TUESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Sheri Foote has cholesterol problems the likes of which few will ever have.
Foote, 43 and a Denver resident, was first diagnosed with high cholesterol when she had a physical examination about age 21. "I knew I had a family history of heart disease, so I thought it would be a good thing to do," Foote recalled.
Her cholesterol "was off-the-charts high," she said. "Everyone's first instinct was, 'You're young; this seems very strange.'"
It seemed that way to Foote, too. She'd been a dancer since she was 6 and worked out regularly. "It seemed very shocking to me that this would happen to someone with such a healthy lifestyle," she said.
Why Foote has struggled with high cholesterol since such a young age remains somewhat of a mystery. "All they can figure is that all the bad genes just piled up on me," she said. "My body just does not produce the good cholesterol as much as we would like it to."
She first tried to regulate her cholesterol through diet and exercise. "I even became a vegetarian in my 20s for a brief time, hoping that would help out," Foote said. "I haven't eaten beef since then, and I've really cut back on things like eggs and cheese. I eat those things in very small doses."
Nonetheless, her cholesterol levels barely budged, she said. When she was 30, her doctor prescribed a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. "I went on it for about 6 months, and my cholesterol level did come down some," Foote said. "Still it was quite high."
So high, in fact, that Foote became seized with a sense of futility about it all. "I figured I was too young to be on a statin, so I went off it, in my infinite wisdom," she said -- a decision she later came to regret.
She had to have quadruple-bypass surgery the day after her 39th birthday.
Foote said she had "very classic Hollywood symptoms of heart disease: . . . crushing in the
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