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Fall 2013 Kaitlyn Smith PED 103: Wellness for Life Critical Thinking Assignment Understanding a Blood Lipid


Use these Hypothetical Blood Lipid Panel results to respond to the critical thinking activities below. Total cholesterol: 249 mg/dl *Above average Triglycerides: 89 mg/dl HDL (good) cholesterol: 61 mg/dl VLDL cholesterol: 18 mg/dl LDL (bad) cholesterol: 170 mg/dl *Above average

Critical thinking activities

1. Understanding the issue: Discuss where cholesterol comes from and how it is circulated throughout the body. Identify and distinguish between each of the components reported in a blood lipid panel. It is really important that in this part of your writing you demonstrate that you understand a blood lipid panel and cite any sources that you use. Cholesterol, a waxy fat-like substance, is not only found in the foods we eat but is also produced naturally in the body by the liver. Cholesterol is transported throughout the body by two types of lipoproteins; low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) helps to prevent heart disease and the buildup of bad cholesterol (LDL). When you have high levels of bad cholesterol, it builds up in the arteries over time and can potentially obstruct blood flow, which in many cases, can lead to a heart attack. (National Institute of Health, 2012) Blood lipid panels measure triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Triglycerides make up the majority of

fats stored in the body. High triglyceride levels are commonly associated with obesity, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke. HDL and LDL cholesterol are your good and bad cholesterols (respectively), and VLDL cholesterol is the cholesterol produced in the liver. The sum of your HDL, LDL and VLDL cholesterol levels gives you your total cholesterol (American Heart Association).

2. Identify the problem, its significance, and the supporting evidence: Based on the information about cholesterol in your textbook and other credible sources, what concerns do you have about the results provided above? Which components are in the acceptable range and which are not? What are the possible consequences when one or more of the components are out of the acceptable range? It is really important that you cite the sources that you use.

The biggest problem in the results of this hypothetical blood lipid panel is that this persons LDL cholesterol levels are much higher than they should be. Triglyceride levels, HDL cholesterol and VLDL cholesterol levels are all within a normal range by the standards of the American Heart Founation, but the bad cholesterol levels are higher than normal and are contributing to an above average total cholesterol. If this persons bad cholesterol levels were lower, their total cholesterol would most likely be within a healthy range as well. High levels of bad cholesterol are concerning because it means cholesterol is likely already starting to build up in the arteries. While this persons good cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range, they need more good cholesterol in their diet to help combat the high levels of bad cholesterol and help prevent arterial buildup.

3. Assumptions: Based on YOUR assumptions of the blood lipid panel results, describe/discuss the profile of this patient. What would you assume to be true about a person with this blood lipid panel; age, gender, lifestyle, etc.?

The high levels of bad cholesterol in addition to relatively low triglyceride levels lead to the assumption that this person is pretty healthy and active, but simply has poor dieting habits. Bad cholesterol comes from diets high in sugar, saturated fats and trans fats. Diets with a lot of fast food can often lead to excess amounts of bad cholesterol. However, this persons HDL cholesterol levels are not below average. This means that they are also getting a decent amount of good cholesterol from their diet, but they still could be getting more. I would say that this person is most likely a younger adult in their 20s or 30s, possibly a college student that does a lot of their eating on the run. This person is also more likely a male since their triglyceride levels are so low.

4. Identify the relevant questions: If you were this persons physician, what would you need to know about this individual in order to make lifestyle change recommendations? Make a list of the questions that should be asked. Send a message from your Inbox in Canvas to your instructor with your list of questions. You will receive answers to your questions so that you can complete activity 5 below.

1. Does this individual have any current health issues? Type 2 diabetes, celiac disease 2. Does this individual have a family history of heart attack or stroke? Yes 3. Is this individual currently taking any medications? Yes 4. Does this individual exercise regularly? Yes 5. Does this individual have any food allergies? Has to have gluten free diet

5. Making conclusions and recommendations: After receiving the answers to the questions provided in #4, what specific advice or lifestyle recommendations would you give to this person about improving their blood lipid panel results? What conclusions have you reached regarding what is contributing to the BLP results?

Given that this person has not only type 2 diabetes, but as well as a family history of heart attack and stroke, they should focus on lowering their LDL cholesterol levels and raising their HDL cholesterol levels. However, the fact that they need to be on a gluten free diet (likely due to their celiac disease) in addition to having type 2 diabetes limits what they can and cannot eat. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF), those on a gluten free diet cannot eat, to name a few, bread, pasta, barley, or wheat. Whole grains can be a good way to raise HDL cholesterol levels, but this person would not be able to eat many, if not most of them because they are on a gluten free diet. Overall, high levels of LDL cholesterol are common in people with type 2 diabetes. This persons blood lipid panel was about average for someone with type 2 diabetes and celiac disease which restricts them to a gluten free diet. The CDF recommends additions to the diet like beans, flax, soy and rice. These additions to this persons diet would likely benefit their levels of good and bad cholesterol.

Works Cited

Quick start diet guide for celiac disease. Celiac Disease Foundation. Accessed April 18, 2014.

What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean. American Heart Association. rol/What-Your-Cholesterol-Levels-Mean_UCM_305562_Article.jsp Accessed April 18, 2014.

What Is Cholesterol? National Institute of Health. September 19, 2012 Accessed April 18,