Tag: Family Medicine

Anxiety (in part) Explained

admin

22 February 2019

One of the most common medical conditions I treat as a family medicine doctor is anxiety. You most likely know what anxiety is, or personally know someone who suffers from anxiety. At my family medicine clinic, Beyond Primary Care, located in Ann Arbor Michigan, all appointments are a minimum 30 minutes, with opportunities to increase the appointment time. This length of time is an important for the treatment of any mental health concern.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety has many faces. Among others, it is that feeling of stress, apprehension, relentless worrying, tightness in your stomach or chest, racing thoughts, restlessness, rapid breathing, diarrhea, lack of concentration, and insomnia.

Does a person have to experience all those symptoms to have anxiety?

Absolutely not.

Does having even just one symptom mean you need medical treatment?

The best answer is that it depends on you and the severity is.

Anxiety is a NORMAL Human Emotion

Dr. Jeff O’Boyle (who is writing this posts) experiences anxiety, you (who is reading this post) have experienced anxiety. Everyone has experienced anxiety. I feel a bit like Oprah when I just wrote that. Regardless, the truth is we all experience anxiety from the moment we are born.

Think about your own children, or other children you knew as newborns. The frequent cycles of crying and calmness. The newborn doesn’t know why they are wet, why they are hungry, why they feel cold, why they can’t sleep. So they cry. This is in part- anxiety. Eventually, after a few weeks (or months for some parents), the newborn stops crying. Overtime when there is a dirty diaper, or it learns that it will be feed every 3 hours, or the baby starts connecting it’s sleep cycles and starts doing it’s nights- much to the relief of the parents- the crying and fits decrease. The point is, we all have anxiety as newborns. We develop coping mechanisms though, inherent within our own emotional control centers to deal with this anxiety.

Treatment of Anxiety

Just as no two people are affected the exact same way by anxiety, there is no “one size fits all” treatment that cures this condition. What works for one person might not work for another. The best way to treat yourself is to become as informed as possible about the treatment options, and then tailor them to meet your needs.

In my professional opinion, becoming informed about anxiety does mean you have to be honest to yourself with how you feel. Extending that honesty to your family and friends you trust, and honest to your healthcare provider is crucial is knowing that your mental health is not something to deal with alone.

Patience with Treatment

It also takes time to find the right treatment. It might take some trial and error to find the treatment and support that works best for you. Understand how these treatments work and that they don’t work immediately. Anxiety cannot be treated like a case of bronchitis, where you get a course of antibiotics and poof- you are better in 10 days. In today’s society, I feel we are so focused on instant gratification and grossly appreciable results that we lose focus on the long-term control and relief.

Your emotional system only knows where it is at right now based upon where it just was. This is why in this work we are constantly reassessing our intervention afterwards. Where are you now? Now we do something. Where are you now? So we know if we are being effective or not. Do you want to waste your time doing stuff if you don’t know it’s working? I don’t. I want to do more of the stuff that is working and less of it that isn’t. As a doctor I’m constantly measuring.

But measuring anxiety, or any other component of mental health is not done over minutes to days, but weeks to months. Again, patience is key to treatment.

Avoid the Sneeze Pee

admin

18 January 2019

Adult Guide to Urine Incontinence

At my family medicine clinic, Beyond Primary Care, located in Ann Arbor Michigan, I see a fair number of individuals who experience urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is when urine leaks, from a number of causes, that becomes frequent or severe enough to be a problem. Incontinence happens in men and women. Unless I specifically ask some individuals, some may think that incontinence is an unavoidable part of getting older or a known consequence of child birth. I wanted to tell everyone that urinary incontinence can be addressed with both non-medication and medication intervention. In this guide, I talk about non-medication treatments.

Your Anatomy

The bladder is a hollow sac (like a balloon) with muscular walls. It sits behind the pelvic bone. The bladder is part of the urinary system, which includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The kidneys take waste and water out of your blood to make urine. The urine travels down your ureters to the bladder. When you’re ready to urinate, the urine empties through the urethra.

What is Average

It sounds like kind of a lot, but, depending on how much liquid you drink, peeing roughly 8 times during the day is average. Even though it’s annoying, getting up once to twice during the night is also considered normal. Most bladders hold about 2 cups of fluid (473 mL). A classic excuse among the frequent pee-ers: “I just have a small bladder!” Turns out, there’s some truth to that seemingly odd refrain. Anatomically, everybody can be different, just like some people are tall and some people are short.

Turn Perception into Measurements

If you’re irked by how much time you spend atop the throne, consider keeping a diary to chart your bathroom breaks. When you actually tally up your trips, what feels like a lot might be totally normal. Again, most bladders hold about 2 cups of fluid. If you’re going to the bathroom frequently and producing less than that, that may not be normal.  And yes, you should actually measure. Grab a container and see if you’re hitting 1.5 to 2 cups.

Existing Medications &  Other Causes

  • Take a look at your existing medications. Medications may lead to incontinence. As example, diuretics (water-pills) used to treat high blood pressure can cause the kidneys to make a lot of urine really quickly. Review your medications with your doctor. 
  • Diabetes: If you’ve ruled out other causes, there’s a chance your constant peeing is due to diabetes. If your blood sugar’s high, the kidneys won’t be able to process all of it, and some can spill into the urine. That sugar will essentially pull more water out of you, so you’ll be generating more pee. 
  • Urinary Tract Infection:  Signs of an infection may include pelvic pain, increased frequency, increased urgency, and possible blood in the urine.
  • Pelvic Support and Urinary Tract Problems: The pelvic organs are held in place by supportive tissues and muscles. Problems occur when these tissues are stretched, weakened, or altered by stool impaction, pregnancy, childbirth, abnormal growths, fistulas, or aging.

Treatment to Avoid the Sneeze Pee

Keep Drinking Fluids. Understandably, if you spend a lot of time thinking you have to pee, you might be inclined to dehydrate yourself just a touch. If you don’t drink as much, you won’t have to go as often, right? Turns out this way of thinking is bladder sabotage. When you drink less, the urine becomes more concentrated, and the more concentrated it is the more irritating it can be to the bladder, which can trigger the sensation that you have to go more often.”

Timed voids. The good news for the small bladdered is that you can train your bladder to hold more fluid. If you give into the urges too often, you are training the bladder not to hold as much (Just don’t hold it so long that it starts to hurt). You could be inadvertently doing this if you’ve preemptively started emptying your bladder more frequently in just-in-case scenarios, like in hopes of warding off leakage, say, before a workout.To train your small bladder to bulk up, implement “timed voiding”:

  • Urinate every 30 minutes for two days, whether you have to go or not.
  • Add 15 minutes to the regimen: Urinate every 45 minutes for two days.
  • Keep adding 15 minutes to this regimen, until over time you have trained your bladder.

Hitting the (pelvic floor) gym. The stronger those down-there muscles, the easier it is to hold urine in. It’s better to learn how to use your muscles to tighten the pelvic-floor area. Yes, we’re talking about Kegel exercises. If you don’t already know, the exercises are performed by tightening and releasing the muscles you’d use to stop the flow of urine without moving anything else in your body. Find your pelvic muscles by tightening the rectum as if trying not to pass gas or pinching off a stool. Done best after emptying the bladder. Tighten and hold for up to 3-5 seconds, then release and relax 5 seconds. As muscles get stronger, progress to 10 seconds. Do these exercises 10-20 times a session, 3 times a day. Remember to breath normally. It may take 4-6 weeks to notice results.

Meatloaf

BPC Good Eats: Meatloaf

admin

6 January 2019

Hello and thank you reading my blog at Beyond Primary Care and trying the BPC Good Eats recipes. This featured recipe is a Meatloaf. These recipes are my attempt, in a way, to bridge that Doctor’s adage of “Eat Better & Exercise More.” In this post, I will showcase a healthy meal made on a budget, my pictures are pretty decent, and that is how I got into this food endeavor.

Meatloaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
Adapted from: Original

Ingredients Loaf
1.5 pounds ground beef
1.5 pounds ground pork
1 yellow onion, minced
½ cup apple sauce
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup roasted red peppers, minced
1 egg
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Ingredients Sauce
½ cup chili sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Mix together all of the ingredients for the loaf. Add additional bread crumbs if too wet, but mixture should be moist.
3) Divide mixture into 4 separate loaves and place onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.
4) Bake loaves for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix sauce ingredients together.
5) After 30 minutes of baking, add sauce on top of the loaves. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

2 comments

Finger Stick, Diabetes Care, Direct Primary Care, Beyond Primary Care, Ann Arbor Doctor

Your Sugar is a Little High- Diabetes Type 2

admin

11 December 2018

In researching your diabetes care, you may have heard people say they have “a touch of diabetes” or that their “sugar is a little high.” These words suggest that diabetes is not a serious disease. That is not correct. Diabetes is serious, but you can learn to manage it. Most of the steps needed to take care of diabetes are things you do yourself. I will help outline some of these steps in this blog post.

Progression of Diabetes

Keeping your blood sugar (glucose) in your target range can delay the health problems caused by the progression of diabetes. Yes, you read that correctly, diabetes is a progressive condition. Pancreatic Beta Cells (These cells produce, store, and release insulin) function will typically decrease over time. All the strategies listed here and discussed by your health care provider can help delay/prolong this progression.

Exercise & Nutrition

The doctor’s axiom of ‘eat less and move more’ is quite possibly the worst advice any doctor can give, especially if done in a rushed/ inconsiderate manner. Yet, regular movement and diet modification has been shown to improve insulin resistance–the main issue in those with type II diabetes. Moving your body and diet modification can improve A1C levels alone by as much as 4 points! This is far better than any single diabetic medication.

Cholesterol Counts

Diabetics have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. That’s why doctors treat cholesterol levels more aggressively in those with diabetes

Pay Attention to Blood Pressure

The blood pressure goal of the diabetic person is below 140/80, just like the general non-diabetic population. A side-effect of elevated blood pressure and diabetes is the risk for kidney disease. Damaged filters don’t do a good job.

Get Your Vaccines

Diabetics also have a higher risk of infection. That is likely because bacteria love to live in high sugar environments. For that reason, doctors recommend diabetics get an annual flu shot, in addition to the pneumonia shot once before age 65 and once after age 65 (with at least 5 years in between).

Eye Doctors Aren’t Just For People With Glasses

Every diabetic should also get a yearly eye check that includes being examined by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) who takes a look at the retina, or the back of the eye, for changes produced by diabetes.

Meet and Greet at Beyond Primary Care

admin

29 November 2018

Dr. Jeff O’Boyle will host a Meet and Greet at Beyond Primary Care Thursday, December 6th from 5:30 pm until 8 pm. 

Meet Dr. Jeff O’Boyle, check out the personal and all-in-one clinic, and learn what Direct Primary Care offers.

Topics include:

  • How Direct Primary Care works with health insurance
  • What kind of insurance works best with Direct Primary Care
  • How obtaining your medications works with Direct Primary Care
  • How obtaining labs and imaging works with Direct Primary Care
  • How hospitalization works with Direct Primary Care
  • How referrals work with Direct Primary Care
  • Comparing the actual costs of services and products in a fee-for-service system versus Direct Primary Care
  • Dr. O’Boyle will answer any questions you have
Doctor Visit, Appointment Time, Direct Primary Care, Ann Arbor Doctor, Family Doctor

Exceeding Office Expectations

admin

26 November 2018

It is fairly easy in exceeding office expectations for the area of customer service, as people have an increasingly low expectation for the service they get at the doctor’s office. It’s normal in fee-for-service office systems to have to wait an hour or more to be seen, and then get only a few minutes of the doctor’s time (if a doctor is seen at all). Many patients often find they half-day off or work or activities, just to be seen. This has left people seeking alternative facilities, such as urgent-care type setting for their ailments. 

What Your Office Visit Looks Like In A Fee-For-Service Office

You likely scheduled a 15-minute time slot. When the doctor’s medical assistant calls you back, you are on the clock. 15 minutes includes everything: time to walk back from the waiting room to the exam room, time for the medical assistant to take vitals (eg- blood pressure, temperature), time for the medical assistant to do the office intake questions. All this, even with the best and fastest medical assistant takes 7 minutes at a minimum. That leaves 8 minutes. 8 minutes for the doctor to do any courtesy conversation (eg- how have things been, what have you been up to since we last spoke), time for the history of illness questions, time for the physical exam, time for discussing what the possible diagnosis is, and time to wrap up the visit by either dispensing medications, ordering laboratory studies, or helping to coordinate your care. By the way, the doctor is going to want to document that visit in your electronic health record. 8 minutes is NOT enough to discuss acute or chronic illness, let alone anything. This results in, at best, frustration. At worst, people avoid care they should be getting.

At Beyond Primary Care, the patient has a much different experience:

  • All days begin with multiple slots open for same-day urgent visits.
  • Patients seldom have to wait more than 10 minutes to be seen.
  • Appointments are 30 minutes per patient but can be extended to meet the needs of the patient.
  • More than one concern can be address at your visit. Come in to talk about your anxiety, but want to discuss that mysterious new rash? That is what we do.
  • Care is often done via text message or phone, reducing the need for coming to the office at all.
  • Late/early office days because health issues don’t always arrive between 9 am – 5 pm and you shouldn’t have to miss work/school/etc to be seen.

With Beyond Primary Care, a premium is placed on exceeding office expectations, and again this is done because it’s in the best interest of our clinic, but returning health care to what it once was- focused on patient care. 

Beyond Primary Care, Chicken Noodle Soup, Real Medicine, Family Doctor

BPC Good Eats: Chicken Noodle Soup

admin

9 November 2018

Hello and thank you reading my blog at Beyond Primary Care and trying the BPC Good Eats recipes. This featured recipe is a Chicken Noodle Soup. These recipes are my attempt, in a way, to bridge that Doctor’s adage of “Eat Better & Exercise More.” In this post, I will showcase a healthy meal made on a budget, my pictures are pretty decent, and that is how I got into this food endeavor.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from: Original
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes + slow cooking time


Ingredients:
6-8 chicken thighs (Or Drumsticks)
6 cups chicken stock
1 yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
6 stalks celery, diced
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp whole peppercorn
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup parsley, divided
1 (12 oz) bag egg noodles

Instructions:
1) Add all ingredients (except for noodles and ½ cup parsley) to slow cooker, cook on low for 8-10 hours.
2) 20 minutes before serving, cook egg noodles separately per package instructions.
3) Meanwhile, shred chicken from bones with fork, discarding bones. Add chicken back in.
4) Place noodles in bowl, add the chicken soup, top with remaining parsley.

2 comments

Health Care, Health Insurance, Direct Primary Care

A Better Plan- DPC with Health Insurance, Part 1

admin

7 November 2018

If you are in the process of open-enrollment, consider a better plan- Direct Primary Care (DPC) with Health Insurance. I often get the question, “How does direct primary care work with health insurance?” This post is the first of a two-part blog post where I detail how anyone, regardless of their coverage of insurance our level of income would potentially stand to benefit from direct primary care (DPC) services. Check my blog post regularly for the second part (and other cool things too… like the recipe for a Dorito Taco Salad, because why not?!).

 

Figure out your Monthly Costs: Known as a Premium
Premiums are what you pay on a monthly basis to be insured. Premiums vary on the type of plan you choose. As example, you’ve done your homework and picked a health plan that costs $150 per month. You are paying $1,800 for essentially an insurance retainer, a cost to keep your insurance active. You’ll need to pay your premium on time every month.

Direct Primary Care has most membership fees are between $50-$100. The pricing for membership fees at my clinic, Beyond Primary Care, can be found here. This gets you full access to your doctor, regardless how many times you need to be seen. You could pay around $600 a year. The cost of a DPC membership is often significantly less than just the cost of having the insurance, let alone using it.

 

Reaching your Deductible
Deductibles are what you have to pay out of pocket before your health care plan kicks in. You may also have different annual deductibles for different types of care (as example: hospital care, laboratory tests, medications, etc). As example, you pick a plan with a $1,000 deductible meaning you are on the hook for all medical bills up to that amount before insurance kicks in.

Direct Primary Care provides you with with primary care services without government or insurance involvement. Your membership to a DPC practice does not influence your deductible. As example, you see your DPC doctor because of a mysterious symptoms. That visit was covered by your membership. When a person goes to a traditional fee-for-service practice, they won’t know the cost of care upfront, and labs and medications are potentially much more expensive than we offer. The predictability and transparency of cost is what makes DPC appealing.

 

Understanding the Relationships between Premiums and Deductibles
If you are healthy, you may want to dish out as little money as possible on the monthly premiums (to keep more in your own pocket), but still have coverage in case of an accident, sudden illness, or life change. Be aware, the less you pay for that monthly premium, the higher your annual deductible. Some folks may want a low deductible, but your premium will be thousands of dollars a year.

Direct Primary Care offers these healthier people improved access to care. Just because you are assigned a doctor by your insurance doesn’t actually mean you get to see your doctor, let alone in a timely fashion. DPC does not charge more for complicated patients, or management of difficult or chronic medical conditions that require more frequent trips to see the doctor.

 

Co-Insurance
This is a fixed percentage of your medical bill you share with your insurance company once you have reached your deductible. As example, you have a 80/20 plan. This means if you have a doctor visit after you reached your deductible, and their fee is $150, you are on the hook for $30 while your insurance covers the rest. You still have your copayment though.

 

Out-of-Pocket Maximum
This feature is just as important as premiums and deductibles, and is a term for the total amount your insurance plan will require you to spend on medical care in a single year. If you reach this amount, your health insurance will cover the rest of your care. Note, you may have reached your deductible, but are below your out-of-pocket maximum, you will still be required to pay some of your health care costs.

 

Seeking Transparency in Health Care Costs
No wonder health insurance is so frustrating and confusing for most people. Using automobile insurance as a parallel, health insurance has done the equivalent of paying for gas, oil changes, windshield wipers, and other car repairs in addition to covering collision and liability. Using insurance would allow these things to have artificially set prices which are unreasonably high (since it’s covered by insurance). The cost of your routine maintenance would go up, and insurance could dictate what shop or gas station you could go to for service. But in reality, consumers are already motivated to do those things and will pay out of pocket to maintain their car so as to avoid needing to use their auto insurance at all.

Health insurance is suppose to be a hedge against financial disaster, but people are seemingly are using insurance to cover every ache, pain, anxiety, and pill resulting in artificially inflated prices. How can a outpatient clinic charge $600 for 1-hr procedure? Or $90 for a generic medication? Because unlike bananas, Americans and most doctors have NO idea what an one hour procedure or generic medication should cost- and ultimately how much they will be on the hook for- until they decide to get it done. For better or worse, this has created a demand for transparency among individuals. Direct Primary Care can help fill that void. Check back soon for part 2 of this blog post.

BPC Good Eats: Apple Harvest Salad

admin

22 October 2018

Hello and thank you reading my blog at Beyond Primary Care and trying the BPC Good Eats recipes. This featured recipe is a Apple Harvest Salad. These recipes are my attempt, in a way, to bridge that Doctor’s adage of “Eat Better & Exercise More.” In this post, I will showcase a healthy meal made on a budget, my pictures are pretty decent, and that is how I got into this food endeavor.

 

Apple Harvest Salad
Adapted from: The Seasoned Mom
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients for Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

 

Ingredients for Apple Harvest Salad
4 cups spring mix (or other greens of choice)
2 apples (a variety you would enjoy), diced
Juice from ½ of a lemon
1 cup dried cranberries
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted

 

Instructions:
1) Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup until completely combined, set aside or divide into smaller containers for individual lunches.
2) Place diced apple in a small bowl and squeeze lemon over the bowl. Toss apple in lemon juice to coat (this will prevent browning).
3) Divide salad ingredients among the containers, layering in the following: greens, apples, cranberries, and cheese.
4) When ready to serve, empty the dressing containers onto the salad, top with pecans, and toss to coat.

 

2 comments

BPC Good Eats: Hot Dog Hash

admin

19 October 2018

Hello and thank you reading my blog at Beyond Primary Care and trying the BPC Good Eats recipes. This featured recipe is a Hot Dog Hash. These recipes are my attempt, in a way, to bridge that Doctor’s adage of “Eat Better & Exercise More.” In this post, I will showcase a healthy meal made on a budget, my pictures are pretty decent, and that is how I got into this food endeavor.

 

Hot Dog Hash
Adapted from: Lauren’s Latest
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
1 yellow onion, cut into chunks
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp dried tarragon
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 (12 oz) all-beef franks, cut into inch pieces
chives, chopped

 

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Toss potatoes, carrots, and onion with olive oil, smoked paprika, tarragon, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread onto prepared baking sheet in 1 even layer and bake 20 minutes.
3) Remove baking sheet from oven, toss with bell peppers and hot dog pieces. Spread out evenly on baking sheet and return to oven for 15 minutes.
4) Toss with fresh chopped chives.

2 comments