Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

Move more, eat less

I've been reading the books recommended by batwrangler (Actually batwrangler only recommended the one on cholesterol, but another by the same author on blood pressure looked useful too). There wasn't really anything much that I hadn't already found via the Web, but it's nice to have it all in one compact format, easily referred to and with an index. Also Mary McGowen has a very calm, readable style.

Blood pressure readings taken over the last few weeks show that it's definitely about 10 points higher than it should be. I'm hoping that it's the recent lack of exercise that's doing it and that it'll improve again now I've started exercising, otherwise I'll have to go and talk to my doctor about adjusting the medication. I now don't think the red yeast rice is to blame as the blood pressure hasn't gone down after stopping it. I will therefore re-start the red yeast rice because it was doing good things to the cholesterol levels.

Red yeast rice is a "nutroceutical" and a natural source of Lovastatin, one of the drugs now routinely prescribed for high cholesterol. However, I'm only taking a very low dose. This is what I wrote a couple of years ago about what happened when I was put on Simvastatin (a similar drug):

I was feeling miserable because the statin drug I'd been prescribed to reduce my cholesterol was making me feel ill. I was in quite an emotional state at that point, feeling anxious and upset. One evening I found myself bursting into tears, because of how bad I felt compared to how I'd felt before the doctor decided I needed something to make me "better". When G suggested that I stop taking the tablets if they were making me ill, I just sobbed that I couldn't win. If I took them I had awful indigestion, and if I didn't take them, I felt that I was being stupid and risking a stroke or other serious coronary complication. (There is quite a history of stroke and circulatory disease in the family.) It all came to a head shortly after when I almost screamed at one of my students in class and driving home realised I was becoming suicidal. Fortunately, a little voice somewhere at the back of my head said, "Just a minute, wasn't there a stray comment about mood changes on that web page you read..."

After a bit of rapid Googling, I discovered that your brain makes and needs cholesterol and that some studies have linked depression to low cholesterol levels. I stopped taking the tablets and felt better right away.

Of course I wasn't really happy with the high cholesterol level, and so I explored other possibilities. Then I discovered the Red Yeast Rice. I tried these very cautiously and did notice similar side effects as before, but by taking only a low dose, could minimise these. To my astonishment, even though I was only taking about one fifth of the recommended dose, my cholesterol dropped from 6.1 (238) to 5.5 (214), a reduction of about 10%. So it's no wonder that I felt so awful on the dosage prescribed by the doctor!

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