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I hate getting a lecture from a doctor about how I need to lose weight and it happened again this past Tuesday.
I finally went for a follow-up appointment with my hepatologist (liver doctor). I've been putting it off because I know from the HCV Advocate that there aren't any new treatments for Hepatitis C (HCV) yet. But going every so often means I get the labs drawn by my primary care doctor reviewed by the HCV specialist and I get to talk to him about what I am currently worried about. So Tuesday I talked to him about my concerns that having HCV and type 2 diabetes, how it puts me at greater risk for developing liver cancer. The specialist added that it increases my risk of cirrhosis too. I mentioned that I don't drink alcohol and I eat a healthy diet and he replied that losing weight would also benefit my liver too.
Problem is, I have seriously tried losing weigh ever since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1999 and I have not succeeded. Which got me wondering Tuesday evening if all my chronic conditions make losing weight much more difficult. So I conducted my own good old-fashioned, scientific look-back study on my weight issues and here is what I discovered:
- FACT: While I have always been on the heavier side of the 'recommended weight range' for my height, I didn't become overweight (and more) until around 1994.
- FACT: I have been HCV+ since 1988, in my early 20's. I have chronic active Hepatitis C infection with a viral load of 10 million.
- FACT: I have had type 2 diabetes since January 1999, when I was in my mid-30's.
- FACT: Since developing fibromaylgia and related pain and fatigue in 2004, I've experienced sleep disorders including sleep apnea, delayed phase sleep disorder and lack of stage 4 deep sleep.
- FACT: Since I now know that I have entered menopause early due to my cancer treatment, I also now know that I have been peri-menopausal for the last 10 years or so.
- FACT: Being on HCV treatment for 3 weeks in 2007 helped me lose 15 pounds without even trying. It also seemed to help my aches and pains too. Too bad it worsened my dysautonomia symptoms, caused me to break out in multiple infections (both ears, my sinuses and one of my eyes) and landed me in the hospital because they thought I had a heart attack.
- HCV & Type 2 Diabetes: I recently read at Science Daily that researchers in Australia confirmed that HCV infection makes you insulin resistant and 3 to 4 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. They commented that being HCV+ seems to speed the development of type 2 diabetes earlier in individuals who have a family history of adult-onset diabetes. So instead of getting it between ages 65 to 70 (like my paternal grandfather), HCV+ individuals get diabetes at ages 35 to 40. Yup, that is exactly what happened to me.
- Peri-menopause, Menopause & Weight Gain: Weight gain during this period is very common for all women in this phase of their lives and hormonal changes can make losing weigh very difficult. Fabulous!
- Sleep Disorders & Weight Problems: Turns out, lack of sleep, poor quality sleep and sleep apnea are associated with weight gain. Researchers have found that lack of sleep increases appetite. Unfortunately, while I use a CPAP machine to successfully treat my sleep apnea, my sleep doctor has not found a remedy for my poor quality sleep. Just terrific...
I know my doctors shake their heads and don't believe me when I say I have tried and failed at losing weight. But here is scientific proof of all the things that are sabotaging my efforts!
So how can I counteract all these factors and lose weight?
I have no idea. But I do know I probably shouldn't ask my doctors because they have no clue either.