Wake up call

This post is a once off and I am sharing this story with you because there is a slight chance it might help someone else.

I’m 33 and healthy. I think everyone who knows me would vouch that I am fit AND healthy actually. Fairly sleep deprived but we’re getting on top of that. I exercise most days, I like being active and I see a personal trainer once a week. I am heavily into nutrition and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

I also have a strong family history of early-onset heart disease. My father had a mild heart attack when he was 42 and by the time he was 49 had triple by-pass surgery. His father died at 54 on what was his seventh heart attack I believe the story goes. Heart disease is prevalent in his brothers as well.

Anyways, back to my story. We moved in April and I decided for the sake of convenience we would find a new family GP. My first visit to this GP for myself was a couple of weeks ago for something routine. The doctor started asking about my family history while he filled in little boxes on the computer with all my stats and stopped abruptly when I talked about my dad’s heart disease. Next thing I’m having a routine blood test to check my cholesterol and a few other things. And then there was a phone call asking me to come in to discuss the results.

I showed up to my appointment thinking, wow these guys are so personal how good that they are following up my results in person. It never once crossed my mind that anything would be wrong. But something was wrong. Apparently I have high cholesterol and in combination with my family history, it is worrisome. As age is on my side, I have been given six months to get it down through some lifestyle changes. If I can’t get it down I will have to go on medication to get it down.

I’m only a few days in and have made a few changes to my diet, such as eating oats (as pictured below) and am doing other research to see what else I can change. I’m still a bit shocked but I am lucky to know what I know, and hopefully prevent anything bad happening.

IMG_1453

I remember when my Dad had his surgery. We were all so worried. It was a hard time and he was young. I don’t want to put my husband and daughter through that so I’m taking this warning seriously and am committed to making the lifestyle changes to keep my cholesterol down and hardened arteries at bay for as long as possible.

So what’s the point of this post? Next time you’re at your GP, if you have a family history of heart disease, bowel cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, whatever it might be, bring it up with your GP. Ask them if there are any tests you should be doing to make sure you’re on the front foot of prevention.

Your health really is the most valuable asset you have, look after it. Your family is important but you’re no good to them if you aren’t well, or worse.

S x 

6 thoughts on “Wake up call

  1. It is good to be informed. Mum my recently had an 80% blockage and a clot (they call it the widow maker) but she is on the mend and are so thankful she got a warning. I have just had my cholesterol testing done and am off next week for a CT of my heart to get a calcification score (you should get one). What my mum has is hereditary which to some may be scary but it has given me and my siblings the chance to know our risk level and make necessary changes and medicate. Strangely enough mum’s attack occurred on the anniversary of her mum’s death (she was in her early sixties – 36 years ago) – nana was sending us all a warning!

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  2. Thanks for sharing Sarah, you have reminded me that I am overdue for my cholesterol follow up 🙂 I have a very similar family history and I also have high cholesterol. I have been on medication before but the one I was on didn’t really agree with me. Apparently there are others I can try but I’d much rather do it without meds so I was given 3 months to get my cholesterol down with diet and exercise (that was 6 months ago *insert please-don’t-yell-at-me face*). I have done lots and lots of research and most of the latest studies point to sugar and trans fats being the culprits not saturated fats as we have thought for so long. I am very interested to see whether the changes I have made to my diet and my increased exercise have made any difference. I’ll let you know! Good luck with your lifestyle changes, I’d love to know how you go 🙂

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    • Thanks Rachel! And thank you for sharing your story. I really felt the room for improvement was marginal in my diet but the more I get into it there are definite things we can do better. I have started following the sugar break up as well for some inspiration. *insert stern look, I’m not a yeller* xx

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