Bad Blood: Part 2

You can “click” on the image to get a better look but before you do that, let me give you some explanation.

I’ve used this picture in the past so let me remind you what you’re looking at.  The test tube of blood on the left came from a patient who was in the Emergency Department because of a suspected heart attack.  Fortunately for the patient he did not have a heart attack and he was treated and released, but he should be concerned.

You see, your blood should not look like it does in the test tube on the left, it should look like it does in the test tube on the right.  In both cases the blood has been spun down so that the blood separates from the serum.  The serum should be slightly yellow like it is in the test tube on the right.  The test tube on the left shows that this individual may have some very serious cardiac concerns.

The white milky looking “stuff” in the test tube on the left is cholesterol and triglycerides and when blood appears this way it’s referred to as lipemic.  Now I won’t bore you with a bunch of technical jargon, and to be quite honest I don’t fully understand it myself but what I do know is the old saying “you are what you eat” is true because blood in your veins looks this way when you eat a high fat, high cholesterol meal. 

The white, milky looking stuff in the test tube on the left is what clogs arteries and leads to heart attacks.

Lynn Henry in the lab explained all this stuff to me over a year ago and since then she and I have had an ongoing conversation about cholesterol.  You see, Lynn and I share a common bond, we both have high cholesterol and have family history of high cholesterol.  Lynn and I also control our cholesterol through diet and exercise, we each exercise five days per week and we subscribe to a low cholesterol diet (at least that’s what I thought, keep reading and you’ll learn the truth about Lynn).  The one difference in how we control our cholesterol is through the use of a statin drug. 

My cholesterol was just over 200 and because I have a significant family history my physician prescribed a statin.  Through use of the statin, diet and exercise my cholesterol is around 170 and my HDL’s (good cholesterol) are high and my ratio is really good.  So for me it’s all working just like it should!!!

Lynn has been apprehensive to use a statin because there is limited research on the long-term effects and she believes that we are “programmed” to have cholesterol at a certain level.  I did not know it until earlier in the week but Lynn has conducted a year-long study on herself.

Here are the results of Lynn’s study in her own words:

For nearly a year I exercised an average of 5 days a week and ate a low-fat diet.  Following 3 months of no exercise and eating whatever I wanted which included many McDonald’s angus bacon cheeseburgers with fries (very tasty I might add) here are my results:

                              Recommended lifestyle            Life of leisure

Chol                                  282                                  224

Trig                                    92                                   85

HDL                                    53                                   49

LDL                                   187                                  143

I have concluded that maybe I should eat cheeseburgers instead of taking a statin.   These numbers do give you pause, don’t they?

Lynn’s results are certainly interesting and seem to contradict medical research.  I’m not advocating that anyone ignore their doctor’s recommendations and there’s no way I can, in good conscience, suggest that cheeseburgers are health food.  What I can say without a doubt is that medicine is both science and art and what works for one may not work for another.

Even thought Lynn’s cholesterol didn’t show any ill effects after her three-month hiatus I didn’t ask if her waist size or energy level changed when her diet changed.

There’s really no point to this blog, I just thought the whole thing was interesting and I was impressed with Lynn’s desire to do her own medical research…

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Executive Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. At GVMH we care for our families, friends and neighbors. We're committed to providing the safest, friendliest and most compassionate care to all we serve.
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2 Responses to Bad Blood: Part 2

  1. Hey, I’m a doctor in Lansing Michigan and I just wanted to tell you I liked this blog. We just drew a patient today with a very similar creamy blood tube.
    Keep up the good work.

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