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Genesis Medical Associates, Inc.
Posted on 09/13/2017 19:33

Many months of the year have a health education or awareness topic associated with them, and September is no different. September is National Cholesterol Education Month and is the perfect opportunity for many Americans to get their blood cholesterol levels checked out, as well as start on the path to eating better and exercising regularly.

Cholesterol Education Month is a great time to take control of your heart health with Genesis Medical.High blood cholesterol is a problem for over 70 million Americans. Elevated cholesterol levels can contribute to a person’s risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the country. Of the 70 million individuals living with high cholesterol, only about one third of them are working toward becoming healthier and reducing cholesterol levels. Here are some things you need to know about cholesterol, and how you can be proactive in checking up on it - ultimately reducing your risk of heart disease and other conditions.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty chemical that lines the outer layer, or membrane, of the cells throughout your body. While it’s often portrayed as an entirely bad thing, cholesterol is actually necessary for certain bodily functions, including the production of vitamin D and hormones. Your liver produces roughly 80% of your body’s cholesterol, and the foods you eat cover the rest. Foods containing cholesterol include meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products.

How is Cholesterol Bad for You?

Cholesterol is important, but too much of a good thing can have negative consequences. Cholesterol comes in a few different types, but the type to be concerned about is LDL, or the bad type of cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol is carried through your bloodstream, it’s eventually deposited on your artery walls, which causes a thick, hard layer to form. This layer is called cholesterol plaque and is built up over time as you continue to consume foods that are high in cholesterol.our body also naturally produces high LDL levels due to genetics, and a lack of regular exercise can further contribute to this build-up. If the plaque becomes too thick, the artery walls narrow, causing a condition called atherosclerosis. This narrowing of the walls is what raises your risk of various heart problems.

Taking Healthy Steps

Paying attention to what you eat, exercising, and visiting the doctor for blood cholesterol level tests and regular check ups are some of the first steps to take on the road to maintaining cholesterol levels. Making healthy changes can also help you control your cholesterol. Smoking, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity are a few of the guilty parties that contribute to high cholesterol.

Dietary changes can also make a difference. When eating, choose leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy; additionally, eliminate trans-fats like fried foods and commercial products like snack cakes, cookies, and crackers. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fibers, and whey protein, can also play a part in reducing cholesterol.

Regular exercise should be on your schedule, as long as it is permitted by your healthcare provider. Taking brisk walks throughout your work day, swimming, playing an intramural sport, and jogging are all options for getting at least 30 minutes of exercise in each day.

Keeping tabs on your cholesterol is important this month, as it is with every month of the year. If you have concerns about cholesterol levels, want to work on improving your overall physical and heart health, or have general questions about cholesterol, 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!

Posted on 08/31/2017 19:22

food_groups_nutrition_health.jpgMany people understand nutrition basics from studying food pyramids in school. For example, it’s well known that fruits and vegetables are beneficial and should be eaten daily, while sugar-filled sweets and processed foods should be consumed sparingly. Yet in 2015, only 1 in 10 American adults was eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables!

Research like this can be an indication of both lack of awareness as well as an accessibility issue to food. Fortunately, we can help ensure that you have the knowledge you need to eat the diet you need to stay healthy. Keep reading for more information on how you can eat the right amount of each food group to keep yourself - and your family - in healthy shape:

 

The Food Pyramid

In the spring of 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated the food pyramid from its traditional format. The new graphic, while still holding on to the pyramid shape, can be a bit more difficult to interpret, but it generally stays true to what nutrition experts have previously determined and recommended for healthy eating.

When looking at the pyramid from left to right, grains make up the largest portion, followed by vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats, and so on. However, it’s important to note that while food pyramids are general guidelines, they may not be the best guidelines for all individuals, especially those with dietary restrictions. You may want to speak with your healthcare provider for more information on the daily intake of each food group that best suits your body’s needs.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

Due to their many nutritional benefits, fruits and vegetables should make up the majority of your plate and at least half of what you eat during each meal. When eating fruits and vegetables, choose different produce options that come in a variety of colors for a balanced nutritional intake. As for vegetables, remember that potatoes do not actually count as one, as our bodies digest them and treat them as a starch.  This is why eating potatoes in moderation is so important. Speaking of moderation - while they’re necessary for good health, fruits are easier to go overboard with than vegetables, as they contain more calories and sugar per serving. So stick to the recommended 2 - 4 servings of fruit per day.

 

Whole Grains

One quarter of your plate per meal should be made up of whole grains like whole wheat bread, barley, brown rice, oats, and quinoa. It’s best to avoid white bread, rice, and other refined grains as they are made by removing the fiber-dense bran and nutrients that keep your body at its healthiest. When in doubt, stick to whole grains to get your body’s daily intake of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and minerals.

 

Protein

Meat, beans, nuts, and fish are great sources of protein, and should make up a quarter of what’s on our plates for a balanced protein intake. However, it’s important to remember that not all meat sources are equal when it comes to nutritional value and benefits. Healthy lean meats include poultry and fish, while red meat and processed meats - like bacon and steak - are high in cholesterol and often sodium.  There’s also a possibly that certain cuts of meat contribute to your cancer risk, so it’s a good idea to limit your consumption of these less-healthy types of protein.

 

Making sure you eat plenty of nutritious foods will keep your body healthy and have a positive effect on your overall well-being. But it’s important to understand which foods are most recommended as well as to eat a varied diet. So whether you want to address your eating habits for specific health reasons or you just want to check over what you or a family member are eating, it never hurts to work with your doctor to make sure you’re all consuming the portions you need to be healthy.

If you have questions or concerns about your diet and daily nutritional intake, the team at Genesis Medical can assist you and answer your questions. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and contact us today!

Posted on 08/11/2017 16:11

Children_Back_To_School_Health.jpg Summer is winding down, which means many children and their parents are preparing to go back to school within the next few weeks. Between orientations, sports registrations, and purchasing school supplies, fitting in a doctor’s appointment can be easier said than done. Many schools, sports, and activities require yearly back-to-school physicals for each child, so it’s important to fit an appointment in before the first day of school. In addition to physicals, there are a few other ways parents can help kids to make healthy choices throughout the school year.

  • Backpack Safety: For many parents, a new backpack to help children carry their many books and supplies children is automatically part of their back-to-school shopping list.. However, improperly sized backpacks or shoulder bags, and backpacks that are too heavy, can lead to a number of health problems. Sturdy backpacks with strong straps are highly recommended, particularly for children that are hauling books back and forth. Be sure to remind children to use both straps on the backpack should be used at all time, as slinging the bag over one shoulder or using a one shoulder bag can strain muscles. Rolling backpacks are also recommended if your child’s school allows them. Finally, encouraging children to manage their work so that they never have to carry too many books is extremely beneficial for their young backs.
  • Developing a Sleep schedule: Transitioning from staying up late during the summer and getting to bed early for school can be tricky for many children. One of the most important things to do in August is to get your child back on a regular sleep schedule prior to the night or two before the first day of school. Many experts recommend starting with having your child get to bed an hour earlier than normal and have them wake up an hour earlier one to two weeks before the start of school. This way, they can slowly ease themselves into the routine and feel well-rested and adjusted when their alarm goes off on the first day.
  • Packing Healthy Lunches: Summer means ice cream, hot dogs, burgers, and sweets, but these shouldn’t be part of your child’s school lunch. It’s important to get your child back into the habit of eating a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day to keep themselves healthy. In addition, packing school lunches with more fruits and veggies and less sugar and preservatives is a way to keep lunches more nutritious. If you prefer buying lunch for your child at the school cafeteria, make sure to look at the menus to see what options are available and be sure to check up on any food allergies your child may have. Take a look at some healthy lunch recipes here.

Making sure your child has a sturdy backpack, a regular sleep and eating schedule, and healthy lunch options will get them off on a great start for the new school year. But before that, it’s important to schedule a back to school physical, especially if the school requires one. At Genesis Medical, our team can help you and your child prepare for the new school year and help them make healthy eating and sleeping choices. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will more than happy to assist you.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

Posted on 07/27/2017 18:50

There are ways you can help a child when they visit their primary care doctor. It’s a little scary when you think about it. You’re a child, still trying to figure out what’s what in the world. And once a year or so, you go to a special building to be poked and possibly given a shot by a stranger in a white coat.

It’s not surprising that many children can be nervous or scared of the doctor, associating the doctor’s office with needles and bad-tasting medicine. While some children may take years to get over their fear, others come around eventually when they become comfortable talking with the doctor about how they’re feeling. But what’s a parent to do before then when it’s time to see the doctor?

We’re here to answer that very question. Here are a few tips to help you prepare your child for their next appointment with their pediatrician:

  • Explain Why You’re Going To The Doctor. It’s always best to let your child know about a doctor’s appointment in advance, rather than making it a surprise. When it comes time to explain why a regular physical appointment is necessary, speak about the doctor positively. Saying things like “the doctor is going to see how you are growing and to make sure you’re healthy” may be helpful. Kids may also like hearing that all the other kids make trips to the doctor too, so they don’t feel alone. If you are visiting the doctor to treat an illness or injury, explain that the doctor is going to figure out how they can fix the problem and help your child feel better again.
  • Talk About What Occurs During Routine Check-Ups. Some kids may think the doctor can just look at them and determine if they’re healthy, so it’s best to detail the entire process (within reason) so they aren’t left with any surprises. Take your child’s favorite doll, stuffed animal, or action figure to break down the appointment for them visually. Demonstrate how their arm will be cuffed when the doctor takes their blood pressure, explain how the doctor will use a special stick to press down on their tongue to look at their throat, and lightly press on the stomach of the stuffed animal to explain how the doctor will check on theirs. Just in case, never promise that the appointment will be pain-free. Unless you know your child’s immunization schedule, there may or may not be a shot involved at the appointment.
  • Find a Pediatrician You Trust. Visiting the doctor can be a scary experience for children, and also for parents who are unsure about and how the doctor will treat their child. Trust is key, no matter which doctor you see.

That said, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our own staff as a resource for young children and families. At Genesis Medical, our team can help you out with any of concerns as well as your child’s concerns, and giving you peace of mind at your child’s upcoming appointment. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will help you with anything you may need from there!

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Posted on 07/14/2017 18:35

Healthy lungs are a critical part of a healthy life.Often times, we don’t pay enough attention to our lungs and how lung health is essential in keeping our bodies in good condition. We only tend to take notice of our lung health when we begin experiencing breathing problems and need to consult a doctor. But our lungs need just as much attention as the rest of our body does, as they provide oxygen to every cell in our bodies. That oxygen keeps our entire body and its many systems running - which is why lung problems affect our quality of life so drastically.

Fortunately, keeping your lungs healthy will reduce your risk of developing serious illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and multiple breathing conditions. Here are some things you can do to properly care for your lungs:

  • Avoid Smoking: Smoking is the number one contributor to a variety of lung diseases, such as lung cancer and COPD. It’s also the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with over 438,00 deaths per year. And smoking isn’t just limited to use of cigarettes and cigars. Marijuana, electronic cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco are all guilty of contributing to lung cancer and other lung conditions. Secondhand smoke has also been linked to harmful diseases, with over 41,000 deaths related to it per year. Because of this, it’s best to avoid smoking or to quit smoking entirely. Quitting smoking, however, will take time and effort. If you are ready (or currently struggling) to kick this habit, you can ask your doctor for more information on smoking and lung health or for guidance on quitting smoking.
  • Exercise Regularly: Exercise does more than keep our bodies strong and in shape - it gives us a chance to use more of our lung capacity and to help them stay in shape. Getting exercise for at least 20 minutes a day - whether it’s a bike ride, a jog, or a walk around the block during your lunch break - will keep your body healthy, improve your mood, and give your lungs the movement they need to keep doing their job.
  • Be Wary of Air Pollution: Unfortunately, air pollution is still a major issue in a number of cities across the United States, including Pittsburgh. The American Lung Association suggests a few ways in which you can fight for cleaner air to protect your lungs from toxins in the air. Some of these ways include checking pollution forecasts in the area before venturing outside, which can help to reduce your exposure to air pollution. Other tips to address this risk include avoiding exercising near high-traffic areas, using public transportation or biking to work, and making changes in the home that can improve its air quality.

In addition to taking any necessary steps to protect our lungs, it’s important to make note of any negative changes that occur during breathing. These can be a sign of developing problems that need attention. If you’re experiencing sudden difficulty with breathing, chest pain, dizziness, or nausea, see your doctor immediately. At Genesis Medical, our team can help you out with any of your breathing or lung health concerns by providing treatment options and more. Schedule an appointment at  your nearest location and our staff can assist you with any of your health concerns.

 
Posted on 06/29/2017 18:08

Bug bites can be a serious source of health issues during the summer.Summer means spending more time outside enjoying the  warm weather and taking part in a variety of outdoor activities. But humans aren’t the only ones who come outside to enjoy the summer heat. Many species of insects have emerged from their winter homes to buzz around and do what insects do. While many of these bugs are harmless, others can bite us and leave marks or bumps that can sometimes be harmful to our bodies. Certain bites are itchy, while others are stinging and painful and can make for a miserable summer - and still others can cause additional illness at a later date. Let’s take a look at some of the biting insects found in Western Pennsylvania, what their bites can do, and how you can protect yourself from them.

Ticks

Ticks may not be a proper insect, but their bite is severe enough that we can’t ignore them in this list. While these pests are not a new problem, 2017 is proving to be a particularly risky year for Lyme disease, especially in the Northeast region of the United States. Worse, these days tick bites are no longer just a problem found in the woods, as many ticks hitch rides into our backyards via local deer populations.

If you are spending time outside, it’s essential to check your body and hair for ticks (and to keep an eye on your pets, too). Tick bite symptoms can include swelling at the site of the bite, rashes, burning sensations around the bite, and sometimes difficulty breathing if the bite is severe. If you are experiencing any severe, long-term symptoms, or have concerns about Lyme disease, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Be sure to check out our blog about ticks and Lyme disease in 2017 for more information on proper tick removal and signs of Lyme disease.

Mosquitoes

These long-legged insects are one of the more annoying ones that come about in the summer. They can be found almost everywhere; their bites are itchy; and some bites can also be fatal, as they are the most deadly animal in the world. Mosquitoes are known to kill over one million people worldwide per year due to the diseases they spread to humans.

These pests are known to spread a number of diseases, including malaria, the West Nile Virus, and the Zika virus. While more severe diseases like malaria are not common in the United States, the other two can still be contracted from mosquito bites and can be dangerous. Zika is more common in the Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and Southwestern U.S., where the ocean is closer and temperatures are warmer. West Nile, however, has been found in humans and animals in almost all of the fifty states, as it is carried by around 65 species of mosquitoes.

Mosquito bites are noticeable almost instantly, as a round puffy bump with a dot in the center will form at the site of the bite. Children and those with weaker immune systems may experience more pain and discomfort than others. Generally, the bite will be itchy for a few days and gradually go away. If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms, like body aches, fever, headaches, and allergic reactions, visit your doctor for treatment.

Preventing Bites

If you have concerns about contracting diseases from bug bites, or don’t want to deal with being itchy after spending time outside, there are a few steps you can take. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using bug sprays that contain at least 20% DEET (diethyltoluamide). Be sure to follow instructions on the repellant packaging and reapply when needed. Other ways to keep yourself from being a target to these pests is by covering exposed skin, especially when in wooded areas where insects thrive. For extra precaution, avoid sleeping with windows open at night and use mosquito nets when sleeping outdoors.

Bug bites are a common part of our summer, and often they’re harmless and go away within a few days. However, when more severe symptoms arise and the bite isn’t subsiding, it may be time to seek medical attention. At Genesis Medical, our team can help you out with any of your bug bite concerns, treatment options, and more. Schedule an appointment at  your nearest location and our staff will help you with any other concerns you may have about bug bites this summer.

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