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Do I need a Primary Care Physician?

Many people think that now they are adults, they don’t need a primary care physician; when, in actuality, the important role that this doctor plays can’t be overstated. 

Besides doing your yearly physical, your primary care physician is often your first stop in identifying autoimmune disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriasis, lupus, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis and more.

Think again if you feel that only children need regular check-ups. Adults need them, too. They need regular visits to their primary care physician or to Los Gatos Doc’s primary care physicians. These visits result in better health care management because during them, you get to know your doctor and vice versa. They also result in better health care management because of the chronicity of autoimmune diseases. Your primary care physician can give you ideas which will result in a better quality of life!

A relationship with your primary care physician often gives both patient and doctor a chance to get to know each other. The relationship becomes special and built on a foundation of trust. Nurture the relationship now because it might be much easier to discuss possibly uncomfortable health issues later if you have developed a bond with your primary care physician. 

Research has shown that people who visit their primary care physicians regularly experience the benefits of better overall health, lower health care costs and have more satisfaction with their health care and lives. It is especially important to discuss how lifestyle changes can have a major effect on autoimmune disorders.

A major benefit of your relationship with a primary care physician is that it’s so much like having your own ‘health care hub’. Other physicians in the practice can access, provide vital information and coordinate all of your care in one place.

Some of the services provided by your primary care physicians can include:

  • Autoimmune disease management
  • Preventative care; disease prevention and screening
  • Checking for hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Checking for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar/diabetes)
  • High cholesterol
  • Checking for cancer
  • Depression
  • STD’s
  • Help manage your chronic conditions
  • Give recommendations
  • Discuss sensitive and private concerns
  • Make referrals to specialists
  • Inoculations
  • Physicals

Your primary care physician is quite knowledgable in all of these areas and many more. Discussing preventative measures and developing strategies for dealing with health issues is one of the biggest reasons for making regular visits to Los Gatos Doc’s family clinic  or to your primary care physician. When we know who you are what your baseline is, we can easier detect changes or patterns which make diagnosing more accurate.

A major advantage of having a primary care physician is in having a team organizer, the hub of a health care wheel. The primary care physician has the ability to identify a patient’s need for a specialist. If you need an allergist and/or a pulmonologist, your primary care physician will point you in the right direction and assist you in understanding what your part might be as you  work together to achieve your health goals. Your primary care physician might also point you towards a rheumatologist who he/she has worked with before, if you need this specialty.

When you go to Los Gatos Doc’s primary care physicians, we treat you as a person and not a disease. If you want to live longer and have better health we are here to advocate for you, to treat you with compassion and to help guide you through your individual health care journey.

About the Author: Arun Villivalam, MD is a concerned and caring family physician and primary care doctor serving the community of Los Gatos, CA. Dr. Villivalam attended Thomas Jefferson University, where he received his medical degree, and completed his residency in family medicine at Cook County Hospital. Dr. Villivalam provides a variety of services to ensure the health and wellbeing of his patients, including physicals for all ages, chronic care management, stress management, urgent care, medicare wellness visits, school physicals and more.

 

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Join me in a lupus clinical trial

There is a lupus clinical trial that is recruiting applicants now. We all know that lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.

Many people think of the inconvenient and bothersome side effects of lupus. Like sore joints and dry mouth. No, lupus affects the skin in many ways, too (makes it tighten and sometimes causes the formation of painful sores). Internally, it can wreak havoc on the heart, lungs as said before, causing inflammation; yes, lupus can and does KILL.

Approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will observe some type of effect on their skin. In fact, 40-70 percent of people with lupus will find that their disease is made worse by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight or artificial light. This study will take place in 30 areas of the US and will involve the use of  monoclonal  antibody to treat lupus.

As always, information here is not intended to take the place of the materials given to you by the clinical trial, but I know of the safety and efficacy of these trials.

 

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LUPUS, in a nutshell

Every disease, everything that ails us, usually has a descriptor, a very easy way of describing it. and here is a lupus descriptor that is a very basic. Future articles will expound on this video:

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Rituxan #3

Tuesday: was my third Rituxan® infusion. Walloped with IV steroids and IV Benadryl™ (both as pre-meds to prevent a reaction to infusion), the appropriate labs had been drawn.The premeds are given to prevent a reaction to the infusion.

Reaction to infusion? Essentially, the administration of any foreign drug is likely to elicit some response from the immune system. How and why could I react to this infusion? Well, think of this just like the immune system in lupus. There is a foreign invader (antigen and in this case, Rituxan®) and the body can mount an immune response with antibodies. The antibodies which attack foreign cells are called auto-antibodies.
If the body does mount a response, it usually is diminished with the body’s own antihistamines. The administration of IV steroids and IV Benadryl, an antihistamine usually prevents this reaction from occurring and treats it it it does. Symptoms of a reaction might be itchiness, hives, throat tightening, airway obstruction and distress and respiratory arrest.

 

I find the following video an easy way of remembering the definition of antibodies and antigens and auto-antibodies and their difference.

An hour after the infusion began, the nurse increased the rate as she had done 2 times before, but shortly therafter, I got a very intense itch on my back. I didn’t consider an infusion reaction; rather, I thought of dry skin on my back: because I forgot to lotion!
Just as quickly as the nurse stopped the infusion, she looked at my very itchy back. It was reddened and raised and blotchy red. My face was reddened and so was my neck, I was having a reaction. The infusion was turned off for an hour and when she resumed the infusion, she started it at a much slower rate and I was fine.

 

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Inflammation

For a long time, I’ve made posts long and lengthy. Then I realized, when I’m surfing the net, do I like to read a dictionary? an encyclopedia? No, short, sweet and to the point. So, starting today, it is short, sweet and to the point. Let’s start with  inflammation. In lupus, whenever something is inflamed, it’s usually related to-though not always; lupus.

Inflammation of most organ. or parts of organs is seen by us as redness and swelling, or hot, and painful. Redness can mean many things. not always lupus. Continue reading

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What is lupus?

discover your power“Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). ” I ‘borrowed’ this definition of lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosous) from the website of the Lupus Foundation of America which deals with every aspect of this disease (lupus) that could be thought possible.

It needs to be said that there are fine organizations which conduct research for, use donated revenues for education of, gather information about and educate about lupu. There is the Lupus Foundation of America, the Lupus Research Initiative and the Alliance for Lupus Research.  and including, but not limited to many educational sites such as Molly’s Fund, The Lupus Chick, Sometimes it is Lupus. this site: The Lupus Guru and Lupus, The Adventurer Between the Lines. Space limits the # of sites I can mention, but suffice it to say that the above blogs and websites frequently update their content and all make attempts to maintain an upbeat, updated presence on the internet.

So, what is lupus? You’ll find more thorough explanations on the sites listed above and as I post more on these pages, but-what follows is a short video presentation s which is accurate and if you need to have an explanation of what lupus is for concerned friends and family members because you’ve just been diagnosed with lupus, YouTube is incredibly accurate with this video!

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“Coping and Living with Skin Lupus”

Lupus doesn’t limit itself to INTERNAL organs. The largest organ in the body is the skin and when lupus affects this organ, it is often called discoid lupus, causing another source of problems (red scaly patches, hair loss). Lupus can just have EFFECTS (sun sensitivity, mild itchiness) on the skin, in which case, it is not discoid.

This is a very interesting presentation, differentiating Systemic Lupus from Discoid Lupus.

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