Before the pandemic, Rosalind received a wakeup call in the form of a heart attack and stroke. This terrifying event made her realize that she needed to change if she wanted to be an active part of her grandchildren’s lives. Shortly after her recovery, Rosalind received more devastating news. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
With this new diagnosis and as a new Ohio resident, it was necessary for Rosalind to find a primary care provider to focus on her overall health. She found what she needed at Heart of Ohio Family Health. Rosalind knew she had high blood pressure but with a new cancer diagnosis, her hypertension seemed like less of a concern. Her providers at Heart of Ohio Family Health (HOFH), Dr. Howard Bellin and Dr. Christen Johnson, urged her to think about her overall health. While high blood pressure, or hypertension, may not seem like an urgent issue because there is no physical pain, it can be deadly if not treated properly. Dr. Bellin helped Rosalind connect with HOFH’s Heart on Hypertension program developed by Dr. Christen Johnson. The program is taught by HOFH dietitian Abby Gerbers, clinical pharmacist Anna Staudt, and Dr. Johnson in a virtual, small group setting that allows participants to have open discussions about their health. While in the class, patients spend 12 weeks focusing on what elements in their lives affect blood pressure. Nutrition, medicine, and exercise all play a key role in helping patients to improve their blood pressure. The classes feature education, group discussion, interactive learning experiences, and light physical activity. Patients learn about blood pressure basics and home monitoring, how blood pressure medications work and how other medications can affect blood pressure, and how to make changes to your nutrition habits, including tips on meal planning and a virtual grocery store tour all while receiving individualized support to set goals that transform their lifestyles. Participants benefit from taking an active role in managing their health, regular check ins with their care team, and the support of the group class. Rosalind joined the class in October 2021, ready to learn more about how to manage her high blood pressure. “The outline of the class was very interesting,” Rosalind stated. “I really loved learning about the spices we cook with and how they can affect my health.” “Rosalind is one of the most determined patients I’ve ever met,” Dr. Christen Johnson stated. “She was extremely engaged in the class and willing to push herself weekly to make new goals. She truly made a lifestyle change that both helped her health and recovery as well as impacted her family.” Rosalind is originally from Detroit, Michigan, where she raised her family. As the world struggled in 2020 to find normalcy, Rosalind packed her bags and moved to Ohio to be with her daughter and new grandson. She believed this would be a temporary stay and planned to return to her life in Detroit. As the pandemic progressed, Rosalind made the decision to stay and now lives in Grove City, Ohio with her daughter’s family. Before the class, Rosalind was unable to walk very far without feeling weak. She created a goal at the start of the hypertension class to be able to walk 10 houses down the road. Today, she is able to do that without any assistance. Rosalind continues to focus on her blood pressure after the class ended. She now helps cook healthy meals for herself and family, and exercises often. “I am so grateful for this class. It really has helped me improve my blood pressure but also my overall health,” Rosalind said. “The people I met through the class made this such a special experience.” To learn about the HOFH hypertension class and how to join, please email Dr. Christen Johnson at CJohnson@hofhc.org.