I had a followup with my cardiologist, who was pleased to report I had passed all his tests. First, I got the best bloodwork results ever, triglycerides good, total cholesterol under 150, ldl low. My hdl had also dropped below normal, but he’s not worried about that if ldl is low. I remember Dr. Dean Ornish making the analogy that good cholesterol, or hdl, is like garbage trucks. After ldl has performed its proper functions, hdl transports it back to the liver for processing. When you don’t have excess ldl, you need less hdl to do the transport. That’s the theory. In any case, the evidence is that in the context of a relatively low fat healthy diet, lower hdl is not a concern as long as total cholesterol and ldl are good.
The second test was that I wore a heart rate monitor continuously for over a week, and did my normal exercise during that time, including some strenuous workouts. No abnormal heart rhythms were detected.
Finally, I got the result of the nuclear perfusion/exercise stress test. Good blood flow to the heart was observed, even when exercising at a decent pace. So overall a clean bill of health for my cardiovascular system.
I am encouraged and glad to know it is safe to exercise as vigorously as I want. I’ve been working harder on my bike climbing skills lately and have been enjoying it. I will also try to stay pretty stringent with healthy eating, with the occasional treat thrown in now and then.