Archive for: blood test

High School and High Cholesterol

bloodtest

It seems this is the time of year when high school students and graduates get physical screening tests for their sports, future military service, or college health screenings.  As the American population increases in girth, it is not surprising to see many younger adults /​ adolescents exhibit typical problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and pre-​​diabetes in some cases.

Recently a young man (age 16) who plays football and runs track for his High School teams, but also serving in the Civil Air Patrol and does very well on his PT tests emailed us with a concern about the results of his pre-​​sports physical. He states, “I went for my annual check-​​up and found out I am close to High Cholesterol.”  Receiving the information I thought it was a joke (I weigh 141, BMI under 20, 5 feet 8 inches tall) I am very athletic and in great shape physically. Now my diet is all red meat, ice-​​cream, vegetables, lots of 2% milk, rice, ground beef. As you can see my diet is pretty bad but I eat a normal amount of junk food compared to my peers. Any tips?”

Health Screening 101 (Part 2 of 3)

Health Screening 101 (Part 2 of 3)

Previous Article in the Series:  Health Screening 101: Blood Testing (Part 1)

In this article, we will discuss the recommended courses of action to obtain healthy screening numbers posed to us by an officer with recent blood screening questions.   The goal of the recommendations below is to turn the subject’s next blood test into fewer RED LIGHTS and eventually ALL GREEN LIGHTS.

Exercise, Diet, & Medication Recommendations

An exercise program should help you burn the glucose from your body as well as reduce your fat stores.  To effectively do both, it is recommended that you start off your workout with resistance training (weight training or calisthenics) for 20–30 minutes to burn your blood sugar (glucose) and glycogen first.  The higher your heart rate the more sugar you are using for energy.  This is anaerobic training which requires your body to burn glycogen in order produce energy for the challenging demands of this high intensity exercise.   Follow your anaerobic training with an easy paced, “fat burning”, aerobic training program like walking, jogging, biking, swimming at a pace that you can still hold a conversation but just barely.   See below for a sample full body workout with cardio program:

Health Screening 101 (Part 1 of 3)

Health Screening 101 (part 1 of 3 series)

Health Screening 101: Blood Testing (Part 1)

Without a better understanding of Health Screening Tests, looking at blood screening paperwork can be both overwhelming as well as invoke attitudes of apathy for borderline healthy /​ unhealthy numbers. Here is an email from an officer who is 33 years old who admits he needs to lose a few pounds, but is concerned with his recent blood work numbers:

Stew, I know you are not a doctor, but can you give me your opinion on these numbers? The left column is my most recent numbers from last week (Nov 2012) and the numbers on the right are the ranges I should be in to be considered healthy. I know I need to eat better, exercise, and get more sleep, but where do I start? Should I be overly-​​concerned and start taking medication to deal with this?

Wow, great question. I too get overwhelmed when I look at all the different blood test elements and ranges when some are good, bad, or borderline. And, yes, I am not a doctor, but I know several and have interviewed them to help me write this response to your questions. But to help demonstrate where you need to focus, we are going to use the TRAFFIC LIGHT System created by Specialty Health in Reno NV, to help drive home the importance and understanding of these scores as everyone thoroughly understands the standard traffic light: