Dr. Simong Youmans, M.D.
Stay Out of the ER with Simple Steps that Improve Lives

Dr. Simong Youmans has seen more than her fair share of heart attacks, strokes and other emergencies. She was an emergency room physician for more than 20 years – eight of those years at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.

Now in private practice, Dr. Youmans says she “enjoys being on the proactive end of helping people manage their health.”

“Nearly 80% of the non-injury related emergencies adults face can be attributed to medical conditions that could be avoided or effectively managed through lifestyle modification and working toward a proactive health plan with your healthcare provider,” says Dr. Youmans.

One of the frequent conversations Dr. Youmans has with her patients, is also one that she holds lectures on at the Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center of Excellence. It is Metabolic Syndrome X, a group of conditions that put adults, and children, at risk for heart disease and diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, a high level of fat in the blood called triglycerides, a low level of the HDL – the good – and the most obvious sign, too much weight around your waist.

Dr. Youmans believes people can greatly reduce their risk of Metabolic Syndrome X by:
• Eat a low-carb diet. Studies that indicate that reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat can improve the hormonal signaling involved in obesity, lower your insulin levels and improve your sense of fullness, helping you to lose weight.

• Exercise at a moderate intensity every day, or almost every day of the week to reduce your risk factors related to metabolic syndrome. A brisk 30-minute walk has proven effective for people who have participated in research studies.

• Limit your alcohol consumption. More than 2 alcoholic beverages a day for men and more than one alcoholic beverage for women, increases odds of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes.

• Review the medications you take with your physician. Metabolic syndrome can also be a side effect of certain drugs, including corticosteroids, antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, protease inhibitors and antihistamines.

Making the Most of Integrative Medicine

More than 60 percent of Americans use complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) such as yoga, chiropractic medicine, supplements and herbs, but a majority of them don’t tell their physician – even if they would like to. Studies suggest people don’t discuss CAM with their physician because their physician doesn’t ask, there is not enough time during the appointment and, sometimes, because they don’t think their physician will understand or approve. Dr. Youmans, however, thinks the conversation is a critical one given that some herbs, supplements and other forms of CAM could have potentially dangerous interaction with conventional therapies, particularly pharmaceutical medications.

“Most people who use CAM don’t choose it instead of conventional medicine, and if people will speak up to their physician they might just find that their doctor is a proponent of the form of CAM they use,” says Dr. Youmans. “Many doctors will refer to the healthy balance between conventional and alternative medicine as integrative medicine.”

Dr. Youmans says that in the instance of a patient with a chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, prescription medications might be an effective part of their care plan. However, she says, that same patient might find pain relief and an overall sense of wellbeing from tools such as yoga, craniosacral therapy and anti-inflammatory supplements such as fish oil and primrose.

Youmans says the key to integrative medicine isn’t simply using a mish mash of conventional medicine and CAM however, it is also building a relationship with your health care provider that recognizes that the health care professional and the patient both bring essential wisdom about the patient, their health history, their symptoms and forms of treatment to the exam room.

“As a physician, we may know that a particular form of pain relief medication is proven extremely effective,” says Dr. Youmans. “However, your physician won’t dismiss the fact that you find Tai Chi and deep breathing exercises help control your level of pain or your mindset,” says Dr. Youmans.

So speak up, says Dr. Youmans. Any good doctor/patient relationship should begin and end with good communications.