help in preventing the clogging of our arteries. They are very high in nutrients and low in calories.

Our sources of protein are from fish, lean meat, chicken, beans, lentils, eggs, low fat cheese et. Proteins are helpful in the repair of our body cells. We should limit the amount of high fat food such as fried foods, chips and pastries. High fat foods may cause you to gain weight. A healthy weight helps with blood glucose control and is healthier for your heart.

It is recommended that you have to eat three meals a day at regular times and space meals no more than six hours apart. Eating at regular times help our body to control blood glucose levels. In between meals, have a healthy snack. Skipping breakfast is not recommended. Imagine a machine running continuously. You have to feed that machine in moderation. If it runs out of the needed materials it was meant to process in the first place, it bogs down or it ruins the machine. That’s how our different organs work in our body too. Consider this. If you let your machine starve and then feed it all at once with the materials it needs to process, it could jam.

You will notice that even if you check you car’s oil regularly, you still have to change oil or refill it at some point. Our organs need to be constantly refilled and repaired too. My dietician said that skipping breakfast causes bad breath because if our intestines run out of food to digest, it looks for something else and therefore process the fluid in our intestines. This is when the unwanted smell comes out.

Eat fish at least 3 times a week for that much needed omega-3 fat. Fish is a source of good fat that will protect our arteries against plaque build-up and is effective in lowering the “bad” cholesterol.

You might find this post helpful too.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Your kidney and microalbumin count

I did not realize that I had silent readers about diabetes and when I was gone for over a week, some requested that I should continue. Well, I never intended to stop, I just decided to slow down. Thanks for finding this relevant though and thanks for your e-mails. One reader was asking if I was extremely overweight. I am not. In fact, if you look at me, I am just about normal, like other people, a little bit of flab here and there and that’s about it.

Back to our topic. Diabetic Nephropathy is the name given when our kidneys lose their ability to filter properly.

One of the tests I had to do after three months was Microalbumin test. For people suffering from diabetes, this is important. Kidney disease is one of the top complications that diabetes brings about. Albumin is a protein produced by the liver and is found in the blood in high concentrations. This protein is important to our body. It is responsible in repairing and maintaining our cells. When our kidney starts to lose its ability to filter proteins, they leak through in our urine. Albumin is one of all proteins that get detected when we have kidney damage. If you are a patient who has high amount of albumin in your urine, you are bound to have kidney failure.

Kidney symptoms may not be apparent until the kidneys are severely damaged by uncontrolled glucose. Therefore it is important that you maintain normal blood sugar as often as possible to delay the onset of this complication.

I had to undergo a 24-hour urine collection. Why 24 hours? Sometimes, protein-escapes are not consistent. In four hours, you may be releasing a considerable amount and the next 24 hours, you might not, so the most accurate test would be the 24-hour urine collection. It is too cumbersome because you have to collect your urine wherever you are. It was one of the most embarrassing things I had to do. I had to put my container in our office fridge for a day. I tried not to conceal it but it was foreign looking, people had to ask. If I was a disease free person, I could have objected. Luckily, this situation was something my officemates understood.

High levels of microalbumin indicates that a kidney disease is present in a very severe form. Moderately increased microalbumin is an indication that one may be in the early phase of developing a kidney disease and Normal levels are an indication that kidney function is normal.

I had a normal result. This test should be done every year if you are a type 2 diabetic.

How do you feel when you are starting to have kidney failure? Lose of weight and tiredness all the time. Please take note that having high level of microalbumin might be caused by other complications, not necessarily diabetes. It might be brought about by Cardio Vascular Disease.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Blogging Fever

I am having a blog fever. I got so addicted, I haven't done any work at home this weekend, didn't feel like going to a party last night, haven't done a lot at work and I am having sleepless nights blog hopping.

To treat this, I decided to discipline Serendipity on Fridays, set aside maybe an hour for World-class Cuiscene everyday, blog hopping for half an hour everynight and so I will choose only relevant blogs to visit, recharge digicam batteries on Friday nights and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

Now that the kids are back to school, I am thinking of taking courses in database. I was supposed to do some library referencing database at work this summer and I got hooked on this instead.

Hopefully, I will find time to learn more about linking so I don't need to go through Tito Rolly's, or Doc Emer's to get to Cat's, Melissa's and Santi's. I did learn how to link but I will have to spend some more time. Sassy's been in my favorites and I don't even think I need to mention her..gosh, she must be in everybody's links.

Life goes on and I will try to stick to this. 'got to find time to go school supplies shopping too. See you on Fridays on this site but you'll see me more at my food blog. Today is labaor day weekend and I hate being in the office catching up with work. Cheers.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Visit my food blog

Hope you already visited my food blog World-class Cuiscene

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Glucose Count

My doctor was still not ready to give me a clean bill of health despite my passing the EKG and stress tests. He thought of yet another test, the dreaded blood test. I told you I belong to a family with unwanted genes. Two of my sisters died of leukemia at age 7 and 15. The 7 died without any signs and symptoms but the 15 suffered for 5 years before she expired. Now you know one of the reasons why my doctor had "red-flagged" me.

Back to blood tests. It was an ordinary blood test, a poke in my finger to check my red and white cells. Results came out fine. Keeping that in mind, he yet had me go for another test, the 10 hour fasting and an oral glucose tolerance test. Voila, the culprit. He told me I had probable diabetes.

This is when I got all so worked-up. I went into denial stage for a month. Never called my family, never saw my friends. As down as I was, I always believed there must be something better than being afraid and sorry. See when we get afflicted by things like this one, it is normal that we go into denial but we have to rise above it.

I then went on to understand what these tests were all about. First, the 10 hour fasting was used to screen for and diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes. This is done usually first thing in the morning right after you fasted for 10 hours from the time you had your last meal or often times after midnight. A blood is extracted from your vein, about 2 tablespoons at the most. This test ndicates how well you burn your energy.

So what is oral glucose tolerance test? I was made to drink a standard amount of a glucose solution (orangey taste) to find out how fast I burn that sugar in a span of 2 hours. You are supposed to just sit down and either read or just do nothing. I was not allowed to walk or wonder around so I slept. Let’s forget about the snoring part because no one recognized me on closed curtains anyway. Normally, once your blood sugar goes up when you take in sugar, it should come down to an acceptable level but if you are diabetic, it will take much longer to go to its normal level if it goes down at all.

Ideally 10 hour fasting and oral glucose tolerance tests should be done separately to diagnose diabetes but because I am a busy person, my doctor okeyed my 2 hour fasting done on that same day.

For a result to be normal your reading should be between 4 and 6mmol/L. Between 6.1 and 6.9, you are pre-diabetic meaning your fasting glucose is impaired. From 7 and above, you probably have diabetes. I had 7.8 but the good news is it was not an indication that I was diabetic. You have to undergo at least 3 tests within three to six months to be diagnosed as diabetic. The elevation of my glucose could be due to other diseases and conditions although my GP stopped there and had me attend a day care session right away. I tried to justify that the reason why I had a high glucose count was that it was just right after Christmas and I had chocolate eating spree a few days before I went in for my blood test. I did a diet marathon, did massive exercise sessions hopefully to bring down the numbers before I was due for my next test. The result was better. After a month, it was down to 7.2. The last time I went in for my last test before I was officially declared a diabetic, I had 6.2. Well, I did well considering.

One reason why I was so determined to bring my mmol/L down was it is difficult to get an insurance policy if you are diabetic. Better know where you are at before an insurance company tells you. Remember, they do a blood test on you before they grant you the policy.

Educating yourself will help you delay the onset of diabetes. Hopefully by me imparting all these to you, you will be able to understand diabetes. It is not a dreaded one, you will soon find out. Bear in mind, mine was discovered by accident.

For some, the numbers mean nothing to them because they do not know the reason why they were undergoing these tests in the first place. They rely so much on what the doctors tell them. Knowing what these all mean could spell a few more years added to your life so help your doctor help you by knowing all these things.

My history

Note: Somebody suggested I should write everything in English so others can understand too. I had other things in mind to write about but that somebody suggested I should also start with my history so others could relate. So here goes my story.

It happened by accident. I started with heart palpitations. Given my family background, my mother succumbing to death at 52 due to triple bypass surgery, my paternal grandmother and grandfather to a stroke, I thought I’d see my GP for a referral to a cardiologist.

I was asked to undergo a stress test but because I just happened to finish a 10K marathon at that time, I passed the test. What with 3 months of preparation before the marathon happened? My GP said he’d like to give me an A but he was not convinced that I was not okey so he asked me to go through a resting EKG. Results were normal but for some reason my GP thought I should go through a 24 -holter monitoring.

It was not the most pleasant experience for me. The holter monitor I had though it was tiny still made me feel like I was starting to dig a grave for myself. How so? It reminded me of what my mother went through. Having said that, I have to put things in a better perspective.

First step. I had to know what an ECG, EKG and Holter monitor mean and what they do. Well, in layman’s term, they all mean the same. They measure the activity of the heart including the rate and regularity of beats, measure any damage to the heart and the effects of drugs or devices to regulate the heart. It also determines the immediate effects of changes in activity or medical levels.

A Holter monitor is a tiny device that you can carry with you anywhere you go. It is the size of the very first cellular phone that came out in the market many years ago. It records your heart activity, in my case for 24 hours. It recorded my heart beats when I walked, when I climbed the stairs, when I was resting, when I was anxious.

How ECG, EKG and Holter monitor are performed are almost the same in principle. Electrodes are affixed to your arms, legs and chest. It is painless. In some cases, you are asked to remain still or maybe asked to hold your breath for short periods. Sometimes it is performed while you’re doing a particular activity. The results are recorded on graph paper printed from the machine attached to these electrodes.

I don’t know why but it seems that every time I go through these things, my results come out normal. Never mind the results, but my doctor felt that given my current status, something is not working right and he had the principle of preventing things first before they start to build up so on to a different test this time. I am so glad to have a more concerned GP than I thought. The Glucose test tomorrow.