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Are you being hard-headed?

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This week’s example will ring a bell with many of you, either reminding you of someone you know or even yourselves. I hope not you….

I was asked to see a woman who, this past week, was hospitalized with chest pain. As it turned out, she had a blockage in one of her arteries and had a stent placed to open it up. She also has diabetes and her hemoglobin A1C was horrible at 11.2%.{{more}} When I interviewed her, she swore to me that she was taking ALL of her medication as prescribed, which included one type of insulin and three different diabetes pills. I told her that we would need to change her regimen since, if she was telling me the truth about taking the medications, this current one was clearly not working. She looked to the side, suddenly not very interested. When I asked her about her diet, she looked even less interested.

I changed her medication regimen to bring her blood sugars into better control while in the hospital and asked our diabetes educator/nutritionist to see this patient. Our educator returned later and told me that this patient was not going to do well. Why? She was not interested in learning anything about diet at all, had told our educator that she liked what she ate and would not change it, even though she just had a heart attack. In addition, she had also said she would go back to taking her old diabetes medications, even though her hemoglobin A1C was so high.

Does this make sense to you at all?

This woman, who is only in her 50s, has known heart disease now. She just had a heart attack, which is the greatest predictor of her having another one in future. She was lucky this time that the heart attack did not kill her, or leave her with deficits like weakness, or accompanied by a stroke. This time. She is VOLUNTARILY going back to the same eating habits and inadequate medication regimen that she had before, instead of accepting help and education about some changes that will help her in future. I should also mention that this woman works in a place that gives her free food, so she does not have to pay for it anyway. She can choose different food and get it for free. As we pointed out, she can eat a bit less, and stop choosing hamburgers and cake everyday and instead choose some grilled chicken, rice and vegetables, for example. But she was not interested. As the saying goes, she is shooting herself in the foot. She was choosing to essentially harm herself and ignore any help or cautionary advice.

I hope this does not sound like you. Ask yourself if you are being hardheaded, and importantly, WHY? And then ask if your hard-headedness is helping you live longer and healthier, or not. Be honest.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy, Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD [email protected]

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227