Do I -really- need to worry about cholesterol?

I’m young and in great shape. I’ve never been more than 20 pounds overweight, and am now at about 9% bodyfat. Last time I used the heart machine thingy at the RiteAid, my blood pressure was at 100% ideal levels (115/70? Something like that) and my resting pulse was 58. I exercise about 4 times a week and spend a lot of time during the day walking for one reason or another. I cook all of my own meals, eat whole grains, vegetables, watch my starches and fats, and keep my meat intake lean and reasonable. My family has zero history of heart trouble and most everyone lives to about 90. My only vices are smoking my hookah every now and then and drinking.

Basically, I’m the absolute picture of health with a nearly perfectly clear family history. Every doctor would love me.

But I fucking love eggs. God, do I love eggs. Honestly here, how much of a worry is cholesterol?

It’s probably not a problem for you (I don’t see any chloestorol numbers – have you been tested?).

As to whether eggs raise your blood cholesterol, there is some debate. It’s not a direct link to eggs and higher cholesterol, and there are other foods just as high as eggs. Most experts recommend limiting your total cholesterol per day, so you could eat eggs and still fall below the limits (depending on many factors – your cholesterol, your history, etc.) if you watch other sources.

And, of course, even high cholesterol does not mean you’re sure to have a heart attack or other heart disease – it only means you are statistically more* likely* to get it.

And, your cholesterol level isn’t only affected by what you eat. Some folks just have high cholesterol as a matter of course, and some don’t. I’ve known folks who watch what they eat, and still have really high cholesterol.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t eat particularly healthily (though, better than I did a few years ago, before I was diagnosed with diabetes). But, I got the lucky cholesterol gene from my mom. Even when I really ate like crap, my total cholesterol was in the 190 range (just below where they start to get concerned). Now that I eat a little better, exercise more, and am on a very small dose of a statin (more for the heart-disease protection, since diabetics are simply more susceptible to it), my total cholesterol is more like 120.

You didn’t mention your age, but presumably you’re old enough to have annual or bi-annual checkups. When they take blood they usually do a routine cholesterol check, and yours may be low or in the normal range. I know there’s a genetic aspect to it because my mother had high cholesterol, I have naturally high cholesterol, and my daughter has very high cholesterol… like 400.

If your levels are normal then I wouldn’t worry about it. If you are over 200 your doctor may decide to try and control it, either with diet, exercise or medication. It’s not a big deal. I have been on statins for a number of years and my cholesterol dropped from ~245 to ~165 with no apparent side effects. YMMV.

Yeppers. I’ve been told that I could eat nothing but lettuce and still have high numbers.

However, the actually number doesn’t tell you all that much - the ratio between LDL and HDL is actually more important for determining health.

For some people it can be almost impossible to lower LDL without drugs; however, almost everyone can increase HDL by eating the right foods - foods with Omega 3 fatty acids - including, I might add, Omega eggs.

So, you can probably shwank eggs without too much concern as long as you choose the right ones. :slight_smile:

My brother works for the pham industry. a few years ago he called me up kind of laughing in shock. He said the pharm lobbyists managed to get the safe levels dropped to a new low. He said the connection between cholesterol and health is sketchy at best. But the beauty of it was that many ,many people would have to take drugs to attempt to get to the new levels. It was worth billions to them. Of course the problem that cholesterol drugs are tough on your body and have a shit house full of side effects did not matter to them.

Nonsense. The AHA, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, etc, base their recommendations on plenty of evidence via studies, not lobbyists.

No, the link between high HDL levels and cardiovascular risk has been established to be fact; there’s nothing sketchy about the claim whatsoever. MDs are not being irresponsible prescribing Lipitor, Provacol, etc. to patients with high cholesterol levels.

They can be “tough on the body” in some people, but their liver function and lipid levels are monitored and the reward outweighs the risk.

Get tested. $10 and hour later you will know if you have to worry about it or not. For an extra $10 and an extra hour you can include a visit to a doctor who can look over the test results with you.

You really seem to be asking if eating eggs (or high cholesterol food) for you is bad; not if you need to worry about cholesterol, per se.

The short answer is that if you are blessed with good genes, probably not. Most of how an individual’s body handles cholesterol, and whether their personal levels are “bad” for them is determined by their genes. The body doesn’t have any trouble making cholesterol from other substances so it’s not as if you can avoid eating cholesterol and expect there to be some sort of direct effect on your lipid levels. People with crappy genes will go crazy trying to alter their endogenously-determined lipid levels with diet and excercise alone, and people with good genes can eat whatever they want and still show up with good numbers.

Be careful with the smoking thing, hookah or not. It’s a big mistake to adjust every risk factor besides smoking, because smoking is an independent risk factor for both cancer and vascular disease, and it’s not necessarily a dose-related risk. So the guy who’s fine “except a little smoking” is like the guy who lives a boring life “except a little BASE jumping.”

Finally, highly-sensitive CRP tests are starting to get as much PR as lipid levels and various ratios. Don’t focus too much just on “cholesterol.”

If you were my patient AND YOU ARE NOT, and had such great genes, I wouldn’t try to bother you with avoiding cholesterol in your diet as a means of ameliorating your lipid-based risk. I’d be inclined to say you don’t have any. You got the genes, man. Enjoy those eggs.

If you have a CVS Minute Clinic near you, it’s only $39 to get a cholesterol screening. Or just go to your GP. Then, you will have an idea as to how your body is dealing with cholesterol. As others said, don’t just base your idea on what you do with yourself.

My grandpa has always been a very thin man who eats a nearly vegetarian diet, has never smoked or drank a drop of alcohol and gets a lot of exercise. In his late 60s he had a sextuple bypass and is now on meds to deal with his cholesterol. His body deals with cholesterol like alice_in_wonderland - poorly. Just goes to show that you never know!

Although my parents are both on cholesterol-lowering medication now (in their mid to late 60s), I seem to have dodged their genetic bullet (if there was one). I have had low cholesterol most of my life, and my best results came in the middle of an Atkins induction phase, so my body must shake off the bad stuff and horde the good stuff…