Health Care Crisis: Being Part of the Problem and the Solution
My heart, it turns out, wasn’t the issue. I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I weighed 255 pounds, and my blood sugar was 350. That night, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Bad eating habits, little exercise and poor stress management landed me in the middle of the obesity and diabetes crisis in our country. It is nearly at epidemic levels for adults and children, and it brings serious implications for quality of life and a projected decline in life expectancy for this generation of young people.
The cost is staggering and expected to get worse for the American health care system, which is facing many challenges. No one did this to me. I did it to myself. Without changing course, I would not only become very sick but would add to the growing burden our health care system already is experiencing.
I chose to change course, not only for myself but also for those I love the most. Wake Forest Baptist became my partner. My primary care physician, Michael Coates, MD, began the journey with me as a disciplining coach and friend. Medications, exercise and a better diet helped me to lose weight and stabilize my health. In November 2012, I had improved but still had more work to do and more weight to lose in order to better control my diabetes.
At about that time, Jamy Ard, MD, joined the Medical Center to lead our efforts in adult weight management. After meeting with me, he and his team of experts felt that by entering their program I might be able to reverse my diabetes.
On Jan. 9, 2013, at 238 pounds, I began the next leg of my journey. In four months, I lost more than 40 pounds and reversed my diabetes without medication. Other medications I take also have been reduced and may even be eliminated in the near future. My life’s course correction is in place.
Now I can focus on wellness and prevention, rather than chronic disease management. In addition to being on my way to winning the battle against an unhealthy lifestyle, I have been inspired by experiencing firsthand—as a patient—the Wake Forest Baptist solution, which pairs patients with the best in medicine to change lives for the better.
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