Primary care doctors can help patients maintain healthy habits

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For many people the only time they visit their primary care doctor is when they're sick, but they can also help patients maintain good health habits outside the office.

Dr. Harland Homan, a doctor of family medicine at Spectrum Health, discusses how primary care doctors can help their patients with healthy ways to lose weight.

A primary care doctor mainly focuses on preventing diseases in their patients through checkups, diet and exercise, and medical guidance. Seeing a primary doctor on a regular basis is important to staying healthy because they can identify a medical problem before it becomes serious.

One problem that patients are often uncomfortable talking about with their primary care doctor is weight loss. Unlike most problems physicians deal with, weight loss is a big commitment and takes small steps over time to treat.

One way patients can partner with their primary care provider is discussing a diet plan. Sometimes people will pick a diet that may lose weight, but can cause other problems.

Patients should also discuss exercise plans with their doctor if they have pain or any other barriers that come with physical activities. Heart testing might be needed before beginning an exercise plan.

The last thing to discuss with a doctor is medications; different medications can cause different side effects for each person, so it's important to know which medications will help them lose weight effectively.

Spectrum Health is located on 25 Michigan Street Northeast in suite 5100 in Grand Rapids. For more information, call (616)-267-0800 or visit spectrumhealth.org/primarycare.

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