General Question

poofandmook's avatar

Is it possible for my cholesterol to go up 27 points in less than a week?

Asked by poofandmook (17230 points ) September 23rd, 2013

Since my gastric bypass, I now have to get quarterly blood work done.

In July, my total cholesterol was 164. Last week, I had my annual biometric screening for my health insurance discount. They do a finger stick and get the results in about 1–2 minutes, and it said my cholesterol was 163. Incidentally, I was not fasting for that result.

On Saturday, I had my quarterly blood work drawn… fasting for 12 hours… and it said my cholesterol was 190. And it said my LDL was 118, whereas the results from the week prior said it was 100.

Granted, I know the finger stick could have been inaccurate… but I am inclined to believe it WAS simply because it was only a point off from my July result. That would be a pretty huge coincidence. Also, fasting should produce my lowest result, and it produced my highest? And such a huge jump?

Any thoughts on this?

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27 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Absolutely. My cholesterol has dropped as much as 70 points in less than a month. I’m sure I can get it up that fast, if not faster.

It is possible one test was inaccurate though. Only way to know is do another test. The total cholesterol number still isn’t that bad. I don’t remember off the top of my head the normal ranges for LDL though.

Did you eat a lot of cholesterol the past few days? Eggs? Meat and cheese? Ice cream and cake?

poofandmook's avatar

I haven’t changed my eating habits though, except that I’m able to eat more meat/protein.

pleiades's avatar

Oh yes you better believe it can. So here in San Diego we get our true summer a bit later around late august early september. Now, there was a super hot spell for about 2 weeks and half. I didnt run or work out at all. It was horrible, anxiety has re entereted my life but I am working to fight back by getting my 3.3 miles again.

I know for a fact that I let go during that two week heat period with unwise food choices!

JLeslie's avatar

@poofandmook What does “able to” mean? Anything animal has cholesterol. If you are adding more cholesterol to your diet, and your body doesn’t handle it well, your cholesterol will go up. Some people can eat high cholesterol foods and they have no problems. My body is totally horrible and can’t handle the burden and my cholesterol goes right up if I consume it, back down if I don’t.

poofandmook's avatar

I had a hard time digesting protein after a bad stomach virus in May. It was several weeks before high protein foods didn’t cause pain in my pouch. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been able to start with chicken… processed though, not fresh chicken, and now I’ve been able to eat ground beef and within the last two weeks, eggs.

What I’m stuck on here is the timeframe. From July to September, I could understand a 27 point increase. However, we are talking about less than 7 days. And like I said, while the fingerstick result could have been inaccurate, I find it hard to believe that it would be off 27 points in the wrong direction, yet be only 1 point off from my July result. It just doesn’t make any sense. I feel like I’d have to practically eat sticks of butter to get it to go up that much in less than a week.

JLeslie's avatar

Eggs are the biggest cholesterol culprit. One egg is equivalent to more or less 12 ounces of steak if I remember correctly what steak on average has. It depends on what part of the cow of course, and if it is a medium or jumbo egg, but just as an average estimate, the numbers should be right. Did you have an extra omelette this week? Or, some sort of custard? It’s really interesting to stick with a diet and then test your cholesterol within 3–4 weeks and see the differences. You begin to really feel more in control of the numbers. I can usually guess pretty close where my number will be, and mine tends to run between 210 and 270. I had a really high one several months ago at 290. I buckled down and within 6 weeks (I had to retest my thryoid anyway in 6 weeks) it came way down. It was 220 I think? Something like that.

Supposedly, trans fats and saturated fats raise cholesterol, but my experience is cholesterol raises my cholesterol.

JLeslie's avatar

Dr. Oz once did a week long “study” with volunteers. They switched to an all veggie and fruit diet for one week. At the end of the week the average cholesterol decrease was 25% lower than the week before. That is huge. I’m sure it works in the reverse also.

Quakwatch's avatar

Dr. Oz is a dolt. Please don’t use him as a guide to good health.

Regarding your cholesterol readings, I wouldn’t freak out. You should recognize that there are two sources of variation when measuring cholesterol: biologic and analytical variation. Basically, there can be differences in your own body from day to day (biologic) and differences in the how the lab measures the cholesterol (analytical). Studies have shown that biologic variation alone is ~10%. It is hard to know about analytic variation, as a “gold standard” value is difficult to determine, but it is also somewhere between 5 and 10%. So, you showed a variation of ~15%, but this might be entirely related to biology (10%) and a different test 5%. I would wait another week or two and then check another fasting test with the same lab for consistency and see what happens. If you really want to read all about this at the technical level, you can check out these two links.
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/heart/chol/lipoprot.pdf (go to section 2 on sources of variation).
http://www.bates.edu/PreBuilt/hr/hr-fingerprick-vs-blood-draw.pdf

filmfann's avatar

Of course it gauges on what you have eaten recently. A hamburger for breakfast yesterday will impact your result, even if you fast for 12 hours.
Drink Pomegranate juice. Lots of it.

I had the finger stick done last year when the doctor checked my prostate. Very unpleasant.

chyna's avatar

I agree with @Quakwatch, never use Dr. Oz as a source. He pushes a different “diet pill” every day.

JLeslie's avatar

I have said multiple times Oz is an idiot in my book too. But, his little invalid study was not made up numbers. He actually had his people draw the blood, house the participants, and supply the food.

Quakwatch's avatar

What controls did he do? What statistical analysis did he run to demonstrate that it wasn’t just by chance? How long-lived were the results?

You see, anyone can “do” a clinical study. Only some people can do it well.

JLeslie's avatar

Lord, I said it was an unscientific study. So, @Quakwatch who asked you to come back? Which one of the people who hate me commenting on medical questions? I’m just curious. I actually like having doctors on here, as you know, I learn a lot from them and I think it is great for the fluther community. I don’t mind at all that someone pointed out Oz is an idiot, as I said I agree. I don’t think I said anything wrong. Dr. Oz taking a few people and drawing blood does not prove anything as something to live by; neither does the personal accounts on here of our own experience with cholesterol levels. It’s just a few individuals on a fluther Q.

You basically recommended what I did. To really know run another blood test, and don’t worry too much about the fluctuation for now.

drhat77's avatar

what kind of gastric bypass did you have? If you had a Roux-en-Y or similar your nutrition and related lab tests will swing quite a bit for the forseeable future.

zenvelo's avatar

I got a non fasting Total of 192 from a blood donation. Three weeks later, despite continuing exercise and careful eating, my fasting total was 212. Might have been the steak I had a few nights before.

JLeslie's avatar

Do you find exercise actually influences your cholesterol number? I have not found that to be true for me at all. I’m not challenging it if you find it to be true, just curious.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie My non-scientific, purely anecdotal experience is that regular exercise helps me control my weight and my metabolism, so that it helps my body process and burn off fats. And this from the American Heart Association: studies show that regular physical activity, such as at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) every week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g., jogging, running) or a combination of both every week can help your body produce more HDLs.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo With those studies I am always curious to see how they are conducted. If they just take a group of people who walk that much and check their cholesterol, or do they actually take a group of people, test them, change only their exercise level and retest. The problem with a lot of “studies” on health is healthy people in general tend to have a lot of healthy habits. I have no idea any specific cholesterol studies, I haven’t read up on their methodology, because I have had cholesterol problems for so long I have self tested ideas. However, I am always interested in what studies say to try a recommendation for myself. Other fats don’t seem to affect my cholesterol from what I can tell, but the other fats are a problem for me anyway. They sit around in my blood and other parts of my body also.

drhat77's avatar

I would venture that exercise response of cholesterol is genetically determined

poofandmook's avatar

I did have RNY in March.

drhat77's avatar

@poofandmook yes your digestion and nutrition is diminished now (which is what the intended effect is). Your ability to absorb cholesterol is going to be labile.

poofandmook's avatar

@drhat77: So basically, this jump isn’t necessarily something I need to be concerned about just yet?

Response moderated (Spam)
SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Quakwatch “Dr. Oz is a dolt. Please don’t use him as a guide to good health.”

You’re absolutely right. Over the years, how many super, fail-proof diet pills has he promoted?

For those who find him entertaining, Dr. Oz is for entertainment purposes only.

JLeslie's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul I think he is skeevy. I find him so unattractive.

drhat77's avatar

@JLeslie he needs a gold tooth to complete the image. Am I jealous that millions of women mail him panties every month, a little.

JLeslie's avatar

@drhat77 OMG now I have that image in my mind. As much as I don’t like him, the people on the show who changed their diet still had the average of 25% decrease in cholesterol.

So, my point above to the OP is drastic changes can happen in a week. I’m not saying the numbers are definitely going to, or even most likely to, I really believe that depends on the individual. I am just saying it can and does happen. It happened to them and it happens to me. I know you didn’t really challenge me, this is just for the rest of the people on the Q to reiterate I am only saying it isn’t impossible, which is basically what the OP asked to begin with.

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