Apr 1, 2020

Case Study: Bailey, 57

Overview

In 1997, while working as a drafter for a structural engineering firm, Bailey noticed sudden vision changes impacting her work. She sought medical attention and was found to have severely uncontrolled blood sugar. Her doctor started her on medication for type 2 diabetes.

Bailey had watched her father-in-law struggle with complications from type 2 diabetes, including bilateral below the knee amputations, so facing this diagnosis was very difficult. However, she did not receive any lifestyle education and believed medications were her best and only option. She took her medications diligently, but in retrospect reports that she was unknowingly eating herself into poor health. Over the years, her diabetes continued to progress and she was also diagnosed with hypertension and dyslipidemia. At age 41, she had a heart attack and required bypass surgery and stent placement.

Shortly thereafter, Bailey suffered a brain hemorrhage from a head injury and was barely able to walk or stand, let alone work. She lost her car and her home, but was determined to improve her health. She used extra time as an opportunity to research and learn more about her medical conditions at the library. She realized that food and exercise choices can have a major impact on overall health and that her health and economic challenges were going to kill her if she didn’t make some major lifestyle changes.

In May 2019, Bailey joined Better Therapeutics to help her implement the changes necessary to improve her health and quality of life.

Medications
  • Lantus 70 units daily (diabetes)

  • Jardiance 10 mg daily (diabetes)

  • Ozempic 1 pen of 0.25mg/0.5mg per week (diabetes)

  • Atorvastatin 80 mg daily (cholesterol)

  • Gemfibrozil 600 mg twice daily (cholesterol)

  • Losartan 25 mg daily (blood pressure)

  • Furosemide 20 mg twice daily (blood pressure)

  • Metoprolol 25 mg daily (blood pressure)

  • Ranexa 500 mg twice daily

  • Isosorbide mononitrate 30 mg daily

  • Latuda 120 mg daily

  • Perphenazine 8 mg daily

  • Potassium chloride 20 meq twice daily

  • Rabeprazole DR 20 mg daily

  • Vitamin D3 2000 IU daily

  • Terbinafine 250 mg daily

Other Health Conditions & Concerns
  • Overweight

  • Heart disease

  • Bipolar disorder

  • GERD

  • Hemorrhagic brain injury

  • Myocardial infarction requiring bypass surgery and stent placement

Family History

Bailey has a family history of maternal type 2 diabetes and hypertension in both her mother and father.

Behavioral Treatment

Challenges & Concerns
  • After her head injury, Bailey was unable to walk or stand for more than a few minutes at a time. This made tasks such as grocery shopping, food preparation and house cleaning nearly impossible. She required the help of a care taker 3 days per week to assist her with these activities of daily living.

  • She was feeling so unwell that she was sleeping up to 17 hours a day.

  • Bailey is on disability and receives only $1,000 a month. She was concerned she wouldn’t be able to improve her food quality on this budget.

Behavior Changes
  • Bailey admits to being really stubborn at first. She didn’t believe that a predominantly plant-based eating pattern would significantly improve her quality of life, but her blood sugar was becoming progressively worse and she knew she needed to adopt an open-minded attitude if she was going to improve her quality of life. This perspective shift allowed her to build new habits that significantly improved her health.

  • The skills and lessons in the app taught her that she can control her symptoms through diet and exercise and that medication is not the only option.

  • Regularly tracking her blood sugar, blood pressure, plant-based meals and exercise provided insight about how certain habits and choices impacted her numbers. Seeing improvements in her weight and blood sugar over time positively reinforced the changes she was making.

  • She credits her coach for providing an extra layer of accountability and helping to shift her mindset about what was possible. This shift inspired creative and resourceful solutions for navigating financial obstacles.

“I thought I was just falling apart because I’m in my 50’s and that’s what people do. But that’s not the truth.”

Results

  • Bailey’s doctor decreased her Lantus from 70 to 50 units daily.

  • She lost over 25 pounds in 11 months.

  • Her energy and alertness have significantly improved. She went from sleeping an average of 17 hours daily to sleeping 8-9 hours each night.

  • Bailey is far more mobile and no longer requires a care taker to help with tasks around the house.

bailey-a1c
baileys-weight-change

“I had no idea that vegetables could be so life altering! Last year I could hardly get out of bed, and now I wake up every day excited to play.”

Takeaways

  • Bailey realized that adopting an attitude grounded in open-mindedness, resourcefulness, perseverance, and optimism can empower us to navigate the most difficult of obstacles. The shift in mindset is something she can continue to embrace and apply to other life circumstances.

  • Though there is a common misconception that healthy, quality food is expensive, Bailey was able to affordably incorporate vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and whole grains into her lifestyle. She significantly improved her health and quality of life and reduced her medications as a result.