Studies in children and adults have linked reduced sleep (fewer than six hours a night for adults) to impaired glucose tolerance and weight gain (specifically a gain in waist size from accumulation of the dangerous belly fat from rise in cortisol). Increased stress and reduced sleep are perhaps occurring in epidemic proportions and is almost certainly a factor in many patients who are having difficulty with low energy and losing weight.
Regardless of the precise medical circumstances of our fictitious patient, in the end, every patient comes to us with a unique and very personal story. None of us can know what our patient or Winfrey is going through or how best she can proceed to regain her health. I do believe very strongly however that she did listen to her body and believes in her own power to get better -- which is first and foremost. Our body's health radar works best, yet partnering with a trusted doctor who takes time to listen to you is critical too.
I wish all of you the best this new year.
Dr. Marie Savard is an ABC News medical contributor. To learn more about Savard's health management system, download free forms and a sample letter to your doctor, visit http://www.drsavard.com and click on "Learn how to take charge of your health."