It may have been a while since you last visited a primary care physician. But “milestone” birthdays – 40, 50 or 60 – may be approaching, prompting you to schedule an appointment.
In order for the doctor-patient relationship to work best, patients must feel comfortable with – and actively discuss – all sensitive topics with their primary care physician, says Scott T. Hamler, M.D., a Summa Physician Inc. family medicine specialist who sees patients at Summa Health Center in Green and Robinson Health Center in Streetsboro.
“It’s like any other relationship; trust is important,” Dr. Hamler points out. “Communication has to be wide open.” Dr. Hamler boils sensitive topics down to three categories: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
In recent years, sexual issues have become a subject of discussion with male patients because of publicity surrounding erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is a circulation issue, and if a male patient identifies ED as a problem, Dr. Hamler can discuss other potential circulation issues, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. These conditions, if left untreated, can put a patient at risk for heart attack or stroke. Likewise, sex was once a taboo subject with female patients. Dr. Hamler urges that women should feel comfortable talking about the issue. “Sex is recognized as one component of being an active, healthy woman,” Dr. Hamler says. “Women shouldn’t be shy about discussing sexual topics.”
We live in a heavily medicated world – prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, vitamins, etc. It is a subject most worthy of discussion, Dr. Hamler says. “And not just about specific medications, but a patient’s attitude about medications in general,” he stresses. “Some patients say, ‘Just give me a pill; I don’t want to change anything else about myself.’ For other patients, medication is an absolute, last-ditch solution.” As a prescriber, Dr. Hamler says it’s important for him to know a patient’s philosophy regarding medications. Some, for example, will take health supplements but not prescriptions. “It will change my approach to what the best treatment plan is for that person,” he notes.
Rock 'n' Roll
Dr. Hamler says it is important to know what drives a person – what he or she is passionate about. It can be children and family, work, or hobbies. Is there any health reason – physical, mental, emotional – that prevents a person from enjoying those passions to their fullest? “I can ask whether it is physical pain, stress or another factor that is holding a patient back,” Dr. Hamler says. What Dr. Hamler strives for is as complete a picture as possible about a patient. “This can help me customize healthcare for the patient.”
To make an appointment with a Dr. Hamler call 888-892-9510 or fill out the online form.