I like to think of myself as a relatively fit person. I’ve completed ten races this year, including my first triathlon and three marathons. I exercise (fairly) regularly, I eat (pretty) right, I don’t smoke, I don’t (hardly ever) drink.
Do I struggle every day? Yes. But for the most part, I’m healthy.
But, you know, as hard as I try to make good, healthy choices, there’s one thing that I don’t have control over, and I never really will.
Never underestimate the power of genetics.
Several years ago, my dad (who was overweight) had his annual physical and they found a problem. His cholesterol and his triglycerides were very high and the doctor pretty much told him that he HAD to lose weight. So my dad did what he needed to do. He cut out sweets, anything with high fructose corn syrup, and started walking every day. The weight just melted off of him. People who hadn’t seen him in a while thought that he was really, really sick because he had lost so much weight.
While he was exercising daily and completely changed the way he ate, that was not enough to bring his triglycerides under control. He went on medication and started taking a daily fish oil pill. Two and a half years after the diagnosis, there were finally back in to the normal range.
He has maintained his weight loss and healthy eating habits and continues to take fish oil supplements to this day, and his triglycerides are still in the normal range.
As soon as he knew what was going on, he got on all six of us kids to go get our bloodwork done. One of my sisters and one of my brothers had elevated triglycerides, too. My bloodwork however was all within normal ranges, and that has been the case for the last two years.
Not so this year. I have officially slipped out of the normal range and into the “borderline high” range. The doctor recommended I limit simple sugars and start taking 3000mg of fish oil pills a day.
This is an awfully long post that really only has one point: don’t assume everything is o.k. just because you have no symptoms, especially if you have a family history of something. It is important that you make yearly doctor visits part of your healthcare routine.
If it weren’t for my dad’s insistance that I have bloodwork done, I never would have done it. I had no symptoms, no evidence at all that something was wrong inside me. And if it weren’t for my yearly check ups, I still wouldn’t know.
If you haven’t been to see a doctor lately, make the appointment as soon as you can. Get the full picture of what’s going on…the sooner the better.