Not too long ago, the overwhelming majority of trips to the doctor’s office were prompted by an acute or chronic health condition, illness or injury. Very few people would take the time to schedule an appointment unless they had something “broken” that needed to be fixed. The thought of going to a physician while you were healthy was not a common occurrence. But mindsets are changing in regards to primary care and patients are seeking education on healthy lifestyle changes and wellness to prevent illness and reverse chronic health conditions.
In the ideal practice, primary care providers are combining the best of all worlds with a blend of conventional science, natural or integrative medicine and plain old ordinary common sense care. Focus is on the patient as a whole person, including their lifestyle, diet, exercise, stress level, medical history, etc., not just their physical problem.
As no two people are exactly alike, exceptional care starts with taking time to ask key questions and really listening to the answers. The very best providers give their full attention and create a relaxed, “no rush” atmosphere while building a genuine relationship with their patients. Communication on a personal level is vital for obtaining information to develop an individualized health plan for each patient.
Regular exercise is a building block for good health but it doesn’t necessarily have to be done in a gym or fitness center. Ask your doctor for ideas on how to incorporate small amounts of exercise into your day to day lifestyle that can have a big impact on your overall health and stress level.
Another key component to good health is good nutrition and most of us do not eat as healthy as we should. Part of a routine wellness visit should include basic lab work as well as checking for common vitamin deficiencies such as Vitamin B-12 and/or Vitamin D. In addition to a healthy diet, our bodies often need additional sources such as daily supplements for optimum nutrition. Science has come a long way in developing high quality, easily absorbed supplements to target specific deficiencies as well as health conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid issues, etc. Be aware there can be a big difference in quality of raw ingredients and processing methods between grocery store vitamins and those only available through a doctor’s office. Ask your health care provider which brands they recommend.
Julie Tomsett is a published author and the office manager at GracePointe Healthcare; a direct-pay family practice and full service travel medicine clinic located in Cool Springs. www.gracepointehealthcare.com