Mar 02, 2012 • By

A health lesson, just in time

How’s that New Year’s resolution working out for you? Each year, millions of people vow to exercise more, eat better and lose weight. Now that we’re a few months into 2012, many of those good intentions have become distant memories.

Jeff Mullinger, a 49-year-old machine technician at the General Mills plant in Cincinnati, began a journey of wellness on Jan. 4, 2011.

His story is motivating.

“I was on second shift that day and didn’t feel so good,” recalls Jeff. “It’s hard to describe, but I just felt out of it and felt a lot of discomfort.”

Around 5:00, Jeff used the company’s blood pressure monitor in the break room. His blood pressure was dangerously high, 180/110. The numbers were still scary when he checked again an hour or so later.

Jeff is one of the plant’s medical first responders and is trained to administer first aid during an emergency. This time, he was the one who needed help. His wife rushed him to the hospital. By the time Jeff got there, his blood pressure had climbed even higher. Plus, his cholesterol was measuring very high, in the mid-200s.

He describes what happened next.

The doctor told Jeff that he survived a perfect storm of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and that he probably would’ve had a stroke if he hadn’t gotten help right away.

“My whole family history has been of high blood pressure. My dad had a heart attack. My mother died of a stroke. My brother died of a stroke. My other brother had a heart attack,” Jeff reveals. “I guess it was just all catching up to me. I had ignored it for years. I hadn’t gone to the doctor, thinking it wouldn’t happen to me. You know?”

Jeff started taking medication for blood pressure and cholesterol. He began walking, biking and lifting weights. He started watching what he ate. Within six months, he had lost 20 pounds and pretty much turned his heart health around.

We asked Jeff if he had any advice for those of us who committed to living healthier in 2012.

“You have to stick to it. You’ve got to make a point to do it every day, almost like it’s part of your job every day to take care of your health.”