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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Big Medicine on the Discovery Health Channel

Preparing to "ring in the new year" properly on the overnight shift at McDruggie's I needed some thought provoking programming to ponder. My muse was Big Medicine. It is a father and son doctor team that perform lap band surgeries to help the "super" obese lose weight and return to a normal size. Since this was a marathon I had a lot to think about.

I myself am not thin but nowhere near the mind blowing weights these people come in at. Of a 700lb man I probably weigh as much as one of his thighs plus an ass cheek. I am using mental pictures of these barely mobile land mammals to fuel my workout and dietary changes. I think to myself, "Self, do you want to end up like those pitiful people? They are totally out of control and have no regard to their personal health so they turn to surgeons for the miracle cure. Can they even fit into a car?"

I do not want to end up like that. I also do not want to employ Omar the tent maker to sew me a dress or a pair of pantaloons from his finest roll of canvas.

The most thought provoking man was 550lbs. He said he liked to "..eat steaks til the slaughterhouse runs out..." He also stated that his cholesterol had been normal and that he never had high blood pressure or diabetes. Well cowboy, you probably were knee deep in the bad cholesterol and high blood pressure after you passed the 300lb mark. The main symptoms of diabetes are often ignored or unnoticed. He believed that everything just went wrong at once after he hit 550lbs.....

Reality check! When was his last doctor appointment? You don't balloon up to 550 in a week or two, this kind of outward expansion takes years. If he had been to a primary care physician, he/she would have pointed out the obvious: obesity=diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and risk of blood clots, stroke, and coronary events. High blood pressure is called the "silent killer" because without regular monitoring you may not even know it is high.

I had my reality check for the new year. My blood pressure is in the 135/85 range. It is not dangerous in the short term but I am going to lose 30lbs over the next 3 months to lower it. I would rather nip it in the bud (or expanded butt as may be the case) and drop the weight to treat it without medication. I will be damned if I end up on 3 blood pressure pills and a cholesterol combo to take care of myself. Screw that! I am not giving Big Pharma my hard earned money so they can back some political douche bag's election campaign and keep us from getting a socialized medical system....

No, I am not some crazy anti-government liberal. I am not some earthy all organic hippie. I have not seen that movie "Sicko" by Michael Moore. I am a well educated person that believes the only things we should be putting in our bodies are food, vitamin/mineral supplements, and the occasional alcoholic beverage or two. Okay, busted, I like to drink a lot...

***When I say food I mean anything that has been prepared fresh not cooked or processed then pumped full of preservatives and packaged for secondary or God forbid tertiary consumption (ew).***

But I digress. What I am taking a really long time to say is that each chemical compound we put in the body to perform one specific task (like lower blood pressure) can have many many other effects that were unintended or even dangerous (like kidney failure). That printout you get with your medication has a long list of "common" side effects. It even has a list of potentially dangerous side effects that you should call your doctor immediately if you experience them. What you do not get in the printout is the even longer list of "rare" side effects, many of them a potential trip to the ER. If you are on any medication, you better hope you are never in that less than 1% of the test population that had severe "rare" side effects. It does happen. How many drugs have been pulled off the market within the first five years of release? Think about it....

Everything in moderation and at least 30 minutes of brisk walking at least 3 days a week may be enough to keep you from becoming the next featured patient on Big Medicine. It may seem like a lot to change but it really is not and if you need somehing to ponder before going to your tediously boring job watch Discovery Health Channel. They have a lot of great shows but sometimes even I get a little squeamish at the surgery programs. Nothing makes me squeal with revulsion like watching a facelift....

1 comment:

DanTech said...

It took a couple of years of working retail pharmacy to get me to make moderate changes to my lifestyle. I did not want to deal with what I see our patients deal with. I decided to learn from their lessons, so now I try to eat more fruits, veggies,lean meats, and get more exercise.

I'm not perfect. I'm still around 20 pounds overweight, but it is a "lifestyle" not a "diet."

One of our diabetic patients had the LapBand surgery, and stuck with the diet and exercise regimen. Lost over 160 pounds and 4 prescriptions.