Numbers Tell True Stories · 16 August 2013

Numbers do not lie. And they can tell an interesting story.

As I looked at my blood test history, I can almost see when I was dieting and even what diet I was doing. I can see when I was young and did not worry about what I was eating or how much exercise I was getting. And I can see the times when I just wanted to show the doctor that it was not time to start some medication or another.

Of course, seeing the numbers all by themselves cannot tell that abbreviated story by themselves, but I know what I have done and even why I did those things.

Like most people, when I was in my early thirties, I did not worry about my health. I was active and had been eating whatever I wanted for as long as I can remember so I never thought I needed to change anything. I did not worry about my weight as long as I could be active. I do not even remember going to the doctor for physicals until after my cousin died when we were both in our mid-thirties.

Once I started getting yearly exams, I still did not worry too much. Part of this was because the doctor told me not to worry. I was young and active and that was what mattered. Even according to him. But the numbers show that I was not so heart healthy. I could also have been prediabetic back then.

I must have been worried about my health just before I turned forty. I lost ten pounds from the year before and all my blood work was in the normal range. I am sure that the year before my doctor had told me to do something or he was going to recommend I start cholesterol medication. I hate medication worse than I hate being fat so his threat worked and I changed something.

Unfortunately, the change did not stick. My forties all have at least one cholesterol reading out of the normal range. I doubt I was a heart attack waiting to happen, but I can see I needed to change. But the numbers had few changes in that decade of my life. The only thing that varied was my fluctuating weight, which went up and down depending on which diet I was using at the time. Unfortunately, my lowest weight at the time was also my lowest HDL (good cholesterol) reading.

It might sound funny, but some of my dieting was trying to lose weight and get a bit healthier for my physical. I was trying to fool myself and my doctor. But the numbers do not lie. I was not being very healthy. I was neither active enough nor eating properly according to the records.

This year, I am excited about the results of my physical because of the numbers. Like I said, I have not had good cholesterol numbers for ten years. Now, I am just about to turn fifty and the numbers say that I am healthier than when I was in my mid-thirties.

I am active and eating right and I hope to continue to be that way for the rest of my life. But regardless of how I feel, I intend to keep on top of health by watching those yearly reports. For I know that regardless of the story they tell, numbers do not lie.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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