Why is my GP not interested in my Triglyceride levels? Whenever I ask how they are, the answer I get is “OK, we are not much concerned with those measurements.” He seems fixated purely on LDL and Total Cholesterol levels – hang anything else.
There is a concerted effort by all and sundry to lower cholesterol numbers, by hook or by crook, and if eating a diet that is considered low fat does not bring the ‘magic numbers’ into line, then watch out because the prescription pad will come out and you will be given a drug (probably a Statin) to pharmaceutically /pharmacologically/ artificially reduce your numbers. (Hang the consequences and side effects too).
It seems to me that our GP’s are not being brought up to date / educated about the need to keep triglycerides low, or about what exactly can cause them to be elevated in the first place. If they were, then they would surely know that these (elevated Triglycerides) are unhealthy and that simple dietary intervention can fix the problem. In fact it could be seriously more beneficial to lower triglycerides that to worry over so called elevated cholesterol numbers.
Most Doctors I have come into contact with scowl if I attempt to point this out to them. They have, after all done many many years of medical training, while I get my information simply from Dr. Google. The fact that I spend hours at the computer reading Pub Med and other reliable reference sources is of no consequence to my accredited Medical Practitioners.
But I beg to differ. Elevated Triglycerides are indicative of Diabetes (T2), Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance – Carbohydrate metabolism problems. Carbohydrate metabolism problems lead to obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Once you have these problems you also acquire the diseases which tag along.
According to the Mayo Clinic: High triglycerides are often a sign of other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke as well, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School spells it out in very simple language that we can lower triglycerides by eating the right food. This food is low in carbohydrates, sugars and starches.
Many sites I visited have shown there appears to be a link between low levels of HDL Cholesterol, high levels of LDL Cholesterol and high Triglycerides. Yet my GP seems to pay no attention to this link. I wonder if in Australia the medical fraternity has not been brought up to date with this information. I wonder also if they have been kept out of the educational loop when it comes to particle size of LDL cholesterol. Whenever my numbers are discussed there is no indication of their particle size. Yet there is ample information available showing that LDL which is small and dense is to be concerned about however if perchance you have the large ‘fluffy’ type of LDL there is nothing whatsoever to be concerned about.
I puzzled over this somewhat and found (on Dr. Google):
LDL particle number can be assessed by another blood test, the apolipoprotein B test, which is readily available in Australia. Each LDL particle has only one apolipoprotein B molecule, so your apolipoprotein B level indicates the total number of LDL particles in your bloodstream. In addition, the apolipoprotein B level does give an indication of particle size – for example, if you have a relatively low LDL-cholesterol level but a high apolipoprotein B level, this suggests you have a lot of small LDL particles.
Again I have to wonder why my GP has never had this particular test done.
Continuing my exploration using Dr. Google I discovered at the Australian ABC Science site the following:
For people keeping track of their blood fats, triglycerides may be the new lipid to watch, say researchers.
Danish researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association that a blood test that does not require fasting showed a strong link between high triglyceride levels and the risk of stroke caused by a blood clot.
Earlier this week, a US study found that the percentage of adults with high triglycerides had doubled over the past three decades, likely driven by climbing obesity rates.
Taken together, the studies suggest the need for better management of triglycerides, a blood fat that typically has been less publicised than low-density lipoprotein or LDL.
LDL has been labelled the “bad” cholesterol because of its role in causing heart attacks and strokes.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins help reduce LDL, but they often do not address high triglycerides.
Triglycerides are an independent risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in Australia, resulting in 22,983 deaths in 2006 according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Categorically – stated above – Triglycerides are an independent risk factor for heart disease – yet my GP couldn’t give a hoot about them!!!
I suppose there are drugs which specifically target patients who have elevated Triglycerides – but seriously why bother when all it really takes is a change in the food you eat? Another Dr. Google article states very plainly: ….. a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet can actually raise triglyceride levels Yet this is exactly the diet that the Doctors prescribe to all their patients who present with elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Incongruous!
Above we read: Earlier this week, a US study found that the percentage of adults with high triglycerides had doubled over the past three decades, likely driven by climbing obesity rates. (Personally I think Obesity is a symptom – and NOT the cause)
I need to ask what else has been happening in the diets of the Modern World of the past three (plus) decades that may have driven up our triglyceride levels? Could it have anything to do with the mandated ‘eat low fat and more carbohydrates.’? Could we have been lied to?
I notice as I cruise the internet that even such big organisations such as the Heart Associations are extolling the virtues of polyunsaturated fats and still denigrating animal fats. This, to my mind is simply a marketing strategy – as in a follow the dollar ploy. The seed oil industry is scared of losing its market share. I would put my money on guru’s such as Barry Groves and Gary Taubes any day for truthful and factual information.
I am still at a loss as to why General Practitioners and other medical entities are locked into the eat low fat theory, so long after it has been shown to be the wrong hypothesis. After all You and I have been taking part in a vast experiment, one we never did sign up for – for more than 30 years now. We have not lost weight – we have gained it. We are certainly not healthier. The cost of healthcare – to treat the diseases of modern society has skyrocketed too! And still they spout out of date and incorrect medical advice to the uninitiated.
Yes I am cynical, but could this all simply be a case of follow the dollar…. cannot imagine !!!!! Is it any wonder I am frustrated – BAH – Jigsaws!
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