Today I got an email from a friend who was emailing to apologize for leaving early from a meeting we both attended.  Her husband who was with her wasn’t feeling well.  And then she added:

“My cholesterol was always up around 200 and I was keeping it down using Red Yeast Rice.  But once I hit 60 even that was no good.  It got up to 300.  So I am on medication for it.  I need to lose 15 lbs.  And when I turned 65 then all of the sudden my glucose wants to go over 100.  So I take the fish oils and eat lots of fish.  My mother died when she was 68 and my dad lived to be almost 92.  So I want to keep active and healthy.  I have not been faithful to taking aspirin though.  So I better step that up.”

My friend is always the first one to arrive at a meeting and the last to leave.  She continuously thinks of other people first and herself second.  She takes care of her grandchild when needed and is a beautiful poet.  I asked for permission to quote her. 

Why is that when her life is so full that her heart is heavy with concern for her health? Why does that extra fifteen pounds make such a difference?  Well she is right that a woman’s total cholesterol should be under 200 and hers got up to 300 then there was a reason to be concerned and a need to get on medication to control the cholesterol levels.  But can an extra fifteen pounds impact one’s life?

According to the Mayo Clinic, obesity is defined as “having an excessive amount of body fat.  Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern, though.  It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.”  My friend does not look overweight to me, but if she has measured her BMI and feels she needs to lose fifteen pounds then more power to her.

The formula to determine if one is obese is based on one’s height and weight and is called the body mass index or BMI.   A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight; 18.5 – 24.9 is normal; 25.0 – 29.9 is considered overweight; 30.0 and higher is obese; and finally 40.0 and higher extreme obesity.  I only know that when I brought my weight into the normal range, my joints quit hurting, my stamina increased, and other little aches and pains just disappeared.  To calculate your BMI click here.

And what about “an aspirin a day, keeps a heart attack away;” is that true or not?  Yes and no.  In all the research I’ve done, don’t start taking the aspirin without your doctor’s advice because abusing the aspirin could do more damage than using it to prevent a heart attack or stroke.  The Bayer Aspirin website even recommends talking to your doctor first.  But it is also a wonderful resource for aspirin therapy.  I take the Low-Dosage 81 mg every day, and I did not discuss it first with a doctor.  I don’t use aspirin for pain relief nor do I use acetaminophen (Tylenol).  I do use ibuprofens (Advil) when I need a pain-killer but only sparingly.  I am confident the low-dosage is not hurting me, but I do tell my doctor about it when asked and no one has said stop taking it.

What would I say to my friend if she were here with me now?  I would tell her – to look at herself in the mirror and see what a beautiful person she is; stop worrying and stressing over the little things for she has already taken the first step by acknowledging a need to make some changes.  I’d say keep smiling, keep writing that beautiful poetry, and keep on being the person she is – a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, writer, and friend.  Everything else will fall into place.