Austin Family Doctor Celebrates 14 Years in Practice – Offers Austin-area Neighbors ‘8 Sure-Fire Ways to Have a Healthier, Happier 2007’

December 22, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Austin, TX, December 22, 2006 – An Austin family doctor, who will celebrate his 14th year in practice beginning January 1st, is honoring his patients with eight tips no Austinite should forget when planning for a healthier, happier New Year.

“Want the best year of your life?” asks Douglass, who practices in the Westlake area of Austin. “Make these eight resolutions and you’re bound to see a difference in the way you look and feel.”

1. Get a complete physical. “Surprisingly, most Americans – and that includes most Austin residents – don’t get annual check-ups. They’ll line up at the best Austin auto repair shop to get their spark plugs changed but they won’t darken the door of a doctor. Yet, we should honor our bodies at least to the same extent we do our cars. Maybe they don’t know that many insurance companies cover annual check-ups. There’s no price you can put on this one hour of your time. In the years I’ve practiced medicine here in Austin, I’ve noticed that women are generally better than men at getting yearly checkups, yet many women don’t realize that a family doctor can take care of well-woman issues right along with the yearly physical. This includes PAP smears, birth control needs, mammograms and bone density tests – basically one-stop shopping for your health.”

2. Optimize your weight. “Can’t say this one often enough, yet it may be the hardest good health skill to acquire,” says Douglass. “The easiest measurement for learning your optimal weight is the Body Mass Index, or BMI. Yet, an even better indicator of healthiness may be the waist-to-hip ratio. Unfortunately, even the best physicians in Austin still don’t have a magic pill to get patients on the road to a healthy weight and, more importantly, keep them there. It takes lifestyle changes that, once implemented, can provide almost miraculous results. (See #3 and #4 below.)”

3. Improve your diet. “Here’s the good news,” says the Austin family doctor, “even slight improvements in food choices usually reap the biggest gains. For instance, cutting out cokes, ice cream and McDonald’s can go a long way in lowering cholesterol, body weight and blood pressure. I see it every day. And don’t let anybody kid you,” Dr. Douglass says, “modifying your carbohydrate intake is no old wives’ tale. I’m certainly not trying to give them free advertising, but a shopping trip at the bakery in one of Austin’s own Whole Foods Market can do the family a whole lot more good than buying white bread and sweet rolls at Randall’s. The body thrives on whole grain foods.”

4. Know your cholesterol. “We now know – without a doubt – that the lower your LDL-cholesterol (the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol), the lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Any pharmacy in Austin can provide any of several new ‘miracle’ medications (with a prescription from your family doctor, of course) that help compensate for the bad genes that cause high cholesterol – and even, to some extent, bad dietary habits.”

5. Exercise. “When people ask me how to best manage stress, I tell them the number one thing to do is exercise. A recent study compared antidepressants to exercise and found them to be equally effective in improving mood. The interesting difference was that the benefits of exercise lasted longer than antidepressants well after the study was over.”

6. Screen for colon cancer. “Everyone over the age of 50 should have a colonoscopy every 10 years and annual testing for blood in the stool. When I recommend colon screening to patients, they’re often quick to pass on it because they don’t have symptoms. Fact is, colon cancer often does not show any symptoms until it has spread outside the colon and has become inoperable. Colon cancer is very much preventable. With a colonoscopy we can detect - and remove - precancerous polyps, thereby eliminating the opportunity for them to become cancerous.”

7. Screen for skin cancer. “Another thing that is best dealt with early is skin cancer. As a family doctor, one of the most satisfying aspects of my day is diagnosing and removing precancerous skin lesions in the office. On numerous occasions I have discovered a skin cancer during the course of a physical that the patient was totally unaware of.”

8. Immunize, immunize, immunize – for grown-ups. “Surprise, surprise. Immunizations are no longer just for kids. Travelers should get vaccines to avoid illness on vacations and business trips. Every Austin senior (60 years and older) should definitely ask their family doctor about pneumonia shots. Many elderly people die of pneumonia that could have easily been prevented with a pneumonia shot. Most adults are not aware of the need to get routine tetanus boosters every 10 years. Other vaccines available for adults include protection from influenza, Pertussis, HPV and even shingles.”

“Austin residents are among the most well educated people in the country. We live in a beautiful city; we enjoy an incredible Texas climate and we have all the best medical facilities literally within our reach. With all the resources we enjoy in Austin, there’s no reason every man, woman and child can’t benefit from the remarkable medical facilities at our disposal. My wish is that every resident in the Austin area has a glorious and healthy New Year.”

For more information about how Austin families can enjoy a healthy 2007, contact Dr. Douglass at (512) 328-8880 or come by his office at:

West Lake Family Practice
5656 Bee Cave Rd.
Suite E-200
Austin, Texas 78746

About Dr. Douglass –

Austin family doctor, Cary Douglass, M.D., earned his medical degree in 1989, from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He is board certified in family medicine and completed his family practice residency in Middletown, Connecticut in 1992. Dr. Douglass is a member in good standing of the Texas Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Practice, the Texas Academy of Family Practice and the Travis County Medical Society. A Texas native, he has practiced medicine in Austin since 1993. Dr. Douglass and his wife Amanda have two sons, Will and Nick.

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