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Author Topic: Trying to fake your numbers  (Read 3626 times)

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Offline Luke

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Trying to fake your numbers
« on: July 01, 2009, 05:57:02 AM »
I have noticed that quite a lot my friends – well all of them actually - tend to have this habit of adopting a temporarily healthy lifestyle for the week or two that immediately precedes their routine blood draws. They do it because they want ‘good’ numbers.

Personally, I just don’t get it. What is the point? So what if they gain a few CD4s - it isn’t as if that is how they are generally living their life and as soon as their bloods have been drawn they go back to their usual habits.

Why try to fool your doctors that you are healthier than you actually are? Isn’t that kind of counter-productive?

To my way of thinking, I’d rather that all my bad habits – and I have plenty – were taken fully into account in my care. Am I missing something?

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else engages in this practise, or if you have any views on it.

Offline mecch

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2009, 07:07:03 AM »
What country is this happening? What city? Just curious...
Who old are these friends - all ages?
I had an HIV+ friend who would use a pending lab date to manipulate people. ("I have my labs soon, I don't need this aggravation, I need xyz......")
Notice - now an ex friend of course but only because i am better informed now, as being HIV+ as well.

I think the behaviour is a mixture of many possible motivations, depends on person, but certainly ignorance plays a role.  Also probably some good intentions (my body is a temple and I shouldnt abuse it so much with this condition) (hey, good lab results give me hope, why not try to have them) etc,, and bad intentions .

I was Mr. Healthy when I was sufferring last summer with enormous viral loads and then when I went on HAART I dropped that act.

I basically live a healthy lifestyle, so I basically live like I did before HIV.

My specialist says if one is on HAART - then the long term prognosis is most related to adherence.

I was horribly anxious about life, etc., quite a bit, during the time I was getting some of these lab tests and asked him and other specialists if that would impact the effectiveness of HAART and he said NO, it has been proven in the research.

If your friends are on HAART - I don't get the behaviour at all.  If your friends are not on HAART, then I think the behavior is quite human and it may be for themselves, and not to "fool" their doctors at all.



“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2009, 07:18:20 AM »
What country is this happening? What city? Just curious...

I am talking about the UK and most of my experience obviously relates to London, where I live. Ages vary from 20s to 50s, but I guess most of my poz friends and acquaintances are late 20s and early 30s, both on and off treatment.

I am not questioning their lifestyles - obviously I can understand why some people make the choice to make permanent lifestyle changes - I just don't understand the habit of temporarily modifying them to get a better CD4 count for one single day.

I could maybe understand it if it was only those who are off treatment and they were trying to delay starting meds; but I would still think it was a bit silly.

Edited to add:

I should perhaps add that when I challenge them about their habit, most of them don't even know why they are doing it. It is as if it is a ritualistic part of being HIV-positive and they simply do because that is what everyone else seems to do.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 08:11:33 AM by Luke »

Offline joemutt

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2009, 07:21:53 AM »
I have noticed this tendency in myself, only with cholesterol numbers though;
my fat intake drops from a week prior to testing;
I dread taking statins, they cause me muscle pain.
I dont think you can influence cd4s in a short term as you describe.

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2009, 07:31:49 AM »
I have noticed this tendency in myself, only with cholesterol numbers though;

So that's basically because it is easier than the confrontation with your doctor when you refuse to take statins, right?

I sort of get that one.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 07:33:23 AM by Luke »

Offline Ann

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2009, 08:26:22 AM »
Some of my friends lay off completely or cut way back on their alcohol consumption during the week before a blood draw - to get good liver enzymes, nothing to do with CD4s. They do this so they don't have to listen to their doctor give them a hard time about their drinking habits. I did this once myself, a year ago following Christmas/New Year, because I knew I'd been "celebrating" a little too much and I didn't want to get told off. ;D

Which makes me wonder if some people who alter their behaviour to affect their CD4s don't do it for pretty much the same reason - the doctor's reaction to their labs.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline mecch

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2009, 08:33:02 AM »
Why don't you press them further for explanation in a nice nonjudgemental way.
You can also share your hypothesis about why they do it, without "thinking".  Seems to shore up my idea that its just human to do things that one believes will result in good news.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2009, 08:37:04 AM »
Ann, I must be lucky then. My doctor isn't at all scary. We spend more time talking about his boyfriend than about my numbers ;)

Mecch, I already have:

Quote
I should perhaps add that when I challenge them about their habit, most of them don't even know why they are doing it. It is as if it is a ritualistic part of being HIV-positive and they simply do because that is what everyone else seems to do.

So, will the person who started this ritual please step forward and explain themselves ;)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 08:45:21 AM by Luke »

Offline Ann

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2009, 08:44:29 AM »

Ann, I must be lucky then. My doctor isn't at all scary. We spend more time talking about his boyfriend than about my numbers ;)
 

Well, my consultant isn't scary and he doesn't give me a hard time - he knows me too well. I love the guy to bits and I've knick-named him "The Wizard of Poz".

The trouble is, I don't always get to see him. Quite often I end up seeing a registrar - one who I've never seen before and probably won't see again. They're on rotation as part of their studies and seem to delight in giving life-style lectures to us pozzies. More than once I've known more about hiv than them, so it really rankles to get a lecture. I'm not above giving them one back either. They probably end up more afraid of me then I am of them.  ;D

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline mecch

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2009, 08:53:39 AM »

Mecch, I already have:


If they  respond, "I don't know", then that's not enough for you. So push them further to come up with possible explanations and you will have your answer.  If pushed further, they say "Because thats what people do", then your friends aren't very interesting as you are.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2009, 08:53:53 AM »
I'm not above giving them one back either. They probably end up more afraid of me then I am of them.  ;D

Yeah, I can see how that could be the case  ;D

Only joking. Seriously though, that does sort of make sense I guess. There is definitely a problem with the perceived power balance if that is how people feel they need to act to keep their doctor happy .. even if they are only doing it subconsciously. I suspect I am probably more like you - I go in there with a prepared agenda and take control. If the doctor oversteps the mark, I tell them.

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2009, 08:58:19 AM »
then your friends aren't very interesting as you are.

You can't even begin to imagine how much I am hoping that didn't come out quite the way it was meant to  :D

Online GSOgymrat

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2009, 09:08:08 AM »
Your friends probably stuff a sock down their pants before they go to nightclubs too. ;D

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2009, 09:10:53 AM »
Your friends probably stuff a sock down their pants before they go to nightclubs too. ;D

I really couldn't say. The sorts of nightclubs I go to, it is more likely to be some other form of enhancing 'toy', but I will be sure to find out ;)

Offline David_CA

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2009, 10:52:16 AM »
I've never heard of anybody trying to manipulate their numbers for one day.  I could see how they might for cholesterol or other issues that are controllable by behavior, though.  It sounds a bit silly.  My Dr. would only be concerned if my CD4's dropped tremendously or if I suddenly became resistant (indicating possible non-compliance).  I'd get no bitching from him.  I guess I could loose a pound or two before being weighed by taking a big... well, you know, right before going for an appointment!  :D
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline mecch

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2009, 11:54:04 AM »
Yeah my poor grammar for comparison.
I meant, you sound interesting, and I think you are selling your friends short, because if all they can say is "dunno", well I don't buy that.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Philly1972

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2009, 04:35:22 PM »
I have to admit I kind of do this too - its not so much that I change to a healthy lifestyle, I just don't participate in an unhealthy one before the test.  My tests are always on a Monday and I never go out the weekend before or participate in my occassional bad habits (the weekends that I do are few and far between).  I'm not on meds, so for me, I want to know that my results are reflective of the norm and not skewed down because I partied too hard the last couple days.

As others have said, it probably isn't making that much of a difference and is just part of human nature - it's more about feeling more confident than tricking your doctor.  I think you are making too big a deal of it and should just let them be.

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2009, 05:06:42 PM »
I think you are making too big a deal of it and should just let them be.

Oh I totally agree. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a big issue - that is why I have never pressed any of my friends about it as hard as mecch is suggesting I should. I am just curious and wondered why people do it.

I have enough anal habits of my own to sort out, without trying to get them to stop. I'd die of embarrassment if anyone saw the meticulous routine I follow when I fill my pill box every Sunday. It is probably borderline OCD  ;)

Offline newt

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2009, 05:07:58 PM »
Quote
So, will the person who started this ritual please step forward and explain themselves

Drs have a term for it, it's called white coat compliance. It's not unique to HIV.

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2009, 05:12:02 PM »
Drs have a term for it, it's called white coat compliance. It's not unique to HIV.

Ah .. so it is the slightly more rational version of the 'white coat syndrome' I get whenever they try to take my blood pressure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_coat_hypertension

Thanks, Matt, I knew I wasn't imagining it. And now you've told us that: White coat compliance limits the reliability of therapeutic drug monitoring in HIV-1-infected patients http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18753118
« Last Edit: July 01, 2009, 05:43:41 PM by Luke »

Offline antibody

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2009, 07:14:37 PM »
it's like flossing right before you go to the Dentist.
Timbuk      <50/ 794  CD4 10/06 
                 <50/ 1096 CD4 3/07
                 <40/ 1854 CD4 4/09

Started Atripla  7/14/06
Switched to boosted Reyataz Truvada 3/28/07

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Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2009, 11:42:59 PM »
Both my hiv and being poz has made me think about being more healthy. My downfall was pepsi, I drank it more than water. Though I still dread water, I do tolerate the ones with flavors. I have now stopped drinking pepsi. And I can tell the difference, I lost weight.

Though I am diabetic, I have never really been one to gorge on sweets. And though I partake of the good green, when I get the munchies, I eat things like salads, nuts, or fruit. I stopped taking one of my diabetic pills because I noticed since cutting out the pepsi that my sugars has been trying to level off in the normal range. And taking that pill was making my sugar cash way too often. But I still do take my insulin shot. And I did stop my hiv meds once as you can see in my sig line. But a hard head makes for a soft ass in the long run. I was lucky enough to be able to stay on the same meds.
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
10/31/07 CD4-265 VL- undetectable
2/6/08 CD4- 401 VL- undetectable
5/7/08 CD4- 705 VL- undetectable
6/4/08 CD4- 775 VL- undetectable
8/6/08 CD4- 805 VL- undetectable
11/13/08 CD4- 774 VL--undetectable
2/4/09  CD4- 484  VL- 18,000 (2 months off meds)
3/3/09---Starting Back on Meds---
4/27/09 CD4- 664 VL-- undetectable
6/17/09 CD4- 438 VL- 439
8/09 CD4- 404 VL- 1,600
01-22-10-- CD4- 525 VL- 59,000
Cherish the simple things life has to offer

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Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2009, 01:55:11 AM »
At times I've indulged in 6am coke binges with high fashion models before my noon doctor's appointment and lab draws.  Oddly my cd4 count went up.
"I’ve slept with enough men to know that I’m not gay"

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2009, 08:16:40 AM »
Queen Tokelove, did you mean to post that here  ???

Online GSOgymrat

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2009, 08:19:34 AM »
At times I've indulged in 6am coke binges with high fashion models before my noon doctor's appointment and lab draws.  Oddly my cd4 count went up.

I have a dentist appointment Monday and a blood draw Wednesday. I guess I need to score some coke, models, dental floss... anything else?

I don't think I have seen my doctor since October.

Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2009, 11:23:53 AM »
Queen Tokelove, did you mean to post that here  ???

Uh, yeah. I was using myself as an example...*scratches head*
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
10/31/07 CD4-265 VL- undetectable
2/6/08 CD4- 401 VL- undetectable
5/7/08 CD4- 705 VL- undetectable
6/4/08 CD4- 775 VL- undetectable
8/6/08 CD4- 805 VL- undetectable
11/13/08 CD4- 774 VL--undetectable
2/4/09  CD4- 484  VL- 18,000 (2 months off meds)
3/3/09---Starting Back on Meds---
4/27/09 CD4- 664 VL-- undetectable
6/17/09 CD4- 438 VL- 439
8/09 CD4- 404 VL- 1,600
01-22-10-- CD4- 525 VL- 59,000
Cherish the simple things life has to offer

The Royal Blog

Offline Luke

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2009, 11:27:11 AM »
Oh OK. It just sounded very normal to me and not a white coat anywhere in sight   :)

Offline BlueMoon

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #27 on: July 02, 2009, 04:58:05 PM »
I really have no so-called 'bad habits' to give up, and my insurance won't cover coke, so there's not much I can do to jazz my numbers anyway.

I doubt I would in any case.  Those variations should even out over time and not affect the long-term trend.  And I certainly agree that it's better to know how the ordinary count, rather than an extraordinary 'show number'.

Of course I floss before seeing the dentist, but that's a matter of courtesy and self-interest.  I believe a clean mouth gets better attention (consumer tip: clean your car before taking it to the mechanic).   
...................VL.....CD4.....%
-----------------------------------------
08/10-- ......<40.....290.....42
05/10-- ......<48.....290.....46
02/10-- ......<48.....481.....44
10/09-- ......<48.....277.....46
07/09-- ......<48.....300.....38
05/09-- ........51.....449.....39
03/09-- Added Isentress
02/09-- ........65.....299.....34
11/08-- ........62.....242.....40
08/08-- ........66.....212.....29
05/08-- ......202.....217.....27
03/08-- ....5210.....187.....21
02/08-- Began Truvada/Reyataz/Norvir
12/07-- 273,000.....157.....22
11/07-- 229,000.....209.....22
10/07-- Diagnosis

It's a complex world.

Online GSOgymrat

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #28 on: July 02, 2009, 06:18:23 PM »
Of course I floss before seeing the dentist, but that's a matter of courtesy and self-interest.

Agreed. You want to keep the nice lady with the metal pick inside your mouth happy!

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2009, 07:37:02 PM »
I spoke with my doctor just last week.  My T-cells fluctuate between 350 and 450 and I have an undetectable VL, this is all since 1998.  We don't know what our T-cells were before we were infected and we all know the same person can be tested twice in the same day and their t-cells may vary by 100. 
 ;D  Have the best day
Michael

Offline antibody

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #30 on: July 03, 2009, 06:15:58 PM »
pretty stupid idea. would never work. it's all mental. ie if it makes you feel better to think your doing good to improve your numbers and then go back to drinking and drugs.
Timbuk      <50/ 794  CD4 10/06 
                 <50/ 1096 CD4 3/07
                 <40/ 1854 CD4 4/09

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Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #31 on: July 03, 2009, 07:03:34 PM »
I have always felt badly over failing modeling school.  I like Phylatio, 6 AM coke binges and fashion models.  ;D  Have the best day
Michael

Offline antibody

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2009, 08:24:12 PM »
like staying up for a month on meth and then napping for a week before your labs.
Timbuk      <50/ 794  CD4 10/06 
                 <50/ 1096 CD4 3/07
                 <40/ 1854 CD4 4/09

Started Atripla  7/14/06
Switched to boosted Reyataz Truvada 3/28/07

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Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Trying to fake your numbers
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2009, 08:29:56 AM »
I dunno ... small foibles that err on the side of a healthier lifestyle.. At least this way they are taking care of themselves a couple weeks a quarter.

If you could persuade your friends to have labs done every other week maybe they'd all live to 150  ;D
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

 


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