Family Physician Advice: Why Get Regular Physicals?

Many serious health issues don’t manifest themselves until it’s too late. An example might be someone with high blood pressure. A person might feel fine and not know they have high blood pressure, but are at high risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

Another example may be someone who feels completely fine, yet they might be pre-diabetic, carrying an STD or certain types of cancers, or be right on the brink of having another deadly illness like a stroke or heart attack.

Whether you are feeling great or feeling sick, health experts definitely recommend getting an annual physical. What is involved in the actual physical will vary, but in general they will all be checking the systems throughout the body. This would include an examination of the skin, checking the heart and lungs, checking the abdominal area for any abnormalities. Also checking the lymph nodes, reflexes and vision.

Another physical check would include tests of the blood, stool and urine. These tests can check everything such as thyroid to make sure the levels are within a normal range and functioning properly, blood count, cholesterol – both good and bad, blood in the stool, the body’s electrolytes and triglyceride levels. Another test the doctor will do would be to check for sexually transmitted diseases if the patient has been sexually active. The test would include checking for HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis and gonorrhea.

The check-up would also include an update on immunizations, which would also include tetanus shots and perhaps a flu or pneumonia shot, should the doctor believe it is necessary.

If it hasn’t been discussed at a previous time, the doctor may want to take in a full family medical history. There are certain family traits that may be passed on to next generations, such as breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol issues.

The doctor would also need to know of any past surgeries and the dates of those surgeries, as well as whether those surgeries required any hospital stays.

One of the most important things is to be completely honest with the doctor. This includes items that may be hard to talk about if any substance abuse is involved, smoking tobacco or marijuana, as well as habits that include drinking alcohol. Also what needs to be discussed is sexual activity, whether that includes multiple partners and if precautions have been taken, such as the use of condoms.

An annual physical falls under the category of preventative medicine and is generally covered by most insurance companies at 100%. The limit on this coverage is usually that a physical can only happen once in every year. This also includes for females an annual pap smear and an mammogram. Unfortunately, many women are asked to have more than one mammogram per year if the doctor sees something on an image of concern, at which time those subsequent mammograms are not required to be covered by insurance.

Although it is now required by law to have health insurance in the United States, some people still do not have that coverage. There are many free clinics the will be able to perform a general physical so even without health insurance, it is important to get a yearly check-up.

Where Concierge Medicine Is Not Working, The Mid-West

Recent research has found that it can be difficult to find a concierge doctor or a direct primary care physician rural areas such as: Idaho; North Dakota; South Dakota; Louisiana and Mississippi. In many cases, there are less than half-a-dozen practitioners to serve an entire state.

Most doctors office are located in metropolitan areas such as Miami, FL, Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA to name a few. However, it’s a little known fact that over 63 percent of people who use direct primary care doctors and join concierge medicine clinics earn between $40,000 to $200,000 per year. Those are individuals, one couple households and families with children. This unequivocally shows that this form of healthcare is affordable to the masses and available to people in major metropolitan centers and surrounding suburbs. It says to local communities, ‘we’re coming to your town so please come check us out. We’ll be open for business in a location near you very soon.’

Since the mid-1990′s, states like California and Florida have seen the greatest amount of physicians actively opening and using these new business models. For most of the country, direct primary care and concierge medicine practices are growing and that growth is rapidly expanding in major metropolitan suburbs as well.

Large networks of doctors who have modeled their medical practice after these business strategies have claimed a significant portion of the market share and thus help to keep prices from inflating too high in major metropolitan markets.

Overall, concierge medicine is thriving in metropolitan markets with the majority of incomes remaining the same or increasing slightly. It has been estimated that concierge medicine and direct care physicians number approximately 5,000-5,5000 physicians and/or physician clinics across the U.S.

  • The top 4 most popular specialties in concierge medicine are: primary care; family medicine; cardiology and pediatrics.
  • The majority of concierge doctors (approximately 25%) earn between $200,000 – $300,000 per year.
  • The typical age of concierge doctor is between 40-59 years of age.
  • Most concierge doctors and direct primary care physicians treat six to eight patients per day.
  • Female concierge doctors fill up their concierge practices 30% faster than men.

Career satisfaction in the field among physicians also remains high. Only 18% of physicians stated they would not make the same decision again. In previous years, it was 25% but even so, the number overall is low and satisfaction with the business model is high when compared to traditional, insurance-based or managed care medical specialties.

Holistic Medicine and Holistic Doctors – Find The Right Practitioner For You

Many people feel they are at the point where going to a Western trained (allopathic) doctor has lead to frustration or no results in improving their level of health and vitality. Working with a holistic medical doctor can be a very rewarding experience and likely to be a more integrated and comprehensive approach then just a General Practitioner. Many holistic doctors are classically trained with an MD from an accedited medical institution but have additional training in pain management, herbal supplements, acupuncture, kinesiology and genetic testing. Most holistic doctor have a few specialties and use an integrated approach.

When you are facing an acute immediately life threatening trauma such as a bullet or heart attack then just going to an emergency room with ER doctors is going to be the wisest and most prudent decision but for on-going chronic health conditions such as auto-immune disorders, digestive issues, allergies, skin conditions, chronic pain and obesity then depending on your outlook and level of insurance, considering a Natural Medicine Doctor which are referred to as many different titles such Naturopath, Integrated Medicine or Holistic Health Practitioner.

There are many factors to consider when searching for a suitable practitioner. The first is one to consider is has the practitioner worked with conditions like yours before. Questions to ask a potential Holistic Medical Doctor are: What kinds of conditions do you treat? What conditions do you treat the most? What kinds of strategies do you use? Do you take insurance? Are you in-network or out–of-network? What if my health conditions don’t progress? How confident are you that you can help me with my health goals? How much do most of your clients need to spend on supplements or additional lab testing?

Most holistic doctors will examine your eating habits, levels of exercise, levels of stress and what kind of work they do. If the doctor does not ask examine these issues in your life then they probably are not truly an Integrated Doctor. If the doctor does not spend more time with you then a typical doctor visit then it also is probably not a great fit if you are truly looking for a holistic approach. A Holistic Medicine Doctor will likely spend more time with you on an initial visit. The typical amount of time for a first visit is one hour but many will spend two hours with you.

Be wary of the doctor that treat every condition and all kinds of people. If you are suffering from low back pain then seek out a doctor that specializes in chronic pain. If you are suffering from a a thryoid condition then seek out a doctor that specializes in auto-immune disorders. You want don’t want a generalist you want a specialist.

You often will pay more or out–of-pocket for this kind of care. Depending on the kind of health insurance and deductibles you have your-co-pays might be similar if you had just gone to an Family Medicine Doctor.

Whatever route you take, you should plan on being very pro-active and self-educated while taking on your health challenges. With Webmd, YouTube and so many other online portals you can learn so much about different strategies for your own health and wellness. Be prepared to ask intelligent questions and be familiar with some of the strategies they might recommend such as changing certain foods you eat and changing your lifestyle.

Pulling Up Facts About Medicinal Herbs For Dry Skin

Have you ever pulled plants from the soil? One can pull facts about medicinal plants from the large store of information on the Internet. This article calls readers’ attention to a few facts about medicinal herbs for dry skin.

The users of herbal dry skin products appreciate the benefits of aloe vera, calendula and comfrey. Those are herbs that are applied to the skin. Yet not all the remedies for dry skin get smeared on the skin. Some essential oils are added to bath water.

In addition, there are herbal dry skin products that are meant to be ingested. Teas that contain chamomile, dandelion or peppermint have been pointed to as a treatment for dry skin. Borage, fennel and calendula are other herbs that have been used to make a skin-healing tea.

Still, not everyone with dry skin can feel safe using a medicinal herb to treat that skin. Women who are pregnant, nursing or attempting to become pregnant should know that scientists have not investigated the degree to which medicinal herbs can affect a developing child.

Someone who is taking medications for some other health problem should speak with a doctor before using any medicinal herbs for dry skin. That advice certainly applies to someone who has recently had surgery. While surgery can dry the skin, it also exposes the body to many chemicals. Patients should not mix those chemicals with the chemicals in some of these herbs.

A person who has hay fever might want to consider an alternative to an herbal treatment. In fact, a person who is allergic to any plant should think twice before trying herbals for dry skin. Only an experienced herbalist, or a botanist, can identify those herbs that belong in the same plant family.

Medicinal type herbs should not be used on small babies. Even adults can be harmed by these, if used in excess.

In light of all the facts above, one can appreciate the need for alternatives to the available medicinal herbs for dry skin. What are those alternatives? Which of those alternatives would most effectively substitute for one of these herbal dry skin products?

A skin care product that can stimulate collagen production is an excellent substitute for an herbal skin treatment. All healthy skin contains collagen. Any healthy skin cell should be able to produce collagen. The absence of collagen in skin can lead to the development of dry skin.

How can skin benefit from the production of collagen by skin cells? Collagen is a fiber-like protein. Think how firm and strong a tight rope can be. That is how firm and strong skin can be, when it contains an adequate amount of collagen.

The reader should not assume that a good skin care product must contain lots of collagen. A good skin care product should stimulate the skin cells to produce collagen. The ability to smear collagen on the skin is not going to aid the healing of dry skin.

In conclusion, a good skin care product should penetrate the skin, so that it can not be washed off the skin. A good skin care product helps the skin to carry-out its normal biochemical functions. The production of collagen is one of those vital functions.

Osteopathic Medicine Benefits

Doctors who practice osteopathic medicine, known as ODs, are the new kids on the block when compared to medical doctors, or MDs. American physician Andrew Taylor Still developed osteopathy and the American Osteopathic School, the first school to offer training in osteopathy, opened in 1892. According to the National Osteopathic Association, more than 10,000 students are enrolled in the 20 colleges in the United States that offer training in osteopathic medicine.

Why Choose an Osteopathic Doctor?

Training to practice osteopathic manipulative medicine is quite similar to the training that medical doctors receive. As undergraduates, both types of doctors graduate from a four year college or university with a degree in one of the sciences. After receiving their undergraduate degrees, potential doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy must complete four years of basic medicine in medical school.

After finishing medical school, both types of doctors complete a residency program. Then, they can finally choose a specialty. Like MDs, ODs can become specialists in surgery, family medicine or psychiatry. After completing all of their training, both must be accredited and licensed in the state in which they want to practice.

ODs also receive additional training beyond MDs about humans’ skeletons, muscles and nerves, or the musculoskeletal system. This gives ODs the knowledge that they need to practice osteopathic manipulative treatments, or OMT.

In the past, the differences between ODs and MDs were quite clear. ODs approached the patient as a whole and emphasized preventative care while MDs focused on treating symptoms of illnesses. However, today, the lines between the two types of practices has blurred as both types of physicians want to help their patients stay healthy and prevent illnesses from occurring. The main practical difference between the two types of physicians is that ODs may use osteopathic manipulative medicine on the body as part of a patient’s treatment.

Picking a Physician

The steps that you would take in choosing an OD are the same as if you were choosing an MD. You would want to pick a doctor who is accredited and licensed, who has a good reputation in his or her specialty and who is covered by your insurance policy. Try and get a reference from someone that you trust and check to see if the physician has been sued or disciplined in the past.