This post was sponsored by Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.
When I was in my early 30s, a doctor told me, “You’re too young to have high cholesterol,” with a tsk tsk. Yet he said my “bad” cholesterol was too high and my “good” cholesterol was too low. His comment felt shaming and not particularly helpful.
So I switched doctors and found out cholesterol doesn’t care about your age.
I’m one of the millions of Americans with high cholesterol. This puts me at major risk for heart disease. I want to live a long life, watch my daughter do amazing things and set a good example for her so she can grow up even healthier than me.
I also want her to love herself no matter what – something that’s taken me almost forty years to accomplish. So, yes, I’m working on shrinking. Shrinking my waistline. Shrinking my cholesterol. Shrinking my blood pressure. Shrinking my blood sugar. Shrinking my risk factors.
But loving myself right where I’m at while I’m doing it.
There’s no need to hide and there’s no reason to be ashamed.
But still…I don’t always want to do the work. So, I find fun shows to watch on my phone while I exercise. I pick out cute active wear and hot pink sneakers. I buy my favorite fresh fruits and roast up big batches of veggies with garlic and olive oil. And I educate myself. I ask my doctor questions about my numbers, my medications and my options. Because knowledge really is power.
What you need to know about cholesterol:
More than 100 million U.S. adults have high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease – the leading cause of death in America. To lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease, doctors often prescribe a medicine called a statin. Despite the fact that statins are proven to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease, surprisingly, at least 50 percent of people stop taking their statin within one year of starting it. The good news is there are multiple statins available, and by talking to your doctors, it’s possible to switch to a different statin that can help you specifically.
To understand more about why people stop taking their statin, a recent poll* of more than 5,000 Americans aged 45 + with high cholesterol called the ACTION: The Statin Survey, discovered some interesting findings
• Only one third (33 percent) of people say their healthcare provider explained why that particular statin was being prescribed when they were first prescribed a statin
• Just 21 percent of patients say that their healthcare provider told them that there are different types of statins available when first prescribed a statin
• Roughly a quarter of patients (24 percent) currently taking a statin say they had challenges with the first statin they took
• Only 18 percent of people say they were told that their prescribed statin medicine could potentially interact with other medications and dietary supplements
I am proud to support a new educational campaign called Take Cholesterol to Heart to help people understand their treatment options for high cholesterol and motivate them to speak up if they are thinking about stopping their statin. Take Cholesterol to Heart provides great tools and strategies to help people “master the cholesterol conversation” with their doctor. As you may know, there are multiple statin medicines, so it’s important to talk regularly with your doctor about your treatment plan, including a statin, that is right for you.
Regis Philbin, TV legend and heart disease survivor, joined Take Cholesterol to Heart to share his experience having a conversation with his doctor about high cholesterol and finding the right statin for him. Check out his story in this short video:
If you or someone you love takes a statin, please visit TakeCholesterolToHeart.com for a number of helpful resources, including a doctor/patient discussion guide, a quiz on statins and tips for caregivers.
Making permanent lifestyle changes is hard. Sometimes I just really want to stay in bed all day, eating barbeque chips dipped in sour cream and onion dip followed up with a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while binge watching a trashy teen drama. But I’m clear on my reason to not do that: my daughter. So I’ll make that just one episode while snacking on veggies with yogurt dip and then I’ll hit the gym.
I’m turning 40 in a few months and I have a goal to enter this new decade a healthier me.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. and should not be construed to constitute medical advice. My personal story and opinions are my own. I am not a medical professional and am not qualified to give medical advice. Please talk with your doctor about your individual medical situation.
* Harris Poll conducted ACTION: The Statin Survey (Understanding Patient Adherence and Concerns with Statins, and Medication Discussions with Physicians) online on behalf of Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., within the United States from July 7- August 4, 2017, among 5,014 U.S. adults aged 45 or older, who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, and have ever used a statin to treat high cholesterol. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Erin Bittner at W2O Group, 212-301-7226.