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Thursday, March 21, 2019
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Many Americans take heartburn medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to help relieve the discomfort of acid indigestion. A recent study found that the drugs are linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, as well as other health problems. The PPIs researchers studied included both prescription and over-the-counter drugs meant to reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces, thereby reducing discomfort in the chest. They included: Nexium (esomeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec and Zegerid (omeprazole), among others. 

The study looked at adults who had no history of heart disease and found that there was a link between PPIs and an increased risk of heart attacks. However, the study does not prove that taking PPIs raises the heart attack risk.

Should You Take PPIs for Heartburn?

For many, the risks of taking PPIs outweigh the benefits, particularly when there are other effective methods of eliminating heart burn without side effects. Because PPIs only treat the symptoms of heart burn, not the underlying cause, treating the cause is the best strategy.

If you have been taking PPIs regularly to treat heartburn and would like to find an alternative strategy for treating symptoms, it's is important to talk with your doctor before quitting PPIs abruptly. This can have result other harmful side effects.
Thursday, 25 June 2015 01:14

Are Allergy Shots Right For You?

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Allergy shots are not a magic bullet that will cure your allergies, however they can reduce the symptoms and make life easier. If you have severe allergies that last 3 months of the year or more, or you can't take allergy medications because of the side effects or adverse interactions with other medications you may be taking, allergy shots may be a good option.

Allergy shots can be given to children older than 2 years or older and adults without heart problems or severe asthma. To determine if allergy shots are right for you your doctor will review your medical history and do a medical exam. To identify your specific allergen(s), a series of allergy tests will be performed to decide what, if any allergy shots could be beneficial. It's important to perform the testing in small amounts to ensure there are no adverse reactions to the allergens.

If you don't like needles and the idea of taking a series of shots, you'll be happy to know that the needles used for for immunotherapy are smaller than needles used for most immunizations and medications.

To work properly and safely, allergy shots must be given in a series over time, so patience will be needed for the minimum of 6 months the series of shots will need to be administered. After the initial series, maintenance therapy will be usually be continued for 3-5 years.

If you suffer from allergies for more than 3 months out of the year, talk with your doctor to see if allergy medications or shots are a good option for you.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 15:14

Tips For Managing High Cholesterol

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Everyone over age 20 should have a cholesterol screening every 5 years. Those at high risk for heart disease should have more frequent screenings. If your total cholesterol level exceeds a level of 200, safely lowering cholesterol levels may be possible with exercise and dietary changes. While your doctor can help you set a target cholesterol number, there are changes you can make that can help lower cholesterol levels significantly in about 6 weeks.

Exercise

Even moderate exercise such as 45 minute daily walk can have a positive effect on increasing HDL (the "good" cholesterol) while lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol. The key is to have a regular exercise schedule that includes physical activity at least 5 days a week.

Dietary Changes

One of the keys to lowering cholesterol levels is to reduce levels of unhealthy saturated and trans fats and increase the sources of healthy fats in the diet. Canola oil and olive oil are good alternatives to vegetable oils, butter and stick margarine. Foods with healthy oils include salmon, tuna, trout and other fish that have cholesterol-lowering omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts such as walnuts are also a healthy choice.

Increasing soluble dietary fiber is also beneficial in not only lowering cholesterol but contain heart-healthy antioxidants. Good sources of fiber include beans, oats and products containing psyllium.

The summer season is a peak time for Minnesotans to travel abroad. With a little planning and preparation you can ensure that you and your family stay healthy and have an enjoyable experience. Parkway Family Physicians offers travel medication and immunization counseling that can address any health conditions that may need treatment abroad as well as providing immunizations against diseases that may be prevalent in certain countries.

By checking your medical history for any known conditions and researching your travel itinerary, we can provide you with the necessary vaccinations, prescriptions and advice to keep you healthy while traveling abroad.

Depending on the countries you're planning to visit, here are some of the vaccinations commonly obtained prior to travel:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – Cervarix or HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – Gardasil
  • Influenza
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal (for Meningococcal Meningitis)
  • Pneumococcal Polysaccharide – PPSV23 (for Pneumonia)
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td)
  • Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap)
  • Typhoid
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Yellow Fever
For more information, visit the the CDC's travel page.

Please schedule your appointment a minimum of six to eight weeks prior to your departure.



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies affect an estimated 4 to 6 percent of U.S. children and rates increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.

A food allergy is an immune reaction to a particular food and will happen every time an individual is exposed to that food. Reactions can include itchy mouth, hives, swelling of the lips and throat, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases death.

A food intolerance, often confused with a food allergy, is a non-allergic, often delayed reaction to a food, drink, or food additive that produces symptoms in one or more body organs and systems. Symptoms may include gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea, and are not life-threatening. Unlike a food allergy, food intolerance issues can often be improved by eating less of the problem food without needing to eliminate it entirely.

If you suspect that you or your child has a food allergy, seek medical attention as soon as possible. A serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can be fatal. If you're not dealing with a true food allergy, but suspect a food intolerance, discuss options with your health care provider. 



Wednesday, 21 January 2015 22:44

Tips For Getting a Good Night's Sleep

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Just as we need food, water and air to survive, sleep is essential to our overall health and well being. Sleep is important for everything from memory to immune system function to the body's ability to heal tissues, along with countless other health benefits. Yet most people don't get the amount of sleep that they need. The result of insufficient sleep is increased risk of accidents, cognitive decline, memory loss, weight gain and depression.

Ideally, we should try to get between 8-10 hours of sleep every night. It's a common misconception that you can "catch up on your sleep" by sleeping more on the weekend. In reality, it's better to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. 

Here are some tips to help get a better night's sleep.
  • Create a relaxing sleep space that is cool, dark and quiet.
  • Daily exercise, such as a 20 minute afternoon walk, can help your body relax at bedtime.
  • Avoid electronic screens, caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime
  • Spend time winding down prior to bedtime by listening to relaxing music or reading.
  • Try deep breathing or listening to a guided relaxation or meditation before bed.
If you think you may be suffering from a sleep disorder, discuss your symptoms and concerns with your physician to find out if a referral to a sleep specialist for a thorough sleep evaluation is necessary.
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 22:16

Surviving the Allergy Season

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According to Weather.com, this allergy season is expected to be one of the worst in recent memory. The allergy season in Minnesota is expected to be more severe this year because colder temperatures have delayed the pollinating of trees. Since not all trees pollinate at the same time (maple, cedar and elm trees, pollinate earlier than other trees) the delay will result in a large number of trees pollinating at once.

If you suffer every spring from a runny nose, itchy eyes and headaches there are over-the-counter allergy medications like Zyrtec and Claritin, but if your allergies are severe, it may be time to talk with your physician.

Here are some tips to reduce allergy symptoms.

1. Use nasal sprays. Sprays containing Corticosteroid drugs target inflammation and are the most effective treatment for nasal allergy symptoms.

2. Close the windows and turn on the air conditioner. The furnace air filter will reduce the amount of pollen entering the home.

3. Use a saline nasal rinse. A saline rinse helps removes pollen, mucus, and other irritants from the nose.

4. Keep your home clean. Regularly Vacuum carpet and upholstery to remove allergens that have been brought indoors.

5. Avoid peak allergy times. Pollen counts are typically lowest early in the morning right before dawn and in the early evening.

 

Monday, 15 September 2014 13:58

Tips For Staying Fit During Pregnancy

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For many women exercising during pregnancy can bring many positive benefits. The key is to engage in moderate aerobic activity, such as walking or swimming, while including strength and flexibility conditioning such as like yoga. This includes 30 minutes of walking or swimming three to four times a week.

A main benefit of regular exercise during pregnancy is the strengthening of muscles supporting the uterus, which can reduce common complications such as back pain, ankle swelling and fatigue. There are also emotional benefits to exercise, including reduced stress and enhanced body image.

The key to safe exercise during pregnancy is to avoid overexertion, which can blood flow to the fetus. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends mild-to-moderate exercise and stopping when fatigued. Instead of targeting a specific time or heart rate, pay attention to your level of fatigue and stop before you feel overly tired.

Most importantly, always talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise program to avoid potential injury.

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.
  1. Get Screened. 1 in 5 adults does not know they have high blood pressure. 
  2. Keep Your Weight Under Control - being overweight increases the risk of high blood pressure. 
  3. Get Regular Aerobic Exercise - At least 30 to 60 minutes a day. 
  4. Eat a Healthy Diet - This includes a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. 
  5. Reduce Sodium Consumption - Limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams a day or less. 
  6. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption - Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications. 
For young children and teens participation in sports improves coordination and fitness while also encouraging teamwork and self-discipline.

Because children are still growing, participation in sports brings greater risk for injury. An injury incurred while playing sports in the early years of life can have consequences for long term heath consequences far into adulthood.

The key to avoiding injury in young athletes is proper training, physical conditioning and using appropriate equipment for the child's age. Each age group will have differences in strength, coordination and stamina that must be taken into account to avoid injury to muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones.

Coaches and parents are the first line of defense in the prevent of injuries. It is their responsibility to create a healthy environment by putting the learning skills and promoting overall health and fitness ahead of competition and winning.

Tips for Preventing Injury in Young Athletes

  • See your doctor for a sports physical to screen for potential problems
  • Warm up properly before playing
  • Wear appropriate protective equipment
  • Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated
  • Don't play when overly fatigued or in pain


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