Pacific Family Practice Blog Feed Kirby Tue, 20 Feb 2018 04:37:05 -0800 Unexpected Heart Attack Symptoms You Need to Know family-practice-sf/health-blog/unexpected-heart-attack-symptoms-you-need-to-know Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Unexpected Heart Attack Symptoms You Need to Know

Many of us have a general understanding of what someone having a heart attack looks like, or we can assume what a heart attack feels like. However, these perceptions can be either underexaggerated or downplayed, and thus an opportunity to recognize a life-threatening medical issue could be at risk of being ignored or misunderstood.

We strongly encourage both male and female patients to become familiar with heart attack symptoms, including those that are subtler. Acting fast is key to helping someone experiencing a cardiac event, so recognizing symptoms and seeking emergency medical care is essential. Pacific Family Practice has provided a list of heart attack symptoms below. Some you may already be familiar with, and some may be unexpected.

Heart attack symptoms you need to know

Chest discomfort and/or pain – These symptoms include tightness, achiness, pressure, fullness and/or squeezing that last for more than a few minutes. Please note that these symptoms can come and go, so you will need to keep an eye on them for longer than the first pass.

Difficulty breathing – The individual may not be able to take a deep breath or may struggle to breathe normally.

Upper-body pain – It’s common for pain to extend from the chest area to the arms, shoulders, teeth, neck, jaw or back. In some cases, pain will exist in these areas but not within the chest.

Sweating – A sudden cold sweat is common during a heart attack.

Vomiting – Sometimes, someone having or about to have a heart attack will feel nauseated and may vomit.

Dizziness – The person may feel faint or feel a general lightheadedness.

Palpitations – An awareness of the sensation that the heart is beating very fast or differently.

Anxiousness – Sometimes, a heart attack can mimic symptoms of anxiety or a panic attack. Symptoms of this nature should always be taken very seriously, even if a panic attack is suspected or within someone’s medical history. Do not assume it’s a panic attack without seeking medical care immediately.

Sudden fatigue – Instances of sudden, intense fatigue could be symptomatic of a heart attack, especially in cases where any of the above symptoms are also present.

Do I visit Pacific Family Practice during a heart attack?

No. Pacific Family Practice or other urgent care/family practice facilities are not the appropriate choice during a cardiac event. Please call 911 immediately or visit an emergency room for professional medical care. Your Pacific Family Practice provider is not the appropriate resource during a heart attack, though he or she may be an adviser for post-heart attack health care and screening.

If you have questions about heart attack symptoms, risk factors for a heart attack and more, please feel free to contact Pacific Family Practice today.

January Is Cervical Health Awareness Month family-practice-sf/health-blog/january-is-cervical-health-awareness-month Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 January Is Cervical Health Awareness Month

We cannot always take proactive steps to prevent serious illness. Sometimes such illnesses occur without any of the usual markers – poor lifestyle habits, genetics, or risk pool. However, in the case of cervical cancer, women have clear sources of prevention and awareness available.

In honor of Cervical Health Awareness Month, Pacific Family Practice strives to highlight the importance of attending annual well woman exams without fail, as well as symptoms to bring to your provider’s attention right away.

How can I prevent cervical cancer?
The purpose of an annual well woman exam is to screen for possible health issues. Your provider will perform a breast exam to screen for any abnormalities or changes from your last visit, a pelvic exam, and a pap smear (also known as a pap test). A pap smear determines whether precancerous or cancerous cells are present on the cervix, the opening of the uterus. Most women start to receive regular pap smears around age 21, though providers may recommend more routine screening earlier on occasion.

Another recommended form of cervical cancer prevention is the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. Gardasil is recommended for both men and women up to age 26, usually starting around ages 16-18. The HPV vaccine protects against strains of the human papilloma virus associated with cervical cancer. Over the course of six months, three shots are needed to fully complete the vaccination. Gardasil is safe, and those patients and/or their parents with questions are encouraged to contact Pacific Family Practice.

Why annual well woman exams can be challenging
Often, women will put off or avoid an annual exam because they find the experience uncomfortable or awkward. Sometimes, the appointment can resonate with more serious traumas, and women fear their provider will not understand their concerns. Pacific Family Practice is fully committed to ensuring every step of an annual exam meets your needs, including addressing your questions and concerns prior to a visit at our office. We encourage patients to reach out to our team directly, so we can help put you at ease and ensure that you know what to expect.

Am I at risk for cervical cancer?
Those at an increased risk for cervical cancer include:

  • Those with HPV
  • Those who use tobacco products
  • Those with HIV
  • Those who have/have had Chlamydia
  • The obese
  • Those with a family or personal history of cervical cancer

It is estimated that close to 13,000 women will face a cervical cancer diagnosis in the United States in 2018. A proactive approach that includes annual well woman exams as well as the HPV vaccine is an excellent starting point for prevention. Please discuss possible symptoms with your provider as soon as possible, including pelvic pain, abnormal menstruation such as heavy bleeding or spotting and abnormal discharge, and fatigue, nausea, and weight loss.

Can I Prevent Heart Disease? family-practice-sf/health-blog/can-i-prevent-heart-disease Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Can I Prevent Heart Disease?

Pacific Family Practice recognizes the seriousness of heart disease in the United States. Heart disease impacts both men and women, and is responsible for about one in four deaths in America, according to the CDC. American Indians, Asians and African Americans face a higher rate of heart disease diagnosis, and heart disease is second only to cancer as a leading cause of death. These statistics are sobering, and we hope they will serve as a wake-up call to those men and women not currently taking a proactive role in long-term healthcare.

Heart disease symptoms
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain, tightness, pressure and general discomfort
• Pain, numbness, weakness or a cold sensation in the legs and arms
• Jaw, neck, throat and back pain
• Pale grey or even blue skin tone
• Fatigue
• Dizziness

Heart disease causes
• Heart defect(s) from birth
• High blood pressure
• Coronary artery disease
• Tobacco use
• Diabetes
• Heavy alcohol intake
• Excessive caffeine intake
• Drug abuse
• Valvular heart disease
• Prolonged stress

Can I do anything to prevent heart disease?
Even though heart disease symptoms and causes are worrisome, the good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent the condition. The first to is be aware of whether you are more at risk for heart disease than others, and to address this concern frankly with your doctor. Those who are diabetic or obese, have heavy alcohol use, practice a poor diet, or are physically inactive are at very high risk.

An easy way to catch troubling health symptoms early is to have a yearly physical. These physicals are especially important as you age, and for some individuals they are the only check-in with a doctor year-round.

Lifestyle changes that you actually stick too are also essential. Your doctor is likely to recommend a low-sodium, low-fat diet; zero tobacco use; reduced alcohol intake; and at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise about five days each week. Medications may be recommended depending on your risk factor(s) as well as your overall health.

Schedule a physical with Pacific Family Practice today. It’s easy!

Five Health Mistakes to Avoid This Holiday Season family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-health-mistakes-to-avoid-this-holiday-season Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Five Health Mistakes to Avoid This Holiday Season

With all the planning, responsibilities and events of the upcoming holiday season, the last thing anyone wants is to fall ill and be unable to enjoy or participate in the festivities. Cooler weather invites the cold/flu season, but this doesn’t mean you are helpless against illness. Patients who are proactive and take control of their health are less likely to contract an illness like the common cold or the flu.

You may hesitate to add to a to-do list, but we hope you will consider the following mistakes as a kind warning that cold/flu season can impact men and women of all ages.

1. Skipping a flu shot – The only individuals who do not qualify for a flu shot are infants under the age of 6 months. Men, women, children and the elderly are all encouraged to receive the flu vaccine as soon as possible. This includes pregnant women, for which the flu vaccine is safe.
2. Close contact with someone who is ill – It can be difficult to keep coworkers who feel unwell from coming in to the office (even though they should absolutely stay home!), but you should avoid direct contact with someone who is ill whenever possible. Do not share drinks. Wash items like towels, blankets, bedsheets and pillowcases, and clean surfaces like counters, desks, door handles, bathroom appliances, keyboards, mobile phones and tablets to remove germs.
3. Sleeping less than 7-9 hours per night – The quality and quantity of your sleep cycle directly impacts your immune system. Those without at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night risk a compromised immune system that can be susceptible to illness.
4. Touching your eyes, nose and mouth – Clean hands are one of the best ways to avoid the cold/flu, but keeping your hands clean 100% of the time isn’t always realistic. Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes whenever possible.
5. Not hydrating – One of the easiest ways to ensure a healthy immune system is to drink enough water throughout the day. Try replacing at least one non-water beverage with water once a day to start, if you find that drinking water is a struggle, or set goals for yourself to drink an amount of water before each next meal. You can tell how hydrated you are by the color of your urine. Pale yellow or clear urine means you are hydrated; dark yellow is an indication that you need to drink more water. Red or brown urine means that you should contact your healthcare provider to ensure an underlying condition isn’t present.

Extra quick tips!
• The holidays lean toward more indulgent food choices, and you can certainly enjoy your favorites, but we recommend watching portion size to skip an upset stomach, acid reflux, cholesterol concerns, etc.
• Take symptoms seriously. If you begin to feel unwell, take the time to rest and recover. Pushing through illness can worsen your condition, taking symptoms from mild or moderate to severe.

Staying healthy during the cold/flu season doesn’t have to be a chore. The above steps are simple, taking only minimal time and effort but providing maximum results. You might even find that your overall health improves once you take control of how much sleep you get and how much water you drink. If you have any questions, please contact Pacific Family Practice.

Ten Tips to Help You Skip This Year’s Cold/Flu Season family-practice-sf/health-blog/tips-to-help-you-skip-this-years-cold-flu-season Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 10 Tips to Help You Skip This Year’s Cold/Flu Season

The 2017-2018 cold and flu season is now underway, and people of all ages are susceptible to illness. Note that having the flu is not the same as having the common cold; the flu is much more severe and requires a longer recovery period. It’s the difference between a day off from school or work and a week or more off. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid this year’s cold/flu viruses.

1. Get a flu shot – Sometimes the simplest answer is best. You can receive a flu shot at Pacific Family Practice. The vaccine is available to everyone age six months and older, and is safe for pregnant women.
2. Avoid contact with those who are already ill – Skipping handshakes, hugs and kisses and passing on sharing food/drinks with someone who is ill are advised in order to avoid contracting their illness.
3. Keep your day-to-day items clean – Cell phones, computer mouse, tablet, desks, remote controls, door handles, counters, keyboards, glasses, etc., are everyday items that carry germs from one surface to another, including your hands and face.
4. Set goals for sleeping – The quality and quantity of your sleep is directly correlated to how healthy your immune system is.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – Unless you have freshly washed and dried hands, you should avoid contact.
6. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables – A balanced diet is key to any long-term healthcare plan, but your immune system in particular needs the nutrients provided by healthy foods.
7. Wash your hands frequently – There’s no need to go overboard, but you should be washing your hands more frequently during cold/flu season.
8. Stay home and rest during illness – If you do feel unwell, it is best to stay home until you are diagnosed by a physician who determines how long you will need to miss school or work. You will only put others at risk for illness if you try to maintain your normal schedule.
9. Ask your doctor if you are at high risk – The elderly and young have the greatest risk of contracting illness, particularly the flu.
10. Use common sense – Navigating cold/flu season can seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have any questions about steps to avoid illness, please contact Pacific Family Practice today.

September Is Sexual Health Awareness Month family-practice-sf/health-blog/september-is-sexual-health-awareness-month Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 September Is Sexual Health Awareness Month

Pacific Family Practice honors sexual health awareness month by providing male and female patients with the STD testing services needed to offer a clear diagnosis and treatment plan, as well as education on STD prevention.

Myths and misconceptions about STDs are dangerous
So often, STDs are transmitted from one person to another because of misunderstandings or confusion about the proper way to protect yourself and your partner. It is essential to know the proper way to use a condom and understand that one is required for every sexual encounter to prevent STD transmission. It may seem like basic common sense, but many patients take their sexual health for granted, making assumptions that because they have been free of STDs in the past, they will continue to be in the future.

It is commonly thought that all STDs are the same, so protection against these viruses is also the same. However, this is not true. For example, the human papilloma virus (HPV) can be spread between men and women even when a condom is used, because a condom does not cover the entire genital area. It can also be spread through oral or anal intercourse. HPV prevention begins with the vaccine Gardasil, which is offered at Pacific Family Practice for young women and men as well.

STD testing cannot be avoided
If you suspect that you may have an STD, or if you have engaged in unprotected intercourse or intercourse when protection failed, please schedule an appointment with Pacific Family Practice or your provider as soon as possible. Many STD treatments are most effective immediately after transmission, so waiting or avoiding testing will only risk worsening your diagnosis and symptoms. It’s tempting to hope that the risk of an STD will simply go away, but many STDs present with symptoms that do not result in visible problems. You can go months or even years without seeing evidence of an STD.

Every STD is different, so your symptoms will vary. The important thing to remember is that testing can confirm whether an STD is present and if you require treatment. Many STDs can be cured entirely with treatment, and those without a cure can be managed so you can maintain a high quality of life. Please contact Pacific Family Practice with any questions or concerns about STD transmission, testing or treatment.

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month family-practice-sf/health-blog/august-is-national-immunization-awareness-month Mon, 14 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

Pacific Family Practice proudly promotes August as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). National Immunization Awareness Month was established to promote awareness of and education about the importance of vaccines and ensuring people of all ages are up to date with their immunizations. Vaccines are responsible for the prevention of serious, sometimes fatal diseases that can affect men and women of all ages. Our practice offers immunizations and vaccines as part of our pediatric and newborn care services.

Back to school season
August is a particularly serendipitous time to honor NIAM, as this is when many children are heading back to school. Parents are encouraged to make appointments with Pacific Family Practice to ensure that their child receives all of the vaccinations required to attend school that year. August is a very busy time for vaccination appointments, so we kindly ask that you make an appointment as early as possible in your schedule so we can accommodate you in time for the first day of school.

Preparing for cold and flu season
You might be surprised that the flu season starts as early as October, which is why many medical practices will begin to offer the flu vaccine in August and September. As always, we encourage you and your family to take the impending flu season seriously. The flu is not simply a more intense cold. It is a virus that can last several days to several weeks, resulting in missed work or school. Young children and the elderly are most at risk for contracting and spreading the flu, and women who are pregnant need to take extra precautions as well.

Pacific Family Practice can offer all flu vaccines starting 8/20/17.

Quick flu season facts:
• Children age six months and older can receive the flu vaccine
• The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women
• Peak flu season is from December through February
• The flu season can last until May
• The flu virus can live on a surface for up to 72 hours (door knobs, counters, desks, etc.)
• The flu shot is often covered by insurance

Pacific Family Practice is committed to ensuring all of our patients enjoy quality long-term health. If you have questions about immunization schedules or whether you are up to date on vaccines, please contact our office today.

How Can I Improve My Digestive Health? family-practice-sf/health-blog/how-can-i-improve-my-digestive-health Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 How Can I Improve My Digestive Health?

It’s easy to notice if your digestive health is “off” or poor. A bad day for your digestive system can mean interrupted or even missed work, school or other responsibilities. It can also cause embarrassment or stressful situations.

Having a healthy digestive system means taking responsibility for everything you introduce into your system via eating and drinking. The saying “you are what you eat” is especially relevant, and even teenagers and children can tell the difference in how they feel after a healthy meal versus an unhealthy one.

Good digestive health really does begin with paying attention to what triggers your symptoms. Food is part of our daily routine, so eating and drinking can be reflexive, whatever is near, convenient, cheap or fast becoming criteria over what is best for our health. Taking the time to plan and consider what you eat can improve how you feel, how you look, your energy levels and more.

Consider the following tips to improve your digestive health:

  1. Meal planning and meal preparation – Sunday is a popular day for meal planning and preparation. Many households complete grocery shopping on weekends, allowing for a bit of extra time not normally allotted during the week to decide what you will eat for each meal, when and if you will eat out and what needs to be prepared ahead of schedule. Meal planning is one of the best ways to not only save money, but to eat healthier, home-cooked meals that benefit your digestive health and your weight.
  2. Hydrate – You really do need to take stock of how much water you drink each day. Most people think they are drinking enough water, but it is probably not enough if you are also counting other beverages such as tea, coffee, juice and soda. There is no substitute for water. Ideally, you need to drink enough water each day for your urine to be clear, or at least pale yellow in color. If your urine is dark or discolored, please contact your Pacific Family Practice provider.
  3. Consider a physical and/or check-up – If you feel your digestive heath is lacking or if you have been experiencing issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, bloating or cramping, you should book an appointment with your provider. Your provider can determine if a referral to a gastroenterologist is needed or if treatment can be provided on-site.
  4. Probiotics – Certain foods and supplements contain higher amounts of probiotics that can help treat certain digestive conditions. You should consult with your provider if you believe that you could benefit from a probiotic-focused diet or supplements.

Pacific Family Practice is happy to work with patients experiencing common digestive issues. Walk-ins are welcome, but we do recommend booking an appointment when possible. You can request an appointment with our providers here.

Five Ways Pacific Family Practice Can Make Summer Stress-free for Parents family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-ways-pacific-family-practice-can-make-summer-stress-free-for-parents Mon, 19 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Five Ways Pacific Family Practice Can Make Summer Stress-free for Parents

Summer may be your child’s favorite season, but for parents, the summer season might not be so care-free. Summer is a popular time to prepare for school through immunization and exam requirements and to complete the medical requirements for fall sports.

Vacation for kids means that there’s more time for them to get the check-ups they need without missing valuable classroom time – which means more scheduling conflicts and time off from work for parents. All this shuttling around can be overwhelming for parents, and Pacific Family Practice wants to make the process easier where we can.

  1. Booking an appointment for a physical is easy, and you can do it online, from your phone.
    Now is the time to schedule physicals needed for fall activities, as appointments can book up fast at the end of summer. To help you make an appointment quickly and easily, we’ve designed a contact form that fits whatever device you’re using and only requires a few quick details before submission. You can choose a specific provider if you’d like and select a date which best fits your busy schedule. We will do our best to accommodate your needs as physicals are an essential part of school and sport participation.

  2. We’ve prepared a thorough guide to sun protection for children and adults.
    Skin protection is important all year round, but the summer months are when we are typically most at risk. Not being in school allots for a lot of time spent outside, which is great, but there are special precautions parents should take to help ensure their child avoids painful, skin-damaging sunburns. Read Pacific Family Practice’s guide to melanoma prevention.

  3. We offer on-site urgent care services outside of normal office hours.
    Sometimes, parents can skip a trip to the ER and visit Pacific Family Practice to avoid long wait times and higher, often unexpected fees. We provide X-rays, EKGs and laboratory testing at our facility. We also treat cold and flu symptoms, pink eye, broken bones, lacerations, muscle sprains, asthma, all types of infections and rashes. We also offer vaccinations and travel medications.

  4. Infant and newborn care is included in our list of services.
    Parents who visit Pacific Family Practice can also bring their infants and newborn babies for checkups, vaccines and immunizations, preventative health, and consultations to address new parent questions. There is no need to have two separate physician visits at two different facilities for older children/toddlers and infants/newborns. Parents who need appointments for multiple children are advised to please book the number of appointments they need well in advance so we can best accommodate your needs.

  5. Our convenient Bay Area location is close to many family-friendly activities for before and after visits.
    We’ve prepared a fun guide for anyone visiting our practice so they can find things to do in the area before or after their appointment. Our list includes great options for parents to take advantage of both indoors and outdoors, so the family can enjoy some time together regardless of how the weather holds up.
Five Important Facts about the HPV Vaccine Gardasil family-practice-sf/health-blog/five-important-facts-about-the-hpv-vaccine-gardasil Tue, 16 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 Five Important Facts about the HPV Vaccine Gardasil Shot

The HPV vaccine Gardasil is offered by Pacific Family Practice to young women and men between the ages of 16 and 18, but can be administered to children as young as 9 and adults as old as 26. The vaccine is safe and effective in preventing the spread of the human papilloma virus (HPV), as well as preventing the types of cervical cancers connected to that virus. However, even with the clear benefits the vaccine offers young people, many teenagers still do not receive it.

The reasons for this choice are of course personal, but unfortunately many parents do not pursue vaccination against HPV for their child because they heard myths and misunderstandings about what the vaccine is for and what it does. It is up to every parent to make the best healthcare decisions possible for their child, but we hope that we can alleviate your concerns about Gardasil.

  1. Yes, Gardasil is safe. The Gardasil vaccine is FDA approved for use on women and men within the age ranges stated above. It is possible that someone can be allergic to the ingredients found in the vaccine, so you should check with your doctor whether an allergic reaction is possible. Your physician may ask that you remain seated for 5 to 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to ensure that a reaction has not occurred.
  2. Gardasil is for boys as well. HPV is not limited to transmission in female patients as young men can carry and spread HPV as well. Although the vaccine is typically marketed toward young women because it prevents certain types of cervical cancer, this does not mean it is only for women.
  3. No, condoms are not enough to prevent HPV transmission. Of course, a condom should be used during intercourse to prevent STDs and pregnancy, but a condom does not cover the entire genital area. Since HPV spreads through any genital contact, the virus can still be contracted, even with proper condom usage. Using the Gardasil vaccine in addition to a condom will efficiently prevent HPV.
  4. There is no cure for HPV right now. HPV can be treated but it cannot be cured. Some patients will exhibit symptoms such as genital warts (which can be removed by a trained physician), but others can go years without realizing they have the virus because they are not experiencing symptoms.
  5. Other forms of contraception will not prevent HPV. The birth control pill, an IUI or implant will not stop the spread of the human papilloma virus or other STDs. Those forms of birth control need to be used in conjunction with a condom to prevent pregnancy and STDs, but HPV can still be transmitted.

If you have questions or concerns about Gardasil or HPV prevention, please contact Pacific Family Practice today. Our physicians and providers can answer your questions and provide guidance as you decide if the HPV vaccine is right for you or your teenager.