February 14, 2006




About the Newsletter




Tami gains extra certification

TamiFeb2006 (37K)

Pisgah Family Health's nurse and phlebotomist Tami Fisher recently had the opportunity to complete the Phlebotomy Skills Training: NCCLS Venipuncture & Skin Puncture Procedure course offered in Asheville. She was able to advance her phlebotomy skills and also learn new techniques and the latest protocols for Venipuncture and Skin Puncture Procedures.

Congratulations Tami!

Medical Student working at PFH

ZachBoas (20K)

During the months of February and March, Dr. Curran will be teaching Zachary Boas, a second-year medical student from Duke University. Zachary is 24 years old, originally from Sandusky, Ohio, and attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate. He has completed a year of medical science training, and a semester of clinical rotations, including Pediatrics, Surgery, and Psychiatry. His Family Medicine rotation will include supervision in our office taking medical histories, performing physical exams, and formulating treatment plans.

Office Hours

  • Our normal office hours are 9-5 Monday through Thursday, and 9-12 on Friday.
  • We will be closed on Friday, February 10.
  • We will be closed on Friday, March 10.
  • We will be closed on Friday, April 14.
  • When the office is closed, emergency care is available at the Urgent Care Centers, and at Mission/Saint Joseph hospitals ER.  Telephone calls are handled by Dr. Curran’s call partners.

Office Reminders

With the new year, do your medications cost more? If you have changed insurance plans, signed up for Medicare Part D, or your plan has a new pharmacy benefit, your medications may change in cost. Unfortunately, each pharmacy plan has unique benefits, and PFH cannot predict which medications will be covered on your plan. If you want help choosing less expensive medications, you MUST bring in your medication formulary. A formulary is the list of medications covered by your plan, including any differential cost teirs. This information should be available in your benefits package, or on-line. Check your insurance card for a phone number or website for your pharmacy benefits.

Medical news

Girls and Women in Sports

February is National Girls and Women in Sports month. There is no better way to ensure a lifetime of fitness than to develop a love of sport. We have highlighted a few organizations that are active locally in promoting sporting options for girls and women.

UCNA will host its annual Girls and Women in Sports Day this April 22nd. This is an opportunity for girls to learn a new sport and meet strong women role models. For more information, contact Allison Daines, of the Parks and Recreation Stevens Lee Center: 350-2058.

Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina

OUR VISION: Girls on the Run is a life-changing educational and running program for girls in 3rd-5th grades. Girls on Track is for girls in 6th-8th grades. The 14-week program combines training for a 5k (3.1 miles) running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting team exercise activities. The Girls on the Run mission is to prepare and educate girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. The program encourages positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. By encouraging physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, we hope to instill a life-long habit of exercise and healthy living. The goal of Girls on the Run is to empower girls early in their lives to find strength, courage, and self-respect from within and draw upon it throughout their lives. The national objective is to help prevent teenage pregnancies, substance abuse and eating disorders. The Girls on the Run program is based on studies that show:

  • Girls who participate in sports experience higher levels of self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as lower levels of depression than girls who do not participate.
  • Developing critical thinking and stress management skills can also be by-products of participation in organized sports and fitness programs.
  • Learning healthy exercise habits early in life increases the chances that the girls will continue these habits into adulthood.

OUR APPROACH: The Girls on the Run curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run volunteer coaches at various sites throughout the community including schools, churches and fitness & community centers. The 3-part curriculum offers participants a chance to examine their world and their relationships to others. Some of the specific issues that sessions address are:

Self-Esteem * Body Image * Nutritional Awareness * Dangers of Drugs
Alcohol * Emotional Health * Good Communication Skills

Our 14-week program also includes a community service project and ends with all girls running or walking in a non-competitive 5k community running event with their GOTR team members & coaches to experience a powerful sense of accomplishment at the finish line!

GOTRlogo (3K) "Educating and preparing girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living." girlsontherunwnc@gmail.com

February is Heart Health month

For most of us, heart health starts with a healthy diet. To reduce your LDL-cholesterol and raise your HDL-cholesterol, choose foods that are low in fat (especially poly-unsaturated fats), low in refined sugar, and low in cholesterol. Fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains should be increased. In general, avoid foods in the following categories:

  • Fried foods
  • Red meats
  • Rich milk products
  • Animal fats and oils

For more details, check out these references:
American Heart Association "Delicious Decisions" interactive cookbook: http://www.deliciousdecisions.org/
More low-cholesterol and heart healthy recipes: http://cholesterol.about.com/od/hearthealthyrecipes/

5 Steps to a Healthier Heart

Quick! Can you name five things you can do to help your heart keep beating strong for years to come? Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for both men and women. But research indicates that most heart attacks and other causes of heart disease death could be prevented.

1) Blood Pressure

One of the strongest predictors for heart disease is measured in two numbers -- your blood pressure. You hear the numbers, but do you know what they mean? The first or top number is systolic blood pressure -- the pressure of blood against artery walls during a heartbeat, when the heart is pumping blood. The second number is diastolic blood pressure -- the pressure of blood against artery walls between heartbeats, when the heart is filling with blood.

  • Normal blood pressure is 119/79 or below.
  • Prehypertension is 120-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic.
  • Hypertension is over 140 systolic or over 90 diastolic

Do these numbers seem a bit lower than you remember? What's considered a normal blood pressure was redefined in May 2003 when guidelines were revised to include a new category -- prehypertension. Experts recommend that people with prehypertension -- an estimated 45 million men and women -- make heart-healthy lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of blood pressure complications, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.

2) Cholesterol

Probably the most familiar heart disease risk factor, cholesterol is a type of fat that is an essential nutrient for your body. However, too much cholesterol -- or not enough of the good type of cholesterol -- floating around in your blood increases your risk for hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Cholesterol is considered abnormal when:

  • Total cholesterol is 200 or higher.
  • HDL or "good" cholesterol level is less than 40.
  • LDL or "bad" cholesterol is more than 130 (or 100 if you have risk factors) -- with 160 and above being very high. However, the lower the LDL, the lower your cardiac risk.

3) Body Weight

People often ask "How much should I weigh" For the purposes of heart health, Ideal Body Weight is actually below the average American weight. An easy way to calculate ideal weight based on your height is as follows:

  • Men: 106 pounds + 6 pounds for each inch of height over 5 feet.
  • Women: 100 pounds + 5 pounds for each inch of height over 5 feet.
  • Weight over 125% ideal body weight is considered obese.
  • Weight over 150% ideal body weight is considered morbid obesity.

A newer calculation is called Body Mass Index. BMI uses a person's weight and height to gauge total body fat. You can use WebMD's BMI calculator to determine your BMI.

  • A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is ideal.
  • A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight.
  • A BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity.
  • A BMI of 40 or more indicates morbid obesity

Morbid Obesity increases your risk of death from any cause by 50% to 150%, according to The Cleveland Clinic.
Both Ideal Body weight and BMI may need to be corrected for individuals with high muscle mass.

4) Blood Sugar

Overweight and too little exercise -- that's what greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. It's nothing to take lightly because it can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and even blindness. A fasting blood sugar test -- after not eating or drinking anything but water for at least 12 hours -- is most commonly used to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

  • A normal fasting blood sugar is 100 or less.
  • Prediabetes is a fasting blood sugar of 101 to 125.
  • A fasting blood sugar over 125 indicates diabetes.

The bottom line is, take diabetes very seriously.

5) Exercise

Yes, you've heard it all before. But we're not talking about an unreasonable commitment here. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends aerobic exercising three to five days a week for 30 to 45 minutes. This doesn't mean strapping on the leotards and joining others in the gym. Exercise that strengthens the heart comes in all shapes and sizes -- biking, swimming, and jogging, to name a few. "Walking is perfectly fine," says Crouch. "Anything is better than nothing, but 30 minutes a day is what we recommend."

Originally published Sept. 3, 2004. Medically updated Jan. 6, 2006.
SOURCE: http://www.webmd.com. Michael Crouch, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise.

Sexual Health: Your Guide to Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases, commonly called STDs, are diseases that are spread by having sex with someone who has an STD. You can get a sexually transmitted disease from sexual activity that involves the mouth, anus, vagina, or penis. STDs are serious illnesses that require treatment. Some STDs, like AIDS, cannot be cured and are deadly. By learning more about STDs, you can find out ways to protect yourself. More information is available at www.webMD.com on the following STDs.

  • Genital Herpes
  • Genital warts / Human papilloma virus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chlamydia
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Trichamonis

What Are the Symptoms of STDs?

Sometimes, there are no symptoms. If symptoms are present, they may include one or more of the following:

  • Bumps, sores or warts near the mouth, anus, penis or vagina
  • Swelling or redness near the penis or vagina
  • Rash on or near the genetalia
  • Painful urination
  • Weight loss, loose stools, night sweats
  • Aches, pains, fever, and chills
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • Discharge from the penis or vagina (Vaginal discharge may smell bad.)
  • Bleeding from the vagina other than during a monthly period
  • Painful sex
  • Severe itching near the penis or vagina

How Do I Know if I Have an STD?

Talk to your doctor. He or she can examine you and perform tests to determine if you have a sexually transmitted disease. If you think that you have an STD, it's important to see your doctor. Treatment can:

  • Cure many STDs
  • Lessen the symptoms of STDs
  • Make it less likely that you will spread the disease
  • Help you to get healthy and stay healthy

How Are STDs Treated?

Many STDs are treated with antibiotics. If you are given an antibiotic to treat an STD, it's important that you take all of your medicine, even if the symptoms go away. Also, never take someone else's medicine to treat your illness. By doing so, you may make it more difficult to treat the infection. Likewise, you should not share your medicine with others.

How Can I Protect Myself From STDs?

Here are some basic steps that you can take to protect yourself from STDs:

  • Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent STDs.
  • Use a latex condom every time you have sex. (If you use a lubricant, make sure it is water-based.)
  • Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to catch an STD.
  • Practice monogamy. This means having sex with only one person. That person must also have sex with only you to reduce your risk.
  • Choose your sex partners with care. Don't have sex with someone whom you suspect may have an STD.
  • Get checked for STDs. Don't risk giving the infection to someone else.
  • Don't use alcohol or drugs before you have sex. You may be less likely to use a condom if you are drunk or high.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of STDs. Look for them in yourself and your sex partners.
  • Learn about STDs. The more you know about STDs, the better you can protect yourself.

How Can I Prevent Spreading a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

  • Stop having sex until you see a doctor and are treated.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for treatment.
  • Use condoms whenever you have sex, especially with new partners.
  • Don't resume having sex unless your doctor says it's okay.
  • Return to your doctor to get rechecked.
  • Be sure your sex partner or partners also are treated.

Source: www.webmd.com

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D is now in effect, much to the consternation of medicare recipients. The wide array of drug benefits is very confusing. The financial benifit to an individual can only be determined based on the specific medications he or she is purchasing. Unfortunately, our office does not have the information or resources to help our patients find the right drug plan. However, there are many good resources available on-line to help in this process.

http://www.medicare.gov/default.asp The government's site has several pages of information on the new plan, including a guide to local plans.

http://www.webmd.com/ WebMD is a commercial site with excellent resources on the new benefit.

http://www.coabc.org/default.htm The Council on Aging has a website, as well as local classes on the benefit. They offer a live person who will sit with you and evaluate your options. This is the most user-friendly local resource.

http://www.aarpmedicarerx.com/ The AARP supported this benefit, let them explain it to you.

http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/promotion?pid=5803 CVS's website has basic information. Their stores offer commercial brochures from the various plans' vendors.

Health Links

For more health information, check out these links:

About our Newsletter

Dr. Curran and the staff at Pisgah Family Health are proud to publish the Pisgah Family Health News to our patients.  Our goal is to provide regularly updated information about the office and current medical topics.  We plan to publish a new issue each quarter with breaking news.  The newsletters will also be archived on our website, http://www.pisgahfamilyhealth.com/

Privacy:  We promise to use your Email address only for the purpose of sending this newsletter.  We will not give your Email address to any other organization.  We do not use Email to discuss personal medical issues.  If you want to be removed from our Email list, reply to this newsletter with the subject “unsubscribe me”.

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