Caution: Your sore throat could turn into a case of diabetes
Fifteen minutes -- that's all you get, and that's if you're lucky.
Some docs are trying to shave their appointments down to 10 minute or less. In the time it takes Domino's to deliver one pizza, they will have seen three patients.
Stop watches should never have a place in your medical care. But that sure isn't stopping a lot of docs from practicing speed medicine anyway. And to do it they do what anyone else does when they're rushing: they cut corners.
Their favorite corner-cutting trick is to prescribe antibiotics for just about everything.
Got a sniffle? Here's your med.
Sore throat? Why wait for the pesky strep culture -- just take the med.
UTI symptoms? You know the drill.
This outright abuse of antibiotics has fueled the rise of drug-resistant superbugs, as we all know too well by now. But it's also done something else -- and it's something that doesn't get nearly as much attention.
Every time you take an antibiotic, you change the delicate balance of bacteria in your gut -- and those changes can have serious long-term health consequences.
Now a frightening new study has revealed that the more often you take antibiotics the higher your risk of diabetes climbs.
It doesn't take much for the risk to kick in, either. Taking an antibiotic just five times within 15 years will cause your diabetes risk to jump by 50 percent when compared to someone who took the drug just once or not at all.
The reason? Those changes in the gut can alter the digestive process, including how your body reacts to sugar, damaging the insulin response. That in turn increases the risk of insulin resistance, which of course can become diabetes.
Changes in gut bacteria caused by antibiotics have also been linked to obesity, itself a major risk factor for diabetes.
Those are just two of the risks; the changes in gut bacteria can have a direct effect on nutrition, mood, memory and more. And in some cases, those changes are permanent.
These are risks no one should have to face, because in most cases antibiotics are unnecessary. Most cold and flu-like illnesses, for example, are viral and antibiotics will do nothing for them. Even many bacterial infections such as those UTIs I mentioned earlier can be treated without antibiotics.
If docs spent more than 10 minutes with their patients, they could do a much better job sorting out the few who really need these drugs from the many who don't.
So if you're given an antibiotic prescription, don't just accept it. Question it -- find out if you really need it and what other options you have, even if it means keeping the doc in the room for more than 15 minutes.
And if he can't spare the time, maybe it's time to find a new doc.