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One Step at a Time...

Michelle S

Michelle Schmidt, just 42 at the time, felt like a new woman after a Heart2Heart screening in November 2008 at Mercy Medical Center led to some major lifestyle changes.

"Having the Heart2Heart done was a motivating factor to change my entire life," she said.

Michelle knew her family history put her at higher risk for heart disease – her dad had a heart attack at age 54. At her appointment with Heart2Heart Coordinator Holly Kepros, Michelle learned her elevated cholesterol and extra body weight put her at an increased risk for heart disease. Already a busy mother of three young boys, her risk was compounded by the added extra stress of her return to college.

"Heart2Heart is a good starting point to see where you're at," Michelle said.

After her screening, Michelle resolved to make big changes: she began to exercise and eat healthy. A side benefit is that her entire family now eats healthier and is more active – lessons she hopes they will carry into adulthood for a lifetime of good health.

In December 2009, a follow-up Heart2Heart screening revealed Michelle's efforts over the past year really paid off. She lost a significant amount of weight and her exercise had the added bonus of reducing her stress levels. Her total cholesterol went from 208 (below 200 is recommended) to 136! Even better, her LDL ("bad") cholesterol went from 140 to 83.

"Results like these are usually seen with medication. Michelle made some very impressive lifestyle changes that dramatically improved her health," said Holly. "Her heart-healthy changes, like more fiber and calcium in her diet and regular exercise, also lowered her risk of cancer and osteoporosis."

How did Michelle do it? One step at a time, she says, implementing the fitness and nutritional recommendations she received at her Heart2Heart screening.

"It was eye-opening for her,” Holly said. "She said she didn’t realize how unhealthy her lifestyle habits really were. Once she saw her test results, she was ready to make some changes."

"I left Mercy encouraged and thinking 'little steps,'" Michelle said, referring to her newfound commitment to healthy living. She began exercising by taking her boys for walks and is now an avid fitness buff who takes kickboxing and cycling classes. She also follows nutritional guidelines outlined in the food pyramid that Holly had shared with her at their appointment. She also cut back on caffeine – going from three pots to one or two cups of coffee per day. Not one to rest on her current success, Michelle's goal is to repeat the Heart2Heart screening next year. "I want to see all the numbers at the perfect level," she said enthusiastically.

A Heart2Heart screening includes:

  • Glucose and complete cholesterol screening
  • BMI (body mass index) assessment
  • One-to-one consultation to review results
  • Personalized tips for a heart-healthy lifestyle
  • Choice of complimentary neck and shoulder massage or RX for Fitness pedometer program
  • A referral for follow up, if needed
  • Print-out of results

One hour in one day can save your life.