TO MEDICATE OR EDUCATE

To educate or to medicate, that is the question!  Education takes time and time is something most physicians are short on.   Education takes a commitment from both physician and patient.  The physician must commit to keeping up on the most modern treatment options and providing the patient with fair balance.  The patient must commit to acting on what he/she learns in a positive manner.  Let me give you an example.

Patient A has diabetes in its earliest stage.  His physician gives him a choice of either starting on medication or changing his lifestyle.  His physician gives him an overview of diabetes and the diabetic lifestyle along with a referral to a nutritionist as well as reputable internet sites to help him on his journey.  Patient A chooses to take the education route and does a great job!  I called Patient A tonight to congratulate him.  His most recent blood panel was one of the best I have ever seen.

Unfortunately, Patients B-Z also chose the education route but failed to follow through.  After a while, physicians get tired of wasting their breath tying to educate patients.  For every Patient A, there are 25 patients who fail to take their lessons to heart.  There are 25 patients who don’t have time to do their homework.  Twenty-five who promise to do better in the future.  “Doc, give me 3 more months and I’ll show you I can do it.”

Unfortunately, medicating a patient is easier than educating a patient.  It takes less time.  It is more likely to work, rewarding the patient and his physician with a modicum of success.  It is less likely to end in disaster and is more defensible in court.  So why not medicate everyone?

It’s a slippery slope.  Your doc starts you on medication and asks you to start working on changing your lifestyle.  Your blood sugar improves a little.  You want to celebrate with a banana split.  Why not?   You can take a little more of your medication.  Five years later, you are on lots of medications.  Rather than lose 20 pounds, you’ve gained thirty.  The dire effects of the diabetes and medication have snowballed.  You would change your lifestyle and start exercising but your back is bad and the incision in your chest from bypass surgery hurts like hell!

To educate or to medicate, is there really any question which one you should choose?  Help your doc by following his instructions, taking your medication as directed and following up when requested.  Make educating easy and successful.

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