January 20, 2014

Joint January Meeting

Our January meeting started with Dr. Tom (previously shown as our local doctor) addressing both groups. First, he thanked our group for the impromptu meeting earlier and expressed his thanks to Sue for bringing her relative to be tested and having her depression brought under control without the need for depression drugs. He then turned to his group and told them that thanks to this group including you, many of you will now be tested for different vitamin and mineral deficiencies that would not otherwise be considered deficient.

Next, he explained that the last few months had been intensive and he thanked us for the research we do and to his group, he asked if any of them might be interested in research. Only one person expressed any desire and he was asked to meet with us after the meeting was over.

Tim had been setting up the projector for this Oregon State University website. Dr. Tom said he wanted to start with vitamin B12 and the foods area first within B12. When Tim scrolled to Food Sources, Dr. Tom took time to read it aloud and then emphasized how important the last sentence in the first paragraph should be to everyone. It says, “Individuals over the age of 50 should obtain their vitamin B12 in supplements or fortified foods like fortified cereal because of the increased likelihood of food-bound vitamin B12 malabsorption.”

Then Tim brought up the University of Maryland Medical Center website and scrolled down to the Dietary Sources, which reads, “Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods. Good dietary sources include fish, shellfish, dairy products, organ meats -- particularly liver and kidney-- eggs, beef, and pork.” Dr. Tom said he understands people that do not like organ meats, as they are not his favorites either. He thanked Tim for doing this as he felt both sources were important. Tim stated that both URLs would be included in the email sent about the meeting.

Dr. Tom then explained that for anyone over the age of 50 that might have fatigue or other problems discussed on either site should not be afraid to ask for the test to determine if they might have a deficiency. He would do the test and felt it was important for people to consider before doing anything about supplements. Then he emphasized that this was important for their doctor to know because of the medication conflicts between vitamin B12 and certain prescription medications, as shown at the bottom of my blog..

After some discussion, Dr. Tom called attention to the Age-Related Macular Degeneration section and told people to read this on both sites. Then he introduced the ophthalmologist and said he would talk about vision and some of the common problems for people with diabetes.

The eye doctor thanked Dr. Tom and then thanked me for inviting him to speak about problems for diabetes affecting eyesight. He explained that I had provided him with my blog on vision and the related websites and this helped explain much of what he would be covering. Next he asked if everyone had diabetes or pre-diabetes. All hands went up and he asked how many had their eyes checked within the last year. Only 16 kept their hands up. He asked if there were some that had eye exam in the last two years – only two.

Then he addressed the seven that had not raised their hands asking how many of them were on Medicare and four raised their hand. He then stated that the American Diabetes Association guidelines stated that two years was now the recommended time between appointments. He said this is not good and you should see your eye doctor for a dilated eye examination at least annually if you are over 50 years of age and annually if certain conditions exist before age 50. With some eye problems, an exam every six months is recommended.

He then asked Tim to start the slides, which showed the eye, and he pointed out what he would be able to see in a dilated eye exam. Some of the slides showed what age-related macular degeneration (AMD) looked like. Then he moved on to cataracts and had several slides showing different aspects of their development. Then he had slides showing what glaucoma looked like. He then concluded with retinopathy and how this looked in the eye exam.

He concluded that of those present, that were his patients, none had retinopathy, several had early stages of cataracts, two were being treated for AMD, and only one had early glaucoma. He then had Tim show the last three slides, which showed advanced glaucoma, cataracts, and AMD. Anyone with these stages can be diagnosed as legally blind. The good news is by discovering them early; treatment can prevent this from happening or delay the serious problem of blindness.

He concluded by saying everyone over the age of 50 should have a dilated eye exam on an annual basis if they have diabetes. Medicare does cover most of the cost and will pay for most treatments. He finished that his office will work with people that are not covered by insurance and do their best for them in getting them help. Discussion and questions followed and he took a few people aside to talk privately with them. The meeting ended and the Dr. Tom asked several of us to talk with the one interested in doing research.

The eye doctor asked if I would be writing more blogs on the eye diseases and I said I was thinking seriously about this. Since he has my address and email address he asked which format I would prefer. I said email if he didn't mind. He indicated that he had several URLs that he would send me and if I could use them he would send several images as well. We agreed and the meeting was over.

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