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  Preparing for Your Next Visit

The War AGAINST atherosclerosis must be fought on many fronts

Please do not take your health for granted. Try to prepare for your next meeting with myself. A series of 5 steps and forms have been made available. Most of us take our health for granted. Keeping healthy is no easy task. Take advantage of the time you are here today. Take a copy of some of the information provided and complete any of the forms that you feel are appropriate and take some for the future and complete them prior to your next meeting with Dr. Curnew.

Atherosclerosis (or clogging of the arteries) causes heart attacks and strokes, and leads to countless deaths and disability each year. The fact is that 80% of people with clogged arteries will succumb to this disease. In people who are lucky enough to survive a heart attack, 20% will be dead a year later. Unfortunately physicians cannot predict the future.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic condition that has no cure. The good news is that its progression over time can be slowed with the right lifestyle changes and medications. Reducing blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fats, losing weight and quitting smoking can help even the odds. In the past, medications were used solely to treat disease. Today, more and more medications have been shown to prevent disease.

  Step 1

Please take both copies of preparing for your next visit. One is a generic version of the form and the second is a form specifically for Dr. Curnew. Complete one now and take the time to complete another one prior to your next visit.

 

Generic Version

Dr. Curnew's Version

  Step 2

What Is Your Blood Pressure (BP), it silently kills:
(If you have high blood pressure visit the patient corner, hypertension section.)

Your heart is a strong muscle that pumps freshly oxygenated blood through arteries to the rest of your body. When the heart contracts it causes an increase in pressure in your arteries, this is called the SYSTOLIC blood pressure. When your heart relaxes (and fills with blood), the pressure in your arteries is called the DIASTOLIC blood pressure. The best BP is 110/70 mmHg. Higher values lead to more health problems.

- All Canadians should have a BP to a safer level of 140/90 mmHg OR LESS.
- If you have diabetes, blocked arteries or kidney problems, your target is lower at 130/80 mmHg or less.
- Keep in mind home BP measurements are generally 10/5 mmHg lower than those achieved in the MD office.
- Ideal BP is < 110/70

Using the most modern blood pressure measuring device available called BP-True, you will get a series of six blood pressure measurements done a minute apart. The machine will then give an average blood pressure which reflects your true blood pressure. Remove any restrictive clothing from your left arm. You must be seated comfortably with back support and feet flat on the floor in a quiet environment. Your arm should be at heart level and supported on the table. A blood pressure measurement will be done every minute 6 times. The first value will be discarded and the remaining five will be averaged after you press the start button. You can watch your blood pressure and pulse results. While the machine is working, take the time to complete the other steps. Remember, you should not talk or move your left arm which should be firmly supported on the table. The machine is extremely intelligent and will not record blood pressures that are felt to be inaccurate. If you notice an error Code in the left hand Corner or the machine stops working, relax, stop moving your arm so the machine resumes working. You may also measure your blood pressure at home and bring in your results. Download the home blood pressure form of this site and visit Patient's corner for more information on hypertension.

Download the Home Blood Pressure Form

Step 3

Medications:

Most of us would prefer not to be on medications; however to maintain health, we have a series of drugs that allow us to live healthier, longer and improve our quality of life when used appropriately.
Always carry a complete list of the pills you are taking at all times. Never visit a doctor without knowing exactly the names and doses you are taking.

Use the same pharmacist for all your prescriptions and ask for 2 copies of wallet size prescription list, one to give to Dr.Curnew with each visit. Another option is filling the medication profile (small blue card). Keep it up-to-date by filling it out in pencil so changes can easily be made. Take more than one if needed. If you prefer, ask for a copy of the High Road to Health Workbook-cookbook which is a detailed book where you can keep track of your health.

"Don't run out of your pills before your next visit. Most physicians, including myself are no longer providing renewals of medications by phone because of potential for too many errors.

Prescription renewals

Mr. Phone Renewal is a 55 year old gentleman who is running out of his cholesterol and blood pressure pills, and calls my office for a phone renewal. He hasn't seen me for over a year. My secretary quickly brought him to the office later that day where he brought all his medications. Going through his medical record, his last cholesterol, measured a year and-a-half ago was extremely high at 6.5 mmol/L. His blood pressure today was 150/95: also, too high. His last blood work suggested that he was a pre-diabetic with a fasting blood sugar of 6.5 mmol/L.

A simple phone renewal would be the easiest for all parties involved, however it is bad medicine. Mr. Phone Renewal now has diabetes and was under-treated for all his risk factors. I am glad that I made sure he came in.

"Good medicine is doing what is best, not doing what is easiest"

Many physicians including myself no longer provide phone renewals of prescription medications. There are too many opportunities for errors, and poor medical care. If you are running out of your pills, here are your options for prescription renewal:

1. Come to one of the ten LIFE meetings per year with your completed list of current pills so that you can be properly evaluated. (see yellow pamphlet or visit your health website at www.healthcorner.ca)

2. See your family doctor who is the central manager of your health care team.

3. Call to book yourself an appointment with Dr. Curnew at the Lipid Clinic (905-522-1182) or the Outpatient Clinic Department (905-527-0271 ext.46266).

4. Come in and see me today by calling my emergency number at 905 978 3134.

Remember to have your fasting blood work done two weeks before your visit!

YOUR MEDICATIONS

Always carry a list of all the medications you are taking, including the doses. Remember, many individuals see multiple physicians. Complete the medication list or obtain a complete list from your pharmacy.

Download the Medication List

Step 4

Blood Work (Blood test should be done 2 wks before each visit):

Most of us do not know our own cholesterol levels and other important results. For many medical conditions, appropriate monitoring of liver, kidney function and potassium are important. You should know your cholesterol fractions and blood sugar. If you have blocked arteries or diabetes you must make sure that you are at goal every year and stay below target values. Less than 25% of Canadians at high risk are at target cholesterol values. If you do not know your values, have not had recent blood work or would like blood work done, grab a laboratory requisition form. Add your NAME, DATE OF BIRTH, OHIP #, and name of your family doctor in the top right hand corner, and have your fasting blood work done at least two weeks before the next LIFE meeting or encounter with Dr. Curnew.

Step 5

Prevention: the best way to treat a heart attack or stroke is to prevent it from happening in the first place:

Most of my days are spent dealing with crisis. We are treating most disease processes in the advanced phases. Little time is available for prevention. Finding time to discuss healthy lifestyles adequately is very difficult during my daily practice. However, it is so important that I have decided to deal with prevention once per month in a relaxed and fun atmosphere to answer your questions, learn how to prevent and better treat ILLNESS so wellness predominates. Come to a LIFE meeting and bring a friend; all are welcome. Grab a brochure!