Build a Relationship with Your Doctor

With the start of the new year, many of us will have a new primary care doctor caring for us and our families. If you have made the change to a new doctor, either due to...

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Resolve to be Fit in 2017

If you are starting the New Year vowing to get more exercise, good for you! Committing to an activity or exercise regimen is a great step to take toward improving your overall health. However, sticking to...

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Get Ready for Pregnancy

Getting your body ready to carry a baby is no easy task... There are prenatal vitamins to take, extra sleep to be had, and perhaps exercise routines to be altered. But preparing your body and your life for the changes that come with pregnancy...

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Build a Relationship with Your Doctor


With the start of the new year, many of us will have a new primary care doctor caring for us and our families. If you have made the change to a new doctor, either due to changes in insurance or due to personal choice, be sure you take the time to establish a strong relationship with him or her.

Many studies suggest that people who don't cultivate relationships with their primary care physicians are more likely to go to emergency rooms for regular medical care and are more likely to miss out on routine tests and screenings that can identify serious illnesses and conditions. Many of these conditions are highly treatable if caught early but pose a serious health threat if not diagnosed quickly.

To build a relationship with your PCP, the most important first step is to schedule a regular, annual exam. Let the scheduler know you want time with the doctor to go over your medical history, family history and any issues you may be having. This will tell the scheduler that you need an appointment slot with ample time.

To prepare for the appointment, write down any questions you may have. Also, take notes on any family medical history that you think may be pertinent to your own health. If necessary, request to have your medical records transferred from your previous doctor to your new doctor. Ask your new doctor's office if he or she would like you to have bloodwork and labs done prior to your appointment. If yes, get them done at least a week prior to your appointment.

At your first appointment, be prompt. This helps your doctor and their staff to stay on time, which allows the doctor to spend the maximum amount of time with you.

Be honest with the doctor. This is not the time to paint a false picture of your lifestyle and your overall health. A good doctor wants to partner with their patients and a good partnership is built on honesty and trust. If something is nagging you, share it. If you are depressed and anxious, let the doctor know.

Talk to the doctor about what screenings are appropriate for you, based on your age, gender and medical history. Find out why the doctor recommends those screenings and what the results could tell you.

Talk to the doctor about what health and wellness goals, if any, he or she would like you to work towards. Whether it is weight loss, reducing alcohol intake, increasing activity or stopping smoking, working with your doctor to achieve better health can be the foundation for a wonderful relationship.

After the appointment, follow up on any tests or screenings the doctor recommended. Once the results are in, do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you need to discuss them further or have any questions.

Finally, do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you feel like something isn't quite right. Women, in particular, are notorious for ignoring signs and symptoms until they are very progressed. A good partnership should make you feel comfortable enough to ask questions and share concerns at anytime.

For helping finding the right doctor for you, consult our Find a Doctor tool here.


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Know the Cause of Your Knee Pain

Knee pain is one of the most common complaints to sideline men and women from exercise and activity as they age. But how do you know when that nagging knee pain may be a sign that you need to see an...

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Heat up a Hearty Soup

If the cold temperatures have you craving soup, we have just the recipe for you! This hearty soup is sure to hit the spot. Packed with veggies and topped with pasta, this filling soup...

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Know the Cause of Your Knee Pain


Knee pain is one of the most common complaints to sideline men and women from exercise and activity as they age. But how do you know when that nagging knee pain may be a sign that you need to see an orthopedist? And when should you consider joint replacement surgery? To answer those questions, it's important to understand what leads to chronic knee pain. Here are a few of the most common causes.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage gradually wears away and changes occur in the adjacent bone. Osteoarthritis may be caused by joint injury or being overweight. It is associated with aging and most typically begins in people age 50 or older. A young person who develops osteoarthritis typically has had an injury to the knee or may have an inherited form of the disease. The knee is typically painful and stiff.

Chondromalacia, also called chondromalacia patellae, refers to softening and breakdown of the articular cartilage of the kneecap. This disorder occurs most often in young adults and can be caused by injury, overuse, misalignment of the patella, or muscle weakness. Instead of gliding smoothly across the lower end of the thigh bone, the kneecap rubs against it, thereby roughening the cartilage underneath the kneecap.

The most frequent symptom of chondromalacia is a dull pain around or under the kneecap that worsens when walking down stairs or hills. A person may also feel pain when climbing stairs or when the knee bears weight as it straightens. The disorder is common in runners and is also seen in skiers, cyclists, and soccer players.

Meniscal Injuries occur by the force of rotating the knee while bearing weight. A partial or total tear may occur when a person quickly twists or rotates the upper leg while the foot stays still (for example, when dribbling a basketball around an opponent or turning to hit a tennis ball). If the tear is tiny, the meniscus stays connected to the front and back of the knee; if the tear is large, the meniscus may be left hanging by a thread of cartilage. The seriousness of a tear depends on its location and extent.

Generally, when people injure a meniscus, they feel some pain, particularly when the knee is straightened. If the pain is mild, the person may continue moving. Severe pain may occur if a fragment of the meniscus catches between the femur and the tibia. Swelling may occur soon after injury if there is damage to blood vessels. 

Cruciate Ligament Injuries are sometimes referred to as sprains. They don't necessarily cause pain, but they are disabling. The anterior cruciate ligament is most often stretched or torn (or both) by a sudden twisting motion (for example, when the feet are planted one way and the knees are turned another). The posterior cruciate ligament is most often injured by a direct impact, such as in an automobile accident or football tackle.

Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligament Injuries are more easily injured than the lateral collateral ligament. The cause of collateral ligament injuries is most often a blow to the outer side of the knee that stretches and tears the ligament on the inner side of the knee. Such blows frequently occur in contact sports such as football or hockey. When injury to the medial collateral ligament occurs, you may feel a pop and the knee may buckle sideways. Pain and swelling are common.

For help in determining the cause of your knee pain - and the best treatment options - talk to your doctor or schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Find an orthopedist near you here.


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