28 October 2011

Women With High Cholesterol Live Longer

Today I read with interest this little article about cholesterol and women. It seems now some researchers think high cholesterol might be a good thing in women. I had to laugh. I am not a medical professional but I do have a head on my shoulders and this reminds me of the great egg scare. For a while there they told us eating eggs would kill us, as I recall because they were chock full of cholesterol. They'd rather have you eating Pop Tarts for breakfast! I never quit eating my five or six eggs per week and I'm glad I didn't because, Happy Daze, "they" changed their mind. Now "they" think eggs are a wonderful food.

Twenty five years ago when I was an executive in a high stress job I had a no deductible health plan and I could choose any doctor in San Francisco I wanted. Naturally, I went with the the best money could buy. Hey, it wasn't my money and I hadn't yet become the sceptic that I am today. During one of my annual physicals it was discovered that I had elevated cholesterol. I don't recall exactly what it was but I think it was around 265. They hadn't come up with "good" cholesterol yet so the news was all bad.

Right away they wanted me to go on some drug. I wasn't quite as leery of establishment medicine in those days but I was already not a fan of pharmaceuticals. I declined the offer of drugs and went on my way. It was not long after the high cholesterol discovery that I concluded, despite the money and perks, I wasn't cut out to be a shark. As they say at the ranch "The juice wasn't worth the squeeze". I had always told my colleague's what I really wanted to do was live in the wood on roots and berries. They laughed. They thought I was kidding and were in complete disbelief when I simply up and quit.

I didn't get to the woods right away. I started a little boutique produce company near Monterey. It was something I had always wanted to do. It was great fun and much less stressful. Then I had to take care of both my parents as they transitioned from this mortal plain. I finally achieved my roots and berries goal around ten years ago.

Throughout these years I have wondered about my cholesterol levels but not enough to have it checked. I haven't been to a doctor in over twenty years. Actually, I have to amend that statement. I do get tested for glaucoma every year or two because my mother had it and I do believe that genetics can cause a tendency. My cholesterol level may be high or it may not be. It doesn't matter one way or another to me. I am much more afraid of the statin drugs physicians and pharmaceutical companies have been pushing down peoples gullets. I wouldn't be surprised if statin drugs like Lipitor haven't made more people sick than cholesterol.

For what it's worth I believe your best defense against disease is adopting a "moderation in all things" approach. I don't deny myself anything but I don't make a pig of myself either. I prefer to take responsibility for my health. It takes a little more effort than chasing after some magic bullet pharmaceutical. But I really think those magic bullets are more likely to make you sick or even kill you.

My prescription for good health is to get regular exercise, eat sensibly, get at least eight hours of sleep and above all else reduce stress in your life. Of those four things reducing stress is probably the most difficult to achieve but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if you can master your mind you will be happier and healthier for it.

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©Kinsey Barnard

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