My Blog
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
February 11, 2021
Category: Health
Tags: Cancer  
Family History of CancerYou got your mother’s blue eyes and your dad’s wavy brown hair. Everyone attributes your dimples to your great grandfather and your love of cooking from your grandmother. It’s cool to see how genetics and nurture have played a major role in you and your health.

Unfortunately, there are certain things that we wished we didn’t inherit. If cancer runs in your family, you could be at an increased risk. This is something that you need to discuss with your general medicine doctor at your next checkup.

My family has a history of cancer. Does this mean I’ll get cancer, too?

Not necessarily. While it’s true that genetics can play a role in what conditions or health problems you face throughout your lifetime, sometimes it’s certain habits and behaviors such as poor diet, not exercising, or smoking that are increasing your risk.

The good news is that while genetics cannot be changed, these bad behaviors can. Sometimes seeing the dangers of leading an unhealthy lifestyle through a family member who has developed cancer, can teach you a lot about the importance of quitting bad habits and leading a healthier lifestyle.

Cancer runs in my family. What can I do to protect myself?

Some people just assume that if cancer runs in their family that there isn’t much they can do to prevent it. Along with leading a healthy lifestyle, seeing your general medicine doctor for regular screenings can also provide peace of mind. Screenings can also identify and detect cancer early when it is highly treatable.

Talk with your general doctor about your risk so that you can decide which tests are right for you. We can also work with you to create a healthy lifestyle to reduce bad behaviors and habits that could be increasing your risk.

While many factors can play a role in whether or not you develop cancer over your lifetime, you must talk with your general medical practitioner to discuss ways to reduce your risk.
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
January 15, 2021
Category: Medical
Tags: COVID Vaccine  
COVID VaccineWe’ve been hearing a lot of news reports about the coronavirus vaccine. Perhaps you’ve seen them being administered on TV and you’re wondering whether you and your family should get vaccinated. You may have questions or even reservations about the vaccine. Here’s what we know so far about this new vaccine,
 
The Vaccine Supply is Limited
 
Since the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is limited it is first being given to first responders and healthcare workers who are on the front lines, as well as those working and living in long-term care facilities. In essence, this vaccine is being given to those who are most at risk for contracting the coronavirus at the moment.
 
As a larger supply of the vaccine becomes available within the US, the opportunity to get vaccinated will be an option for others. Those over 16 years old can get vaccinated, but the vaccine is not approved to be administered to,
  • Children and teens under 16 years old
  • Pregnant women
  • People with a history of severe allergic reactions
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant you should talk with your doctor first about whether you should get vaccinated.

You Need Two Doses
 
The Pfizer vaccine is the vaccine that’s being administered to the majority of the population at the moment. The vaccine consists of two shots taken three weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine is also given as two doses administered 28 days apart. While both are fairly similar vaccines in how they work, as well as their efficacy, Moderna’s vaccine does not need to be stored in very cold temperatures, while the Pfizer vaccine does. Even after refrigeration, the Pfizer vaccine only has five days in the refrigerator before it expires.
 
The Safety and Effectiveness of the COVID-19 Vaccine
 
There are two COVID-19 vaccines: one developed by Moderna and the other vaccine developed by Pfizer. As of late, the FDA has confirmed that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are equally effective, providing up to 95 percent protection against the coronavirus.

While the two COVID-19 vaccines have a high efficacy rate, patients of the trial did experience some side effects with the vaccine. Some of these side effects were similar to what you would experience with a cold or flu including,
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Soreness at the injection site
However, these side effects are minor, particularly when compared to the symptoms of COVID-19. Tens of thousands of people participated in the COVID-19 vaccine study. The FDA has approved the vaccine to be safe and effective.

The CDC will continue to update their site with valuable information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available. While it will take some time before the majority of the US is vaccinated, we understand that you may have questions, especially before getting vaccinated. Talk with your general medical practitioner today to find out if the COVID-19 vaccine is right for you.
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
December 10, 2020
Category: Health
Staying Safe During the HolidaysThe holiday season can be an exciting time spent with family and friends in front of cozy fireplaces, enjoying delicious treats, and making memories. Of course, this year in particular our general medicine practitioners want to make sure you plan when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations to keep both you and your family safe.
 
Enforce Proper Hygiene
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands properly and often. You should be washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to know that you’ve washed properly). Make sure to also wash under the nails and between your fingers. If you don’t have access to soap and water, make sure to at least use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands.
 
Get Stress Under Control
We know, easier said than done right? But doctors know just how stressful the holiday season is, especially this year. It’s important to still find ways to connect and support one another. Schedule Skype or Zoom calls with family and friends, make sure that you are getting proper sleep, and limiting alcohol and junk food. Also, take some time every day for you to practice some self-care. This could mean reading a book or simply soaking in a warm bath.
 
Practice Healthy Eating Habits
We know that the holidays are a time of delicious gluttony and that you want to be able to enjoy and imbibe how you want. While we don’t blame you, we also know that consuming lots of alcohol and eating rich foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar could leave you dealing with a load of problems from diarrhea and headaches to nausea and even holiday heart syndrome (caused by excess alcohol). So, we recommend eating treats and drinks in moderation and to fill up on some of those healthier foods first.
 
Keep Gatherings Small
With Covid-19, we also know that we need to minimize contact with others to prevent exposure to the virus. This may mean avoiding certain holiday events this year or creating more intimate gatherings with only your immediate family. Make sure to wear your mask, practice social distancing, and to be respectful of others this time of year, especially if you plan to travel.
 
Remember, the holiday season is not a time to become lax on hygiene. Our medical team wishes you and your family a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. We know that this year may look a lot different from years past, but we hope you can still make beautiful, festive memories.
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
November 10, 2020
Category: Medical
How Your Health Changes as You Get OlderAs we get older, we also grow wiser. We may also notice a few grey hairs and wrinkles around the eyes too. Of course, we are experiencing more than just changes to our physical appearance as we age. Our bodies are also changing, which means that you need a general medicine doctor that understands what tailored and individualized care you need to stay healthy at all stages of your life.

Seniors are more at risk for:


Arthritis


Arthritis is incredibly common, affecting millions of people over the age of 65. Arthritis can lead to severe and chronic joint pain and stiffness, as well as cause limited mobility. Those with arthritis may have trouble completing certain day-to-day tasks such as brushing their teeth or driving.

If you suspect that you might have arthritis you must see a general medicine doctor who can provide you with medication and lifestyle changes designed to slow the progression of the disease and to prevent severe joint damage.


Heart disease


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the US. Those with high blood pressure or high cholesterol are also more at risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk, so talk with your doctor about dietary changes, exercise, and other ways to improve the health of your heart.


Diabetes


According to the CDC, 25 percent of people 65 and older have diabetes, which equates to around 12 million seniors. Diabetes can have a serious impact on just about every system in the body, from the eyes to the feet, so you must visit your doctor at least once a year for bloodwork. If you notice symptoms of diabetes you should also schedule an appointment with your doctor. Diabetes can be properly controlled through a healthy lifestyle and medications to control blood sugar.


Osteoporosis


Middle age brings with it weakening, brittle bones, which can also increase the risk for fractures. Calcium is incredibly important for healthy bones, so talk with your doctor about whether you should be taking calcium supplements or vitamin D, as well as determining simple ways to incorporate more calcium into your diet. Vitamin D can be found in fortified cereals, tuna, and egg yolks; however, a supplement may be the best way to absorb this important vitamin.

You must find a doctor that truly listens to your needs and concerns. If you are worried about your risk for heart disease or want to talk with a doctor about ways to incorporate exercise safely into your daily routine, talk with your general medical practitioner today.
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
September 24, 2020
Category: Skin Condition
Tags: Scalp Psoriasis  
Scalp PsoriasisDealing with an itchy, flaky scalp? It could be dandruff or it could be a sign that you’re dealing with a common condition known as scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis isn’t just the result of a dry scalp, it’s an autoimmune disorder. Of course, it’s important to be able to pinpoint the warning signs of scalp psoriasis so that you can turn to a qualified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.


Is it scalp psoriasis?


Symptoms of scalp psoriasis can range from mild to severe. Mild cases may only cause small patches of flaky skin, while those with more severe symptoms may experience a burning and intensely itchy scalp. If you pull back your hair you may notice scaly patches of skin and/or red bumps. It’s important not to scratch your scalp, as scratching could lead to infection and temporary hair loss.

Since scalp psoriasis shares symptoms with other conditions such as ringworm or dermatitis, you must see a dermatologist to find out what’s causing your scaly, itchy, and dry scalp.
 

How is scalp psoriasis treated?


While there is no cure for scalp psoriasis, a dermatologist can provide you with medications, as well as recommend certain over-the-counter products that can reduce itchy, dryness, and flaking. Shampoos or topical treatments containing coal tar or salicylic acid may help clear up symptoms.

Since psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, an oral medication that acts on the body as a whole may offer the most effective relief. Oral medications that act on the immune system (e.g. biologics) may be recommended in more severe cases or in cases where scalp psoriasis isn’t responding to topical treatment options.

Your dermatologist may also recommend light therapy, natural remedies (e.g. tea tree oil; aloe vera), and supplements, as well as other alternative treatment options to help alleviate your symptoms.

If you are dealing with a scaly, itchy, and inflamed scalp it could be scalp psoriasis. Schedule an evaluation with a skincare professional today to learn more.




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