valentines day

Love is in the Air: How Love Can Help Your Health

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate those in your life that love you. It doesn’t have to be romantic love; the love between friends and family is often just as important. It turns out that surrounding yourself with love can actual have some surprising health benefits.

Here are a few ways that love can help your health, just in time for Valentine’s Day:

1)      Healthier habits

It turns out that people who are surrounded by love are less likely to become depressed and/or abuse substances. Married people in particular have much lower rates of depression and substance abuse. Social isolation is linked to depression, so having a spouse can drastically help.

2)      Happy heart

When you’re in love, you have lower blood pressure. A study conducted by the Annals of Behavioral Medicine discovered that married and long-term couples in a happy relationship typically have healthier blood pressure. Having a loving, supportive partner can reduce your stress and provide you with a strong social network.

3)      Reduce anxiety

When you’re single, you face much more anxiety, researchers at the State University of New York discovered. When you love and are loved, your brain releases dopamine, which is a natural chemical reward for happiness. This reduces your anxiety levels, which can help fight a number of stress-related health issues.

4)      Better immune system

One of the greatest depressants of the immune system is stress and depression. When you’re happy and surrounded by loving people, your immune system can actually work better. This boosted immune system is more likely to resist cold or flu viruses.

It’s important to know that love is not replacement for medicine, despite what The Beatles might sing. While love might not be all you need, it can help your health. If you are looking to get quality medical care in Irving, TX, contact the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving 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!

successful new years resolution

How to Make a Successful New Year’s Resolution

2016 is coming to a close, and everyone is writing his or her list of New Year’s Resolutions. Many people fail at achieving their New Year’s Resolutions—in fact, some studies show that just 8% of people achieve their goals. We wanted to take a look at how to make a successful New Year’s Resolution, and because our Irving clinic cares about your health, we then want to look at how New Year’s Resolutions can be used to improve your health!

One of the most important steps in creating a successful New Year’s Resolution is to change only one thing at a time, and to break that goal down into manageable steps. Humans are very resistant to change. Our bodies are designed to achieve homeostasis in more ways than one! By breaking down your resolutions into simple, one-item changes, it is much easier to achieve success. For example, if your resolution is to work out more, you should consider all the questions that accompany that goal. Where do you work out? What routine are you going to follow? How many times a week are you going to work out? How long will it take you to work out?

Another key difference between a successful New Year’s Resolution and unsuccessful ones is defining the right goal. Saying that you want to lose 20 pounds in a month looks good on paper, but it does little to help you formulate an actual plan. A better resolution would be to exercise three days a week, eat healthier, or start a diet, like our Ideal Protein plan.

See how Ideal Protein, our medically assisted weight loss program, can help you achieve better health in 2017!

Finally, our third tip to help you make a successful New Year’s Resolution is to understand your own willpower. Saying you want to lose 50 pounds or cutting out sugary sodas that you drink on a daily basis are great goals. However, you know yourself better than anyone does. Are your goals reasonable? The saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that’s also true for self-improvement. Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impacts, like taking the stairs instead of elevator when you get to the office.

New Year’s is a time to look ahead and make a better future. At the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving, we want to help you achieve your goals and live your healthiest year yet! Share with us your New Year’s Resolutions on our Facebook page and let us know how you plan on making 2017 your best year yet!

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Ten Tips for Working Outside in Summer

We hate to state the obvious, but it gets very, very hot in Texas during the summer months. For those individuals who have to or choose to work outside, it is extremely important to take the necessary precautions to protect your health. Heat illness and heat stroke are serious medical conditions that affect thousands of Americans, but particularly during the summer months, people should be extra careful.

Without further ado, here are 10 tips to help you have a safe summer while you work outdoors.

  1. Drink lots of water

It’s important to drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. In extreme heat, you might be dehydrated and not realize it yet. Drink water ever 15-20 minutes and take breaks often.

 

2) Take a look at your urine

Okay, this might be a bit yucky, but our bodies have a natural check to see if you are hydrated: the color of your urine. If your urine is dark then you are not drinking nearly enough water!

 

3) Know when it’s too hot

Sometimes, when there is extreme heat in the triple digits, there is simply no getting around the fact that it is too hot outside. Limit your outdoor exposure or work in small increments.

 

4) In case of heat stroke

If someone is experiencing a heat stroke, it is important to act quickly. You can identify heat stroke from dilated pupils, delirium, confusion or angry behavior, and/or convulsions. If you believe someone is having a heat stroke, you need to take quick steps to help them. Take the individual to a cool area and then soak their clothes with water while also fanning the individual to try and bring down their temperature. You should keep doing this until help arrives. Do not give the person water. Heat stroke is extremely serious and requires hospitalizations to prevent brain damage or even death.

 

5) Stick with water

Whatever you do, avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means that they actually contribute to you losing water more rapidly. Drinking caffeine or alcohol can increase the effects of dehydration, so if you are feeling thirsty, there is no substitute for water.

 

6) Wear sunscreen

Since you are going to be outside in the heat, it is important to protect your skin from the sun. Avoid working at peak hours of sun exposure if possible and take frequent breaks. You should also use sunscreen or sunblock to reduce your chance of developing skin cancer later on.

 

7) Put on a hat

A wide brimmed can make a huge difference. Keeping the sun off your neck or back is an ideal solution to not getting overheated. It might seem like a minor addition, but sometimes a little bit can go a long way.

 

8) Everyone is different when it comes to heat

Humans vary from individual to individual when it comes to their tolerance to heat. As a general rule of thumb, however, you should avoid extreme heat exposure if you are overweight, suffering from heart problems, are on a low-sodium, or taking certain medications. Talk to your doctor if you need to work outside and ask for advice.

 

9) Work smart

If you are able to and if you have a plan, you should schedule doing the most difficult work for early in the morning before the temperature rises. The last thing you want to do is to be exerting the most energy when you are overheated.

 

10) Consider buying a cool vest

If you work outside a lot during the summer, proper attire is essential. Organic material is the best at providing air circulation. However, for people who work outside a lot, you might want to consider a cool vest. These vests have cold packs inside the vest pockets to help lower your body temperature and prevent heat exhaustion.

 

Your body has many natural ways to lower your body temperature, like sweating. However, sometimes these simply aren’t enough. It is important to be careful when working outside, especially during the summer months. If you feel like you are experiencing heat stroke, heat collapse, or heal illness—or if you see someone you believe is experiencing any of these—it is essential that you call 9-1-1 and take immediate action.

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3 Healthy Changes to Make in 2016

We are a few weeks into 2016, and with the majority of the year left to go, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make 2016 your healthiest year yet. The mistake that most people make when trying to make healthy changes is that they think too big. Many of us can benefit from small changes. Over time these small changes may add up to produce big changes to your lifestyle.

Here are three healthy changes that you can make to make 2016 your best year yet:

1) Clean out your pantry

For this first suggestion, we’re not talking about getting rid of food that has expired or spoiled. Instead, we’re talking about food that is simply unhealthy for you. More and more science points to a high-carbohydrate diet being unhealthy. Most of us want to start something diet-related at the beginning of the year, but leaving the unhealthy junk in your pantry and fridge leads to temptation that many of us cannot resist. By getting rid or donating the food, you remove temptation and are far more likely to succeed at your new diet.

Speaking of diets, if you’re looking for a diet that will produce noticeable results, consider Ideal Protein. Our doctor-assisted diet program works by cutting out the excess carbohydrates in your diet and focusing on good, nutritious food. Doing so will boost your body’s natural ability to process fat, leading to rapid weight loss. If you’re interested in Ideal Protein, talk to your doctor or read more about Ideal Protein on our website.

2) Work Harder and Smarter

Stress contributes to bad health, and one of our biggest sources of stress comes from our jobs. In 2016, focus on de-stressing by working smarter in the work place. One of the best ways to work smarter is to delegate and plan ahead. For example, if you have a big project coming up soon, plan which steps you want to tackle first so that you don’t have to finish a project in one sitting. Delegation works the same way: ask for help when you feel like you need it and don’t try and take on the world.

The other way to improve your work life: work harder physically. If you work in an office building, don’t take the elevator or escalator. Instead, take the stairs! Something even as small as taking the stairs can make a huge difference in your physical activity. Also, when planning your meals, consider packing a meal ahead of time. Most packed meals are far more nutritious and balanced than meals you can get at a fast food restaurant.

3) Get More Sleep

While it varies from person to person, most adults need 7 hours of sleep every night. Some people might require more sleep and some can operate on less sleep, but 7 hours is a good baseline to aim for. Getting enough sleep allows you to feel more rested and more prepared for your upcoming day. It’s also important to get the right kind of sleep. Staying up too late and sleeping in too late is not as beneficial as going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up in the morning. Set an alarm and wake up when it goes off. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep!

These are just three small healthy changes that you can make to start 2016. If you’re interested in improving your health, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors and talk to them about ways you can live healthier. They will have suggestions to make you feel better and live a healthier, longer life.

nyresolutions

3 Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions look so good on paper: you make your list of things that you want to improve to start the New Year, and looking at that list, you can’t help but feel good about yourself just for coming up with those ideas. Losing weight! Getting in shape! Eating better! You have so much enthusiasm for how great the year is going to be.

Of course, the reality is that most of us don’t succeed at our New Year’s resolutions. When January 2nd rolls around, the enthusiasm that we had on New Year’s day drops off. With every new day, our determination wanes more and more until we ultimately fall into the bad habits we had before. We’re not being depressing; Forbes estimates that 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% are successful at keeping them.

Don’t think making a resolution is folly, however! Making resolutions is a great way to identify things in your life that make you unhappy. These might be deep-rooted habits, unhealthy life choices, or personal problems that need to be addressed. Sometimes even the act of identifying problems can be the first step in changing them.

So what separates resolutions that are doomed to fail and those that will go on to make major changes? Many studies have been conducted on the issue, and most outcomes conclude that a successful New Year’s resolution comes down to two things: feasibility and readiness.

A New Year’s resolution’s feasibility is all about understanding your current limitations and making sure that a resolution isn’t too lofty. While resolutions often tackle major obstacles or habits in our lives that we would like to see resolved or changed in some way, it is unreasonable to expect so much out of ourselves immediately and drastically. For instance, if you are starting out at your first job, it is unreasonable (in most cases) to make your New Year’s resolution to become the boss by the end of the year.

The second reason why people fail at their New Year’s resolutions is preparation. Just because it isn’t January 1st yet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking ahead to what your resolutions are going to be. If you are planning on going on a diet starting January 1, for instance, you should take time and get rid of unhealthy foods that you’re planning on cutting. Bad preparation works against you in the long run and sets you up for failure. You can’t run a marathon without jogging first; similarly, you can’t succeed at your New Year’s resolution if you’re just going into it cold.

Finally, one last way to boost your chances of having a successful New Year’s resolution is to get your significant others on board with your plan. Many people appreciate and are motivated by the accountability found in friends and families who are aware of your resolutions. Have them check in on you from time to time. The purpose isn’t to shame you if you’re not succeeding; the purpose is to have people who are cheering you on and wanting you to feel and be your best!

Setting a New Year’s Resolution can be a great way to improve your life. If you’re ready to start changing your bad habits, set periodic goals—just because it is a New Year resolution doesn’t mean that you can’t set milestones throughout the year that you want to hit. Follow these tips and you’ll be in the small, albeit successful minority of Americans that find success with their New Year’s Resolutions.

If you’re planning on dieting and losing weight to start the New Year, why not contact us about our Ideal Protein clinic? With proven weight loss that was developed scientifically to maximize results, our low-carb diet helps you lose weight fast. You can even get an estimate on how much weight you can lose with our weight loss calculator!

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American Diabetes Month at MSCI

Diabetes has affected a staggering number of Americans. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 1 in 11 Americans have diabetes, and when you consider the family members of those suffering from diabetes, it’s reasonable to say that this disease affects nearly everyone in our country. This month, we’re highlighting the dangers of diabetes as well as how common this disease is.

With modern advances, diabetes can be managed, but the consequences of diabetes cannot be understated. Diabetes can cause kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage and more. Because of these complications, diabetes can also cause sores, especially on the feet. Left untreated, these foot ulcers can lead to permanent damage to the tissue and bone, ultimately leading to amputation in some cases.

Diabetes increases the risk of kidney problems. Due to the damage diabetes causes to small blood vessels, kidney functions can be severely hampered and damaged. By regulating blood sugar levels, the chances of developing kidney problems can be controlled; however, kidney problems are an ever-looming issue for those suffering from diabetes.

The third major and most common complication from diabetes is blindness. Again, because of damage to small blood vessels, the eyes are at risk for diabetics. As the tiny blood vessels become more ineffective, blood cannot as easily flow to the retina. While this does not always cause blindness, it is a possibility. As before, this condition is treated by monitoring blood sugar, but there are also procedures involving lasers that can mitigate damage.

The best way to fight diabetes is to make small lifestyle changes. Moving around more often encourages your body to be overall healthier, so when presented with the opportunity, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for instance. Eating healthier can also reduce the chance of diabetes, and eliminating junk food from your diet can go a long way in turning your health around. Sugary drinks, sweets, and fatty foods should be enjoyed in moderation as a special treat, not an everyday indulgence. Finally, if your family has a history of diabetes, be sure to talk to your doctor frequently.

Diabetes can be controlled much more now than in previous generations, but the best way to approach diabetes is to avoid diabetes. Make healthy lifestyle choices and talk to your doctor about an effective plan of attack if you are risk for diabetes. If you already have diabetes, make sure you are constantly checking your blood sugar to minimize the risk of more serious complications. If you are still looking for a doctor, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our doctors and talk to them about your concerns. Contact us today by calling (972) 253-4200.

kidneystoneclinic

Introducing MSCI’s Kidney Stone Clinic

Kidney stones are no fun. Unfortunately, research indicates that the rate of kidney stones in the US is actually on the rise: currently 13% of men and 7% of women will develop kidney stones at some point in their life. Even more alarming, 50% of individuals who develop kidney stones will have another kidney stone within 10 years. Finally, there’s the cost: Americans will spend more than $5 billion on kidney related treatments and diagnoses. MSCI is here to help those suffering from kidney stones and those at risk of developing kidney stones by introducing our kidney stone clinic.

Kidney stones can cause pain if they become too large. At a certain point, they begin to obstruct the drainage system, which can cause damage to the kidneys. Over time, this might even lead to kidney infection, bleeding, or kidney failure. Under certain circumstances, you might need to undergo surgery.

There are many factors that can cause kidney stones, but some of the most common factors include concentrated urine, high urinary calcium, uric acid, and substances that inhibit urinary functions like citrate. Because many of these factors are from lifestyle choices, some of these conditions may persist after a kidney stone, hence the likelihood that a reoccurrence takes place within 10 years

Our kidney stone clinic offers help to those suffering from this disease. Combining the expertise of our nephrology and urology departments, our interdisciplinary clinic helps explain the risk factors of kidney stones to patients while also treating existing kidney stones. Dr. Grandhi and Dr. Smith work together to provide comprehensive care to patients, creating individualized care plans that help minimize the chance of reoccurrence.

The kidney stone clinic at MSCI offers treatments for:

-Multiple kidney stones

-Counseling for those with a family history of kidney stones

-Patients who need kidney stone removal

-Stones that are comprised of various acids

 

Kidney stone pain can be excruciating, so if you are worried that you have a kidney stone, be sure to talk to a physician as soon as possible, particularly if you have a family history of kidney stones. Our clinic in Irving offers the latest treatments and exceptional doctors who will do their best to put you on the road to recovery. For more information, schedule an appointment with your doctor by calling 972-253-4200

breastcancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month at MSCI

October is a very important month in the health industry: it’s breast cancer awareness month, and across the nation, institutions are raising awareness over this disease that affects hundreds of thousands of women every year. In fact, the National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

 

However, breast cancer also has a very high survival rate, especially if it is caught early enough. The American Cancer Society puts the 5-year survival rates for someone with stage 1 breast cancer at 100%, while stage 2 breast cancer has 93%. The survival rate goes down the higher the stage: stage 3 has a 72% survival rate and stage 4 has a 22% survival rate. Stages define how far the cancer has progressed and are usually marked by advancing to different parts of the body.

 

Early detection is key when it comes to breast cancer. People who are at risk include those with unhealthy lifestyles and those individuals who have a family history of breast cancer. One of the best ways to detect breast cancer is to have regular screenings, which can detect breast cancer early when it’s the easiest to treat. Later stages of breast cancer can metastasize in other parts of the body and may require additional treatments after removal of the tumor.

 

A great way to minimize your risk of breast cancer if you don’t have a family history of the disease is to participate in healthy habits. Studies have shown that living a healthy life can reduce the chance of cancer. Being active, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, exercising, not smoking, and sleeping enough all contribute to reducing the chance of breast cancer. Additionally, if you are taking hormone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about the risks of the treatment.

 

If you have not had a breast cancer screening in a while, schedule yours with our doctors. Additionally, you can schedule a digital mammogram using our self-referable services without having to see a general practitioner. If it’s time to schedule your breast cancer screening or to see a doctor, give us a call at 972-253-4200

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Healthy Guide to Summer Living

For many people, summer is their favorite season—and for good reason, too. The weather is nice, people take time off to travel and visit friends and family, and many fresh foods are in season. The summer is also a great time to consider your health! MSCI offers individuals health services ranging from yearly physicals to specialized services, some of which you can even schedule yourself.

With summertime here, consider taking part in some healthy activities. Slight changes to your routine can make a big difference in your life. Here are some habits to consider adopting or changing this summer to make it your healthiest summer yet.

Floss More Often

  • Flossing seems like something that only affects your teeth, but in actuality, your oral health goes far beyond your mouth. Healthy teeth can reduce the chance of gum disease, which has also been linked to heart disease. Bacteria that forms on your teeth can enter your bloodstream and cause complications elsewhere, so keep your teeth healthy by brushing and flossing every day. And flossing is important! If you don’t floss your teeth, you’re not cleaning 40% of your mouth!

Go Outside to Exercise

  • With the weather outside nice, going outside to exercise becomes an appealing option. Of course, you don’t have to go outside strictly to exercise. You can get some healthy activity by moving and working under the sun. Consider planting a garden, going for a swim, riding a bike, or walking outdoors. Any of these activities can provide some cardio and light strength training, so head outdoors and enjoy the sunshine!

Take Breaks

  • While working out is important, you can also use the summer to gain some mental health. The summer is the perfect time to take a trip and visit friends and family or go somewhere new. Take a vacation and de-stress. Stress has been linked to a number of health problems, and reducing your stress and anxiety levels can improve your overall well-being.

Sleep Better

  • Finally, try to get the proper amount of sleep during the summer. Good sleep habits can help keep your body running properly. Keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule will help your body recover after your day ends.

Make this summer your healthiest summer yet! Tell us what you do to improve your health during the summer. Note: these tips do not constitute medical advice and should not be implemented in lieu of seeing a doctor. If you have serious medical needs, contact your doctor; in events of an emergency, call 911.