Wellness Resources

What Is A PCP and Why Do I Need One?

Primary Care ProviderA primary care provider, or PCP, is your main point of contact for healthcare in non-emergency situations. Think of this type of healthcare provider as the quarterback of your entire health care team, the central point person whose role it is to coordinate your overall patient care, treatment and education.

Overall, your PCP is key to:

  • Providing preventive care and guidance on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle
  • Diagnosing and treating acute common medical conditions, such as cold, flu, infections, etc.
  • Treatment and management of chronic diseases such a high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
  • Determining the severity of your medical problems, so he or she can direct you to the most appropriate care provider
  • Referring you to medical specialists when a condition requires more targeted treatment

In addition, a PCP ensures prescribed medications will not adversely affect other medications or supplements you may already be taking. Over time, your PCP learns your health history and what is most important to you and your long-term wellness. This high-level oversight ensures all of the treatments, medications, therapies and recommendations from various providers are as effective as possible.

Even if you are relatively healthy right now, things can and do change. This is especially true of millennials (the segment of the population born between the early 80s and the early 2000s), who are in the perfect position to establish health and wellness baselines with a dedicated primary care provider.

PCPs are usually physicians; however, physician assistants and nurse practitioners (collectively referred to as advance practice providers), who work under a qualified physician can also be your PCP. There are also different types of primary care physicians, some of which you may need at different points in your life, depending on your health care needs.

This chart identifies the different types of primary care physicians and can help you pinpoint which can help you most, depending on your health care needs.

PPC Guide

About Dr. Colovos

nick colovos, MDNick Colovos, MD, received degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1993, and completed his residency in emergency medicine at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Toledo Ohio in 1996. His work experiences in the academic, public and private sectors of medical care have allow him to develop a very unique perspective on the business of healthcare and its delivery to patients.

 

  • Program Director of Urgent Care Services
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Family and Preventative Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia

 

Related Resources

Find a Physician
Emory Primary Care Clinics

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

seasonal affective disorderSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Seasonal Depression is a type of depression that correlates to changes in seasons. Most people with SAD start to experience some symptoms in the fall that continue, and can sometimes worsen, in the winter months. In people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, symptoms of depression will usually dissipate in the spring and summer, though a small percentage of people do report SAD symptoms during the summer.

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

There are many external factors that can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winter can often bring dreary weather, such as colder temperatures and lots of precipitation. These factors, combined with shorter daylight hours, can make it difficult to find the energy to get through the season. Geographically, those who live farther from the equator, either north or south, are more likely to be affected by SAD, perhaps because they experience longer periods of darkness in the winter and/or longer days in the summer.

Additionally, if you have a family history of clinical depression or if you are also suffering clinical depression or bipolar disorder, you could be at higher risk for developing SAD or experiencing worsening symptoms during the winter months.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Weight gain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Carbohydrate craving
  • Lethargy/lack of energy
  • Oversleeping
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Hopeless and/or suicidal feelings
  • Social withdrawal

Though some experience only a mild form of SAD, a small percentage experience symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization or dramatically affect their quality of life. Those suffering from SAD who work long hours or during the night may have their symptoms further exacerbated, as they see less daylight.

Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is a mental health condition that can be improved with treatment. Treatments include stress management and light therapy using a special lamp that imitates daylight. Of those who seek treatment for SAD, about 80 percent see a reduction in their symptoms. The important thing is that you not dismiss your feelings of sadness as just another case of the “winter blues.” Seek professional help from a psychiatrist or therapist, or by talking with your primary care doctor. There is no need to suffer from SAD symptoms in silence, take the professional steps you need to maintain your health and happiness!

References

Emory Johns Creek Hospital continues Community Health Classes

Wellness ClassesLooking for a way to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the new year? A new 5-week course starts Feb. 25 at Emory Johns Creek Hospital focusing on health and wellness. Classes are taught by community and hospital healthcare providers and provide general education on nutrition and health issues to help participants progress toward developing personalized health plans.

Classes meet every other Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Physicians Plaza Suite 109, located at 6335 Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek. The cost for all five sessions is $75. Class topics are:

  • Feb. 25: Introduction and Initial Health Screening. Taught by Andrew Pugliese, MD, a Disease Prevention Physician at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, will set the foundation with information on how a healthy, active lifestyle can influence personal risk factors for disease. Licensed lab technicians help participants complete a personalized physical health assessment.
  • March 04: Health Eating Habits and Their Effect on Chronic Disease Management. Julie Parish, an Emory Johns Creek registered and licensed dietitian, will provide disease specific diet education relevant to participant’s personal risk factors and demonstrate how to use a food diary to track progress.
  • Feb. 11: Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Emory Johns Creek Food Services Director, Amy Davis, will talk about organic and sustainable cooking tips and how to stock your kitchen to achieve dietary success. The class will also participate in a cooking demo and prep their own healthy dinner for four to take home.
  • March 18: Preventative Benefits of Exercise. Kay Halbert, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Supervisor at Emory Johns Creek, discusses setting goals and general requirements for physical activity. Class participants can register to win a Fitbit to help track fitness and nutrition goals along with a pair of shoes from fleet feet and a gym membership with LA fitness.
  • March 25: Wrap-up with General Well-being. Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s Sleep Lab Coordinator and Registered Respiratory Therapist Joyce Neidert and Licensed Pharmacist Roland Tam. Discuss stress management with the Director of Marketing for Massage Envy Barb Hornsby. Class members can experience a free chair massage, take home a one hour session, and enter to win a custom pillow.

For more information or to register online, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes or call 678-474-8200 to register.

Emory in Your Community – Free Osteoporosis Prevention Program

nurses screening patientsEmory Healthcare’s Community Health Partnership* is offering a complimentary Osteoporosis Prevention Program at the United Methodist Church in Tucker. This 6-week program will screen and educate participants on ways to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

Sessions will be facilitated by Emory specialty nurses who will provide:

  • Osteoporosis screenings
  • Personal progress consultations
  • Individual evaluation and follow-up

Start Date

Tuesday, February 17
5:30 – 7:00 PM

Location

Tucker First United Methodist Church-Wesley Center
2397 Fourth Street
Tucker, GA 30084

Register today as space is limited to the first 20 participants.

To register or for more information, call 404-778-7777 or e-mail ayibatari.owi@emoryhealthcare.org.

*Emory Healthcare’s Community Health Partnership is a collaboration between Emory and the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC). This partnership provides community wellness screenings and health education programs to the local communities of selected United Methodist churches within the metro-Atlanta area.

Hit Your New Year’s Goals – Every Single Day!

It’s the first full week of the new year! Many of us have made lengthy lists of New Year’s Resolutions that probably include many long-term goals. While long-term goals are great – and necessary for success – sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when you know that your goal is far off in the future. An easy way to avoid that discouragement is to set daily goals that you can meet every single day. Feeling a sense of accomplishment every day will help you stay motivated to reach your future, long-term goals. Here’s a template of simple, healthy goals you can meet every single day. Visit our Pinterest page for a printable version you can hang on your fridge and check off every single day. Good luck, and Happy New Year!

Daily New Years Goals

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

exercise motivationWe know exercise can help us lose weight and will be better for our health in the long run, but we still can’t seem to get ourselves motivated to exercise for the recommended duration, frequency and intensity outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Current guidelines recommend about 2.5 hours per week of moderately intense aerobic exercise (such as a brisk walk or jumping jacks) and at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activity. Check out fitness guidelines for health as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Heart Association (AHA).

Here are 5 tips to help get yourself motivated to exercise:

  1. Break it down. The recommended 2.5 hours per week works out to about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can break that down further by doing three, 10-minute sessions each day. Remember to combine aerobic and muscle strengthening activities for optimal benefits.
  2. The power of one. The journey of 10,000 miles (or the loss of 30 pounds) begins with one step. Or pushup. Or lunge. If you’ve been inactive for a while or have old injuries, trying to pound out a 30-minute jog may be a setup for failure. Also, ask your physician about modified exercises to help ease into a new routine.
  3. Put it on your calendar. Set appointments with yourself and treat it as you would any other meeting or appointment.
  4. Phone a friend. Working out with your partner or friends will help make exercise more fun! Unfortunately, most of us are more willing to let ourselves down than others, so having a support system in the form of an exercise buddy will force you to keep yourself more accountable.
  5. Less trips to the doctor. According to the AHA, heart disease and stroke are the nation’s # 1 and # 5 killers, and exercising for the recommended amounts of time can improve your overall cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of a myriad of health issues. Trade in the time you’d spend at the doctor’s office for a few minutes of exercise!

Related Resources

References

American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Physical Activity Guidelines

New Year’s Resolutions – 4 Tips for a Successful Year

New Year's ResolutionsThe first day of the New Year inspires many to start a new, healthier lifestyle. For some, the holidays have been a time of over-indulgence. Surveys suggest that the average American reports that they gain about 5 pounds during the holiday season. For others, the previous year has inspired concern with overall health. Studies consistently show that a good diet and regular exercise not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but reduce cancer risks, as well.

Whatever your reason for making healthy changes this year, we have some suggestions to help you make and meet your new goals!

1.) Know Your Numbers

Taking the time to find out your blood pressure, blood glucose level, cholesterol, and body mass index numbers can be a scary task, but deciding to know your numbers can be incredibly empowering. Having this information can help you and your healthcare provider make specific decisions about your diet and exercise plans as you resolve to make changes.

2.) Make New Habits

It’s much easier to make a new habit than it is to break an old one. For example, instead of giving up your favorite desserts altogether, decide to choose healthier options more often. Still allowing yourself to indulge now and then makes it much easier for you to maintain these new habits instead of ditching them when things get difficult.

3.) Take Baby Steps

While setting new habits into motion is key, it’s important to be sure that you’re allowing yourself room to adjust. For example, a sedentary person will likely fail in the long run if their goal is to run a 5K by the end of the month. Starting with 15 minute jogs three times a week is a much more attainable goal. Once the 15 minute jogs become routine, gradually increasing the length, difficulty, and frequency of the workout will help you reach a larger goal.

4.) Find a Support System

Don’t feel like you have to do this alone! Talk to somebody about your plans for change. Join a workout group. Encourage your partner and friends to find out their numbers and share in your goals. Finding someone to share your goals with makes the journey more doable AND enjoyable!

Related Resources

5 Weeks to Better Wellness with Community Health Classes

Wellness ClassesLooking for a way to kick start a healthier lifestyle in the new year? Starting in January 2015, Emory Johns Creek Hospital will launch a five-week course of health and wellness classes taught by community and hospital healthcare providers. The classes focus on providing general education on nutrition and health issues to help participants progress toward developing personalized health plans. Classes meet every other Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The first class meets Jan. 7, 2015 in Physicians Plaza Suite 109, located at 6335 Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek. The cost for all five sessions is $75. Class topics are:

  • Jan. 7:  Introduction and Initial Health Screening. Taught by Andrew Pugliese, MD, a Disease Prevention Physician at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, will set the foundation with information on how a healthy, active lifestyle can influence personal risk factors for disease. Licensed lab technicians help participants complete a personalized physical health assessment.
  • Jan. 21:  Healthy Eating Habits and Their Effect on Chronic Disease Management. Julie Parish, an Emory Johns Creek registered and licensed dietitian, will provide disease specific diet education relevant to participant’s personal risk factors and demonstrate how to use a food diary to track progress.
  • Feb. 4: Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives. Emory Johns Creek Food Services Director, Amy Davis, will talk about organic and sustainable cooking tips and how to stock your kitchen to achieve dietary success. The class will also participate in a cooking demo and prep their own healthy dinner for four to take home.
  • Feb. 18: Preventative Benefits of Exercise. Kay Halbert, Outpatient Rehabilitation Services Supervisor at Emory Johns Creek, discusses setting goals and general requirements for physical activity. Class participants can register to win a Fitbit to help track fitness and nutrition goals along with a pair of shoes from fleet feet and a gym membership with LA fitness.
  • March 4: Wrap-up with General Well-being. Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s Sleep Lab Coordinator and Registered Respiratory Therapist Joyce Neidert and Licensed Pharmacist Roland Tam. Discuss stress management with the Director of Marketing for Massage Envy Barb Hornsby. Class members can experience a free chair massage, take home a one hour session, and enter to win a custom pillow.

For more information or to register online, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes or call 678-474-8200.

6 Flu Myths Busted – Should I Still Get My Flu Shot This Year?

Flu MythPrevention is the best medicine, and it’s particularly true for the flu. While an annual flu vaccination is still one of the best defenses against this highly contagious respiratory illness, myths and misinformation keep many people from getting vaccinated. Here’s our list of responses to the top six flu vaccine myths, but we also urge you to speak to your doctor or healthcare professional about flu vaccination and prevention.

  1. The CDC just announced this year’s flu shot won’t be that effective, so why bother? According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Dec. 4 announcement, the flu vaccine’s ability to protect against a certain strain of seasonal flu viruses, called influenza A H3N2, may be reduced this year because of changes in the viruses since this year’s vaccine was produced. There are three things to keep in mind, however. According to the CDC, a similar situation occurred during the 2007-2008 flu season and the vaccine still proved to be 37 to 42 percent effective against H3N2 viruses. This year’s vaccination can still reduce the severity of symptoms if people do become infected. And while H3N2 viruses have been the mostly commonly reported so far this season, other types of flu viruses may become more prevalent.
  2. The flu shot will give you the flu. Not true. Flu vaccines contain inactive or weakened flu viruses that cannot cause infection. Since the flu vaccine takes about two weeks to kick in, it’s likely that some people who get the flu shot and then start experiencing flu-like symptoms were already coming down with a cold or flu. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cites studies in which subjects were given either a flu shot or a salt-water injection. In both groups, the number of subjects who reported flu-like symptoms after the either shot were roughly the same.
  3. It’s better to get the flu and let my body fight the infection. In reality, the influenza virus is a very serious infectious disease. According to the website flu.gov, approximately 5 to 20% of the U.S. population gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year for flu-related complications, such as bacterial pneumonia, dehydration or the worsening of chronic pre-existing conditions, such as asthma. During the past 30 years, flu-related deaths have ranged from 3,000 to 49,000 per year. Older people, young children, pregnant women are at higher risk for developing severe flu complications.
  4. It’s too late to get the flu shot. Nope. In fact, National Influenza Vaccination Week runs Dec. 7 though 13, even though flu season generally begins in the fall, starting in October, and can last through May. Keep in mind that flu season typically peaks in January and February, and the vaccines are effective as long as the flu viruses are in circulation.
  5. Women who are pregnant shouldn’t get the flu shot. In actuality, the flu shot is the best protection against seasonal flu for pregnant women. Since pregnancy changes women’s immune systems, they are more susceptible to catching the flu virus, and the flu shot can protect your baby before and after the birth. While the flu shot is recommended, the nasal spray is not. As always during pregnancy, seek your doctor’s advice.
  6. The flu shot doesn’t work. I had one and still got sick. While this situation can happen, it’s possible that people who get the flu even after getting vaccinated may have caught a strain of the flu not included in that year’s vaccination or the virus changed, or may have gotten infected before the antibodies were created. Another reason is the word flu has been used to describe a variety of illnesses that aren’t caused by the influenza virus. Rhinoviruses, which are the culprit behind the common cold, can cause similar symptoms, and we tend to use the words cold and the flu interchangeably.

Related Resources

When Should You Go to the ER?
Transplant Patients: Protect Yourself Against the Flu
Did You Know that Getting the Flu Shot Can Also Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack?

Healthy Thanksgiving Day Recipes – Don’t Choose Between Health and Flavor!

heatlhy thanksgiving dinnerThanksgiving. This highly-anticipated day marks the beginning of the holiday season—the time of year when we usually fall off the wagon and overindulge on fattening food and drink. With so many delicious recipes out there that seem to appear in endless quantities at our dinner tables, it’s understandable that we may indulge here and there. Just remember—everything good comes in moderation. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and then, but make an attempt to maintain healthy meals at least 80% of the time. In the spirit of giving and moderation, here are a few recipes to help you cut unnecessary calories from your Thanksgiving menu without cutting the flavor or fun!

Healthy Turkey Recipes

Your turkey doesn’t need a full tub of butter to be moist, nor does it require brining days in advance for flavor. Try out this recipe instead: Cornbread-Crusted Turkey.

This recipe calls for healthier ingredients such as low-sodium chicken broth and skinless turkey fillets to cut down fat and excess salt. It also includes carrots and sage for an extra boost of flavor.

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Side-dishes can be your biggest enemy if you’re not careful. Traditional side dishes can be filled with sugar, butter and cream, but if you’re willing to branch out, here are a couple of suggestions for lighter, healthier options:

Sweet Potato Casserole
Just putting a slightly healthier spin on a classic. This still contains butter and sugar, so watch your serving size and enjoy!

Mashed Cauliflower (instead of mashed potatoes)
Here, we’re simply substituting a high-fiber vegetable like cauliflower for the potatoes. This shaves off calories and carbs while adding more nutrients. Cauliflower is a nutrient powerhouse, loaded with more calcium, fiber, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K than a comparable amount of white potatoes.

Lemon-Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Leave the unhealthy add-ons to baked potatoes at the door. Stick with lemon and garlic for seasoning with this delicious recipe that totals about 69 calories per serving.

Mock Sour Cream
If you do decide you want to add the sour cream to your mashed potatoes and other sides, here’s a tip for making a healthier version (only 11 calories per TBSP)!

Greek Yogurt Subsitutes
Both low- and non-fat versions of Greek and traditional plain yogurts can play a part in a healthy diet by improving bone health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in adults. One of Greek yogurt’s primary benefits is it delivers higher protein and less sugar than the regular variety. Six ounces of Greek yogurt can deliver as much protein as three ounces of lean meat. As a result, Greek yogurt promotes the sense of fullness with fewer calories than many other protein sources. Check out these ways you can incorporate Greek yogurt into your favorite recipes this holiday!

Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Thanksgiving desserts are often people’s favorite part of the holidays, and rightfully so. Homemade Thanksgiving pies are the ultimate comfort food. What’s not so comforting, however, is the amount of bad fat in most desserts. Here are a couple of healthy takes on some favorite desserts:

Diabetic Friendly Crustless Pumpkin Pie
If you’re living with diabetes, you know that finding a good diabetic-friendly dessert recipe can be a challenge. Try this one out and let us know what you think in the comments below.

New York Style Cheesecake
The ingredient choices here help this to be a better option than a traditional recipe. However, remember, this is still a dessert with calories and fat. Even though it is a better decision than traditional fare, be sure to watch your portions and keep this to an occasional treat.

Chat with Us!

Healthy Holiday Eating ChatJoin Dr. Gina Lundberg, Clinical Director of the Emory Women’s Heart Center, on December 9 at noon for a live web chat on Heart Healthy Holiday Eating. Dr. Lundberg will give advice on how to enjoy the season while maintaining a healthy heart, ingredients to avoid if you’re worried about weight gain and more. You can still enjoy tasty and satisfying holiday fare without blowing a button, or even worse, negatively affecting your heart health. Join us for all the tips!

Pin with Us!

You can find all these recipes and more on Emory Healthcare’s Pinterest page! All recipes are Emory MD-approved and delicious! We also want you to share YOUR recipes with US! Just message or tweet us @emoryhealthcare and we’ll add you to our Healthy Recipes community board!