Saturday, August 26, 2006

Another Example of Better Living Through Chemistry

(Image from the excellent site, Plan59)

Some of you know that high cholesterol runs in my family (Thanks, Mom.) Well, my biology is no exception. Everything was great until about a year or so ago when it went off of the charts. Everything was wrong – not enough ‘good’, far too much ‘bad’, and apparently after my doctor did a high-end blood test to get down to the molecular makeup of my blood, it turns out that of 15 or so cholesterol markers or whatnot, I was off-the-charts bad in 13 of them.

My bad rating was 195. And my diet, while not completely perfect, is a damn site better than most – No Mickey D’s, no Doritos, etc. So it wasn’t lifestyle issues as much as bad genes. In the end my Doctor put me on Vytorin, one of those statin drugs. Two months later he did some new bloodwork.

And my bad was down to 100. Pretty amazing stuff. And it has actually been making me rethink my rather negative views of the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

Except that, even though 100 is a very good level, my doctor wants it down to a super human 70 or less, which according to some of the latest studies would reverse any damage the two years of high cholesterol may have done, eventually allowing me to live forever, or at least longer than any of you suckers.

Or so that’s the theory at least.

So he’s adding monstrous doses of Niacin to the mix. The side effects include flushing of the skin, which means that for the next several days I’ll be turning beet-red on a regular basis. I love how the side effects pamphlets they hand out with drugs always say that the benefits of the drug outweigh any side effects, otherwise the doctor wouldn’t have prescribed them, so chin-up.