Could you achieve your best health by thinking about your relationship with your doctor differently? Most people think of doctors as someone you see when you’re not feeling well, are diagnosed with a disease or suffer from a chronic condition. However, there can be life-changing advantages to also seeing a doctor when you’re feeling perfectly fine in order to help prevent future conditions.
North Memorial Health has two options for primary care: family medicine for all ages and internal medicine for adults. Doctors in both areas encourage customers to, at a minimum, come in once a year for a physical exam, whether or not they’re experiencing any new issues.
“I strongly believe that in this time and era when we’re seeing so many diseases that are easily preventable, that prevention is definitely better than cure,” says Dr. Aisha Chaudhry, a family medicine physician at North Memorial Health Clinic — Maple Grove. Dr. Christina Ward, a physician at North Memorial Health Internal Medicine — Maple Grove, agrees: “In relation to quality of life, preventative medicine is absolutely everything. It’s easy to ignore when we’re young and doing relatively well, but it’s hard to ignore when you get older and start having complications from something we didn’t fix when we could have.”
There are preventative health measures everyone can take such as eating well, getting good sleep, quitting smoking and exercising regularly. Then, there are also things your doctor can do, including keeping you up-to-date on immunizations, routine lab work and screenings for diseases like osteoporosis and cervical, breast and colon cancers.
At North Memorial Health, we understand that what works for one person, may not work for another. Our doctors focus on partnering with customers, helping to create individual plans that are right for each person.
Dr. Ward explains her approach to individualized care this way: “I can offer something more concrete that meets the needs and lifestyle goals of the person in front of me.” That conversation might include dietary advice, a referral to a nutritionist or a recommendation on amount and intensity of exercise. Once she develops a plan with her customers, if needed, there are additional specialists, educators and resources within the North Memorial Health system she can call on.
“You can really see a lot of change when a customer is motivated, but also when they feel supported,” says Dr. Ward.
Implementing preventative measures and coming in for regular visits leads to better and more stable mental and physical health. It can also lead to a stronger partnership between you and your provider. It is important that we create a trusting relationship in which you feel you can ask your questions and voice your concerns.
“My goal is to steer my customers in the right direction, give them the most current and appropriate information, guide them to the right resources and have them involved in decision making so they feel comfortable and heard,” says Dr. Chaudhry.
If you don’t have a primary care provider, the first step toward becoming more proactive with your health is to meet with one. Or, if it’s been a while since you’ve gone into your provider, make an appointment. From there, your provider can offer recommendations for the personalized, daily preventative measures you can take.
“When people institute small changes, it makes a big impact,” says Dr. Ward. “It also helps them avoid medications or more advanced treatments. Our goal is to try to reduce bad outcomes so people not only have longevity of life, but quality of life.”