The Heart Disease Prevention Clinic focused on me as a whole person

Lori Anderson-Tepley gained insights into her health at a new prevention clinic offered by Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute.

Lori Anderson-Tepley knows from experience that it's better to prevent health problems than to deal with them later. Anderson-Tepley, 56, has type 1 diabetes and other health problems that stem from it. She sought out a new clinic that focuses on prevention, especially heart disease and stroke. The clinic, The Heart Disease Prevention Clinic, is part of Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute (UHVC) at United Hospital in St. Paul.

Participants get a complete picture of their health by meeting with a preventive cardiologist, nutritionist and exercise physiologist. Then they choose specific steps to improve their health.

"The whole emphasis was how to improve what I'm doing," said Anderson-Tepley, who's from St. Louis Park. "When you can do something before a problem happens, that's powerful. The clinic gave me some new tools to work with." She was so impressed that she referred her husband, who had an appointment several months ago.

Her first appointment was with a preventive cardiologist.

They discussed the complexities of Anderson-Tepley's health, focusing on her child-onset diabetes and related problems. Diabetes often leads to heart disease, so Anderson-Tepley and her family doctor watch her cholesterol closely. Her doctor suggested she start a statin medicine to reduce her cholesterol.

Anderson-Tepley asked her preventive cardiologist and they discussed several options to lower her cholesterol, including a nutritional supplement. "I'm hoping that with the right diet and exercise, I can avoid medication," Anderson-Tepley said. For now, they're watching her cholesterol levels.

Her preventive cardiologist also recommended that Anderson-Tepley have a heart scan, which showed her there was no cholesterol buildup in the coronary arteries.

She met with a nutritionist who suggested ways to modify food groups in her diet because a medically restricted diet prevents her from eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Anderson-Tepley said she learned some new foods that fit well in her diet, such as nut butters for protein and a main dish of mashed potatoes and squash.

With her exercise physiologist, Anderson-Tepley discussed walking as her main form of exercise. Seibert urged her to walk more when she could and add regular exercises for strength and flexibility. Anderson-Tepley uses a Heart Disease Prevention Clinic online resource to do the exercises at home.

She appreciates that the clinic "focused on me as a whole person. That's critical to me. I need to own this and follow through. I also felt very safe, because they covered every aspect of my health risks. When I left the clinic, I felt that I could make some changes and feel better overall."

Source: Healthy Communities Magazine, winter 2013 issue
Reviewed By: Elizabeth Tuohy, MD, Medical Director, Heart Disease Prevention Clinic
First Published: 12/03/2012
Last Reviewed: 04/03/2014