Cheating on your cholesterol test

Or, I really didn’t want to be put on lopid again.

I had a cholesterol screening, which my doctor was happy with. In addition to the 12 hour fast I was supposed to do, I will admit that I purposely ate fish for dinner and avoided fats and starch (triglycerides!) for three days running before going in for it. Question - can a few days of eating abnormally carefully actually do much to the results of a cholesterol blood panel?

Background - I was prescribed cholestyramine by a gastroenterologist for something else, and the doctor agreed to take me off the lopid, since the cholestryamine is a cholesterol medication anyway. I was prescribed the lopid because my cholesterol was out of whack and my triglycerides were very high. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, and after a test several months ago where I was back at normal levels, the doctor said that everything must have been related to weight in my case. This was a followup screening.

You can lower triglycerides in that short a time, but not cholesterol.

But why are you gaming the system? All you are doing is depriving you and your doctor of the actual data which will help you to make an informed decision.

After you get the data, listen to your doctor, then make your decision about what you want to do. You’re in charge of whether or not you decide to take a recommended medicine. We physicians are not your parents, and if a doc acts like he is, get another doc!

Way back in one of my high school biology classes, the teacher passed around a colourblindness test (one of those “Which number do you see in the circle” type dealies). One of the guys in the back cribbed his answers from the other people at his table. :smack:

IANAD, but why don’t you just eat more fish generally? Or tell your doctor you don’t want to be prescribed Lopid? I’m pretty sure they can’t force you to take it.

Yeah, I know it’s a tad silly. Probably the same motivation that drives me to be extra thorough with dental hygiene just before a dental appointment. I figure if he’s going to tell me “well, it’s a bit high” maybe I’ll get a warning without a suggested prescription change because of being a bit OVER the line. If I’m really way over the line, all the “gaming” I might do isn’t going to conceal that. If it’s normal, I can figure it might be creeping up when I’m less careful, but not worry much. My numbers drastically improved from losing about 40 pounds anyway.

How long, on the average, does it take for diet changes to affect cholesterol? After a person had honestly kept up an appropriate diet, for example, how long would a doctor usually wait before deciding, “Well, this isn’t working, time for some meds.”?

Obviously this would vary based on individual circumstances, but would this be a matter of weeks or months?

In my case, it was about three months of altered diet. I ate mackerel, salmon, oats, almonds, and walnuts until they were all coming out my ears. I completely eschewed eggs, cheese, red meat and butter. Then I took a second blood test at the end of that three months, and the result: bupkus. I had to go on Lipitor.

I like to test again no sooner than 8 weeks, and preferably 12 weeks after making a change.