Medical Assistant

How to assess your risk for skin cancer


Your chances of getting skin cancer are based on heredity- what you’re genetically predispositioned toward- as well as your own tanning and burning history.

  1. Have you or any of your first-degree relatives (parents and siblings) had skin cancer? Yes- having a first-degree relative who has had melanoma  increases your risk by 50%, so does a bout with breast cancer.
  2. Have you ever used a tanning bed? Yes- using a tanning bed for the first time before age 36 increases your risk of melanoma by 75%.
  3. Do your have blond  or red hair, light eyes and skin that burns easily? Yes- fair skinned people are at an increased risk for skin cancer.
  4. Did you ever have a blistering sunburn as a child, or have you had more than five painful sunburns during your lifetime? Yes-these factors double your risk of getting melanoma.
  5. Have you ever had any moles that turned out to be cancerous?  Yes- A prior diagnosis increases your risk as does having more than 50 moles. May 2015

Hidden hindrances to health



Health magazine shares multiple healthy foods that aren’t toxic, but are poisonous to a health-conscious diet:

Dried fruit- Seemingly harmless, dried fruits are normal fruits with water removed. However a cup of dried fruit has five to eight times more calories and sugar than a cup of fresh fruit.

Gluten-free packaged foods often contain cornstarch and brown rice flour as replacements for regular flour and have become more calorically dense. Eat as many whole, natural foods as possible.

Whole wheat bread- Often ground into a fine flour, whole wheat is easy to digest and spikes blood sugar as quickly as processed white bread. Look for 100 percent whole wheat, whole grain or sprouted grain breads.

Tofu is rich in iron, calcium and protein. Tofu sponges up the oil in cooking and the meal can become a fat bomb. Stick to 1 tablespoon of oil when cooking.

Tuna salad- Canned tuna, a hearty source of protein, doesn’t put a dent in calorie counts. But once mayo is added, calories and grams of fat pile on. Substitute mayo with Greek yogurt which offers a fraction of the calories and fat with an addition protein boost.

CMA Today May-Jun 2015

Make Over Your Refrigerator…

If you fill your home with these 15 ingredients, every time you reach for a snack- or cook up a meal- your only option is a healthy one.

  1. avocado- 20% of daily fiber in 1/2 C serving
  2. black beans- boast antioxidants and magnesium which help maintain nerve and muscle function
  3. blueberries- packed with fiber and one of the top antioxidants
  4. broccoli- a vitamin C gold mine
  5. chard- supercharged with nutrients like calcium, B vitamins, and beta carotene
  6. eggs- whites offer protein with minimal calories; yolks are awash with vitamins A and B12
  7. kale- vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and antioxidants
  8. kiwi- twice amount of vitamin C as and orange and twice the potassium as a banana
  9. lentils- protein powerhouse, flush with folate
  10. oatmeal- hold cholesterol in check, help fight heart disease, keep you full, soluble fiber
  11. quinoa- complete plant based protein (all amino acids)
  12. sardines- excellent source of protein, vitamins B12, D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids
  13. sweet potato- the darker the color, the richer the tuber is in antioxidant beta carotene
  14. walnuts- rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good
  15. wild salmon- omega-3 fatty acids improve mood  and help your skin glow

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

How to be healthier… in 24 hours


  1. Wake up happy by energizing every morning: let in the sun and stretch, look at something you love, scent your shower, edit your closet.
  2. Take a walk that triggers a mood boost that last for two hours: boost the benefits by heading outside or get creative indoors, use a pedometer. Don’t have a foot-wear fail, go too slowly, or carry weights.
  3. The most powerful way to fight cancer is to prevent  it: educate yourself about your cancer history. Women who are at risk for types of cancer may need to get screened more frequently and at a younger age. Really quit smoking whether it is electronic cigarettes, hookahs and cigars. A social smoker is still a smoker. Other than sunscreen by taking added precautions and taking time to apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure can greatly curb  your chances of getting sunburns and skin cancer. Being overweight or obese is linked to several cancers including breast and uterine cancers. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly and include strength training twice a week.
  4. Your grocery list matters- antioxidants and vitamins matter
  5. All males and females should be vaccinated with HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. The vaccine may prevent infection from the strains that cause more than 90% of cervical, anal and oropharyngeal cancers.
  6. Beat stress- take 60 seconds each day to focus on your quality of life. May 2014


20-Second Brain Health Test


Japanese researchers wanted a simple, low-cost test for brain health.

Their solution: Ask patients to balance on one leg for at least 20 seconds. A study of about 1,400 adults, average age 67,, found that those who couldn’t were more likely to have had silent strokes that damaged tiny blood vessels in the brain, affecting balance, memory and skills.

AARP Bulletin/Real Possibilities march 2015

Drugs and Dementia


A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine links heavy use if certain antidepressants or antihistamines for more than three years with a higher risk of  Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Some people are in the habit of taking Tylenol PM or Benadryl to help them sleep. Probably should ask your provider if you should cut back. The increased risk isn’t proven to be caused by the drugs, but is certainly worth looking into. April 2015

May is National Osteoporosis Month!


Osteoporosis Facts

By National Osteoporosis Foundation

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose mass, become fragile and to break more easily.  It is a serious public health problem in the United States and affects more than 54 million people, causing over 2 million fractures of the vertebrae, hips or wrists each year. Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because you can’t feel your bones getting weaker. Breaking a bone is often the first sign that you have osteoporosis or you may notice that you are getting shorter or your upper back is curving forward.

Are you at Risk?

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

  • Being over age 50.
  • Being female.
  • Menopause.
  • Family history of osteoporosis.
  • Low body weight/being small and thin.
  • Broken bones or height loss.

Controllable Risk Factors or What can you do to protect your bones?

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well balanced diet.
  • Engage in regular exercise.
  • Eat foods that are good for bone health, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol to 2-3 drinks per day.
  • Talk to your provider about your bone health and whether you need to take a bone density test.

Fast Facts about Osteoporosis

  • Peak Bone Mass (PBM) is acquired by the late teens or early twenties. Children and adolescents who have higher PBM reduce their risk of osteoporosis later in life.
  • 80% of those affected by osteoporosis are women. 20% of those are men.
  • While osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person’s disease, it can strike at any age.
  • Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
  • Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Talk to your provider today about your bone health!


Information provided by the National Osteoporosis Foundation at

High-Tech Ways To Stay Healthy



From smart phone apps to virtual doctors, technology has opened up a whole new world of medical options.

Health apps: best for chronic conditions, medication management. Certain apps like those that track migraines or manage chronic pain conditions, can help ease symptoms. Examples are MedCoach, Fooducate, OnTrackDiabetes.

Electronic medical portals are best for keeping track of your care. There is growing evidence that this tool actually help patients manage care- particularly patients who are dealing with multiple conditions or who are actively undergoing rounds of treatments and tests.

At home disease monitoring is best for chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and heart failure. Not only does at home care consist of hooking up with a smartphone to measure blood pressure, heart rate or blood sugar levels and through automated text message-based program send alerts to the phone reminding to take medications, get 30 minutes of exercise and check blood sugar.

Crowdsourcing is best for hard-to-diagnose cases and exploring treatment options. Medical ‘detective’ sites rely on the notion that the group is smarter than the individual. These sites can tap into a network of rare conditions or peers suffering from similar ailments who give  on advice on symptoms and what remedies work or don’t. Examples include CrowdMed and PatientsLikeMe.

Telestroke is best for stroke diagnosis. This tool immediately connects patients in ERs with a neurologist who ‘sees’ the patient via videoconference and can access brain-imaging scans. The program is available in hospitals nationwide.

Fitness devices are best for tracking diet and exercise and injury rehabilitation. Examples include FitBit Flex, Jawbone UP, Nike+FuelBand. Kind of interesting that research has shown that after six months, a third of the users place the device in a drawer.

Virtual doctors are best for on-demand appointments. For a fee ($40.00 for a 15-minute appointment) you arrange an e-visit with a doctor or nurse within minutes. Some will even connect you with your existing provider. Examples include MDLIVE and Doctor on Demand.

Virtual counseling is best for mental illnesses such as depression and PTSD. This tool benefits rural residents or folks who have difficulty talking about personal issues. Examples include VA Telehealth Services, Virtual Therapy Connect and Breakthrough Behavioral.

Videoconferencing is best for rural residents who need a specialty doctor. Patients travel to a local clinic, which then connects them through videoconferencing to a specialist anywhere in the state. Find centers on the Health Resources and Service Administration website.

AARP Bulletin/Real Possibilities April 2015




A to Z Happiness Boosters To Try Today


Appreciate  the present- think about something that’s good about your circumstances

Bake- it’s emotionally therapeutic

Change you commute

Dance- for a lift, get down

Experience- spend it on experiences not stuff

Flip through photos

Grin- stimulates smile muscles and sends nerve signals to your brain that your happy

Hike- spending time outside makes you less tired and more alive

Inhale- breathe through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 1 and exhale tough you mouth for 5 to lower heart rate and Bp

Journal- jotting down what you feel grateful for at day’s end can make you feel more optimistic

Let the Light in

Make your bed- enhances sense of order

Nosh on fruits and veggies- improved mental well being

Open an orange- olfactory nerves link directly to the limbic system

Pick up the tab- treating others is a happiness booster

find Quiet time- brain needs regular breaks to maintain peak function

Rub down with a massage that can send you in a state of mental bliss

Save up- your reap pleasure from literally seeing your savings grow

Tune in- listening to upbeat music with the goal of boosting your mood really works

Unplug- too much interferes with relationships and sleep

Vacation- plan one

Wine- have some

X-press yourself with a pen or paintbrush; doing this creatively can reduce fatigue ad depression

break for YouTube- indulge in whatever it is that tickles your funny bone

Z-Z-Zs sleep plays a huge role in mental state

Good Housekeeping April 2015

Your Body Under Pressure


Stress affects every cell in your body. This is what happens when you don’t put a lid on it!

Your eyes: pupils dilate and if it continues eyelids twitch

Your ears: hearing sharpens and if it continues there is a risk of tinnitus and hearing loss

Your brain: hypothalamus orders adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenalin to prepare the body for action and endorphins to blunt pain and if it continues headaches, insomnia, depression and increased dementia risk results

Your esophagus: throat tightens, spasms and if it continues acid reflux

Your heart: rate and blood pressure rises and if it continues a higher risk of heart attack and stroke

Your liver: surge in glucose and if it continues leads to Type II diabetes

Your lungs: rapid breathing and if it continues worsened asthma, COPD

Your stomach: nausea and if it continues belly fat, GERD

Your adrenal glands: cortisol and adrenaline spike and if it continues there is a reduced ability to control inflammation

Your bowels: digestion slows and if it continues irritable bowel syndrome

Your groin: sex hormones drop and if it continues decreased sex drive, infertility, erectile dysfunction

Your muscles: tighten and if it continues chronic muscle aches

Your skin: goose bumps, chills, sweating and if it continues psoriasis, acne, cold sores

Your blood vessels: blood pressure rises and if it continues high blood pressure and high cholesterol

AARP The Magazine/Real Possibilities April/May 2015