Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates, PA
Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates, PA
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Acute disease manage Q&A

 

What is an acute disease?

An acute disease is a general term for a medical issue with symptoms that usually resolve in the short term, from a few hours to a few weeks. Acute diseases can be mild or severe, depending on your body’s reaction to the disease and the symptoms that you experience. Acute diseases include:

  • Asthma attacks
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Ear infections
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Muscle strains and injuries
  • Tonsillitis
  • The common cold and flu
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Urinary tract infection

How can I prevent myself from getting sick from an acute disease?

You can lower your risk of suffering from an acute disease by practicing good hygiene in your everyday life, including activities such as:

  • Washing your hands before preparing or eating food
  • Eating nutritious foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting recommended immunizations, such as a flu shot
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Scheduling annual checkups with your doctor

Additionally, when you are sick, stay at home. You need rest to recover, and you don’t want to infect anyone else.

When should I get treatment for acute diseases?

If you have an acute disease such as the common cold, contact Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates if your symptoms don’t resolve within a few days.

Your primary care practitioner may be able to provide antibiotics or other over-the-counter remedies to improve your symptoms. Make sure to follow the dosage instructions exactly as prescribed. You can also speed up your recovery by drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and resting your body.

Are acute diseases dangerous?

Some acute diseases are mild and resolve without medication, while others may require emergency services.

If your symptoms are especially uncomfortable and worsen to include episodes such as headaches, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your primary care practitioner at Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates and keep them updated on your symptoms.

If you experience severe pain, loss of motor functions, difficulty breathing, or become extremely dehydrated, you should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. It’s always better to stay on the safe side and seek treatment early for your symptoms, especially if you have an underlying chronic disease.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of an acute illness, call the practice or book online to schedule an appointment today.

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annual wellness exams Q&A

 

What should I expect from my annual wellness exam?

During your annual wellness exam, your primary care practitioner at Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates assesses your current health, makes sure you’re up-to-date on your immunizations, and helps you create a wellness plan for your future health.

At the beginning of the visit, you’re weighed and measured, and the practitioner provides you with an updated Body Mass Index (BMI). During the visit, the practitioner asks you questions about your medical history, including past injuries, surgeries, or hospitalizations. You should disclose any current medications, vitamins, or supplements that you’re taking. At the end of the visit, you have the opportunity to ask any health-related questions.

Although this exam may be less comprehensive than your annual physical exam, it’s a great opportunity to do an overall checkup of your health and receive general medical counseling.

Are there any specific conditions I should be screened for?

As you get older, it becomes even more important to undergo screening for chronic diseases. At your annual wellness visit, you may be screened for:

  • Depression
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Vision/Hearing impairments
  • Fall risk
  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Tobacco/Alcohol abuse
  • High cholesterol

Your doctor can remind you of which screenings you should get at which age, and give you referrals for certain screenings that are not performed in-house.

What can I do to prepare for my annual wellness exam?

For your annual wellness exam, you typically don’t need to complete any pre-exam activities. However, it’s best to go into the appointment prepared to inform your doctor about any new medical issues, such as changes in medication or worsening symptoms of an existing condition.

Your doctor may also ask about your lifestyle, such as your diet or exercise regime, so it’s a good idea to record a food/fitness diary in the weeks before the exam. Be honest when speaking to your doctor about your lifestyle habits, including a history of smoking and alcohol usage. Your doctor is there to help you achieve your optimal state of health.

Call Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates or book online to schedule your annual wellness exam today.

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chronic disease management q&A

 

What is a chronic disease?

A chronic disease occurs over a long period of time, and may range from a couple of months to many years. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 40 million Americans are limited in daily life because of chronic diseases. Common chronic diseases include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid

How can I lower my risk for chronic diseases?

Some risk factors for chronic disease, such as age or genetics, are unchangeable. However, you can lower your risk for chronic diseases through positive lifestyle habits, including regular exercise, a healthy diet, and abstinence from tobacco use.

Can chronic diseases be cured?

While modern medicine has achieved incredible discoveries, certain diseases are unable to be cured. However, the practitioners at Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates believe that all conditions can be managed to allow people to live life to the fullest even with a chronic disease.

It’s best to avoid chronic diseases in the first place. Many chronic diseases, such as heart disease or obesity, often can be prevented through lifestyle changes. It’s important to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Even if you already have a chronic disease, good lifestyle habits can maintain and improve your health, and lower the chance of worsening the condition.

It’s also important to maintain close communication with your doctor to ensure that you properly incorporate treatment steps into your daily routine to get the best care for your chronic disease.

Is it possible to live my life to the fullest with my chronic disease?

According to the CDC, about half of all adults have a chronic disease. Often, people with chronic diseases are able to enjoy normal activities with a few modifications. The key to living a full life with a chronic disease is to talk to your doctor at Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates about the most important things in life for you, and how you can modify your treatment so you can continue to do these activities.

Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates works closely with you to manage symptoms of your chronic disease so you can live life more comfortably. Call the practice or book online to schedule an appointment today.

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EKG q&A

 

 

What is an EKG?

An EKG, or an electrocardiogram, is a simple test that measures your heart activity. Your doctor may recommend an EKG if you have a family history of heart disease, or you’re experiencing chronic shortness of breath, chest pain or palpitations, dizziness, or an irregular heartbeat. Results of an EKG can detect signs of coronary heart disease, which is when blood vessels to the heart become partially blocked.

What happens during an EKG?

An EKG is a painless, speedy procedure that tests the function of your heart. The test measures the normal electrical activity of the heart. It is essentially a risk-free procedure and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

During the test, your provider at Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates attaches 12 electrode sticky patches to your chest, arms, and legs to record pictures of different angles of your heart. After the test, your doctor can immediately view the results and review them with you.

An EKG can detect any abnormalities that occur during the test that may indicate a heart condition. Abnormalities may include:

  • Heartbeat that is fast, slow, or irregular
  • Electrolyte levels that are too high or too low
  • Signs of a past, undetected heart attack
  • Enlargement of the heart due to high blood pressure
  • Abnormal thickness of the heart (hypertrophy)
  • Abnormal structure of the heart

Often, heart conditions can be easily managed with medication, devices such as pacemakers, or lifestyle changes if identified early.

What should I do to prepare for my EKG?

There is very little preparation you need to complete before your EKG test. On the day of your EKG, eat and drink normally. Avoid wear greasy lotions or creams on your body that could make it difficult to attach the sticky patches to your skin. You should also wear a shirt that can easily be unbuttoned or removed during the course of the test. Tell your doctor about any medications that you’re taking.

If you have a family history of coronary heart disease or are experiencing heart issues, call Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates or book online to schedule an EKG today.

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Skin biopsies Q&A

 

What is a skin biopsy?

A skin biopsy tests a sample of your skin for malignant conditions, such as skin cancer. During the biopsy, a small sample of your skin is removed for further examination under a microscope.

Dr. Vozza performs a shave biopsy of lesions.  Anything she feels may need a more specialized biopsy is sent to a Dermatologist.

Shave biopsies

This is the most superficial of the three biopsies. Your doctor uses a thin device similar to a razor to shave off the top layers of skin.  Local anesthesia is applied prior to the biopsy and cautery is used at the end to control bleeding

When should I get a skin biopsy?

If you have a skin abnormality, such as a mole, rash, redness, or swelling, talk to your doctor about whether you need a skin biopsy. A skin biopsy is a useful tool to detect a range of conditions, from skin infections and warts to skin cancer.

Skin biopsies are usually low-intensity procedures and often take less than 15 minutes. However, patients with certain conditions should take precautions before scheduling a skin biopsy. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of getting a skin biopsy but have a history of hemostasis or other bleeding disorders, as well as any skin infections.

Is it painful to get a skin biopsy?

To decrease discomfort during a skin biopsy, your practitioner applies anesthetic to the area of the skin biopsy before the procedure. This is often done with a small needle, and you may feel a pinch before the area is numbed.

After the procedure, keep the biopsy area clean to avoid infection. Wash the area with soap and water, and apply antibiotic cream and a Band-Aid. You may experience a little soreness around the area in the next couple of days, but if you feel a lot of pain, you should contact your doctor.

Although getting a skin biopsy can be anxiety-provoking, it’s an important step to take for preventive care. If you’re concerned about a skin abnormality, call or book online to schedule an appointment today.

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woman's health Q&A

 

When should I start getting screened for breast and cervical cancer?

All women should perform monthly self-exams to determine any abnormalities in their breasts. Your annual women’s health exam is a great time to learn how to effectively complete these self-exams.

Pap smears are tests to detect early stages of cervical cancer. In most cases, women should have a Pap smear every three years once they are over the age of 21 and sexually active. If your Pap smear test comes back abnormal, further testing can determine whether you have early-stage cervical cancer, which is often treatable.  It is recommended that women over age 65 or those that have had a hysterectomy no longer need Pap smears performed annually.

The practitioners at Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates offer screenings, and other women's health services for all your healthcare needs.

When should I get tested for STDs?

Women who are sexually active should talk to their doctor about sexually transmitted disease (STD) screenings. You’re at risk for STDs if you have had unprotected sex. Common STDs include:

  • HIV
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis

It’s best practice to use protection, such as a male or female condom when engaging in sexual activities. If you’re exposed to an STD, talk to your doctor about options for treatment.

What symptoms do women typically experience during menopause?

Women typically experience menopause around 40-50 years of age. Along with the gradual stopping of menstruation, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Weight gain
  • Osteoporosis

If your menopausal symptoms are interfering with your daily activities or energy levels, talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes, supplements, or medications that can alleviate your discomfort. Call or book online to schedule your appointment today.

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in house labs q&A

 

Can I complete all of my laboratory tests at the Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates office?

Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates provides in-house laboratory services along with high-quality, comprehensive patient care. Your practitioner may order a lab test to either confirm a diagnosis or determine an abnormality that may be causing you discomfort. Instead of going to another facility, you’re able to simply complete the test in-house, streamlining test results and providing convenience of service.

The majority of laboratory testing can be completed in the office, and results are often available within a few days. If your requested service can’t be completed in-house, your doctor gives you a referral to an outside provider to perform the test. Once you complete the test with the outside provider, the results will be sent back to the office for analysis.

Who can I contact about my lab results?

Since laboratory testing is performed in-house, you can call Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates directly to see if your results are ready. Often, test results may be ready within a few days. Our policy is that if the test results are normal you will probably not receive a phone call from the office.  You can also request a copy thru our patient portal. If you have any concerns about adverse reactions after completing the test, call the office or schedule an appointment with your practitioner as soon as possible.

Who analyzes the lab results?

The team at Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates works closely together to produce accurate results from your lab test in a time-efficient and thorough manner. Your primary care practitioner will view the results from the test and form a diagnosis of your condition.

I’m nervous about my upcoming medical test. Can I talk to someone about what the test involves?

Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates is first and foremost a patient-centered practice that wants you to feel comfortable about all procedures related to your health. The practitioners are highly trained and your test will be as quick and painless as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming medical test or appointment, don’t hesitate to contact the office. The friendly staff is available to explain procedures and address your concerns.

Call Brookridge Internal Medicine Associates or go to the website to schedule your appointment today.

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spirometry Q&A

 

What is a spirometry test?

A spirometry test is a non-invasive, simple procedure to examine your breathing. The test is painless and takes less than half an hour.

During the procedure, the technician will attach a clip to your nose, and then ask you to take a deep breath and blow into a spirometry machine. The machine will record your lung capacity and the speed of your inhale and exhale. For consistency, you may perform the test at least three times. A technician will guide you through the test, and you should ask questions if you’re confused or feeling uncomfortable or dizzy.

Who needs a spirometry test?

If your doctor suspects that you have a lung-related disorder, you might have to undergo a spirometry test. The procedure helps your doctor understand your lung function and identify if you have any underlying pulmonary problems.

Breathing issues can be a sign of a chronic pulmonary condition. If your doctor suspects you have any of the following disorders, you may require a spirometry test:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis

With a spirometry test, your doctor can examine obstructions or restrictions in your air flow that may identify a specific condition that you’re experiencing. Once your doctor understands your airflow and lung function better with the test results, you can begin to treat the condition and breathe more freely.

How should I prepare for a spirometry test?

Since spirometry is a non-invasive and fairly simple test, you don’t need extensive preparation prior to the procedure. However, in order to be able to breathe normally and easily, you should wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid alcohol or a large meal before the test.

If you smoke regularly, make sure to inform your doctor and refrain from smoking or exercising in the hour before your test. Additionally, if you’re taking any medications, especially through an inhaler, ask your doctor about taking them the day of the test.

If you’re concerned about your breathing or suspect you may have a lung condition, call or book online to schedule an appointment for expert testing and treatment today.