Jessica is a high cholesterol success story, she just needed to educate herself and her doctor about advanced lipoprotein testing.
Jessica's Main Complaint - High Cholesterol
Jessica came to me with a very common struggle, her cholesterol was high and her doctor wasn’t listening to her and insisted she take statins. Jessica had been following a ketogenic diet for months, she had lost weight, and felt fantastic. Her total cholesterol was still high and because high cholesterol was common in her family, her doctor didn't dig deeper. Jessica couldn’t get her doctor to listen to her when she told her she did not want to be on statins.
Our approach for addressing this problem was to educate both Jessica and her doctor about current testing available for cholesterol as well as the latest literature. When it comes to cholesterol, it’s very important to dig deep as the total cholesterol number can be very misleading. The makeup of the cholesterol is actually what is important when it comes to heart health and it changes when following a ketogenic diet. Jessica was a high cholesterol success story and she had no idea.
Often, when following a ketogenic diet, the HDL “good” cholesterol rises. This is great, we want this, but it also pushes the total cholesterol number up. So if you are measuring only total cholesterol it can be misleading.
Digging one layer deeper to look at HDL and LDL “bad cholesterol” can also be misleading as there are two types of LDL cholesterol, big fluffy particles that are harmless, and small dense particles (LDL-C) that can cause issues. When following a ketogenic diet, systemic inflammation is reduced, which means the liver can stop producing small dense LDL particles in an attempt to repair arterial walls that are damaged by inflammation (atherosclerosis). These small dense LDL particles and triglyceride are the cause of heart disease and these numbers go down when following a ketogenic diet. So it’s very important to dig deep enough to measure the actual problematic markers.
Once Jessica and her doctor dug deep enough to look at the real markers of heart health, they discovered that they had been misled by the data and in fact, Jessica was in great shape! Jessica had actually changed the makeup of her cholesterol by following a ketogenic diet and she was actually a high cholesterol success story.
I was 24 when I was told I had high cholesterol and needed to take a statin drug. I put off taking statins until I was in my 30’s and the experience I’ve had with them have all been negative. I was told time and time again that I needed to take a statin and follow a “heart-healthy” diet to control my cholesterol levels. Keto, according to the medical world, was out of the question. I was also told that my issues with high LDL were a familial condition due to my mother and some other family members having cardiovascular disease.
That’s when I met Heather Cooan.
Heather listened to my story and helped me determine which healthy fats I should continue to eat, and which ones weren’t doing me any favors. She also explained to me the importance of clean eating on the ketogenic diet. One of the biggest things Heather did for me was to point out that the traditional cholesterol testing methods were outdated and often didn’t give an accurate picture of one’s total cholesterol levels.
There was a specific test that Heather advised me to ask my doctor for, and I did. My doctor agreed and got me the test. When the results were in, my doctor was blown away! I didn’t have high cholesterol at all! This specific test looked at my lipid particle size and some other factors that showed traditional cholesterol testing to be inaccurate. My triglycerides and HDL levels were terrific, and that is thanks to consuming a low-carb, healthy fat diet.
Thanks to Heather, I didn’t just settle for taking statins, and I made my voice heard. My doctor may even start using the lipid particle size test on her other patients as part of routine cholesterol checking.
Thank you, Heather!
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