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Genesis Medical Associates, Inc.
Posted on 01/16/2018 16:07

caffeine_and_your_health.jpeg If you started your day with a cup of joe, you’re not alone! 64 percent of adults reported drinking at least one cup of coffee on an average day in a 2015 Gallup polls. Approximately 150 million Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee per day - that's more than 140 billion cups per year!  And in addition to these brews, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea - many in combination with their favorite Starbucks beverage.

With the majority of these beverages comes a dose of caffeine, which many people rely on to jumpstart their day. But this begs an important question - how can we ensure that we aren’t enjoying too much of a good thing? As is often the case when it comes to healthy living, caffeine can be beneficial in moderation but can have negative side effects if we enjoy too much of it. The trick, then, is enjoying the right balance of caffeine. And to help you find that balance, we’ve answered some common questions about your daily partner-in-crime:

  1. What is caffeine? Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that can be found in more than 60 different plant sources, from coffee beans to tea leaves. Caffeine affects our central nervous system, and as any coffee drinker knows, it can help increase and improve alertness, concentration and focus.
  2. What are the benefits of consuming drinks with caffeine? Sure, caffeine is a great pick-me-up - but many studies to date have documented some additional benefits to enjoying caffeinated beverages in moderation. According to Medicalnewstoday.com, 'The potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee include protecting against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, liver disease, liver cancer, and promoting a healthy heart.' Some studies suggest that a cup of joe can improve long term memory as well. Tea drinkers may also benefit from their brew - studies suggest that tea may reduce your heart attack and stroke risk, boost your immune system, and provide a dose of antioxidants.
  3. Are there downsides to consuming caffeine? Too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a negative. For example, consuming too much of it may be bad news for overall heart health, although this is still being studied. But while this specific side effect is still being studied, caffeine is confirmed to contribute to an elevated heart rate and blood pressure levels. Additionally, caffeine isn’t a diabetic’s best friend, as it can raise blood sugar levels. Caffeine can also worsen insomnia, anxiety and heartburn in the right circumstances. And these effects don’t even take into account the withdrawal symptoms that can plague caffeine addicts!
  4. What exactly is the right amount of caffeine to enjoy and indulge in? Experts consider 400 milligrams of caffeine per day to be safe to consume. According to Livestrong.com, 'That equates to roughly 3 to 4 cups of drip coffee, 4 to 5 cups of black tea or two energy drinks, depending upon their caffeine content.' No more than this, and you should be able to enjoy the benefits of caffeine while avoiding the worst of its negative side effects.
  5. What can I do to avoid the negative health effects of caffeine? As you’ve probably guessed, the first step in controlling the effects of caffeine is to ensure that you don’t drink more than the recommended amount of it each day. You’ll also want to check the other beverages you drink - such as pop products - to ensure you’re not drinking too much extra caffeine from sources like these. Finally, you’ll want to stop drinking caffeine at least six hours before you plan on going to bed. Otherwise, your favorite go-to for a boost of energy will keep you from getting a good night’s sleep - which will not be good for your health in the long run.

Caffeine, like many of the things we consume each day, has its place in our daily routine and diet, as long as we consider the amount that we consume. We all should monitor ourselves to ensure our caffeine habit isn’t contributing to sleep, stomach, or other health issues. If you find that you could use a little help analyzing and addressing the effect of caffeine on your health, contact your Genesis Medical doctor to schedule an appointment and review your concerns. Our offices and staff are more than happy to work with you individually to ensure that your caffeine habit is working for you, and not against you!

Image courtesy of pexels.com

Posted on 12/27/2017 17:18

newyearsresolution.jpegNew Year’s resolutions — they’re easy to make but easier to break. Why is it so hard to make the healthy changes that we know can help us feel better and live longer? And why is it so hard to make them last?

Fortunately for us, experts have answered this annual question: goals don't work unless they're measurable and time-oriented. Making a goal on the fly this weekend will set our resolution up for failure. But don’t worry — by making realistic resolutions, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year!

Follow these tips to make your New Year’s resolutions stick in 2018 and beyond:

  1. Start Small. Rather than setting unrealistic goals, start with ones you can achieve and build from there. For example, if you want to begin a regular exercise program, don't impose a 'I'm going to the gym five days a week' plan. Instead, make that something to aspire to by the end of the year, with the initial goal being to go to the gym two to three days a week. Even walking for 20 to 30 minutes a few days a week is an excellent start.
  2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. The best thing you can do for yourself is to accept that you aren’t a machine. Everyone falls off the wagon from time to time. Sometimes you just want that extra slice of pizza. Sometimes you would rather skip the gym and watch four hours straight of your favorite show on Netflix because it’s Saturday and you had a hard week. You’re human, and you’re allowed to have an off day or week. But don’t abandon your goals, and don’t give up!
  3. Monitor Your Success. When you create specific goals, tracking your progress should be easy. Every time you reach one of your goals — even if it’s just a small one — mark it off on a checklist or calendar. Apps and fitness trackers are also great tools for helping you along the way. Seeing positive results can be a powerful motivator.
  4. Build a Support System. Teaming up with others who share the same goal provides both support and accountability. Research has shown that people who have support from others are the most successful at diet and exercise programs. Plus, when you make a commitment to improve your lifestyle along with someone else, you're more likely to stick with it.
  5. Check In with Yourself. Add a reminder to your calendar at three months, six months, and nine months to see how well you’ve stayed the course. It’s never too late for a resolutions reboot. Following up with yourself down the line will either make you feel proud or motivate you to get back on track.

It is our hope that with some of these tips, you’ll look back at the end of 2018 and see just how far you’ve come. If you have more questions about setting healthy goals in the new year, our team at Genesis Medical can assist you. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, find your nearest location and contact us today!

Posted on 12/19/2017 15:53

cold and flu season wash your handsIt’s always important to practice good hand hygiene, but that’s especially true during cold and flu season. Contact with other people throughout the day, touching contaminated surfaces (such as doorknobs and desks), and even petting animals can cause a variety of cold-causing germs to accumulate on your hands. Then by touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, you can infect yourself if you don't wash your hands often enough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of these germs.

Read on to learn when and how to wash your hands, and what to do in the event that soap and clean, running water aren’t readily available:

 

When to Wash Your Hands: To prevent infecting yourself and others with cold or flu germs, experts - including us - recommend practicing regular hand-washing. Most importantly, wash your hands thusly:

  • Before and after preparing or handling food, especially when handling uncooked meat
  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After changing diapers
  • After handling garbage
  • Before and after treating wounds
  • Before and after touching a sick or injured person

*As you might guess, washing your hands in a number of these scenarios will help prevent the spread of a number of germs!

 

How to Wash Your Hands: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following five steps to prevent the spread of germs:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
  2. Lather by rubbing hands together; be sure to cover all surfaces.
  3. Continue rubbing hands together for 15 to 20 seconds — sing 'Happy Birthday' twice in your head.
  4. Thoroughly rinse hands under running water to ensure removal of residual germs.
  5. Use paper towels or an air dryer to dry hands.

 

How to Use an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers make a good substitute for hand-washing when soap and water are not available. A recent study showed that while soap-and-water hand-washing was most effective in removing the influenza and cold viruses from the hands, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer was a close second. When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, apply product to one palm, rub your two hands together, making sure to reach all surfaces, and continue rubbing until hands are dry.

Scientists estimate that our hands may transmit up to 80% of all infections, so hand washing is key to stopping the spread of germs and staying healthy. If you have more questions about hand hygiene or the spreading of cold and flu germs, our team at Genesis Medical can assist you. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, find your nearest location and contact us today!

Posted on 11/21/2017 18:29

Vegan_meal_3.jpgWhether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving feast or planning a big December get-together for the holidays, you might be worried about accommodating a guest with dietary needs. More and more, it seems that friends and family are moving towards diets that eliminate some food groups or ingredients. This can admittedly make preparing dishes and treats more challenging, especially if you’re unfamiliar with diets that aren’t your own.

Fortunately, in the day of the Internet, accommodating your relatives and friends who have specific diets does not need to be a daunting task! And to help you get started on your holiday meal prep, we’re exploring two common diets today - veganism and gluten-free meals.

  • Veganism. If a person is vegan, they maintain a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all other animal products. This can extend to refined white sugars and some wines, as these foods are processed using animal products. There is a rough distinction between dietary vegans and ethical vegans, with ethical or environmental vegans who believe the farming of animals isn’t environmentally friendly and is an unsustainable way to live.
  • How To Accommodate a Vegan Diet. If you are cooking for someone you know is vegan, don’t hesitate to ask them what you could serve that would accommodate their eating preference. If you have something in mind you would like to prepare, Google search for vegan recipes to ensure what you want to cook is vegan. Recipes that feature vegetables and natural proteins (such as black beans, lentils, etc.) will be tasty and nutritious options for your vegan friends. If you are feeling adventurous or if you are familiar with them already, tofu and tempeh are both good protein substitutes for meats.
  • Gluten-Free Diet. If a person is gluten-free, they maintain a diet that excludes gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins that are found in wheat and grains, such as barley, rye, and other species and hybrids. People who follow a gluten-free diet might suffer from gluten-related disorders, such as celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, or wheat allergies. Additionally, gluten-free diets can assist people with gastrointestinal or systemic symptoms of diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis.
  • How To Accommodate a Gluten-Free Diet. Similar to if you are cooking for someone who is vegan, feel free to ask your gluten-free friend for recommendations on what you could prepare for them. Search online for gluten-free recipes - there may be a version of a familiar recipe you can prepare a special way to accommodate your gluten-free guests. If you do not want to prepare food, grocery stores are offering more gluten-free options (as well as vegan options) -- just keep an eye on the packaging and ensure that it is marked as gluten-free (or vegan).

Understanding the variety of dietary needs in society today is a great starting point as you consider your meal options for various holiday get-togethers. One more thing you can do to accommodate guests is include an ingredient list with your dishes as you set them out this season. Providing this information up-front will help your friends navigate your treat options during your get-together. You can also coordinate with friends and family to determine what you will make and what they themselves can bring to your event - ensuring that everyone will have a chance to enjoy as much as possible this season!

If you have concerns about your own diet, want to work on improving your diet, or have general questions about dietary needs, we can help. Our team at Genesis Medical can assist you and answer your questions. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, find your nearest location and contact us today!

Image courtesy of wikimedia.org

Posted on 11/15/2017 20:30

A diabetes management plan is critical during the holidays. November is National Diabetes Month, and with the holidays coming up quickly, it is a good time to talk about how to manage your diabetes or help loved ones with their healthcare through the season.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an estimated 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes. People with diabetes have elevated blood glucose levels, also known as blood sugar levels. Managing these higher blood glucose levels is critical for patients. However, while medication can sometimes help, diet and lifestyle choices factor heavily into patient care.

While a day or two of indulging will not do significant damage to a diabetic’s health if they generally address the condition correctly, the holiday season is full of temptations. Too much indulging can cause health problems. This is why it’s important to go into the holidays with a plan for your diabetes care. We recommend considering the following as you build out this plan:

  • Maintain your eating schedule. With numerous and opulent food options seemingly available everywhere during the holidays, it’s more important than ever to try to stick to your regular eating schedule. If you can’t eat at your regular time, have a small, healthy snack to tide you over, and then eat less when you sit down to the meal. This will help to keep your blood sugar steady.
  • Check your blood sugar often. If your usual schedule changes, take the time to check your blood sugar more often than you might otherwise. This is particularly important if you are driving or plan to adjust your insulin dose for different eating patterns. Checking your blood sugar more often will help to accommodate the changes to your work, eating, and exercise habits while controlling your blood sugar levels.  
  • Watch your alcohol consumption. If you are choosing to drink, try to limit the amount you consume. Don’t drink on an empty stomach - be aware of how much alcohol is safe for you. Remember that the recommendation for healthy individuals with diabetes is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  • Choose healthy options and treats wisely. If you know you want to indulge in specific holiday treats or sweets, factor that into your carbohydrate intake for the day and pick other dining options that are not carb heavy, such as lean proteins, vegetables, and salad. Being smart about your food choices will allow you to enjoy the holiday sweets you love while still keeping your blood glucose levels in check.

These actions are great starting points for diabetes management. But depending on the severity of your diagnosis, additional action steps may be necessary as part of your holiday care plan. If you have any questions about managing your diabetes through the holidays, our team at Genesis Medical would be happy to assist you and answer your questions. Find your nearest location and contact us today!

Image courtesy of maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

Posted on 10/30/2017 16:42

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Reduce Your Risk While October is a time to celebrate Halloween and embrace the fall season, it’s also a time for awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - and doctors, patients, breast cancer survivors and their families, businesses, and charities alike are all coming together to talk about this disease.

According to BreastCancer.org, one in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Medicines and treatment options are improving, and the death rate from the illness has decreased over the years. But still, just over 40,000 women will lose their battles with breast cancer before the end of 2017.

Breast cancer is devastating to patients and their families, so it’s important to know how to check for it, to alert your doctor of any concerns, and be aware of the risks associated with it. Here are a few ways that you can make yourself aware of breast cancer signs and symptoms this month and all year round.

 

Early Detection: Understanding Signs and Symptoms

Discovering breast cancer early on is one of the ways to be proactive and hopefully stop the disease before it spreads. While it’s always a good idea to visit your doctors for regular health exams, there are a few things you can discover on your own that will alert you of any warning signs. If you notice any of the following abnormalities, make an appointment with your doctor for more insight. A few early symptoms may include:

  • Change in breast tenderness or skin texture
  • Unusual lumps (but remember: not all lumps are cancerous. If you notice any strange lumps, visit your doctor right away for diagnosis)
  • Any appearance changes on one or both breasts (dimpling, asymmetry, redness, etc.)

 

Breast Cancer Prevention

Partly due to genetics and partly due to the nature of the disease, there is no clear way to prevent breast cancer from affecting you or your loved ones. However, there are a few healthy habits that could lower your chances of developing breast cancer and improve your overall well-being in the process. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the first places to start, as women who gained 21-30 pounds after their eighteenth birthdays were more likely to develop breast cancer. Additionally, regular exercise, eating the right foods (five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day), and making yearly trips to your healthcare provider will help you get on your way to being happier, healthier, and diminish your risk.

While care for it is improving, breast cancer is still a devastating disease. Spreading awareness and making sure you are checking up on your health will hopefully help to prevent the condition from affecting you and your family. The first step is visiting your doctor, who can provide more information about the disease should you discover any symptoms or want to start getting healthier. Our team at Genesis Medical can answer your questions about breast cancer, how to spot it, and what to do if you are diagnosed. Find your nearest location and contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Image courtesy of PIxabay.com

 
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