You At Your Best

January 2023 • Goals for Great Health

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If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get healthier, just remember who is in charge. "No one has more control over your health than you do," says Anne Montgomery, MD, a physician at Washington Regional's Plaza Internal Medicine. "When you make your health a priority, you feel a greater sense of control and are more comfortable making health care decisions." "A primary care provider, or PCP, is a health care professional who provides acute care for common illnesses or symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat or stomach pain as well as preventive care like vaccines, nutrition counseling and health screenings," Dr. Montgomery explains. "A PCP can also help you manage chronic conditions such as allergies, diabetes or high blood pressure." There are several types of providers who work as PCPs: • An internal medicine physician specializes in care for adults • A family medicine physician cares for patients through all stages of life, from infants to older adults • A nurse practitioner or a physician assistant can also be a PCP At Plaza Internal Medicine, Dr. Montgomery serves patients alongside Sheena CarlLee, MD, and David Ratcliff, MD. Whichever type of provider you choose, developing a relationship with a trusted PCP means you have someone who is familiar with your medical history and can help you reach your health goals. "Find a primary care provider with whom you can develop an ongoing relationship," Dr. Montgomery suggests. "You can work together to stay healthy over your entire life." Common New Year's resolutions that lead to better health include: Eating better If you want to improve your eating habits, your PCP can make recommendations based on your health history and can guide you to an appropriate eating plan and resources. You may want to take the quiz at and get a personalized eating plan based on your age, sex, height, weight and physical activity level. There's even an app to help you create healthy habits. The Start Simple app allows you to set daily food goals, see real- time progress and earn reward badges. Exercising more Hoping to increase your physical activity in 2023? "Talk with your PCP about what is safe for you in your current level of fitness," Dr. Montgomery advises. "For most adults, the recommendation is 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This could be brisk walking in the neighborhood or high- tempo dancing in a Zumba class. Adults should also try to include some type of strength-building activity, like body weight exercises or weightlifting." Dr. Montgomery says you can benefit from even small amounts of physical activity; just try to move more frequently throughout the day as you work toward meeting the guidelines. Lowering your health risks "Based on your personal and family health history, your PCP can recommend preventive screenings and can help determine any disease risk factors you may have," Dr. Montgomery says. Screenings help catch potential health problems early when they can be treated more easily. Plus, your PCP can help you manage the important health numbers like weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level. Seeing your PCP Dr. Montgomery suggests starting the new year by scheduling an appointment with your PCP. "Like many others, you may have missed your regular checkups and screenings earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. If that's the case, now is the time to call your PCP's office to reschedule," she says. Dr. Montgomery also suggests thinking about any questions you may have about your health before your appointment. "Prepare a list of questions before each appointment with your doctor. If you don't understand something, keep asking until you do understand," she says. It helps to ask open-ended questions. Instead of asking, "Do I need this treatment?" ask, "If I decide not to accept this treatment, what will happen?" or, "Are there other treatments, and if so, can you tell me about them?" If you don't already have a PCP, visit clinics for a full list of Washington Regional primary care clinic locations throughout Northwest Arkansas, or call 479-404-1230 to request an appointment at Washington Regional Plaza Internal Medicine. With a trusted PCP on your team, your New Year's resolutions can be attainable goals. sponsor content resolution: Get healthier Tackling your health resolutions with a PCP sunday, decemBer 25, 2022 | January - Goals for Great HealtH | you at your Best | 3

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