Annual Checkup Update: Lab Results

[One of the occasional series of posts about my typical day.]

During my annual checkup last week, my ARNP said that she would call if the labwork found a problem and that she usually sends an “all clear” note if things are unchanged.  I asked if she could send me the full resuts, and she agreed.   A few days later she’d to let me know that my vitamin D levels are still a bit low, my vitamin B12 is good, and everything else was fine. Today I got the followup letter with lab results.

I’ve debated whether to share them here.  On the one hand, this blog is about my body and how it works, and the lab results are certainly relevant – it’s why I asked for more detailed results.  On the other hand, my lab results are not a referendum on whether I am “allowed” to be fat. I am fat. That’s just how it is.

So if you wanna know the rest, read on. 

  • My Vitamin B12 level is normal with my current daily supplement, so I should continue taking the current daily supplement.1
  • Vitamin D is still low at 28, please take daily 1000iu supplement and retest in 1 year; normal vitamin D range is 35 to 150.2
  • Tests for kidney functions, liver functions, blood cell count, and thyroid function are all normal.
  • Fasting blood glucose was 85.

There were also my lipid / cholesterol results, with notes that they are “normal”, “optimal”, and “good”, along with what appears to be boilerplate information on improving them3. Now, the interesting thing about these is that I started keeping track of them some years ago, so I have information on them back to 2003.

  Desirable March 2003 March 2004 March 2005 July 2007 Nov 2008
Total Cholesterol below 200 200 166 168 165 164 – “normal”
HDL “good” cholesterol above 40 61 59 60 46 50 –
“optimal”
LDL “bad” cholesterol below 130 115 87 84 95 91 –
“good”
Triglycerides below 150 122 100 118 118 117 – “normal”

Noone of these values are bad.  But since 2004 things have gotten a bit better.  Why?  Well, in 2003 I was going through a bout on unemployment and spending a lot of time being a lump.   By 2004 I was working again, which meant I stuck to a more regular schedule and became just that little bit more active.

Weight-wise, I’ve weighed 400lbs (+/- 10lbs) from early 2004 until now.

~ o ~ o ~

1 It is a bit sobering to realize I will likely need a maintenance supplement for the rest of my life. But at least it’s over-the-counter.

2 Conceivably moving closer to the equator would help me not need this supplement. But, again, over-the-counter.

3 The recommendations include eating a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet, regular physical activity, and “weight management”. Also a link to the NIH website on how these “lifestyle changes” can help lower cholesterol (Sanity Watchers points recommended for that link BTW).

7 thoughts on “Annual Checkup Update: Lab Results

  1. I’ve had a vitamin D deficiency for about a year. OTC isn’t doing nearly enough so now I’m on prescription level. I hope it works.

  2. Those recommendations don’t make much sense to me. If your labs are normal with the way you’re eating/exercising now, why on earth would they want to change anything? Do they think that just because you are fat, those numbers are suddenly going to go to hell in a handbasket even if nothing else changes? I’ve never understood doctors and their obsession with weight when everything else is normal. I mean, really, my numbers have been in the normal ranges for the last 30 years, and I’ve been fat for those whole 30 years, so I’m not about to change what I’m doing at this late date. Losing weight and exercising more, even if it was possible to do, isn’t going to make me any healthier than I already am, so why punish myself just because some doctor thinks I should be thinner in order to be healthy?

  3. Vesta –

    Yeah, the recommendations had me shaking my head too. My results are “optimal” and “normal” and I need to worry?

    I think it’s boilerplate that they built into the letter template, same as the avoiding osteoporosis stuff they put into the how to do a breast self-exam handout (because of course all women are at risk for both, even though fat women are at smaller risk of osteoporosis than thin women.)

    And, well – aging is not always kind, and on average these numbers tend to get “worse” as one ages. Doesn’t mean diddily for individuals, of course!

    Rebecca –

    I hope you get up to normal. I’ve also started taking a multivitamin (another of the RNP’s recommendations) with another 400iu of Vitamin D, so I’m actually at 1400iu / day, plus whatever’s in milk & fish.

  4. I think that they should worry more if you had high result numbers, instead of being just fat with normal result numbers. But I guess they think they wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t include “lifestyle changes” in the letter, a.k.a. “we can’t let the fatties be content with being healthy AND big!”

    If your health is fine the way it is with what you’re doing, why fix what’s not broke? There’s no way to guarantee that things would even get better with deliberate dieting. That might even mess up your vitamin deficiency even more.

  5. Bree – To clarify, the stuff about improving my cholesterol was in the written summary I requested. When the RNP called me with my results, we only discussed the vitamin D & B12. Her only allusion to the rest was to say that, “Everything else is fine, so no worries there.”

    That’s why I said that I thought the “improvement” stuff was part of the letter template. Now, the fact that the office feels the need to put that in the template may reflect that it’s mostly used for “bad” news”. Or they may see it as “stuff everyone can use” – like birth control information – or it may be CYA. Not sure.

  6. Excellent results! But you might want to consider a bigger dose of Vit D. Some sites recommend ridiculously high levels; I’m not on board with that. But 2000 IUs is well-tolerated by nearly everyone, and many doctors (including mine) are recommending 4000 IUs for folks whose D levels are quite low.

    Research shows that fat folk tend to need higher doses in order to get to normal levels of D. 1000 IUs (or even 1400) is probably not going to do much.

    Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with but 2000 IUs is really not unreasonable at all, if you want to consider that.

    Also, I always recommend that people ask for their EXACT thyroid results and the scale they used to determine “normal.” The standards have been lowered by some organizations and not others; you might have a result that’s “normal” by old standards and not by newer ones. Get your exact TSH and the scale they use to determine “normal.”

  7. Thanks, wellroundedmama :)

    With the Vitamin D, I’ve been edging up – I’m alternating between 1400 and 2400 IUs now and will probably make 2400 my standard. And eating more fish, though I haven’t gone so far as to try cod liver oil (*shudder*).

    Re: TSH, I think I’ll do a new post..

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