Doctor’s Tip: Some success stories from the people’s clinic
The People’s Clinic is a free, nonprofit health care clinic located at the Third Street Center in Carbondale. Its mission is to help local Latinos — many of whom are uninsured — who can’t afford usual fee-for-service medical care; and also those who are interested in options other than pills and procedures to treat chronic diseases. We focus on preventing, treating and reversing chronic diseases — such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes — through regular exercise and optimal diet. Following are three examples of success stories:
Patient No. 1 is a 58-year-old man who presented at the clinic on Sept. 2 with a history of hypertension diagnosed some 10 years before. He had been put on three medications to control his blood pressure, which he stopped after his pressure dropped too low. He also stopped his statin drug that had been prescribed for high cholesterol. He complained of sleep problems, including symptoms of sleep apnea such as snoring, with confirmatory testing at VVH, and was waiting for a CPAP machine. In our office his blood pressure was 180/116 (normal less than 120/80). His weight was 184.2 pounds, height 5 feet 3 inches. He had mild central obesity (extra pounds around the middle signifying pre-diabetes). He agreed to go on a plant-based, whole food diet with no salt, sugar or added oil. He was given 20 mg of lisinopril to take at bedtime for his blood pressure.
He returned on Sept. 10 and said he had been 100 percent compliant with diet and exercise. His weight was 170 pounds — a 14-pound weight loss. As often happens when people lose weight, he was no longer snoring and was sleeping better. His abdominal obesity appeared improved. His blood pressure was down to 140/85.
He returned again on Oct. 25, and was down to 161.8 pounds — a total 22-pound weight loss in less than two months. His blood pressure was closer to normal. Lab results revealed mildly elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) and evidence of mild pre-diabetes, both of which will likely resolve with further weight loss.
Patient No. 2 is an 8-year-old boy who was brought in by his mother on June 19 for some musculoskeletal problems. He was noted to have central obesity, signifying insulin resistance/pre-diabetes (yes, this can occur even in young kids). He weighed 126.2 pounds, and blood pressure was 135/67 (normal blood pressure for children is significantly less than the < 120/80 for adults). His mother noted that he was constantly eating chips throughout the day. Mother and child agreed to a plant-based, whole food diet and in particular to get rid of the chips — which are ultra-processed and contain excessive salt, oil and often sugar. He liked to play soccer, and the patient and his mother were advised to watch the documentary “The Game Changer,” about elite athletes who have gone plant-based to enhance their performance.
At follow-up on July 6, his mother noted that her son was compliant with the diet and that in particular he stopped eating chips. His weight was 122 pounds, and his blood pressure was 100/62. At follow-up visit on Aug. 8, his weight was down another 7 pounds (so a total of 11 pounds since first visit). He looked and felt better, and his soccer game had improved.
Patient No. 3 is a 60-year-old woman who came to The People’s Clinic on Dec. 1 with a history of pre-diabetes diagnosed eight to 10 years before. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she gained weight and ended up with diabetes, for which she was on metformin. Her chief complaint, however, was GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) for several years, for which she was on 20 mg of Prilosec every morning. Her exam was positive for central obesity, indicating insulin resistance/pre-diabetes (where organs and muscle cells can’t use insulin like they should, which leads to diabetes and cardiovascular disease). Her blood pressure was elevated at 134/82. She was counseled about whole food, plant-based nutrition and advised to stop her one cup of coffee every morning.
She returned on Dec. 15 and had lost 4 pounds. Her blood pressure was 121/80, due to improving her diet and losing weight. Her reflux symptoms had resolved, which often happens on a plant-based, whole food diet with avoidance of coffee. Because long-term acid blockers like Prilosec can have adverse health effects, she was advised to stop it and to elevate the head of her bed with 4- to 6-inch blocks if her reflux returned. Because patients who are improving their diet need support, she was scheduled to attend a shop-with-a-doc grocery store session and to return in one month.
Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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