Blood Pressure and Other Health Markers Revisited

I saw my doctor on Friday and got my test results. Most of the usual “lipid panel” results were great, like total cholesterol, hdl, and Triglycerides. Ldl was 107, slightly above target of 100, But here is where some of the extra tests my Doc had run came in handy. Oxidized ldl was low. The latest word is that it is oxidized ldl, not just ldl, that is dangerous (it causes arterial wall damage that leads to plaque). My insulin resistance is also low, another new test I’ve not had before which is great. Also more conventional blood markers like glucose were fine, as were a lot of tests for blood mineral and vitamin levels.

One fascinating one that caught my eye was Hematocrit: 47. This is a measure of the oxygen carrying capacity of your blood cells, and 47 is high. Professional cyclists can get busted if this number goes above 50 and they can’t prove it was natural, as a common doping practice was to use banned substances like epo to drive it up. I might have the potential to be a really good cyclist- except that I’m mediocre in other important areas like muscle power.

High Hematocrit! I’m ready to join the peloton! (40 years ago maybe, in my dreams)

Anyway, all of the above is good news. The only bad news was moderate hscrp (high-sensitivity c-reactive protein), a marker of chronic inflammation. Below 1 would be low cardiovascular risk, while mine at 2.2 puts me in the middle of the “average cardiovascular risk” category. Also chronic inflammation is not good in general for healthy aging. So it would be nice to drive this below 1.0.

My Doc is trying nutrition for that first. My diet is already pretty clean and absent many of the obvious things that are inflammatory like excess sugar, dairy and omega6 vegetables oils. So she wants to rule out some other top candidates for food sensitivities, like eggs, peanuts. popcorn, soy, and wheat. Peanuts, soy, and whole grain wheat can all be healthy foods but some people are sensitive to them, which can cause inflammation. So I’ll eliminate them for a few weeks and then retest. I know I’m sensitive to popcorn, I had a bad incident visiting my brother a couple of years ago- we went to the movies a lot so I over-indulged in popcorn. This caused bowel irritability (to put it mildly, I’ll spare you “too much information”). It cleared up in about a month and I’ve avoided popcorn since. The others are all easy to avoid at least temporarily, except wheat, but I can do it as an experiment for a few weeks. We can reintroduce them one at a time after the inflammation is down. If none of this fixes it, we’d have to pursue other sources of inflammation.

Blood Pressure Solved By Metoprolol

I feel pretty good about all of this, What wasn’t so good is that I still hadn’t gotten my BP under control despite all the nutritional steps I’ve taken. It’s normal or slightly elevated most of the time, but especially in the AM, it sometimes is more elevated. So I asked my cardiologist to restart metoprolol, and my Doc wants me to get a followup eval from the cardiologist anyway so I’ll be seeing him on march 15th. I could always, with doctor’s permission this time, cut back or phase back metoprolol later. I’ve already started back in on metoprolol and BP is now fine,

While my BP was elevated, I avoided exercising vigorously first thing in the morning, without at least a half hour warmup. I found that I like that so I’m going to stich to it. Let the old bod warm up before I make it go hard.

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