Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Diagnoses, New Behavior

Can't look for what you might find
Once more you're running around in circles just to prove
You knew the answers all the while
Can't figure why no matter what you say or do
Things stay the same you will remain
Day late a dollar short
Day late a dollar short
--The Acro-Brats(1)

There's nothing like a new diagnosis of diabetes to get a patient's attention. Suddenly, all those discussions about diet, exercise, weight loss, soda consumption, etc. make sense. Well better late than never (perhaps The A-B's have a song about that too) but there's also the day late dollar short thing too because this is a condition that you are far better off without.

Yale scientists actually set out to prove what I already knew from years of consultations with the newly diagnosed. They checked out data from the Health and Retirement Study panel on over 20,000 people who were overweight or smokers.(2) The odds of weight loss or smoking cessation were hugely increased among individuals newly diagnosed with serious illnesses such as diabetes, smoking, heart disease, or COPD. Those who'd just learned they had heart disease were 5 times more likely to throw away the smokes than persons just counseled to do so just because it was the right thing to do, and new diabetics sent their BMI's plunging compared to the merely overweight.

Can't figure why no matter what I say or do
Things stay the same patients will remain
Day late a dollar short
Day late a dollar short

(1) I actually listened to this song on You-Tube. Definitely not my thing--the metallic thrum made my amygdala cringe-- but I appreciate the edgy frustration expressed by the Acro-Brats. I feel it myself, everyday, in exam room encounters.
(2) Keenan, PS. Smoking and weight change after new health diagnoses in older adults. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Feb 9;169(3):237-42.


Ruth said...

Unfortunately, I see too many of the 50% or more who make no changes after a new diagnosis... Life changes severely after an amputation or stroke.

Dr. Anonymous said...

yea, My uncle was recently diagnosed with diabetes. He has started exercising and has lost a lot of abdominal fat. He had a huge tummy.. Diabetes did make a change...

But another such person I knew continued to take sugar and refused anti diabetics. She ended with renal failure n expired...
I feel angry rather than sad at such people... I know it sounds rough.. but when I see such patients it frustrates me like anything..

Anonymous said...

I think people, patients, feel trapped into the medical (mafia), not cared about.
Many people know that true healing went the way of pharmaceuticals, a long time ago.