Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lipid Profile

I got the results of my completely useless lipid profile today, and my doctor reacted exactly as I predicted (here and here). She applauded my weight loss, congratulated me on low triglycerides and an HDL number in the normal range, but was "very concerned" because my overall score was 197 and my LDL was 142, was 12 points above the upper end of the "normal" range. She wanted to put me on statin drugs, which I politely refused.

Since I suspected this would be the reaction, I brought the explanation of pattern A and pattern B LDL particles to her attention and pointed out that the LDL number was a calculated, not measured, value. I showed her the pages in The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney that discussed why LDL readings are often elevated in people following a low carb diet and explained how the calculation overestimates the LDL cholesterol particles. She did not know what to say.

People like Kurt Harris, M.D. question the whole utility of getting a lipid profile. What's the point? Saturated fats don't cause heart disease and statins don't do anything, so why bother spending money to get a number that is meaningless? I think I can see where Kurt Harris is coming from.


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