A Personal Note Re: Diabetes and Obesity

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Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, gamingvulture.tumblr.com. And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Chasm
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    says:

    It’s also been my experience dealing with GERD that doctors know how to do the medicine, but know almost nothing about the lifestyle effects of disease. After I was diagnosed, my GP had a list of things to try, don’t eat within 3 hours of going to bed, elevate the head of my bed, etc, that he found in a brochure, but my Gastro guy had nothing to say except, “let’s double your dose of medicine.” It wasn’t until my Mother got me a book on dealing with GERD by changing diet that I actually started getting the problem under control. It seems obvious that if you have stomach acid problems, one should change the types of food one eats, but no doctor had that advice. Reading the book felt like reading one of those quack medical tracts or fad diet books because we’re trained to listen to doctors and to shun alternative methods, but reading that book and following the advice on changing diet was the number one biggest help in minimizing my acid reflux. It seems it often turns out that the best advice comes from people who share your disease, and not the doctors who treat it.Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Chasm
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      says:

      Chasm, this was very much the experience of my brother. They told him to basically maintain his diet–eat the regular kinds of foods regular kids your age would eat. They were so set on trying to maintain normalcy rather than how to best manage the condition.

      The best info my parents got usually came from other parents who had been doing it longer and met with similar resistance from their physicians. They were lucky the Internet had just begun to really take hold by that time too, otherwise it would have been that much harder to find the networks and groups that were sharing that kind of information–down to very precise charts of protein/fat/carb intake vs. the types of insulin cocktails best for those kinds of foods.Report

  2. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    I think you also have to recognize that there exist different philosophies of medicine. These might not be unified theories of practice as much as they are a concoction of the doctor’s personality, the personality of his teachers, and the specifics of his training.

    I had an ankle issue. Doctor #1 said we should operate. Doctor #2 advised physical therapy. I went the latter route and the issue resolved itself. Does that mean doctor #1 was wrong? No. It is highly likely that surgery would have similarly resolved the issue. But doctor #1 was more aggressive. Doctor #2 never took surgery off the table, he simply thought we should try to avoid going under the knife if possible. If PT failed, he would have recommended the surgery. He was more conservative. So, it isn’t so much that one doctor was smarter or better or more informed than the other, they simply had a different view of the situation, informed by their different experiences and views of best practice.

    These are my views as a patient. I’d love to see Russell weigh in.Report

  3. Avatar ralphla54
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    says:

    A new FDA approved diet pill called Belviq just went on the market. Belviq make people more likely to succeed with weight loss since they feel full more quickly and it reduces food cravings. People who take Belviq with diet and exercise were 2 times more likely to lose 5% body weight and 3 times more likely to lose 10% body weight than the people who just did diet and exercise alone. The label states that if you do not lose 5% of your body weight in 12 weeks then consider stopping. Those that do respond in 12 (about 45% of patients) weeks go on to lose over 10% of their body weight in one year. Losing 22 pounds for a 220 pound person is life changing. So 45% of those taking Belviq lose significant amount of weight.
    Belviq has a second mode of action to reduce blood sugar which may end up preventing diabetes in many cases. Diabetics and pre-diabetics who took Belviq, REGARDLESS of weight loss, saw their blood sugar numbers drop by double digit percentages. IE HbA1c -0.9 to -1.2 and fasting glucose feel -27. The cost of medications to reduce HbA1c levels exceeds the cost of Belviq. (seeArena’s BloomDM phase III trial) These reductions in diabetic symptoms plus the weight loss at the same time makes Belviq a medical bargain.Report

  4. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    I have some experience here, particularlly related to breakfast and maintaining correct blood sugar. I rarely eat carbs that come from anything but veggies, other than slowly absorbed carbs like steel cut oatmeal. I also exercize a LOT. That pulls sugar out of the blood.

    I got all this from interweb searches and watching my body’s response to various food inputs over a year.Report

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