July 2014

What you don’t know may hurt you.

 
Here are some statements that doctors often hear from patients and why we think these are answers you should know.
 
1. “I don’t know if I took my medication today.”
 
It is important to take medications regularly. Some ways to remind yourself is to use a pill box.  Then you can tell if you took each day’s dose.
Another option is to set an alarm on your cell phone. Taking medications at the same time of day you always do something else, like brushing your teeth, helps to make it a habit.
 
2. “I don’t know what medications I take; my significant other handles all that.”
 
They are your medications. It is important for you to know what they are and what condition you take them for. If you cannot remember the names, then keep a list in your wallet so you have it at all times.
It helps all of your doctors to know what medications someone else may be prescribing. This helps to prevent prescription interactions.
 
3. “I know I am allergic to something, but I don’t know what it is.”
 
It is also important to know any medications you may be allergic to and what type of reaction you had to it. Once again, if you find it hard to remember, write it down and keep that in your wallet as well.
 
4. “I don’t know what health problems run in my family.”
 
As many of you are aware, we are updating family history in our office now. Since many conditions can be hereditary, it is important for you to know your family medical history so we can discuss what screening tests may be helpful for you.
 
5. “I don’t know what to eat for a snack that is healthy.”
 
Try popping your own popcorn, 6 cups of AIR-POPPED  popcorn has only 100 CALORIES. (Avoid the salt, especially if blood pressure is an issue for you.)
 
6. “I don’t know what the best thing to do to live longer is.”
 
If you currently smoke, quit. While we know this is not an easy thing to do, it is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you would like to discuss some options to help you quit, please ask us.
7. “I don’t know what types of food to avoid to help my cholesterol level.”
Fried foods, red meat, pork products, shellfish, whole milk and whole milk cheeses and yogurts, ice cream, many salad dressings and egg yolks are some of the foods highest in cholesterol.
 
 8. “I don’t know why I need a colonoscopy; colon cancer does not run in my family and I do not have any symptoms.”
In general, for healthy adults without a family history of colon cancer, screening with a colonoscopy should begin at age 50. Individuals with a family history of colon cancer should begin screening ten years before a first-degree relative (sibling, parent or child) was diagnosed. Individuals with certain symptoms: changes in bowels habits, blood in bowel movements, anemia, etc, should also have a colonoscopy, even if they are younger than age 50. Most individuals who are diagnosed with colon cancer have no symptoms and no family history of the disease. That is why screening for small polyps that can be easily removed is essential.