Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What A Difference A Day Makes

Over the past few months, the big health related news was the Institute of Medicine's report regarding the increasing percentage of obese Americans. The expected increased girth of the nation raised alarms because of all the other medical problems that are likely to ensue.  Unfortunately, we will not have to wait because a new medical report by Virginia Fried and colleagues was just released by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report titled, NCHS Data Brief, "Multiple Chronic Conditions Among Adults Aged 45 and Over: Trends Over the Past 10 Years," is truly frightening. 

According to new research, between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010, the number of Americans aged 45 and older with two or more chronic conditions has grown, with senior citizens especially at risk of developing both diabetes and high blood pressure. The study reveals that the percentage of Americans in the 45 to 64 year age group with two or more of the conditions grew from 16 percent to 21 percent and in the 65 and older age group, the percentage increased from 37 percent to 45 percent.

The report also revealed that 23 percent of adults aged 45 to 64 with at least two chronic conditions -- out of the list of nine -- either didn't receive necessary medical care or delayed it because of cost. That's up from 17 percent a decade earlier. The percentage of people in that group who didn't get necessary prescription drugs due to cost also grew from 14 percent to 22 percent over the period. Isolating individual conditions in people aged 45 or older, high blood pressure grew from 35 percent to 41 percent, diabetes from 10 percent to 15 percent, and cancer from 9 percent to 11 percent.

The most troubling part is that these numbers are expected to get even worse.  But I have reason for hope because of someone I spent time with today.

I met with a patient of MDPrevent today who has been participating in our LEAN Weight Loss program.  Prior to starting the program, her cholesterol was about 230, her fasting blood sugar was around 120, and her body mass index (BMI) was over 30. In the span of a few months, she has shed 16 pounds, dropped her BMI to 27.5, dropped her cholesterol to the 160s, and her fasting blood sugar to around 105. She accomplished this without any medications, surgery or supplements. She did it simply by changing the way she eats based on what she learned in our program. The best news is that her program was covered 100% by Medicare so it didn't cost her a penny.

Starting a new practice over the past couple of years has had its challenges. However, today it all came together when I witnessed first-hand again what a profound effect a change in lifestyle can have on someone's health. I am so proud to be part of such an effort and take great satisfaction in knowing that our team of Preventioneers are truly making a difference one life at a time. The best news is that our program is covered 100% by Medicare for those who qualify.

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