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Clarence's Latest Results from Cooper Clinic


I flew to Dallas on May 14, 2014, for my 14th visit to the Cooper Clinic over a 26 year period; my first visit was in 1988 when I was 50:  http://www.cbass.com/COOPER.HTM .  

The big news (for me) was that my HDL “good” cholesterol was the best ever, after adding sardines to my breakfast and switching from skim to organic whole milk.

As would be expected for a bustling 30-acre campus, there were bigger developments: The Cooper Aerobics family of companies recently completed a 7.5 million dollar renovation of the Cooper Fitness Center and upgraded the Cooper Hotel and Conference Center. From my standpoint, the biggest upgrade was the opening of the Cedars Woodfire Grill, a fast-casual restaurant in the Cooper Fitness Center. That was my first and last stop. The Cedars "unprocessed process" uses only the freshest produce, herbs and all-natural meats that are simply prepared and cooked over a wood-fired grill. “Carefully chosen ingredients lead to inspired flavors in the salads, bowls, sandwiches and soups,” was the promise.

On the first evening I had a huge salad with grilled salmon on top. Before departing I had a rice bowl with grilled vegetables and more salmon. Both were just what I was looking for—satisfying and delicious.

“It’s all good; your HDL is 86!” Those were the first words out of Dr. Lynn McFarlin’s mouth as I walked into his office at the end of a long day of testing. That’s 11 points better than my last visit (October 2012), when my HDL was already 5 points off the chart; the reference range is 45-70.

My other blood lipid numbers were practically as good. My Cholesterol/HDL ratio was 2.0, when anything under 4.5 is considered good. My LDL “bad” cholesterol was unchanged at 79, well within the 65-130 reference range. My triglycerides were 56, down from 62, and near the bottom of the 45-125 reference range.

Up 23, at 514, my testosterone was in the upper half of the 231-735 reference range. Dr. McFarlin called it “very healthy.”

The main disappointment was that my A1C was unchanged at 5.9; a hair over the 4.00 to 5.70 reference range. A1C is an indication of average blood sugar for the previous 8 to 12 weeks. Dr. McFarlin was happy because my fasting blood sugar was normal; he expected my AIC to track my body weight, which was up 6 pounds since my last exam. (My Tanita scale says the gain is almost all muscle.)  He said holding steady at 5.9 is okay—as long as I continue to avoid “added” sugar and stay active to counter the tendency to diabetes in my family.

The final bit of good news was that carotid ultrasound showed that my carotid arteries (the big arteries on each side of the neck which supply blood to the neck, head and brain) are stable. As I wrote here earlier, testing in 2002, when I was 65, showed minimal plaque on the right and moderate plaque on the left; estimated narrowing on the left was 42%. Retesting in 2005 estimated the stenosis at 37%, an improvement of approximately 12%. I don’t have the final report, but Dr. McFarlin called my carotid narrowing “minimal bilateral left and right.” He says my carotid pulses are strong, and that I shouldn’t have any trouble as long as I continue my healthy lifestyle. Repeat carotid ultrasound is planned in 5 years.

Interestingly, Dr. McFarlin has stopped taking fish oil caps and added sardines to his breakfast, just as I have done. (Great minds…!)

I love going to the Cooper Clinic, especially when they show me in black and white how well I’m doing.

I had a bit of outside confirmation passing through security at Love Field in Dallas. A female security officer noticed that I was about to pass through the scanner with my shoes on, which is now allowed for those 75 and older. Noting her alarm, I said, “I’m 76.”

“You sure don’t look it,” she replied. The man in front of me turned around, shook my hand, and asked if I was feeling good. I assured him that I was, thanked them both, and passed through the scanner with a smile on my face.

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