Patients I have seen recently emphasized the importance of both aspects of that approach. For one patient, it took a little “tough love” to make it clear that their health was important and should not be ignored. Even if a patient has well controlled diabetes, there are risks that must be minimized. Diabetes is recognized as being the equivalent of having heart disease. As a result, cholesterol levels need to be managed. In most all cases, that means taking a pill for many years to prevent a heart attack. Diabetes can also damage the kidneys and one little pill a day can help reduce the risk of kidney injury in patients with diabetes.
Another patient almost brought me to tears because of her transformation this fall. Through a few attempts at medication and a lot of talking, she’s feeling better and beginning to enjoy life again. Even though we both probably wanted to give up at times, we worked together to help her feel better.
From a prevention perspective, we’ve been working hard to help our patients become up to date with their health screenings. For women, those tests are the mammogram, colon cancer screening and cervical cancer screening (Pap smear).
Honestly, none of these are particularly pleasant experiences, but they serve a purpose to help catch conditions before it is too late. Many of my patients care for their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and, sometimes, their own parents. In order for them to continue to do that, they need to take care of themselves first. Many of my dear patients often forget about themselves while they serve others.
Finally, I ask that you listen to your body and those you love. Your body will often tell you when something isn’t working as it should. Family and friends can also tell when something isn’t quite right. Listen to them! The life saved could be your own. If something doesn’t feel or look right, ask. As our teachers used to tell us, there are no stupid questions. What may sound like a silly question may be the question that saves a life.
On behalf of the staff of the HealthTexas Medical Group Holy Cross Clinic, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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.