Sugar Matters
September 18, 2012
Case Study 3: What’s the pill in your hand?

This week’s case study is actually a combination of the same theme I have seen in a group of patients this week:

Patient 1, a 57-year-old woman who came into the hospital having a heart attack. I saw her after she was stabilized, in order to help get her sugars under control (when she came into the hospital they were up in the 400’s).{{more}}

Once she was stabilized, I talked with her. She remembered that she was a known diabetic and she took “some pills.” She did not recall the names of either one, but said she took two tablets in the morning and one at night of one of them, and two tablets twice a day of the other one.

Patient 2: a 75-year-old man who I saw to assist with his diabetes and a thyroid problem. He also recalled taking “pills for his sugar”, but said his wife took care of all his medications and he did not know the names.

Patient 3: a woman aged 83, with heart problems and going for some testing this week. She received some medications that pushed her blood sugar up very high, so they asked me to assist in getting it stabilized before she went to surgery. She also recalled taking “some pills and insulin”, but did not recall the names or doses of either.

See a pattern here?

With the exception of the woman, aged 83, who happened to also have dementia and memory problems, not one of these patients should be without knowledge of even the NAME of their medications. Remember that saying “knowledge is power?” It is, even in this case. You need to know the names of your medications and ideally also the doses. I can’t tell you how many ways this is important. Think, for example, how difficult it is for us to make changes to someone’s medication regimen if we don’t know what he/she is taking in the first place? How about when you go to pick up a medication, somewhere, being able to know for sure you are picking up the correct one? Many medications sound similar, but may be totally different, so going by “oh, it sounds just like that” is not good enough. You should know the true name of your medication and how much you take, not just “one sugar tablet.”

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies! Take control of your health!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227