As we come to the end of another year and the start of another holiday season, I’m going to take advantage of the National Health Observances calendar and touch on some topics that are important to me and my patients on a daily basis.
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. As many of you know, my Pop passed away in 2014 after suffering with Alzheimers for several years. While there is not yet a cure, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Things like staying mentally and physically active can make a difference. Avoiding activities that potentially damage the brain, like drinking alcohol, may also help. Personally, I’ve started taking a tumeric supplement to help reduce my risk. Look for tumeric or curcumin supplements online or at the grocery store. HealthTexas carries a supplement, Memorall by Xymogen, that contains tumeric and other supplements shown to help with memory. A little prevention may make a huge difference when you are older.
American Diabetes Month is also going on in November. As my patients know, I’m passionate about helping my patients manage their diabetes. The goal of managing diabetes well, in my opinion, is to reduce the risk of complications. Unfortunately, many of us know people on dialysis, blind or who have lost extremities due to diabetes. The biggest, most concerning risk, to me, is a heart attack or a stroke. The key here is to identify the condition as soon as possible. Or, even better, prevent the condition before it begins. Things like maintaining a healthy weight and making good diet choices go a long way to prevent diabetes. Avoiding the temptation to deny there is a problem can also save your life.
Hospice and Palliative Care Month is important to me because of the benefit my family received from hospice when my mom was dying. Hospice provided a needed service when she decided that she had suffered enough. Often, patients and their family fear the concept of hospice and avoid the discussion of end of life issues. The truth is that most of us would not want to suffer at the end of life. And, most would not want to see their loved ones suffer in a hospital connected to more wires and tubes than anyone could imagine. Sometimes we need to look past our own personal fears and grief and do what is best for our loved one. Being prepared is always a better option than waiting until the need arises.
We’ve done a quick survey of some of important topics in this month’s article. Please take the time to talk with your doctor about those that apply to you. If your doctor is a HealthTexas physician, I know they will do their best to discuss your concerns and walk with you along the path to a healthier life.
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.