Thursday, September 09, 2010

No of 1 trials: lipid variability

In Nov 2009 my Chol was 249, LDL 181. These are unhappy numbers, though risk calculators still gave me about 20th percentile male risks (lipids aren't everything). I resigned myself to statins in a year or so.

Ten months later my Chol was 189, LDL 125. Those are good numbers, they don't merit statins.

I didn't change much between those two tests. The main difference is I weigh about 15 lbs less now than in 2009 [1], but that just moved me from the high end to the low end of recommended weight for my height and build. My diet isn't dramatically different. 

I really wouldn't expect that modest weight reduction to make a large difference in lipid levels. If I'd thought the effect was this big I would have dropped the weight years ago.

Weird. It's just another anecdotal "n of 1" data point, but it reinforces my suspicion that we still don't understand the basics of human metabolism very well.

[1] Thanks to the radical "eat substantially less" diet. I'm a forager, it's relatively easy for me to both lose and gain weight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's my theory on what's going on, and what we don't understand about basic metabolism.

We suspect from genomic studies that there are at least a hundred ways to be schizophrenic or hypertensive or to have elevated lipids.

We lose that variability when we study these problems without genomic segregation.

So I suspect there's a subset of humanity with very variable lipid levels, and with a very strong response to weight gain and loss.

This may be 0.0001% or it might be 20% of the total people with elevated lipds. We don't know. We also don't know if it matters. This population might have a high or low level of atherosclerosis, we just don't know.

Humans are more variable than we thought, and more variable that our seemingly clonal genome suggests.

We have a lot of work to do before we can understand individual risks.

John Gordon