Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Power of a Lifestyle Change

According to a recent article in the Entertainment section of CNN (courtesy of the fine folks at People Magazine), comedian Drew Carey lost 80 pounds since January by following a strict (some would say fanatical) diet and exercise regimen. While I applaud Mr. Carey for his dramatic weight loss, to me the most striking point of the article is that he no longer requires diabetes medication. (He had type-2 diabetes prior to his weight loss.)

Is this a hint that diet and exercise can lead to better health and fewer medications?

Yes.

Most people don't realize (or simply wish to ignore) that being overweight has additional health consequences that include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes. In medical-speak this concept is called comorbidity.

Logically, if an obese patient lost weight, it's very likely that the comorbid conditions (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes) would also come under control without the use of medication.

What about an anti-obesity pill?

Currently, there is no FDA-approved pill on the market to treat obesity. If ever such a pill were to come to market, I would imagine it would be a super-blockbuster drug. Until then, the only guaranteed way to lose weight and maintain health is through proper diet and regular exercise (but perhaps not as fanatical a regimen as Mr. Carey's).

Don't fall into the supplement trap. Until supplement manufacturers provide rigorous scientific evidence that proves efficacy (does it work?) and safety (what are the side-effects?), stay away from them!

Of course, you should never start a new diet or intense exercise regimen, or even think about stopping your medication without consulting your doctor first. Blogs (like this one), dieting trends, and anecdotal evidence (like Mr. Carey's example) are no substitute for the sound medical advice of a trained medical professional.

But if you want to lose weight to make a change, bravo. The road to good health will be tough at first, but remember the old adage: anything worth doing is never easy.

-Dr. Dave

Posted via email from Dr. Dave Science

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