Predicting America’s health

The biggest cause of death is Cardiovascular Disease, probably heart attack or stroke.
I read about a new set of calculations that suggest that half of American’s have abnormal lipids. That means CHOLESTEROL. That means, as a nation, we’re fat and more and more we’re dependent on Statins, which is the most standard pharmaceutical answer to the problem. According to Dr. Eliot Brinton, director of the National Lipid Assoc., many patients are hesitant to comply with their doctor’s prescribed therapy.

Nearly 75% of new statin users abandon their medication within the first year. They don’t like how they feel. There are some side effects (though I personally haven’t experienced them) and patients don’t like how the medication makes them feel.  There are several pieces of information that patients with elevated cholesterol need to know about improving their situation. They involve 3 basic things:
Be honest with your doctor…

  • Review your diet
  • Exercise
  • Become adherent to your doctors prescribed medication regimen

Here’s the deal with doctors: They don’t want to prescribe a solution for you in fantasyland. They prescribe based on the blood tests they can see and the information about your lifestyle that you share with them. Don’t tell your doctor that you’re going to eat better if you’re really not going to live up to that promise. Let me put it a different way… be honest with yourself. What are you willing to give up in your diet? What are you actually willing to commit to in terms of time and effort devoted to an exorcise regimen? Don’t tell your doctor that you’re going to spend 30 minutes on a treadmill if you can only do 10 minutes.

Think about your diet, preferably talk about it with your partner. How much cheese and other types of goo are you able to forego? Plan a diet that you can live with but that reduces fats and increases vegetables and micronutrients.
I believe, and this is based entirely on my own personal experience, that most illnesses are based on one thing, and that is what you’re not willing to give up putting in your mouth. Fatty foods (that taste great), cigarettes (that make you calm down) alcohol (that makes you feel like you’re having fun) and other snacks, etc that add to the inches of fat to your waste. I know this first hand. And once you’re in the downward spiral it’s almost too late.  Take action starting right now. Talk to your doctor immediately about your new plans! Your doctor needs to know any changes in your health regimen.

Statins are a double edged sword. They can make you feel poorly. Taking them can do some damage and create some side effects… but stopping them does even more damage than continuing to take them. Some of my walking partners were advising me to get off of statins. I didn’t do this because I wanted to ask my doctor before making such a change. Guess what… there really isn’t a replacement for statins. It’s currently the state of the art according to my doc.

There was a study done recently by The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  (The Johnson foundation is purportedly the largest such foundation in the country, associated with the Johnson and Johnson family). It made several predictions, based on the study, about America’s health in the year 2030.  If you pay attention to the news you’ll hear or read these predictions. Basically, this report says we’re headed for disaster. Obesity is on the rise, Cholesterol is on the rise, Diabetes is on the rise. It’s all the same thing: Bad diet, lack of exercise, not following your doctor’s prescription regime.

You can only be responsible for yourself. Change your diet. Exercise. Your doctor needs to know what you’re doing and you should always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Manage your meds. Become fully adherent. Most people need help with reminders to take their meds on time and be adherent. Remember: be honest with yourself as you start off on your new regimen. You probably don’t always remember to take your meds. MedTexter can help you with this.  This is a big step. You’re not alone.

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