You may have a disease. You may be just feeling tired or can’t fall asleep. Perhaps one fine evening, you may have had a few extra shots of whisky that shattered your usual tough discipline and you ended up in bed with a new acquaintance.
Thereafter, you are riddled with guilt and fear of contracting a sexually transmitted infection and passing it on to your spouse. All these may affect you in many complicated ways: your general well-being, your emotions, your peformance at work, your relationship with your spouse, your self-esteem, your mood, your immune system, etc.
Your disease may get worse with time if left undiagnosed. It may be a step too late by the time you discover it. So now, can you see the need for a family doctor? Have you ever wondered why there is a saying that behind every successful person, there are three important people, namely an accountant, a lawyer and most of all, a good doctor?
A good doctor helps keep you in fine physical and mental shape, to enable you to function optimally, feel good and enjoy life.
In this country, if you visit a doctor for tiredness and pain in your knees, chances are you will just get a pain-killer and some multivitamins with the following advice, “Take these medicines and sleep early.”
If you ever find a good doctor, the scenario may be completely different.
The doctor may have empathy and compassion, and ask, “How is your work, nutrition and sleep? Do you have a history or family history of hypertension or diabetes? Have you been doing exercise? Do you smoke or drink? Did you ever see worms in your stool?”
From your short answers he may be able to grasp a clinical picture about you: You work too much, you drink alcohol and coffee, eat unhealthily and do not allocate enough time for exercise. You have been tossing around in bed and hardly sleep. Both your parents are diabetics and died from heart attacks. You also saw small wriggling worms in your stool some time ago.
Since coming to Cambodia over a decade ago, you have been consulting a few doctors but none have ever checked your blood pressure and urine.
This empathetic doctor that you have now discovered may say, “Let me examine you to find out more and do a simple urine test for sugar.”
When he has sufficient relevant information, he may look straight into your eyes again and advise: “Sir, you are obese (95 kg), hypertensive and diabetic. Perhaps a blood test would reveal that you also have elevated bad cholesterol.”
“You probably have a condition that we call a metabolic syndrome. In simple layman’s terms, you need a complete overhaul of your ‘engine’ because you are at high risk of so many diseases and all the major causes of death – namely cardiac arrest, infection, stroke and cancer. What should we do?”
If I was that doctor, I would say: “Well, not to worry. I am with you. Let’s make it simple and practical. We are going to make some changes and turn things around to your great advantage.
“First and foremost, I shall help you bring down your blood sugar, which is significantly high. Take this medicine that will help the excess blood sugar to enter the cells to produce the energy that you need. That can help address your problem of tiredness.
“You can do better by cutting down alcoholic drinks and omitting sugar in your coffee. Exercise can help burn some of the excess sugar and fats thus helping you to lose some weight. You may cycle or swim but do not jog now because jogging will further hurt your weight-bearing joints – especially your knees. In the meantime, I shall also provide you with some medicine to help you overcome the pain in your knees.
“If you lose some weight, it is going to help because your knees carry 80% of your weight.
“I will also deworm you as the hookworms are biting on your guts and sucking your blood causing you to have less red blood cells. That contributes towards your feeling of lethargy. Exercise also helps you to sleep better.
“You may want to stop drinking coffee in the evening or at night as the caffeine can keep you awake. Come back in two weeks to recheck your blood pressure and for a rapid blood test.
“Don’t worry. If you work closely with me, you will be able to change your lifestyle slowly and perhaps like it because I am going to make it much easier for you. About you quitting smoking cigarettes, I know it is difficult. We’ll leave it to a later time.”
“Have a nice day, and live well.”
Dr. Victor Ti, MD, MFAM (Malaysia), FRACGP (Australia), Dip P Dermatology (UK), Dip STDs/AIDS (Thailand), Dip. AARAM (USA), LCP of Aesthetic Med.(Malaysia), is an experienced specialist generalist (Family Physician) at BH Clinic, Phnom Penh. As a specialist generalist, he is skillful at diagnosing general diseases. Dr. Ti is also known for his skill in skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, minor surgery and aesthetic medicine. He can be contacted via Facebook Messenger at m.me/bhclinic1 or by phone on 023 900 446.