How Regular Walking Can Help Treat Dementia
Posted on September 12, 2017 by peachtree
Walking as a form of regular exercise has long been reported to reduce the risk of several health ailments, such as heart disease. There is encouraging research that shows regular, brisk walks a few times a week can also benefit older adults who are suffering from memory loss due to age or dementia and can improve how well the brain can resist Alzheimer’s disease.
Early-stage vascular cognitive impairment, the second most common form of Dementia, is a condition that is second in the world only after Alzheimer’s disease. In one six-month long study, researchers from multiple institutions, including the University of British Columbia in Canada, assessed the effects of regular walking on 38 older individuals with mild cases of the condition. They were divided into two groups: the control group would attend weekly educational classes at the lab on healthy living and nutrition, and the other would have supervised walking sessions at the lab three times every week. The walking program consisted of one-hour long workouts with enough intensity to elevate the participants’ heart rates to around 65 percent of their maximum capacity.
After the six-month period, during which most of the participants in the walking group completed all of the workouts, cognitive and physical assessment tests that were completed at the beginning of the study were repeated. The tests showed that not only did the people in the walking group have blood pressure rates that were lower than those of the control group, but the brains of the walkers also reflected less activation in the parts of the brain necessary for paying attention and making quick decisions. The researchers determined that the brains of the walkers were more efficient than those of the control group who had not been as physically active during the study.
Treating Dementia with Walking
Walking on a regular basis can slow down memory loss related to age and how quickly the brain degenerates. It can have an almost immediate and noticeable effect on how the brain is able to function and can delay the effects dementia may have on the brain by ensuring that it receives the blood flow that carries essential nutrition and oxygen. Older adults who walk regularly will also experience better overall health with lower blood pressure rates and stress. This can prevent health factors that are likely to lead to chronic conditions that can impair the health and function of the brain by compromising its blood flow.
Having a weekly walking routine at any age can help improve your health. In fact, research shows that exercise is one of the most important factors in preventing dementia.
At Peachtree Medical Center, you can receive personalized treatments for a range of medical issues, including those related to aging. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.
The Importance of Back to School Check-Ups
Posted on August 29, 2017 by peachtree
As summer wanes, our attention turns to school supply lists and teacher assignments. However, many parents neglect the back to school check-up that is essential for their child’s health. While everyone tends to visit the doctor when they are sick, regular physical exams can prevent chronic conditions, reveal mental and physical health problems that may affect school performance and ensure your child is protected against preventable diseases.
Why is a Back to School Check-Up Important?
While most parents understand the need for medical exams while their children are receiving regular immunizations, once they reach kindergarten, many parents no longer bring their child to the doctor unless they are sick. However, regular physicals are important not only for a child’s physical health but for their mental well-being as well. Doctors have an opportunity to create an accurate and evolving medical history that goes beyond ear infections and the flu. They examine your child physically, discuss developmental milestones, address any concerns and talk about the influence of diet and exercise on your child’s overall health. The back to school check-up can also address mental health, emotional well-being and learning difficulties that may impact your child’s performance at school.
For athletes, this exam can also serve as the pre-athletics physical that many schools or competition teams require. Additionally, your child’s physician can discuss their physical performance, any injuries or illnesses that might impair their ability to play and how to address the common aches and pains associated with rigorous athletic activity.
Immunization Timeline and Things to Look For
Ideally, by age two your child should have received all of their immunizations against the following diseases.
- Hepatitis B
- Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae)
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
Just before kindergarten, around the age of four or five, your child will receive booster DTaP, Polio and MMR vaccines in preparation for school. Tetanus boosters are given every five years after that with another set of booster immunizations when your child is 14 or 15. Since they are among the most likely to develop complications from the flu, it is also recommended that children receive regular flu vaccination before the month of December each year.
While vaccinating your child can prevent many deadly diseases, it does not prevent all health problems your child could encounter.
- Head lice run rampant through many schools across the country. Once one child is infected with the tiny bugs, they quickly spread to other children via hair brushes, scarves or hats.
- Food allergies can develop at any time. Your doctor can often confirm your child’s food allergy with a simple blood test.
- Pink eye is highly contagious and results from inadequate hand washing.
The upcoming school year is upon us! Make sure to schedule your child’s annual check-up with us at Peachtree Medical Center. Contact us today to get started.
Health Benefits of Yoga for All Ages
Posted on August 12, 2017 by peachtree
Yoga is a form of exercise that combines deep breathing with stretching and strengthening positions to give your body and mind a workout. There are many types of yoga you can choose from, all of which serve a specific purpose. The consistent practice of yoga can benefit your health, regardless of your age or your degree of fitness; it is just the matter of finding the right yoga class with the appropriate instructional level and intensity. Here are some benefits of having a consistent yoga routine:
Better Respiration, Energy, and Vitality
Yoga is an all-natural energy booster. You can use deep breathing and active poses that will stimulate blood circulation throughout your body, which will reduce fatigue and increase feelings of vitality.
Having flexibility can help you remain healthy and avoid injury, particularly as you grow older. It is not necessary to already be flexible if you are new to yoga. The stretching that you will do during yoga as you progress will improve your flexibility.
Improved Blood Flow
Without the proper circulation in your body, you can be prone to breakouts and fluid retention. Yoga is an effective way to increase your blood flow so that your body receives the oxygen and fresh blood it needs.
Having good balance is an important factor in being agile and flexible. It also aids in strength. It is best to use a combination of yoga postures to improve your balance.
Can Help You Sleep Better
Having a daily yoga routine can help you sleep better by helping you relax. In fact, there are certain poses you can use right before you go to bed that allows you to prepare your body for sleep and to clear your mind of the day’s stresses.
Reduced Digestive Problems
If you suffer from digestive issues, such as bloating, constipation, acid reflux, indigestion or diarrhea, you can use specific poses to prevent or help heal these issues. You can include the poses in your regular, daily yoga routine.
Increased Muscle Strength and Tone
With a daily yoga workout, you can strengthen and tone your muscles and align them with your body’s natural alignment. Yoga is also ideal for muscles that do not typically respond well to weight lifting.
A Balanced Metabolism
The movements and breathing techniques used during a yoga session can help your body metabolize what you eat. They do this by increasing circulation, improving digestion and building muscles that spend more energy.
Improved Mental Health
Even just a few minutes of yoga can help de-stress your mind. By concentrating on your thoughts and how your body feels and using deep breathing techniques, you can renew your mind and revitalize your body.
Before you start a yoga regimen, contact us at Peachtree Medical Center to get a full check-up and advice. Are you new to the area? We are always accepting new patients!
What is Gastroparesis and How Can I Tell if I Have it?
Posted on August 1, 2017 by peachtree
Gastroparesis is a condition that causes the stomach to empty too slowly. However, there is no blockage causing the slow digestion, but instead, the spontaneous movement of your stomach muscles does not function normally. The body normally has strong muscular contractions that help push the food you digest through your digestive tract, emptying your stomach within one to two hours after eating. But, with this condition, the motility (muscle contractions) in your stomach work poorly or not at all, preventing your stomach from properly emptying the foods you consume.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are several symptoms that may be a sign of gastroparesis, including:
- Feeling full after only eating a few bites
- Food coming back up your throat
- Weight loss and malnutrition
- Pain and bloating in the abdomen
- Lack of appetite
- Changes in blood sugar levels
What Causes It?
Although this condition is thought to be caused by damage to the vagus nerve (a nerve that controls stomach muscles), in many situations, the exact cause of gastroparesis is often unknown. In this case, it is called idiopathic gastroparesis. When people that have diabetes and develops gastroparesis it is called diabetic gastroparesis. Some people may also develop gastroparesis after having surgery. Other causes may include disorders of the nervous system, such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease.
How is it Diagnosed?
If you experience any of the symptoms associated with this disorder, you should schedule an appointment with a medical professional for a full examination. The doctor will perform a variety of tests as well as a physical exam. If the doctor suspects gastroparesis, they will order a test to measure how fast the stomach empties. The test, known as a gastric emptying scan, will show how quickly the food you consume leaves your stomach. For this test, a radioactive substance is added to a solid meal that you will eat. The substance shows an image that allows your doctor to see the food in your stomach as well as watch how long it takes to leave your stomach.
What is the Treatment?
Treatment may vary depending on the cause. For example, if you have diabetic gastroparesis, the treatment will be designed to meet both the diabetes as well as the symptoms of gastroparesis. The primary goal of all treatments is to manage the symptoms over a long-term, which may include dietary and lifestyle change as well as medications and/or procedures, which may include surgery.
It is important to note that although there is no cure for gastroparesis, those who stay hydrated, eat healthily and follow the treatment plan developed by their medical professional will ultimately do well. August is National Gastroparesis month, but you don’t have to wait until August to learn more about this diagnosis. Visit about gastroparesis to learn more information about this condition.
If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of this condition, visit us at Peachtree Medical Center for an examination.
Summer Pool and Beach Safety Tips
Posted on July 18, 2017 by peachtree
Summertime means spending hot days in the pool or at the beach. Although this is a great way to stay cool and get some exercise, it’s important to make sure you stay safe. Keep these summer safety tips in mind when you’re out in the sun and the water, so you can stay healthy this season.
Always use sunscreen when you go to the pool or beach this summer. Even though you’re in the water, the sun’s rays can still leave you with a painful sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer. Choose sunscreen that provides you with the most protection from UV rays, and make sure you apply it at least 30 minutes before going outside. This gives sunscreen a chance to start working. Remember to reapply it every couple of hours while you’re at the pool or beach for optimal protection.
Choose the Best Sunscreen
Which sunscreen should you choose? Look for one that has SPF 40 or higher for the most protection from the sun’s rays. Keep in mind that sunscreens that have mineral ingredients rather than chemical active ingredients typically don’t perform as well. Although studies have raised some concerns about the risks of certain sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone, these results were seen in animal subjects instead of humans. Pregnant women should consider avoiding sunscreen that has retinyl palmitate or retinol palmitate, since these ingredients were shown to potentially become cancer-causing with light exposure in large animals. When using sunscreen on kids, choose lotion rather than spray to reduce potential risks from inhaling this type of sunscreen.
Safety Tips for the Beach
If you’re going to the beach this summer, sunscreen isn’t the only thing you need to do to stay safe. You should also be on the alert for sea creatures that could be harmful, such as stinging jellyfish. Watch for alerts that public beaches issue, such as shark sightings, so you can make sure you’re safe while swimming. If you do see sharks, jellyfish or other sea creatures that could be dangerous, leave the water immediately and let a lifeguard know.
When you’re at the beach, pay attention to warnings or alerts about rough currents or rip tides in the area. These conditions can make it hazardous to swim. You should also watch the weather report, and stay out of the water during storms. This helps reduce your risk of getting caught in rough water or being hit by lightning.
Although the water helps you stay cool, it’s important to make sure you’re well-hydrated at the beach. If you’ll be sunbathing on the beach, the sun’s heat can cause you to sweat and lose hydration. Drink plenty of water, so you can maintain enough hydration and lower your risk of heat stroke.
If you need medical care before or after your vacation, please contact us at Peachtree Medical Center for an appointment. We hope you have a great summer!
Why Patient Reviews Matter When Choosing Your Next Doctor
Posted on July 4, 2017, by peachtree
When you’re looking for a new doctor, it can be challenging to determine the best choice. It may be even more difficult if you’ve moved to a new area where you don’t know anyone you could ask. Many people look to online resources and patient reviews to help them make an initial choice.
When you begin your search, you should start with the basics. First, does your insurance company have a list of the doctors in its network? Call to confirm that your candidates are still on the list. Check out the doctor’s hospital affiliations and board certification. Online sources can provide you with information about malpractice claims and disciplinary actions – check the state medical board website. Once you have a few candidates, you can check out patient reviews at reputable sites like Renown, HealthGrades, Vitals or RateMDs.
How Do Online Review Sites Work?
Online review sites allow real patients to express their opinions of a physician. While not exactly the same, most include information such as whether the patient felt the doctor was friendly and polite, and how well the doctor listened or answered questions. Most have a four or five-point scoring system and also allow patient comments. Also, the review sites may also offer other information about board certification, hospital affiliations, educational background and whether the doctor or staff speak languages other than English. The doctor’s website or Facebook page may also include patient reviews. Online reviews can give you hints about things like how patients feel the doctor listens and answers questions, staff efficiency and friendliness and other “soft” data. They may also provide important negative information.
What Else Should I Consider?
Some of the information you’re looking for will only be available through first-hand experience or by calling the office. Among the things to consider, Consumer Reports suggests the following:
- Physician/patient interactions – look for politeness, compassion and careful attention to your concerns and questions.
- Staff – are staff efficient, friendly and helpful? Do they act professional or can you overhear gossip and squabbling?
- Drug Reps – Are drug reps a prominent feature of the office? Drug reps may influence prescribing practices, which can increase your costs.
- Electronic Medical Records – does the office have a patient portal for you to access lab and diagnostic results? What about emailing the doctor? Ask how the information is safeguarded.
- Office Policies – How long does it take to make an appointment? What if you need to be seen that day or have to cancel at short notice?
Patients do use online reviews in the same way they use word of mouth recommendations. At Peachtree Medical Center, we welcome patient reviews and are proud of our reputation (we have a 4.9 rating from 222 reviews). Please contact us if you have more questions or want to schedule an appointment. For your convenience, we now offer later evening hours and are open until 7 PM Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
What is Alzheimer's Disease and How Can I Prevent it?
Posted on June 20, 2017 by peachtree
For many people, June means things like graduation, weddings and the start of summer, but June is also National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. You can get involved by wearing purple, sharing this information on Facebook or getting some activities started in your community. To help you increase your knowledge, here’s some information on Alzheimer’s disease, courtesy of Peachtree Medical Center.
Alzheimer’s Disease Basics
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that often begins with memory loss. Although more common in older people, it is not a normal part of aging and is not limited to the elderly. Survival after diagnosis averages eight years, but some people pass away as early as four years after diagnosis and others live twenty years. Brain changes begin at a cellular level long before patients have any symptoms and the brain will show structural changes as the disease progresses. These changes include plaques – deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid – and tangles, which are fibers of another protein called tau. Although healthy people also have some plaques and tangles, people with Alzheimer’s disease have significant amounts, especially in the area of the brain called the cortex. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but symptoms can be treated, and research is ongoing.
Early Warning Signs
The cardinal symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. Occasionally forgetting something like a name or appointment is a normal part of aging, but people with Alzheimer’s disease have memory problems that significantly affect their daily living and can affect their safety. Other common symptoms include difficulty with problem-solving or performing a familiar task, becoming confused about time or place and visual problems like difficulty reading or judging distance. Patients may lose things, have speech difficulties, show poor judgment or have personality changes. It’s important to remember that some of these signs may occasionally occur even in healthy people or may have other causes. However, multiple signs that interfere with daily life should never be ignored.
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease
At this point, there is no particular strategy for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are some intriguing possible connections. Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease seem to go hand-in-hand, leading researchers to speculate that problems like high blood pressure, cholesterol imbalances and diabetes may be related to developing Alzheimer’s disease. Avoiding tobacco, staying healthy with regular exercise and eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables are some of the ways you may be able to protect yourself. Some research indicates that a diet with lots of omega-3 fatty acids may be protective against Alzheimer’s disease. Even if there’s no proof that these strategies will protect you against Alzheimer’s disease, they are good ways to improve your overall health and decrease risk factors for high blood pressure and diabetes.
It’s important to have regular medical care to help prevent problems and identify symptoms or concerns early. Please contact us at Peachtree Medical Center to schedule an appointment, especially if you or a loved one have any warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
What Jet Lag, Insomnia and Mental Illness Have in Common
Posted on June 5, 2017 by peachtree
Everyone knows that failing to get a good night’s sleep can wreak havoc with your body’s ability to function properly. What fewer people realize is the impact that insomnia can have on your mental health. Insomnia and mental health are closely linked, and understanding your body’s need for sleep and making the necessary adjustments can make a world of difference in how you feel and perform. The team at Peachtree Medical Center would like to share the following information on the ties between sleep and healthy function.
Insomnia and Mental Health: Cause or Effect?
When it comes to lack of sleep and mental health, it can be difficult to determine which is the cause and which is the effect. Researchers are aware that mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder can cause sleep disruptions. However, it is also known that chronic insomnia can lead to more pronounced mental health symptoms. When the body is not properly rested, underlying issues such as depression or anxiety can become far more exacerbated.
What We Can Learn From Jet Lag
When a person travels from one time zone into another, they often encounter disruption to their sleep pattern. That happens because our bodies are attuned to the solar cycle. We operate according to an internal clock, and that clock is timed in accordance to the light pattern throughout each day. So, when we fly from one time zone to another, our bodies struggle to regulate to the new daylight schedule. Researchers have noted that individuals who fly from east to west often exhibit symptoms of depression as they adjust to a new daylight pattern, while those who fly from west to east often experience a type of mania as their bodies adjust.
What Can be Done to Improve Sleep Patterns?
The connection between poor sleep and decreased mental and physical health is well documented. Fortunately, there are some things that individuals can do to improve their sleep and maintain optimal health. That process begins by making an appointment to discuss the matter with a physician. Your doctor can review your sleep troubles in the context of your overall health and can create a treatment plan that can improve the quality of your sleep. That plan could incorporate natural remedies, prescription medications or a combination of both approaches.
At Peachtree Medical Center, we take an individualized approach to medical care. Our team works with each patient to not only address their current concerns but to gain an understanding of their overall health and wellness. By looking at mental or physical issues in context with each individual’s overall health, we can construct targeted treatment options that have the power to create impactful and lasting change. We look forward to meeting you and your family, and to helping you reach an optimal level of health and wellness.
How to Deal with Allergy Symptoms in Atlanta
Posted on May 22, 2017 by peachtree
Anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, or lives with a loved one who suffers, understands that springtime can be a challenge. As the weather warms and the world begins to turn green once again, pollen counts in the Atlanta area will rise. In recent weeks, pollen counts have spiked, reaching the top of the scale on certain days. There are ways to find relief from the symptoms of seasonal allergies, although many people require medical intervention to gain control over their symptoms. The following information is offered by the team at Peachtree Medical Center, in the hopes of making these warm spring days more enjoyable.
Why Allergies are Worse This Spring
People who have seasonal allergies will notice that some years are better than others. The 2017 spring is shaping up to be a bad year, with pollen counts already in the extremely high range. Making matters worse is the fact that temperatures in early March dropped down to nearly freezing. That triggers something known as the “priming effect.” As the weather warms each year, people are introduced to normal levels of spring pollen, and their bodies start to adjust. If temperatures drop for a few days, those pollen levels will fall dramatically. Then, once warm weather returns, the immune system of allergy sufferers has already been “primed,” and will have a more intense reaction to those same allergens.
What Can be Done to Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
The best way to find relief from seasonal allergies is to limit exposure to pollen and other environmental triggers. That means staying indoors as much as possible during the first weeks of spring, which can be a challenge when the weather is gorgeous, and everyone seems to be out enjoying the sunshine. Other good practices include taking a shower and changing clothes after being outdoors, wiping down pets as they come into the house, changing air filters regularly and keeping windows and doors closed. Some people find relief through over-the-counter medications such as Sudafed or Flonase, both of which also come in prescription strengths.
Consider Seeking Medical Attention
For those who find that seasonal allergies are having a negative impact on their lives, it is important to take action. Some medical approaches can help allergy sufferers find relief. Some patients respond well to prescription medications and nasal sprays. Others have good results from immunotherapy, which is a process that boosts the patient’s immune system to help develop improved tolerance for allergens.
At Peachtree Medical Center, we have helped many of our patients find lasting relief from seasonal allergies. Our team of professionals is always here to help, whether it is answering questions that you may have or addressing medical concerns. We invite you to schedule an initial appointment to come in and discuss your history with seasonal allergies, and to begin a program aimed at making spring a time to look forward to, and not a source of dread.
Tips on How to Improve Your Mental Health
Posted on May 8, 2017 by peachtree
Virtually everyone is aware of the importance of achieving and maintaining good physical health. However, we often overlook the importance of ensuring that we are in good mental health, as well as being fit and strong. When many people do consider mental health, it is usually through the lens of mental illness. In reality, however, mental health is more than the simple lack of cognitive or emotional problems, it is the promotion of a balanced state of mind, optimal mental performance and the ability to cope with the ups and downs that life brings to us all. In many ways, mental health is just as important as physical health and is something that should be actively pursued. At Peachtree Medical Center, we encourage our patients to learn more about mental health and to incorporate healthy habits into their daily routines.
Mental Health and Stress
Stress is a fact of life and is unavoidable no matter how hard we might try to eliminate it from our daily experiences. Our bodies have evolved to have very specific reactions to stressful events, such as a dangerous animal pursuing us or an environmental danger that could threaten our safety. Today, we have largely mitigated those types of dangers, yet our bodies still respond to stress in much the same way as the bodies of our ancient ancestors. The result can be chronic stress, which places an enormous demand on our bodies and can negatively impact virtually every aspect of our lives. Improving mental health can help people deal with everyday stress and with those life events that cause a spike in our natural stress response.
How Can We Boost Mental Health?
Part of the battle lies in avoiding choices that can have an adverse impact on our mental health. This means avoiding excessive use of alcohol and avoiding any drug use that is not deemed medically necessary. We can also make great strides by avoiding scenarios and situations that are simply not conducive to good mental health, which is something that is easier said than done. Finally, we can take proactive steps to improve out mental health and incorporate those actions into our daily routines.
What Are Some Ways to Improve and Support Mental Health?
Some people find a great deal of comfort in building close personal relationships with friends and family. Others release stress and tension through exercise, meditation, spending time outdoors or participating in volunteer activities. Trying new things and having new experiences has also been shown to boost mental health.
What are the Rewards?
People who are in good mental health are better equipped to handle stress and turmoil in their lives. They are demonstrably more balanced, level-headed and calm than individuals who have a mental illness. They also report a deeper enjoyment of life, and the ability to find the positive aspects of most daily experiences.
At Peachtree Medical Center, we believe that mental health is an important component of a healthy, active lifestyle. We are always here to help with any questions or concerns, or to discuss ways to improve mental health and wellness. Schedule an appointment to come see us. Our new office hours are as follows:
Monday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Tuesday: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
The Importance of Immunizations for Both Private and Public Health
Posted on April 24, 2017 by peachtree
At the most basic level, vaccines are the safe and controlled introduction of harmful organisms into the human body, which prompts the body’s immune system to respond, creating a natural and lifelong immunity to that particular organism. Vaccines have been successfully used to vastly reduce the spread of diseases such as polio, measles, mumps and pertussis. In fact, vaccines have been so effective that these diseases have been all but eradicated in America that many people have become complacent about the need to vaccinate young children. At Peachtree Medical Center, we believe that education is a vital part of healthcare, and we are proud to offer the following information about the importance of vaccinations.
Why Should We Stress the Importance of Vaccinations?
Relatively few Americans will contract polio, measles, rubella, mumps, pertussis or diphtheria; this is true because we live in a society that has widely embraced vaccinations, and as a result, few people in our nation have these diseases. That said, the world is becoming more and more interconnected, and people from all nations travel and migrate more than ever before. While we may not experience significant outbreaks of these diseases, many other populations are not so well protected. That means that Americans who do not receive vaccinations and come into contact with these and other vaccine-preventable diseases could become infected.
History Teaches Valuable Lessons
Even the briefest review of history is rife with reports of terrible plagues that swept across lands and decimated populations. To be sure, many of those disease events were worsened by lack of sanitation and misunderstanding of how diseases spread. However, vaccinations would have prevented the death of millions if they had been available and widely implemented at the time. Today, we have access to vaccinations, yet many people are fearful of being vaccinated or allowing their kids to receive vaccinations.
What is There to Fear?
The concerns that people list regarding vaccinations are easily addressed through science. For example, a study conducted in the late 1990s suggested that certain vaccinations may be linked to the development of autism. That research has since been discredited and pulled from publication. Other people believe that the body’s natural immune system needs no prompting, and can respond to these diseases on its own. History and medical research tell a different story, one filled with needless suffering and life-altering consequences for those who are exposed to disease without being vaccinated. Science and medicine stand firmly behind the statement that receiving the proper vaccinations is critical for the health of adults, children and of societies as a whole.
We are proud to offer this information as World Immunization Week approaches. This week was created to raise awareness of immunizations. For 2017, the campaign objective is to promote understanding of the steps to take to achieve the Global Vaccine Plan and the role that immunizations play in the development and global health security.
At Peachtree Medical Center, we are here to assist with any questions or concerns that you might have about vaccines or any other medical topic. Our new office hours are as follows:
Monday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Tuesday: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Ten Signs You May Have IBS
Posted on April 10, 2017 by peachtree
If you’re spending a lot of time in the bathroom with diarrhea or constipation, you might have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Relatively common – the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders says ten to fifteen percent of all people have IBS – the symptoms can disrupt your life. April is IBS Awareness Month, so here’s some information about the signs, symptoms and treatment for IBS, courtesy of Peachtree Medical Center.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
As the name implies, IBS causes gastrointestinal symptoms. This chronic condition puzzles doctors and scientists, who don’t know exactly what causes the disease. Some of the theories include a more sensitive colon, differences in the way the brain perceives signals from the gut, immune system response, hormonal changes and changes in serotonin levels in the gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in the gut and brain that acts a chemical messenger. IBS doesn’t cause cancer or gastrointestinal diseases and has nothing to do with anatomy. IBS is not an upset stomach (heartburn); these symptoms are more serious, occur frequently and cause diarrhea, cramps or constipation. IBS affects women more often than men.
Signs and Symptoms
Although IBS shares some symptoms with other conditions, the diagnosis is usually based on a constellation of symptoms that occur consistently and persist over months or years. Symptoms do vary from one person to another, and not all patients will have all symptoms. Symptoms may also vary in intensity; the patient may have few or no symptoms for an extended period and then have a flare. Here are ten signs you might have IBS:
- Abdominal pain
- An urgent need to have a bowel movement
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Mucus in the stool
Since IBS may have more than one cause, treatment usually includes lifestyle and dietary changes as well as medications. Foods that cause gas, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or raw fruits, can trigger IBS symptoms. Some people with IBS do better on a gluten-free diet. Carbohydrates called FODMAPs (fructose is a FODMAP) are found in grains, vegetable, fruits and dairy products; reducing or eliminating them may improve symptoms. Additional fiber such as bran or psyllium fiber and laxatives can help with constipation, while anti-diarrheal medications can help with diarrhea. Medications called anticholinergics and antispasmodics may reduce bowel spasms. Some people with IBS may also have depression and may benefit from antidepressant medications or counseling. There are also two medications specifically for IBS. Alosetron (brand name Lotronex) helps relax the colon; its use is limited to women who have severe diarrhea. Lubiprostone (brand name Amitiza) is approved for women over 18 who have severe constipation.
If you have some of the symptoms listed above and think you might have IBS or have questions about IBS, please contact us at Peachtree Medical Center. Don’t forget to schedule your annual physical and remember that we do in-house blood work!
What is Diabetes and How Can I Prevent it?
Posted on March 20, 2017 by peachtree
Most Americans are aware that diabetes is a serious health concern, but many do not understand the disease or how to prevent it. At Peachtree Medical Center, we believe that providing honest, relevant and useful health information to our patients is part of good health care. To that end, we offer the following overview of diabetes and how to address this risk.
What Exactly is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to produce or regulate the hormone known as insulin. Insulin acts as a sort of “key” to open the cells and allow glucose to enter. That process is what gives us the energy to perform the daily tasks of our lives, both internally and externally. When insulin is not properly regulated, the volume of glucose in the cells is not optimal. Excess glucose enters the bloodstream, and the body’s metabolism is negatively impacted. Diabetes is a severe condition and can elevate a person’s risk for heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and even blindness and amputations.
What is the Difference Between Type I and Type II Diabetes?
In patients with type I diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. This is the least common form of the disease, and only 5% of those with diabetes are diagnosed as type I. Most patients with type I diabetes are placed on insulin therapy to stabilize their hormone levels. Type II diabetes, which is far more common, is also known as insulin resistance. It occurs when the body cannot properly use the insulin that is created. Fortunately, a combination of treatment and lifestyle modifications can allow patients with type II diabetes to live healthy lives.
What are the Risk Factors for Diabetes?
People who have a family history of type I diabetes have an elevated risk of developing the disease themselves. Regarding type II diabetes, one of the primary risk factors is failure to maintain a healthy weight, as well as having poor habits in relation to diet and exercise. There are online tools that people can use to measure their risk of developing diabetes. Scheduling regular doctor appointments can also help with screening. It is better to take a proactive approach, rather that addressing the issue only after becoming sick. Treatment options range from lifestyle modification to insulin therapy.
What Can I do to Assess my Level of Risk?
A great place to begin is by visiting the American Diabetes Association Website, where there is an online test to evaluate risk levels. For those who are concerned about the results, contact Peachtree Medical Center to schedule an appointment. We offer in-house blood work and can provide answers and advice on avoiding or treating diabetes during your office visit. As a reminder, American Diabetes Association Alert Day is on March 28th, which is just around the corner. This is a great time to learn more about the prevention, symptoms, and treatment of diabetes.
How to Eat More "Green" on St. Patrick's Day!
Posted on March 13, 2017 by peachtree
St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate with food and drinks, but it can also be an unhealthy one. While it’s common to enjoy a mug or two of beer or a sugary, green-colored milkshake and chow down on fatty foods, such as corned beef, these aren’t what your body needs. The good news is that you can still have a great time on this holiday while also making it greener regarding nutrition. Keep the following tips in mind for having a healthier St. Patrick’s Day:
Importance of Eating More Greens
Vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. These foods, which include kale, spinach, and other leafy greens, help ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs to maintain plenty of energy and stay healthy. While vegetables, in general, are good for you, leafy greens provide your body with important health benefits. These include promoting the production of immune cells in your gut that protect you from infections, inflammation and other health problems that can affect your digestive system. Eating more greens also lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.
How to Eat More Greens
If you’re not used to eating a lot of vegetables in your daily diet, there are several ways to include more. You can start having more vegetables each day in the following ways:
- Add kale or other dark leafy greens, as well as green peppers, to omelets or scrambled eggs for a healthier breakfast.
- Prepare a salad for lunch with baby spinach or kale as the base, then add green peppers, avocado, and other vegetables to it.
- Have baked or grilled chicken with low-fat cheese, spinach or kale, and other vegetables for a nutritious and green dinner.
- For snacks, choose healthy green foods, such as Granny Smith apples or nutrient-packed smoothies. You can get a whole lot of goodness in one drink. Bananas and blueberries are great at masking flavors if you aren’t a fan of some of the veggies that you’re using.
Green Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day
Consider making one or more of these for a healthy holiday:
- Herb and arugula baked eggs: Bake eggs, arugula, fresh herbs and green peppers in a skillet for breakfast.
- Blend kale, bananas, chopped mint, coconut milk, cocoa nibs and wheatgrass powder to make a green smoothie.
- Avocado mac and cheese: Make this comfort food with whole wheat pasta, avocado, shredded Pepper Jack cheese, lime juice and cilantro for a healthier version.
- Green tomato mozzarella sticks: Top sliced green tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and a bit of balsamic vinegar for a fresh snack or appetizer.
Keep in mind that eating healthier, especially by including more greens in your diet, is something you should do throughout the year, not just on St. Patrick’s Day. These foods provide your body with vital nutrients to help you stay in good health all year round.
Don’t forget that routine medical care is also an important part of staying healthy throughout the year. Contact Peachtree Medical Center for a check-up or if you have any questions for us.
Does Someone You Love Have an Eating Disorder?
Posted on February 28, 2017 by peachtree
Eating disorders aren’t always taken seriously. Don’t fall for the misconception that an eating disorder is “just a phase,” “a fad” or a way to “get attention.” Eating disorders are serious and can have some dangerous consequences. That is why the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has named Feb. 26th through March 4th National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. In a quest to educate the public and encourage early intervention, NEDA is offering free online screenings to help people recognize and get help for the disorder before it has detrimental and lifelong effects on their lives and bodies.
What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders come in many varieties. Starvation and purging are the most commonly known forms. Most people have heard about Anorexia Nervosa (limiting one’s caloric intake) and even Bulimia Nervosa (eating large amounts of food followed by purging), but few people understand the gamut eating disorders can take. There are many forms which can range from not eating at all to eating thousands of calories more than you should. An eating disorder is characterized by any type of irregular eating habits and distress about body shape and size that affects the way a person eats. This can result in self-induced starvation, overeating, purging, excessive exercise and more.
How Dangerous Are Eating Disorders?
Don’t be fooled into believing that eating disorders are not dangerous. Featuring the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, they can be deadly. The National Eating Disorder Association stresses the importance of prevention and early intervention when dealing with the disease. Risks can include everything from cavities to heart disease and organ shutdown. The most common health effects associated with this illness include:
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Muscle weakness
- Hair loss
- Tooth loss
- Gastric rupture (bulimia)
- Esophagus rupture (bulimia)
- Gallbladder disease
Signs That You or Someone You Love Suffer From an Eating Disorder
One of the most important things you can do for yourself or someone you love who may suffer from an eating disorder is recognizing its symptoms. Early intervention and treatment increase success in battling the disease dramatically. If you notice any of these signs, get professional help right away:
- Chronic dieting
- Dramatic weight fluctuations (either up or down)
- Ritualistic eating practices
- Food obsession
- Low self-esteem/body image
- Obsessing over calories, body image, etc.
- Lethargy, depression and/or mood swings
- Hiding food
Online Screening Available
As part of National Eating Awareness Week, NEDA is offering a quick 3-minute screening that can tell you if you or someone you love is at risk of developing (or is suffering from) and eating disorder. To complete this free, confidential screening, log onto www.screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/NEDA. In just a few minutes you can have a clearer picture of the problem and find the help you need.
Battling an eating disorder isn’t easy. It is a complex disease that needs professional help. At Peachtree Medical Center, we offer the kind of support that gets results. We’ve been treating eating disorders since 1985; Our trained staff understands the complexities of the disease and offer a variety of treatment methods to getting you and your loved ones back to stronger physical and mental health. Call today for more information on how we can help you battle the eating disordered in your life.
What Is the Difference Between Bacterial and Viral Infections?
Posted on February 15, 2017 by peachtree
Most people are aware that many types of illness are brought about by “germs.” Understanding what those germs are and how they work to make us ill is another matter. By and large, many common illnesses are caused by either bacteria or viruses, both of which fall under the umbrella of germs. There are differences, however, in how bacteria and viruses make us sick, and understanding these differences can help determine the best course of treatment.
Illness is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Matter
Both bacteria and viruses are incredibly tiny, and can only be seen with the use of a microscope. When it comes to size, bacteria have a distinct advantage. The smallest bacteria are still significantly larger than the largest viruses. The difference in size can be partly explained by the fact that bacteria can reproduce on their own, while viruses must be attached to a host to multiply. That is also why bacteria can live in a wide range of environments, both inside and outside of the human body. Viruses, on the other hand, cannot survive for very long once they are expelled from their host.
Occasional Heroes vs Predictable Villains
When it comes to the roles that bacteria and viruses play, bacteria are the clear winners. The vast majority of bacteria are harmless to human beings. In fact, some of them are necessary for our survival. Bacteria play a significant role in digestion, nutrition and immunity. That’s why you see probiotics for sale in the health food section of your grocery store, and why consuming bacteria-rich food such as yogurt is highly encouraged. You won’t find a virus supplement touted as the newest health craze, and for a good reason. Most viruses are harmful to humans, and some are even deadly. Viruses attack specific cells within the human body and can cause a great deal of damage.
Choose Your Weapons Carefully
Treatment approaches differ for a bacterial infection and a viral infection. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and can be incredibly effective. However, overuse of antibiotics can cause bacteria to evolve into stronger forms and is a serious public health issue. Viruses, on the other hand, are treated using antiviral drugs. Many viruses can be prevented by getting the proper immunizations, which has significantly improved life expectancy in developed nations.
At the end of the day, the difference between bacterial and viral infections may mean little to a person who is suffering from a bout of illness such as the common cold or the flu. When symptoms do not resolve over the course of a few days, or when worsening symptoms make it difficult to complete normal activities, it is time to call your doctor to determine the best course of treatment. At Peachtree Medical Center, our team of professionals is ready and willing to get to the bottom of your illness and determine the best course of action to get you back on your feet and back out into the world. Contact our office to schedule an appointment, or for any health-related questions or concerns.
What Is High Cholesterol & What Can I Do About It?
Posted on February 1, 2017 by peachtree
You’ve likely heard plenty on the news about high cholesterol, but do you really understand what it is and how it works? It’s likely that you’re harboring at least a few misconceptions because new research has transformed how doctors understand this condition over the last decade. Update your knowledge about high cholesterol and learn how to keep your levels under control.
What Is High Cholesterol?
You’re considered to have high cholesterol when the amount of this fat-like lipid in your blood surpasses a set amount based on your age and gender. Cholesterol is a substance found in many foods like eggs, but modern research shows that eating large amounts of dietary cholesterol does not always lead to high levels of it in the blood. For some people it does, but it’s the consumption of sugar that the body converts to cholesterol by the liver that is a bigger problem. Not all cholesterol is bad either. HDL, or high-density lipids, actually protect the heart, while LDL, or low-density lipids, threaten your health.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Aside from eating foods that are high in saturated fat or sugar, you can also trigger high levels of LDL in your blood by avoiding exercise. A sedentary lifestyle interrupts your body’s usual methods for dealing with cholesterol, allowing it to build up in your arteries instead. Cholesterol levels rise naturally as you age, so it’s essential to focus more and more on controlling them as you get older. Being overweight is also connected to having too much LDL in your bloodstream. Eating a healthier diet, getting active and reaching a healthy weight are three of the best ways to prevent or reverse high cholesterol. Quitting smoking is also essential, both to control LDL and to avoid secondary heart strain.
What Happens to the Heart?
You won’t notice any meaningful signs of your high LDL levels until your heart is damaged enough by reduced blood flow to threaten your life. Cholesterol sticks to the inside of your arteries, narrowing the passage and making it difficult for enough blood to get through to the heart. This leads to chest pain, shortness of breath and, eventually, a heart attack. Although heart attacks are far less fatal than they were in the past, you’ll greatly damage your heart health by waiting until an attack to get serious about cholesterol management.
What Treatments Are Available?
Aside from lifestyle changes, there is a wide range of medications available to help you lower your LDL levels and raise your HDL levels. Most doctors focus on life changes first, but you will need medication too if you’re in one of the higher risk categories. Don’t know your cholesterol profile right now? Make an appointment at Peachtree Medical Center to find out where you stand before it’s too late to fix the problem.
Register for Our Patient Portal Today
Posted on January 18, 2017 by peachtree
At Peachtree Medical Center, we believe the path to making and keeping patients healthy is by offering preeminent, compassionate, state-of-the-art care. That starts with open communication from our staff to you, which is why we’re encouraging all of our patients to register for our Patient Portal today.
What Is a Patient Portal?
The Patient Portal is basically your own secure website that connects you to your health care records and provides a way for us to communicate with you online anytime. It is a completely free service designed to improve your experience as our patient and provide you with the highest level of care.
After registering with us, you will be able to access the patient portal online whenever you want by entering your email address and password. When you access your personal portal you will be able to:
- Make appointments
- Request prescription refills
- Check in for appointments
- See your laboratory test results
- Receive messages from your health care team
- Get reminders when you are due for tests or treatments
- Pay invoices
- Access important medical information
Through our patient portal, you will have the ability to track prescription and immunization records, check your allergies and read information from past appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Because your information remains on the site, you can chart and track various aspects of your health and wellness. For example, you can view weight gain or loss, blood pressure patterns, changes in cholesterol and results from other laboratory tests.
We want to stress that patient portals are secure — no one can access your health information except you and your health care team unless you choose to share your password and username.
Providing Better Health Care for You
By registering for and using our patient portal, you are allowing your health care providers to give you an increased level of service. This state-of-the-art tool gives us the ability to provide you with detailed information about your health, communicate with you faster and more specifically, share medical information you can trust, and help you approach your health and well-being in a proactive manner.
Being proactive about your health means staying on top of preventive care, having regular appointments with your physician, getting your flu shot, and knowing when you are due for tests. You can stay on top of all of this with the patient portal.
Take Charge of Your Health Care: Register Today
According to the New York Times, even the Obama administration is promoting the benefits of patient access to medical records. Our patient portal does exactly that — it is convenient, allows for better communication, makes office visits more efficient and is completely free. Peachtree Medical Center is dedicated to providing you with the best possible medical care. Call us at 770.487.7807 and register for our patient portal today!
Setting Realistic Goals For the New Year
Posted on January 4, 2017 by peachtree
New Year’s Day is just around the corner, and for many Atlanta residents, it is an exciting time when the possibilities of the coming year seem endless, and change is in the air. Making resolutions is a tradition for many, and one of the most common areas of focus is improving health and wellness. For those who are considering a weight loss or fitness resolution this New Year’s, the following tips can help create a solid plan of attack.
Setting Distinct and Clear Goals
Many people make the mistake of focusing on a vague or poorly defined goal. They may want to lose weight during 2017 or to be more active. These are admirable goals, but it is difficult to create a plan of action around desires that are not fully outlined. To achieve results, it is necessary to make concrete goals that can be planned for, evaluated and tracked. An example might be “I am going to lose 10 pounds before summer break, then another 10 pounds before next Christmas.”
Break the Goal Down Into Measurable Steps
Once the overarching goal has been determined, the next step is to break that goal down into manageable chunks. When it comes to weight loss, simply establish a timeline for meeting the larger goal. For those who want to increase their fitness, the goal could be broken down into spending a specified number of 30-minute increments of exercise or being active each week or month.
Maintain Personal Accountability
Life can get in the way of even the most carefully planned goals. In order to maintain progress on your stated goals, it is important to have a system of accountability in place. That may mean working with a partner who has similar goals and meeting periodically to compare progress and encourage each other to stay on track with your diet or workout routines. Another way to remain personally accountable is to use goal-tracking software or apps that can help remind you to make progress and send encouragement when milestones are reached.
Focus on the Benefits, Not the Sacrifices
Improving health and getting in shape are very common goals, yet many people struggle with these goals year after year. One way to make 2017 the year that you reach or exceed your goals is to stay focused on the many positives that come with a healthier lifestyle. Losing weight and becoming more active can help you avoid injury and illness, improve sleep quality, boost mood and increase stamina. All of those things are worth remembering when you have a mile left to go on the treadmill, or the couch seems far more inviting than the gym.
At Peachtree Medical Center, our team sincerely hopes that you enjoy this holiday season. We feel strongly that health and wellness are excellent areas of focus for planning your 2017 New Year’s resolutions, and would like to be your partners in reaching those goals. Feel free to contact us or come in for a full physical to help determine the best weight loss or fitness program for your needs and goals.
Things to Do In Atlanta During the Holiday Season
Posted on December 21, 2016 by peachtree
With the holiday season now in full swing, many people from in or around the Atlanta area are looking for festive events to celebrate the season. With friends and family in town to visit, it is important to find events that can get everyone out of the house and into the holiday spirit. The team at Peachtree Medical Center is proud to offer the following suggestions on how to head out and embrace all that the holidays have to offer.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a family tradition during the Christmas season. More than 1 million lights are used to transform the Garden into a magical experience. The Tunnel of Light is a favorite feature and has been extended for the 2016 event. Garden Lights, Holiday Nights runs through Jan. 7, 2017.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
For those who are looking for cultural experience during the holiday season, look no further than the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s offerings. Christmas concerts range from traditional holiday music to a Celtic performance and a visit from the Vienna Boy’s Choir. Concerts are scheduled throughout the month of December.
Hit the Ice at Skate Atlantic Station
The Atlanta area’s largest outdoor ice skating rink offers the opportunity to hit the ice in style. Bundle up, grab the kids and head to Atlantic Station for a day or evening full of fun and laughter. This is a great family activity but is also a perfect date night. The skating rink is open daily through Feb. 19, 2017.
Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park
A local favorite during the warmer months, Stone Mountain is transformed into a winter wonderland during the holiday season with the creation of Snow Mountain. Visitors can tube down a 400-foot snow-covered slope, build a snowman or shoot snowballs at one another. Young children can experience their own tubing ride at Penguin Run. This event runs through Feb. 26, 2017.
Daring Acrobatics, Contortion and Music
The Cirque de la Symphonie returns to Atlanta for a holiday spectacular that is sure to become a family favorite. Featuring a range of jugglers, aerialists, acrobats and contortionists, this is a show that should not be missed. There is truly something for everyone and something to impress every guest. The performance is accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra and songs performed by this year’s Miss America, Betty Cantrell. The event only takes place on Dec. 20 and 21, so be sure to secure tickets early!
At Peachtree Medical Center, we know that the holiday season can be a busy time for Atlanta families. We encourage our existing patients and others in the area to set aside the time to take care of their health needs and to schedule an appointment for an annual checkup or flu shot. Our office is located within a half hour from the city center, and we have a range of appointment times to suit virtually any schedule!
7 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season
Posted on December 14, 2016 by peachtree
With the holidays right around the corner, many Georgia residents have busy schedules and plenty of things to accomplish in the coming weeks. Getting sick is not conducive to anyone’s holiday plans. Peachtree Medical Center offers the following tips for staying healthy this holiday season.
Get a Checkup
Before the holidays get into full swing, take the time to schedule a visit with your doctor for an annual screening. Check that all vaccinations are up-to-date, and discuss any health issues or concerns that you may have. Getting a flu shot is an excellent way to prevent illness during the winter months. Taking a proactive approach to health issues is key to a favorable outcome.
Most cold-weather illnesses are caused by viruses or bacteria — not by cold temperatures. However, there are serious health matters that can result from exposure to cold weather, especially for young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Be sure to bundle up before heading out into the cold!
Many families travel during the holidays, and it is important to take safety precautions while on the road. Children should always be safely secured using a car seat, booster seat or seatbelt. Keep in mind that the safest seating option changes as your child grows.
Avoid Undue Stress
Avoiding stress during the holidays is often easier said than done. Be sure to spend time with friends and loved ones, and maintain a balance between a busy schedule and time to relax and enjoy the holiday season. Sticking to a holiday budget can also do wonders to reduce stress.
Keep it Clean
One of the most basic, yet critical ways to prevent illness is through proper hand washing habits. Washing your hands for 20 seconds using soap and running water is the single most effective way to avoid illness. Hand washing is important throughout the year, but even more so during the holidays, when people gather at parties and events.
For smokers, the end of the year is an excellent time to begin a smoking cessation program. Non-smokers should also take care to limit their exposure to secondhand smoke during the holidays. Doing so can help avoid respiratory irritation and illness.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Be sure to implement or maintain healthy habits this holiday season. While the holidays are a time to enjoy traditional foods, holiday parties and treats, it is important to balance those indulgences with plenty of healthy options. Remaining active is also important during this time of year. A great goal is to aim for a minimum of two to three hours of exercise each week.
By incorporating these healthy habits into your winter holiday season, it is possible to enjoy this busy time free from illness. Peachtree Medical Center has available appointments for health exams and checkups and also offers flu shots with no appointment needed. Contact us today with any questions or concerns.
Urinary Tract Infections: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
Posted on November 1, 2016 by peachtree
A urinary tract infection, or a UTI, is a medical condition that is caused by an infection in the urinary system. These infections happen when bacteria is introduced into the urine and starts to reproduce. The infection generally begins at the urethra and then progresses upward further into the urinary tract. The type of bacteria that is most commonly associated with a UTI is Escherichia coli, or E. coli, which is located in the gastrointestinal tract.
A lower urinary tract infection, which makes up the majority of UTI cases, involves an infected urethra and bladder. An upper urinary tract infection occurs in the ureters and kidneys.
The type of symptoms a patient may exhibit will depend primarily on which part of the urinary tract is infected. An individual who has a lower urinary tract infection may experience symptoms such as:
- A burning sensation or pain during urination
- Urine that is bloody, has a foul odor or is cloudy in appearance
- The compulsion to urinate frequently, which often results in only a small amount of urine
- Bladder cystitis, or the inflammation and irritation of the bladder and urethra
Upper UTI symptoms can include those symptoms commonly with a lower UTI in addition to:
- Pain near the waist area, the side of the body or in the back
- Nausea and vomiting
- A fever with a very high temperature
UTI Treatment Options
Antibiotics are the most common treatment used to resolve a UTI. A patient’s general health condition, the type of bacteria that is present in the urine and the degree of infection are factors that may help determine the type of antibiotic a patient may receive. A simple infection may require antibiotic treatment that lasts for only a few days. UTIs that occur frequently may require antibiotics over a course of at least six months. A doctor may recommend hospitalization for very severe infections so that antibiotics can be administered intravenously.
Prevention of UTIs
Women are particularly at risk of a UTI because their urethra is located closer to the rectum than it is for men. The shorter urethra makes it easier for bacteria from the rectum to access the urinary tract. Sexual intercourse can also result in a UTI in women by pushing the bacteria into the urethra.
Patients can be proactive in preventing a urinary tract infection by:
- Making sure to regularly empty the bladder
- Drinking plenty of water
- Keeping genital areas clean and dry
- Urinating after sexual intercourse to remove any bacteria that may have entered the urethra
If you suspect that you may be suffering from a UTI, the staff at Peachtree Medial Center may be able to help you. We are an in-network provider for United Health Care and accept many other types of insurance. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to get back to wellness.
Why Should I Get the Flu Shot?
Posted on October 18, 2016, by peachtree
With the start of flu season in October, many clinics are now offering flu shots. These shots protect you from specific flu strains that commonly go around this time of year. If you’re normally healthy, you might not consider the flu shot a necessity, but there are some very important reasons to get one.
Why Should I Get a Flu Shot?
The seasonal flu, a.k.a. influenza, sends many people in the U.S. to the hospital every year. While many cases of this viral illness are mild, some can quickly become life-threatening, especially for those who are older or who have weakened immune systems. In fact, the flu is responsible for thousands of deaths each year, particularly among the elderly.
However, even adults who are young and healthy can develop serious complications that require a trip to the hospital. Those who work in medical settings or outdoors during the winter months also are at risk. Getting vaccinated against the flu can significantly lower your risk of having complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu shots for everyone over the age of 6 months except for those with severe allergies to flu vaccines or vaccine ingredients.
Doesn’t the Shot Make You Sick?
One of the biggest myths about flu shots is that they make people sick. This isn’t even possible since these vaccines do not contain live viruses. Keep in mind that it takes roughly two weeks for the shot to kick in and start protecting you from the flu, which is why it’s important to get it as early as possible. Those who complain about getting sick after getting a flu shot were likely infected with the flu already when they received it. It’s also possible that they ended up getting another viral illness that resembles the flu. When you get flu shots, you might feel a bit of soreness around the injection site. You might also have mild fatigue and aches while your immune system prepares to fight the flu, but this is normal.
Will My Insurance Cover It?
If you’re concerned about having to pay for flu shots, check with your insurance provider before seeing a primary care physician or family doctor. Many cover the cost of flu shots under the Affordable Care Act if you go to an in-network provider for it. This means you might not have to pay anything out-of-pocket for these shots each year!
If you haven’t had your flu shot yet this year, please contact Peachtree Medical Center at 770.487.7807 for an appointment with a primary care physician. We offer flu shots and other vaccinations, as well as other medical services. Keep in mind that we are an in-network provider for United Healthcare.
Is It a Headache or a Migraine?
Posted on September 9, 2016, by peachtree
Pain from a headache or a migraine can make it difficult to focus on work and perform daily tasks, such as driving. While some headaches are mild and respond well to nonprescription pain relievers, others are more severe or frequent, which can have a serious impact on everyday activities. Knowing how to tell the difference between headaches and migraines helps ensure that those who suffer from this type of pain receive the care they need.
Types of Headaches
Headaches are a common complaint, but they differ in terms of where pain occurs, what kind of pain occurs and how severe the pain is. There are several different types of headaches that affect people. These include tension headaches, cluster headaches, and sinus headaches.
- Tension headaches are usually mild and typically cause pain or pressure in the temples and front of the head. They can occur during times of stress or on a chronic basis in those who are experiencing ongoing stress.
- Cluster headaches cause severe, steady pain on the right or left side of the head and can last for minutes or hours. These headaches might also cause other symptoms, such as tears, and occur every couple of days or several times in one day.
- Sinus headaches occur in those who have sinus congestion, inflammation or other sinus problems, such as infections. These headaches generally cause pain behind the eyes and in the forehead.
Headaches vs. Migraines
Tension, cluster, and sinus headaches differ from migraines when it comes to the kinds of pain that occur and other symptoms that are present, as well as how often they occur. Unlike other types of headaches, migraines produce a pulsing pain on the right or left side of the head. Other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light and nausea, might occur with migraines. Some people experience symptoms before migraine pain starts or after it goes away. Migraines can occur every once in awhile or a few times a day, with pain and other symptoms lasting for a couple of hours or even for a few days.
When to Seek Medical Care
Having occasional mild headaches does not usually require medical care. Nonprescription pain relievers generally help ease pain caused by these headaches. Those who have frequent or severe headaches should see a primary care physician or family doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Recurring or severe headaches, as well as the presence of other symptoms with headaches, might indicate that migraines are occurring. These sometimes require the use of medications that are made for migraine relief, especially if these headaches occur often. Keep in mind that narcotics are not used to treat headaches or migraines.
If you have headaches or migraines, please contact Peachtree Medical Center at 770.487.7807 to see a primary care physician. We are an in-network provider for United Healthcare.
How to Understand Depression and Treat It
Posted on August 26, 2016, by peachtree
Feeling sad or down from time to time is normal, but longer or more intense periods of sadness when combined with other symptoms can be a sign of depression. This is a disorder that affects people emotionally and physically, causing people to feel sad, have a lack of energy and lose interest in their once-favorite activities. Understanding depression can help people learn to recognize its symptoms and get help from a medical or psychological professional.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
The signs and symptoms of this disorder depend on the type of depression that occurs. Major depressive disorder, also known as major depression or clinical depression, typically can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as sadness, hopelessness, a loss of interest in usual activities, sleep problems, mood changes, appetite changes, a lack of energy, trouble concentrating, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of death or suicide. These symptoms can be persistent and require long-term treatment. Depression is not feeling blue or something that a person can “snap out of” on his or her own. In order to be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, a person must have experienced symptoms for at least two weeks.
Other types of depression include bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder. Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, causes manic symptoms and symptoms of depression at different times. Manic symptoms include rapid talking, racing thoughts, impulsive and reckless behavior, irritability and high levels of energy. Seasonal affective disorder causes symptoms of depression to occur during winter as exposure to daylight decreases.
Causes of Depression
Major depression affects more than 15 million adults in the U.S. The underlying cause of this disorder is not fully understood, although certain factors might increase the risk of developing this disorder. These factors include abnormal levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, physical changes in the brain, hormonal changes, and inherited traits.
Treatments for Depression
Depression can interfere with daily life and have a negative impact on interpersonal relationships. Treatment helps those with this disorder manage their symptoms in order to improve their quality of life. Forms of treatment for depression include taking antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which help regulate the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. These medications can cause side effects ranging from mild to severe and should only be used under the guidance of a primary care physician or family doctor.
Other treatments for depression include psychotherapy or counseling. This helps those who have this mood disorder learn to manage their condition by recognizing negative thought patterns and replacing them with positive patterns. They also learn to handle stress in a healthy manner. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol, eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough sleep, can also help those with depression manage their symptoms.
If you or a loved one have been struggling with symptoms of depression, please call Peachtree Medical Center at 770.487.7807 to schedule an appointment with our primary care physician or family doctor. We can help determine if you have depression and discuss treatment options for managing this condition.
Peachtree Medical Center is an in-network provider for United Health Care.
Racing Heart: Anxiety Attack or Something More?
Posted on July 28, 2016, by peachtree
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. When a person encounters a stressful situation, such as being startled, the brain responds by kicking off a cascade of neurotransmitters and adrenal hormones to react to the situation. The presence of the adrenal hormones puts the body into full alert, sometimes called the “fight or flight” response. The heart beats faster and stronger, the pupils dilate to increase vision, and more support is sent to the muscles to fight off the offending stressor or to be able to make a swift escape.
People who suffer from anxiety attacks may have a problem where they go into this state without a substantial triggering event and additional symptoms can accompany the panic. These symptoms can closely resemble a heart attack or other cardiac event. Because the sensation of having a heart attack also can cause a patient to be afraid and trigger an anxious response, it then becomes a challenge for both the patient and the doctor to determine what the true cause of the rapid heart rate is.
Abnormal Heart Rate
Abnormal heart rhythms are actually quite common and may happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes they are benign and pose no real threat to the patient, but other times they are symptoms of underlying heart disease. People with anxiety attacks often have what is called sinus tachycardia, indicating that the rhythm is completely normal outside of being too fast.
However, many different types of heart rhythm issues, such as feeling irregular beats, fluttering or an inappropriate racing heart can sometimes point to an underlying problem that needs to be diagnosed and treated. These might be caused by heart failure, problems with a valve in the heart, arterial blockages, thyroid or other hormone problems, anemia or even neurological problems such as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).
Recognizing the symptoms and how they overlap is essential for patients to understand so that they may better communicate with the doctor.
Is it a Heart Attack or Something Else?
It is important to recognize the difference between a heart attack and other conditions that can cause rapid heart rate, such as a panic attack. Panic attacks typically occur as the result of a stressful situation. There is no exact known reason as to what causes someone to suffer from panic disorder, but it typically runs in families.
Women in their 20’s and 30’s are often at a higher risk for suffering panic attacks. The symptoms that are experienced during a panic attack, but not during a heart attack may include:
- Sweaty palms
- Flushed face
- Hot Flashes
- Feeling an overwhelming need to escape
- Muscle twitching
- Difficulty swallowing
Seeking Medical Care
Anytime you experience chest pain, it is recommended that you seek medical assistance. A doctor will order tests to monitor your heart rhythm, check blood for different markers, or look at the heart and its structure with an echocardiogram. The doctor will ask questions and want to know if the heart rhythm flutters or pounds before the patient becomes anxious, or if it only begins to pound in response to the anxiety. This will help he or she determine whether you’re suffering from a panic attack or something more serious.
Chest Pain: How to Identify Signs of a Heart Attack
Posted on July 14, 2016, by peachtree
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, often due to a build-up of cholesterol, fat and/or other substances that form plaque in the coronary arteries (arteries that feed the heart). The interruption of blood flow may cause damage to or destroy part of your heart muscle. Quick treatment is essential, so it is vital that you know the signs and symptoms of a possible heart attack.
Heart Attack Symptoms
It is extremely important to understand that not everyone who is having a heart attack will have the same symptoms or even the same severity of symptoms. Some people may have severe pain while others may experience mild or no pain. For some, the first sign/symptom may be sudden cardiac arrest. However, the more symptoms you have, the greater the likelihood is that you are having a heart attack.
Some heart attacks may strike suddenly, but it is common for many people to have warning signs and symptoms hours, days and even weeks in advance. The earliest warning sign is often angina (recurrent chest pain) that is triggered when exerted and relieved during rest. Angina is caused when there is a temporary decrease in the blood flow to the heart.
Common signs and symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pressure, pain, tightness, squeezing or an aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your back, neck and/or jaw.
- Cold sweat
- Nausea, heartburn, indigestion or abdominal pain
- Sudden dizziness or feeling lightheaded
A heart attack is different from cardiac arrest, which occurs when there is an electrical disturbance that disrupts the pumping action of your heart, causing the blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body. Cardiac arrest can be caused by a heart attack, but it is not the only cause. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a heart attack, it is critical that you call 911.
Women and Heart Attacks
Women may experience different symptoms than men. For example, women will usually feel a tightness or pressure in their chest, but they also often experience some other, less well-known symptoms. Women are more likely to die from heart disease or a heart attack than men as a result of delayed treatment or misdiagnosis. Because of this, it is critical that you know what symptoms to be aware of if you are a woman.
Some of the differences between men and women’s symptoms include:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, often misinterpreted as the result of the flu or stress
- Difficulty catching breath upon waking
- Discomfort in the upper body such as sharp pain that resembles an earache or a toothache in the neck, jaw, back or shoulder
- Pain in more than one location at a time
- Absence of chest pain or pain in the shoulder or arm
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
A person’s risk of developing heart disease depends on several factors, including lifestyle, age and family history. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly half of the American population (47 percent) has at least one of the three major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.
Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause damage to your heart and other organs, including your kidneys and brain. It also puts you at a higher risk of having a heart attack. The same goes for having high cholesterol. Both of these can be mitigated through lifestyle changes, such as eating a well-rounded, healthy diet and getting exercise.
Routine checkups are essential for staying heart healthy. Contact Peachtree Medical Center today to schedule an appointment for your well-exam or learn more about what you can do to reduce the risk of a heart attack. We are accepting new patients and we take many different types of insurance.
The Rise of Polypharmacy and How it Affects Seniors
Posted on June 3, 2016, by peachtree
Polypharmacy is a growing problem among older adults. This refers to patients who take four or more different types of prescription medications, supplements or over-the-counter drugs on a regular basis. Experts have found that an increasing number of older adults are taking several forms of medication, which can increase the risk of dangerous drug interactions or adverse reactions.
What Is Causing Polypharmacy?
The increase in polypharmacy in recent years is believed to be due in part to Medicare Part D drug coverage, which has helped make medications more affordable for seniors. More affordable prescription coverage means that more patients are seeing specialists and other health care professionals for health problems and taking medications that are prescribed for these issues compared to the past. Another reason for the rise in polypharmacy could be the recent medical advice to increase the use of statins for cholesterol problems.
Patients are also seeing different health care providers for different problems, which can raise the risk of dangerous reactions to medications. There are no guarantees that these health care providers are aware of all of the medications each patient takes, especially when they are not the ones prescribing them. In addition, more and more seniors are taking over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements, which can cause negative reactions with prescription medications or lower the potency of these medications.
It’s important for older adults to make sure that their health care providers are aware of all of the medications, supplements and nonprescription drugs they are taking in order to reduce the risk of adverse reactions or harmful interactions.
How to Lower the Risks of Polypharmacy
One of the most effective ways to reduce the risks associated with polypharmacy is by seeing one primary care physician. This physician can keep track of all of the medications each patient takes, including medications the physician prescribes and any medications that are prescribed by specialists. The primary care physician can also note whether or not the patient is taking any dietary supplements, herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs that could interfere with prescription medications.
This helps ensure that physicians and specialists aren’t prescribing medications that could lead to a higher risk of dangerous interactions with over-the-counter drugs or supplements. Having one primary care physician can significantly lower the risks that come with polypharmacy, which helps keep older adults safe, especially when they take a number of different medications for one or more health issues.
Regular appointments with a primary care MD are an important part of lowering your risk of adverse reactions to medication, especially if you take several. If you’re looking for a primary care doctor, contact Peachtree Medical Center at 770.487.7807 to set up an appointment. We’re currently accepting new patients and accept many insurance plans.
What is GERD and How Do I Treat It?
Posted on May 20, 2016, by peachtree
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid and other contents are pushed back up into your esophagus. GERD is a more serious form of gastroesophageal reflux, also known as heartburn or acid reflux. This disease can cause considerable discomfort, especially in the chest and abdomen. With medical care and lifestyle changes, however, you can manage the symptoms of GERD.
Symptoms of GERD
Common symptoms of GERD include frequent or persistent heartburn, bad breath, and discomfort in your upper abdomen or chest. You might also have nausea with or without vomiting, respiratory issues and difficulty swallowing.
When you have GERD, your tooth enamel can also erode due to exposure to stomach acid on a regular basis. This can cause dental issues, such as heightened sensitivity to heat and cold.
Causes of GERD
GERD can occur if the muscle in your lower esophagus is weakened or if it relaxes when it’s not supposed to. When this happens, the contents of your stomach come back up through your esophagus.
Underlying causes that can lead to lower esophagus problems include a rise in abdominal pressure from excess weight, smoking, Hiatal hernias and some types of medications, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and painkillers.
Treatments for GERD
When GERD is left untreated, complications can occur. These include inflammation of the esophagus, trouble swallowing if the esophagus becomes too narrow, and respiratory problems, such as asthma, pneumonia, and laryngitis. This disease can also lead to Barrett’s esophagus, a serious complication of GERD that can increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
GERD treatment options include lifestyle changes, medical care or a combination of both. The treatment you need depends on how severe GERD is for you. Some of the lifestyle changes that can help manage GERD symptoms include losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding lying down a few hours after eating, sleeping with the upper half of your body slightly raised and wearing clothes that fit loosely, especially around your abdominal area.
Certain types of over-the-counter and prescription medications can also help relieve symptoms of GERD, such as antacids, H2 blockers that cause your body to produce less acid, and proton pump inhibitors that reduce acid production and help the lining of your esophagus heal.
If these treatment options aren’t effective, your doctor might recommend surgery. A procedure known as fundoplication, which involves reducing reflux by putting more pressure on the lower part of the esophagus, is commonly performed for GERD. Endoscopic procedures can also be done to manage GERD symptoms, although they are not used as often. These involve making the muscle in your esophagus tighter by either using small stitches or creating heat lesions.
We Can Help
If you have been experiencing symptoms of GERD or if your current medications aren’t working, please contact Peachtree Medical Center at 770.487.7807 to schedule an appointment. We are currently accepting new patients and we take many different forms of insurance.
Do I Have a Common Cold or the Flu?
Posted on April 26, 2016, by peachtree
If you are experiencing a sore throat, a cough or aches, and pains, you might start wondering if you have a common cold or the flu. Flu symptoms will have you down and out for multiple days, possibly even weeks, while cold symptoms will usually make you feel bad for just a few days. The common cold usually doesn’t spiral into something more serious, but the flu can lead to more serious problems, such as pneumonia. Let’s take a look at a few indicators that will help you determine whether you are suffering from the flu or just a simple cold.
Common Cold Symptoms
A runny nose, sore throat, cough, and congestion are symptoms of the common cold. Some adults also experience a brief fever with their colds. The mucous exiting the nose begins as watery secretions and later turns darker and thicker. Cold symptoms typically last a week or less. If your cold lasts beyond a week and you still do not feel any better, it is time to see the doctor.
Flu symptoms are similar to those of the common cold but much more exaggerated. These symptoms typically manifest quicker than those of the common cold as well. Aside from a cough, sore throat, and muscle aches, other flu symptoms include headaches, a fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. These symptoms can last a full week or longer.
The Best Indicators
Most medical experts agree that the best way to determine if you have the flu or the common cold is to take your temperature. If your temperature is 101 degrees or higher, there is a strong chance that you have the flu. Such a fever will last multiple days while fevers associated with the common cold will be comparatively mild and short.
Additionally, the flu typically causes some nasty body aches, muscle pains, and particularly bad headaches. Those who are stricken with the flu commonly experience extreme exhaustion, typically at the beginning of their sickness, while those who suffer from the common cold rarely, if ever, suffer from exhaustion.
Significant chest discomfort also commonly occurs in those who suffer from the flu. Those who have a cold will experience a comparatively mild discomfort in the chest area. Furthermore, the flu causes fatigue and weakness that can last up to three weeks. Sure, you will feel tired and weak at times when you come down with a cold, but this fatigue will not extend beyond a couple of days.
Typical treatments for the common cold are decongestants, pain relievers, and medications that reduce fevers. These are all available over the counter. If you experience an infection while suffering from the common cold, antibiotics will be necessary. Those who have the flu will also benefit from using the above-referenced treatments. However, it is prudent for flu-sufferers to visit with a medical professional for additional assistance. In some instances, prescription antiviral drugs designed to combat the flu will be provided.
Peachtree Medical Center
If you suspect that you are coming down with either the common cold or the flu, don’t suffer in silence. Give Peachtree Medical Center a call today. We can help you recover and get back to 100 percent. We will work to get you back to your normal self so you can return to work or school as soon as possible. Call us today at 770.487.7807 to schedule an appointment.
7 Tips for Surviving Seasonal Allergies
Posted on April 12, 2016, by peachtree
Now that spring has officially sprung, many people are feeling as though they are drowning in a sea of pollen. It is hard to enjoy the beauty of budding trees and blooming flowers when you are so congested that you can barely breathe, or have itchy, watering eyes and a running nose. The team at Peachtree Medical Center has put together a list of tips to help you deal with seasonal allergies so you can get back out and into the swing of spring!
1. Eliminate Pollen From Your Home
During springtime, pollen is in the air, and this sticky substance has a way of getting into every nook and cranny imaginable. An effective way to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms is to take steps to remove pollen whenever possible. One tactic is to remove your clothing and take a brief shower as soon as you come home for the day. Increased vacuuming and dusting during the pollen season can also be helpful.
2. Block Pollen From Getting Into Your Eyes and Lungs
You should also take steps to protect yourself from allowing pollen or other allergens to get into your body. This means wearing glasses while outdoors, and those with severe allergies may even want to wear a mask when performing outdoor tasks such as gardening or lawn care. There are even special masks made for runners, which will allow maximum airflow while screening out many allergy-triggering substances.
3. Try DIY Treatments
Many people are able to keep their allergies under control using natural remedies. One popular option is using a Neti pot, which uses water to flush out the sinus cavity. Others find relief using remedies created from local honey, apple cider vinegar or nettle leaf. While these treatment options are not effective for everyone, they are also not harmful, so giving them a try is definitely worth the effort.
4. Take an Oral Antihistamine
Today’s options are far improved over the Benadryl of decades past. Medications such as Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec can provide relief from itching sensations, which can help reduce sneezing. Best of all, these medications do not have the same sedating effect as Benadryl.
5. Look Into Taking an Intranasal Steroid
For some, the fastest path to relief from seasonal allergy symptoms lies in the use of an intranasal steroid. These medications can reduce the occurrence of congestion, sneezing, runny nose or watery, itchy eyes. Flonase is a good option and is available in both over-the-counter and prescription strengths.
6. For Persistent Congestion, Try Sudafed
Sudafed can help alleviate serious congestion, but it is important to know that the version sold over-the-counter will not be effective in reducing allergy-related congestion. It is necessary to get the prescription version, which is known as Sudafed-pseudoephedrine. Some people are unable to tolerate these medications, as they can cause problems with sleep and an increased heart rate. Be sure to speak with your doctor to make sure that this is a good option for you.
7. Be Aware of Your Symptoms and When They Appear
It can be difficult to remember while one is suffering, but tracking symptoms can be very important for future preventative care. Be sure to keep a journal of when symptoms occur and which activities or scenarios seem to trigger or worsen those symptoms. This will give you and your physician the information needed to structure a course of action for the following allergy season.
At Peachtree Medical Center, our team is here to assist you with any questions or concerns that you might have concerning seasonal allergies and the various treatment options. Feel free to schedule a consultation today, and look forward to enjoying those warm spring breezes once again!
What is Osteoporosis and How Can I Prevent It?
Posted on March 29, 2016, by peachtree
Your bones are constantly tearing themselves down and building new bone. If you develop osteoporosis, however, bone-building slows and your bones become weak and brittle.
These brittle bones are more susceptible to breaking, especially in the hip, wrist, and spine. Some medications may also increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially steroids, which may be used for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. A healthy diet and exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen weak bones.
All About Osteoporosis
Typical symptoms of osteoporosis include back pain, gradual loss of height and stooped posture. A fracture, which would not normally be expected from a minor injury, may be the first indication of osteoporosis.
Bone mass develops during your teens and 20s. By the time you reach 30, you usually have as much bone mass as you will ever get. Women, especially whites and Asians, become more susceptible to osteoporosis after menopause.
Other factors that affect osteoporosis are family history, short stature, thyroid problems, lifestyle choices (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and lack of exercise), as well as some medical conditions and treatments. In addition to steroids, medications for seizures, gastric reflux (heartburn) and organ transplant rejection may increase your susceptibility to osteoporosis.
Making a Diagnosis
The best way to find out if you have osteoporosis is to have a bone density test called a DEXA scan. This non-invasive imaging study is similar to an X-ray and shows the thickness of the bone throughout the body.
It can show if your bone has started to thin. All women should be screened for osteoporosis by age 65, and some guidelines recommend screening men by age 75. Younger men and women who have chronic medical conditions, such as kidney disease, also should be scanned.
Diet and Exercise
Lifestyle makes a difference with osteoporosis for many people. Exercise and diet are two of the most important strategies.
Regular weight-bearing exercises, like walking, jogging and weight-lifting, help strengthen bones. Swimming, cycling and using an elliptical trainer, while good for your heart, are not weight-bearing exercises.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 50, you need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. At age 50 for women and age 70 for men, this figure increases to 1,200 milligrams per day.
Dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables, canned salmon or sardines (with bones), soy products and calcium-fortified foods help provide your daily calcium intake. Some people may also need to take calcium supplements. Just ask your family doctor before you add any supplements to your diet.
In addition to calcium, you need vitamin D, which helps your body absorb the mineral. You may get enough from sunlight, but one way to find out is to have your vitamin D levels checked with a blood test.
Your primary care physician can check for osteoporosis at your yearly physical. If you don’t currently have a family practitioner, call Peachtree Medical Center. We can help you find a family doctor and answer any questions you might have about osteoporosis and any other medical issues. Call us at 770.487.7807 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.
Health Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation
Posted on March 15, 2016, by peachtree
Mindfulness and meditation might make you think of serene beaches with soft, fragrant breezes, and that’s a good thing because these thoughts can reduce stress and improve your health. Although meditation has a long history, research on its benefits is still in the early stages.
There is some evidence, however, that meditation can help with anxiety and depression. Talk to your family doctor about what meditation might do for you.
Mindfulness or Meditation?
Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, mindfulness and meditation are not the same. Mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment, while meditation is a process of training the mind or inducing a particular state of consciousness.
When combined, the two techniques train the mind to focus on the present moment and let go of emotional “clutter” and negative thoughts that increase depression or anxiety.
What Meditation Does
There is evidence that meditation actually changes the structure of the brain, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
Your brain is made of millions of cells called neurons that are interconnected. The system is neuroplastic, meaning it can change in response to the environment, which includes your thoughts and the chemicals in your body.
For example, if you are constantly stressed, your body secretes a hormone called cortisol. People with chronic depression can have disrupted cortisol levels. Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to lower cortisol levels.
The NCCIH says that practicing meditation on a regular basis can lower your blood pressure and may reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Research also suggests that meditation can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Meditation may even help reduce the severity and length of an acute illness like the flu or a cold. However, there is no definitive evidence that meditation can help decrease pain or help people stop smoking. Unlike medications, meditation has no side effects and costs nothing to try.
How Do You Do It?
Meditation comes in many different flavors, but most meditation practices have four major similarities. First, you need a quiet location with minimal distractions. Using the same posture each time helps train your body and mind.
Focus your attention on a word or set of words, a specific object or just on your breathing. Keep your mind open — let distractions come and go without getting involved in judging them. Some people can learn to meditate on their own while others do better with a coach or an aid, such as a meditation CD.
For optimum health, you need a healthy diet, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep. Your primary care physician will also tell you that you should reduce your stress (which may help with all the other basics of health) and have regular checkups.
At Peachtree Medical Center, we have your best interests at heart and want you to be as healthy as you possibly can be. Our physicians and staff focus on wellness as well as disease management. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
The Importance of Getting Your Thyroid Checked
Posted on March 1, 2016, by peachtree
Staying healthy means paying attention to the big things: diet, exercise, sleep, and other healthy habits. It also means keeping an eye on the small things, like your thyroid gland. No bigger than two thumbs held together, this little gland can affect your entire body. Too much thyroid hormone and your heart races. Too little and you feel sluggish, tired easily and may be overweight. Good reasons to get your thyroid checked, huh?
All About the Thyroid
For such a small gland, the thyroid can have big effects. That’s because thyroid hormones affect your metabolism, which means they affect every single organ in the body. Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid, is the most common thyroid condition. It’s often the primary cause of chronic fatigue. Untreated, it can contribute to depression and dementia, and hypothyroidism has been associated with numerous health problems. Among these are mild high blood pressure, glaucoma, and kidney problems.
Thyroid and Your Heart
Thyroid hormones affect the heart rate and output. One of the thyroid hormones, T3, has a direct effect on the heart. T3 relaxes the smooth muscles in the blood vessels, which helps keep them open so blood can flow. Hypothyroidism is associated with unhealthy cholesterol levels. It can slow the heart rate and increase the risk of high blood pressure. If you already have heart disease, it can increase the risk of heart failure. Research doesn’t show a direct link between having hypothyroidism and developing heart disease, although some studies suggest a connection.
Special Issues for Women
If you’re female, you have even more reasons to get your thyroid checked. For one thing, hypothyroidism can affect fertility. It can disrupt your menstrual cycle, and if you do get pregnant, low thyroid can increase the risk of miscarriage. Once menopause hits, women often complain of symptoms like insomnia or sleep disruption, fatigue, and memory problems. Many of these are actually symptoms of low thyroid levels.
How to Get Checked
It’s easy to check your thyroid, and it can be done during a routine physical. Your family doctor or primary care physician will start with an overview of symptoms, particularly some of the more obvious ones related to low thyroid, like being overweight, thinning hair, feeling cold all the time or dry skin. Next, a blood test is in order. At Peachtree Medical Center, you can have your blood drawn in the office, so you don’t need to make another stop. Results are usually available within a day or so. If your test results show your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, you can take a medication to increase hormone levels.
Here at Peachtree Medical Center, we do our best to offer compassionate, professional care and pleasant surroundings. Our services include preventive health, women’s health, and geriatrics. We are currently accepting new patients and take Medicaid and Medicare as well as private insurance. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
New Dietary Guidelines For the New Year
Posted on February 16, 2016, by peachtree
Now that the new year has arrived, it is time to reevaluate your dietary intake. The foods and drinks you consume really do make an enormous impact on your health. A diverse diet full of unprocessed, fresh foods can decrease the potential for chronic diseases such as diabetes. Let’s take a look at the types of foods you should incorporate into your diet in 2016 and beyond.
Fruits and Vegetables
If you eat fruits and vegetables only a couple of times per week, it is time to up your intake of these vitally important foods. Leafy greens, multicolored vegetables, and fresh fruits provide your body with essential nutrients that will reduce the odds of chronic disease. You can also substitute some leafy greens in place of dairy as greens like spinach are rich in calcium. Food experts far and wide agree that dairy isn’t as healthy as once assumed. You don’t have to completely cut dairy out of your diet, yet eating leafy greens for a portion of your daily recommended calcium intake is better than strictly relying on dairy.
Add Nuts and Seeds
Though many types of nuts are high in fat, they are also chock full of protein. Protein is the primary building block of life. Snack on nuts in between meals to increase your energy. Aside from being healthy, nuts and seeds like peanuts, walnuts, cashews and sunflower seeds taste amazing. Also, the fat in nuts is quite filling so they’ll help you bridge the gap between meals that are spaced five or six hours apart.
Decrease White Foods
It is imperative that you reduce your consumption of white foods. These include white rice, pasta, cakes, cookies, bread, pastries, and crackers. Switch to whole grains. If you can’t make a full conversion to whole grains, opt for one-half white and one-half whole grains. The problem with white foods is that they are completely stripped of their nutrients. They are full of empty calories that do not help the body in any way. Such white foods are the equivalent of consuming pure sugar because that is exactly what they become after digestion.
Graze Throughout the Day
Think of your body as a fire that will go out if it is not fed a constant supply of fuel. You can keep your energy levels up by grazing throughout the day. This means eating small meals spaced out across the day rather than two or three large ones. Grazing will boost your metabolism, make you feel more full and reduce overeating that often occurs at traditional large meals.
Avoid Processed Foods
Do your body an enormous favor by cutting out processed foods. These foods are full of artificial sugar, artificial flavors, salt and fat that do not benefit the body in any manner. Consume fresh foods straight from the farm to maximize the number of vitamins and nutrients absorbed by your body. Such foods have natural sugars that will not sabotage your health like those added sugars found in processed foods.
Peachtree Medical Center for Internal Medicine
If you are concerned about your health or simply want to learn more about the proper dietary guidelines, ask your family doctor or primary care physician for help. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come see us at Peachtree Medical Center. We’ve been serving Atlanta residents for over 25 years. Our registered dietitian is on-site to educate you about nutrition or provide obesity counseling. Reach out to us today for more information about how we can improve your well-being.
Yearly Physicals Can Help You Become and Remain Healthy and Happy
Posted on February 1, 2016, by peachtree
Many of us take our health for granted and give very little attention to the inner workings of our bodies until something goes wrong. This approach, however, is seriously flawed. In order to maintain good health and stave off any health issues, a more proactive approach is called for. It is difficult to overstate the power of prevention in health care and the role that each and every one of us has in regard to taking steps to ensure long and healthy lives. Annual physician visits and accompanying health screenings are important components of a healthy life and should be a part of everyone’s large-scale health plan.
The Role of Your Family Doctor
Your family physician plays an integral role in the health of you and your loved ones. Finding a good doctor and trusting him or her to guide your healthcare is the first step in attaining and maintaining excellent health. One of the most important reasons to establish a good relationship with a family physician is continuity of care. At Peachtree Medical Center, we keep thorough records on all of our patients. This allows us the ability to track their health over time. If any changes occur from one visit to the next, we have a baseline of data from which to draw conclusions. From that point, we can diagnose any existing conditions or recognize signs that one of our patients is at risk for certain problems.
The Power of Health Screenings
Your doctor will be aware of any screenings that are needed based on your age, health status and the presence of any significant risk factors. Certain screenings become necessary as we age while others are only required if there are signs that a problem is occurring. Some of the more common screenings are:
- Heart Health
- Bone Density
- Cancer Screening
- Skin Cancer Mapping
- Diabetes Screening
It is important to note that not everyone will share the same list of needs.
Stay Up to Date
One of the best ways to stay up-to-date on your health screenings is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Some patients find it helpful to schedule their annual physical near their birthday so that it is easy to remember each year. Others rely upon their physician’s use of text messages, email or mailings to stay on top of these appointments. No matter how you choose to remember to come in for a yearly exam and screenings, the benefits to your overall health are immeasurable.
During your physical, many common health screenings can be taken care of, which saves time. In addition, most insurance plans cover these screenings as preventative care, which means that there will be little or no added expense. At Peachtree Medical Center, we have an on-site lab where we can process many types of screenings. Our staff can also assist in coordinating any additional screenings that may be required. We accept most forms of insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare. Contact our office to set up an appointment or schedule a health screening.
What is Blood Pressure and How Can I Control It?
Posted on January 18, 2016, by peachtree
Every time your heart beats, blood is pumped through your body to give it the oxygen and energy it needs for survival. As the blood travels through your body, it pushes against the sides of blood vessels, which causes slight pressure. This pressure is your blood pressure. It is important to maintain a steady blood pressure and visit your family doctor routinely to read your blood pressure because when it is too high, it puts additional stress and strain on your arteries and heart, which may lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Reading Blood Pressure
When you visit the medical center to have your blood pressure read, your primary care physician or the nurse will place a cuff around your arm. This cuff will measure your blood pressure. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury and is written as two numbers — your systolic blood pressure and your diastolic blood pressure. The first number is the systolic blood pressure, which is the highest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart beats. The bottom, or second number, is the diastolic blood pressure, which is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches while your heart relaxes between the beats.
Normal Blood Pressure
The ideal blood pressure reading is below 120/80 (read as “120 over 80”), so the systolic blood pressure is 120 and the diastolic blood pressure would be 80. When blood pressure is at this level, you have a lower risk of stroke or heart disease. If your blood pressure rises above this level, your family doctor will recommend ways to lower it, which may include a change in diet and/or medications. If your blood pressure is significantly high, you may be diagnosed with what is known as hypertension.
High Blood Pressure
You may not feel or notice high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, so the only way to know what your blood pressure level is to have it routinely measured. If you consistently have blood pressure readings of 140/90 or higher, you may have hypertension. You may also have hypertension if only one of the numbers stays higher than normal for several weeks. High blood pressure can be life-threatening because the higher pressure is putting increased strain on your blood vessels and heart. Over time, the increased strain will increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure can also lead to kidney disease.
Causes of Hypertension
Although there may not be any single cause for having high blood pressure, there are several things that may put you at a higher risk, including:
- Eating too much salt
- Not getting enough exercise
- Being overweight
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
If you only have occasional high blood pressure, your primary care physician may recommend a change in lifestyle that includes eating healthy and getting an appropriate amount of exercise. However, if you have chronic hypertension, your doctor may prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure. It is extremely important that you visit your family doctor routinely if you have high blood pressure and are taking medications to lower it. Your doctor will want to make sure the medications are working and that you are not experiencing any negative side effects.
For more information on hypertension or to schedule an appointment to learn if you are at risk of high blood pressure, contact Peachtree Medical Center.