Monday, April 20, 2020

Retrospective #429: A WebMD issue

The waiting room at my wife’s doctor’s office always has multiple copies of the latest WebMD magazine. Each cover has “Complimentary Waiting Room Copy” imprinted on the cover. Although I brought my own reading material to my wife’s recent visit, I picked up a copy to look for news about Type 2 diabetes.
The November/December 2017 issue had no such content. There was, however, an ad from Big Pharma for a drug to treat Type 2 diabetes. The ad said, “…when [their product was] used with diet and exercise,” it may help to lower your A1c. The placement of the ad was ironic: it was in the middle of the food section.
The “holiday” food section of this issue featured 5 content pieces. Nestled among the first sugar-choked three – on red grapefruit, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce – was this 3-page ad for a new injectable medication, “to help Type 2 diabetics lower A1c’s.” The FDA had approved it to be used “with diet and exercise in people who are not controlled” with long-acting insulin…or lixisenatide.” You will not be surprised to learn that the new drug is made by the makers of Lantus, a popular long-acting, injectable insulin. 
Their new drug is another combination drug – this time mixing 100 units of insulin glargine with 33mcg of Lixisenatide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist. This is a SERIOUS medication regimen. It is intended for the Type 2 diabetic whose A1c, EVEN AFTER taking 3 classes of oral meds, AND THEN usually another “non-insulin” injectable, AND THEN usually long-acting (basal) insulin, has “PROGRESSED” and is STILL NOT CONTROLLED, i.e. a totally drug-dependent Type 2.
THAT’S WHY HAS THIS NEW DRUG BEEN INTRODUCED. THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MOMENT AND ASK YOURSELF:
High blood sugar and high A1c’s are SYMPTOMS that the patient’s Type 2 diabetes is “not controlled.” A doctor is trained to treat symptoms. The doctor knows the medical protocol to treat these symptoms is to prescribe drugs in increasing doses as the patient’s disease “progresses.” They are taught that Type 2 diabetes will progress, and the only thing the doctor can do is prescribe higher doses, stronger medicines and, as the patient’s condition worsens, the latest combination drugs until…? So, what’s a doctor to do? You can’t blame them, can you?
But ask yourself, “Why is the patient’s disease ‘not controlled’”? Did you remember that all the ads are required to say that the patient is supposed to participate in their own treatment with “diet and exercise”? Well, that’s quickly become a worn-out trope, hasn’t it? The only advice in the drug ad is to “Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.” You can’t blame Big Pharma or your doctor for not getting into the “healthy foods” debate. Ever wonder why?
In the ad a woman holds a sign that says, “A1c, it’s time to take you down!” A man with a little pot belly holds another saying, “I’ve been good, so why is my A1c bad?” On the website, a “GET THE FACTS” link takes the reader to another smiling person whose sign says, “My diabetes changed – so I made a change,” and another, under the heading, “Diabetes is complex with factors beyond your control. Here the sign suggests, “Age? Metabolism? Family History? Well, you can’t blame the patient for things that are beyond the patient’s control, can you? Well, can you?
WRONG! Your metabolism IS within your control. You’re a Type 2 diabetic BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU EAT. If your Type 2 diabetes is not controlled, or getting worse, it is because of what you eat. THAT is THE CAUSE of Type 2 diabetes. AND THAT IS NOT A FACTOR BEYOND YOUR CONTROL; It is within your control and your responsibility to accept that and not be sucked in by your doctor’s drug treatment plan and Big Pharma’s slick ads). CARBs become GLUCOSE in your blood. CONTINUOUSLY HIGH GLUCOSE IN YOUR BLOOD RAISES your A1c (and CAUSES you to gain weight too!)
Contrary to what Big Pharma and your doctor would have you believe, you have NOT been “good” and THAT’S why your A1c is “BAD.” If you want to lower your A1c and control your Type 2 diabetes, you’re going to have to CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT. You’ll need to learn about carbohydrates and eat fewer of them. If you do, this will stabilize your Type 2 diabetes and, if you eat few enough, could even reverse your Type 2 diabetes and put it in remission. You could even, by diet alone, eliminate most, or even in some cases, all your diabetes medications, including insulin. 

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