Conditions We Treat
We know in the busy modern world, it is easy to feel lost about how to get your medical concerns appropriately addressed. As your primary care doctor, we are focused on you and providing you care through all phases of life. Our physicians are repeatedly recognized as best in the district. The most common conditions we treat are:
Asthma & Allergy
Anyone may become allergic, but if you have a family history of allergy you may be more likely to be allergic. Children may inherit the tendency to become allergic from parents, but only some will develop an active allergic disease. Allergies can show up in different ways including:
- Chronic nasal symptoms (rhinitis)
- Food and drug allergies
- Frequent sinus infections
- Hay fever
- Immune deficiency
- Severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis
- Skin allergies
- Stinging insect allergies
Asthma is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and missed school and workdays. Symptoms include wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and coughing. Asthma cannot be cured, and symptoms may continue from childhood into adulthood, however with the right treatment, you can keep symptoms under control and prevent damage to your lungs.
When you visit the clinic, we provide a detailed medical consultation and develop a unique care plan for you. We will communicate and coordinate care with specialists, school nurse, and others involved in your allergy or asthma care.
Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin. Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.
Common symptoms of diabetes:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss - even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. The Diabetes Treatment Center at Howard University Hospital is recognized by the American Diabetes Association and provides patient-centric and comprehensive outpatient ambulatory care and education.
Our physicians specialize in both adult and pediatric diabetes care and work alongside nutritionists, certified diabetes educators and pharmacists to provide quality care to diabetic patients. State-of-the-art continuous glucose sensors, insulin pumps and retinal eye screenings are available for patients who want to intensify their diabetes management. The center is the first of its kind in the community to embrace technology in the management of diabetic patients.
Read more about Diabetes Treatment Center »
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for getting heart disease. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Abnormal levels of LDL cholesterol or HDL cholesterol are treated with a low-fat diet, exercise, and medications such as statins.
When there is too much cholesterol (a fat-like substance) in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup causes "hardening of the arteries" so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. If enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.
High Cholesterol Treatment
High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms; so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. It is important to have our primary care physicians check your cholesterol number regularly with a view to lowering it. Cholesterol lowering is important for everyone – younger, middle age, and older adults, as well as both women and men.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers—the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats).
The measurement is written one above or before the other, with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number on the bottom. For example, a blood pressure measurement of 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) is expressed verbally as "120 over 80." Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mmHg systolic and less than 80 mmHg diastolic.
You may have no signs or symptoms such as the following:
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or weakness
- Trouble breathing
If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal, our primary physicians may take several readings over time and/or have you monitor your blood pressure at home before diagnosing you with high blood pressure. They may recommend lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure. You may also need medicines to help lower your blood pressure and diuretics to help decrease extra fluid that collects in your body. This will help lower your blood pressure.
Today, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are considered to be overweight or obese and more than one-third of adults have obesity according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). In addition, obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years according to US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors
- Obesity is defined as having excess body fat
Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”— too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Long-term, children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis.
Prevention and Treatment of Obesity
Patients who are overweight are seen by our endocrinologists who treat a wide range of endocrine disorders. Our team conducts research and has substantial expertise in this condition, which disproportionately affects African Americans. They look at factors such as lifestyle habits, dietary and physical activity behaviors of the patient as well as medical and genetic disorders that may contribute to weight gain such as diabetes (see elsewhere on this page).
Thyroid disorders are conditions that affect the thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck below the Adam's apple and regulates numerous metabolic processes throughout your body.
Thyroid disease is a common problem that can cause symptoms because of over- or under-function of the thyroid gland. Overfunction of the thyroid gland is called hyperthyroidism and underfunction is called hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, which maintain your body’s metabolism.
The types of thyroid conditions can vary and so can the associated symptoms, which are not specific to thyroid disease. Below are some of the common symptoms:
- Nervousness and tremor (hyperthyroidism)
- Mental fogginess and poor concentration (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism)
- Menstrual changes (hypothyroidism)
- Feeling bloated (hypothyroidism)
- Racing heartbeat (hyperthyroidism)
- Aches and pains
- Weight gain (hypothyroidism)
- High cholesterol levels (hypothyroidism)
- Heat intolerance (hyperthyroidism)
- Feeling cold (hypothyroidism)
Thyroid Disease Treatment
Our primary physians will order the necessary laboratory tests to evaluate the function of your thyroid gland if you have troubling symptoms. Thyroid disorders can be treated by medications or, in some cases, surgery. Treatment will depend on the particular disease of the thyroid.