It’s three am, and her husband is roiling in bed. His skin is hot to the touch, and he suddenly screams out in agony. Sweat soaked sheets wrap his clammy body. With nausea quick in his throat, he says he’s too weak to walk.
Truthfully, he hadn’t felt well for weeks. Now, the pain radiated down his abdomen and around his back, and he could no longer ignore it all. Time had come to go to the hospital.
His wife muscles him into the car and brings him to the emergency room where he is quickly diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that can develop quickly. Sometimes it’s fatal. Luckily this case is treatable, and he’s soon on the road to a full recovery.
What had made him so dangerously ill?
He’s a husband and father who also happens to be a bodybuilder, a man who prides himself on his low body fat and high vitamin intake. He spends his money on exercise equipment, extreme gain DVDs, and Clif bars, he believes his lifestyle permits taking his health for granted.
But imagine his surprise when a full metabolic panel exposes a lurking hazard – his incredibly high triglyceride count. The culprit behind his pancreatitis. Healthy triglyceride levels are numbers less than 150 (measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood). Doctors consider counts of 500 or more very high. Coming in right around 1200, this man’s triglycerides are so high, his pancreas is effectively shutting down.
Since that day, this man so many others depend on has learned he’s the proud owner of a genetic condition called familial hypertriglyceridemia. This is a long name for the condition that’s been causing both his high triglycerides as well as fatty deposits (called xanthomas) that sometimes appear under the skin on his back and upper arms. He also learns the gene responsible for this genetic anomaly is hereditary, and for him, that means he’s finding out the lives of future generations, in addition to his own, can be healthier by staying informed and aware.
Not knowing his triglyceride count nearly took this man from his family. When it comes to your health, there are, in fact, four numbers you should know by heart:
Blood Pressure: Find out what your numbers say about your risk for heart disease and how to lower your BP.
Fasting Glucose: find out what your fasting glucose level says about your risk for heart disease and stroke.
LDL Cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a major cause of coronary heart disease. It’s the culprit behind most cholesterol buildup and arterial blockages in your body. Find out if your LDL cholesterol level is where it should be.
Triglycerides: Find out if your triglyceride levels put you at risk and learn how to lower them.
ALL adults should know their numbers. It’s crucial to your health. So is knowing what lifestyle and other changes can bring or keep those numbers in line.
Your very life depends on it.
See your doctor. Get informed. Live empowered. Call your primary care doctor today, and make an appointment.
Note: the above is one man’s true story told here with permission. Names are removed to safeguard his privacy.