Tuesday, August 11, 2015
coasting uphill on the triglyceride
Just before my doctor left town for the hot months here on the coast, she ordered a blood test to see how my triglycerides were doing.
I have taken a series of medications over the years, but most of them simply have not worked in lowering my levels. By chance, a pharmacy clerk in Valladolid recommended I try a statin-based drug.
It worked. My level came down to an acceptable number. But I was reluctant to stay on statins. For a lot of reasons.
When the blood test my doctor requested came back, I had a reason to drop the statin. It was no longer working.
The generally-accepted standard for triglycerides is to keep them under 150 -- even though a physician in Bend told me no one has any idea what the correct level is, and he does not get excited if the numbers are under 1000. I liked him.
I cannot remember my actual number. It was somewhere around 250 or so. (I don't remember the number because those numbers mean little to me. They are to often the basis of the most-boring dinner party conversations imaginable. But they do bother my doctor. So, I comply as best I can.)
She put me on another medication, and asked me to get a blood test within the first seven days of starting the drug. I took the medication, but the test slipped my mind. About three months later, I remembered and had blood drawn. The level had not budged.
When I told her by email I was planning on discontinuing the medication, she told me to triple the dosage, and to get another blood test at the end of the week. This time I remembered.
That is my arm at the top of this essay. Ready to donate a bit of blood to the owner of the testing clinic.
I had prepared a draft telling you once again of the marvels of Mexican medicine. But I had to spike that portion of the story. The results showed my triglycerides had not budged.
My doctor has tested me for all types of diseases that could be contributing to high triglycerides. Thyroid. Pancreas. Liver. Kidneys. All of the tests have come back normal. What throws her is that my cholesterol levels are those of a 20 year old.
So, I sit here waiting for my doctor to send me an email as to what I should do next. I may need to wait until she returns this winter.
Until then, I will live with my triglycerides at the same level they have been since the 1970s. When my doctor first saw my levels back then, he suggested that I not stand near any open flames.
Now, that is good medical advice.