Medical Assistant

Oil change


A little fat does a body good, and these oils are loaded with the healthy kind that keeps systems running smoothly.

Sesame- rich in flavor and packed with poly- and monosaturated fats. It has a low smoke point making it best for lower temperature cooking and dressings.

Olive- contains monosaturated fats and antioxidants. Has been shown to help reduce inflammation and to lower heart disease risk, Look for “col and “extra-virgin” which mean the oil has not been treated with chemicals or altered by temperature, so the nutrients are persevered. Loses antioxidants within six months of opening.

Walnut- one off the best nut sources of omega-3 fatty acids that are good for heart and brain. Has a low smoke point; try in vinaigrettes or drizzled on veggies.

Grapeseed- full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants along with heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E. Mixes well with herbs and spices.

Flaxseed- concentrated source of omega-3s and 6s that may help ease stomach issues. Only keeps for two to three months and should be refrigerated.

Avocado- nearly 70% heart healthy monosaturated fats. High some point and a smooth, nutty taste. Costs a bit more than most but has a long life- about a year.

Peanut- same health benefit as peanuts including monounsaturated fats and resveratrol, the antioxidant also found in red wine. High smoke point so good for stir-frying, sautéing and roasting.

February 2016 Better Homes and Gardens

Checking out chickenpox


Chickenpox cases in the US have dropped sharply since a vaccine against this disease became available in 1995. Before this, nationwide cases of chickenpox numbered about 4 million annually. Of these 4 million people, nearly 11,000 were hospitalized, and  up to 150 died according to the CDC. As of 2012 there have been 94% fewer hospitalizations and 84% fewer outpatient visits for chickenpox than before 1995.

The largest decrease in chickenpox occurred among the target group for vaccination: children and teenagers between the ages of 1 and 19. But there were also significant drops in outpatient visits and hospitalizations among children younger than 12 months- whom the vaccine is not recommended and among adults who tend to not get vaccination. These results illustrate the potential of herd immunity.

CMA Today Mar-Apr 2016

What’s your colon cancer risk?


Average risk: colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 but age 45 for African Americans.

Increased risk:

1. Immediate family member with colon cancer or polyps at age 60 or younger- colonoscopy every 5 years starting at age 40 or 10 years younger than earliest family detection.

2. If two extended family members have been diagnosed with colon cancer- colonoscopy every 10 years staring at age 40.

3. Two immediate family members with colon cancer at any age- colonoscopy every 5 years starting at age 40 or 10 years younger than earliest family detection.

4. Positive test indicating blood in stool- schedule a colonoscopy immediately

High risk:

1. Familial adenomatous polyposis (a condition where numerous polyps form)- annual sigmoidoscopy starting at age 10-12; colonoscopy every 1-2 years starting in late teens.

2. Lynch syndrome (a condition that increases risk)- every 1-2 years starting before age 25 or 10 years younger than earliest family detection.


Adult addiction adding up


The largest portion of the US population addicted to narcotics is not teenagers or young professionals, but older adults ages 50-59. In 1996, 7.8% of older adults sought treatment programs for painkiller dependence and addiction; in 2012, that number increased to 35.9%. Additionally, the percentage of patients between the ages of 60 and 69 addicted to narcotics increased significantly.

In contrast, the percentage of such patients ages 40 and younger has dropped from 56% in 1996 to approximately 20% by 2012.

Although pain killer dependence isn’t new, and most states have rigorous prescribing protocols in place, these findings highlight the need for ample access to medical opiate treatment centers.

CMA Today Mar-Apr 2016

Top 5: Ways to lower your risk of diabetes


1. Get more physical activity: aerobic exercise and resistance training can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar, boost your sensitivity to insulin which helps keep blood sugar within a normal range.

2. Get plenty of fiber: high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds can improved your sugar control, lower risk of heart disease and promote weight loss by helping you feel full.

3. Go for whole grains to maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole such as breads, pasta products and cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items on the ingredient list.

4. Lose extra weight: participants in one large study who lost a most amount of weight (7% of initial body weight) and exercised regularly reduced risk of developing diabetes by 60%.

5. Skip fad diets, make healthier choices: Low-carb diets, glycemic index diet and others help lose weight at first but their help at preventing diabetes isn’t known nor are their long term side effects. Think variety and portion control as part of an overall health eating plan.

The American Diabetes Association recommends a blood glucose screening if you’re age 45 and older and overweight or if you are younger that 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors such as family history or sedentary lifestyle.

Take Your Brain To The Gym


Try these techniques to help improve your memory:

Socialize regularly: helps ward off depression and stress both of which can contribute to memory loss.

Get organized: Jot down tasks, appointments  and other events in a specific place. Keep to do lists current and check off items completed.

Include physical activity in your daily routine: increases blood flow to your whole body including your brain and might help keep your memory sharp. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.

Stay mentally active: try crossword puzzles, take alternate routes when driving or learn to play a musical instrument.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains can work wonders for brainpower. Choose low-fat protein sources and drink plenty of water.



One ounce has 6 g protein, 24% of a daily dose of B6 and 6% of daily iron. Pistachios do have fat, but it’s polyunsaturated, heart healthy kind and this size contains 160 calories.

Ounce for ounce, pistachios are lower in calories than most nuts except for almonds and cashews.

Pistachios are ideal for in  between meal snacking. Shell them as eating to give stomach the fullness message.

These nuts last up to a year frozen, up to six months refrigerated and up to three months at room temperature.

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Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment of Zika virus


•About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill.
•The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
•The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
•People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.
•Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.

•The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
•See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
•If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
•Your healthcare provider may order specialized blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

•There is no vaccine to prevent or specific medicine to treat Zika infections.
•Treat the symptoms: Get plenty of rest.
◦Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
◦Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve fever and pain.
◦Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
◦If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

•If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness. ◦During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. ◦An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.


Transmission of Zika virus


Through mosquito bites: Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. These mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in things like buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases. They prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people. Mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, dengue, and Zika are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night.

Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Rarely, from mother to child: A mother already infected with Zika virus near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn around the time of birth, but this is rare. It is possible that Zika virus could be passed from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy. We are studying how Zika affects pregnancies. To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding. Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where Zika virus is found.

Through infected blood or sexual contact: Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact have been reported.