Health

How I took control of my heart health

How I took control of my heart health

It was 15 years ago, but Pam Olson, now 64, still vividly remembers the first time she had heart problems. “I was often on the road for my job and I knew that I was not feeling well,” she says. “But I just brushed it off as homesickness. Then I started having vision problems and couldn’t concentrate, so I went to the doctor and my blood pressure was above the roof.

High blood pressure can increase the heart attack risk and a stroke, so she was immediately put on antihypertensive medication. This quickly brought his numbers back to a healthy range. “My doctor told me my stress level was too high — that I was working and traveling too much — but people at my company were relying on me, so I couldn’t really change that,” she says.

A scary surprise

With his medication to keep his blood pressure low, Olson forgot about his heart issues. But a few years later, she went to the doctor for a routine checkup and found that her health issues were unresolved. She had high cholesterol – and this time there were no warning signs. “I had no idea at all,” she says. But while it was shocking to hear the diagnosis, it also made sense. “Hypercholesterolemia runs in my family,” says Olson. “As a young girl, I lost all the uncles on my mother’s side to a heart attack when they were in their 40s or 50s. And my brothers had heart problems. He is important to fight against hypercholesterolemia because it can put you at a higher risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Given her family history, her doctor told her directly: while she should try lifestyle changes like healthy eating and regular exercise to help lower her cholesterol, they should do something else in addition. if his total cholesterol exceeded 200 mg. /dL.

Pam’s efforts

Because Olson and her husband, Andy, were already active, she focused on her diet. “I made small changes, like switching from dairy to almond milk, reducing the amount of red meat I ate, and consuming a lot more fruits and vegetables,” she says. “But as much as I did, total cholesterol continued to climb beyond acceptable levels.”

So Olson’s doctor recommended that he take a statin, a prescription drug that, when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, can help lower cholesterol in the body. She didn’t like the way she felt, so her doctor switched her to a prescription for another class of drugs instead. “I was taking 4 big pills a day,” she says. “And while they kept me pretty stable for a few years, we found out that my total cholesterol was up to 232 mg/dL and based on my family history and my stress level, my doctor recommended that I take try a statin again.”

Find an approach

That’s when she started taking LIVALO® (pitavastatin), a statin that has been shown to lower LDL-C (which is a component of total cholesterol), which has a reduced risk of interacting with other medications, such as the one she was still taking for her high blood pressure arterial. (LIVALO has not been studied to assess its effect on reducing heart disease or death.) And just like that, she had found the right treatment for her.

Ask your doctor if LIVALO is right for you. LIVALO is not suitable for everyone. Do not take LIVALO if: you have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients, you have active liver problems, including abnormal liver test results, you are breastfeeding, pregnant or could become pregnant, as this could harm the baby, or you are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil. Common side effects include back pain, constipation, diarrhea, muscle aches, and leg or arm pain. Please see the Important Safety Information to the right and the full Prescribing Information.

“I’m grateful that my doctor took the time to find the right statin for me and my lifestyle,” she says. “I used to feel stressed right before getting my cholesterol checked because I was worried the drug would stop working, but now I’ve been on it long enough that I don’t worry so much when it’s time to do it. check my rate.”

Another thing that makes Pam smile is how different her life is now from when she was first diagnosed with high cholesterol. “I retired and focused more on my diet, which helped me lose 23 pounds,” she says. And with her health on the right track, Pam puts her energy into a newfound passion: “I do a lot of baking — I sell pies and cinnamon rolls locally at a farmers’ market. My mother taught me to cook when I was little and I never had time when I was working, but I finally do it now.

It is important to maintain an open dialogue with your health care provider about your heart health and your current cholesterol medications. If you would like to speak to your provider about your treatment options, this customizable doctor discussion guide can help you start the conversation.

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