Report Shows “Treat or Eat” Dilemma in Chronically Ill

“Treat or Eat?”, “Milk or Med?” New Study Shows That 1 in 3 Chronically Ill Patients Must Choose Between Medication & Food

Dr. Seth Berkowitz of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital and Niteesh Choudhury M.D. of Beth Israel Hospital in Boston studied the issues of food insecurity and management of chronic disease and recently issued a report. By analyzing the 2011 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data, Berkowitz and Choudhury and their study colleagues were able to study a cohort of 9,696 adults with chronic illness. Their report, published January 21, 2014 in the American Journal of Medicine, concludes that as many as one in three patients with chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes or arthritis encounters a conflict between paying for food and paying for prescription medication. The idea that people face a trade off between food and medication emerges from the data studied, according to Dr. Berkowtiz.

The study of cost-related medication underuse showed that people with more than one chronic illness were much more likely to face a food/medication tradeoff.

Patients with type 2 diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases were encouraged to share with their physician if they are facing such a “Milk or Med” conflict. The physician could advise on applying for a food assistance program, or where medications could be obtained at lower cost. Importantly, if the physician knows that nutrition may be compromised, he or she may prescribe a different course of treatment as some medications would not work properly if the patient is not eating regularly.

If you have a chronic disease such as diabetes, or arthritis, or if you have been faced with a “Treat or Eat” dilemma, your medical condition by itself, or combined with other problems, may prevent you from holding or keeping a full time job. If you are unable to work due to a physical or mental condition, Keefe Disability Law is here to help. Call today to speak with a claim representative and we will provide a free case evaluation to see how our legal team can help with your disability case - 800 776 2929.

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John L. Keefe
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