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Diabetes remains very costly

healthcare costs

If we truly want cost-effective medical care, then we are going to have to figure how to control diabetes. Diabetes is an expensive disease. I have been arguing for years that the real expenses in health care are right in front of our noses. Diabetics have to pay for doctors visits but it is stuff like syringes and alcohol wipes that drive up the price. We have to figure out how to prevent the costly complications of diabetes like foot infections, hypertension, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and blindness. Diabetes cost us over $245 Billion last year.  (more…)

By |2013-03-09T12:36:56-04:00March 7th, 2013|Healthcare|Comments Off on Diabetes remains very costly

Why is healthcare so expensive?

One of the reasons that healthcare is so expensive is that we are fat. In some cases we are really, really fat. When I was an intern 20 years ago, it was rare to see someone over 350 lbs. Now it is a daily occurrence. Morbid obesity leads to complications – heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, infection, pneumonia, wound healing problems and more. Obesity is truly killing us.

Check out this video of a 600 lb woman:

I heard on NPR about this woman who was blind from a skin disease that caused corneal scarring. She went through a series of operations which put a thin tube into her corneal. She can now see through this tube. This is really cool. We can do amazing things but at what cost?

From NPR:

Her blindness was caused by Stevens-Johnson syndrome — a rare, life-threatening condition that causes outer layers of skin to separate from inner layers.

In Thornton’s case, it left her corneas terribly scarred. She was blind and was told that nothing could be done.

But her daughter began researching hospitals and booked an appointment at Bascom Palmer, 1,000 miles from the Thornton home in Smithdale, Miss.

Two years of failed grafts and transplants followed, before a cornea transplant expert began his own work at Bascom Palmer.

Dr. Victor Perez was frustrated with cases of patients — like Kay Thornton — who are blinded by severe cornea damage.

The rest of her eye was fine, but simply put, the lens of her camera was too dirty.

Perez was lobbying to try out a foreign technique when, unprompted, a fellow doctor sent Thornton through Perez’s door.

“Kay walked through my clinic, I saw her, I said, ‘I know exactly what we’re going to do with you,’ ” Perez said.

What he planned to do was something dreamed up by Italian doctors in the 1960s — pull out one of her teeth and transplant it into one of her eyes to help repair the damaged cornea.

With no other option, Thornton signed on.

Perez assembled a team, and for the next two years, they learned the procedure. They flew to Italy and flew Italian experts to Miami. They practiced with cadaver teeth and made trial versions of what they would do with Thornton’s tooth.

Perez hoped it would be the greatest accomplishment of his life — and that he might be able to help an estimated 200 people like Thornton who have severely damaged corneas.

But if he botched it, the procedure would never catch on in the U.S. (more…)

By |2009-09-19T04:46:25-04:00September 19th, 2009|Healthcare|Comments Off on Why is healthcare so expensive?

Lose the fat; Lose the diabetes

It has been known for over 30 years that type II Diabetes Mellitus was associated with obesity. It has also been shown that folks who lose weight through exercise can decrease or eliminate their insulin requirements. I heard a presentation over 10 years ago by Walter Pories, former Chairman of Surgery at East Carolina University School of Medicine, that obesity surgery decreased and eliminated in some patients the need for insulin. It was a great presentation.

Now, I read some else has done this exact same study and the study has made it into the lay press. AP has picked up the study. There are now several studies which all show the same result and it makes sense. In morbidly obese patients losing weight is a good thing.

Let me add a disclaimer – I’m a surgeon. I don’t do this operation. No operation is without risk. The risks and benefits of this procedure need to be weighted with your surgeon.


From AP:

A new study gives the strongest evidence yet that obesity surgery can cure diabetes.

Patients who had surgery to reduce the size of their stomachs were five times more likely to see their diabetes disappear over the next two years than were patients who had standard diabetes care, according to Australian researchers. (more…)

By |2008-01-22T20:49:20-04:00January 22nd, 2008|Healthcare|Comments Off on Lose the fat; Lose the diabetes
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