Mona Kauvai

Fear of failure was the main reason why 51-year-old Cook Islander Mona Kauvai didn’t sign up to the first free CVD assessment check offered last June.

Mona Kauvai

‘I didn’t want to find I had a heart problem. I was also shy about turning up,’ she admits.

But in March this year, when organiser Carolyn Jones came to the café asking if any staff would be interested in attending, Mona changed her mind.

‘It made a difference that all our staff could go and that Carolyn had been supportive and personally asked us to do it. It was also good that it was free.’

That sense of support continued throughout the appointment, says Mona, who enjoyed having half an hour to discuss ways to make changes.

‘The instant blood test results were really good because the nurses could discuss them straight away.’

Despite her fears, Mona was pleasantly surprised by some of the results. The screening showed her cholesterol levels and blood pressures were good.

‘I was told that I had an 8% chance of having a heart attack over the next 5 years,’ she says proudly.  

However, Mona’s glucose and sugar levels – indicators of diabetes – were too high, which meant she needed to exercise more consistently and make changes to her diet.

Having fellow café workers also making changes to their diet has helped Mona get back on track.

Mona had started to lose weight and do more exercise after participating in the Complete Health Improvement Programme she paid to do through her church in August last year. The ADHB check has encouraged her further.

Exercise was a sticking point for Mona who starts work at 6.30 am and found it difficult to get out for a walk in the evening. During the ADHB check Mona discussed exercise options with the nurse and decided to start swimming on Sunday mornings with a church group.

Mona has also been surprised by the change in her moods.

‘My friend and I both have noticed we are much calmer and easier to get along with. It has really helped having people around me all thinking the same way about food.’

This story is part of Auckland DHB – staff assessments for cardiovascular disease.

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