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Check it


Those who are familiar with TGBC, know we have a challenge every month; something other than reading that helps us lift our eyes and make sure we’re taking note of our surroundings; our loved ones, our hobbies and our health.

June 2021. Winter. Lockdown. Lots of potential for bad behaviours and excuses for not looking after ourselves. The club set a challenge. #checkit

Get your cholesterol checked, show us proof you got it checked and post it in the Tough Guy Book Club facebook page. Be an example to others while doing the right thing by your own health.

I’ve been reading some Hemingway. A man’s man, you know he suffered from high blood pressure? His declining health contributed to his mental demons which eventually claimed his life. Heard of John Steinbeck? John Steinbeck died of heart disease. So did Herman Melville. Mark Twain? John Faulkner? F. Scott Fitzgerald? William Golding? All heart attack.

I’ve googled the Heart Foundation website, so let me share a couple of things;

If you have high cholesterol, you can develop blockages in your blood vessels. Bad blood flow means clots can form. That can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

There’s good and bad cholesterol.

• Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – the ‘bad’ cholesterol
• High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the ‘good’ cholesterol

LDL makes up most cholesterol and is bad because it can stick to arteries. Is bad because it leads to blockages preventing normal blood flow.

Triglycerides are the most common fat in the body. Being overweight, eating a lot of high fat and sugary foods, or drinking too much can increase your triglyceride levels. High triglycerides, with either increased LDL cholesterol or decreased HDL cholesterol can increase your chances of developing the build-ups in the arteries – and at the risk of labouring the point - a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

And, high cholesterol generally doesn’t have obvious symptoms, so it’s important to get a check-up.

Risk factors for high cholesterol include most of what you’d expect: the smokes, being overweight, a bad diet, not much exercise, as well as bad luck: family history or just plain old advancing age. No matter the cause, improving your lifestyle, including diet, can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

The best way to understand your cholesterol levels and whether you're at risk of heart disease is to see your GP for a Heart Health Check. That's why the club made #checkit a monthly challenge.

With cities and towns in lockdown, we kept this challenge going into a second month. The result was a bunch of guys posting their readings, sharing that they’d got a message that some changes were required, were better informed of their risk levels and in some instances, going on medication.

I hope their example and experiences have since prompted even more of us to #checkit.

The club sets a monthly challenge to help guys help themselves. It’s much more than just a book club.

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