Hi there, I've just had my annual blood tests done ready for an appointment with my specialist (I had breast cancer 12 years ago, but still have yearly check ups) I noticed on the blood test report that my total cholesterol level came in at 241! My GP said all was ok......but I'm a bit concerned about the result. Also the other high reading was Billirubin..... I do drink a lot of red wine. Could this be the reason? Other than that I eat reasonably well and healthy and exercise every day.
Thanks for your email.
Your cholesterol reading of 241 mg/dl is within the 'normal' range erring slightly towards being a little high, however given that your GP isn't concerned about it, my feeling would be that you shouldn't worry.
Cholesterol is just one measure of health, so he will be looking at all the different parameters to assess your health risks.
That said, if you did want to try and reduce your cholesterol levels then losing weight, being as active as possible and choosing healthier foods are all great ways of doing this. Choose wholegrain foods where you can (replace white bread with wholemeal, white pasta with wholegrain, eat porridge for breakfast etc), cut down on saturated fat (found in meat, full fat dairy foods, cakes and pastries) and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
A raised bilirubin level is associated with the functioning of the liver and gallbladder, but again if your GP isn't concerned then it shouldn't be a problem. If you are concerned yourself about either your cholesterol or bilirubin levels then I'd suggest you make another appointment to speak to him specifically about these - even if it's just to put your mind at rest.
Drinking red wine wouldn't necessarily affect either of these readings; however it's always wise to have at least 2 alcohol free days per week, and to stick to government recommendations on alcohol consumption to make sure that this doesn't affect your health in the short or long term.
I hope this helps - please don't hesitate to get back in touch should you have any further questions.
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