This doesn’t happen very often, but two of my patients ended up in the hospital during the same week. They were in two very different hospitals—one fancy, the other very much not. But the dismal state of care was the same. Today, let me tell you one of their stories because it shocked me. Actually, no. It disgusted me.
Patient A—I’ll call him Paul—is a very wealthy businessperson in NYC who’s used to getting his own way. He is a diabetic and has some trouble with his blood pressure. His diabetes is very well controlled because he follows all of the same diet recommendations I give all my patients (and you). Unfortunately, Paul doesn’t like to take many supplements, so his blood pressure tends to fluctuate. He called me one day because he feeling light-headed. I was at a medical conference at the time, so I recommended he go to the hospital to be on the safe side.
Two days later, he called me to say that nothing had happened, and he wanted to go home. He asked me to come to the hospital and “fix” things—and he said he would send his driver right over to pick me up. (As I said, he’s used to getting his way.) When I got to the hospital, I wondered if the driver hadn’t accidentally gone to the Four Seasons instead.
Paul was on the VIP floor. Which had a concierge and bodyguards. His room was the size of a luxe apartment (with stunning views of the East River, to boot). And men in tuxedos routinely delivered food on silver trays.
But despite the white-glove service, the actual care Paul was getting was downright appalling.
In two days, only one doctor had been in to see him. Once.
Needless to say, I lost it. I demanded his doctor come, and waited three hours. He still never showed up. Finally I got a nurse to contact the on-call physician’s assistant, and I explained exactly what I wanted done. They agreed (reluctantly, of course), and within 24 hours Paul was free to go.
But, perhaps the worst part of this whole experience was the post-discharge instructions they gave him. Take a look at what they recommended Paul should eat (keeping in mind he has diabetes AND high blood pressure):
• 2 grams of sodium (far less than the recommended amount for proper kidney function)
• 200 mg cholesterol (why is mainstream medicine so obsessed with how much cholesterol people eat? The body produces 80% of all cholesterol.)
• less than 35% fat (how is the body supposed to heal itself with that little fat?)
Oh, and I saved the best one for last:
• 75 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. And next to this “advice,” it said—in bold— “portions of carbohydrate-containing foods are very important and you must follow your meal plan.”
If that last one isn’t a let-them-eat-cake moment (literally), I don’t know what is.
Paul followed this atrocious diet to the letter for two days. He got so sick, and his blood sugar levels were so bad, he decided to ignore the hospital’s instructions and go back to his original diet (my New Hamptons Health Miracle). He came to see me a few days later and was feeling much better.
So all’s well that ends well, I suppose. But I have to say I’m still a little shaken up by this whole experience.
This is the state of American health care—at one of the top-rated hospitals in the world.
Aren’t you glad you’re sticking with me, kids?
Diabetic? Watch your steps
The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) held its annual meeting recently in Vienna, Austria. And one of the presentations revealed an important warning for people suffering from one of the most common side effects of diabetes—peripheral neuropathy.
In case you’re not familiar with it, peripheral neuropathy (PN) is characterized by pain and numbness in the extremities. And this new research shows it also significantly increases the risk of falls.
Researchers examined gait and fall risk in three groups: diabetics with PN, diabetics without PN, and healthy controls. They had the volunteers climb a set of stairs and then come back down while recording their movements with cameras.
They found that the diabetes patients with PN were much less steady climbing stairs than either of the other groups. (In fact, there were no notable differences between the healthy controls and the diabetes group in terms of fall risk.)
The important take-away here? If you’ve got PN, your risk of a dangerous fall is much higher.
But besides just being aware of this risk, and taking common-sense precautions (hold on to that banister and go slowly!), there are also some important steps you can take to combat PN at the source.
As I’ve mentioned before, the key to reversing PN is to protect your microcirculation—the intricate system of small blood vessels and capillaries that carry blood throughout your body. If your blood vessels aren’t healthy, they can’t get blood to areas of the body that are critical for everyday functioning—including the nerves. And when you don’t get enough blood to the nerves, they die. Which leads to neuropathy and—as this new study shows—increased fall risk.
The best way to boost your microcirculation is with a few key supplements:
• Pycnogenol (100 mg per day)
• Citrus bioflavonoids (I recommend 250 mg of Diosmin and 25 mg of Hesperidin per day)
• Magnesium orotate (60 mg per day)
The most reliable treatment for symptoms of PN specifically is intravenous alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) (900 mg). I use this approach for PN in my office, and my patients have had a great deal of success with it.
I will caution, however, that this is a high dose, and while it’s safe for most people, you must work closely with a doctor if you decide to pursue IV ALA therapy. You can find a doctor familiar with IV nutrient therapy by contacting the American College for Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or www.acam.org.
“Diabetes complications make patients more likely to fall down stairs.” ScienceDaily, 9/16/14 (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140916182214.htm)