Tag Archive for: family doctor

Annual Physicals: The Key to Ensuring Your Child’s Health

Parents know to take their child to see a doctor when they’re injured or not feeling well, but ongoing preventive care is just as important as any “crisis” appointment. 

Sometimes referred to as a well-child visit or simply a “check-up,” annual physicals provide doctors the opportunity to assess your child’s overall health. Here’s a closer look at why these appointments shouldn’t be skipped. 

Why Are Physicals So Important for Children?

Wellness visits give care providers and parents the opportunity to discuss growth milestones, developmental concerns or issues, and your child’s general health. In addition to answering your own specific questions, the doctor may ask about your child’s sleep habits, diet, and physical activity. 

As a child grows, they can start to take autonomy over their health and may ask their own questions at these appointments. These exchanges allow doctors to make sure a child is on track with development, and establish an early, positive relationship. Additionally, physical exams and discussions of any changes or symptoms can help doctors catch potential issues early, when they’re easiest to treat.

Your child’s doctor can also administer any necessary immunizations or discuss your child’s vaccine schedule with you during this time. From birth to the age of 18, the CDC recommends a number of vaccinations and boosters to prevent a wide range of potentially serious illnesses, including hepatitis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, and meningitis.

What Happens During Your Child’s Physical?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, what takes place at children’s wellness exams will vary by age. For example, while height and weight are measured at all ages, head circumference may only be measured until the age of three to look for any neurologic or developmental issues. When it comes to height and weight measurements, medical professionals can plot a child’s growth on a chart to compare their development with children of the same age and gender.

The younger your child, the more involved a wellness visit may be. During infancy, for example, a doctor may check your baby’s head for bone formation, look for fluids in your baby’s ear, track eye movements, and assess the hip joints for any problems. They’ll also look in their mouth, listen to their heart and lungs, and check their abdomen. Infant reflexes are also examined during a baby’s checkup to gauge nervous system development. 

While doctor visits are frequent during a child’s early life, after the age of three, the schedule changes to annual check-ups

As your child grows, a provider will still check their vitals, including their pulse, breathing, blood pressure, and temperature. They may also check their vision and hearing. During late childhood and adolescence, providers may use this time to discuss important health and safety issues, such as personal hygiene, avoidance of drugs and alcohol, and the importance of wearing seatbelts and helmets. As they develop into teens, doctors may also provide opportunities for children to have more private conversations about sexual health.

If you’re seeking a team of doctors to provide personalized care for your children and family, turn to United Physicians Group. Find a doctor online or by calling (833) 523-0906.

What Happens to Your Body While Going Through Grief

When we talk about grief, oftentimes mental and emotional health take center stage. Yet, grief can have profound physical effects, too. Although healing takes time, and it may feel as if there’s nothing you can do to expedite the process, understanding the physical changes that take place as you’re grieving can help you stay in control of your health.

Physical Changes Caused by Grief

Reduced Immunity

According to Harvard Medical School, grief can impact the body at a molecular level. In particular, immune cells appear to be less functional, and inflammatory responses are elevated in grieving individuals. The suspected culprit is the release of stress hormones that accompany grief, which can affect every system in the body. As a result of this weakened immunity, people who are coping with grief may be more susceptible to illness.

Aches & Pains

Stress hormones can also increase physical pain. People in mourning often report feeling physical discomfort, which can manifest as headaches, joint pain, back pain, and stiffness. The bombardment of stress hormones essentially ”stun[s]” the muscles, which is the cause for these uncomfortable sensations. Fortunately, the pain is most often temporary, but any prolonged discomfort should be discussed with a doctor.

Appetite Fluctuation

The emotional toil brought on by grief can result in appetite changes. While some people may find themselves reaching for comfort foods while grieving, others may experience food aversions and a decrease in appetite. “Stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea and other digestive system problems are [also] common companions to grief,” the concerned experts at Knowyourgrief.org confirm. Nausea and an anxious stomach may be common side effects of grief, but should also pass. 

Sleep Issues

Though grief can leave you feeling fatigued, this unfortunately doesn’t mean sleep will come easily. In fact, people who are grieving often find it difficult to sleep, and are more likely to experience middle insomnia, or the inability to get back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night. Oftentimes, these sleep challenges are a direct result of major changes that come with grief, such as immense feelings of loneliness or worries about financial security.

Heart Problems

The intense stress your body undergoes can increase the risk of heart attack. Grief can also lead to a temporary condition that mimics heart disease known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken-heart syndrome. Characterized by chest pain, shortness of breath, and ballooning of the left ventricle, the condition occurs primarily in women, but often resolves itself within a month.

Coping with the Effects of Grief

Grief is a natural response to losing a loved one. When you feel ready, practicing routine self-care by taking walks, journaling, eating nutritious meals, and turning to friends and family for support can help you restore your mind/body balance and start you on the path towards healing, both physically and emotionally.

While grief doesn’t always require professional intervention, it’s a good idea to consider seeking counseling or help from a support group if you’re having trouble getting back into a routine after several months.

If you feel like your health could be suffering as a result of grief or another trauma, turn to United Physician Group. Our healthcare providers are committed to helping patients through every challenge and providing exceptional care through all of life’s stages. Find a doctor online or by calling (833) 523-0906.

United Physician Group Expands with New Douglasville Location

United Physician Group is now offering more healthcare options and convenience with its new location in Douglasville, GA. The new location (2022 Fairburn Road Suite D., Douglasville) will offer both primary care and pain management services with Dr. Kelvin Burton and McFrances Hayes, NP-C.

“I’m excited and honored to represent United Physician Group in Douglasville,” says Dr. Kelvin Burton. “We care for your whole family, at every stage of life. From pediatrics to geriatrics and every age in between, we give all generations of your family the individualized care they need to stay healthy and well.”

The practice will be a resource for comprehensive care for Douglasville and its surrounding communities. We are primary care providers, specialists, and healthcare management leaders united to better serve your health.

Make an appointment with us online or call 833-523-0906.

Dr. Daryl Sherrod from UPG Received Top Doctors Honors in Atlanta

Primary care provider Dr. Daryl Sherrod of United Physician Group, an acclaimed network of Southeastern physicians, ranks among metro Atlanta’s Top Doctors in Atlanta magazine’s July issue. Dr. Sherrod practices at United Physician Group Family Medicine of Decatur and Lithonia.

Dr. Sherrod specializes in hypertension and diabetes. He received his medical degree from Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. Dr. Sherrod is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians.

“Receiving an accolade such as this is most certainly an honor,” says Dr. Sherrod. “Medicine, however, is a team effort, and I’m grateful to work with such a dedicated and talented staff.”

Atlanta magazine uses a database of top doctors compiled by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., an established healthcare research company based in New York, to assist in its annual effort. Doctors are nominated for consideration through both a nationwide survey and a peer nomination process. Castle Connolly’s physician-led team of researchers then select the Top Doctors through a rigorous screening process that includes an evaluation of educational and professional experience. This year the publication honors 1,002 of these physicians representing the following counties: Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Hall, Forsyth, Cherokee, and Rockdale.

United Physician Group is a network of acclaimed healthcare providers practicing in communities across Georgia and South Carolina. United Physician Group’s doctors come from prestigious university hospitals, Level I Trauma Center ERs, and neighborhood practices with deep connections to their communities. Practice locations currently offer primary and family care, and interventional pain management.

Dr. Sherrod is now accepting appointments at United Physician Group Family Medicine of Decatur and United Physician Group Family Medicine of Lithonia. Schedule a visit today.

How to Find the Right Family Doctor for You

In a world where telemedicine has become common, and information is digitally available at a click, what’s the need for a personal family doctor? Why go through the inconvenience of researching MDs when there’s a walk-in clinic around the corner?

The answer is that your primary physician is an important member of your whole-health team. They will be an engaged, collaborative participant at every step of your physical wellness. A long-term relationship with a family doctor can be as beneficial as any other measures you take for your longevity.

At United Physicians Group, our primary care physicians keep your best interests at the center of focus. Here are some guidelines to assist you in this important choice. 

Start with the Red Tape

To maximize insurance benefits, you’ll likely need a doctor who is within your healthcare insurance plan’s network. Start by using the insurer’s directory, and then call the individual doctor’s office to confirm they do accept your plan.

While you’re confirming, ask whether or not the doctor has hospital admitting privileges. The doctor you choose may determine which hospital you are referred to if it becomes necessary.

Consumer Reports also recommends visiting certificationmatters.org to verify board certification. Searching for malpractice claims is another part of their advice. While a lawsuit is something that can happen to any doctor, no matter their level of excellence, finding more than one or two may prompt you to look elsewhere. 

Consider Location & Hours

A family doctor whose office requires a tiresome commute for you is unlikely to be a good fit. If it’s challenging to attend your annual physical, you may be much less likely to go in for other appointments, even when you need them. 

Don’t forget to consider your schedule, too. Appointment hours that don’t align well with your routine may complicate getting care. Are walk-ins available? How far out do you have to schedule an appointment? Similarly, ask whether the office provides a platform for secure email queries, an electronic portal for accessing records, or “after-hours” consultations.

Above all, pay attention to whether you feel your doctor can take the time to give you and the members of your family quality care and attention. 

Research Available Services

Equally important are your doctor’s services and areas of expertise. Beyond annual wellness or back-to-school visits, can they provide immunizations and in-office lab tests? Are they versed in current research around cancer prevention, diabetes, reproductive, or cardiovascular health? What about mental wellness, nutritional and exercise planning, or addiction cessation?

Remember that there are many factors that contribute to your long-term wellbeing, so it’s wise to screen potential family doctors for multiple areas of knowledge, skill, and concern. 

Consider the Personal Touch

“How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important steps to getting good health care,” reminds the National Institute on Aging. Be honest with yourself about personality qualities that may be of importance to you, including:

  • Gender (Woman, Man, Trans, Gender Fluid)
  • Age
  • Language fluency
  • Communication approach (Soothing and Gentle, No-nonsense and Direct)

Doctors are professionals who understand that they won’t be right for every patient. They want you to find a good fit, too. 

When you’re ready to begin, schedule an appointment so you both can get to know each other and discuss your health history and current needs. Though it may take a few attempts, the investment in this relationship is an investment in your long-term health! 

To make an appointment with a primary care physician with United Health Group, or to learn more about our services, contact us online at your convenience. 

What Your Doctor Wants You to Know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Note: As a new and emerging virus, Novel Coronavirus 2019 COVID-19 is not yet fully understood. Information about the disease is changing every day. The information presented below may change as we learn more and you should refer to the CDC website for the latest information.

COVID-19 currently spreading around the world is raising questions and concerns for many families. Please call your United Physician Group doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms that you think may be COVID-19 (more on that below). Additionally, if you or your family have other health conditions that may make you more vulnerable to the disease, call your doctor for advice on how to prepare and limit your risk.

We’re learning more every day about COVID-19 and how to treat it. We’re here for you and ready to help.

Here are answers to some of the questions you may have, as provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How can I protect myself and my family from COVID-19?

Scientists are working on potential vaccines for COVID-19, but currently, the only prevention is to avoid exposure to the virus.

To lower your risk, you and your family should:

  • Wash your hands frequently and well.
  • Avoid touching your face after touching other surfaces. (We know it’s hard.)
  • Avoid close contact (less than six feet away) with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. (e.g. doorknobs, kitchen and bathroom counters, toilets, appliances)
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
  • If you have symptoms that could be COVID-19, consider wearing a facemask to avoid spreading the disease. Refer to the CDC for guidelines on wearing facemasks if you are NOT experiencing symptoms. 
  • Stay home if you feel sick unless you require medical assistance.

If you or someone in your family develops symptoms that may be COVID-19, call your doctor immediately.

What are the symptoms?

Some people experience no symptoms at all, but the most common symptoms are fever, shortness of breath, and coughing. Other symptoms may resemble a bad cold or the flu. According to the WHO, these may include “aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.” Serious cases can lead to pneumonia and difficulty breathing.

If you or someone in your family is having difficulty breathing, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Who is most vulnerable to the disease?

Our best information so far says that the people most vulnerable to COVID-19 are elderly people and people with underlying health conditions that compromise their immune system. Young and otherwise healthy people do catch COVID-19 and, as a result, should also exercise the same level of caution to avoid contracting the virus.

Every COVID-19 case should be taken seriously, for your own health and for the health of those around you. 

If I develop symptoms that may be COVID-19, what should I do?

If you’re experiencing symptoms that may be COVID-19, the first and most important thing to do is call your doctor. Tell them what you’re experiencing, the concerns you have, and ask for instructions and advice.

If your symptoms are severe or life-threatening, such as serious difficulty breathing, call 911.

While we don’t yet know enough about COVID-19 to say precisely how many people develop serious symptoms, we do know that the majority of people do not. If your symptoms do not require hospitalization, your doctor will likely advise you to stay at home while you recover. The CDC recommends that you:

  • Stay at home except when needed to get medical care. Avoid public areas and public transportation so that you do not further spread the disease.
  • Wash your hands frequently and well.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces every day. (e.g. doorknobs, kitchen and bathroom counters, sink fixtures, appliances)
  • Limit contact with others in your home. If possible, use a separate bathroom and avoid contact with common area surfaces, such as the kitchen.
  • Monitor your symptoms and seek help if they worsen, especially if you have difficulty breathing.
  • Call ahead to your doctor before coming in, and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms that may be COVID-19.
  • Follow both your doctor and the CDC’s guidelines to determine when to end home isolation

Are the United Physician Group offices open? 

Currently, all United Physician offices are still operating to service all of our valued patients that depend on the care and service we provide. In the event that you are sick, unable to come in or simply are uncomfortable with visiting the office in person, please contact your closest location for options on TeleVisits. 

What is the United Physician Group doing to protect my health if I have to visit the office? 

There is no higher priority for us than the health and safety of our patients, staff and their families.

United Physician Group clinical staff is following the Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations provided by the CDC. This includes 

  • Disinfecting each exam room or patient area after each patient is seen 
  • Disinfecting common areas and surfaces multiple times throughout the day
  • Initiating an extensive deep clean and disinfection to be performed nightly at all locations, and 
  • Implementing additional infection control and prevention measures for clinical staff

To protect the health of our staff and patients and ensure the continuation and a smooth transition of your healthcare, United Physician Group will be converting all previously scheduled and future sick visits to TeleVisits. We are also screening all patients prior to arrival in the office for any symptoms consistent with those of COVID-19 and asking affected patients to remain home.  

Any patient in the office that is exhibiting fever, cough or shortness of breath will be provided appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and isolated from the patient population.

We’re here for you.

Because COVID-19 is still new and not entirely understood, we know that it can cause some anxiety and concern. Paying attention to the disease is smart, but there’s plenty we can do together to prepare. Call your United Physician Group doctor with your concerns. We’re here for you.