Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Charting Tests, Getting Food Right

I've mentioned in other posts about the importance of blood testing regardless of how you feel. The best doctors will take a baseline test, and better doctors will take a minimum of one test per quarter to ensure you are tracking bilirubins, CBC, and other counts that may end up being major problems, or solutions, down the line. I have found many free sites which let you keep track of medications, and have also posted about these. I use Google Health, as it is accessible to both myself and my doctor's health plan. I did a yearly check of the changes in my charts and I discovered something that my doctors may have missed.

Over the last few months, the tests that show the issues within my heart, and kidney have had some large number changes- at a steady rate. From the first to the most recent, I know now that when I began a particular treatment, the heart began reacting differently. Triglycerides, lymphocytes, and even cholesterol have greatly changed, and it seems to be coinciding with one medication that I've not been happy taking- morphine. I went from relatively insignifcant, unremarkable numbers to fairly noticeable jumps, and it's been a steady 3-4% change per month. Long term use of this medication is affecting me, and now the blood tests are confirming this.

Because the numbers are just barely within the 'normal ranges' I still have the ability to assist in getting them back to a level that will bring fewer red flags to a cardiologist. Here's the homework, and here's the research coming into play. I understand that to counter some of these numbers, I need to improve Potassium levels, among other minerals. I need to supplement with either a stronger nutritional plan, and return to the Statins which I was cutting back on over the last six months.

The studies of statins over the last ten years has been a bit of a circus. They're a miracle drug. They cause strokes. They're responsible for saving lives. They're making patients appear to have Alzheimer's. People are as confused as researchers and the only people clear on the issue seem to be in marketing departments. BUT, the truth is, statins have done more for the advancement of issues than they have done harm for millions of people. http://www.medicalconsumers.org/pages/cholesterol_skeptics.html

Now in my case, where I'm in control of MY health, I have elected to return to Zocor, (simvastatin), and to start on a regular intake of Omega Oils. Yes, flaxseed, fish oil, and in gel capsule format to ensure they're reaching my bloodstream. I've done enough research to know that most capsules and hard tablets aren't digested completely, and much of the vitamin and supplements in these forms pass through the system. I've also increased Vitamin D, and Calcium levels of the supplements I've been taking.

Over the next few months, the results of many patient studies with Calcium and Vitamin D will appear on the web, and in journals. You can read many of the tests in progress, which are promising better health for those who have hormonal issues. And, from some of these studies, you don't read about a miracle pill, or uper-Pharma which is behind the research. You're reading about scientists, biologists, and health professionals in the Cleveland Clinic, in Germany, in Italy, and in the United Kingdom doing independent discovery. Two articles explain the point far better:



The nutrition I've had over the last forty-five years, much in my control, has been less than optimal. I spent entire YEARS not eating a single vegetable that wasn't part of a fried plate of food. When I was in the Navy, my primary source of dinner came from Kellogg's, or maybe Chick-Fil-A. Only on Fridays did I have steak and crab legs, as was the ship's usual fare. As much as the years of bad medicine harmed me, so as my own elected way of life. I was also killing myself by not being wise nutritionally. I can't put blame on a medical system when it was just idiocy leading me to the kitchen now and then.

It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I started to ensure I had lean proteins, salads, fresh fruit, and oh- yeah- steamed veggies rather than peanut-oil dipped fried goodness. I've never really been a french-fry fan, or a potato chip eater, but now I like yam fries, (baked), and occasionally I'll have a sliced avocado chip. (raw) But I wasn't able to absorb nutrients properly. By this time, I was on enough medications to prevent digestion of the minerals, vitamins, and even trace metals I needed. I started with Flintstone chewables- just to see if I could keep to a daily regime of something better. It worked. I became hooked on ensuring I had iron, calcium, and other nutrients as part of my daily "medication". But, I slacked.

And, I paid for it. Now, I need to be a lot more diligent in my nutritional care. I see how not minding the metals, the B's, the C's, and the minerals is affecting me far more than I have ever in the past because I can read my blood tests. I can see where the changes are, and I see that many of the changes seem to coincide not only with the increase of medications for pain, thyroid, and the decrease of statins, but also the decrease in my own regimented use of supplements. Over the next few months, I'll let you know how well they've done to improve or disprove the theory that my heart relies upon them.

Today's questions- What are you skimping in your diet? Have you had blood tests with remarkable changes and can track what medications you've taken during those changes? What can you do to improve your overall health with diet as a primary source?

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