Sunday, 29 November 2015

Half marathon training run

UNSW to North Bondi and return. A bit too hot and humid for a Canberra lad, but very scenic.

Why are treatment outcomes so bad?

Doctors excel at making statements about what Addison's treatment results should be.
"Addison's should no longer be fatal"
"There is no reason why someone with Addison's disease couldn't climb Mount Everest"

The reality is quite different
The largest study I have come across found a mortality rate in some males more than double that of the general population, and a reduction in life expectancy of 11.2 years.
A recent study conceded that "quality of life in adrenal insufficiency is more severely impaired than previously thought and patients .. are also threatened by an increased mortality"
Fatigue is rampant.

 I have scoured the English language internet for successful people with Addison's disease. I was never very athletic at school but I am keen to improve and learn from people who have done well.
Being competitive, I would love to find people who who are doing better than me so that I have something to aim for. I would hate to think that how I am now is as good as it gets for people my age with Addison's.

The news is not good.

Many of the hero patients that my endocrinologist recommended that I follow 18 years ago are now beached whales, performing much worse than me, or dead. Success at age 40 obviously does not guarantee success in later life if you follow standard medical advice.

The Addisonians that are running fast, rock climbing and BC skiing are all much younger than me. I note that their regular daily steroid regimen (as opposed to competition day practice) is quite different from what Australian endocrinologists recommend in nearly all cases.

If you are looking for people with Addison's and diabetes getting out there and doing stuff, forget it. I found one older guy who seems to have his act together. From what he has written, I surmise that his diet and drug management are also vastly different from what Australian doctors currently recommend.

The internet evidence is consistent. If you follow standard medical advice, you are unlikely to do very well, and will plagued by fatigue, particularly as you get older.
Caveat Emptor

Friday, 20 November 2015

Guide to medical specialists

As a diabetic, perhaps with several associated medical or surgical conditions, you will no doubt come into contact with many different specialists. Here is my guide to them

These doctors think they are the duck's nuts because some of their patients do so well. What they don't realize is that all of their successful patients lie to them (and their dieticians) about what they eat, how they manage their insulin and testing, and other aspects of diabetes control. Their success is entirely due to the fact that many patients ignore what they say.

50 of them on the public payroll where I live, on contracts that include involvement in research, yet not a single piece of output worth presenting in a two year period. Truly the bottom of the heap academically.

You have heard of futile surgery and ICU admissions for patients with no hope of survival, and the mind- and budget-blowing costs associated with this practice.. Yet when one of these people inevitably dies, wasting an extra $A100,000 on an inquest is a decision made by a pathologist. Is it really worth spending that much extra money after someone with a logistic Euroscore of more than 80 dies? And that decision is made by someone with no tertiary education in maths. Go figure.

Look up the role of psychiatrists in suppressing scientific dissent, and their involvement in silencing whistle-blowers by questioning their mental fitness. It is all true. Surely the lowest ethically. Almost as bad as lawyers.

At the first house auction I went to, I had no hope of competing against bids put in by a radiologist, who then put a big extension on the already huge house. Radiologists obviously get paid way too much.

When I had a large malignant tumour in my abdomen in my early 20s, surgery cured me.
When subluxing peroneal tendons prevented me from running, surgery cured me.
When I couldn't climb because of a fractured glenoid and ruptured long head of biceps, surgery cured me. Look at the video.
When I was completely disabled by chronic back pain, the GP, physician and physio all told me to take vast amounts of potent drugs and do physio. After surgery, I needed only paracetamol for a few days, and in the 10 years since then, haven't taken a single pill for back pain.

Yes, I am a walking (and skiing, climbing and skating) advertisement for the marvel of modern surgery.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

What are your objectives?

People's actions can be misinterpreted if you don't know what their objectives are. Often, quite similar objectives can require quite different approaches. In the picture above, many asked why the final runner in the relay team still has the warp drive engaged when victory is in the bag and she should be doing a celebratory run in with her team mates.

Her objective at this stage is not to win the race. There is an informal competition between kids, and some adults to see who can get the fastest finish split. It is a bit like the yellow and green jerseys in the Tour de France. It often goes to a person who is not the overall winner. More categories of winner increases the fun factor.

What are your objectives in managing diabetes? Do you want the lowest HbA1c? the lowest cholesterol? do you want to avoid your blood sugar every falling below 3.1?
None of these things rate highly on my agenda.
Getting a life certainly does. Devoting lots of time and effort to achieve perfection in blood sugar control would make me just as much a victim of my disease as would complications.
Getting wrapped in cotton wool is a potential complication of diabetes.

The other problem of obsessing about blood sugar is that is not the main problem. As the endocrinologist said to a friend the other day. - Don't worry too much about your blood sugar. Most diabetics die or are disabled by cardiovascular disease.
Focus on your CVD risk factors. Start by asking yourself how many dozen of them can you name.

Friday, 13 November 2015

It is 40 years since I wrote my first essay on climate change.

It is now more than 40 years since I wrote my first school assignment on climate change and related environmental issues.
Nothing has changed, except for atmospheric CO2 which keeps rising.
The elephant in the room is still being ignored by people who claim to be climate change believers. (no, its not coal or oil)
Diabetics are no different.
They too stubbornly refuse to do the maths.

Doctors and climate skeptics alike play the not-enough-evidence card without actually thinking. If a randomized trial is the only thing that will make doctors change their mind, then it is not surprising that their patients are not doing so well.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Why are doctors withholding information from you?

The ACT Health Research Review 2011 & 2012 makes great bedtime reading. No sleeping pills required.
It contains details of many hundreds of audits, QA and research projects from virtually every field of health. With a number of notable deficiencies.

Anesthesiologists, or anaesthetists if you prefer, have not made any contribution at all. Not surprising, given that they are essentially practical people with very little understanding of basic sciences.

And the only audit of clinical results in Type 1 diabetics is one study of patients changing to pumps, who were not compared with any alternative treatment group. There was no study of any lifestyle adjustment, or measurement of outcome from any lifestyle advice.
It seems doctors believe that technology in the form of pumps and continuous meters are going to save everyone from what years ago would have been called a self-destructive lifestyle.
Despite massive expenditure on DNA and receptor studies over decades, diabetics are now suffering from complications, fatigue and impaired lifestyles in record numbers if internet forums are to be believed.
If you don't believe the internet, where is the formal data?

Have doctors not audited their own performance,  or have they suppressed the results because they are so embarrassing?

ps more on suppression of evidence from Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ in my post of 1.2.2016

Monday, 9 November 2015

Diabetes doctors are the worst food nazis

Many decades ago, food recommendations for T1 diabetics were simple. No more than 2 pieces of bread for lunch, no more than 2 tablespoons of mashed potato for dinner, and eggs for breakfast was fine.

The rules were simple and easy to comply with. They worked fairly well as the number of T1s in their 80s shows. There were few restrictions, apart from carbs.

Look at the recommendations now. Various Government websites advise diabetics to seriously limit their consumption of eggs, eat reduced fat cheese and drink low fat milk. And eggs are not to be fried.

When was the last time you heard a foodie advocate that lattes be made with low fat milk? When was the last time you heard Will Studd go into raptures over the taste of a reduced fat cheese?
I love my eggs cooked in butter. I love full fat cheese. I love omelettes. I love full fat cheese omelettes.

Doctors advocate artificially sweetened yoghurt. No way am I using any artificial sweetener or sugar alcohol if I can avoid it. And as for that linoleic acid riddled chemical concoction promoted as an alternative to butter - no margarine for me.

Medical advice to limit consumption of nuts flies in the face of good evidence that increasing nut consumption is associated with better health outcomes. And don't get me started on the GST on roasted nuts. They are a staple for many vegetarians, especially vegans. (not that I fall into either of these categories.) Roasted nuts are an essential ingredient in many classic Asian main meal recipes, yet meat eating dinosaur public servants have discouraged their consumption by imposing an extra tax on them.

What should diabetics eat? Don't just listen to me. Look at what other long-standing diabetics who are healthy, active and free of vascular, renal, nerve, eye and other disease are eating. Then modify that according to your own personal circumstances.

I can't recall ever meeting any really successful older diabetic who thought current dietary guidelines were the best advice.

Life is too short to eat tasteless food, and as every chef will tell you, fat is taste. Bon appetit.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Get active 1

Diabetics need to be physically active, and that isn't going to happen unless what you are doing is fun. There are few readily accessible activities more fun than bouldering.

Even if you finish work at 7pm and it is dark, cold and raining, the bouldering gym will still offer you challenges of every degree of difficulty. 

Don't worry about the landings.  I have had a lumbar laminectomy and have two screws in my ankle, but the mats are cushy enough even for my ageing body.
The two screws holding my shoulder together are not a problem either.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

School success

Congratulations to Stephen who has just completed his Higher School Certificate exams. How did he manage to do so well?

Perhaps it is more instructive to look at what he didn't do.
He didn't look at two different study / learning / teaching methods which had been allocated to groups of average students and then look at whether the average level of success in one was greater than the average level in the other.

Yet that is exactly the nonsensical approach used by doctors to determine "best practice" in diabetes management. It is a recipe for mediocrity. If you want results that are truly average, then use average treatment.

If you want really good results then do what really successful people do. That is what Stephen did. That is what works.

Dads anD Daughters Do Descents

Dads anD Daughters Do Descents

Last decent weekend of the BC season. Perfect spring skiing day on Saturday skiing lines into the Club Lake cirque.
Here is Greg's Strava track and a few pics

The weather was not so good on Sunday, so we did a shorter ski up Carruthers. Yet another example of how great life can be for t1s if you do the opposite of what doctors tell you to.