Getting The Most From A Doc Visit, and Bacteria For Avoiding Colds…

2 Jan

Dr. Michael F. Roizen

Co-Author of 4 #1 NY Times Bestsellers including: YOU Staying Young.

The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty (Free Press)

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the  quality and length of your life.

5 Steps to Turn a “Dud” Check-Up Into a Get-Younger Plan:

Just showing up isn’t what makes a doctor visit valuable. The value is in actually getting a plan to stay healthy, and then following it to live a longer and happier life. You can transform that all-too-often rushed doctor’s appointment to make sure you’re not in the 50% of patients who walk out not knowing what to do next. We believe in a plan.

Step one:  Partner up with your doc. We docs love it when you become the world’s leading expert on you, your body, and your health. Knowing as much as possible about any health conditions you have, and about treatment options, helps you make smarter decisions.

Step two: Come prepared. Bring along a list of the drugs, supplements and remedies you take, extra medical info (like X-rays or reports from other docs), all your health insurance information, and a note pad and pencil (maybe a tape recorder and/or a friend or relative).  Write down in advance any special questions you want answered.

Step three: Set health goals with your doctor. Do you need to quit smoking? Lose 15 pounds? Lower blood pressure or LDL cholesterol by 20 points? Spend 10 minutes a day chilling out to ease stress? Set a real target, with a “done by” date. (Need to start exercising? Not ready to walk for 30 minutes today? If you can get out the door, down to the corner and back in 15 minutes, start there and do it every day for a week. Next week, add a couple minutes. Get a walking buddy, or go to—there is a charge.)

Step four: Find out what to do at home. Would a home blood pressure monitor, a new blood-sugar meter, a smart phone app that tracks your fruits and vegetables, or headphones help you reach your goals?

Step five: Schedule a follow-up visit. It’s good to see how you are doing on your plan and make midcourse corrections to your plan as indicated.  You want to get to 5 “normals” as a minimum (blood pressure, weight for height, LDL cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and absence of tobacco use) all with or without medications,whatever it takes for you to hit your plan goals for this and each year. That’s the real value of the yearly check-up with your doc.  That check-up isn’t just to get a blessing (no cancer, whew), it is to set targets and then ensure you have enough support to hit ‘em.

Reducing Colds With Bacteria:

Lurking in the 20-plus feet of your intestines are trillions of bacteria, some good, some bad, and none good looking! In fact, they make up between 40% and 60% of what you excrete (if you’re typical) every day.

But don’t let that bug you! You have more of these friends (we hope), 10 trillion, than you have of your own cells.  These microscopic creatures make up your microbiome, the inner world of bugs (bacteria really) that swirl through your digestive system in a sometimes friendly, sometimes adversarial tango to promote immune strength, protect you from infection, help you control your weight (or send it up, up, up), and ease digestive woes. And yes, they battle the common cold too.

The one billion colds that afflict North Americans every year may have met their match in the gut-dwelling bacterial duo Lactobacillus rhamnosus (also in yogurt) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. B12 (in fermented milks, infant formula) and maybe in other probiotics.

When college kids (notoriously susceptible to colds because of close living quarters, lack of sleep, and high levels of stress) were given a daily supplement packing 1 billion of each of those bacteria for 12 weeks, their colds were shortened by 2 days and they felt 34% better than kids who didn’t get the gut-strengthening buggers. So, opt for probiotic supplements in hard-shelled capsules – they make it through your stomach acid and bug that cold away!

Thanks for reading.

Young Dr Mike

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice. 

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen  (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories  of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike. 

Feel free to continue to send questions to You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have a new web site:  and its companion the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on  Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at   He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV.  See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto anytime.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: