Frequently Asked Questions

 This page of frequently asked questions helps explain some of the more common questions I'm asked in the office.  You may also want to see the glossary of medical terms.

General Physical
Why should I get a physical?
A review of you medical history and a physical examination is most important to insure a quality and long and healthy life. Most diseases that cause premature death (Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hypertension, High Cholesterol and Cancer) are silent in their early stages. The best time to cure, slow, or change the course of a disease process is when you feel well. Do not wait for a crisis to seek medical care. My objective is to try to diagnose silent medical conditions early and treat them when you are well, thus enhancing quality and years to your life.

How often should I get a physical?
Each patient that is new to my practice is requested to have an initial comprehensive examination. Once established with this exam the frequency of complete physical exams is advised based on your age, medical problems, family history and other medical circumstances. In general, I make the following suggestions for comprehensive examinations

  • 18 to 35  --  every 3 to  5 years
  • 36 to 50 -- every 3 years
  • 51 to 65 --  every 2 to 3 years
  • 65 and older -- every 1 to 2 years

For patients without special risk factors other routine exams are suggested as well. Such exams would be yearly prostate exams & PSA (blood test for prostate cancer) for men, mammograms for women, yearly skin exams for fair skinned individuals, and flexible colonoscopic examinations for colon cancer screening for patients over 50.

Will you remind me when I need another physical?
No. Each patient is given a recommendation when they should have another physical at the end of their physical examination. This time interval between physical examinations can be between one to five years. No one should let more than five years go by without scheduling a physical.

Internal Medicine
What is Internal Medicine?
I offer you the succinct definition of a patient of mine that said after some thought, "I guess an Internist is to adults as a Pediatrician is to children."

Internal Medicine is the primary care of adults and medical problems that adults have. Internists are specialists in adults. We are specialists and we are primary care providers. Areas of expertise are in the management of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Coronary Artery Disease, Cancer Screening, Depression, Anxiety, Asthma, and Strokes.

An Internist is your primary care doctor and your ombudsman to the medical community. He or she will manage 80 to 90 % of your medical needs and refer to appropriate specialists usually for testing or specialist consultations the rest of the time.

Can a woman give up her gynecologic care?
No. I personally do no gynecologic care in my practice. Most all of my female patients have a gynecologist and if not, I recommend they have one. I feel that there are many excellent gynecologists in our community and my time and training is best spent practicing Internal Medicine only.

Do you see children?
No. I will see adults above the age of 18. I leave the under 18 age group to the care of the pediatrician.

Is there an age limit?
No, In fact, because I care for adults exclusively, my training and experience as an Internist makes me highly qualified to care for the elderly (Gerontology).

What hospital do you admit your patients?
I admit my patients to Crouse Hospital ( exclusively. Because I make rounds at the hospital regularly (when I do have patients admitted), I need to have patients at one hospital so I can get to my office at a reasonable time each morning to begin my office patient care. I am one of a few internists that still do this.

Many times an ER visit will prompt a hospital admission and a hospital employed physician may admit you after hours, but I will assume your care soon after that, if I am not out of town for a medical meeting or for some other reason (like a vacation!). After discharge, I will see patients for a post hospital visit. This continuity of care is a professional philosophy of mine and of the few internist colleagues that cover for me. One of them may admit my patient and care for them until I am available to make my own hospital rounds.

What do I do if I have a medical emergency?
If your emergency that is clearly life threatening, call 911 and request transportation to Crouse Hospital if possible. If you are not sure of the significance of the medical problem then call my office at 315.682.6600 and I will advise you. If you call after hours my answering service will contact me or a covering physician with your information and a doctor will call you back in a reasonable period of time.

How do I get my prescriptions renewed? Answer: If you have refills left on your prescription bring it to the pharmacy for a refill. If you are on the last refill call (315.682.6600) my office during office hours for the renewal. Do not wait until you are all out of your medications before you call for a renewal. Please plan a week or more ahead and call during office hours for renewals. Try to remember to bring your medications with you when you travel out of town for overnight trips.


 Mark S. Erlebacher, M.D.
4500 Pewter Ln
Manlius, NY 13104
Telephone: 315.682.6600