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Harlem Word: Dr. Richard Younge and addressing different patients' needs

In this article, Dr. Richard Younge talks about how he addresses different patients' needs.  Dr. Younge is a family physician at the Herman "Denny" Farrell, Jr., Community Health Center in Washington Heights where he treats patients of all ages and backgrounds. (http://www.nyp.org/services/acn_morgan_practice.html)

Q: How do you work with patients to help them prevent diseases or improve their condition?

A: Based on a person's disease or health condition we definitely want to get much more specific. For a diabetic, it's important to reduce the number of calories they eat along with the amount of sugar in their diet especially sweetened beverages. For people with high blood pressure and diabetes it's important to increase the amount of green vegetables and unprocessed food that they eat. So there's often very specific information that I provide. However, as I am a member of a health care team I can also rely on a nurse and nutritionist to help me with patient counseling. And we can all work together to help a patient make healthy choices.

Q: Advice for people who have gotten way off track?

A: I encourage patients to take small steps. I would never have them make 20 different changes in their life tomorrow. I talk with patient about what they see as being possible. For someone who overeats, eats too much fast food, doesn't get any exercise and smokes. Maybe the first thing they can do is cut down from 10 to 5 cigarettes a day. And then maybe at their next appointment as they are feeling less winded we can talk about walking a few more blocks to the bus stop in morning. I really believe in breaking it down into manageable pieces.

Read more from Dr. Younge by clicking the links below:

Harlem Word is a series of interviews with Northern Manhattan health experts, written by HHPC and reviewed by our Health Advisory Board.
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