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I recently had my life insurance renewed. I consider life insurance a necessary evil at this point of
my life with one dependent and still some debt to my name. Like all policy renewals, this one involved
a nurse coming over to my house to draw blood and urine and take my blood pressure. I was also barraged with a series of questions regarding my general health and bad habits like smoking, drug
use and drinking (none of which I have ever had). It was a rather boring ordeal due to the fact I kept saying 'no' to about 80% of the questions.
Well today I got a package from the insurance coverage congratulating me for qualifying for
a 'Healthstyle 1' rating which is the best rating they apparently give meaning I'm going to get a
lower rate for my insurance coverage (an actual monthly bill that will be going down...how novel!). Attached with the congratulatory letter was an actual report on my test results, which I will
gladly share with you. Here goes...
Blood Pressure: 110/70...Expected results: Below 140/90
Fructosamine ...this is the level of sugar in your blood:My level was 1.8...Expected range 1.2 to 2.1
Creatinine ...waste product released from muscle tissue and excreted from the kidneys. This
test measures how your kidneys are functioning. Creatinine production and excretion are stable
and constant, as long as muscle disease is not present):My level was 97...Expected range: 44 to 132
Aspartate Aminotranferase (AST):my range was 25...Expected range: 0 to 41
Alanine Aminotranferase (ALT):my range was 27... Expected range: 0 to 45
Both of the above are liver function tests which don't measure how the liver is functioning (would be nice to know) but rather they screen for abnormalities. AST and ALT are proteins within the liver
cells that are released into the blood stream when the liver cells are injured or die. They indicate liver damage and the more the number exceeds normal levels, the greater the damage.
Gamma Glutamyl Traspeptidase (GGT): my score was 14...Expected range...2 to 65
The above looks for a protein manufactured by the liver of heavy alcohol consumers, those using over the counter and prescription medications or illicit drugs and those experiencing bile tract obstruction. Damaged liver cells release this protein into the blood, making it a sensitive but non specific test of liver status.
Cholesterol...a soft waxy substance found among the lipids (fats) in the bloodstream and in all
your body's cells. It's an important part of a healthy body because it's used to form cell membranes, some hormones and other needed tissues. No news to most but a high level of cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart decease and heart attack (especially if you're a type A blood). My total
cholesterol level:my level was 4.47...Expected range... 3.88 to 6.5.
HDL Cholesterol...or high-density lipoprotein which most medical experts think carries cholesterol
away from the arteries and back to the liver where it is passed from the body. HDL is known as
the good cholesterol because a high level of HDL seems to protect against heart attacks. My HDL: 1.57...Expected range...0.83 to 1.55
CHOL/HDL Cholesterol ratio...this ratio is one of the strongest predictors of coronary risk. The lower the value, the better, assuming a HDL value in the expected range. My ratio: 2.8...Expected results...below 5
On to my Urinalysis...
Glucose...this is a screening test for diabetes. Glucose is the main source of energy for living organisms. When blood glucose levels exceed the kidney's threshold for reabsorption, glucose
'spills' into the urine, which results in increased urine output. My results were negative.
Protein... a very small amount of protein is normally excreted in the urine each day. Excess protein in the urine may happen occasionally in people with congestive heart failure or an illness causing fever...or even after vigorous exercise. Persistent protein in the urine almost always indicates kidney disease. My result: 70...Expected result: 0 to 300
Red or white blood cells...don't usually appear in urine. If they are present it could indicate kidney decease, a urinary tract infection or inflammation. None present whatsoever.
Pretty cut and dry and the results speak generally of my health status. Along with my report, the insurance company included a tip sheet on reducing fat:
Spread less butter or margarine on bread, buns and bagels (should read...place less bread, buns and bagels under your butter especially if made from wheat)
Cut down on dressing on your salads or substitute a low fat dressing (should read...if it says salad dressing on the bottle, don't buy it)
Try skim, partly skim or reduced fat milk products in recipes ( should read...don't drink it unless you're a B type and it's organic)
Bake , broil or microwave your meat, poultry or fish (the insurance company should raise your rates if you use a microwave)
Substitute wholesome snacks like popcorn for chips and chocolate bars ( should read..substitute a few handfuls of beneficial nuts and dried fruit for chips and chocolate bars)
It would be neat say 20 years from now to see how these fat-reducing tips would look like especially if the BTD became mainstream. One could only hope and wish. In the meantime, if you have been on the diet for a while and are feeling really good, you might want to consider changing your insurance policy...you just might end up paying a lower rate and you can owe all to the BTD.