ST. LOUIS -- Small steps can lead to big change.
That's the advice the Best Doctors at Saint Louis University are giving their patients. Making smaller commitments like eating healthy, being physically active, not smoking or reducing stress can have a big impact on a person's overall health.
Each year, St. Louis Magazine recognizes the area's "Best Doctors" in a special issue that is on newsstands July 22. This year, SLUCare The Physicians of Saint Louis University had 172 named to the list.
To celebrate their recognition, we asked SLUCare Best Doctors to share the one pearl of wisdom that would make the biggest and most positive impact on the quality of their patients' lives. We wanted to know what one thing above everything else can their patients do to stay healthy?
Many responded enthusiastically, and we are sharing what their advice in the below story and this video.
Scott Fosko, M.D., Dermatology
Get in the habit of checking your skin and the skin of your loved ones on a regular monthly basis.
David Greenberg, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery
As an orthopaedic oncologist, the one piece of advice I would give to my patients is that if you are a smoker, quit, and quit soon; if you are not a smoker, stay that way. I have too many patients come to my clinic with bone lesions that turn out to be metastatic lung cancer. They almost all say, "but I feel fine and have no cough," and then the reality sets in and they realize that the years of ignoring the advice regarding cigarettes has caught up with them. I realize that quitting the habit is not an easy task, but it is a far easier battle than metastatic lung cancer.
Stephen Braddock, M.D., Pediatrics
Every one of us is a unique individual yet we share many traits within our families and with others too. Don't let individual medical conditions change the desire for each person to reach their maximum potential and live life to the fullest that they are able.
Milta Little, D.O., Geriatric Medicine
Exercise every day! I encourage my patients to stay active physically and socially. If they live in a community that provides exercise opportunities, we talk about the specific activities in which they have an interest and they make a commitment to them in my office for the next month. I also encourage a simple walk with a buddy around the block or in the halls. To incorporating activity into one's daily life, it is important to make it fun, habitual and social.
Miguel Paniagua, M.D., General Internal Medicine
We spend a lot of time espousing quantity over quality of life, and the most important advice I give patients, particularly my older patients, is that in today's day and age, we can maximize the lifespan to an extent not seen in human history, but there is always a cost, and it is often in quality of life. Do you want to live weeks to months longer, but spend most of that time in the hospital? It is important to weigh risks and benefits of all medical interventions with this in mind, and help patients navigate the array of choices they are faced with.
Lisa Cannada, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery
Avoid texting and driving. A person texting and driving is known to have less concentration that a person who is drunk.
Richard Bucholz, M.D., Neurosurgery
When confronted by a diagnosis, particularly one that potentially has a serious effect on your health, do extensive research. Go online and learn everything you can about the diagnosis from reputable sources. Do not believe everything that appears online, particularly any site that has even the slightest appearance of trying to sell you something, or come to a specific center for treatment; look for advice from medical societies, Wikipedia, and patient groups focused upon specific diseases. Once you have learned everything you can, write down a list of questions about your specific situation, and arrange a meeting with your doctor to answer all the questions.
David Karges. M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery
The care that you receive from physicians should include treatment education for you to become your own specialist, to maximize your outcome.
Dianne Elfenbein, M.D., Adolescent Medicine
I want teens to choose to act in their best interest at all times, so that they are not at risk for harming themselves or others by the behaviors.
Mark Varvares, M.D., Otolaryngology
Eat healthy, try to keep a near normal weight, if you smoke, quit and if you don't smoke, do not start.
Julie Gammack, M.D., Geriatric Medicine
Stay physically active with a regular exercise program. 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week, even if it's walking, improves overall health and diseases.
Katherine Temprano, M.D., Rheumatology
There are over 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatologic conditions, most of which are chronic and still without a cure. By working as a team with their rheumatologist, patients can play an active role in the treatment and management of their disease and can look forward to living longer and happier lives. Rheumatology therapies are advancing rapidly and there are more treatment options than ever before for many of our diseases.
Harvey Solomon, M.D., General Surgery
I advise my patients to ask questions and to take an active part in their treatment. I encourage them to contact me with any questions and concerns. I believe that good communication is essential to building a strong doctor-patient relationship and results in better care.
Florian Thomas, M.D., Neurology
The secret to being a successful patient is it to know how to get on your doctor's nerves and feel good about it. All too often, patients come unprepared and let us doctors get away with doing our spiel without exploring what the patient wishes and therefore must get out of his/her visit. Patients also come unprepared to their appointments, forget what they needed to ask, and do not bring a care partner to help them remember.
Jeffrey Brown, M.D. Radiology
Develop healthy habits. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco and excess alcohol consumption, and seeing your primary care physician regularly, will help you stay healthy and enjoy your life.
Patrick Yeung, Jr. M.D., Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health
You, the patient, are your own best advocate. Be empowered to know that you have options, and have the courage to seek out the best one for you.
George Grossberg, M.D., Psychiatry
I advise patients to keep physically, mentally, socially, and if warranted, spiritually active. "Do not be a couch-potato," I tell them and their families this directly and suggest what they can do on a daily basis in each of these areas.
John Stith, M.D., Otolaryngology
I see quite a few obese children with obstructive sleep apnea. I tell parents that weight reduction can make this problem better and also have a favorable effect on their overall quality of. We discuss the efficacy of diet and exercise and try to get the child into a weight management clinic.
Linda Shaw, M.D., Pediatrics
It's important for parents to always have a backup suppostive person in their life to take over when they are stressed about child rearing. This could be someone in their family, friendship group or neighborhood, someone who can be available to help them.
Rob Neumayr, M.D., Cardiology
Exercise regularly and eat in moderation. These are simple concepts but yet hard to accomplish so create a routine and make these changes a regular part of your life.
Andrew Klein, M.D., Cardiology
Stay as active as possible and surround yourself with people who will join you in this goal. Daily cardiovascular exercise is critical for the body and staying active helps preclude so many issues. Unfortunately, many individuals tend to remain sedentary or state they have no time to exercise. I try to explain to them that it all starts with little steps, like parking your car further away so you have to walk more or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Jill Powell, M.D., adolescent gynecology
I try to impart to patient's both young and old the importance of being physically active. It's crucial for disease prevention, weight management, and mental health. After being relatively inactive for the last two decades, I've finally taken my own advice and become a regular exerciser and I've never felt better or healthier.
Marilyn Maxwell, M.D., general internal medicine and pediatrics
I want patients to realize that stress can affect their health, raise their blood pressure and heart rate, affect their focus, ability to enjoy life, and stress can also make the existing medical consitions worse. There are things that can be done to reduce stress that you have in your life and to have a healthier life.
Read the entire Best Doctors list here.
Nationally accredited and with more than 500 physicians, SLUCare is the medical practice group of Saint Louis University School of Medicine. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. To schedule an appointment, call 314-977-4440 or 1-866-977-4440. More information is available at www.slucare.edu.