Why is it that doctors would rather tell a patient that they need to take tons of pills than tell them that they are fat and need to lose weight?

I have an overweight father who has tons of health problems and doesn’t want to look after himself, yet in all the years he has been to doctors no one is emphasizing that he needs to lose weight and take care of himself. (Oh and I tell him that everyday, yet he’d rather listen to a doctor) Why is it so difficult to tell someone that they are messing up their body to the extent of hurting themselves and everyone around them? I truly do not understand this pill popping mentality.

Answer #1

Although i agree, I think it’s because it sounds kind of mean :P Plus, sometimes it takes longer to lose weight than for a pill to work its magic. Also, I think doctors make more money by prescribing pills then by just saying “you’re fat, lose weight”.

Answer #2

I find Dr’s often turn to pills first before natural remedies (like losing weight, eating better etc.). its sad. I think pills are far easier to take than exercising/dieting/healthy lifestyle choices. Perhaps at one time Dr. did suggest life style changes, but as nobody listened they gave up.

Answer #3

Problem is it may very be the only way to help. Perhaps the doctor has told him to lose the weight only he may have smiled and giggled & said is there any other faster way to speed up the process?! In that case the doctor will be happy to provide a pill to please him & make money off the prescription.

It’s not always up to the doctor, he can only advise on what to do. It’s really up to the patient to be it’s own doctor & see what is best for him.

We as humans are born lazy, no one actually enjoys working out sweating and feeling all achy a few days later. We are always looking for the easy way out of a situation. When we finally know we have no choice & it’s a life threatening situation, then we look for some magic pill to make it all better.

Only way to teach someone in this situation is to be frank & scare the living life out of him. You need to take him to the mirror, and stand behind him, point out what he is doing to himself & the family in the process & say to him, “Do you see what it is you are doing to yourself & all of us? You are committing su!cide right in front of our very eyes, because if you dont stop living this lifestyle you will d!e and leave us without a father! Is that really your intention to leave us like this just because you are rather be selfish now & not have to take the long road to help prevent that from happening?!” Now the guilt trip, “Do you never want to see your kids walk down the isle with their significant others, or your first grandchild be born, because let me tell you this daddy, if you dont change this here & now, you will be doing just that!” Sometimes the nice way doesnt work & simply have to put it out there like I did with my father! He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure & his fav foods were fried foods, fatty salami’s and red meat not to mention his love for sandwiches with cream cheese & olives & sour pickles. After the last incident(he felt a tight pain in his chest & couldnt sleep all night so we took him to the doc’s first thing in the morning, the doc said we had to rush him to the hospital asap and luckily we did just in time because he was about ready to have a heart attack if we wouldnt have. Now the hard part, telling him he couldnt live anymore on his fav diet. So the doc told him, look we are gonna have to change a few things or make you take more pills your choice! He isnt a pill lover so he was willing to change a bit of his diet but not for long. His cholesterol went up & so did his blood pressure the doc told him if you dont stop this you are going to d!e. Plain & simple. We all sat him down & explained to him that he wasnt getting any younger, 63-64 year old with congestive heart failure isnt something to toy with. If you want to live to have got to give it up for your own good. We monitor his in take, make sure he takes his meds & make sure that certain things he keeps away from. When he gets cranky & doesnt want to listen because after almost 10 years on this roller coaster diet he has lost the weigh, his cholesterol is down sugar is down even blood pressure is down but still no change in his condition, clogged arteries, we tell him if you want to continue living another 10 years you gotta keep moving!. I show him things on the internet, how to live a healthier life, what foods he needs to eat to help his situation and he really takes that into consideration now. Perhaps you need to do that as well. Sit him down, educate him, be real & show him that it is not a joke & nothing to be taken lightly. Exercise is the main key for loosing weight but not a necessity if you cut out all the greasy fatty foods, and also cut the portion size to half of what they were hving as well. Simply doing house chores, walking down a flight of stairs or some gardening will help as well! (raking leaves, picking up the bag & shoving the leaves into the bag is making him bend down to move as well.)

Good luck, hope he feels better soon.

Answer #4

So many doctors act like they are being paid directly from the pharmaceutical companies. Its so frustrating. My father is a type 2 diabetic, and for a while he had to inject insulin because another medication he was on was causing dangerous rises in his blood glucose levels. When he was able to stop taking it, his blood glucose returned to normal levels, but his doctor told him to keep using insulin. Even though he didnt need it. Even though type 2 diabetics should be diet-controlled as they produce their own insulin but do not respond to it properly. I get so annoyed with all the pills they try to make him take. They also had him on cholesterol lowering pills, which he asked if he could stop taking because they were also messing with his blood-glucose, and he was only slightly higher than “normal.” They said no, but he stopped anyway. His cholestrol didnt change. Probably because there is no such thing as normal, everyone is different. For your father I would recommend getting him to see a nutritionist, because most doctors I know have no idea about this kind of thing, whereas a nutritionist is highly trained specifically in this area.

Answer #5

No offence intended:

If the Doctors are not telling your father that he is overweight, but you think he is overweight, maybe the highly trained Doctors are right and you are simply wrong in your assessment.

– Best wishes - Majikthise.

Answer #6

Get your father on an organic whole food diet. That would make a bigger change in him. For the better that is.

Answer #7

Haha, Kent whilst I absolutely agree with you on the fact that he should have a better and healthier diet, the man is very stubborn. Unfortunately white men in South Africa have a culture of not eating any veggies or fruits. They believe that the perfect diet consists of red meat and starch - usually refined starches - like “pap” or chips.

Here is a basic example of what happened once: I went on holiday with Irene and family in December and with my eating habits being very different than his, discussions on healthy foods occurred. He is absolutely convinced his food is healthy! And two weeks after that holiday he ended up in hospital and even that would not change his mind.

I reckon that the only person he would listen to is a doctor he trusts, but as the question kind of states, they would rather give pills than good diet advice.

Answer #8

That is so often the case. My father was the same way. He complained always about his condition, yet he wouldn’t change his diet, wouldn’t exercise, and kept taking those pills. He knew those pills didn’t do anything but get him on other pills to handle other side effects. One big profit for the Big Pharma. There is a food or combinations of foods that will handle every ailment one has. Unfortunately red meat and starches won’t do.

The other problems older people have is they have been brought up on a diet from early childhood to present and it’s hard to change. It’s the taste that satisfies them, others don’t, so they go back to it. The other is they think doctors have the answers to all health problems. Here in the US, especially, doctors in my opinion don’t know how to doctor, find the real source of the problem, unless one goes to a specialist, and heal a person. All they are in most cases are drug pushers for the pharmaceuticals. Universities don’t teach medicine they teach pills pushing. But of course people are the other problem as well. They want a quick fix rather than change the habits of life.

Answer #9

Forgot to ask. What is a “pap”?

Answer #10

I’ve always wondered something, why do people think that people who are fat are some how oblivious to the fact that they are fat? They’re well aware. Being told by someone else is not like some sort of wake up call. It’s like telling a smoker they’re damaging their health. They know, the well-meaning advice that comes from news reports, from ‘concerned’ friends and family, from tv commercials, believe me, they’re not clueless. When has a doctor ever been able to convince someone to quit smoking? I’m sure your father’s weight has been addressed by a doctor, despite this picture of doctors as evil puppets of the dr.ug companies, they are ethically bound to help their patients. However, the doctor cannot do anything about the patient’s lifestyle. They can give them medication to deal with the lifestyle.

Answer #11

Most doctors are part of a Health Maintenance Organization that is in the business of making money, not helping people to get better. And unfortunately because of this, they are pill pushers because it is the most cost effective for the HMO and not necessarily in the best interest of the patient. Dr. Sanjay Gupta just did a story on pharmaceutical companies paying doctors to prescribe new medications, sometimes even if the symptoms don’t warrant it. Many of the doctors that were recruited to do this had questionable motives, some had lost their hospital privileges or have had a number of lawsuits against them and needed to supplement their income, so they are paid from a few hundred dollars to several hundred thousand dollars to do so. If you have health insurance, you have the right to demand quality care, not a pill. The fact is that most of the pills prescribed by doctors are toxins and need to be detoxified by your liver and filtered out by your kidneys and over time are injurious to both.

Answer #12

My doctor always discusses lifestyle changes first and views medication as the last resort. There are doctors out there who don’t just write a prescription and send the patient on their way.

Now that obesity is my only risk factor my doctor doesn’t bug me about it any more. When I was obese and had high blood pressure or Obese and had high triglycerides she was constantly telling me to loose weight With my BP and lipids in line she seems happy. I guess I’m allowed one risk factor.

Answer #13

He is 20 kg’s overweight is suffering from congestive heart failure was in the hospital a month ago with severe asthma and bronchitis, believe me, I know and my mother know and the doctors know that he is overweight.

Answer #14

Oh and please don’t assume that I am an idiot. I wouldn’t be posting a question stating this if it wasn’t true.

Answer #15

We tried, but he doesn’t listen. My mother wants him to go see one.

Answer #16

Pap is a starchy food made from maize meal. Basically you just add water and salt. Check here: http://www.funadvice.com/howto/pap

Answer #17

I don’t care if he hears it everywhere, he is damaging us and my mother is the one suffering the most. He doesn’t give a damn. And We were there when he was in hospital, evertime the doctor just prescribed god damned meds. I mean I don’t get what is wrong with them. I haven’t had a single one telling him to lose weight. Also when I ask him if the doctors have ever told him to eat healty and change his lifestyle he says no.

Answer #18

He also doesn’t listen to anyone, so that I know is part of the problem. Like I tell him that you are supposed to use your asthma medication every day and he says that they doctors didn’t tell him that. I mean what one earth do they do?

Answer #19

Pap, is as Irene said, its also one of the main reasons why South Africa, a country with 40% unemployment, is one of the fattest nations in the world (I think we are third of forth) and its also why we are on of the countries with the highest rates of diabetes. Unfortunately the companies that sell it promote it as “healthy” and people believe them.

Answer #20

You have a good doctor. My mother is a Doctor and she is very much the same, she always tells people they are eating the wrong foods or are overweight or what ever. Most don’t listen though.

She will also admit that most doctors don’t give advice such as this, its easier giving pills.

Answer #21

Ty, I honestly don’t think he knows he is fat. In South Africa his size is considered normal. He is the average size! And just because he is the “normal” size does not make it healthy. While I agree with the rest of the stuff you said, I really don’t think he knows what it is to be normal.

Also he believes that refined carbs and red meat are more healthy than fruits or vegies…

Answer #22

Plus, it could also be the seeds come from Monsanto Industries. They are genetically altered seeds. Since they are altered the body doesn’t know what to do with it other than store it. The results obesity and diabetes. Monsanto makes the money and the doctors benefit off of it. Your farms probably grow the food with artificial fertilizers. Which furthers the problem.

Answer #23

Pap looks like our southern corn dishe, mostly eaten for breakfast. Called Grits. Made the same way as Pap and served with butter on it.

Answer #24

I don’t assume you are an idiot anymore than you assume all your Father’s Doctors are idiots to be honest.

I would be interested to know what your Fathers hight and weight is though since you know he is 20kg overweight.

– Majikthise.

Answer #25

He is about 169 cm’s and weighs about 105 kg’s.He weighs himself often surprisingly. I never said they were idiots, just ignorant.

Answer #26

I have an overweight father. Who for most of his life I wasn’t aware he knew he was overweight. After getting sick, he started to lose weight. He knew, he just didn’t do anything about it till he got sick. I know you’re frustrated and angry as hell at him for being sick. And it is natural to blame the doctors. But at the end of the day he knows. He does. He may choose to ignore it, he may choose to deny it, but deep down he knows. He’s heard it from you, and odds are the doctors have mentioned something, even if they haven’t made it a huge priority and he was able to dismiss it (after all, they do need patient compliance, and annoying them tends not to work very well when you’re trying to achieve this). Why would someone continue doing something that is harming them, I don’t know. It’s easier to say red meat and carbs are healthier, because that’s what he wants to eat. And I know, I did grow up in Africa. They all know better and they all say that. However, I do realize that doesn’t exactly solve the problem. You’re all standing around upset at the fact that he is slowly killing himself, and he’s not changing anything. If it makes you feel better, maybe you can go with him to his doctor’s appointment and ask the doctor yourself if they can provide you with some sort of meal plan. I’m not saying it will work. But it’s a step. And if he really truly doesn’t know, well then now he will. A piece of advice, don’t approach it as if you know that he needs a diet change, or you’ve been telling him he needs a diet change. Ask as a completely unbiased bystander.

Answer #27

OK ! - Yes he is overweight isn’t he ? and I apologize if my apparent support of his Doctors has irritated you.

In fact, I would say he is more like 30kg overweight, and can only assume that his Doctors believe it is in his best interests to treat his symptoms directly, rather than by addressing what may be the underlying cause of (some of) those symptoms.

If he is too unfit to safely engage in very significant amounts of extra exercise, it would be very difficult for him to lose 30 kg in less than about 2 and a half years solely by adopting a low calorie healthy diet. Doctors sometimes have to be pragmatic. If they believe his problems are best treated by pills and that they cannot be treated adequately in the necessary time scale by a weight loss program, then they are bound to proceed in the manner most likely to optimize his quality of life (by his own criteria rather than yours) and his life expectancy.

– Best wishes - Majikthise.

Answer #28

Oh yes, I’ve forgotten about Grits. I remember that from the movie “My cousin Vinny”. It’s pretty much exactly like grits except the preparation sometimes differs as well as the way in which is eaten. Most people here don’t eat it as a breakfast, but rather as a starch with their meals in the evenings (that’s if they don’t have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and with the sauce almost like gravy.

Answer #29

But a pill doesn’t deal with the underlying cause, whereas losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle would help improve the causes.

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