In 2010, Sandra Mendez of La Mirada, California was feeling very sick and sought help from Kaiser Permanente’s La Palma Medical Office where Diane Pham, MD, found she was pre-diabetic and therefore at increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
With an elevated blood sugar level, high-blood pressure and a family history of diabetes, Sandra knew her situation was serious. Dr. Pham told Sandra that she could take medication to bring her blood sugar level down or she could try to make changes to her lifestyle to get healthy. Sandra considered this encounter to be a defining moment. That very day, she went home and told her family that she was going to take control of her own health and change her lifestyle. She dramatically changed her diet (choosing fish, fruit, salad and vegetables instead of her typical diet of fried chicken, burritos and tacos) and she committed to daily exercise
Sandra brought her newfound enthusiasm for healthier choices to her job at Easter Seals, Southern California. She and her colleagues accessed Kaiser Permanente’s online wellness programs and began to bring nutritious food to group potlucks and other meetings. Her efforts have paid off — Sandra has shed nearly 200 pounds. “With the help from Kaiser [Permanente] and the support of family and friends, you can lose it [weight] and you can keep it off,” said Mendez.