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Genesis Medical Associates, Inc.
Posted on 09/04/2018 18:36

In 2018, preventative medicine is at the forefront of the healthcare industry. The average individual in the United States lives to be 78 years-old, which can be attributed to a wider of range of available medical information and increased technological advances. And even with a slight decline over the last three years –primarily due to drug epidemics in urban areas across the country – the U.S. life expectancy rate is anchored by the average non-drug using individual’s ability to receive the proper amount of treatment to eclipse the 80-year age mark.

 

But this doesn’t just fall on the doctor’s shoulders. It’s actually a two-part effort between the doctor and the patient. Both sides must meet in the middle.

 

As Dr. Mannan describes, “Most automobile owners will get their oil changed and their state inspections religiously, but put off their own physical exams without understanding their value.”

 

“I think the idea is, ‘Hey, I’m healthy, why do I need to go to the doctor?,” he explained. “When in reality, so much preventable disease can develop during the 30-45 age gap that is completely symptomless, and that’s the problem. You feel good, but things in your body are changing”.

 

“During that 15-year period it is important to establish a relationship with a specific family doctor so when stuff does happen, you have someone you can trust who’s in your corner.”

 

Without an annual physical, two of the most common health issues that arise during the 30 to 45-year window are High Blood Pressure and Pre-diabetes. Both can be prevented or treated before serious complications arise.

 

“Those are definitely the two big ones,” Dr. Mannan said. “Consistently elevated blood pressures can cause damage to your kidneys, brain, heart, and eyes.  Patients may not be obese, but they’ve gained some weight. They used to play sports or go to the gym, but now life keeps them busy. Slowly your blood sugar rises, and your at risk for Pre-Diabetes.”

 

Catching these ailments early is the purpose of the annual physical.

 

Another issue is continuity of care

 

Instead of following up with their Family Physician people often treat their health issues on a singular case-by-case basis. If one injures their shoulder, they go see an Orthopedist. Foot problems? A Podiatrist. Seasonal allergies? An Allergist. And so on.

 

But in a lot of these cases, the patient’s symptoms can be effectively treated by a family physician, who can then point them in the direction of a trusted specialist if it is necessary. Longitudinal care is essential to receiving consistent and personalized treatment.

 

Q: In your opinion, how can you best identify which patients from 30-45 are likely to develop high blood pressure or diabetes?

A: The way I look at it as Nature vs. Nurture.

 

It first starts with genetics, nature. Your parents are a great roadmap to your health. If your parents have high blood pressure or diabetes then you’re more likely to have that as well. .. We have patients who are marathon runners, but they have high blood pressure because they were just dealt that hand.

 

How you play your hand is the nurture factor.

 

You can have patients with a great family history, but they play the hand they were dealt poorly. They have a poor diet, gain weight, and put themselves at risk for these diseases. When a patient in their late 20s or 30s comes in, one of the first things I ask them is about the health of their parents.

 

Q: In these cases, what do you feel is the most proactive treatment?

A: For me personally, I believe less is more when it comes to medicine. If someone comes in with borderline high blood pressure, I give them three to six months to cut out salt, increase aerobic activity and decrease stress. After that, if their blood pressure is still elevated then medication is necessary to prevent long term complications.

 

With pre-diabetes my initial step is a referral to a certified nutritionist and an exercise prescription. Then two or three months later, if things progress to Type 2 Diabetes then the recommendation of medication is necessary.

 

Preventing recurrent hospitalizations in the elderly.

 

As we grow older our reserve to fight off disease declines which can lead to recurrent hospitalizations. Dr. Mannan hears it all the time in his COPD patients,

 

“Dad has been in the hospital three times this year because of his breathing”.

 

Yes, the ER is the safest environment to ensure the patient’s medical condition doesn’t take a turn for the worst. Although more often than not, these conditions can be prevented by frequent visits to a family physician rather than multiple visits to the hospital. For example, instead of winding up in and out of the ER, a patient could see their physician four to six times over a year – each appointment lasting 30 minutes at most – to address health concerns that have the potential to develop into serious conditions.

 

“At these appointments, I’ll ask them diagnosis-specific questions,” said Dr. Mannan. For example with a patient who has COPD; “How’s their breathing? Do they need refills on medications? What’s your quality of life? Has anything changed? Are their any sick people around you?

 

Brief frequent visits can often be the solution to prevent lengthy recurrent hospitalizations.

 

Q: Sometimes older patients can be a little stubborn about their health. What do you feel is the best way to combat that?

A: By taking a team approach to their health that involves the immediate family members. In these instances, it can really be an interesting conversation. At this point, these patients are stoic. They’ve been through life and don’t want to make a big deal out of what they feel are small medical issues. But it’s really important to have their family members in the room to be able to voice their opinions and sometimes provide a reality check.

 

In part two of the series, we’ll explore the differences between palliative care and hospice care, the proper way to manage drug regimens and the importance of establishing healthy behaviors. For more health-related information, stay up to date with the Genesis Medical Associates blog.

 

 

Posted on 08/15/2018 16:03

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Doctor Spotlight: Introducing Nicole Waltrip, M.D.

Here at Genesis Medical Associates, we’ve always considered our team of medical professionals to be a giant family dedicated to providing the best possible care for our patients. In the next few weeks, we’ll add another member to the family, one who will undoubtedly strengthen our already exceedingly consistent services.  

Let’s welcome Dr. Nicole Waltrip, M.D. to the team. And to put it lightly, we’re ecstatic to have her on board.

Waltrip brings over 20 years of experience to Genesis, and will oversee the implementation of our new Women’s Health and Gynecology care services beginning in September 2018. A 1996 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Waltrip’s vast experience, expert analysis, track record of success and keen awareness for doctor-patient relationships will provide Genesis with everything we need to provide a proactive Women’s Health program that supports females of all ages.

Prior to joining our care team, Dr. Waltrip spent the last 10 years with the UPMC Greater Pittsburgh Ob/Gyn practice while teaching as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s school of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Services. She’s also an active member of the American Medical Association along with the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County medical societies.

For us, she was an obvious fit.

“Genesis Medical Associates are extremely excited to add a physician of Nicole Waltrip's knowledge and patient care experience to our medical staff team,” said Genesis executive director Mark Kissinger. “Dr. Waltrip is well known and respected in the health community and will see patients with any insurance plan as does the rest of the Genesis primary care team and medical practice.  We are eager to add expanded Women’s Health and Gynecological Care to our list of services.”

We sat down with Dr. Waltrip in order to gain deeper perspective and insight on her background, beliefs and approach to women’s health.

Q: To begin, can you tell us about your upbringing? Did it influence your decision to pursue medicine as a career?

A: I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the small town of Ishpeming, and then attended Kalamazoo College – a private liberal arts school in lower Michigan – where I majored in Biology. From there, I attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to pursue my doctorate. That’s where I met my future husband who was also studying medicine. We then both did our residency training in Pittsburgh. My husband Rob now works for Tri Rivers as an orthopedic surgeon.

Q: Why did you and your husband choose Pittsburgh? What do you love most about the city?

A:My husband and I both found a good match in Pittsburgh.  He did his residency at UPMC in orthopedics and I did mine at Magee Womens Hospital in Ob/gyn.  We both fell in love with Pittsburgh. We love to waterski and kept a boat on the Allegheny River for many years.  We also enjoy all of the great restaurants and having the Cultural District for theater and entertainment.

Q: During your upbringing, did anyone else in your family work in medicine?

A: My father was a general practice physician in a small town. He practiced obstetrics, general surgery, and family medicine. My father had an amazing bedside manner and I think that is what inspired me to follow in his footsteps. I enjoy caring for women and was stimulated by the variety that a career in obstetrics and gynecology provided. Several years ago, I decided to concentrate on gynecology. Although I loved obstetrics, the on-call demands became too difficult after having 3 children of my own.

Q: After you stopped doing obstetrics, how has your career transitioned?

A: Once I gave up obstetrics, I found that I had more time to devote to my patients. I enjoy caring for women of all ages from adolescence through postmenopause. I keep up-to-date with continued training and reading to provide the best possible care.

Q:What do you feel the most important aspect is to the doctor-patient relationship?

A: I think it is crucial to be a good listener and let each woman have time to discuss concerns. This allows me to tailor each visit to the needs of the patient. I think being nonjudgmental is important. I feel privileged that women trust me with their sensitive gynecologic concerns.

Q: What do you feel is the most enjoyable part of your job?

A: Definitely the long-term relationships I’ve formed, and trust we develop over the years.

Q: How does it feel to be moving from UPMC to Genesis Medical Associates? You’ll start in September. Are you excited? What’s different about your new role?  

A: It's really, really exciting. In the past it was difficult to make practice changes or improvements. I look forward to setting up a patient-friendly practice. I'm thankful to the Genesis Medical group for providing me with this opportunity to expand gynecologic care for women.

 

For more information, visit http://www.genesismedical.org/and fill out the new patient form to schedule an appointment today!.

 
Posted on 06/28/2018 14:30

With summer comes heat - but while the warmth feels great after a Pennsylvania winter, the heat brings it own challenges. And our team knows that Western PA residents are likely to spend more time outdoors during this time of year. From trips to the Strip to paddles down the rivers to hikes in local woods and mountain ranges, there’s plenty to enjoy outside – and ample opportunity to suffer from heat related illness.

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Fortunately, some essential knowledge of heat-related illnesses can go a long way when a heat related emergency strikes - and more importantly, can help you avoid a bad situation altogether! Here’s what you need to know this summer:

What is heat-related illness?

Heat-related illness occurs when the body cannot cool itself down, usually during prolonged exposure to high heat and humidity. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are the three most common problems that arise. And heat stroke – the most severe of these – even causes the part of the brain that normally regulates body temperature to malfunction, decreasing our ability to sweat.

Who is most severely affected by heat-related illness?

Children, older adults, people with heart disease, people who are obese or alcoholic, and anyone who is already ill or injured will feel the effects of heat the fastest. Someone who is exercising in the heat is also at risk, meaning you can be in good shape and still suffer heat-related illness if the warning signs are overlooked or ignored.

Which activities can increase my risk?

Exercising in the heat is a big contributor to heat illness. Drinking alcohol, not drinking enough water, and wearing too much clothing during exposure to the heat also makes it difficult for your body to regulate its temperature. And certain medicines, sweat gland problems, and generally being unfamiliar with high heat can increase the chances of a heat emergency as well.

What are the signs of heat-related illness?

The three most common heat related illnesses each have similar but differing symptoms. Be sure to monitor for all of them this season:

  1. Heat Cramps. Look out for muscle cramps and pains, most often in the abdomen and legs. Very heavy sweating, fatigue, and thirst often accompany the cramps.
  2. Heat Exhaustion. Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, and/or vomiting can all indicate heat exhaustion. Additionally your skin may become cool and moist, and your urine will darken due to dehydration.
  3. Heat Stroke (Sunstroke). Someone with heat stroke will have a temperature above 104 degrees. They may exhibit irrational behavior and extreme confusion, their breathing will be shallow, and their pulse will be weak and rapid. Someone with heat stroke is at risk of seizures and becoming unconscious. (Call 9-1-1 or a local emergency number immediately should these symptoms develop!)

What should I do if someone I’m with is showing signs of heat-related illness?

If someone develops cramps or exhaustion, you should get this person to a cool place and have them lie down. If possible, raise their feet about 12 inches and apply cool water to their skin. A cold compress to the neck, armpits, and groin will help, too. If the person is alert, allow them to sip water, or a salted sports drink, if available. Never give someone with signs of heat illness medication that typically reduces fever. They won’t help and may cause more harm than good.

If a person shows signs of shock, severe confusion, high fever, or if they lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.

What else can I do to address and prevent heat illnesses?

When venturing out into the heat, you should always make sure everyone - especially those at special risk - has enough water and protection from the sun to stay hydrated, avoiding sunburn, and stay cooler in general. You should also make it a priority to pinpoint shady areas, facilities with air conditioning and water, and places to sit in case of an emergency or the need to rest. Respect your limits and never push yourself while you’re outside! Enjoying your outdoor activities at a proper pace, and with breaks, will go a long way in helping you maintain your cool.

Do you have questions or concerns about the heat and how it may affect yourself or a family member this season? Don’t hesitate to make appointment with one of Genesis Medical’s practices and staff. We’re here to help address your specific needs and questions, and to help you and your family have an enjoyable and healthy summer!

Posted on 06/13/2018 20:33

Get Outdoors Get Moving Safety OutsideThe summer months are some of the best times to enjoy the great outdoors. And from exploring our local parks to floating on our waterways, there are lots of outdoor activities for us to choose from! But as delightful as these activities can be, it’s important to remember that spending time outside - especially for longer periods of time - can pose health and safety risks.

If you’re a regular hiker or a nature enthusiast, you probably already know the ins and outs of staying safe and taking steps to prevent nature-related injuries while you’re adventuring. But if you’re a new parent, or somebody who doesn’t get to pack up and go out too often, here are a few reminders for keeping yourself – and your fellow hikers, bikers, or campers – intact.

  1. Monitor the weather forecast. We admit that a light drizzle can be enjoyable during some easy-going outdoor activities. But stronger rainfall and storms can create dangerous conditions. And even after a storm passes, it can make a mess of your favorite trails or cause dangerous waterway conditions. To avoid these dangers, we recommend regularly checking the weather forecast in the week leading up to your outdoor adventure. Make a back-up plan as needed to ensure you’re not washed downstream or injured due to slippery conditions.
  2. Wear sunscreen - whether the weather is nice or not.Nearly 80% of UV rays can pass through clouds, putting you at risk of a sunburn even when it feels like you need a light sweater. UV rays can also reflect off water, and – contrary to popular belief – they can still affect the skin on your left arm through your car window while you’re driving! Skipping the sunscreen is definitely not an option this summer. Choose a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and don’t forget the scalp and ears – especially on the kids!
  3. Pick appropriate clothing. Hikers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts often seem to have an entire separate wardrobe for their activity. Don’t worry: you don’t always need fancy gear to be safely and comfortably dressed for your trip. When you dress for your adventure, think of the weather; the terrain you’ll be on; how long you will be outside; and what your activity level will be. It never hurts to plan to accidentally get wet, and no matter how hot the weather will be, it’s never a bad idea to bring a sweater – even if it’s just in case you’ll need a pillow in the car on the way home!
  4. Bugs, bugs, bugs! Mosquitoes, flies, ticks - oh my! These pesky critters are our worst enemy in the summer. Don’t let them deter you from making your way into the grand wilderness - but be prepared to fight them if you have to. To keep the mosquitoes away, choose an insect repellant with DEET, the active ingredient that makes the chemical cues your body produces invisible to mosquitoes. (Reapply as needed, but be sure to keep it out of your eyes.) Also take time before your adventure to learn whether you - and any pets you bring along with you - will be exposed to ticks. They are often found on the edge of wooded areas, in clearings and long grass, and even in gardens and city parks with foliage. During a hike or bike break, or even during lunch and right as you come indoors after a day outside, you should conduct a full-body tick check. You can find specific tips for your tick check here.
  5. Bring the right safety gear. If you’re on a bike, bring a bike helmet. Kayaking? A life vest (note: these are often provided through rental groups). Driving to a campground? Make sure packs wilderness and first-aid gear! An accident can strike anytime, and the “better safe than sorry” mantra is especially true when braving the outdoors. If your activity comes with required or recommended safety gear, use it! While you’re packing for your adventure, keep in mind each environment and activity you’ll be participating in and consider your gear. If you’ll be building a campfire, your safety gear might include a bucket. If you’re biking, your safety prep – along with a helmet – might be to review the rules of the road. Sure, outdoor gear can look silly. But it’s used for a reason and shouldn’t be left at home.

Now get out there and enjoy the fresh air! As part of your efforts to get outside and get moving, Genesis Medical encourages you to check out any of the many beautiful state parks in Pennsylvania. Remember to consult with your Genesis primary care physician if you may be due for vaccinations or a check-up, too. Health and safety go hand in hand – and knowing you’re 100% prepared will make your adventure that much more fun for you, your family, and your friends.

Posted on 05/16/2018 16:15

bottle-2032980_1280.jpgYou probably already know that being dehydrated means your body doesn’t have enough water to function in a healthy manner - but do you know how easily the body loses water? Sweating, bathroom breaks, and breathing are all examples of how the body may lose water. If that water isn’t replenished, you become dehydrated, which can mildly or even severely affect your body, organs, and health.

What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?  

There are a couple different stages of dehydration, and each present with various symptoms. Mild or moderate dehydration, for example, can cause and lead to:

  • Increased thirst
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • An inability to sweat
  • Darker-colored urine
  • Muscle cramps

When we are mildly or even moderately dehydrated, drinking water and resting is enough to correct the problem without medical intervention. Once you’ve begun to experience the following symptoms, though, things could escalate and become more serious:

  • Weakness or sluggishness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Rapid heartbeat

If your body is experiencing the signs of more severe dehydration, it’s best to contact a doctor promptly.

How Do You Prevent Dehydration?

Since the weather is steadily warming up, it’s important to start taking precautions to prevent dehydration. You can avoid this health issue by doing the following:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. The easiest way to prevent dehydration on a daily basis is to get into a habit of drinking water, even when you feel fine or are indoors. Follow professional recommendations on how much water your body needs, and don’t hesitate to discuss these requirements with your doctor.
  • Plan ahead. If you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, be sure to bring extra water. Even if it’s not hot enough to be sweating profusely, your body will still lose fluids throughout the day!
  • Avoid alcohol overconsumption. Not only does drinking alcohol aid in dehydrating you, but it also prevents you from noticing the earlier signs of dehydration. Be especially careful to avoid over consumption when it’s hot outside.
  • Take care when you’re ill. Did you know that when your immune system is working extra hard, it requires additional water? This is especially true when the body is losing fluids through fever, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. So if you’re battling a spring or summer cold, have plenty of water on hand.

Though dehydration has the potential to become serious, it’s also very manageable and preventable! If, however, you have questions about your hydration goals or health in general, please make an appointment with one of Genesis Medical’s practices and staff. Working with our team to address your individual needs and questions will ensure that your summer is as healthy and safe as possible!

Posted on 04/24/2018 15:23

What comes to mind when you hear the words “sun damage”? Do you think of a sunburn brought on by a long day on a beautiful beach? While sunburns are often serious sources of sun damage, it’s important to remember that unpleasant souvenirs from a vacation aren’t the only time the sun can strike and damage your skin.

sunscreen-skin-careAs we enter the spring and summer seasons and prepare to spend more time outside, this fact needs to be considered by everyone in western Pennsylvania. Because sun damage can occur any time of the year - even on cloudy days - we can’t rely on the cloud coverage to protect our skin. It’s up to you to keep your skin healthy and safe from damage!

Sun Damage: The Basics

The term “sun damage” describes any of the effects caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Exposure to ultraviolet rays is cumulative, and it contributes to a variety of issues. For example, UV ray exposure causes skin to age more quickly - so avoiding overexposure can minimize wrinkles, sun spots, freckles and similar blemishes.

The true harm from sun damage, however, comes in the way it can impact your health. Discoloration of the skin and even benign tumors are also common complaints in sufferers. And UV exposure increases your risk for developing serious health problems, too.

Sun Damage: The Health Risks

There are two major health risks associated with sun damage:

As you can see, while some issues related to sun exposure and damage are minimal, others are much more serious. Because of this, experts agree that taking action to prevent skin damage is a universal “must” for everyone.

Sun Damage: Prevention

The most important thing to remember about skin health, is that any damage to your skin is cumulative. This means that even spending a few minutes in the sun every day can add up to a large amount of sun damage - and an increased risk of skin health issues.

Fortunately, preventing this damage is a relatively easy task - and protecting your skin can give it time to work on naturally repairing itself to a small degree. To help reduce your UV ray exposure and protect your skin this season, health professionals recommend the following:

  • Minimize your time spent in the sun. The easiest way to avoid sun damage is to avoid direct sun exposure altogether. This is especially important during peak UV radiation hours (between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.).
  • Use sunscreen. Since it’s not possible to live indoors all of our lives, using sunscreen is a critical strategy for protecting your skin. You should use sunscreen any time you plan on spending time outdoors this season. Don't think that you can just pass on the sunscreen if it's cloudy: the sun's rays can pass through haze and thin cloud. Be sure to apply your sunscreen correctly, too - otherwise, it won’t protect your skin effectively!
  • Wear clothing, cosmetic products, and contact lenses that offer UV protection. In addition to using sunscreen, you should dress for successful prevention and sun protection every day. This includes wearing sunglasses, donning a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck, and even looking for makeup with SPF. Even if you’re just going to the office, these items will help to protect your skin from the cumulative damage you might otherwise pick up during your day-to-day routine.

Tips like these are vital pieces in a big puzzle when it comes to protecting your skin from sun damage. But don’t forget, good skin care doesn’t end with sun damage prevention. Diet, exercise, and your lifestyle can all impact the general health of your skin. So if you think that your skin health could be given a boost this season, feel free to make an appointment with one of Genesis Medical’s practices and staff. Not only will we be able to address your individual concerns, but we’ll also be able to review your medical history and help you evaluate your risk of developing a health issue related to skin damage. Working with our team to address your needs will ensure that your health is more than skin deep this season!

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