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Genesis Medical Associates, Inc.
Posted on 03/15/2017 15:38

Movement and exercise is the key to good health.You’ve heard it before: exercise is the key to a healthy life. You've heard that it impacts everything from your weight, to your risk of developing heart disease, to your mood. The benefits of exercise are definitely not a secret. The catch? Many of us aren’t moving as much as we should be.

The American Heart Association recommends “at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember.” Easy to remember it may be - but less than half of Americans over the age of 18 get enough aerobic physical activity.

If you’re struggling to meet your exercise needs and goals, now is the perfect time to consider an exercise strategy that incorporates movement into your routine. With spring approaching, more exercise opportunities are available compared to the winter - allowing you to do the following, as recommended by FitBit and our own team:

  • Find a Workout You Enjoy: Exercise doesn’t have to be daunting if you find something you like. Think about sports you played in high school - you can find local leagues to join for fun. If you enjoy the outdoors, warmer weather activities like hiking, biking or running may appeal to you. And if you can’t wait for the public pools to open, several local groups offer memberships for access to indoor pools. Figuring out what you enjoy and creating a workout based on those activities will give you something to look forward to and help you stay moving.
  • Check Out Events In Your Community: Find a charity 5K or fun run, sign up, and mark the date on your calendar. This will help you stay motivated to train to ensure you perform at your best come race day. Not only are these events a great way to keep yourself in shape, they’re also an opportunity to meet new friends who can motivate you in your fitness journey.
  • Write Things Down: As humans, we tend to have a better recollection of things if we write them down. Writing down a workout schedule in your calendar can help you stick to a schedule. Whether it’s walking your dog or running with a friend, this will help you keep track of your progress and get into good habits. Try scheduling workouts like you would schedule appointments for work to give you that extra drive.
  • Remember: There’s Always Time To Exercise: “Thirty minutes a day, five days a week” can feel like a large goal - but no one ever said those thirty minutes need to happen at the same time. Whether you have an hour or 10 minutes, use that time to get moving. Use your lunch break to get in some steps, or take a series of 10 minute walks throughout your day. You can also incorporate extra movement into other daily tasks by taking the stairs whenever possible or parking further away from your destination.  All those minutes and steps add up at the end of the week - so don’t hesitate to invest in smaller increments of movement and exercise if that’s what your schedule allows!

While these are all general examples of what you can do to keep a little exercise in your daily and weekly routines, every individual responds differently. If you’re looking to develop a fitness routine better suited to your personalized health goals, we can help. At Genesis Medical, your primary care physician can provide the best advice regarding the best exercise regimen for you. Contact a location near you to schedule an appointment, and our staff will be happy to review your best exercise options for your specific health needs.

Posted on 02/21/2017 01:06

american heart month heart health February is American Heart Month, which means more attention will be on heart disease awareness and prevention than usual. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, affecting one in four Americans.

Heart disease occurs when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries, which creates blood clots and makes it more difficult for blood to flow through. While the condition is serious, it’s also very preventable! In fact, one of the biggest factors in heart disease prevention is diet - a lifestyle choice that we have lots of control over. With that in mind, we recommend the following helpful tips for eating the right foods that will aid in keeping your heart and body healthy:

  1. Read Calorie Information: Regulating caloric intake is one of the major ways to keep up with a balanced diet. Many factors go into calculating your daily caloric intake, but some include age, gender, weight, level of physical activity, and more. Using tools to consider these important factors will help you figure out how many calories you should be eating and drinking each day to be your healthiest. Calorie information on food labels is typically based on a 2,000 calories per day diet, but you can consult your doctor for more information on your suggested intake.
  2. Choose Healthy Options from All Food Groups: A healthy diet doesn’t just equal a healthy caloric intake. Balancing out your diet with nutritious selections from each food group is essential in keeping your heart healthy. Foods that are full of nutrients tend to have fewer calories and contain the vitamins and minerals that the body needs to thrive. The American Heart Association recommends emphasizing various fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and any non-tropical oils.
  3. Note Which Foods to Avoid: Adding more healthy options to one’s diet also means taking some food away to reduce your risk of poor heart health. High-calorie options and foods low in nutrients are the biggest foods to avoid when keeping heart health in mind. Decreasing your intake of sodium-rich foods is also a great way to prevent and reduce high blood pressure, as a high-salt diet can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and other deadly heart conditions. Sugary foods and drinks such as soda should also be avoided, as soft drinks contain high amounts of sugar and increase your risk of developing heart disease.
  4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise: Sticking with a healthy diet will make a difference, but diet and exercise go hand in hand. Reducing calories in and increasing calories out is the best way to keep your heart in check. The American Heart Association suggests that adults between 18 and 64 years old should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Moderate aerobic activity includes walking and vigorous can be running or jogging.

These healthy lifestyle tips will go a long way in helping you feel your best and in keeping your heart healthy. While these steps are a great starting point for good health, it’s important to consult a doctor to learn more about heart disease prevention, especially if heart disease runs in your family. If you have concerns about heart disease, dieting, and healthy habits in general, contact a doctor at a location near you. During your appointment, we can help you get on the right track for beginning a healthier lifestyle to prevent heart disease and other conditions.

Posted on 02/09/2017 21:10

Genesis Medical offices rely on patient centered medical home care in Pittsburgh. Did you know that Genesis Medical Associates Physicians is a recognized Patient Centered Medical Home under the rules of the National Committee on Quality Assurance? Initial announcements about this certification began in 2014, and the benefits of these efforts have only grown since then. Of course, this is not a term that comes up often in conversation - so this month, we wanted to tell our community exactly what this term means for them.

A Patient-Centered Medical Home, also referred to as the PCMH, is a relatively new delivery model of health care designed to help physicians and patients work together and ensure that you as a patient are receiving long-term, coordinated care - rather than one-time fixes that do nothing to prevent future health problems. Under the PCMH model, a team of doctors - such as us - works constantly to ensure you receive preventive, coordinated, and integrated care throughout time. And thanks to its preventative nature, this type of care promotes a better state of health than simply visiting a doctor or urgent care center during a time of sickness.

 

What PCMH Care Looks Like At Genesis

At our offices, the implementation of Patient-Centered Medical Home care standards can be seen in small ways. Our use of tools such as MyMedicalRecord is an example of how we’re making care interconnected throughout our patient’s day and life. Use of the PCMH model can also be seen in a lesser known aspect of our care options: as part of our ongoing commitment to upholding patient-centered care practices, we offer comprehensive care in more settings than our offices.

In addition to offering in-house check-ups, our staff actually attends and follows up on all of our patients should they require in-patient care at a hospital. Genesis physicians work in collaboration with any medical sub-specialists providing care to you, as this allows us to coordinate and facilitate the most appropriate treatment from a primary care perspective. By involving ourselves in our patients’ post-hospital discharge transitions, we are able to offer constant and consistent care to each of our patients.

Northern Connection’s February edition recently covered this unique practice at Genesis Medical, highlighting how our staff can help confirm if a patient is or is not ready to be discharged from a hospital, as well as advise if they should return home or move on to a nursing home for specialized assistance. Either way, our doctors’ approach ensures that patients see a safe, successful transition between a hospital and the next step of a patient’s journey. As highlighted by “Northern Connection”, it has been clinically demonstrated that hospital readmissions and post-discharge complications are significantly reduced if Genesis Physicians see their patients within 7 days of discharge.

 

What You Can Do To Enable This Care

It won’t take much on your end to enable the benefits of our PCMH care following a hospital visit elsewhere. Of course, our approach to our patients’ needs will differ from case to case and hospital visit to hospital visit. To ensure that our team is able to provide the proper care to your family following a hospital visit, we recommend the following:

  • Call your doctor’s office immediately after any hospital discharge to make a follow-up appointment.
  • Contact your doctor at any time if you need help choosing a home health agency or nursing home following a hospital stay. Our team works closely with several high quality nursing homes. Patients can also visit Medicare.gov to compare the quality of home health agencies, nursing homes, dialysis facilities, and hospitals in your area. You can also see which nursing homes are attended by Genesis Physicians on their web site at www.genesismedical.org under the Resources tab.  

A simple phone call is ultimately all to takes to access our team’s resources and to get the ball rolling during your or a family member’s journey to full health after a hospital visit. You can feel self-assured that Genesis Physicians take the trust that you have placed in them, to care for your loved ones, very seriously.

Still have questions about these services? If so, feel free contact a doctor at a location near you by phone or by email through our Patient Portal. Our staff can help to clarify exactly what our PCMH services mean for you and your family, so that you know exactly what your options are following a health crisis.

Posted on 01/26/2017 18:24

Defining a healthy weight is key to weight loss. There’s no denying that healthy weight loss is a pretty prevalent topic during the first month of a new year. Unfortunately, something we’ve noticed in our line of work is that many discussions about weight loss focus on hitting a certain number on the scale, and nothing else. Oh, if only it were that simple!

At Genesis Medical, we constantly strive to help our patients live at a healthy weight by addressing not only the number on their scales, but the lifestyle factors behind that number as well. In our offices, healthy weight is represented by more than a weigh-in. Why? Because a number simply cannot tell us your entire story - or even if you’re a healthy weight to begin with.

 

Defining A Healthy Weight: It’s More Than A Number

A basic definition of a healthy weight is “a weight that lowers your risk for health problems.” But what does that mean, exactly? Does that mean maintaining the lowest weight possible? Does it mean that you fit into a certain jean size? Not necessarily. In fact, these standard, number-based lines of thinking can be pretty unhealthy in and of themselves.

Genesis Medical’s team is made up of strong advocates for looking beyond the numbers that define a patient’s weight. We’d rather address the ways our patients can live healthier lifestyles - and that means focusing what they eat and how much they exercise.

We tend to focus on these areas for a few key reasons. Diet and nutrition are particularly important because what we eat affects our risk of developing various illnesses. Depending on a patient’s metabolism, it’s entirely possible for them to be a healthy weight on a scale; but if that patient’s diet is composed of high-sodium fast food and high fat pizzas, those are major risk factors for an unhealthy future.

Exercise is just as important - not only because it helps control our weight, but because it can help us manage our blood pressure, as well as reduce our risk of developing heart disease and numerous cancers.

Considering these factors is our priority because, as any health expert will tell you, a “good” number on a scale is only one portion of a picture of health. Taking the time to consider what we eat and how much we move ultimately helps doctors address a patient’s lifestyle and overall body fitness - and this is the critical step needed to help patients reach a truly healthy weight.

 

Your Weight And Your Health: A Complex Relationship

While what we eat and our exercise patterns are important, this isn’t to say that weight can be ignored entirely. Research repeatedly confirms that living at a higher weight contributes to the risk of developing certain health issues. This includes heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

In many cases, though, these conditions ultimately develop due to unhealthy overall lifestyles - where being overweight is a key component. Lowering one’s weight can often control or prevent many of these conditions. At the same time, weight alone is not a guarantee that someone won’t develop a serious illness as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Ultimately, numbers aren’t everything - though it’s still worth taking them into consideration as patients begin to create a healthier body overall. The question, then, is how can we best measure our bodies to begin to determine if our weight is acceptable?

 

Determining If You’re At A Healthy Weight

Currently, patients and doctors alike can access tools that provide a general picture when determining a weight they may want to strive towards. BMI numbers - or Body Mass Index numbers - as well as the simple measurement of a patient’s waist circumference can help give us a good “ballpark” estimate as to whether or not a patient may be considered overweight. (Men should aim to have a waist circumference of under 40 - and women’s should be under 35.)

Are these tools perfect? Unfortunately, no. For example, the BMI system does not always accurately measure your overall fat or lean tissue (muscle) content. Because of this, while it can give individuals a rough estimate of where their weight stands, it cannot give them insight into how much of that weight is muscle, and how much of it is a much more harmful fat content. So, a person can be quite thin, but actually have a high percentage of body fat; a patient’s muscle and bone size can also skew the scales in the wrong direction.

The flaws in these systems highlights why focusing on numbers alone is not necessarily going to help patients truly evaluate their health. Healthy weights are also determined by our age, sex, body type, bone density, muscle-fat-ratio, overall general health, and height. So, how can we best go about sorting through all of these factors?

Put simply, don’t go it alone. Working with a doctor or dietician is the best way to work this out.

As you can see, maintaining a healthy weight is a complicated matter - but a vital one to living a healthy lifestyle. If you want to check in with a doctor and determine what you can begin to do to hit the healthiest number possible on your scale, please contact a doctor at a location near you, and mention wanting to set an appointment specifically to talk about these goals. We will help you begin to piece together a picture of where you are, and ensure that you can begin working towards where you want to be.

Image courtesy of pdpics.com

Posted on 01/11/2017 16:04

It's a process when you're trying to quit smoking. Have you ever thought about quitting smoking? You’re not alone: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), as many as 7 in 10 adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking. And 42.7% of them are likely to attempt to quit in a given year.

Given that a new year recently began, chances are that you or someone you know made “quit smoking” their resolution for 2017. As we know, however, sticking to a resolution is very difficult - and this is especially true when it comes to smoking. But, as the numbers show, no one is alone in wanting to quit smoking. In fact, fewer Americans smoke now than in previous years - as of 2015, an estimated 36.5 million adults in the United States smoked cigarettes. That's an impressive number - but smoking rates have actually declined from nearly 21 of every 100 adults (20.9%) in 2005 to about 15 of every 100 adults (15.1%) in 2015.

As difficult as beating an addiction to smoking is, it can be done. If you feel that now is the time to try to ditch the habit, consider tackling this noteworthy change with these helpful pointers:

  • Don’t be afraid to fail. A big deterrent for some smokers who want to quit is the fact that they’ve tried and failed to do so before. It’s important to remember that failure is actually common when trying to quit smoking. Experts say that it will inevitably take numerous attempts before the average person is able to fully kick their habit into the past. Recognizing this can help you feel encouraged to continue trying - because as hard as failure is, it’s a normal part of the quitting process.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help. Did you know that only 4 - 7% of people are able to quit smoking cold turkey? These small numbers highlight how willpower alone is rarely enough to help someone quit. Fortunately, there are lots of resources to help keep your efforts on track. Nicotine replacement therapy tools include gum, patches, and inhalers, to name a few options. Don’t worry about nicotine products affecting your health, by the way! The difference between a nicotine patch and a cigarette is drastic - the patch delivers only nicotine into your system, whereas a cigarette releases at least 4,000 other compounds into the body, including over 60 known carcinogens. Nicotine products are safe when used as directed, so don’t hesitate to rely on them when you are trying to ditch smoking. it’s also proven that people who incorporate counseling into their efforts have a 60% higher success rate. And it’s easier than ever to find support groups that can help you stay on target as you fight this powerful addiction - so don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to people about the changes you’re trying to make, or how you’re feeling during your journey.
  • Don’t be afraid to start now. If you’ve smoked for over a decade, it can probably feel pretty pointless to quit now, especially if you believe the damage to your body has already been done. This is a misconception. Your health will improve no matter when you quit smoking. In fact, within a year of not smoking, a person reduces the risk of a heart attack by 50%. Research also shows that when smokers quit, they begin to eat better, exercise more, and feel better about themselves on the whole.   

Trying to quit smoking is often one of the most challenging healthy living changes a patient will make - but it’s one that can make all the difference in helping your lungs, heart, and body overall. If you’re ready to try to quit smoking, and you’d like medical advice on how to do it and how it will benefit you, just take a look at our convenient locations today, and book an appointment - we’re here to talk to you and help provide you with the resources and knowledge you need to succeed in 2017.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.

Posted on 12/30/2016 16:48

Here's how to make healthy New Year's resolutions stick.Did you know that only 8% of people actually accomplish their New Year’s resolution in any given year? That means that the overwhelming majority - 92% - don’t succeed in accomplishing their goal. Given that many resolutions involve becoming physically or mentally healthier, this is a big problem. In fact, 65% of all resolutions are about losing weight or getting in shape - which also happen to be the first resolutions to fail.

We want to help you accomplish your healthy resolutions in 2017 and beyond, and so we put together a few tips to help you become part of the 8%. If you’re looking to make healthy changes next year, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Make It Easy. When it comes to a New Year’s resolution, it’s sometimes tempting to make it very broad. However, simpler resolutions are often easier to keep. Saying, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year” is daunting - but “I’m going to eat two more servings of vegetables a day, and go to the gym twice a week” is more manageable. Plus, with more specific resolutions, you can more easily remind yourself to take action. For example, if you want to go walking every morning, you can set your walking shoes and clothes out the night before. Or, tie your resolution to something you already do. Every evening, after clearing away the dinner dishes, pack a healthy lunch for the next day. When you tie a specific resolution to something you’re already doing, it becomes much easier to stick to it!
  2. Plan for Bumps. It’s okay that you’re not perfect - nobody is. When it comes to keeping your New Year’s resolution, it’s okay if you slip up. Just make sure you don’t make it a habit! Make a plan for yourself about what you’ll do if you make a mistake. For example, you might say, “If I slip up and eat pizza at lunch instead of salad, I’ll have an extra-healthy dinner and skip dessert.” Creating a game plan can help you get back on course if you deviate from your resolution. Not sure how to create a healthy plan? Your doctor may be able to help - because they help patients just like you every day, they may have some ideas about what works and doesn’t work.
  3. Use Your Support System. One way to help you stick to your plan is to get help doing it! Find a friend or coworker who’s willing to join you for a walk at lunch, or get the whole family involved in Meatless Mondays. When you’re tackling a resolution, having somebody by your side can be tremendously motivating. Even if you decide to go it alone, you don’t truly have to do it by yourself. Talking with your doctor can not only help you stay accountable to accomplish your goals, but they may also have tips you can use to achieve your goal.

Ready to find a doctor who can help you be part of the 8% of people who keep their New Year’s resolution? Take a look at our convenient locations today, and book an appointment - we’re here to help!

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