My Blog
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
July 13, 2021
Category: Health
Tags: Sunscreen  
SunscreenWe know that you’re excited about summer and all of the outdoor fun. From backyard BBQs to weekend getaways to the beach, summer is many people’s favorite season (and we can see why); however, you must spend some time thinking about the health of your skin, especially if you plan to spend any time outdoors. As any dermatologist will tell you, being out in the sun without sunscreen can lead to serious sunburns and sun damage and can increase your risk for skin cancer.

Wear Sunscreen Daily

You really should be wearing sunscreen every day, regardless of whether it’s summer or not. Even if the day isn’t feeling particularly warm, the sun’s rays can still penetrate and damage the skin. Even on cloudy and rainy days, you’ll still need to apply sunscreen because the sun’s rays can penetrate through clouds.

If you want to protect your and your family’s skin all summer long, make sure to apply a generous amount of sunscreen to the face and body 30 minutes before going outside.

Know What Sunscreen to Use

Not all sunscreen is created equal. You must look for a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, which means that it will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. You should also use a sunscreen that has, at the very least, an SPF of 30. If you want to opt for a higher SPF that’s always a good idea, but don’t be lured into a false sense of security. Just because the SPF is higher doesn’t mean that you can spend all day lounging in the sun without needing to reapply. This brings us to our next order of business…

Reapply Sunscreen Regularly

Just because you put sunscreen on once doesn’t mean that it lasts all day long. If you are going to be outside for hours at a time you will need to bring your sunscreen with you and reapply every two hours. If you are sweating or swimming you will also need to reapply immediately after.

No matter your risk for skin cancer, it’s important for everyone to get a yearly skin cancer screening. This simple, non-invasive checkup can help us spot suspicious growths and moles early to prevent cancer from getting worse. 
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
June 14, 2021
Category: Health
Tags: Lumps  
Check For LumpsWhen was the last time you performed a breast self-exam? As an adult, it’s incredibly important for women to know how to perform their own breast self-examinations and do it regularly. Your doctor or your OBGYN has probably shown you how to perform your own breast self-exam, but if they haven’t all you have to do is ask. After all, this simple exam could just save your life.
Here’s how to perform your own breast self-exam,
  • Stand in front of the mirror with your hands on your hips. You want to look for any swelling or changes in your breasts' shape, size, or color. Look for any dimpling in the skin, if the nipples are inverted or if there is any redness, tenderness, or swelling. Once this is complete, you will raise your arms and look for the same changes.
  • For the next part of your breast self-exam, you will want to lie down. You will use your opposite hand to feel your breast using a firm circular motion with two or three fingers. Perform this motion on all areas of the breast including the sides and armpits all the way to the collarbone.
  • You should also perform the same circular motion on your breast while sitting (you can also stand). Raise one arm at a time and use your opposite hand to check the breast. A good time to do this is when you are in the shower.
It’s a good idea for all women to perform these self-exams about once a month. This will allow you to get used to your breast tissue and better be able to pinpoint subtle changes in the shape, size, or color of your breasts that could indicate a problem.
If You Find a Lump

If you find a lump, it’s important not to panic. Breast tissue can be quite dense, depending on the person and it is possible for tissue to feel lumpier than usual due to hormonal changes. Many lumps end up being benign. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore it. If you do find a lump in your breast it’s worth it to see a doctor for your own peace of mind. Your primary care doctor or your gynecologist is a good person to call if you find a lump or changes in your breasts that have you concerned.
While breast self-exams are critical for women of all ages, it’s also important that you speak with your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms to screen for breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer may wish to get screened earlier, so talk with your doctor.
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
May 13, 2021
Category: Health
High Blood PressureWhen was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? It was probably at your last doctor’s appointment…say, when was your last doctor’s appointment? High blood pressure can sneak up on you and untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. This is why routine checkups with your doctor are important for all adults, no matter your risk factors.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

There is a reason that high blood pressure, or hypertension, has been nicknamed the “silent killer." This is because it often doesn’t cause symptoms. This means you could have high blood pressure right now and not even know it. About one in 3 people in the US have high blood pressure and don’t realize it, and as many as 1 in 4 US adults between the ages of 20 to 44 have hypertension.

The good news is that you can get your blood pressure checked by simply turning to your general doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive physical exam. Between doctor’s visits, you can also go to your local pharmacy where they might have a self-testing blood pressure station, or you can simply purchase a blood pressure cuff to use at home.

What causes high blood pressure?

Several factors can lead to high blood pressure over your lifetime. Remember, high blood pressure isn’t a disease that only older adults deal with. The statistics above prove that young adults also deal with this chronic health problem more often than doctors would like to see. Risk factors for high blood pressure include,
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diet high in sodium
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Family history
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Sleep apnea
I have high blood pressure. What can I do?

If your blood pressure is elevated, this is a sign that it’s time to revamp your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure naturally. Some ways to do this include,
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Losing excess weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is low in sodium, sugar, and processed foods
  • Having other chronic health conditions properly managed
  • Finding effective ways to manage stress
Along with leading a healthier lifestyle, your doctor may also prescribe blood pressure medication such as anti-hypertensives to lower your blood pressure. There are a variety of medications on the market that can be used to lower your blood pressure, and your doctor will discuss these options with you and help you determine the best medication to help control your hypertension.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure or you’re concerned about your risk factors, you must have a doctor that you can turn to for regular checkups, treatment, and care. If it’s been more than a year since your last physical, it’s time to call your physician.
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
April 09, 2021
Category: Health
Tags: Exercise  
ExerciseWe’ve all heard that exercise is important for our health and wellbeing, but there are many benefits outside of just maintaining a healthy weight and looking fit. Especially now, we must be taking time out of each day to get up and move. No, you don’t have to join the gym to get the exercise you need for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Need a little motivational boost to get yourself moving? Here are some amazing benefits of regular exercise:

Boost Your Mood

Feeling a little down these days? If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, you’ll be happy to know that regular exercise can help to reduce stress and improve your mood. That’s because exercising releases endorphins, which are chemicals that help us feel more positive.

You don’t have to tackle an intense workout to reap the mood benefits, either. Studies have shown mood-boosting benefits during all forms of exercise, even low-impact activities such as walking.

Reduce Health Risks

Whether you’re at risk for heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol, it’s good to know that something as simple as incorporating regular exercise into your routine every day could have a profound impact on your health and greatly reduce your risk. To reap these benefits, adults need to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise a week to reduce their risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Enhance Focus and Concentration

Exercise is great for your brain and not just for its mood-enhancing properties. In fact, some studies suggest that regular exercise could prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Exercises improve blood flow to the brain, which helps to develop new brain cells and may even help you feel more focused. If you’re struggling with brain fog and focus while sitting at your desk, incorporating even 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine could help shake those mental cobwebs.

Improve Your Energy

It seems that more and more people are turning to their doctors because they just don’t have the same get-up and go that they used to. If you don’t have the energy you used to, or if you feel tired more easily, you may be surprised to discover that exercise can actually improve your energy. How is this possible? First, the endorphins coursing through your body certainly have something to do with it. Second, the body produces more mitochondria when you’re active, which helps provide the body with the energy and fuel it needs.

If you’re just not sure exactly where to begin when it comes to exercising, your general medicine practitioner is the perfect medical professional to ask. They can provide you with tips, guidelines, and recommendations to make sure that you are getting the exercise you need that is also safe and most effective for you and your health needs.
By St. Mary's Medical Clinic
March 12, 2021
Category: Health
Tags: Prostate Exam  
Prostate ExamThe prostate is part of a male’s reproductive system and’s responsible for the production of semen. Unfortunately, prostate cancer is something that all men are at risk of developing. In fact, reports about 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. As men get older, the risk for prostate cancer increases. This is why you should talk to your general medicine doctors about when you should begin getting a routine prostate exam.
What does a prostate exam involve?

To be fully screened against prostate cancer, your doctor will recommend both a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a simple blood test. The blood test will look for higher levels of PSA within the bloodstream, which can be a sign of inflammation or damage to the prostate. A higher count of PSA does not necessarily mean that you have cancer, but it will require follow-up testing to find out why your PSA count is higher than normal.
A digital rectal exam will make it possible for your doctor to feel the prostate to look for any lumps and growths that may require further screening. This exam only takes a few seconds and while a bit awkward and uncomfortable (particularly if you have an enlarged prostate), it should not be painful.
When should men start getting screened?

Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is considered the most common form of cancer in US men. This is why it’s incredibly important that men get screened for prostate cancer starting at age 50. Since African American men have a 70 percent higher risk for developing prostate cancer than white men, they should talk to their general medicine practitioner about starting routine screenings by the age of 40.
Early detection means that we can catch cancer fast when it’s still highly treatable. Prostate exams save lives, and screening is the only way to catch prostate cancer during the early stages when you’re also not likely to even know you have it.
Don’t wait until you experience warning signs of prostate cancer to take your health seriously. Your general medicine doctor can provide you with the appropriate prostate exam you need to protect you from cancer.

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