News | St. Thomas Medical Group

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

Let’s be honest… few people relish in taking a trip to the doctor. It’s okay, we don’t take it personally. But since you’re coming… why not make the most of it? Whether you’re coming in for your first wellness exam in a few years or returning for a follow-up appointment just a week since your last visit, these tips will help you make the most of your visit. After all, your time is valuable, and you deserve the best care you can get. Plus, who knows… your next visit to the doctor’s office might be just a little bit more enjoyable if you maximize your time by using these recommendations from St. Thomas Medical Group doctors!

  • Prepare questions in advance. Do you ever sit in the waiting room with that burning question about your health… and then as soon as you get in the examination room it just slips your mind? Happens all the time! Make your appointment the most effective it can be by writing down your questions in advance. Use a sheet of paper, a notes app on your phone, or whatever it takes. Numerous studies have found that patients who prepare and take an active participation role in their healthcare are more satisfied, less anxious, and enjoy a higher quality of life.
  • Bring something to write on. Of course, asking the question doesn’t guarantee you’ll remember the answer, so be sure to bring something to write on. Again, your phone or a pad of paper can work. The best tool is the one that’s easiest for you to use.
  • Bring a friend or family member. Having a friend or family member with you is another great way to absorb the information your doctor shares during your appointment. Sometimes we hear information about our own health through our own subjective lens. A third-party might bring clearer perspective to the information received.
  • Be open about symptoms. As doctors, we’ve heard it all. There’s never any reason to be embarrassed about symptoms. If it hurts, tell us. If it seems kind of weird, tell us. If you’re just not sure… tell us! By sharing the whole picture, you provide us with a better opportunity to more fully serve you.
  • Have a list of medications. Speaking of total picture, we need to know what medications you’re currently using. Be sure to bring this full list with you to your next appointment at St. Thomas Medical Group!

Schedule With a Doctor in Nashville Today

Need a local doctor who will listen to you and advocate for your health and well-being? Find a Nashville doctor in one of the following specialties at St. Thomas Medical Group:

  • Audiologists
  • Aviation Medical Examiner
  • Children and Adult
  • ENT and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Pulmonary
  • Rheumatology

To schedule an appointment, call +1 (615) 297-2700 or schedule online.

The Opioid Crisis in Tennessee: Safety Guidelines & Resources

The opioid crisis has reached a point that is impossible to ignore. Opioid abuse has skyrocketed in Tennessee, destroying lives and posing a serious health threat to communities in Nashville and surrounding areas. In October 2017, the White House declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

Fast Facts About Opioid Abuse In Tennessee

While numbers can never tell the full story, these statistics shine an unforgiving light on the tragedy that has begun to unfold in Tennessee over the last decade…

  • Tennessee had the 2nd highest prescription rate for opioids in 2016 (source).
  • That same year, there were 1,186 opioid-related overdose deaths in Tennessee – 18.1 deaths per 100,000 persons. For comparison, the national rate for 2016 was 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons (source).
  • Deaths from heroin overdose in Tennessee have increased since 2010 from 17 to 260 (source).

Our Commitment at St. Thomas Medical Group

Doctors at St. Thomas Medical Group are committed to safe opioid prescription practices. This includes:

  • Showing preference to nonpharmacologic therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy prior to prescribing opioids.
  • Establishing clear treatment goals prior to prescribing opioids. Prescriptions should only continue if the improvements in pain and function outweigh the risks to the patient’s safety.
  • Clearly discussing with patients the risks and benefits of opioid therapy v. non-opioid therapy.

Learn more about safe guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain with this resource from the CDC.

Get Help for Opioid Abuse

If you or someone you know struggles with opioid abuse, help is available. At least three Tennesseans die each day from an opioid-related overdose, reports the Tennessee Hospital Association. Even more visit their local hospital emergency room for care. If you need help, call the Tennessee REDLINE at +1 (800) 889-9789. This resource operates “a 24/7 addiction treatment and recovery hotline that connects Tennessee residents with state funded, addiction treatment and recovery services.”

If you need help, we also encourage you to talk to your Nashville doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group to find out what resources may be available to you. If nothing else, remember the following (via Tennessee Department of Health):

  • Opioids are highly addictive.
  • Abuse, addiction and overdose can happen to anyone.
  • There are pain management alternatives.
  • Just because a doctor prescribed you opioids, it does not mean that they are 100% safe.
  • Opioids are not ideal for long-term pain relief.
  • Never take prescription drugs that were not prescribed for you by a doctor.

Additional Department of Health resources available here.

Need Help? Find a Nashville Doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group.
For additional help, call St. Thomas Medical Group at +1 (615) 297-2700
or schedule your appointment online.

What’s Your Heart Health IQ?

Nelson Mandela once said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” Today, let’s test your head knowledge about your heart! Take the knowledge you learn in this post and apply it to better heart health for the rest of the year to come…

#1 – Fast Facts About Tennessee Heart Health

Heart disease is a national health problem, and Tennessee is no exception. According to the Tennessee Department of Health:

  • “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Tennessee, accounting for approximately 27% of deaths…”
  • “Stroke is the third leading cause of death…”
  • “Together, heart disease and stroke account for 1 out of 3 deaths in Tennessee each year.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Tennessee had the sixth highest heart disease death rate among all states in 2017. The good news is, many cases of heart disease can be prevented. It starts by knowing your risk factors.

#2 – Heart Disease Risk Factors

While some risk factors may be hereditary, others are within your control. Let’s look at a few heart disease risk factors that your doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group may help you manage:

  • Hypertension: High blood pressure can increase risk for heart disease and stroke by putting excessive pressure on the walls of the arteries. High blood pressure may be managed through diet and exercise. Medication may also be an option.
  • Smoking: Once inhaled, the chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause clots to form in the blood, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • High LDL Cholesterol: High cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to build up in the arteries, blocking healthy blood flow. Reducing saturated fats, eliminating trans fats, and increasing fiber intake can help lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Diabetes: Excess sugar in the bloodstream can damage blood vessels and nerves. By preventing or managing diabetes, you may be able to lower your risk for heart disease.

#3 – Action Items: Own Your Heart Health!

What can you do to improve your overall heart health?

  • Stay active. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week – that’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Quit smoking. If you smoke, talk to your Nashville doctor at St. Thomas Medical Group about quitting.
  • Lose weight. One recent study found that overweight or obese adults between the ages of 40 and 59 were at a 21 to 85 percent higher risk for developing heart disease than adults of the same age in a normal weight range.
  • Eat healthy. Sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, and sugar all increase risk for heart disease. Cut these unhealthy ingredients and replace them with whole foods, such as heart healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • See your doctor. Your doctor can make specific recommendations based on your personal health history. Your doctor would be thrilled to hear you say, “I want to make changes to reduce my risk for heart disease. Where do I start?” In many cases, patients are reactive to new developments in their health. Be proactive and start making positive heart health changes today – before any warning signs appear.

Find a Doctor Near You In Nashville

Need a doctor who will partner with you in your health? Find a provider at St. Thomas Medical Group by calling +1 (615) 297-2700. Both new and returning patients can also schedule online.