• How do I stay healthy as a senior citizen? Interview with Dr. Harvey Clermont

    by Dr. Don Pelto
    on Apr 4th, 2018

Here is an interview with Dr. Clermont about staying healthy as a senior.  

(Transcript Below)

Hello in welcome to healthy living
I'm Dr. Donald Pelto and I'm here with
dr. Harvey Clermont today he is a
retired surgeon from the area of
Worcester dr. Clermont thank you for
joining us in healthy living no I'm
happy to be here
so tell me a little bit about yourself
and about your history how did you end
up in Shrewsbury here and well starting
from us at the beginning you know I was
born in the Berkshires and in fact still
have a couple of my relatives and the
Berkshires I love to go there I love to
go there but then went on to Holy Cross
after after high school and that
introduced me to the Worcester area at
least and after that went to Harvard
Medical School and then on to Rochester
New York as strong Memorial where I
learned my surgery trained trained and
also did a lot of training in family
practice as well so I could have put my
shingle out for anything really then I
went into the Navy for two years
actually they had me running a hospital
in Alaska that was after a residency so
I was fully trained I could have gone to
Vietnam the fact I anticipated going to
Vietnam then my wife already came back
was gonna stay in the Berkshires with
her parents and we we had to plan that
way and then all of a sudden got my
orders for a dock Alaska and I said well
where is that and but basically it gave
me a little bit of the administrative
end of things so and I actually love my
two years in the military and still have
friends from that time in the military
and then back into thin 1973 moved to
Shrewsbury and set up practice at the
Fallon clinic back then and that's back
with some of the original fell and
clinic people and
I missed them all most of them are gone
now you run of the regionals well I
think I was no bird number 18 something
like that yes yeah it was it all in that
day was it just a private just a group
of people like a private it was a very
first group practice in the in the
Worcester area and they had a difficult
time when you go through their history
difficult time starting up then they
began to get a couple of internists in
they got a radiologists in and the
practice began to take off
they bought a property over on
plantation Street in fact I think they
just very recently are going to move out
of that Wow and they're going to all go
down to I believe around the the
Greendale area they bought a big
building in there they're going to put a
lot of the practices over there building
was probably getting old by now right is
that it's getting old yep and I and I
take it back the people from here are
going to Fair Lawn shopping center there
they bought the old Price Chopper
building Wow and they're going to move
there mm-hmm
interesting so then you you set up shop
in Shrewsbury we should practice it was
over at Fallon and you living in
Shrewsbury correct has your whole career
and now as we've been talking a little
bit
you're just as busy except taking call
as you were when you were practicing
you're pretty busy right now well I want
to stay busy too I've never met Moscow
under my feet I've always done that in
fact that would probably drive me crazy
if I if I didn't have something on the
burner ready to go yeah yeah so most
recently it's been with the Senior
Center you've been involved there how
many years has that been and that's been
since 2000 actually that's when the new
building got put up in Shrewsbury at
that point I had already done missionary
work I did that in Ecuador and Guatemala
I had started then a couple of public
programming
yep the program over at st. Anne's
and that's still going as I said 20
years there and that was that was very
rewarding very rewarding tell me about
that for those that aren't aware of the
st. Anne's clinic the st. Anne's clinic
when we first started it I did it with
father Edie Moran he since then has
passed but he was very enthusiastic
about it so when I first started it I
actually did some minor surgeries there
we had people bring in all of their
their equipment yeah they didn't need
anymore
we refurbished it a little gave it out
to people who needed it I began to take
in medications of course not so legal I
guess when you put it in those terms but
you know medicines that expiration date
doesn't mean a thing
some of them are good for ten years plus
yeah and but you can't you just can't
say that you know anymore yeah
even even fine I find to look in the
refrigerator and things that they always
expire in so I've recently not recently
been married for about five years and
before I got married everything that was
in the in the refrigerator is almost
expired and I got married and everything
got out but it was good you never I
never got sick no of course not but and
the same with medications too but so I
gave those out they don't anymore
that's a Nance so just give us a
prescription for a generic drug and
matter of fact I just gave a talk on
generic drugs I'm gonna be given one at
the Greendale men's club yeah in
September so what are some key points
about let's talk about generic drugs
what are some key points about generics
are they the same as name-brand no
they're not the only thing that's the
same between a brand name and a generic
name is the effectiveness of the primary
agent that's in there that has to be the
same because the FDA checks that that's
the only thing that's the same there's a
lot of fillers in the medication so if
you re actually read the label you'll
see there are things that take up
space the fillers basically yep there
are things that stabilize it there are
things that color it because you got to
have it appealing to the patient
obviously there are things that flavor
it there are things that coat it
depending on what kind of a coating you
put in you can have it either dissolve
quickly like under the tongue for
example you can have it dissolve further
on like enteric-coated type medications
or you can just have a regular
medication that has a little bit of
coating on it and in fact the coatings
themselves I've seen pills that have
shellac coating the thing they keep
saying that the amount of stuff that's
on a pill isn't gonna kill you you know
but when you look at the labels though
you may find that you may be lactose
intolerant and they use lactose as a
filler you know so you got they're not
all the same there's the bottom line so
which ones you need to make a fuss about
well you make a fuss if you for example
it's okay to give me a generic drug but
if I am NOT getting the same effect from
that drug as I did the previous one I go
back to the pharmacy and I say listen I
don't know which of these pharmacies you
got it from and for example I use
lisinopril mmm damn blood pressure you
know and there are 28 different
companies that produce generic Isis
interpro so if i suddenly see my blood
pressure starting to creep up i'm not
getting the effect from that lisinopril
i'll go back to the pharmacist and say
listen which company did you get this
latest one from and i want the stuff
that you gave me before i think that's
something we don't even realize many
people you think of generics are generic
but but it's really not and it's it's
really switch it whoever it probably
gives them the best price it is exactly
what that happens like anything you go
to the pharmacy and and now they're all
big chains and they'll buy stuff from
one of these pharmaceutical companies
for the cheapest price you got the same
active ingredients say
dosage but not necessarily the same hmm
there are some good points
I always tell the people at the Senior
Center you got to be your own advocate
you got to watch this yourself and if
you do you'll be much more aware and
you'll find things like this and I think
it's something that the patient finds
it's harder because you don't see your
doctor you see them maybe every three
years six months and you're lucky to see
the doctor you may see a PA you may see
a nurse practitioner you know and
there's nothing wrong with nurse
practitioners or pas people have to
realize who you're seeing what their
degree of education is and if you nee if
you have a problem that's not being
addressed you want to see your doctor
yeah yeah
once again it's being your advocate
because a lot of people don't have
family a lot of times the family should
be the advocate but bandit and a family
they're not involved with them that's
exactly that that's true yes absolutely
true and something else that we were we
were just chatting a little bit about I
like to segue into a condition that's
that's really prevalent with with the
senior populations called dementia I'm
sure many people that are listening to
this either they have a loved one that
has dementia and they may be struggling
with some type of dementia we talked a
little bit about that your your interest
in your experience with that well
obviously there's millions of people in
the United States who have the various
stages of dementia dementia we always
try to categorize things I don't know
whether that's a an organizational thing
that's part of the United States we'd
like to organize everything you know so
they they have four different stages of
dementia Alzheimer's is only one disease
that's part of the whole dementia
picture hmm the first stage of dementia
is usually just memory or it may be at
least what they call now cognitive
failure exactly you know just to a mild
degree you're not at that stage you're
not losing your way or things like that
but there's changes definitely change
that you recognize or can you sometimes
not right sometimes you don't even
recognize it because some of these
things like memory for example if you're
not actively involving your brain all
the time you may actually develop a form
of mild dementia not necessarily labeled
as dementia but if you took a test for
example for dementia and we do have a
number of different tests that you can
do one of them that's my favorite is is
call a cognitive thing all you have to
do is three three different things
number one you give the person three
items to remember when they first come
in to see you and then you drop it for a
moment
anyway and then it's gonna have you draw
clock then you draw clock you're gonna
put all of the twelve numbers on that
clock once you put those in then you're
going to put the hands in and you're
going to make it say 10 of 12 something
like that and then you ask them though
what are those three things that that I
told you to remember if you get one
that's pretty good
you get two that's better three is
obviously normal so those are the little
things that you can very quickly test
yeah with the clock and all it's amazing
the varieties you get and especially
when you say make it ten to twelve and
people start scratching her head a
little bit and where do I put that you
know you know it's it's a very a very
good test to do very quick yeah no you
are saying this is something that just
even not using your brain it can affect
it is it based on age or can younger if
people have dimension if well dementia
can come on
especially in families and especially
things like Alzheimer's I don't know if
you ever saw that that movie on still
Alice
actually was a very well acted movie
yeah about a young lady who was a
professor at a university who began to
show some rapidly progressing signs of
dementia she I believe she was late 40s
Wow
and it got to the point where she began
to really lose sight of many different
things she never took care of herself
then that that's usually a later stage
when you're not caring for yourself
that was a like I said it was a very
well acted movie so before we go on more
mmm I know everyone's probably curious
as I am so then is it what is what
causes is it hereditary is it diet I
know there's I've heard some people talk
about wheat and gluten and all these
other things and medications well do we
know nobody really knows for sure they
they see these deposits in the brain
he's amyloid deposits and they try to
relate it to that they said well maybe
if we can find a drug that would
dissolve those amyloid deposits people
won't develop dementia like they do I
don't know I I think that's just a red
herring myself so we don't know a lot
there's a lot of research being done on
it almost as much as you get in
marijuana now and there's a lot of
research on marijuana
cuz it's one of those that forefront to
the forefront it is it is unfortunately
mental health doesn't get funded as well
as other other medical problems it's all
about funding it is there's no money in
it
there's no pharmaceuticals in it
especially that's that's the big
pharmaceutical exactly there's that are
kind of guiding everything exactly
Wow so so for the for the dementia and
then so the first stage is this
short-term memory loss or memory and you
may progress then to the second stage is
it based on time is it based on stress
in life is it talking about all the Author Dr. Don Pelto

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