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Rochester Medical Group

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We are doing what we can to make health care a little easier for people with a busy schedule. Our physicians are quickly able to diagnose and treat common illnesses and minor injuries to help you get better, faster. We are here to meet the urgent medical care needs of Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy and the surrounding communities.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease is heartburn, or acid indigestion. Heartburn is often described as a painful burning in the chest, neck, or throat. Other symptoms can include:

  • A mild cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease often mimic other ailments, such as ulcers or gastritis, it is important to consult your physician for a diagnosis. In addition to listening carefully to your symptoms, and asking questions, your physician will likely perform imaging and/or lab tests to make a diagnosis. These tests may include a combination of the following:

  • Upper GI: the patient swallows barium, a thick, chalky fluid, which allows the esophagus and stomach to be examined and evaluated via X-ray.
  • Upper Endoscopy: a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is guided into a patient’s esophagus, allowing the physician to examine the region.
  • pH monitoring: the patient wears a small monitor for one or two days, during which time the monitor detects and records levels of acidity in the patient’s esophagus.
  • Esophageal Manometry: this test allows a physician to look for abnormalities in the way a patient uses their esophageal muscles to swallow.

To gain an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you clearly and carefully describe your symptoms to your physician.

 Treatments

Because gastroesophageal reflux disease can be caused by many factors, your physician will likely recommend a combination of the following the successfully reduce your symptoms:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight loss, if applicable
  • Consuming less alcohol
  • Limiting the consumption of certain foods and beverages, such as those containing tomatoes, citrus, alcohol, chocolate, or coffee.
  • Eating smaller portions
  • Avoid eating or drinking right before bed.

Your physician may also scrutinize the medications you are taking, as some of them may contribute to gastroesophageal reflux disease. He or she may also recommend an over-the-counter antacid to treat your heartburn symptoms.

Helpful Hints

  • If there is a change in your symptoms, or if they worsen, let your physician know right away.
  • If you’re unclear about a test, diagnosis, or any part of your treatment plan, please ask your physician. The more you know, the more successful your treatment plan will be!

Download our PDF for more information

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by three airway problems —  inflammation, obstruction, and hyper-responsiveness. It most often affects people aged 5 to 17, or over the age of 65, those who also suffer from allergies, and those who live in urban areas.

Symptoms

Asthma symptoms and their severity will vary from patient to patient, but may include a combination of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing, or pain when breathing
  • Wheezing or coughing during physical activity
  • A persistent, chronic night-time cough

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of asthma often mimic other ailments, such as emphysema or bronchitis, it is important to consult your physician for a diagnosis. In addition to listening carefully to your symptoms, and asking questions, your physician will likely perform imaging and/or lab tests to make a diagnosis. These tests may include a combination of the following, and may be repeated to gauge the effectiveness of various treatments:

  • Spirometry: the patient breathes into a spirometer, which measures how much and how well the patient’s lung receive and hold air, and to detect any airway restriction or obstruction.
  • Peak Flow Monitoring: this test measures how quickly the patient can exhale, or breathe air out of the lungs.
  • Blood test: a vial of the patient’s blood is drawn and analyzed to check levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • Chest X-ray

Again, your physician may want to perform these tests once an asthma diagnosis has been made, and a treatment plan started, to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.

 Treatments

Today, there is no cure for asthma, though there are several options for effective treatment to relieve and manage asthma symptoms.

Because asthma is a chronic disease, it is important that patients follow their individual treatment plan, even when they are not experiencing symptoms. Components of a successful treatment plan will include:

  • Identifying and avoiding asthma episode triggers
  • Medication therapy to alleviate or relieve asthma symptoms
  • Patient self-monitoring and education, so the patient can identify when their symptoms are worsening
  • Physician testing and monitoring to track the progress and effectiveness of the asthma treatment plan

It may be necessary to alter the components of a treatment plan several times before an effective, successful plan is found.

 Helpful Hints

  • If there is a change in your symptoms, or in the frequency or severity of your symptoms, please let your physician know right away.
  • If you’re unclear about a test, diagnosis, or any part of your treatment plan, please ask your physician. The more you know, the more successful your treatment plan will be!

Download our PDF for more information

Common Cold

An upper respiratory infection, also called the common cold, is referred to as such because it is one of the most common ailments, the cause of more doctor visits and more days of missed school and work than any other ailment. Among the more than 200 viruses that cause the inflammation of the nose and throat, the most common is the rhinovirus. “Cold season” runs with the traditional school year, beginning in early September and ending when weather warms, in early spring.

Symptoms

Symptoms of the cold vary from patient to patient, but can include a combination of the following:

  • Discharge from the nose and/or sneezing
  • A sore or scratchy, irritated throat and/or mild hacking cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild fatigue
  • Low-grade fever and/or chills
  • Mild muscle ache and/or headache

common-cold-flu-comparison-chart

Note that the common cold is a completely different ailment that influenza (“the flu”). Cold and flu symptoms may often be similar, but there are some differences:

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of the common cold often mimic other ailments, such the flu or a bacterial infection, it is important to consult your physician for a diagnosis. A cold diagnosis is most often based on an analysis of the patient’s symptoms, so it’s important to describe your symptoms and their severity accurately.

Treatments

There is no cure for the common cold, but there are treatments that can alleviate some of the symptoms. Recommended treatments include:

  • Drinking plenty of clear fluids
  • Smoking cessation (for adults) or limiting exposure to second-hand smoke (for children)
  • Saline nose drops and/or a cool mist humidifier
  • Acetaminophen for aches and pains (DO NOT give aspirin to a child with a fever, as this may cause Reyes syndrome)

Please also note that in 2007, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on over-the-counter cold medications for children under the age of 6.Antibiotics will NOT cure a cold, or make it go away faster, so your physician will not prescribe them to treat a cold.

Helpful Hints

  • To prevent the spread of a cold virus, please stay home if you are sick, and keep your child home from school or day-care if he or she is sick.
  • To prevent catching a cold, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and teach your children to do the same.
  • If there is a change in your symptoms, please let your physician know right away. For some pediatric patients, a cold can lead to other ailments, such as an ear, sinus, or throat infection.

Download our PDF for more information

Degenerative Joint Disease, also known as arthritis, affects an estimated 47 million Americans1 across all age and racial groups. The terms “degenerative joint disease” and “arthritis” often refer to one of more than 100 chronic ailments that affect joints, muscles, and connective tissues. Though certain types of degenerative joint disease tend to afflict more mature patients, it is not restricted to the elderly — anyone of any age can be affected.

Symptoms

The symptoms of degenerative joint disease are different for everyone, but most often include a combination of the following:

  • Continual or recurring pain, stiffness, and/or swelling in a (joint or joints)
  • Difficulty moving a (joint or joints) in a normal manner

 

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of degenerative joint disease often mimic other serious ailments, it is important to consult your physician for a diagnosis. In addition to listening carefully to your symptoms, and asking questions, your physician will likely perform imaging and/or lab tests to make a diagnosis. These tests may include a combination of the following:

  • X-Ray or MRI of the affected joint area(s)
  • Blood and/or urinalysis
  • Arthrocentesis or joint aspiration

To gain an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you clearly and carefully describe your symptoms to your physician.

Treatments

Because the type and severity of degenerative joint disease varies widely from one patient to the next, there are a variety of successful treatments for it. For any of them to succeed, the patient and his or her family must be active, dynamic parts of the treatment process. The goal of all arthritis treatments is the same — to relieve pain and restore as much use of the joint(s) as possible.

As part of your individual treatment plan, your physician is likely to recommend a combination of the following:

  • Specific exercises to moderate swelling and pain in the affected joint(s)
  • Exercised to restore mobility in the joint(s)
  • Pain management, including heat or cold therapy, massage, and/or acupuncture
  • Immobilization of joint(s) to avoid further injury or damage
  • Assistive and/or support devices
  • Weight control and/or nutritional counseling

For best results, it is vital that you and your family understand the goals of the recommended treatments. If you have questions, please ask! The key to a successful treatment plan is a well-educated patient.

Helpful Hints

If there is a change in your symptoms, such as increased or unusual pain, please let your physician know right away.

Download our PDF for more information

Ear Infection

Inflammation of the middle ear, called otitis media or an “ear infection,” is often related to a pre-occurring sore throat, cold, or respiratory infection. The inflammation causes the eustachian tube (which connects the inner ear to the throat) to malfunction, leading to the painful, irritating build-up of fluid, which can encourage the growth of virus and bacteria and cause acute otitis media.  Though ear infections are most common among children (nearly 80% of all children will have at least one before the age of 3), adults can suffer from them, too.

Symptoms

Symptoms of an ear infection are similar for adults and children, and vary from patient to patient. They may include a combination of the following:

  • Ear pain
  • Increased ear drainage
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever
  • Congestion

In infants and small children, who cannot verbalize their pain, some symptoms may manifest as irritability, fatigue, tugging at their ears, difficulty sleeping, and/or a decrease in appetite.

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of an ear infection often mimic other serious ailments, and because small children may have difficulty in explaining their symptoms, it is important to consult your physician for a diagnosis. In addition to listening carefully to your symptoms, or your child’s symptoms, your physician will likely perform tests to make a diagnosis. These tests may include a combination of the following:

  • Physician examination with an otoscope, allowing the physician to see the outer and inner ear.
  • Physician examination with a pneumatic otoscope, sending a gentle puff of air into the ear to gauge ear drum movement.
  • Tympanometry, to test the condition and function of the inner ear.
  • Hearing test (often recommended for children or adults who have frequent ear infections).

Download our PDF for more information

Gastroenteritis is caused by an inflammation and/or irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, namely the stomach and intestines, caused by ingesting tainted water or food-borne bacteria, parasites and viruses. It can also be caused by certain prescription and over-the-counter medications, or by ingesting something with dairy, if the patient is lactose intolerant.

Symptoms

Symptoms of gastroenteritis vary from patient to patient, but can include a combination of the following, in varying degrees of severity:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and pain
  • Cramping
  • Tenderness and/or swelling in the abdomen
  • Dehydration

 

Diagnosis

Because some of these symptoms may lead to dehydration, especially in infants and the elderly, it is important to seek professional medical attention if the vomiting or diarrhea lasts more than 48 hours, if there is blood in the stool, or if you suspect the person is becoming dehydrated. In addition to listening carefully to your symptoms, and asking questions about medications, dietary changes, and recent travel, your physician will likely perform imaging and/or lab tests to make a diagnosis. These tests may include a combination of the following:

  • Stool analysis, to check for parasites or blood
  • Physical examination of your abdomen

To gain an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you clearly and carefully describe your symptoms to your physician.

Treatments

Depending on the cause of the gastroenteritis, and the severity of it, treatment plans will vary from patient to patient. Because there is such a danger of dehydration, your physician will recommend drinking non-caffeinated, non-dairy liquids, in particular those containing electrolytes.

A treatment plan may include any combination of the following:

  • Rehydration drinks
  • Prescription antibiotics, depending on the type of bacteria detected, if any
  • An over-the-counter emetic, depending on the type of bacteria detected, if any
  • Gradual return to a solid-foods diet, beginning first with the BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, toast)

If the gastroenteritis is caused by a food sensitivity or intolerance, or a medication, your physician may recommend a dietary supplement or change, or a different medication

Helpful Hints

  • Because many cases of gastroenteritis are caused by contact with infectious germs, to avoid infection, wash your hands before and after handling food, and always after using the bathroom or handling a diaper.
  • If at any time your symptoms worsen, please consult your physician again.

Download our PDF for more information

At one time or another, most Americans will suffer from lower back pain. Most often, it can be prevented or treated by the patient, but it can also be a symptom of a more serious, treatable chronic back problem. Lower back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as ageing, arthritis, injury, strain, or simple overuse. Because lower back pain is so common, but so debilitating, self-care and physician care are important.

Symptoms

While symptoms of lower back pain vary from patient to patient, the most common in acute and/or recurring pain and tenderness in the back, sometimes accompanied by numbness or tingling in the legs. The pain can be at a single point, or spread over the entire lower back region.

Diagnosis

If you are experiencing lower back pain that does not lessen after two weeks of self-care, or if the pain worsens and/or spreads, please consult your physician for a diagnosis and treatment plan. To diagnose the cause of your lower back pain, your physician will likely ask you detailed questions about your pain and your physical activities. He or she will also perform a physical exam. Lab and imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs are often NOT performed, since they do not aid in the diagnosis of muscle-related back pain. They will only be performed if your physician suspects an injury, such as a herniated disc or broken bone.

To gain an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you clearly and carefully describe your symptoms to your physician. It’s a good idea to keep a journal of your lower back pain episodes to share with your physician, to help diagnose your back pain as acute, recurring, and/or chronic.

Treatments

Because often lower back pain is causes by overuse or strain of the muscles of the lower back, most often a treatment plan will consist of a combination of the following elements:

  • Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medication, taken on a regular schedule
  • Heating pad on the affected area for 15 minutes every 3 hours
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the back muscles. Physical therapy may be performed at home, as part of a self-care fitness regimen, or at a physician’s office. The best exercise for strengthening the muscles of the lower back is simple walking.

If your physician diagnoses a lower back injury, he or she may recommend surgery, but very few patients require surgery to address chronic lower back pain.

Helpful Hints

Because lower back pain is often caused by strain and overuse, prevention is key in avoiding further lower back pain incidents. To prevent lower back pain, your physician may recommend the following:

  • Losing weight, if your weight is an issue
  • Smoking cessation
  • Wearing low-heeled, supportive shoes
  • Using proper lifting technique
  • Get regular exercise, especially those that will strengthen your core muscles

Download our PDF for more information

Pharyngitis is a sore throat, caused by inflammation from bacteria, fungus, virus, parasite and/or cigarette smoke. Most commonly, pharyngitis is caused by a virus or bacteria, which are easily spread from person to person, so most sore throats occur during the cold winter months, because people spend much of their time indoors in close contact with others.

Symptoms

Pharyngitis can manifest itself in a variety of ways from patient to patient, but most often they include a combination of the following:

  • Irritated, sore, scratchy throat
  • Difficulty or painful swallowing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Redness, drainage and swelling in the throat
  • Loss or decrease of appetite and/or nausea

Diagnosis

Because pharyngitis has so many causes, it is important to see your physician for a diagnosis, so he or she can recommend a, effective treatment plan. To diagnose the cause of the pharyngitis, your physician may perform a combination of the following examinations and tests:

  • A physical examination
  • A throat swab, to check for GABHS (strep throat)

Treatments

Your (or your child’s) treatment plan will vary depending on the cause of the pharyngitis, but will often include a combination of the following:

  • If the cause of the pharyngitis is GABHS or another bacteria, a round of antibiotics will be prescribed. If the cause is viral, your physician will NOT prescribe antibiotics, since they will not help, and may greatly lessen the effects of antibiotics if they’re required for another infection or illness later.
  • Acetaminophen, increased fluids and/or throat lozenges, to ease pain and irritation.

If your symptoms worsen, or do not recede after the full course of antibiotics has been used, please consult your physician again.

Helpful Hints

  • NEVER give a aspirin to a child with a fever, as this may cause Reyes syndrome.
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! To avoid getting sick, wash your hands thoroughly and often, and teach your children to do the same.

Download our PDF for more information

Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses, which can be the after-effect of the common cold, allergies, cigarette smoke, an infected tooth, nasal deformity, or even a foreign object in the nose. Any of these may cause a block in the sinuses in which bacteria may grow, causing the infection.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a sinus infection vary from patient to patient, but can include a combination of the following:

  • Runny nose, often with yellow or green discharge
  • Irritation, tickling and/or drainage in the throat
  • Swelling and/or tenderness around the eyes
  • Headache
  • Fever

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of sinusitis can closely mimic other ailments, it’s important to see your physician for an accurate diagnosis. In addition to listening carefully to your symptoms, and asking questions, your physician may perform the following imaging and/or lab tests to make a diagnosis:

  • Physical examination
  • Sinus culture
  • Sinus X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan

To gain an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you clearly and carefully describe your symptoms to your physician.

Treatments

Once your physician has diagnosed a sinus infection, and determined a cause, he or she will recommend a treatment plan to ease symptoms and address the root issue.

Most treatment plans will include a combination of the following, depending on the root cause of the sinusitis:

  • Antibiotics
  • Analgesics for pain management (DO NOT give aspirin to a child with a fever, as this may cause Reyes syndrome)
  • Smoking cessation (for adults) or avoidance of second-hand smoke (for children)
  • Surgical removal of the adenoids
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery
  • A cool mist humidifier to ease nasal irritation

If your sinusitis is recurring and allergy-related, your physician may recommend treatment by an allergist or immunologist once the current infection is gone.

Helpful Hints

  • Do not take an antihistamine for your sinus infection unless recommended by your physician; if your sinusitis is not allergy-related, an antihistamine will not help.
  • For any antibiotic therapy to be effective, it must be taken as per the physician’s instructions. If these instructions are unclear, please consult your physician.

Download our PDF for more information