I have to admit, I chuckled when I came across a little article urging doctors to “screen for five markers to ward off heart disease, diabetes.”
Why? It’s 2019, for Pete’s sake! And if docs aren’t already doing this, well, maybe that’s one reason why the diabetes epidemic is getting worse by the day.
This stuff is as basic as it gets, folks. Yet somehow, the Endocrine Society is only just getting around to making it an official practice guideline.
Five big red flags
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at those five all-important risk factors:
- High blood pressure—as in, a systolic (top) number above 130, or a diastolic (bottom) number above 80
- Large waist circumference—which is greater than 40 inches for men and 34.6 inches for women (and 35.4 inches and 31.5 inches for Asian men and women, respectively)
- High fasting triglycerides—as in, greater than 150 mg/dL according to this guideline (but I say greater than 100 mg/dL)
- Low HDL cholesterol—which is below 40 mg/dL in men, and 50 mg/dL in women
- High blood sugar—defined as an HbA1c greater than 5.7, or a fasting glucose over 100
And let’s just say that none of these five metabolic risk factors should come as a surprise to you. I talk about them virtually every single day!
So if you ask me, it’s about time an official guideline was in place (which, in this case, recommends that everyone between the ages of 40 and 75 gets screened for all five components—along with cholesterol, smoking, and family history of heart disease).
But first, I have a couple of questions:
- What, exactly, goes on at your average doctor’s visit, if not these very basic and rudimentary things?
- Why wait until age 40 to perform this very simple risk assessment?
Have these “experts” not heard about the diabesity epidemic that’s also skyrocketing among our children and adolescents?
Stating the obvious
Apparently, doctors are incapable of thinking for themselves, because the guideline goes on to say that seeing at least three of these risk factors should be a red flag for an elevated risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Which brings me to my third question… what next? Because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most doctors don’t really know the first thing about preventive lifestyle interventions—particularly when it comes to proper diet.
They wouldn’t know what kind of food to “prescribe” to reduce risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or even obesity (the leading root cause behind all of these problems in the first place). And they most certainly don’t know a thing about how nutritional supplementation makes the metabolic repair process much simpler.
On the contrary, I do. In fact, I routinely look at every single patient’s blood pressure, waist size, lipid profile, and HbA1c levels. I also discuss what patients are eating, in detail. I go over their blood work with them, calculate their body mass index (BMI), and counsel about weight loss and exercise routines.
So again, I have to wonder what’s happening at other office visits. Because I can’t tell you how many times a patient has asked me why their previous doctor didn’t bother with all five of these tests, much less the rest of it.
Obviously, I can’t answer that question. But I will point out that no one makes any money from identifying high-risk adults, and prescribing lifestyle changes to prevent heart disease or diabetes.
Not Big pharma. Not corporate medicine. Not Big Agribusiness. So are you really that surprised it took so long to issue this “new” guideline?
Well, if nothing else, I guess now I know why simple office visits are so loved by my patients…
P.S. It’s true that most diabetics need better advice. Which is why I discussed the disease in more detail in the October 2016 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The diabetes epidemic isn’t going away—but you don’t have to be its next victim”). Subscribers have access to all of my past content in the archives. So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. Click here now!
“Screen for Five Markers to Ward Off Heart Disease, Diabetes.” Medscape Medical News, 07/31/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/916235)