Doctor Drops Pounds and Shares Advice
Dr. Fletcher Empowers Through ExperienceThere’s no better time than now to take control of your health. Take it from Family Medicine Physician James Fletcher, DO. He not only strives to empower patients and others in his community to prioritize their health, but has firsthand experience with this in his personal journey this past year. People’s lives are too important to let anything stand in the way of getting regular medical care, Dr. Fletcher emphasized. Routine visits with a primary care provider can prevent illness or help identify health problems early enough to avoid a more serious medical problem or chronic disease.
Dr. Fletcher has always been driven to keep his community healthy. Earlier in his career, he was involved in medical missions in Guatemala and saw the difference that high-quality medical care made in individuals’ lives, often expanding life expectancy five years or more, and strengthening the community as a whole. “I returned to my hometown of Dover to practice and join the Bayhealth Medical Staff so I could care for the community where I grew up and also help address some of the healthcare disparities that exist,” he said. “I knew I could add equity and make an impact here too.”
Dr. Fletcher has struggled personally with his weight and at age 37, found himself on medications to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure. He was also prediabetic, trying to stave off that disease, among other conditions often linked to obesity. In October 2020 he decided he could be a much more effective champion for his patients if he tackled his own health concerns.
“The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, but I knew my tendencies of turning to food for comfort, particularly after a tough day, were getting the best of me,” said Dr. Fletcher. “I needed to change that paradigm in my life, particularly if I was going to be a good example to my patients.”
After putting in the hard work to make healthy lifestyle changes, Dr. Fletcher is 50 pounds lighter and aiming to lose 25 more pounds by December. His cholesterol and blood pressure are now under control without the need for prescription drugs. He also has more energy in his work and at home, as he and his wife have been busy caring for their infant son. He’s talked the talk and walked the walk, so he hopes to be even more convincing in encouraging his patients to not neglect their health or delay medical visits. Dr. Fletcher has also given talks to local church groups and done outreach among the Black Community to build trust in the medical system, dispel fears about the COVID-19 vaccine, and advocate for immunization.
“COVID-19 has shown us that taking preventative steps are necessary and serves as a reminder for why we should seek out primary care in the first place. Being a part of patients’ lives so we can help keep them well – that’s what primary care physicians do best,” Dr. Fletcher said. “Lifestyle is medicine. Making our health a priority will help us all live long, happy and healthy lives.”
To find a primary care provider or specialist to help you stay on track with your health, visit Bayhealth.org/Find-A-Doctor or call our referral line at 1-866-BAY-DOCS-229-3627.