Dr. Jeff Brown, MD, an internal medicine physician affiliated with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, offers insight about his profession, discusses the conditions he treats and reveals his top medical tips for 2011.

Is it fair to say that an internal medicine physician is trained to treat just about anything? How do you manage to keep current on so many conditions and treatment options?

We are trained to treat all adult problems both in an office or clinic. When patients are sick enough to be in the hospital, we treat them there as well. We are all required a certain amount of CMEs (Continuing Medical Education credits) per year. My program comes in the mail and has abstracts of recent articles and then I listen to tapes of physicians who critically review them.

Describe a typical day.

I get to the office after 7 a.m. and review some lab reports that may have come in overnight and sign notes that I’ve dictated. Then, I go to the hospital to see my in-patients. At 8:30 a.m., I see patients in the office until between 5 and 6 p.m. Between patients, I review medical issues that patients have called in and discussed with my nurses. Then, I go to the hospital again to see how my patients’ day went.

What kinds of conditions do you treat?

The most common conditions are follow-up for diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol), coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure. I treat depression and anxiety and stress-related issues as well as neck and back and other joint pains, and headaches. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) / asthma and other smoking-related illness are big on the list of things I see people for as well as upper respiratory symptoms.

Is every patient and condition different?

Every patient I see is truly a new patient and experience. While the problems may be the same, people are just so different in how they respond to things physically and emotionally that it is always a challenge. It is all about really listening to a patient as they describe their story/problem. I first rule out the most serious or worrisome possibilities and then help find ways to give relief for their condition.

More and more patients are going to the Internet for medical information. Has this hindered or helped you in your job as a physician?

I think that patients educating themselves only helps when they bring their questions to me. Just because it is in print does not mean it is accurate. Just because researchers say something is backed by a study does not mean the article is good or that is unbiased. Many studies are supported by large pharmaceuticals and may be biased.

What are the top five bits of medical advice for our readers to help them become healthier in 2011?

1. Watch your saturated fats including cheese, high fat ice cream, many chocolates and pastries/cookies. Cheat every once in awhile, but not too often. Share a dessert when eating out. Bring home leftovers if portions are large.

2. Get regular aerobic exercise a few days a week. Do light resistance training as well.

3. Find time to do things you enjoy. Find time to spend with those you love.

4. If something is different in your health, give your doctor a call to see if it needs to be evaluated further.

5. Take your prescribed medicine. If you don’t, make sure your physician is aware so that an alternative plan can work for you.

How long have you practiced at St. Mary’s?

I came here in 1994. Before this, I worked eight years at Buffalo General as an assistant professor teaching residents and medical students in clinics along with my own practice.

And what about the personal side of Jeff Brown, MD, internal medicine physician?

My wife is a nurse who has worked part-time at my practice. I was married in 1990. I have 2 step-children, ages 30 and 26, and I have two grandchildren. I have one daughter who is now 18 and looking at colleges. I love to read novels, exercise a few days a week, listen to music, snow shoe in the woods, and spend time with family which includes my seven-year-old, five-pound, toy poodle, Rosie.

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