• The Advantages of Your Annual Physical

    Are you really as healthy as you think you are? Everything may feel fine, but health problems often develop slowly, with no discernible symptoms at first. Don’t live in ignorance – take charge of your health by making annual physicals a priority. Here are the advantages you can expect if you do.

    Gain Knowledge of Your Overall Health

    The greatest benefit of an annual physical is the chance to establish a baseline of personal health. A physical includes taking your temperature, reading your pulse, measuring your breathing rate and checking your blood pressure. Your doctor will also measure your height and weight, test your reflexes, and check your ears and mouth for abnormalities.

    By going in for a physical when you’re healthy, your doctor can compare your results with the normal range for someone your age and gender, which tells you your overall health level. Having your numbers on file makes your doctor better equipped to detect unhealthy trends that crop up in the future, allowing for proactive treatment to begin before chronic diseases set in.

    Receive Lifestyle Tips

    During your physical, the doctor may notice that your weight and blood pressure put you at risk for a heart attack. He or she can provide you with personalized tips and prescriptions to help you get a handle on your health and prevent life-threatening situations.

    Catch Diseases Early

    Of the 133 million Americans with chronic diseases, nearly one-third are unaware that they have a health problem. Only when the disease progresses and the patient develops symptoms do they visit the doctor, often to receive heartbreaking news of an advanced condition that can no longer be treated effectively.

    If preventative care was taken more seriously, up to 100,000 lives could be saved every year. Crucial health screenings performed during annual physicals can detect common chronic conditions in their early stages – including diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) – before they cause serious health issues.

    Keep on Top of Existing Chronic Health Problems

    Annual physicals are even more paramount if your doctor has already diagnosed you with a chronic health condition. Proper disease management, which includes seeing your doctor regularly, can help you avoid unnecessary hospitalization, reduce the cost of primary care and even help you live longer.

    Develop a Connection with Your Doctor

    People who never see a doctor are more likely to ignore symptoms of health problems when they crop up. If you build a relationship with your doctor and office staff, you feel more comfortable making a potentially life-saving call to ask for advice about the symptoms you’re experiencing.

    Keep Healthcare Affordable

    Preventative visits are the most affordable type of healthcare. Most insurance plans cover adult physicals, making it possible for everyone to see their doctor once a year. As a result, you can enjoy all of the above advantages of annual physicals practically for free.

    If it’s time for your annual physical in the Atlanta area, please contact Perimeter Clinic at 678-999-8263 to schedule an appointment.

  • What Causes Leg Cramps?

    A leg cramp is an involuntary and sudden contraction of one or more leg muscles, particularly the calf. Nicknamed “charley horses,” leg cramps are generally harmless, but they can be debilitating and painful until they pass. Learn what causes leg cramps so you can take steps to avoid them. Then, determine when it’s necessary to see a doctor.

    Causes of Leg Cramps

    • Physical exertion: Prolonged periods of exercise or physical labor, especially in hot weather, can lead to muscle cramps. It’s not uncommon for tight, painful leg cramps to stop runners in their tracks. Stretch your legs and drink plenty of water before and after exercise to help prevent this.
    • Poor circulation and nerve compression: These problems can cause muscle cramps to wake you up in the middle of the night. Stretching and doing a little light exercise, such as riding a stationary bike, right before bed can help prevent cramps while you’re sleeping.
    • Mineral depletion: Lack of potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet may contribute to muscle cramps. Eat foods high in these minerals and take a multivitamin with your doctor’s permission.
    • Dehydration: Failure to drink enough water can make your muscles spasm and cramp up, especially during physical exertion. Keep a water bottle with you and sip from it regularly throughout the day. Remember to stay hydrated during and after exercise as well.
    • Medications: Certain drugs cause muscle cramps as a side effect. The most common of these include diuretics prescribed for high blood pressure and statins taken to treat high cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about altering your prescription if muscle cramps or other side effects are unbearable.
    • Age and medical conditions: As you get older, you lose existing muscle mass, making your remaining muscles prone to tiring. This can increase the frequency of leg You’re also at a higher risk if you have diabetes, nerve disorders, or liver or thyroid disease.

    When to See Your Doctor About Leg Cramps

    Charley horses and other muscle cramps usually go away on their own and rarely require medical attention. However, you should consider talking to your doctor if your cramps:

    • Happen frequently and cause severe discomfort
    • Are accompanied by muscle weakness, swelling, redness or changes to the skin
    • Don’t improve with at-home care
    • Seem to be caused by prescription medication, which you can request to have altered
    • Have no apparent cause

    Perimeter Clinic offers primary care services to residents of the Atlanta area. If you don’t have a primary care physician, we are the place to come with concerns about ongoing leg cramps. We strive to provide affordable, easily accessible primary and urgent care to patients of all ages here in Georgia. To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified physicians, please contact us at 678-999-8263.