Good health is the cornerstone of a happier life. As our bodies change into adulthood and then into middle and senior age, our healthcare needs change along with them. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we offer a broad range of specialized services for adult medicine that will help you stay your healthiest, best self at all ages.
What Is Meant by Adult Medicine?
Everyone over 18 is an “adult” in most legal and social senses. However, from a physical and mental standpoint, each individual adult has different and specific health needs. These needs extend beyond our actual bodies and connect deeply into our external responsibilities. Our family dynamics, job performance, social connection, and general outlook on life all depend on our ability to stay healthy.
As we age, all of these factors start to intertwine in ways that can be challenging to manage. As just one example, poor, unhealthy sleep leads to stress, which negatively impacts everything from driving to decision making to dinner conversation.
Adults of all ages have individual circumstances – internal and external — that define their health needs. Our experts diagnose and treat a broad range of symptoms and conditions through this wide-angle viewpoint.
10 Key Treatments For Adult Medicine
A Thorough Physical
Most of us treat the annual doctor’s checkup as an annoyance. We say or think that “we’re fine” and that having our temperature, weight, and blood pressure checked isn’t going to change much of anything. While these measurements are needed and useful, a thorough physical exam, performed with time and patience, is a much more telling experience.
Our medical team conducts our physicals as a dialogue between doctor and patient. How is your health overall, really? How well are you able to breathe and sleep? Are you experiencing pain anywhere, and if so, for how long? What are your eating and bathroom habits? Has anything changed lately? A thorough physical exam may also call for blood or urine tests to help identify imbalances in the body or undiscovered disease.
Identification of Chronic Disease
It’s estimated that some 40% of adult Americans – 133 million people — live with a chronic disease. More than 80% of those people live with more than one. Chronic diseases are conditions that are ongoing and generally incurable, such as arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and diabetes. When these diseases strike, there’s no fix, there’s only management.
That said, effective management of chronic disease can be the difference-maker in helping people live a happy, productive life. Our experts can provide expert diagnosis, recommendations to a specialist if needed, a prescribed course of medication, and clinical guidance for lifestyle changes that can help you keep chronic disease under control. Without oversight, chronic diseases can easily escalate. Our team can help you better manage these conditions – for today and tomorrow.
Referrals to Specialists
In today’s medical landscape, many medical practitioners specialize in just one system of the body, or just one disease, such as an oncologist that only treats cancer. While it’s true that these specialists are the ones best suited to treating specific conditions, it’s also true that an initial medical generalist is the one best suited to picking those specialists.
Many diseases are tricky, with symptoms that don’t have obvious causes. For example, some skin conditions, such as eczema, are not actually skin diseases. Instead, they are caused by an outburst from our immune system.
Chronic fatigue may not be just a symptom of long hours: it may also be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Our expert medical team will help guide you on the right path toward health and wellness, making referrals to additional medical specialists when needed.
Did you know that it was only last year that the last U.S. state (Montana) abolished the requirement for a blood test before marriage? As recently as the 1980s, more than half the states in the country required such a test. The idea behind them was to ensure that couples were healthy enough to conceive healthy children and that neither partner carried diseases such as syphilis that could cause birth defects.
Today, pre-marriage blood testing is not a requirement: it’s an insight. Many people carry genetic conditions that are inherited and liable to be passed on to their offspring. Some examples of these conditions include sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis and even Down’s Syndrome. For many couples, having these insights are helpful in family planning and understanding potential care needs for their children.
Men’s Health Treatments
As men move past the age of 30, their bodies begin to experience the first signs of wear, even if they’re not noticeable. By the time they reach middle age, the wear is often not only noticeable, it’s a problem. Poor circulation depletes energy and worn tissues cause pain. Prostate enlargement – so common that doctors believe that most men will have it at some time in their lives – disrupts sleep, sex, and more. Prostate cancer is the second leading fatal cancer for American men.
Treatment for men’s health involves expert examinations that keep tabs on both physical and psychological well-being. In many cases, the two are connected. For example, hormonal imbalances in men, such as a loss of testosterone, not only affect muscle mass and sex drive, they can lead to anxiety and even depression.
Women’s Health Treatments
Women’s health is a specialty unto itself for many medical practices. The maintenance of women’s health means a comprehensive schedule of exams and screenings. These range from gynecological care to prenatal care, along with everything in between to prevent disease and preserve wellness by adult medicine.
With expert testing and guidance, women and their children can live healthier, longer lives. From breast exams and cancer screenings through STD and pregnancy testing and on through post-natal health and menopause care, women’s health is a broad circle that should be monitored on a regular basis. Even well into senior age, women can benefit from fine-tuning of their health and wellness through hormonal re-balancing and other therapies.
This one might seem obvious and it is, but have you received your flu shot yet? Many people (too many people) ignore this simple and inexpensive safeguard against what in reality is a genuinely deadly disease, especially in the elderly. About 8% of the U.S. population gets the flu each year, or about 26 million people. In case you thought it’s just like a bad cold, consider that as many as 60,000 Americans die from the flu each year.
A flu shot not only saves you the misery of the flu, which can knock even the strongest people on their back, but also provides peace of mind that you’re not carrying the disease to those that you love, like your family. People who take care of elderly parents or other loved ones are especially encouraged to get their flu shot – for everyone’s safety, not just their own.
Diseases of Aging
As we grow older, our body’s remarkable systems for regulation and self-repair begin to decline. Tissues become worn, blood vessels become clogged, hormone production becomes erratic and often inadequate. Our patterns for sleep and elimination change. Advanced age is the ultimate uncurable chronic disease, and it’s the only one that nobody wants the cure for.
Care for seniors is often focused on the management of chronic conditions, along with preventive strategies that help ensure they don’t get worse. Common “elder” afflictions such as arthritis can be treated with new therapies that don’t involve dangerous and addicting painkillers. Whether it’s trouble with pain, respiration, blood sugar level, sleep quality or cognitive decline – just to name a few – our experts can prescribe therapies and lifestyle adjustments that can make a world of difference.
Standing tall among the pillars of a happy, healthy life is the ability to see and hear it well. Many people, however, take changes in their vision or hearing “in stride” – much to their disadvantage. Poor vision not only makes life less interesting and enjoyable; it makes you a dangerous driver. Changes in hearing not only block out a lot of the world, they make everyone else around you have to work harder to stay connected.
It’s important to check your vision regularly, not only for vision quality, but for diseases of the eyes such as cataracts and glaucoma, both of which can rob vision but are treatable conditions. Hearing tests are also important, and today there are inexpensive new technologies that can help hearing-impaired people who would otherwise need costly hearing aids. Clear vision and hearing can help slow down cognitive decline in elderly patients.
Yesterday’s approach to health and wellness was to only think about them when you were sick and needed to see the doctor. Today, there’s a much greater emphasis on self-care and prevention. Adjustments in diet and lifestyle can have major effects on your physical and mental well-being. Expert guidance that’s tailored to your individual case will not only help “keep the doctor away” but help you prevent serious diseases that can occur later in life.
For example, simple dietary changes can make all the difference in your circulation, your hormonal balance, your digestive system, and your clear-headedness. Prescribed exercises can keep your joints flexible and pain-free. Guidance in stress management can improve the way you sleep, boost the energy you bring to each day, and normalize your entire body chemistry.
Why It’s Needed
Good health is not only important to ourselves as individuals. It’s also critically important to the people that depend on us. When mom or dad aren’t able to get to work, the whole family feels it. When our older parents or loved ones have health problems, it’s usually family caregivers that carry the load of the extra care – and the extra costs that go with it. More than 40 million Americans fit into this adult medicine category.
The effects of poor senior health can ripple through the entire family. According to AARP, “more than half of family caregivers have to take time off from their main job, reduce hours at work or quit their jobs altogether to accommodate their responsibilities” in taking care of a senior loved one. While many seniors need specialized care, an adult medicine specialist can be an effective “head coach” in diagnosing problems and offering strategies, treatments, and referrals.
How Do I Get Started?
The first step in achieving the health and wellness we all aspire to is knowing that help is just a phone call away. Visit us today at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, where we partner with you to create a game plan for optimum health. Call us today to schedule adult medicine consultation!