I spend a great deal of "electronic ink" harping on the subject of "Informed, Self-directed Healthcare (ISH). In a nutshell, ISH is about spending a little time studying your personal health concerns (using resources like HealthCentral.com) and working with your doctor as a team to solve them. Remember, your doctor has to study, understand, diagnose, and treat perhaps hundreds of thousands of diseases and conditions and manage hundreds if not thousands of patients. You have to manage one patient, yourself, and those few health issues that affect you. Your doctor spends perhaps 10-20 minutes with you once every 3 months. You are with yourself 24/7! Like it or not, you are better equipped to make decisions and take actions working as a team with your doctor as opposed to either of you working alone. Yes, many doctors are loners who prefer not to work as a team. Fire them and find team mates!
Rather than wax rhetoric about what a good idea ISH is, I want to take a more practical approach by offering a series of ISH "How to" Shareposts. In each post, I will cover a heart disease related health issue that is best solved using ISH concepts. I'll attempt to not only provide the theory but also provide a plan to apply it in your personal heart disease prevention (and even reversal) program. Many of the topics will come straight from my personal experience - such as our first topic below which is an extension of an earlier sharepost.
As I mentioned, your doctor is busy. They provide the test that seemingly does the most good for the most people. They cannot spend hours analyzing test results so they develop test limits and make diagnoses based on whether you are over or under a predefined limit. That bit of background information sets the stage for our first ISH session regarding one of the most well-understood yet also most under-diagnosed contributors to heart disease - high blood sugar.
No, I am NOT talking about diabetes. In fact, it is this sort of "test limit diagnosis" that is part of the problem. I am willing to bet many in this audience have had a fasting blood sugar test. If it was over 126mg/dL it may have led to further testing to diagnose diabetes. If it was between say, 100mg/dL and 125mg/dL, your doctor probably advised he or she would "watch" it. If it was under 100mg/dL it is likely nothing more was said other than "you are normal." Unfortunately, there is still a good chance you still have an undiagnosed high blood sugar problem that is contributing to your heart disease.
Like many conditions, high blood sugar is a not situation where you are healthy if you are below a certain number but sick if you are above it - it is a matter of severity. If your fasting blood sugar is routinely 100-125mg/dL you still have problem. However, many in the medical community do not diagnose it as a disease. Of course, there is still more to the story. My fasting blood sugar was always between 80 and 106 - a pretty safe range, right? Wrong!