The son of a doctor, Umang Patel grew up in India knowing he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. “I came here in 1981 with my wife, a pharmacist, because I wanted to access the best training, and provide top notch family care,” he says.
In 1986, following his residency at Grant Hospital in Chicago, Patel, who specializes in internal and geriatric medicine, founded the Woodridge Clinic as a walk-in and urgent care clinic. “At the time Woodward Avenue was a two-lane street. It was a humble beginning and we’ve grown as the neighborhood and DuPage County grew,” he says.
Today, Woodridge Clinic has locations in Woodridge, Lombard and Lemont, and provides comprehensive care for children, adults and the elderly. The clinic has 10 practitioners on staff, including a cardiologist, audiologist, nephrologist, care manager and soon will offer Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic healing approach that originated in India, thousands of years ago. The clinic also has onsite imagining and lab services. “We offer comprehensive care under one roof and our patients really like that,” Patel says.
All physicians are board certified and the clinic is affiliated with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Edward Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, and the Adventist Hospitals in Bolingbrook and Hinsdale. Patel currently serves as the president of the DuPage County Medical Society.
“We’re not just physicians, we’re also part of the community,” he says.
Patel calls family medicine involving and rewarding. Woodridge clinic pediatrician Paola Portela, echoed his comments.
“Since we treat whole families here, if I’m seeing a child with an infectious condition like strep throat, and mom says she’s not feeling well either, I can quickly check in with her doctor and maybe get a prescription for her too,” says Portela.
New patients, young and old, receive a comprehensive assessment of their health. “When they come in, we ask them to provide demographic information, their medical history, medications they might be taking. It’s important for us to know where they’ve been, so we can provide the best care possible as we move forward,” says Portela.
In addition to general care, the clinic specializes in diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss, diabetes, asthma and smoking cessation.
Hearing Loss Before leaving the hospital, newborns are screened for hearing problems. If any are detected, the pediatrician will refer the family to an audiologist.
“There are two types of hearing loss; conductive and sensorinueral. Our audiologist will diagnose which type it is and develop a treatment plan, which also involves the child’s pediatrician. If a child doesn’t hear properly, their speech won’t develop properly,” says Woodridge Clinic pediatrician, Dr. Rosalind Downing.
Older children with hearing problems will often exhibit signs. “They may not respond when their name is called, or react to loud noises, like a door slamming. There might also be problems at school. We’ll examine the child and determine if there is a hearing issue, then refer them to our audiologist,” Downing says.
As a geriatric specialist, Patel sees many patients who are struggling with hearing loss. “At least 10 to 20 percent are having hearing issues. Many also experience dizziness, or ringing in the ear. They are frustrated with the choices available, because they don’t want to wear an obvious hearing aid,” says Patel.
As with younger patients, the family physician and audiologist work together to find the best treatment and enhancement tools for older adults, Patel says.
Diabetes The rise in obesity has meant a rise in Type 2 Diabetes, even for children and adults without a family history of the disease.
Early screening, even for children as young as three, can alert physicians and help patients make lifestyle changes. “If the body mass index (BMI) is over 85 percent, combined with other risk factors such as a sedentary lifestyle or obesity, screening can help avoid the onset of diabetes by modifying the lifestyle,” Downing says.
Woodridge Clinic refers young patients to Edward Hospital’s free eight-week Pro-Active Kids program, to help families develop healthy lifestyles. “It’s been a valuable resource for families whose insurance may not cover nutrition counseling, or where there’s not much physical activity,” Downing says.
For adults, preventing and managing diabetes also begins with education. “We help them learn about healthy eating, in a way that fits their lifestyle. Even people who are on the go all the time and eat a lot of fast food can learn to make good decisions,” says Woodridge Clinic Family Physician Dr. Thelma Marin.
Patients who have been diagnosed also are treated with medication. “Because diabetes is an illness that effects the entire body, we also check the eyes, feet, kidneys, heart and brain,” Marin says.
Asthma and Smoking Cessation Asthma, one of the most common chronic disorders, currently affects about 7.1 million children under the age of eighteen, according to the American Lung Association.
Symptoms include night coughing, coughing after exercise, and a history of allergies. Asthma triggers include both seasonal allergies and non-allergic irritants such as household cleaning products, air pollution and tobacco smoke. “If a child has these symptoms more than four to six times per year, that’s the time to see a doctor,” Downing says.
Many adults mistakenly believe that they’ve outgrown the condition. “Once an asthmatic, always asthmatic,” Marin says.
Adult patients can learn to successfully manage their conditions by avoiding triggers and using medications when flare ups occur. Others need medication on an on-going basis.
Woodridge Clinic’s new patient assessment includes a discussion of smoking habits. “We ask every new adult patient if they are currently smoking or if they’ve recently quit. If a patient is ready to quit we discuss their options, whether it’s cold turkey, a patch, a tablet, or something else. Then we set a quit date and monitor them through the process,” Marin says.
At Woodridge Clinic, a friendly and professional staff manages care for the whole family, with careful, thoughful attention to all your healthcare needs.
Visit Woodridge Clinic at all three of their suburban locations in Woodridge, Lombard and Lemont, or at www.woodridgeclinic.com.