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Parkway Family Physicians

Monday, 15 September 2014 13:58

Tips For Staying Fit During Pregnancy

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.

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


Monday, 15 December 2014 14:10

The Top Health Stories of 2014

In particular order, here are 5 of the most important health related news stories of 2014.

Ebola Outbreak
Health officials first reported an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa back in March. As healthcare workers and others travelled to other countries the outbreak became a dramatic example of how infectious diseases do no respect geographic or cultural boundaries, and can travel globally in just a matter of hours.

Influenza Reaches Epidemic Levels
It became clear early in the year that this year's vaccine would not be a good match for this season's influenza strain. This dominant flu strain is H3N2, a type of the virus that tends to be more serious.

The Affordable Care Act
The ACA is reshaping the American healthcare landscape. Many people who have never had health care insurance are getting covered and persons with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage.

The Return of Measles
With more than 600 cases reported in at least 24 states measles was more prevalent in 2014 than in any year in the past two decades according to the CDC. One reasons for the return is the decline in measles vaccinations in recent years which has allowed the disease to regain a foothold in the U.S.

Self-Monitoring Applications
Mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices are changing how people monitor their well being. There are over 40,000+ healthcare apps available for download from Apple's iTunes app store alone. Most of these apps track overall wellness with diet and exercise making up the largest category. While many of these apps have simple functionality, in the future we expect them to provide an important link to your healthcare provider.

Every year thousands of Americans are sickened by carbon monoxide (CO gas). Between 1999–2010 5,149 deaths occurred from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Because CO gas is colorless and odorless, it's important to take steps to prevent it from accumulating in the home.

Tips To Prevent CO Gas Poisoning in the Home

  • Never use gas or charcoal heaters or cooking appliance designed for outdoor use indoors
  • Ensure that your home's heating system is working safely by having an annual cleaning and safety inspection.
  • Check gas water heater and dryer vents for visible soot stains, blockage and corrosion. An improperly vented appliance can cause exhaust fumes to enter the home.
  • Never use a gas oven or range to heat your home

Install and Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It's important that every level of your home with bedrooms have a working CO detector installed. When a CO detector detects and elevated level of dangerous gas, an alarm will go off alerting you of potentially dangerous levels of CO gas.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms

  • Dull headache 
  • Weakness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Confusion 
  • Blurred vision

If you experience these symptoms you should get everyone (including pets) out of the home. Seek emergency medical treatment immediately and try to remain still to conserve oxygen in the blood.

Why This Year's Flu Season Could Be Worse Than Last Year's

Flu seasons can be difficult to predict, but there are already signs that the upcoming season may be especially tough.

Health experts who track outbreaks of the influenza virus around the world, a group of specialists organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) called the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) are reporting an increase in flu cases. In the southern hemisphere where the flu begins in May and ends in October, the flue season arrived early and struck hard. A particularly virulent flu strain, H3N2, has dominated. In the U.S., a 4 year old in California who had underlying health problems has died from the flu.

Each year, some strains of the influenza virus mutates, which is why a new flu vaccine is prepared every year. Significant mutations often cause pandemics because the immunity that we acquire over time from exposure and vaccinations becomes less effective. Because of mutations that can occur during the flu season, influenza vaccinations may not be as effective in many cases. However, it is still important to get vaccinated, especially for children and the elderly who are at greater risk of complications from the flu.

Protecting Your Family From the Flu

  • Wash hands with soap and water or regularly use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Limit contact with surfaces like doorknobs, faucets, phones, and keyboards and wash hands afterward.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Stay at least six feet away from people who appear ill.
  • Keep your immune system healthy by getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and eating a healthy diet.
  • Last but not least, get vaccinated!
Menopause marks the end of menstrual cycles and is defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. The average age for menopause is 51, although it can happen as early as the 40s. With the natural end of menstruation a woman's body goes through changes that no longer allow her to get pregnant.

In the time leading up to menopause (perimenopause), you may experience these symptoms:
  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Vaginal dryness 
  • Hot flashes 
  • Night sweats 
  • Sleep problems 
  • Mood changes 
  • Thinning hair and dry skin 
Some woman will experience the symptoms of menopause, that include hot flashes, and emotional symptoms. If you experience problems with the symptoms of menopause – such as disruption of sleep, lower energy or anxiety – don't hesitate to talk with your doctor. There are many effective treatments available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a well-recognized childhood developmental problem. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. For 60% of children who with ADHD, these symptoms will persist into adulthood. As many as 4% of adults in the U.S. have ADHD. However, very few adults are diagnosed or treated for the disorder.

Adults with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, organizing tasks, or completing work within time limits. Without a management plan, adults with ADHD have develop behavioral and emotional problems that can cause problems in social and work environment.

Treating ADHD In Adults

Treating ADHD in adults involves an in-depth patient assessment, treatment planning, medication management and individual therapy. Because ADHD is often associated with other conditions – such as anxiety and mood disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder – an in-depth assessment is the first step in developing a comprehensive, customized treatment plan.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

Understanding the Symptoms of Arthritis

The onset arthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, often occurs after the age of 40 and progresses gradually.

Arthritis symptoms include the following:
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain or tenderness
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint redness
  • Joint warmth
  • Stiffness of joints and decreased range of motion
There are two primary types of arthritis, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear damage to the joint's cartilage — the friction reducing coating on the ends of bones. Worn cartilage can result in bones grinding against bone, causes pain and limiting movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can happen more quickly when there is a joint injury or infection.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

With rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a membrane that encloses your joints. This lining, known as the synovial membrane, then becomes inflamed and swollen. Rheumatoid arthritis can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

Arthritis Risk Factors

Family history - Your genetic history can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that can trigger arthritis.

The risk of most types of arthritis increases with age.

Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

A history of joint injury. A joint that is injured playing sports or in an accident is more likely to develop arthritis.

Being overweight. Excess weight puts stress on joints, particularly the knees, hips and spine.

One in four women will die of heart disease. In 2004, nearly 60 percent more women died of cardiovascular disease than from all cancers combined. Women of all ages should be cncerned about heart disease, but older women are more likely to devolop cardiovascular disease.

All women should take steps to prevent their risk of heart disease. Here are a few steps to take to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

1. Know your blood pressure.

While there are often no symptoms, over the years high blood pressure can lead to heart disease. An annual physical can detect high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be treated with medications if necessary.

2. Quit smoking.

If you're having trouble quitting, there are products and programs that can help, including: nicotine patches and gums, and support group programs designed to help you stop smoking. Ask your doctor for help.

3. Get screened for diabetes.

Having diabetes raises your chances of getting heart disease. Diabetics with with high blood glucose often have no symptoms, so have your blood glucose checked regularly.

4. Get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels tested.

High blood cholesterol can lead to clogged arteries eventually causing a heart attack. Triglycerides are a form of fat in your blood stream. High levels of triglycerides are associated with heart disease. If your levels are high, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower them. You may be able to lower your both levels by eating better and exercising more. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help lower your cholesterol.

5. Maintain a healthy weight.

Being overweight raises your risk for heart disease. Measuring your Body Mass Index (BMI) can help you find out if your are maintaining a healthy weight. Healthy food choices and physical activity are two ways to maintain a healthy weight.

6. Reduce stress.

Excercise, meditation and maintaining social relationships with friends are great ways to lower stress levels.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:00

Is It An Allergy Or A Cold?

6 Ways To Tell If Your Child Has Allergies Or A Common Cold.

Symptoms of allergies and colds can be very similar, but there are several ways to tell the difference:

1. Onset of symptoms

Both allergies and colds cause symptoms of sneezing, congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, fatigue, and headaches. However, colds usually cause these symptoms one at a time: first sneezing, then a runny nose, and then congestion. Allergies typically cause these symptoms to occur all at once.

2. Duration of symptoms

Cold symptoms generally last from seven to 10 days. Allergy symptoms continue as long as one is exposed to the allergens and may subside after eliminating allergen exposure.

3. Mucus discharge

Colds often cause yellowish nasal discharge, suggesting an infectious cause. Allergies are more likely to produce clear, watery mucus discharge.

4. Sneezing

Sneezing is a more common allergy symptom, especially when sneezing is repeated several times in a row.

5. Seasonal symptoms

Colds are more common during the winter months. Allergies are more common in the spring through the fall, when pollen levels are highest.

6. Fever

Colds may be accompanied by a fever, but allergies are not usually associated with a fever.
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"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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