I was reading Big Fat Blog recently, which lead me to this article. It tells of a woman who went to her doctor due to sudden and painful weight gain. The doctor told her she needed to loose weight and prescribed an appetite suppressant. It turned out she had an ovarian cyst weighing 32 pounds!
Unfortunately, this sort of thing is way too common, and just another example of how medical professionals are prone to judge people based on their size just as much as anyone else. Unlike your average Joe Schmoe on the street, though, a doctor's preconceptions can risk a persons health.
Being a person of generous proportions, I've encountered this numerous times, as has my husband. I remember an incident that occurred some years ago. This was after my husband had injured and reinjured his back a couple of times, so he'd gained a fair amount of weight. He was at the point where he was, cautiously, increasing his activity levels again. One day, while in the shower, he found a mildly painful lump. Located on his inner thigh, he asked me to take a look. I could see a lump, as well as bruise like discoloration. To me, it looked like the beginnings of a lesion. Having just moved to a new city, my husband asked some of his new co-workers to recommend a doctor and soon had an appointment. The dr. took one look and told him he was diabetic and that he needed to loose weight, then ordered blood tests to confirm her supposition. She then recommended he improve his diet and exercise. The thing is, my husband was *already* eating healthy, and while still recovering from his back injury, he had already been increasing his exercise levels. So there really wasn't anything we could change as far as diet and exercise.
After a few days, the results of his blood tests came in and... everything was normal. Not only was he not diabetic, but his cholesterol, etc. was within normal parameters. She still recommended he loose weight, but really had nothing more to tell him.
And the lump? Well, it continued to become more tender until one day, it popped. That's right. The lump that had us so concerned turned out to be nothing more than a colossal zit!
The thing is, every time he went to see a new doctor, *every single one of them* assumed that, because of his size, he was diabetic, and that he'd have high cholesterol levels, etc. (an interesting side note - although doctors I've gone to also assumed I'd have high cholesterol levels and other "weight related" health issues, I've never had any suggest I was at risk of diabetes - only my husband has had that). Every single time, they'd write him up for blood tests, and they'd all come back normal. It wasn't until his health suddenly fell apart that his blood sugar levels skyrocketed, along with all sorts of other weird results from the numerous tests he went through at the time, and they went back to normal once he started using the CPAP. In fact, once his apnea was treated, all his tests started coming back normal, even though he was still feeling ill, and they eventually ran out of tests. This was as frustrating for the doctors as it was for us. It's so much easier to say "you're sick because you're fat - loose the weight and you'll be healthy." Then their own tests would contradict them. Life would be so much easier if we could blame his health problems on his weight, but we can't.
Now, we're on the search for yet another new doctor to see and, understandably, my husband isn't looking forward to it at all.