Originally published on July 31, 2019.
For almost 30 years, Sandi has worked with hundreds of clients to design wellness programs that identify employee health risk and provide opportunities to reduce them through a healthy lifestyle. After participating in a company sponsored health screening in 2017, Sandi decided to practice what she preached and turned to diet and exercise instead of prescription drugs to reduce her risk for heart disease and stroke.
Sandi avoids the use of prescription drugs by making smart choices
My career in worksite wellness focuses on encouraging others to lead a healthy lifestyle to avoid chronic illness. This has always been important to me, but as I age, it gets increasingly hard to stay on top of it. At the annual health screening the year I turned 50, I noticed that my total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) were borderline high. I took advantage of the six-month re-check offered by Interactive Health to keep an eye on it. Over the next three years, my values steadily increased until 2017 when they reached an all-time high and I knew something had to be done.
Research shows that more than half of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths happen to people under age 65. I had two strikes against me – my age and a family history of heart disease and stroke. I couldn’t control these factors but could control diet and exercise – two of the simplest yet most important ways to help heart health.
I connected with my physician who was eager to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug. But knowing that 80 percent of what contributes to overall health happens outside of the doctor’s office, I started to think of another plan. By changing my health behaviors, I believed that I could make the right changes that would help me avoid using prescription drugs.
Interactive Health supports individuals through lifestyle interventions aimed at improving their health. I took full advantage of these interventions and engaged in the personalized educational resources served up on our member website, worked with a health coach to evaluate my diet and exercise habits and enrolled in cholesterol-lowering workshops. I created a plan that included a consistent exercise routine and a heart-healthy diet that jumpstarted my metabolism and worked with my busy schedule.
In just one year, my cholesterol and LDL levels dropped 40 points, placing me at low risk for heart disease. This will continue to be a lifelong process and there will be setbacks, but I will continue to practice what I preach because I have never felt better.
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