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Sausages and Your Health (Cholesterol)

As Sausagefest cookouts are becoming more common place we want to share some basic good health advice. For the whole discussion go to the American Heart Association website:

The highlights I think that are important are as follows. We're quoting from their website where you see quote marks (duh).

Borderline high risk
People whose cholesterol level is from 200 to 239 mg/dL are borderline high risk. About a third of American adults are in this (borderline) group almost half of adults have total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL.

Have your cholesterol and HDL rechecked in one to two years if:

Your total cholesterol is in this range. Your HDL is less than 40 mg/dL. You don't have other risk factors for heart disease.

You should also lower your intake of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol to reduce your blood cholesterol level to below 200 mg/dL. Your doctor may order another blood test to measure your LDL cholesterol. Ask your doctor to discuss your LDL cholesterol with you. Even if your total cholesterol is between 200 and 239 mg/dL, you may not be at high risk for a heart attack.

Some people - such as women before menopause and young, active men who have no other risk factors - may have high HDL cholesterol and desirable LDL levels. Ask your doctor to interpret your results. Everyone's case is different."

Sausagefest Personal Example: My latest cholesterol level is 219 BUT the HDL and LDL components have to be looked at.

"High risk -- 
If your total cholesterol level is 240 or more, it's definitely high. Your risk of heart attack and stroke is greater. In general, people who have a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL have twice the risk of coronary heart disease as people whose cholesterol level is 200 mg/dL."

Your LDL Cholesterol Level "Your LDL cholesterol level greatly affects your risk of heart attack and stroke. The lower your LDL cholesterol, the lower your risk. In fact, it's a better gauge of risk than total blood cholesterol. Your LDL cholesterol will fall into one of these categories:

Less than 100 mg/dL Optimal
100 to 129 mg/dL Near Optimal/ Above Optimal
130 to 159 mg/dL Borderline High
160 to 189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL and above Very High

The key point to remember is, the lower your LDL cholesterol, the lower your risk."
Sausagefest Personal Example: My LDL level is 120 - near optimal

"Your HDL cholesterol level -- In the average man, HDL cholesterol levels range from 40 to 50 mg/dL. In the average woman, they range from 50 to 60 mg/dL. HDL cholesterol that's less than 40 mg/dL is low. Low HDL cholesterol puts you at high risk for heart disease. Smoking, being overweight and being sedentary can all result in lower HDL cholesterol. "

Unlike golf, a low HDL score is not a good thing (Sausagefest comment)
Sausagefest Personal Example: my HDL is 69 - so that's above average (a good thing).

The Cholesterol Ratio Thing -- "Total blood cholesterol is the most common measurement of blood cholesterol. It's the number you normally receive as test results. Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Knowing your total blood cholesterol level is an important first step in determining your risk for heart disease. However, a critical second step is knowing your HDL or "good" cholesterol level.
Some physicians and cholesterol technicians use the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol in place of the total blood cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends that the absolute numbers for total blood cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels be used. They're more useful to the physician than the cholesterol ratio in determining the appropriate treatment for patients.
The ratio is obtained by dividing the HDL cholesterol level into the total cholesterol. For example, if a person has a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 50 mg/dL, the ratio would be stated as 4:1. The goal is to keep the ratio below 5:1 the optimum ratio is 3.5:1."

Sausagefest Personal Example: my total cholesterol is 219, my HDL is 69.
219/69 = 3.17 So I have a better than optimum ratio.

The Triglyceride Thing -- "Your triglyceride level will fall into one of these categories:

Triglyceride Level Classification
Less than 150 mg/dL


150-199 mg/dL Borderline-high
200-499 mg/dL High
500 mg/dL or higher Very high

Personal Example: my triglyceride level is 149 - normal.

So to wrap this up - - get your blood work done and listen to your physician. If you're having cholesterol issues be judicious about eating sausages.

In the meantime I'll have a glass of cabernet and some chorizo. Remember: moderation, moderation, moderation. If you're a middle age human and reading this, I hope all your numbers are good. Good Luck!

Chicago Watercraft is your chance to live large and feel like a yachtsman without the costly overhead of the boat payments and the Chicago docking fees.

In an impossibly busy summer, it was nice to find several evenings out on the Lake Michigan waterfront on a beautiful boat, with friends and some of your favorite sausage and wine. Before the weather turns ugly, please call Vernon Patrick (Capt. Pat) and set up and evening out. He's got all types of theme ideas, but I stayed simple and just enjoyed the skyline and the company (plus the sausage).

Chicago Watercraft
(773) 791-7311

Tell Capt. Pat the King Sausage guy sent you – he'll take it from there.

All the best of the best and the best of the wurst.

The Editor,

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