cervical health

January is Cervical Health Month at MSCI

Women’s health is an important subject to talk about. January is Cervical Health Month around the country, and MSCI is doing its part to educate our patients on how to enjoy their best health possible. Cervical health involves screening in particular for HPV and cervical cancer. For women, an annual screening can help with early detection and prevention of cervical cancer, and the HPV vaccine can prevent HPV.

Here are a few facts about HPV:

·         Nearly everyone, men and women, will contract HPV at some point in their lives; however, HPV will go away on its own most of the time (9 out of 10 times)

·         HPV affects 79 million Americans

·         When HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems, including genital warts and HPV-related cancers. These include cancers of the penis, vulva, cervix, vagina, or anus

·         Every year, almost 31,000 men and women will develop cancers associated with HPV. Around 28,000 of these cases could be prevented by the HPV vaccine

·         HPV can be spread even when there are no signs or symptoms

·         Symptoms of HPV can develop years after being infected

·         The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV from spreading

·         It is recommended by the CDC that all kids ages 11-12 should get two shots of HPV vaccines, twelve months apart

Cervical cancer is another disease that can be screened. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. Detecting cervical cancer usually results in a successful treatment. To screen for cervical cancer, doctors perform a Pap test. The test checks to see if there are any abnormal cells of the cervix, and if detected, doctors can usually begin treatment right away.

If you need to find an OBGYN in Irving, you can contact our specialists Dr. Frans Beltran and Dr. Kristen Carmichael. Both doctors offer comprehensive women’s health services to help women of any age enjoy their best health. You can learn more about both of these doctors by visiting our OBGYN in Irving website. As we mentioned previously, January is an excellent time to schedule important annual medical appointments, including a women’s wellness exam. Talk to one of our Irving OBGYNs if you have any concerns about your health.

annual medical appointments

Important Annual Medical Appointments at MSCI

With the new year just around the corner, now is the perfect time to schedule some important annual medical appointments that every adult needs. Many of us are guilty of putting off these appointments, but many experts agree that seeing doctors regularly can help catch problems early. Our team of Irving medical providers is here to help you achieve the best health possible. With over 20 specialties at our Irving clinic, we are prepared for whatever medical procedure you may need!

The annual medical appointments you should be making change as you get older. There are also a few screenings that are exclusive to women and men. Taking these medical tests can help our team of Irving medical experts identify problems and work with you to create effective health plans. Here are the tests you should schedule:

Primary Care Physician visit

This is a good appointment to make for either sex or any age! Having a physical can help screen for a variety of issues. Doctors take your vitals, which can help identify issues like blood pressure. A blood test can also screen for a variety of problems. Let your doctor know your family history, as he or she might want to run additional tests.

Gynecologist

Starting in your 20s, women should visit the gynecologist to screen for a variety of women’s health issues. Going annually can help screen for breast cancer, especially if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.

Vaccinations

Children are mostly the focus when it comes to vaccinations, but adults should consider their vaccinations as well. This will not be an annual appointment (except for the flu vaccine), since vaccines work for long periods of time, sometimes for life; however, there  are some vaccines, like tetanus, that require boosters. Talk to your doctor when you get your physical if there are any vaccines you need to update.

Cholesterol screening

When you enter your 40s, you should add a cholesterol screening once every 5 years. If you have risk factors like smoking, a history of heart disease or diabetes, and high blood pressure, you should consider starting cholesterol screenings in your 30s. Talk to your doctor to decide what’s right for you.

Mammogram

When women turn 40, they should begin to schedule annual mammograms at 40; however, some doctors recommend starting screenings when you turn 50. Talk to your doctor about your family history and other risk factors to determine the best starting date.

Colonoscopy

When you turn 50, start getting a colonoscopy every 5 or 10 years. This examination can catch colon cancer early, as well as check and make sure your colon is functioning properly.

Ophthalmologist

If you have trouble with your vision or if your vision isn’t as clear as it used to be, consider scheduling a visit to the ophthalmologist. When you enter your 40s, many doctors recommend visiting an ophthalmologist every two to four years. Then, when you turn 65, start seeing an ophthalmologist regularly.

 

The start of a new year is a great time to schedule appointments. With many of us busy year round, it is easy to forget to take care of your health. By lining up your important annual medical appointments with the New Year, you get an easy reminder to take care of your health. Alternatively, you can schedule your medical appointments around your birthday. Whatever is easiest for you, just make sure you are taking care of your health!

safe holidays

Five Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for celebrations and spending time with friends and family. Our team at MSCI is in the holiday spirit, and as we gear up for the holiday festivities, we wanted to put together a few tips on how to have a safe holiday. Following these tips ensures that your days are filled with cheer and holiday spirit and not an unexpected visit to the doctor’s office!

1)      Small parts in presents

One of the staples of the holidays is gift giving. If you have a little one running around, it is a good idea to keep a tab on what gifts they open. Toys with small parts can be a choking hazard for a small child. If you are the one giving the gift, consider assembling the toy first and reduce the number of potential choking hazards. You can then re-wrap the gift to give your child the same experience.

2)      Plan cooking ahead of time

The holidays usually involve some extravagant meals that involve a lot more steps than normal. Rushing through cooking can be dangerous, especially with multiple hot surfaces and sharp kitchen utensils. Creating a plan ahead of time can cut down on stress and also help avoid burns and cuts.

3)      Take care of yourself

With so much to do, so many people to see, and so much activity happening around you, it is easy to get overwhelmed around the holidays. There is nothing wrong with taking a little time for yourself. Find a quiet corner of your house, take a quick trip to the store, or do something that will ease your mind. Whatever it takes, de-stress and relax, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

4)      Exercise good hygiene habits

When you’re going to be around a lot of people, one of the most important things you can do is maintain good hygiene. Cover your mouth when you cough with your sleeve, wash your hands frequently to prevent spreading germs, and make sure you stay away from the elderly and little children if you are sick. It is easy to spread illnesses when you have so many people around, so do your best to stay healthy this holiday season.

5)      Keep a close eye on young ones

The holidays tend to be more exciting when you have young ones around. They bring an energy that few adults match. It’s important to keep a close eye on children as they run around, especially if you are not at your own home. Your hosts might not have childproofed their home as well as your own, so be sure that your child is safe this holiday season.

We hope that your holiday season is filled with happiness and joy. MSCI will be open for regular business hours every day except for December 25th. The clinic will re-open December 26th. We will also be closed on January 1. If you need to see one of our Irving doctors, consider making an appointment today!

giving tuesday

How Giving Can Help Your Well-being

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day to do some good for your community. It turns out, though, that being charitable is actually good for you as well! Research has shown that doing good for others can make you feel better. Here are some positive benefits for being charitable:

1)      You Feel Better

Have you ever given a gift to someone and felt a warm fuzzy feeling? It turns out that this feel-good feeling is more than just an emotional response to doing something charitable. Whenever you give a gift or do something generous, your brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for making you feel calm, at peace, and satisfied. Endorphins also help reduce your stress levels, which is a major contribution to a variety of health maladies, like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and more. Next time you give a gift, realize that you’re getting the gift of better health at the same time!

2)      Set a Good Example for your Children

Children learn through imitation, so if your child sees you doing something good in the community, they will be more likely to be charitable throughout their lives. You can also encourage your child to be charitable earlier in life by getting them involved in volunteerism. Remember: donating time is just as important as money in a lot of cases!

3)      Strengthens the Community

Everyone goes through hard times, and helping out your neighbor, even if you don’t know them, strengthens the entire community. Regardless if you know the person you’re helping or not, helping out is always the right thing to do. You never know when hardship might happen to you, so strengthening your community and encouraging others to be charitable can help you out in the end if you ever need assistance.

4)      Tax Deduction

Let’s not forget that most charitable giving is a tax deduction! When you donate to nonprofit organizations and charitable groups, you can write that money off on your taxes. If you are donating time in volunteering, you can sometimes also write off related expenses, like parking, gas, and money spent (so long as you are not reimbursed by the organization). Talk to a tax expert for all of the details.

There are a number of ways that you can be a positive force in your community this Giving Tuesday. Here are just a few ideas:

·         Donate money

Find a cause that is exciting to you and donate money. If you feel concerned about what organizations do with that money, do some research. You can also use resources like CharityNavigator.org, which evaluates organizations and details how money is spent.

·         Donate time

Especially around the holidays, organizations are looking for volunteers. Many large organizations have local chapters that welcome volunteers. Again, it’s all about finding a cause that you’re passionate about and clearing a little bit of time on your weekends or evenings!

·         Donate blood

Donating blood often gets overlooked. When disasters happen, you will often hear about blood shortages along with requests for donors. The best time to donate is actually before a disaster, so if you are a healthy individual, consider donating blood and save a life!

Giving Tuesday is a great time to reflect on things that are really important. Be a positive force in your community and give back to the people around you!

coughing

National COPD Awareness Month

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects more than 3 million people every year, with around 30 million people currently diagnosed with COPD in the United States. November is COPD Awareness Month, and our team at MSCI has put together some information about this condition.

COPD actually describes a number of different diseases that affects your lungs. These diseases include:

·         Emphysema

·         Chronic bronchitis

·         Non-reversible asthma (refractory asthma)

·         Certain types of bronchiectasis

While someone with COPD might have some or all of these diseases, each one of them contributes to a feeling breathlessness. Many people confuse this feeling and coughing as part of the aging process, but in actuality, COPD could actually be the culprit. People who are particularly at risk of having COPD include:

·         Smokers

·         Individuals with chronic cough or increased sputum production

·         Individuals with reoccurring respiratory infections

·         Individuals who get shortness of breath while exercising (exertional dyspnea)

·         Individuals who have been exposed to environmental toxins

Most doctors can screen for COPD when you do your preventative care screening or wellness evaluations. If you have any of these symptoms and feel like you might be at risk for COPD. Many experts believe that COPD is under-diagnosed and under-treated.

COPD is usually treated in a couple of ways. If you are a smoker, your doctor will ask you to stop smoking. Although this can be difficult, continuing to smoke can make your COPD worse and make it increasingly difficult to breathe. If you are a smoker suffering from COPD and you are having difficulty quitting, talk to your doctor about creating a plan to help you to quit. Every smoker will have a different path to quitting.

If you are a not a smoker but still have COPD, your doctor will create a treatment plan based on your needs. These treatments often include an inhaler, either for a bronchodilator or for steroids. Sometimes, certain medications will combine both. These medications are designed to help you breathe easier by opening up your airways. There are also some other medications that your doctor may prescribe you.

If you are experiencing shortness of breath or having a difficult time breathing, talk to your doctor and see if COPD could be the problem. Our team at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving are always here to assist you in your journey to better health. Call us at (972) 253-4200 to schedule your appointment.

Halloween safety

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

With Halloween right around the corner, our team at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving wanted to put together a few tips on how to get the most out of the spookiest, scariest holiday. Every year, countless children roam the streets in the search for candy and fun. Halloween is a great time for children to enjoy some independence, but for parents, this is also the scariest part of the season! Here are a few tips to make sure that both you and your children have a safe and fun Halloween:

1)      Stick to sidewalks

Most areas in and around Irving have plenty of sidewalks, and you should stick to these as often as possible. While many neighborhoods have Trick or Treat events, where streets are closed for children to walk about safely, you still want to walk along the sidewalks just in case. Beyond being safe, it also reinforces good safety habits for your children.

2)      Be comfortable

Even this late in October, the weather can still got hot. If you are planning on walking around with your children, be sure to plan accordingly. Watch the weather report and wear clothes that will keep you comfortable. Regardless of how hot it will be, remember to hydrate and get your child to drink plenty of water as well, both before and during Trick or Treating.

3)      Plan your route

Before leaving in pursuit of candy and fun, sit down with your child and plan a route. Even if you just loosely discuss your plans, it is a good idea to set boundaries of how far you are willing to go. For instance, you could plan a street-by-street route, or you could simply say that you will not be leaving your neighborhood.

4)      Supervise Their Independence

Trick or Treating is the perfect opportunity for your child to gain some independence. For instance, when you walk up to a house, parents often encourage their child to go ring the doorbell. It might seem like a simple gesture, but this little bit of interaction can build a child’s confidence and understanding on how to communicate with adults. As a parent, you should balance your child’s independence with their safety. A great setup is to walk your child from house to house but to wait for them on the sidewalk.

5)      Inspect candy

Even though most reports of wide-spread tampered candy on Halloween have turned out to be urban legends, you should still go through your child’s candy at the end of the night and inspect the pieces. Discard anything that looks opened or odd for any reason. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Halloween is an exciting time for children, and with these tips, it can also be a safe time. From the entire team at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving, we hope you and your children have a safe and happy Halloween!

fruit and vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables: Making a Difference in Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables make up a core part of a healthy diet. Packed with nutrition and essential vitamins, fruits and vegetables should be a large part of every meal; the food pyramid recommends you eat at least four servings of both per day. Of course, not every vegetable or piece of fruit is made equal, and some are certainly better for you than others. In today’s blog post, we explore which vegetables and fruits you should choose as well as debunking a few myths about these natural goodies.

In regards to vegetables, you should focus on eating leafy greens instead of starchy vegetables like potatoes. While potatoes have a long history of sustaining whole populations, nowadays with a plethora of vegetables available at any given time, you should consider grabbing a vegetable that will provide a bit more impact for your diet. Kale, broccoli, spinach, Brussel sprouts, peas and asparagus are all great choices. As an added bonus, you can prepare these vegetables in a number of ways, giving you plenty of options on how you want to enjoy these vegetables.

In regards to fruit, one key thing to keep in mind is that fruit contains sugar. While this sugar isn’t processed or added like you’ll find in candy bars, you should consider this when deciding on what to eat. Another thing to keep in mind: most of the nutritional benefits of fruit is found in the skin and pulp. Be wary of thinking that fruit juice is a sufficient substitute for biting into a nice piece of fruit. Checking the nutritional labels of fruit juice confirms that most juices contain as much sugar as a soda! Dried fruit is another instance of something that looks healthy but can be deceptively bad for you. A lot of manufacturers of dried fruit add sugar to make it taste sweeter. Be sure to look out for dried fruit that states no added sugar (but check the nutritional label just to confirm!).

A few tips on getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet:

  • If you’re looking for something sweet to eat after your meal, turn to a piece of fruit. You can enjoy grilled peaches, poached pears, and other treats instead of sugary ice cream or pie.
  • Instead of eating rice, try cauliflower rice. It tastes similar, has the same consistency, but is much healthier for you!
  • Some vegetables release sugars when they are cooked. Raw vegetables offer the most nutrition.
  • Be careful about getting vegetables at restaurants. Ask how they are prepared. Oftentimes, they are covered in butter (although buttery vegetables are probably still healthier for you than a side of French fries!)

The Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving proudly offers the Ideal Protein weight loss system, which helps you eat healthier and cut out unhealthy carbohydrates. Find out more about this program here!

childhood obesity

Childhood Obesity and How You Can Help

Childhood obesity is a problem that has grown in America over the years, and now experts estimate that one in three children are either overweight or obese. The factors that influence obesity include diet, activity, family history, and more. While many people are aware of the causes of obesity, they are unsure as to what can be done to prevent or reverse childhood obesity. In today’s post, we want to explore what children can do to avoid childhood obesity or to combat this condition if they already are obese.

One of the most important things a child can do is eat a healthy diet. What a child eats is often the responsibility of a parent, yet there are plenty of situations where a child might have to choose for themselves what they are eating, such as at a school cafeteria. Teaching your child about the important of proper nutrition informs them to make good decisions for their health, both now and in the future. A few key points:

-Go light on the sweets

-Skip the soda and juice, choose water

-Fill up your plate with vegetables

-Choose healthy proteins like chicken, lean pork, or fish

While a diet will go a long way in preventing obesity and excess weight, it is only part of the solution. The other major factor to consider is activity. Children these days are much more inactive then previous generations. This is not a condemnation as much as it is facts: children these days have access to television, tablets, computers, and video games. With so many options, children have become much more sedentary.

As a rule of thumb, encourage your child to spend at least 60 minutes each day of semi-intense activity. While many adults turn to the gym for their activity, for a child, this activity can come in the form of games, such as playing tag, jumping rope, playing an aerobic sport like basketball or soccer, or swimming. All of these activities can result in maintaining a healthy body weight.

Fighting childhood obesity is important to help your child get the best start possible. Childhood obesity can increase the risk of serious diseases later in life. Overcoming obesity can be difficult, so encourage your child to maintain a healthy body mass index.

self referable services

How Self-Referable Services Work

Time is money, and nothing is more important to our team of doctors in Irving than your time. While going to the doctor is important and vital in some situations, for other occasions, you know exactly what you need. For your convenience, we have created a list of self-referable services of common medical tests and procedures that you can schedule on your own.

One of the benefits of going to a multi-specialty medical group like the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving is being able to get referrals within the network of medical providers. For procedures and tests not listed below, you will still need to consult a specialist; however, for these tests, you can schedule them without seeing a doctor first:

  • Ideal Protein Diet
  • Bone Density Studies
  • Hearing Aids
  • Varicose Vein Treatments
  • Food Sensitivity Testing
  • Physical Medicine
  • Digital Mammograms

These tests are all common procedures that people routinely need. For most patients, they have ordered these tests in the past and understand when they need them again. For example, most women over the age of 45 should get regular mammograms or younger if you have a family history of breast cancer. Trying to lose weight? The Ideal Protein diet offers a medical-based system to help you quickly and safely lose weight and regain your health.

While these particular tests and procedures do not require you to see a physician to schedule, we should remind you that self-diagnosis of serious problems can be dangerous. If you are worried that you have a medical condition, or if you are experiencing problems that cannot be diagnosed by self-referable services, consult a medical professional as soon as possible. For some serious conditions, the faster a medical professional catches a problem, the sooner they can start treatment.

If you are in search for a doctor in Irving, TX, contact MSCI today and schedule an appointment with one of our medical providers. However, if you know exactly what kind of medical test or procedure you need, MSCI can save you time by scheduling a self-referable service directly.

tips for healthy grilling

Tips for Healthy Grilling

Texas didn’t invent grilling, but we almost perfected it. From steaks to BBQ, our state loves to throw things on the grill. For good reasons, too: grilling imbues food with a delicious, smoky flavor. Yet grilling can also be intimidating to those inexperienced. Fear not! We have put together a few tips for healthy grilling to ensure that you cook food properly and you remain safe yourself!

1. Rely on a meat thermometer

There are a lot of urban legends when it comes to cooking on the grill. Ignore them, however, and rely on this tip for healthy grilling: the most important tool for a grill master is a meat thermometer. A meat thermometer is the only way to ensure that food is cooked properly.

Some people will tell you that you can tell if meat has been cooked enough by the color of the juices when you cut into it. However, this is not a reliable indicator. In order to ensure that meat has been cooked enough, you need to rely on the thermometer. Here are the recommended temperatures depending on the protein:

  • 160o F for raw ham and medium-cooked beef/lamb/veal
  • 165o F for whole poultry, ground beef/pork, poultry breast
  • 170o F for pork roast and well-done beef/lamb/veal

 

2. Have a fire extinguisher nearby

Even the most experienced grill masters should adhere to this tip for healthy grilling. You should always keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case of emergencies. Particularly if you use charcoal, an errant ember can cause a fire. Related, you should also take care to clear the area around the grill of anything flammable. Most grill areas in parks are on a concrete slab to help prevent foliage from catching fire. Very hot grills can also lead to flare ups. A fire extinguisher is always a smart idea. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

 

3. Be careful of backdraft

If you’ve ever cooked using an oven before (and we’re guessing you have if you’re grilling), you know that opening the oven door too quickly can cause backdraft—sudden, intense heat shooting out through the opening. Heat wants to escape, and when you open a cooking instrument slightly, heat rushes out.

When it comes to grilling, backdraft can be even worse. The sudden exposure of oxygen can cause flames and dangerous heat. To prevent this from happening, make sure that the grill has ample flow of oxygen while cooking so the flame does not choke. When you’re done grilling, close the air intake and do not open the lid for at least a few hours to make sure the embers are completely cooled off.

 

4. Grill more than just meat!

This isn’t necessarily a safety tip as much as a health tip: grills are for more than just cooking meat. Consider adding some vegetables to your meals by grilling them. Grilled vegetables can be prepared directly on the grill grate or in a grill-ready container, like a cast iron skillet. If you plan on grilling the vegetable directly on the grating, make sure it is a sturdy vegetable that can withstand the heat. Oftentimes, you may have to prepare the vegetable to ensure that it doesn’t just burn to a crisp, so find a recipe that you like and bon appetite!

 

Grilling and summertime go together like ice cream and apple pie. Regardless if you’re an experienced grill master or just getting started, rely on these tips for healthy grilling to get the most out of your summer. Pretty soon, you’ll be enjoying delicious foods prepared to perfection!