Monday, August 29, 2011

Carol Williams' Heart Health Story

Carol was so enthusiastic about our Heart Health initiative, I asked her to write this guest post to share her story. 


I participated in the Heart Health Initiative and saw dramatically positive results at the end of the program.  I have been on a statin drug for my cholesterol (hovering around 200) for the past 8 years. During the past 3 years I developed diabetes with fluctuating blood sugars, very high blood sugars, and very high triglicerides. My endocrinologist wanted to start me on insulin because I could not get my blood sugars down with any consistency and more importantly, my triglicerides were high and no medication she prescribed made my numbers budge.  

Through a variety of wellness initiatives available here at ASHA, I have been able to lose 15 pounds in one year. I've changed my eating and exercise habits: eating low carb, walking on ASHA's treadmill 4 times a week for 30 minutes, eating breakfast, eating my "big" meal before 2pm, not snacking after 8pm. To keep me motivated and on track, I have twice monthly phone calls with ASHA's wellness coach.  

I went to David Foreman's presentation because I was on a statin drug for cholesterol and I have a family history of stroke and heart attack, but none for diabetes.  What Dave said made so much sense to me and I decided to give the Sytrinol and Fish Oil alternative treatment a try.  First I had to battle with my internist because she did not want me to stop the statin drug.  Her reason - it is the only cholesterol lowering drug approved by the FDA that has been shown to also prevent stroke and heart attack for people with heart health problems.  I read the research provided by Janet McNichol about the negative effects of statin drugs on some people and armed with that information was able to get permission from my internist to stop the statin drug for 3 months.  She was wary of Sytrinol because there was no research done by the pharmaceutical companies and no FDA approval that it could help prevent stroke and heart attack. But she gave in when she couldn't give me an honest answer to my question "Will it kill me to go off the statin for 3 months?"  

I was very strict about taking the Sytrinol, missed some doses of the fish oil, missed a few of my treadmill sessions, and cheated a few times by eating bad carbs like a piece of "made from scratch" cake or a danish pastry or a bowl of spaghetti!  I was so nervous and full of anticipation while we waited to get our blood results at the end of the 3 months.  My wait and adherence to my wellness plan was so worth it!!  All of my numbers went down and most exciting were the lower cholesterol, bad cholesterol and trigliceride numbers. I also no longer have the wildly fluctuating blood sugar numbers and most of the time my blood sugar is normal throughout the day and now tends to be low.  I have not had appointments with my internist and endocrinologist yet, but I can't wait to show them the positive and much improved results after I stopped the statin med completely.  I also will be working with them to lower the dosages of the diabetes meds I still take so as not to experience blood sugar levels that are too low. 

As already mentioned in Janet's post, I have saved myself (and ASHA) a significant amount of money by getting off the statin drug!  I am so grateful to Dave, but mostly appreciate the ASHA Wellness Program initiatives which have had a significantly positive impact on my health and all-around well being.  Thank you ASHA!