As you may know or guessed from my prior articles, we usually care for a predominantly senior population. We do see children, adolescents and adults of all ages, but most of my day is spent with folks who are old enough to be my parents. Of course, the longer I spend in practice, the closer I get in age to my patients.
This year, I have had the pleasure of meeting some men who are closer to my own age and younger. They made appointments for various reasons. Some had new insurance and were taking advantage of a covered annual visit. Others, more commonly, were told to make an appointment by their spouse. And, finally, some made appointments to talk about a particular concern. Sometimes the concerns had been going on for years and others were fairly new.
The things that set this group of new male patients apart from others is that they had a desire to improve their health by whatever means necessary, including lifestyle change.
One gentleman was found to have high blood pressure. His readings were high enough that treatment was indicated immediately. More often than not, I’ll be met with push back about how they would like to try diet and exercise and natural methods before taking medication. While valid steps, sometimes a person just needs to take a medication to get conditions under control. To my surprise, he jumped right in and not only took the medication, but started making lifestyle changes immediately. He cut back on salt, reduced his calorie intake to help lose weight and started some moderate exercise. By his next visit his blood pressure was better controlled and he was excited about how he was doing and, more importantly, feeling.
The other patient that comes to mind was diagnosed with diabetes. He’d been told he had diabetes years ago, but never did much about it. When he arrived in our exam room, his diabetes was poorly controlled, but he was ready for a lifestyle change. We did lab tests to find out where he was with his kidneys, his liver and his cholesterol. With that information, I laid out for him a recommended plan of action. That included a couple of medications for his diabetes, a medication to protect his kidneys, a cholesterol medication to protect his heart, changes to his diet and his activity level. When he returned for his follow-up, he was joined by his spouse and they shared all of their lifestyle changes they made together. They were a team, working together to get him healthier. It was beautiful to see.
In the last 9 months or so, I’ve become one of these men. I now have high blood pressure and needed to take medication and adjust my lifestyle to improve my health. I was smart enough to know that “physician heal thy self” is not a wise behavior. I’ve got a great doctor from HealthTexas who walked with me through the process and helped me undergo my own lifestyle change.
All of my partners at HealthTexas would be happy to help you live a healthier life. Give us a call. Michael Dominguez, MD, FAAFP is board certified in Family Medicine. His office is located at HealthTexas Medical Group, 590 N. General McMullen, 78228, phone: 210-249-0212.