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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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My dad has high triglycerides and he is diabetic

doctors please help! please read! my dad has high tryglycerides and he is diabetic? my dad is 56 years old and he is a sort of a diabetic. it runs in our family. and his triglyceride level is 356. but he does not have high cholesterol . he just has high carbohydrate levels. the doctor gave him TriCor 145 to take. he also gave him a heart monitor because his heart isnt working properly. we bought him a treadmill for christmas so that will help him with excerpting. he still needs to eat healthy. what should he eat, and so his diet doesn t change dramatically ? he is used to eating a lot of bread, rice, and pasta and meat. and how much should he excercize? he weighs about 200 pounds and has a beer belly, from drinking a lot in his younger days. he probably only drinks a beer or two every two weeks. he also used to smoke for about 20 years but he quit about 10 years ago. i am scared that he might have a heart attack or stroke. please help and only serious answers because this is a serious matter. and if there are any doctors out there.... please help!!!
Mon, 14 Dec 2009
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For a minute there I thought you were my sister, our father is very similar although mine is older. I am not a medical student (yet) but have worked in the pharmaceutical industry for four years, specifically cardiovascular medicines. It sounds like by "sort of diabetic" you mean he has metabollic syndrome or syndrome X. This is a precursor for diabetes. Controlling the triglycerides has a few components. As you have so aptly pointed out his diet needs some modification. Move from white rice (Minute rice variety) to a long-grain or wild rice or even couscous. Bread should be a whole grain (there are even some whole grain whites) and pasta should be of the whole-wheat variety. The number one issue is the "beer belly." Men and women gain weight differently from eachother. Men build visceral fat (fat around the organs) before ever getting the aforementioned "belly." This is problematic for many reasons but in regards to triglycerides this adipose (fat) tissue affects how the body processes the sugar intake (from the starchy foods he's eating) and creates the triglycerides because of the way the body preferentially uses simple sugars and stores fat. You want to make sure that getting rid of the belly is probably the number one thing that will save him from stroke or heart attack, not to mention that he will also get his blood sugars under control. The Tricor 145 is a good start. Evidence based medicine might also suggest atorvastatin (Lipitor) because of the recent evidence of reduction of stroke and heart attack in Type-2 diabetics. In additon to the treadmill I might suggest a swiss ball which he can lean against the wall and do deep knee bends (squats) to work the large quadriceps muscles and increase his metabollic rate (burn more calories) more efficiently. Perhaps a dumbbell set to work his shoulder and back muscles. The beer (especially in the quantity he's having) is probably doing him more good than ill. Hope that helps.
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