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Go Red: Local Doctor Becomes The Patient

Published On: Nov 05 2011 04:56:27 AM CDT
Updated On: Nov 05 2011 06:01:24 AM CDT

On the 5th day of every month News 5 "goes red". It's part of a campaign to raise awareness about women's heart disease with Wellmont Health System.

On the 5th day of every month News 5 "goes red". It's part of a campaign to raise awareness about women's heart disease with Wellmont Health System.

Dr. Lenita Thibault is a local doctor whose risk factors were enough to make her become the patient.

Dr. Lenita Thibault said "I felt I was really tempting fate."

She says she got a wake-up call about a year ago when a medical problem put her under the knife.

"Everything worked out being okay, but if it had not been it would have been largely related to my weight. I told people it's sort of like I got a slap that I needed to start taking care of myself."

A practicing physician, Thibault knew she had risk factors for a heart disaster.

"I have battled weight my whole life, I've also had problems with blood pressure and high cholesterol."

And her genes don't help her out, either.

"I have a very horrible family history. My father died of a heart attack at age 51. My brothers died of heart attacks, one at age 46, and one at age 42."

Nurse practitioners told me these are warning signs everyone should be aware of.

Robin Harris, a nurse, said "it is important to know if you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, which by the way, is the number one killer in the United States."

There are some risks you can't change, like age, gender, and family history. But others like weight, blood pressure, and diabetes you can. Smoking is also a major risk for heart disease.

Robin Harris said "not everyone that has risk factors has any symptoms. So, it is important to know those risk factors."

Know them and take action.

Dr. Lenita Thibault said "I love being a doctor, but I hate going to them. I wanted to, I was good at ignoring things. But I realized, I needed help."

After months of diet and exercise she's lost 130 pounds and is on her way to a healthier heart.

"Don't wait until it's too late. Take control."

We learned Dr. Thibault is a chorus member with the Symphony of the Mountains. They're putting on a special "Go Red" concert for women's heart health on December 3rd at 3:00 at the Eastman Employee Center Auditorium.