Mind Your Body TV Episode 1 with Dr. Marcy Zwelling-Aamot.
An old breed of health care professional is new again and finding its niche: the concierge, boutique, personalized, value-based, retainer-based or direct practice doctor who can help you really manage your health. Like much of health care’s current encyclopedia, concierge medicine has its vocal critics who ask, and logically so, if people can’t afford health insurance, how the heck can they afford to pay an additional annual fee for more personal attention? Cost seems to average around $1,500, but in some high socioeconomic neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Calif., it can be much more. It can also be much less.
Enthusiastic and devoted patients of concierge physicians say they wouldn’t have it any other way. They feel special with minimum 30-minute next-day or same-day appointments, 24/7 doctor availability, a tempting menu of wellness services and prevention alternatives and—especially useful with hospitalization—someone who coordinates care across the patient’s medical spectrum to reduce potential for error.
Restoring Real Doctor-Patient Relationships
I recently attended a patient seminar led by the vibrant and charismatic Marcy Zwelling-Aamot, American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP) president, who specializes in internal medicine and emergency and critical care in her Los Alamitos, Calif. practice. The diabetes presentation she delivered via PowerPoint to 15 patients did not insult them: It was worthy of a physician audience, replete with advanced chemistry and other high-level pharmacological concepts. Her “fans” ate it up and walked away satisfied as though they’d just given the top box office pick a standing ovation. They were proof that you can manage your health.
Dr. Zwelling-Aamot is committed to showing her patients—her friends and her focus—how to live better as early adapters, she says, as innovators. She compares our boomer bodies to other things that “don’t last forever, like the paint on your house. Sometimes you have to repaint it, and if you don’t, it just looks bad.”
Put on the right coating: If we understand what is special and different about us, we’ll apply the appropriate coating, she says. We’ll live with confidence and manifest some control in our lives. Along the way, genetics and genetic testing may provide us a roadmap, show us where to concentrate our efforts and in what areas. Yes, she’s for it, and genetics may help you, too, manage your health.
Extend your prime: “Our bodies weren’t made to last 95 years,” she says. “We women go through menopause and ‘estrogen issues’ come with that. If you start to feel not quite right, don’t assume it’s nothing. Ask questions. Your body isn’t perfect and it is going to age.”
Don’t wait for the inevitable: You don’t have to have osteoporosis and related complications. Take that calcium and Vitamin D. Don’t smoke, for it isn’t just about lung cancer, but smoking negatively affects bone density.
Protect your heart: Heart disease is the number one killer of women. As you age, so does your vasculature, and inflammation processes begin. Inflammation can cause paint to start to chip, she says.
Your diagnosis doesn’t mean you’re sick: “You’re human and you have issues,” says this Z-Doc. “To treat those is no more drastic than coloring your hair, if you think about it.” Makes sense to me and less drama. Knowing you can do something about a condition is empowering, she says.
Dr. Zwelling-Aamot has a lot to shout from the rooftops about health care reform, and isn’t afraid to say it. That’s fodder for another blog. You can read more about her and concierge physicians in California in my story for California Healthline.