Checkup and Blood Work

When you go to your doctor, I recommend that you get your blood chemistries and lipid levels measured-and quite possibly the glucose-tolerance test (with insulin levels drawn at fasting and at one- and two-hour intervals)-before you start the program. Lipid levels will reveal your total cholesterol, HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. These indicators often change with drastic dietary intervention. The blood chemistries will measure baseline glucose, kidney and liver function. Be sure your doctor also measures your uric acid levels. Since many people wrongly believe that these indicators are negatively affected by doing Atkins, you may later regret not having a "before" baseline to compare with your "after" results.

If you choose to keep track of those hidden physical changes that are measured in your blood, you'll find that, after you start Atkins, they should begin improving steadily (see "Before and After Tests," opposite). I don't want you to wait to have your initial lab work done until after you start Atkins, because then you may think any abnormalities are the result of your new way of eating. You may well have had even higher cholesterol and triglycerides before you began.

Your doctor will also check your blood pressure. High blood pressure-known as "the silent killer"-and being overweight often go together. Having high blood pressure (also called hypertension) puts you at clear risk for stroke and heart disease and may indicate elevated insulin levels. What happens to high blood pressure on Atkins? It goes down. Nothing is more consistently or more rapidly observed than normalization of blood pressure.

Lou Stazzio was a good illustration of that. This 40-yearold New York policeman had gained 50 pounds over the previous twenty years and had, in the process, acquired a roof beam-raising blood pressure of 180/110. He was on medication and was constantly fatigued. Doing Weight Watchers only introduced him to the pleasure of starvation.

One day, he read an article about how overweight teenage children lost weight more easily on a controlled carbohydrate plan than on a low-fat diet. Well, why not him? He decided to give Atkins a try. In eight months on the plan, Lou lost 60 pounds, was taken off his blood pressure medication and now has an unmedicated blood pressure of 118/74-a first-class advertisement for cardiovascular health.

You should also ask your doctor about your thyroid function. A sluggish thyroid is often responsible for obesity. If you have an underactive thyroid, getting the correct treatment may help solve your weight problem. For a detailed discussion of thyroid problems, turn to Chapter 20.

Get The Body Of Your Dreams

Get The Body Of Your Dreams

Everybody wants to lose weight. This is one fact that is supported by the countless weight loss programs on the market along with the numerous weight loss products, ranging from snack bars, powdered juices, shakes and even slimming soaps and lotions.

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