Don't be afraid to ask your primary care physician these five things
When you’re not feeling well, a primary care physician (PCP) helps you get back on your feet — but that’s not all they can do. Your PCP gets to know you, your family and your health history, and can do a lot more for your health than you may realize.
“There’s a lot to gain from building a good relationship with a doctor you trust — and doing so can also help you make the most of your health care visits,” said Johneca R. Broussard, D.O., board-certified family medicine physician with Houston Methodist Primary Care Group in Riverstone. Don’t hesitate to ask your PCP for advice about anything related to your health and well-being. Here are some examples:
Talk about mental health. PCPs are trained to do mental health assessments and provide treatment for depression and anxiety, including prescribing medications and helping you find a counselor or therapy program. “It’s important to tell your doctor if you’re feeling sad, depressed or overwhelmed by stress or anxiety,” Broussard said. “You can feel better with treatment, and it starts by having a simple conversation with your doctor.”
Make a plan to reach a healthy weight. Your PCP can help you get started with a nutrition plan or weight loss program. Keep in mind, your doctor is not there to judge you if you’ve put on a few pounds. The goal is to offer advice and help you understand your risks.
Find support to quit smoking. If you’ve been unsuccessful quitting before, your PCP can help you with solutions. “Ask your doctor about medications, local support groups, like Beat the Pack®, and other tools to help you reduce or stop smoking,” Broussard said.
Ask about sexual health. It’s important to speak openly about sexually transmitted diseases, sexual dysfunction and other sensitive topics. The conversations you have with your doctor are private, and your doctor will not share information with anyone unless you say it’s OK.
Get referrals to specialists, if needed. Making an appointment with a specialist can be costly and may involve a long wait. Your PCP can make the process easier by finding the right specialist for you, and in some cases, you may be able to avoid a specialist visit if the condition can be treated by your PCP.
To schedule an appointment with Johneca R. Broussard, D.O., or another primary care physician with Houston Methodist Primary Care Group, visit houstonmethodist.org/pcg/southwest or call 832.416.1678.
Beat the Pack Program
Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital is offering a unique program to help people quit smoking. The program is offered each quarter. Participants meet once a week for four weeks from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The next sessions are being held on April 8, April 15, April 22 and April 29. A trained facilitator provides tools, tips and support to help smokers create and follow through with their personalized “quit plan.”
Registration is required. For more information or to register, visit houstonmethodist.org/events and search for Beat the Pack, or call 281.205.4514.