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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cha…Cha…Cha…Changes

Can we talk?

I’ve been trying to avoid this conversation for about 6 weeks now and the time has come to wait no longer. You see, September is National Cholesterol Education Month the perfect time to be upfront and personal:)

I don’t usually like to discuss health matters on this blog especially my own. Unless, I feel the discussion will bring light to someone else, as was the case with my daughter Michele’s story back in May of 2013. After I posted that story, many wrote me emails assuring me they were going to be more diligent about their mammographies. Hopefully they were and still are.

Today, I have a story of my own. Now, I don’t want anyone to be alarmed. It was a minor stroke and I am totally fine. As a matter of fact, I haven’t felt this good in I don’t know how long. Funny thing is, I actually thought I was feeling pretty darn good before my “episode” but now I remember the difference, lol…I suppose the transitions of life don’t always allow us enough time to reflect on the incidental changes that often go unnoticed. Sure, we might spy a new crinkle here and there or even perhaps a bump or bruise that we just whisked away as we were shuffling in and out of the car. If they don’t put us down, we chalk them off to “the course of doing business.” Sure, I was feeling a bit more tired than usual but I figured it was because I was working in the garden so much and trying to get 100s of things done all at once. I felt like I was gaining weight but totally dismissed that because I’m not much of an eater as it is, how could I be gaining weight? I’m overly active! Seems I was though. Unbeknownst to me I had gained 10 pounds!!! So that’s what was weighing me down? No, it was the darn cholesterol!

Every 2.2 pound rise in body weight elevates cholesterol levels 2 points. (The Doctors Book of Home Remedies Rodale Press)

They called it a TIA, short for Transient Ischemic Attack.

While transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often labeled “mini-stroke,” it is more accurately characterized as a “warning stroke,” a warning you should take very seriously.

TIA is caused by a clot; the only difference between a stroke and TIA is that with TIA the blockage is transient (temporary). TIA symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes; the average is about a minute. When a TIA is over, it usually causes no permanent injury to the brain…

They kept asking me to smile, it seemed rather strange to me at the time. They kept asking me to play airplane. You know that childhood game kids play where they lift their arms up and pretend they are taking off or coming in for a landing. I couldn’t raise my left arm. It kept drooping. Little did I know, my smile was crooked. I have a nice smile, I’ve been told. Doesn’t everyone? My left leg was weak but, I could stand. Inside I thought to myself "that has to be a good sign."

I didn’t quite understand what a TIA was and while I was waiting and they were waiting for the tests and the results, time seemed to lapse into hours. They made me stay in the hospital. I really didn’t want to. As a matter of fact I headed toward the door as soon as my legs were less weak or just strong enough to carry me and my 10 extra pounds:)

They explained that the next 36 hours of observation and more tests were crucial. I finally agreed:) Good thing I did. I learned so much about myself those three days in the hospital both physically and mentally. I knew one thing for sure, I didn’t want my time to be up if I had anything to say about it! After all, the kids would be arriving in just a few days and I just had to be…

They blamed it on my cholesterol levels. Way, way, way too high!!! If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how I feel about taking medication. My family doctor had warned me about my cholesterol levels about 5 years ago. My attempted solution was to try and keep it under control with diet and exercise. I admit, I wasn’t as diligent as I could, should have been, obviously…

Managing my cholesterol was extremely challenging at first. It has since become much easier and I can honestly say that with the exception of not indulging in a garden fresh BLT this season with lots and lots of mayonnaise, I’m handling it rather well. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a daily challenge. However, I feel more than confident knowing there’s a delicious way to lower cholesterol and I intend on doing just that!

I don’t go back to the doctor until November. It seems the medication needs time to take hold. As you can imagine, it is driving me nuts, literally:)

…People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol level in their blood…

Sifting though the in and outs of cholesterol management is a daunting task. Thankfully, I am up to the challenge! However, I am in no position to offer any kind “education.” I do feel confident enough to encourage each and every one of you to get your cholesterol checked. Oh, I know, many of you are still young and the thought of “hardening of the arteries” seems like a conversation you might not be having for ages. Not so. Truth is, hardening of the arteries can start young. There are now simple tests that can test children as young as 9 years old!

Now don’t you worry, I’m not suddenly going to become a self righteous preacher of the good, the bad and the ugly of cholesterol intake. For most of us, a change in season means so much more than a change in wardrobe. Although, I must admit, I’ve already dug out my flannel shirts:) This year, I’m virtually going to do an about face. It’s time for me to metamorphosize and you’re more than welcome to stay tuned…Louise:)

P.S. I won’t be blogging again until next Sunday. I have agazillion things to do this week! However, I will be visiting your delicious blogs as time allows. Have a wonderful week everyone and please celebrate Cholesterol Education Month like your life depending on it!!!

88 comments:

  1. I'm glad you're doing better now! My grandpa had TIAs, and I remember how scary they can be.

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    1. Yes, I'm feeling terrific Poppy! Thanks for visiting...

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  2. ((hugs)) Glad you're OK Louise ! And love how you put it more to the positive way. Anything can happen when we get older, so keep calm and be brave to face whatever come to us. I'm 45 and not knowing what will come in future. Yet, there's still good stuff coming to us....... SO, CONGRATULATIONS dear ! You're one of my four NuNaturals giveaway winner. Please kindly send me you contact address by email asap, so that I can make the arrangement soon. They will send you the giveaway items from US. Hope this will make your day a little easier.
    Take care ((hugs))
    Blessings, Kristy

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    1. Hi Kristy!!!
      Aren't you sweet:) I was happy just eyeing up those awesome looking Ferrero Rocher Chocolate Snow Skin Mooncakes, now you tell me I WON the giveaway too. How could I not be beaming with glee. Yes indeed, my day sure has just gotten much nicer:) Thank you so much Kristy. I will email you ASAP!

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your health problems. Cholesterol is responsible of so many illnesses... Thanksfully you are taking things in hand.

    Take care dear,

    Rosa

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    1. Thank you Rosa...I'm working at it every day:)

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  4. good advice you are offering, Louise! I am glad to hear that you have taken up the challenge of turning your health picture around.

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    1. And I'm having a blast doing it, Mae! Thanks!!!

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  5. what a lovely post ...loved reading every word...

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  6. I'm glad your warning sign wasn't any worse. Take care of yourself, my blogging friend.

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    1. Hi Linda:)
      Thank you so much for your sweet words. I'm doing great and working diligently:)

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  7. Take care of yourself, Louise. Writing on blogs is a fun activity and you should just chill out, follow doctors orders and stay onj the path to feeling better, I have you in my thoughts.

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    1. Thanks Tina...I am doing all of the above, lol...

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  8. Oh, Louise! I consider you one of the fortunate ones who has had a warning sign. Now you know what you need to do for your good health! Through some miracle, my cholesterol levels are very well within limits. I send along my wishes for good health to you!

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    1. Thank you Nellie...I do feel so fortunate!

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  9. The pictures are amazing dear I loved !!
    ah the cholesterol ! I know !
    xoxo

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    1. So glad you like the pictures Gloria:)

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  10. I'm glad you're feeling better than ever. The cholesterol thing is so complex, isn't it? I'm concluding that you really need to watch your starches and sugars, because those cause weight gain (leading, as you say, to a rise in cholesterol, among so many other things), and consume food which is as unprocessed as possible. I hope you have a great week, Louise, and hope your progress keeps up! (We are looking into a fountain for the courtyard, maybe similar to your first picture. Hubster has the notion that he "needs" one...)

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    1. Oh Marjie, a fountain!!!! I'm so excited for you. I can not tell you how much joy that silly fountain gives me. Watching the brids play in it and bathe in it is priceless. I can'r wait to see yours!!!

      The cholesterol thing is very confusing. Every time I think I have it down, I read something else that sends me in a whirl. Good thing I enjoy doing research, lol...

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  11. Dear Louise ,
    What a beautiful post and I hope everyone young and old take heed to this post . I learned I was a diabetic at the ripe old age of 8 ;-D and cholesterol goes along with it ... heart problems . diabetes runs in my family . This is a most wonderful post and it is helpful to everyone , high cholesterol can lead to all types of illness , like high blood pressure , diabetes , they are silent killers .
    My kids (6 thru 12) I keep a close check on their health , as you said it's easy for kids to get high cholesterol because of unhealthy diets , there are just to many obese kids , so you know they have health problems , kids should not have a lot of body fat because they are active , mine are very active .
    Thank you so much for sharing you health scare with us and you are helping so many , they can eat foods that they love only in moderation . Look how long the Chinese live and how healthy they are , Thanks dear friend , you have reached lots of people . Now I have to check out plactest.com . Remember one day at a time and the sailing will get easy , I promise ;- D ~~Nee~~ (((HUGS)))

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    1. Hi Nee,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I know you understand how challenging it can be to stay ahead of these types of things. I'm so glad you are on top of it when it comes to the children. There are just some things we can not control about our health but at least we can participate in keeping ourselves and our families healthier. Thank you so much for visiting, Nee...

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  12. Nice. I guess September would be the month to make all the health changing decisions for the year.

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  13. Dearest Louise,
    I am so glad that you are ok and following Doctors orders! You really do know how to keep a secret. This is an important subject and some of us reading need a wake up call. Your story may do that as some people reading this will learn the importance of Cholesterol Education Month. Thank God when I go to the Doctor my cholesterol is always ok, that is all I need with all of my other health issues. But as you said it does effect the young as well as the older generation. Thank goodness for those TIA's, (no one should have them), but at least it is a warning sign to get things checked. So glad that you are ok now, you are so important to so many of us dear friend! Thank you for sharing your very personal story. Even if you get through to one person that would be a blessing for sure. Have a blessed good week, my prayers will be with you...
    Dottie :) <3

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    1. Hi Dottie:)
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I am doing really good and sticking to a very strict diet of the time being. I may be going over board a bit but I think it is best this way for now. The funny thing is, my numbers were always so good until about 5 years ago. It's like it happened over night. I think I tried to fool myself into thinking it would disappear just as quickly. Of course it didn't. I do hope others will at least get theirs checked. For those of us over 50, the blood test needs to be repeated more often:)

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  14. Dear Louise, I am happy to know that you are taking control and your attitude sounds energized and ready for the challenge. There are so many foods to eat that help lower cholesterol and help to keep it in check. I am sure you are reading up on this and learning of all the good foods that help. I am keeping you in my prayers to get all better and feeling well.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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    1. Hi Catherine:)
      Oh yes, I am always reading and learning. It is quite challenging but as you say, once you know about the choices, there are quite a few changes available:) Thank you for your encouraging words and prayers Catherine...

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  15. It is surprising that so many people have such problem.. I am sure that taking better care of yourself will help.

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    1. Taking better care can benefit everyone, Medeja...Thanks for visiting...

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  16. I'm happy that you're feeling okey now...
    i guess the minor stroke is somekind of wake up call and it's a big opportunity to had a healtier way of live....
    good luck!!!

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Dedy...Yes a wake up call indeed!

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  17. Hi Louise! I'm so glad you're feeling better. That must have been so scary to experience TIA. I'm glad to read you're taking your medication.

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  18. Ack ! The dreaded C word :P Glad that you're well and good ! I should watch my calorie intake now that I'm older :D Love the last photo , the butterfly and the flower sure look pretty !

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    1. Yes, Anne, I am feeling tip top these days. It's a funny thing about cholesterol, it's not only about the calories. Although I gained weight, my problem stemms from my genes, lol...I must say though, I have been losing weight since changing my diet and increasing my exercising. Thanks for dropping by, Anne...

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  19. Louise, I am so sorry to hear...how scary. I am relieved though to know you are doing better and feeling stronger. Will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    xo,
    Tammy<3

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    1. Thank you Tammy, that is so sweet of you. I am feeling much better. Say hi to Mom for me and thanks for popping by:)

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  20. Oh gosh Louise... if I needed motivation to celebrate my own, small victory over high cholesterol, that was it! I shall be more diligent! I'm so grateful you got a warning and are doing well.

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    1. Thanks Channon. It makes me so happy to know you will be more diligent! Any tips you may have I'm all ears:)

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  21. Louise, so sorry to hear this. This is scary stuff. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourself.

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    1. Thanks Dawn. I'm feel pretty spiffy these days!!!

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  22. I can't imagine how scary that must be, please take care of your wonderful self! Sending lots of hugs - I know with your health turnaround you will do just fine!

    Hugs
    Uru x

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  23. Can you be worried about someone after the fact? If so, I am.

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    1. Not to worry, Debra, I'm doing just fine. Thank you so much for your concern:)

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  24. Louise, glad you are better now. Take care and wishing you a speedy full recovery.

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  25. Hi Louise,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your cholestorel and TIA. I have family members who had TIA and it is really worrisome for the whole family, especially the ones who are affected. I'm really glad that you went for a medical check-up earlier, and would do the necessary for a healthier life. Please do take care, my dear Louise, which I'm sure you will, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Stay well and healthy always!

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    1. Dear Joyce,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I must say, it was a bit tense around here for a few days but things have calmed down and I am doing my best to stay healthy!!!

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  26. Oh Dear Louise...I am sorry for such an experience...but glad that you are okay...I am kind of embarrassed...my work is around prevention of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis...and I was not aware that September is Cholesterol Education Month...
    Your cholesterol number is important, although you still need to maintain the good cholesterol (HDL) high, which will help with the clearance of the cholesterol that circulates in your body.
    Take care my dear...

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    1. Hi Juliana:)
      The good cholesterol; bad cholesterol thing is quite confusing, Juliana but I'm slowly learning:)

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  27. Dearest Louise, I am so glad I stopped by today. I am soooo glad that TIA's were discovered and you got the care and information you needed. I know you will take care of yourself and you will be doing many people good service in sharing your journey.
    Enjoy you break, you are in thoughts and prayers.
    Ginger

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Ginger. Nee and I were just wondering about you. Hope all is well with you and yours. We do miss you:)

      I'm doing really well, thank you so much for your kind words and prayers:)

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  28. Louise I am so sorry about what happened to you! Thank God it was temporary and not permanent. I am sure now you will take a good care of yourself. In high levels of cholesterol medicine is necessary because diet by itself is not enough (unfortunately)! I will keep you in my thoughts!

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    1. Thank you for your concern, Katerina. I am being a good "girl" and taking my medicine. I'm thanking God a lot these days too:)

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  29. Oh I am so sorry you were not feeling well Louise. Cholesterol plays such a bit part in our lives. The only prevention seems to be frequents check-ups. Sooner or later we all come across this problem in life. I must say being a food blogger does not help sometimes! But it is so much fun!
    I wish you a speedy recovery lovely Louise, take it easy xxxx

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    1. Hi Alida,
      Frequent check-ups are definitely the way to go especially when it comes to cholesterol, Alida. I think blogging is a huge help in so many ways. Everything in moderation they say:) Thanks for popping by...

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  30. Hi Louise, phew ! Thank God you're okay!
    20 years ago my mom had a stroke. A very bad & major one. She was half paralysed and before we could discuss the best possible medical treatment with some doctors, she died a couple of days (due to some complications) while still in hospital during observation.

    Louise, you please take good care of yourself, my friend. Wish you a speedy recovery!

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  31. Oh Louise, I am so sorry you had such a scare, but looking on the good side, it was a wake-up call. I'm pleased you're doing well and keep up your new routine!
    My internist is adamant about cholesterol medication...he is thin and fit and takes it himself. I've been taking crestor and zetia for years (I'm in my late 70's) and while I don't like taking medications either, he insisted and I have blood tests every 6 months to check. Makes all the difference.
    Keep us posted!
    Big hug!!

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    1. Hi Barbara,
      I've gotten myself on quite a routine and am doing GREAT! In hindsight, I guess I should have done more research about the medication before refusing it but then I guess I should have stayed on top of the numbers too:)

      Thanks for your concern Barbara...

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  32. I am so happy to hear you are doing better now, Louise. And that you are taking some positive from this experience in the form of renewed focus. All this good health stuff sure requires a lot of vigilance sometimes!

    We like the Hellman's low fat mayo (the one with the green lid)--not as good as regular but with a lot fewer calories too it may also help the weight a bit. My weight is driving me nuts too--stable for years, but now creeping up, despite eating less and less.

    You will be pleased to hear that your comment about Michele made me schedule my mammogram which is a few months overdue. If you still need something to spice up a sandwich, email your address to me and I will send you a jar of my peach mustard. Take care!

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    1. Hi Inger,
      I figure the only thing to do is to take it as a serious warning and do my best. I'm actually having fun taking on the challenge:)

      I am absolutely THRILLED to hear that you scheduled a mammogram! Thank YOU!!!

      Thank you so much for visiting, Inger...

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  33. Louise I hope you feeling better!!
    xo

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  34. So glad to hear you're alright! At our age, we gotta be taking real good care of our health. I go for yearly check-up & just did my mammogram & breast ultra-sound as well. Thanks for sharing the great info which I'm sure will benefit many of us here! Happy weekend, Louise! xoxo

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    1. Thanks Shirley! Glad to hear you are on top of things too:)

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  35. Thank goodness you are alright. My father had several TIAs and lived a long and healthy life. My husband has high cholesterol but it is completely controlled through medication as I'm sure yours will be as well.

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging new Karen. I'm adjusting surprisingly well. Thank you so much for visiting...

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  36. what upsetting news, louise! leave it to you to take this opportunity to help others and enlighten us all. i'm glad you're doing okay!

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  37. I am SO glad you're OK, Louise! And thank goodness for all the medical advances that will now keep you in ship shape :)

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  38. I am so glad you are okay and most importantly have the right kind of attitude. I think how you feel about this sort of thing is half the battle.

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    1. Thanks Pam...I'm feeling really positive!

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  39. Dear Louise, Stopping by to say hello and hope that all is well. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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  40. Hi Louise, I finally stopped by after a week's absence...including my posting as well. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your eloquently written health issue related post, along with the most beautiful photos accompanied! I, for myself do not have the high cholesterol problems, it's more of the high blood pressure which is being controlled by medication, and for the last few years I'm watching it very carefully, and try to avoid 'stress' which also contributes to it.
    Thank you for sharing your personal experience, and actually expressing the warning of what it can lead to. Skinny people can also have high cholesterol, which their body produces, can lead to a stroke (which I my dear departed husband had; he had the partially paralyzed on his left side...even lost the sight of his left eye, left with speech impediment and eventually caused death a couple yrs later)

    Thank you for your personal share and the awareness dear, and I do hope you are taking good care, and have your regular check-ups to make sure everything is under control! Do take care, and God Bless!
    Big Hugs,

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    1. Thank YOU Elisabeth for sharing your personal story. I am doing really well and feel very positive about the steps I am taking to keep it under control. Salt is another culprit of high blood pressure. I'm sure you are watching it carefully. Thank you so much for dropping by:)

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  41. Hi Louise, how are you? Visiting your blog after a long time. Cholestrol is indeed a dreaded word and something we all need to be careful about. My younger brother recently did a test and his cholesterol is on the higher side, reason sedentary lifestyle. Ever since he has started walking for a hour come what may and regulating his diet, thankfully the cholesterol is back to normal. I guess we need to pay attention to warnings that our bodies and our doctors give and work on that. Take good care of yourself and good to know you are better and feeling good. Have a good day, Suchi

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    1. We do need to pay attention to our bodies warning signs Suchi...It is so encouraging to know that your brother is doing better. I too have added exercise and made diet adjustments. I'm feeling wonderful! Thank you so much for visiting, Suchi...the door is always open:)

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  42. it's good reading that you sounded positive about the whole thing . Thanks for posting this up as it alerts us to check on our cholesterol levels and health regardless of age. My cholesterol level is doing fine , not having any issue with it ...and will keep monitoring. Louise, hope you are taking good care and stay healthy always..and lastly, pls try not to do all 100 things at one time :D

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Lena...I'm doing as much as I can to educate myself and listen to others. I am slowly adding more exercise to my day. Watching your levels is very important, Lena...I'm so glad you will be watching yours:) Thank you so much for dropping by...

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  43. Hi Louise, Sorry to hear about your health glitches. Glad that you are ok now and able to accept it in a positive way. The bad cholesterol can lead to many illness, it's important to exercise like gardening or walking. As for food, we can eat anything but keep it at moderate amount, don't indulge in it.

    Take care and try to drink green tea, it'll help to reduce cholesterol and improve your health system. Drink 2 to 3 cups a day, no problem. Best to buy the tea leave which it's more pure, the tea bags are not so good. Thanks for sharing this posting.

    Best regards.

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    1. Thanks Amelia, I have been drinking Green Tea. It took a while to learn to like it without sugar but now, pice of cake, lol...Thank you for your kind words and suggestions:)

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  44. So sorry to hear about your health problems! Both Mrs KR and I have high cholesterol, alas. Mrs KR actually lost a whole bunch of weight, and her cholesterol readings went UP! From my reading, diet really only accounts for about 15% of cholesterol -- and because you need it (your brain can't function without it), your body makes it. After doing a lot of reading, we both decided to start taking statins. There are some side effects with these, but fortunately neither of us suffer from them. And I've read a lot of the scientific literature -- there's definitely some linkage between taking statins and lowered risk of heart attacks/disease. However, it's not clear that lowering cholesterol is responsible for this -- there's some thought that high cholesterol is just a marker for something else, most likely inflammation (stats do a bang up job of reducing inflammation, too, so that might be why they're so effective). Anyway, I know you're talking to your doctor and doing your own reading on this. Hope your November readings please you and your doctor!

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    1. Hi John,
      Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience. I can't tell you how much I appreicate you taking the time to share. Yes, I resisted the statins for a long time but have finally realized I can't do this alone. Thank God, I am not having bad side effects. I keep reading and learning every day. I'll get the hang of it eventually. Thank you so much for sharing John, I really appreciate it:)

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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