In an entry on blog.4d2.org, I wrote a bit about the labwork that I have done yearly and additional labwork which was requested by my physician, which I did not have the results for yet.
Every year, I have blood drawn to check the following things:
– Lipid Panel / Cholesterol
– Fasting Blood Glucose
– TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone levels)
The cholesterol and blood sugar tests are the basic tests my primary care physicians have always run on me, I guess as a check to make sure my obesity hasn’t led to any invisible secondary health problems. The thyroid hormone is checked yearly as a result of hypothyroidism, which I was diagnosed with in 2010. My dosage of synthroid (thyroid hormone) was increased once in 2011 but not since then and my yearly TSH tests actually show a decreasing level from year to year since then (this is a good thing – less TSH indicates my thyroid is functioning normally). My fasting blood sugar has always been in the normal range. My cholesterol tends to be in the normal/good range except that my triglycerides go up when I am losing weight (which is to be expected).
My physician, in light of her belief that I am insulin resistant and may have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), ordered a round of additional labwork last month.
– C Reactive Protein (a measure of inflammation in the body)
I spoke with my doctor’s nurse on the phone today (and have a follow-up appointment for tomorrow), but the results of this additional labwork have been returned. I don’t have the figures, but I was told that my testosterone levels are normal; my insulin levels are slightly elevated and C Reactive Protein is elevated.
So what does any of this mean? In effect, it means very little. My insulin levels are not so high that the doctor would choose to treat me with Metformin or similar drugs. The C Reactive Protein indicates that there is inflammation in my body – but that is often linked with obesity and the doctor believes that as I lose weight, the inflammation will resolve. The normal testosterone level doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t have PCOS since there are a range of symptoms associated with PCOS. Essentially the most reasonable medical intervention I can make right now is exactly what I’m doing: a low carbohydrate diet in an effort to both lose weight and lower my insulin levels. The diet alone should bring my insulin to a normal level and that should (hopefully) lead to weight loss. As I lose weight, the inflammation should resolve.
Progress Check Numero Uno:
I’ve been following this diet since September 29, so it’s been three solid weeks. Over that period of time, I’ve lost 5.5 pounds. That’s not an insignificant amount and the loss has been pretty consistent but it’s also not as precipitous a loss as many people experience on keto diets.
I also take my measurements every four weeks and was due to update them last Friday, October 17. Since September 19, I’ve lost 2.5 inches from my waist (4.5 inches total from August 22) and an additional inch from my hips (2 inches total from August 22). The interesting thing this time around has been how differently I’ve been losing weight. I’ve gained and maintained significant muscles in August and September as a result of daily yoga and so clothes I have that normally wouldn’t fit for another ten or fifteen pound loss can actually fit now (!). The make-up of my body is changing, even as the weight may change less significantly. This feels pretty awesome, and taking the measurements helps support the overall sensation I have that my lifestyle is moving in the right direction, even if the scale isn’t always.