Friday, May 07, 2010

Analysing My Own Blood Test Results

The Internet is a wonderful thing because, now, anyone can be a doctor. Finally, after being constantly nagged by my wife to get a blood test done to confirm that my high fat diet isn’t ruining my health, I have fronted up and had my blood tested.

Here are the Blood Lipid or Cholesterol test scores:

Fasting Status Fasting
Cholesterol 5.6
Triglyceride 0.6
HDL 1.81
LDL 3.5
Chol/HDL Ratio 3.1

Now at first glance my detractors are all jumping up in the air with glee at seeing a high total cholesterol score of 5.6 and I must admit I was dismayed thinking about all the hassle I would be getting from my wife when I next tuck into a fatty steak. But delving deeper into the figures resulted in vindication – well at least in my own mind.

The three most important numbers are the Triglyceride, HDL and the ratio ones. All three are great results. The Triglyceride, which is basically fat, serum level is very, very low. I beat my wife (0.7) and my sister (0.8). The HDL, otherwise known as ‘good’ cholesterol is well above 1.0 giving me a good/bad ratio that is deemed by the medical orthodoxy as putting me in the very low risk group for cardio problems. The total score of 5.6 is great, if all else is working well, as that means that excess in the blood is being cleared up and that my body is getting ample essential cholesterol for brain and cell function. These are figures you would expect from a healthy individual eating a lot of meat, eggs and cream and working out regularly.

Now Renal Function tests.

Sodium 140
Potassium 4.3
Creatinine 103
eGFR 66

At first this looks slightly alarming for kidney function. The eGFR is a bit low as it should be greater than 90. But then I find out that it is really determined by calculating the level of Creatinine which is getting close to being too high. Now creatinine is a waste product from muscle breakdown and high levels can indicate that the kidneys are not processing it out of the blood properly…unless you are working out fairly intensely doing sprints and lifting weights combined with a high protein diet. Phew, nothing to worry about there. I see this level as indicating that I am training hard enough. The level is highish but below a figure that would cause alarm. Real body builders would have a level much higher than this. Also an older person has naturally higher levels. Probably due to natural muscle wastage as the body ages – something I am actively trying to reverse.

The other high figure I had was with the blood liver test that showed ALT at 46 IU/L. New Zealand tests reckon this should be below 45 although Wikipedia say it should be between 7 and 56. This can be elevated due to muscle damage from exercise as well or drinking a little too much wine. I think I will cut back a bit on alcohol as I think it might be sabotaging my attempt to get a body fat percentage of less than 10% anyway just to be on the safe side.

Everything else shows as normal. No sign of inflammation or prostate problems. Rather strangely, they didn’t do blood glucose level although my own tests show that as normal.

So, full steam ahead with the high fat, high protein diet with a reduction in alcohol consumption and an increase in hydration just to be a bit careful with kidney and liver health. Oh, and probably a blood test yearly from now on as this was kind of fun.


Conor Hughes said...

Cool that you were able to figure out what the figures actually meant... especially when it comes to cholesterol, people tend to get mixed up between correlation and causation.


AngloAmerikan said...

I urge anyone who has blood work done to do the analysis thoroughly themselves. It isn't as straightforward as it first appears and the resources to do it are readily at hand.