Darren Troutman, called "Dop" by his family and friends, had a family history of cardiovascular disease. His paternal grandparents both died of heart attacks before the age of 50. Dop began taking medication for high blood pressure at the age of 34 and suffered a series of heart attacks at the age of 39. Six weeks after he underwent quadruple bypass surgery, Dop moved to Chicago and went to the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute for cardiovascular disease management. There he saw Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD, a cardiologist on the medical staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and associate professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
"Before I went to see Dr. Lloyd-Jones I had resigned myself to the fact that I hadn't put myself in this situation," recalls Dop. "At 44 years old, I thought I was destined to be overweight with high blood pressure and eventually develop diabetes. Dr. Lloyd-Jones helped me to realize that despite my family history I had the power to do more than take medication. I could take control of my situation and change it." Dr. Lloyd-Jones told Dop that through weight loss, diet modification and exercise he could reduce the medications he was taking for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Prior to his heart attacks Dop had been a weightlifter for 10 years, but had not done much cardiovascular exercise. In February of 2010, he began regular cardiovascular exercise and watching his caloric intake. He lost 30 pounds in 7 weeks. His blood pressure and cholesterol went down significantly. "When I went back to see Dr. Lloyd-Jones he told me I have added years to my life," says Dop. "I'm no longer running the risk of developing diabetes. I am taking fewer medications and I feel great."
Dop works for Make-A-Wish Foundation where every day he sees children who are faced with life-threatening conditions that they can't do anything to change. "These children don't have the option to make themselves healthy," says Dop. "It's very humbling to think that I have been given that opportunity while so many people have not. So I have to stay in control and manage my health instead of letting it manage me. I'm so thankful to Dr. Lloyd-Jones for helping me see that."