Many people make a New Year’s Resolution to get healthy – but too often skip a crucial step: a checkup to assess their medical needs and find out what they really need to do to feel their best.
Amanda Best, a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in internal medicine at Regional One Health’s East Campus, says her number one piece of advice is to start the New Year with a physical exam. It’s a chance for patients to bring up concerns and get advice from their provider, and for the provider to administer any necessary tests.
The East Campus offers all of that under one roof.
Best said tests range from basic vitals like blood pressure to bloodwork for cholesterol to age-appropriate screening like mammograms or colonoscopies: “It’s very important for prevention, and to catch things early so you can treat any issues.”
She understands there is a fear factor for some patients, whether they suspect something is wrong or simply haven’t been screened for a while. She said the East Campus’s in-house lab and radiology departments turn results around quickly, and the doctors and nurses can find the right treatment plan and walk patients through it.
“If anything comes back abnormal, we follow the patient and guide them through the whole process,” she said. “If it’s something that can be taken care of as an internal medicine provider, we take care of it. If they need a specialist, we refer them in-house.”
The East Campus’s vast collection of services means many patients don’t have to leave the building to address their diagnosis. Multi-specialty care is available at the campus in cardiology, endocrinology, nephrology, neurology, rheumatology, gynecology, urology, physical therapy and pain relief are available, making comprehensive care convenient and easy.
Along with tests, patients can expect their exam to include a conversation. “We go over personal and family history, and questions like alcohol use and smoking,” Best said. “I like to know when they had their last exam or bloodwork, and hear about any problems they’re having.”
Again, it can spark anxiety, but honesty is crucial: health care professionals are there to help, not judge. Best went into nursing specifically to care for others – she actually switched her major from pharmacy after a mission trip in Guatemala – and said the East Campus team is motivated by compassion and working with patients to develop a roadmap to improve their health.
While treatment plans are tailored to specific needs, Best said basic steps can help anyone start the New Year off right.
“I tell every patient to eat healthy and get regular exercise. Plan healthy meals and make a list before you go shopping. Shop the perimeter of the store, because that’s where fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy are. Exercise when you get up or right when you get off work. Lay out clothes ahead of time so you’re ready. Get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water.”
Best added patients can also see her for acute needs like injuries or illnesses, or for chronic conditions. Bottom line, as patients start 2019, she wants them to prioritize their health: “You have one body for your whole entire life. You’re the only one who can take care of it.”