Health U: Lose a little, gain a lot

Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 7:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - If you want to drink your last soft drink, lose weight, get off blood pressure medications, or just feel better knowing your heart is healthier -- there’s a new awareness campaign at Lexington Medical Center that is proving successful.

It’s called Lose a Little, Gain a Lot, and a woman from Chapin is the “poster model” for it.

Step by step, Happy Malcolm has changed her life.

We took a quick run together at Riverfront Park in downtown Columbia -- something she was not able to do when she did not pay attention to her health.

”I was not putting myself first. I was not a priority,” she said. “My family was -- other activities, things that took me away from paying attention to myself.”

She had good intentions, but didn’t follow through.

“Something would distract me, something that I felt was more important,” she admitted. “So I would just say, ‘Well, I do it later. I’ll do it later, do it later.’ And doing it later became the next day and the next day. And it didn’t happen.”

And that caught up with her. Malcolm felt terrible all the time and she ended up at the hospital.

”I went to the emergency room and they checked my blood pressure and that is what was wrong,” she said. “They diagnosed me with hypertension.”

Her blood pressure was 188 over 95. She was concerned she’d have a heart attack or a stroke.

”I felt like a ticking time bomb,” she said.

The Lexington Medical Center campaign Lose a Little, Gain a Lot made sense to Malcolm. Her physician, Dr. Greg Fulcher of Harbison Medical Associates, put her on high blood pressure medication. He also reminded her that small changes could mean big benefits if she were to put an emphasis on diet and exercise.

”Both equally because they are so important,” Fulcher said. “And they’re certainly as important as medication to treat (hypertension).”

He encouraged Malcolm to have goals -- attainable goals. She immediately created plans and made changes.

She started exercising. Her church offered a program for beginner runners called “Run for God.” She signed up and completed a 5k run. And she now regularly participates in the exercise classes offered where she works at Mashburn Construction.

Malcolm also got rid of junk and processed foods.

“I feel much better,” she said. “I sleep better. My mind is so much sharper because I’m eating better.”

The changes in her eating and exercising dropped her blood pressure. She is now off the medication.

“Ten pounds of weight loss can bring down blood pressure up to five to 10 points,” Fulcher explained.

And as seen on Malcolm’s picture on the hospital’s billboard -- an apple a day really can keep the doctor away.

“This is a work in progress. This is a lifestyle change,” she said.

Malcolm said she’s committed to continue to lose a little to gain a lot.

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