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Published on September 16, 2019

"I Really Am a Miracle to Be Sitting Here": How One Woman Overcame High Cholesterol
Pulmonary Fibrosis

Everyone knows that you should lower your cholesterol. But for some, that can be nearly impossible. Kenneth Hilty, MD, FACC, FACP, and patient Belinda Blake share Blake's struggle with high cholesterol and how she found health and hope at Cone Health Medical Group HeartCare’s lipid clinic.

"I really am a miracle to be sitting here. And I will tell anyone that," says Blake. "I could have died."

Blake says she never saw her struggle with high cholesterol coming. She never smoked. She never had the typical heart failure pains. But a higher risk for heart disease was in her DNA - 3 of her family members have had open heart surgery, and one brother died of a stroke. 

Blake herself had to have an aortic valve replacement and has been treated for cardiovascular disease, 2 blood clots in her legs and a blood clot in her lung. 

According to Kenneth Hilty, "1 in about 110 people have some type of inherited genetic disorder that causes high cholesterol in our area." He goes on to explain that "most patients get standard cholesterol testing at their doctor's office, but oftentimes that cholesterol test doesn't capture the whole risk picture."

This is where the lipid clinic comes in. The clinic helps patients track their history, screen and manage their risk, and is also a place where new, innovative medications and treatments are available. These new medications have helped Blake, who has been event free for nearly 10 years.

Blake says the most important thing when it comes to managing high cholesterol is to know your risk. "Being a mother, I took care of everybody else and everything else, and you put yourself last. And that is something that we as mothers need to stop doing."

How To Prevent High Cholesterol With Healthy Eating

Aubrey Burklin, RD, continues the conversation by sharing tips for healthy eating to manage your cholesterol. 

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