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Patient Education an Integral Part of Dr. Michael Gates' Treatment Plans
By Vanessa Orr

Dr. Michael GatesWhile many physicians enter the medical profession after being influenced by a family member in the field or by interactions they had with health professionals when they were young, Michael Gates, MD, just remembers wanting to help people.

"It's just something that I always wanted to do," he explained. "I like interacting with people and my patients seem to like the fact that I don't just tell them what to do; we talk about their overall health as well as how to proceed with medical recommendations. To me, it's about treating the patient—not a set of labs or numbers."

A board-certified family physician, Dr. Gates graduated from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV and completed his residency training at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC. He joined Preferred Primary Care Physicians in July of 2012 where he works to help patients of all ages live a healthier lifestyle.

"I see patients with a lot of different conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol," he explained. "I also work with patients on the preventative side, talking to them about dietary changes, smoking cessation, screening tests for colon, prostate and breast cancer and more."

Having been in private practice since 2004, Dr. Gates has seen the medical field evolve in a number of ways. "I don't know that medicine has changed so much as the administration of it has changed," he explained. "It has definitely become a more insurance-driven system than a patient-driven system. On the plus side, there are also newer medications available that are helping us treat patients better than ever before, including some very good medications on the diabetes side."

Dr. Gates works in the Bethel Park and Pleasant Hills offices of Preferred Primary Care Physicians and is on staff at Jefferson Regional Medical Center. When not at work, he spends time with his three children, ages 10, 12 and 14, at wrestling matches and soccer games and fishing.

Name: Dr. Michael Gates

Specialty: Board-certified Family Physician Practice Name: Preferred Primary Care Physicians

Education: West Virginia University, residency at Pitt County Memorial Hospital (part of East Carolina University)

Years in Practice: Nine

Why did you choose your specialty? It's just something that I always wanted to do.

What symptoms do patients ignore most? Some ignore everything, some call with a hangnail. Most often, people ignore general symptoms like tiredness or poor sleeping issues.

What question do patients most often ask? Do I have to take a pill?

What advice do you wish patients would take seriously? Smoking cessation.

What is the biggest myth that you deal with, and what is the truth? The idea, for diabetics, that if you go on insulin, you have failed and that it's the end of the road. The fact is, it's just another step in therapy and a good way to control blood sugar.

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