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|Mary Jo Welker, MD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Ohio State's Medical Center, and executive director of Ohio State's Primary Care Network. |
Find quality care close to home through Ohio State's Primary Care Network
In today's fast-moving, mobile society, people often lose touch with some of the basic cornerstones of healthy living. One worth hanging on to is a relationship with a primary care doctor.
"People who develop relationships with a primary care provider have better outcomes," says Mary Jo Welker, MD, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Ohio State's Medical Center, and executive director of Ohio State's Primary Care Network. "When you establish a good relationship with your primary care provider, you can feel comfortable talking about health concerns, sharing your family history and asking questions about your health. Your doctor is your partner in health care, teaching you about good health habits, disease prevention, coping with life's stressful events, and because your doctor knows you, he or she may be able to recognize subtle changes that may be the early warning signs of disease."
Make the most of each visit with your primary care physician by avoiding episodes of "Doorknob Syndrome." Doorknob Syndrome happens at the end of the exam, when the physician has his or her hand on the doorknob to leave the room and the patient says, "Oh, by the way..." This happens quite frequently, often because patients are afraid or embarrassed to mention a symptom. The patient-physician relationship relies on upfront and accurate communication, so don't allow yourself to fall victim to Doorknob Syndrome.
Ohio State's Primary Care Network offers numerous locations throughout the Columbus area. Choosing a primary care doctor at an Ohio State primary care office also gives you and your family access to the comprehensive services and specialists of Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. Primary care providers work in close collaboration with specialists, including neurologists, orthopaedic surgeons and pulmonologists. They also benefit from awareness of the many clinical trials and advances in medicine that are going on here.
"It's especially valuable for parents and children if a regular physician is seen for routine checkups and screenings, as well as for health problems," adds Cami Curren, MD, clinical assistant professor of Internal Medicine at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. "A doctor who really knows you knows what to look for in terms of development and growth. The doctor can also provide parents with anticipatory guidance on the developmental and behavioral challenges that lie ahead."
For more tips on communicating with your doctor, click here.
SPOTLIGHT ON PRIMARY CARE
Four Tips for Building a Relationship with Your Doctor
If you'll need extra time for discussion, let the office staff know when you make the appointment. Let the doctor know you have questions or concerns and take the time for a complete discussion.
Let the doctor know all of the medications you take, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements. Some medications or herbs can interact with, and diminish the effectiveness of, other medications.
Make sure you understand what the doctor wants you to do. Ask the doctor or nurse to explain any treatments or procedures until you're sure you understand.
Don't be shy. Don't hide parts of your personal or health history out of embarrassment or fear. Your doctor is there to help, and your privacy is always one of his or her key concerns.
Download more tips on how to make the most of your doctor’s visits.
Ohio State's Primary Care Network offers 15 locations in the greater Columbus area. Click here to find the location nearest you or call 800-293-5123.
SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR NUMBERS
Just The Facts
Blood Pressure -- measures the pressure put on artery walls when your heart beats and between beats.
- Less than 120/80 mm Hg is normal
- 120/80 to 139/89 is prehypertensive
- 140/90 mm Hg or above is high
Cholesterol -- know the "good" HDL, the "bad" LDL and the fats your triglycerides. The higher your HDL, the lower your chance of heart disease, while the more LDL and triglycerides you have, the greater your chance of heart disease.
- Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL
- HDL levels at 60 mg/dL or above are ideal
- LDL levels should be below 130 mg/dL (even lower with certain health issues)
- Triglycerides should be below 150
Blood Sugar -- a measure of how much sugar (glucose) is in your blood. High blood sugar can signal diabetes.
- Fasting levels below 100 mg/dL are healthy
- Fasting levels between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL are considered prediabetes
- Fasting levels of 126 mg/dL or higher typically result in a diabetes diagnosis
Body Mass Index (BMI) -- BMI indicates whether or not a person is overweight or obese.
- Weight (in pounds) ÷ height2 (in inches) x 703 = BMI
- 19 to 25 indicates a healthy weight
- 26 to 30 is overweight (excluding well-muscled individuals)
- 31 or higher is considered obese
Waist Circumference -- number of inches around your unclothed abdomen, just above the hip bone, can indicate your risk for some diseases like diabetes. A measurement of less than 35 inches for a woman and less than 40 inches for a man is desirable.