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Friday, August 23, 2019
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31 percent of U.S. adults have high blood pressure (hypertension), or roughly 1 out of every 3 adults. Of those with high blood pressure fewer than half have their condition under control.

High blood pressure is a serious condition that can increase the risk of several dangerous health conditions, including:
  •     Heart Attack
  •     Stroke
  •     Chronic Heart Failure
While many of the risk factors for high blood pressure are beyond our control – such as increased age, ethnicity and a family history – there are steps you can take to limit your risk and keep your blood pressure under control and prevent it's complications.
  •     Get Screened. 1 in 5 adults does not know they have high blood pressure.
  •     Keep Your Weight Under Control - being overweight increases the risk of high blood pressure.
  •     Get Regular Aerobic Exercise - At least 30 to 60 minutes a day.
  •     Eat a Healthy Diet - This includes a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
  •     Reduce Sodium Consumption - Limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams a day or less.
  •     Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption - Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications.
Monday, 24 June 2019 18:56

5 Benefits of Daily Walking

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5 Benefits of Daily Walking

The benefits of walkingOne of the simplest forms of exercise that almost anyone can do is taking a daily walk. Whether you take a walk durning your lunch break or walk around the neighborhood, the benefits of walking 30 minutes a day most days of the week include:

1. Weight Control

Walking is one of the best ways to keep your weight in check. You'll increase your metabolism and prevent muscle loss, which makes walking particularly helpful as we age.
Taking a daily walk can also help reduce belly fat by improving your body's response to insulin.

2. Improved Mood

Research shows that regular walking can alter your nervous system, resulting in less  stress and greater sense of wellbeing. For added benefits, walk with a neighbor or friends and get away from the bustle of the city and into nature.

3. Improved Cardiovascular Health

A well-known study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that those who walked 30 or more minutes 5 or more days per week had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Walking also lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of diabetes.

4. Increased Creativity

Along with improving mood, walking can benefit creative and problem solving skills. So the next time your looking for inspiration get up and take a walk!

5. Improved Digestion

Walking utilizes core and abdominal muscles, which encourages movement in our gastrointestinal tract and the digestion process.


Is It Safe to Take Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attacks and Stroke?

Low-dose aspirinAspirin has been used for pain relief for over 100 years. It's only more recently, within the last 40 years or so, that it has also been used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Studies have shown that taking a low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 10%.

Aspirin helps the heart by reducing inflammation. When plaque in arteries is inflamed it can be more likely to cause a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin blocks an enzyme called cyclooxygenase, reducing the chemicals that can increase inflammation.

Another way aspirin can benefit the cardiovascular system is by preventing blood clots.
Aspirin can stop certain chemicals that cause the formation of clots which can clog arteries that deliver blood to heart muscle and the brain, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Aspirin Side Effects

While aspirin has been shown to have health benefits, it is not without potentially  harmful side effects. Taking low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke is associated with an increased risk of bleeding in the skull in people without a history of those conditions.

Because of the risks of side effects, low-dose aspirin is often prescribed to individuals coronary artery disease who have had or are considered to be at high risk of heart attack or stroke.

What is a low-dose aspirin?

Most over-the-counter aspirin are around 81 milligrams. Aspirin is considered low-dose if it is between 75 and 100 milligrams. Baby aspirin are usually in the low-dose category.

Before taking aspirin regularly for any purpose, check with your doctor. When prescribing aspirin your doctor will factor your age, family history and any current medical conditions before recommending that you take a daily aspirin.


Tuesday, 26 February 2019 16:14

The Importance of Sleep For Good Health

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The importance of sleep for good health

We spend nearly one-third of our lives in slumber, yet little is known about the forces that drive the need to sleep. However, new studies are beginning to reveal how sleep helps to regulate our health and well-being and prevent disease.

Chronic illnesses, including depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, diabetes — have all been shown to be influenced by the quantity and quality of the sleep we receive each night. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to accelerate Alzheimer's brain damage

Getting quality sleep improves the functioning of the body's immune system, which can help fight off an infection, offsetting the effects of chronic stress, which can make the body more susceptible to illness. In fact, sleep is so important to our health that researchers at Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine have called sleep the “third pillar of health”, along with a healthy diet and exercise.

The reasons that sleep are beneficial are not fully understood, but we know that while we sleep, the brain remains active and uses this physical resting time to process memories, and to purge toxins that can lead to neurological decline.

How much sleep is needed to maintain optimum health? While it varies by age, most adults should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. So how can you improve the amount and quality of sleep you get each night? Here are a few tips for a better night's sleep:

Have a Sleep Routine

Go to bed the same time every night and waking up the same time every morning, including weekends. This will help to help to regulate your body's internal biological clock.

Reduce Light

Keeping light to a minimum is important for signaling to your brain that it's time to rest. This includes limiting screen time from cell phones and computer screen an hour or two before bed

Limit Fluids

Limit fluids couple of hours before bed. This will reduce the number of late night trips to the bathroom. In particular, limit caffeine, alcohol and stimulants which act as diuretics, increasing the need to urinate.

Watch What You Eat Before Bed

Aim for finishing your dinner 2-4 hours before bed. Having a heavy meal can cause indigestion. If you do eat later, try to have a light snack with protein such as peanut butter, yogurt or cheese and crackers.

Schedule Exercise Earlier in the Day

Exercise can be a  great sleep aide. It improves circulation, strengthens muscles, and improves alertness. However, this alertness can also make it difficult to calm your mind and fall asleep. Aim to complete your workout as early in the day as possible, no sooner than 3-4 hours before bed.

Monday, 25 February 2019 18:18

Keeping Your Baby Safe While Sleeping

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The safest position for infants to sleep is on their back. THis is according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Sleeping on the back has been shown to reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the AAP began recommending that all newborn babies age 1 or under be put to sleep on their backs at night and during the day for naps, the rate of of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrom) has declined more than 50 percent – with no increase in choking.

Sleeping Infant

While it can be a challenge to get your newborn in the habit of falling asleep on her back, in time your infant will adapt to this safe baby sleeping position. Of course, once your child is able to roll over, she may reposition herself.

It's also important to make sure your baby spends supervised time playing on his stomach every day. This is important to help with motor development and prevents flat head syndrome.

Here are some other tips to help your infant sleep safely and comfortably.
  • Choose a firm surface, preferably a safety-approved crib mattress. Use a fitted sheet and avoid placing the baby on soft surfaces like pillows or throws.
  • A one-piece sleeper or sleep-sack is a good alternative to blankets.
  • Keep the crib clear of soft toys, pillows blankets and other soft objects.
  • Babies should not sleep in a bed, couch or chair with other adults or children. A sofa or chair is the riskiest place for an infant to sleep. If sleeping in the same room, babies are safest in a bassinet, cradle or crib. Only bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort them.
  • Ensure that the crib is not too cold or hot by monitoring the temperature and keeping infants away from vents, open windows and other sources of drafts.
  • Pacifiers have been show to reduce the risk of SIDS, but don't force the baby to use a pacifier if it doesn't want to.



Tuesday, 13 November 2018 22:26

What Causes Gallstones?

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What Causes Gallstones?

Gallstones are not actually stones, but rather hardened deposits of digestive fluid that  form in the gallbladder. The gallblader sits just below the liver and sends digestive fluid called bile into your small intestine.

Gallstones can be as tiny as a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball. Multiple gallstones can form at the same time. Your genes, weight, and diet can all contribute to gallstones forming. Other medical conditions like diabetes, liver cirrosis or sickle cell anemia can cause gallstones.

Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors, since obesity can raise cholesterol, making it more difficult for the gallbladder to empty.
 
If your gallbladder doesn't empty completely or often enough, bile can become concentrated, leading to the formation of gallstones.

Gallstone Symptoms
  • The symptoms of gallstones include
  • Sudden upper belly pain and upper back that can last for several hours
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating, indegestion, heartburn and gas
If you experience symptoms such as intense abdominal pain, yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes or high fever with chills, you should seek seek medical attention.

To determine if you have gallstones your doctor will give you a physical exam and a blood test to check for infection or obstruction. An ultrasound or CT scan may also be performed to image the gallbladder and detect the presence of any gallstones.

If gallstones are found your doctor may prescribe medications to dissolve the stones. Surgery may also be needed to remove the stones. In some cases surgery may be necessary to remove the gallbladder.
Saturday, 22 December 2018 21:47

Preventing Food Poisoning

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Food poisoning is relatively common, with 1 in 6 Americans contracting some form of food poisoning every year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Preventing Food Poisoning

Ingestion of food that contains a bacterium, virus, parasite, or prion can cause adverse symptoms in the body. Those symptoms may be limited to vomiting or diarrhea or they may involve other organs such as the kidney, brain, or muscle. While about 250 types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites can lead to food poisoning, the most common foodborne illnesses in the United States are caused by Norovirus, and the bacteria Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, and Salmonella.

What Are The Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?

The symptoms of food poisoning will be obvious in most cases, and include:
  •  Abdominal cramps
  •  Diarrhea
  •  Vomiting
  •  Mild fever
  •  Weakness
  •  Nausea
  •  Headaches
  •  Loss of appetite
Most cases of food poisoning last only a couple of days and the symptoms usually resolve on their own. If symptoms persist longer than two days, or the symptoms are more serious, you should contact a health care professional.

Symptoms of potentially life-threatening food poisoning include:
  •  Diarrhea that continues for more than three days
  •  A fever higher than 101.5°F
  •  Difficulty seeing or speaking
  •  Severe dehydration
  •  Bloody urine

How Can You Prevent Food Poisoning?

First, always wash your hands frequently when preparing food. Wash cutting boards and knives with hot soapy water after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs. Avoid wooden cutting boards, which can be more difficult to clean.

Pay attention to the expiration date on diary, meat and eggs and avoid them at room temperature. Instad, keep food refrigerated until it is ready to use. Thaw meat and seafood in the refrigerator or microwave.

While raw meat and poultry are some of the most common sources of food borne illnesses, produce can also become contaminated with salmonella, listeria and other dangerous bacteria in the field where they are produced and during processing. Be aware of recalls involving meat and produce and thoroughly wash produce. Washing meat and poultry is generally not recommended, as it can spread bacteria in the kitchen.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 15:01

Managing Asthma In Children

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Asthma affects around 7 million children in the U.S., and is the leading cause of chronic illness, with most children having the first symptoms by age 5. For reasons that are not yet understood, cases of asthma have been increasing. Experts suggest it could be from kids spending more time indoors and being exposed to dust, pollution and secondhand smoke, or from a lack of exposure to enough bacteria and viruses to strengthen their immune system.

Because asthma symptoms can very from episode to episode, it's important to know all the potential symptoms, which can include any of the following problem signs:
  •     Shortness or loss of breath
  •     Chronic coughing spells
  •     Low energy during physical activity
  •     Intermittent rapid breathing
  •     Tightness or pain in the chest
  •     Wheezing sounds when breathing in or out
  •     Feeling weak or tired
These are just some of the symptoms of asthma and they could be symptoms of other conditions, be may be other causes. Allergies can also show many of the same symptoms as asthma. Your doctor should evaluate the child to find the underlying cause of any illness that restricts your child's airways. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam.

If your child is diagnosed with asthma, your doctor or a specialist can provide guidelines for controlling and managing the disease so they can avoid triggers and lead as normal a life as possible. In some cases medications may be prescribed to treat the asthma. Depending on the child's age, they may use inhaled asthma drugs or liquid medications delivered with an asthma nebulizer.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018 17:02

What Causes Hearing Loss?

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Hearing loss occurs gradually as we age, and advancing age is the most common cause of hearing loss. One out of three people age 65-74 has some level of hearing loss. After age 75, one out of every two people will experience hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss may include:
  •     Muffling of speech and sounds
  •     Difficulty understanding words against background noise
  •     Asking others to talk slowly, clearly and loudly
  •     Turning up the volume to be able to hear the radio or TV
  •     Avoiding social situations
Besides aging, hearing loss can also be caused by:
  • Exposure to loud sounds that can damage the cells of your inner ear. This damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a short exposure, such as from a gunshot.
  • Genetic susceptibility to hearing loss.
  • Occupations where loud noise regularly occur in the working environment, such as construction or factory work.
  • Exposure to noise from firearms, jet engines, concerts, fireworks, etc.
  • Certain medications, such as the antibiotic gentamicin and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear.
  • Some diseases or illnesses such as meningitis, may cause high fever, resulting in damage the cochlea.
There are steps you can take to prevent noise-induced hearing loss and to avoid making age-related hearing loss worse, including:
  • Protect your ears from loud or continuous noise at work by wearing hearing protection
  • Have your hearing to detect early hearing loss. Knowing you've lost some hearing means you're in a position to take steps to prevent further hearing loss
  • Use caution during high risk activities, such as motorsports, hunting and loud concerts by wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks to avoid long periods of exposure
  • Turn down the volume when listening to music
If you are a family member is having difficulty hearing, Parkway Family Physicians can provide hearing and vision screening. Call 651-690-1311.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:15

Why You Should Get a Flu Shot This Year

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During last year's flu season vaccines prevented an estimated 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations. Even if you had a flu shot last year, it's important that those 6 months and older get the shot every season. While influenza viruses function more or less the same, every year there are different types, or strains, of the flu.

It takes around two weeks after receiving a flu shot for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus, so it's best to get your shot before the flu season arrives by late October.

If you live or work with young children, the elderly, or people with certain medical conditions who are more likely to suffer complications from the flu, it's important to get a flu shot, even if you're not in a higher risk category. By doing so you can prevent the spread of the flu to higher risk individuals in the community.

How Does a Flu Shot Work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Are There Side Effects From Flu Shots?

The side effects from a flu shot are minor, and include soreness at the site of the injection, headache, body aches and in some cases fever.

Have questions about flu shots? Give Parkway Family Physicians a call at 651-690-1311.

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Patient Testimonials

"Whether I’m the first appointment in the morning or the last appointment in the afternoon, the doctors at Parkway Family Physician are always pleasant, calm and acts as though they have all the time in the world for me.  Before finding Parkway Family Physicians, I once saw a doctor who rushed into the exam room, coat tails flapping behind him, as he dictated notes from the previous patient. That entire appointment was a bit like being hit by a whirlwind.  I prefer Parkway calm.”

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