10 Things Your Doctor Really Does Want You to Know!
Tue, Jan 31, 2023
When I see these “things your doctor doesn’t want to know,” I know it’s either something your doctor DOES want you to know, or something that is nonsense. Our world revolves around catchy headlines!
Here are 10 things your doctor DOES want you to know based on frequently asked questions at Sunflower DPC in 2022.
10 Things Your Doctor
Doesn’t Really Does Want You to Know!
1. Sudafed v. Mucinex (otherwise known as “what to do about mucus?)
First, the generic for Sudafed is pseudoephedrine (not phenylephrine which has minimal benefit) and the generic for Mucinex is guaifenesin (also found in Robitussin - which also often has dextromethorphan which helps with cough!).
-Thick and gunky? Thin it out with plenty of fluids and guaifenesin!
-Thin and watery runny nose? Decrease drainage and dry things out with pseudoephedrine (but not if you have a history of high blood pressure) - and only for up to about 5 days.
-Allergy medicine may also be helpful
2. Why do I keep getting sick?
Multiple people have called me concerned about something along the lines of “I think something’s wrong, I feel like I’ve been sick for months!” And while being sick for a prolonged period of time is definitely reason to be concerned and call your doctor, upon questioning (so far) it has been viral illnesses - one after another. Why? Nothing is “wrong” with your immune system, it just hasn’t seen many of these viruses for the past couple years so you don’t have good immunity built up. For those with kids, remember when they first went off to daycare or kindergarten and brought home a new cold each week? It kind of feels like that, doesn’t it?
3. Do I need to take a COVID test? Probably.
If you call me with any cough/cold type symptoms once I make sure you’re ok the first thing I’m going to ask is “have you taken a COVID-19 test yet?” If you have and it was negative I’ll ask when, because I’ll also recommend you take a second test 48 hours later to get a more accurate result.
You can get 4 FREE COVID-19 TESTS HERE, and 5 FREE COVID-19 TESTS MONTHLY HERE each month after the first (so order for January now!). Most health departments still have free tests they are giving out, and if you have insurance they will reimburse you for 8 per month. You can also buy them yourself online or at pharmacies. I recommend everyone have at least 2 on hand per household member at all times just in case (you don’t want to be hunting one down when you’re sick!).
4. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Short answer: on a population level it is much safer than catching COVID-19.
Long answer: Everything (even natural things) can have short and long term side effects. The vaccine can prevent catching it, it can reduce duration and severity of symptoms, prevent hospitalization, and reduce long-COVID symptoms. The vaccine can certainly (and commonly) cause a sore arm, feeling sick for a day or two including fatigue or aches, and very very VERY rarely more serious (but usually short-lived) side effects like inflammation around the heart (which happens more often with actual COVID infection than the vaccine). And I always recognize that although ON AVERAGE one thing may be better than another, that doesn’t help much for that person that got the bad end of the deal.
Everyone has to decide for themselves what is right for them, but I’m always happy to answer questions and tell you about my personal experience receiving the vaccine and giving hundreds of them. And if you have not had the fall 2022 Bivalent Booster (which I highly recommend) and you want it, please click here to book a time to get it today! I also take non-patients for COVID-19 vaccines at no-charge.
5. How do I lose weight?
First of all, why do you need to lose weight? DO you NEED to lose weight or WANT to lose weight? Are your blood pressure and cholesterol good? Do you feel better physically at a different weight and if so, why? I do not encourage people to lose weight as its own end-goal but there are times where it is helpful - like for someone with high blood pressure or diabetes. I highly encourage people to lean more toward healthy, sustainable eating habits, increasing movement, and forgetting the number on the scale. I don’t even require my adult patients to get on the scale. Why? Because it doesn’t mean anything! Here are some reasons why “BMI is Bogus.”
6. What is the best “diet” (I hate that word!)? We know that eating a healthier (but not restrictive) diet leads to a longer, healthier life. What small changes can you make that aren’t big deal (please don’t give up your favorite foods) and won’t leave you having out of control cravings? These are LIFE changes, not crash diets. This can mean taking way OR ADDING! Add veggies to your pasta sauce! Cut back from 5 sodas a day to two! If you aren’t hungry, avoid social pressure to eat (easier said than done, I know). Try cooking vegetables in a different way. I never enjoyed green beans growing up, but it turns out I just don’t like the texture of CANNED green beans. Steam me up some fresh or frozen ones and I’m happy! By the way, the difference in nutrition is minimal between fresh, frozen, and canned veggies. Just rinse your canned veggies to remove extra salt.
I never enjoyed green beans growing up, but it turns out I just don’t like the texture of CANNED green beans. Steam me up some fresh or frozen ones and I’m happy! By the way, the difference in nutrition is minimal between fresh, frozen, and canned veggies. Just rinse your canned veggies to remove extra salt.
7. How much do I need to exercise?
According to the CDC adults need 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity and weight training twice weekly. BUT if you aren’t much for exercise please don’t punish yourself by taking up marathon running. I want you to enjoy your long healthy life not hate it!! Find something you enjoy that increases your movement. And you do not have to be runing to call something exercise. Don’t do much now? Do a little more tomorrow. Google “chair exercises” or here are some sample walking plans for increasing your activity slowly (this has worked marvelously for my patients!). Play some music and shake-it like nobody is watching while you cook dinner. Like going to the gym but can’t afford it? Our local Henderson Family YMCA has financial assistance (for exercise and child care!!) and we also have a planet fitness in Henderson. The point is, find something you enjoy, then if it’s not traditional exercise be creative to move more while you’re doing it!
I thought I hated exercising! I don’t like sweating, I don’t enjoy playing sports, and I sure have no interest in walking in circles (some of you do, and that’s great too!). What I have realized is I love swimming and walking my dog, Wendell. Going on an exercise bike while I read a book isn’t too bad. Listening to a podcast really helps the time fly! The flow of yoga/pilates and using my own body weight for strength training is relaxing and rewarding.
8. Do I need an annual physical?
Yes and no! There is no good evidence that an otherwise healthy person seeing a doctor once a year improves your health (WHAT?!). BUT what I find is often people “save up” their questions for that annual visit - some of which do lead to actual diagnosis and management needs. At Sunflower DPC I want you to reach out when you have the question or make an appointment, don’t wait several months before you get an answer that could affect your health!
Annual Medicare exams don’t actually require a physical exam part. There are some labs that you need every year if you have certain medical problems, but many you don’t. If you’re a woman over 40 you probably need that mammogram ordered every 1-2 years (did you know if you are my patient you don’t have to come all the way to the office for a visit for no reason other than to get your mammogram ordered?? Just send me a message and ask for an order when it’s due!). Cholesterol testing is only recommended every 5 years if it was previously normal.
So do you need a “physical” this year - maybe? Or could you send me a message and we can figure out what you actually need based on your age, gender/sex, and risk factors? Yes! At Sunflower DPC your care is personalized to your health needs.
9. When are you going to be able to take people on Medicare as members? I haven’t decided when. In order to allow people on Medicare to be members at SDPC I have to “opt-out” of Medicare - which means I can’t take Medicare anywhere else either (I know, it’s confusing). I currently supervise the excellent providers at Granville Vance Public Health and also help with hospital coverage at times - both of which would come to an end under current regulations if I opt-out. I’m just not quite ready to let go. I love the variety, I love the opportunity to teach and support and to assist my colleagues. But, I also love Sunflower and offering this level of service to anyone who wants it. There will definitely be a big announcement when it happens! In the meantime folks who are interested can join my wait list by registering on our website and putting “Medicare Wait List” in the comments.
10. Are you taking new patients? YES! There is a cap on the total number of patients we have so we can keep up the excellent level of service, but as we continue to grow every month we will be welcoming new patients until we meet that goal. We also want to support local small employers and their employees to get access to excellent and affordable primary care services!
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