It’s Time to Get Vaccinated!

2018-2019 was a moderate severity flu season that lasted a record-breaking 21 weeks. Getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu and its potentially serious complications. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated by the end of October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body to protect against flu virus infection.

While the timing of flu season is unpredictable, seasonal flu activity often begins to increase in October, most commonly peaks between December and February, but can last as late as May.

What is new this flu season?

  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating flu viruses
  • Any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccines are recommended
  • The nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) is again a vaccine option. Ask your health care provider about what vaccine is right for you

Learn more about what’s new for the 2019-2020 flu season.

The flu virus can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu can lead to hospitalization and even death. CDC recommends a three-step approach to fight flu:

  1. Get a flu vaccine. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting a flu vaccine every year provides the best protection against flu.
  2. Take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs. Try to avoid close contact with sick people, and if you become sick, limit your contact with others. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands often.
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. If you get sick with flu, prescription flu antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.

Learn more about how you can fight flu this season.

Fight flu this season by getting your flu vaccine and encouraging others to protect themselves and their loved ones by doing the same. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #FightFlu.

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Chronic Disease Support

North Hills Family Medicine is a proud member of the Catalyst Health Network, which allows us to maximize our ability to provide you with high quality efficient care and the following added benefits to you with Chronic Disease Support. We have a team of RNs and care coordinators who will work closely with you and your family to help you understand chronic disease states, manage referrals and be the voice for you between your appointments with us.

Car Managers play a fundamental role in Catalyst Health Network’s focus on a value-based care model.  Functioning as an extension of our office, they provide support, education, and assistance in the prevention and/or maintenance of the patient’s condition, health, and wellness.  Care Mangers closely to monitor high risk patients through disease management, collaborating with providers to help overcome barriers to meeting health related goals.

They also aim to reduce hospital readmissions by discussing discharge instructions, completing medication reconciliations, and assisting in follow-up appointment scheduling when completing discharge calls.  Care Managers work in a variety of other ways with patients while also overseeing and working in conjunction with care coordinators.

To sign up for this free service, talk to your provider today.

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Back-to-School Season is Here

Back-to-school season is here. It’s a time for parents to gather school supplies and backpacks. It’s also the perfect time to make sure your kids are up-to-date on their vaccines.

Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC is one of the most important things parents can do to help protect their children’s health—and that of their classmates and their community. Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students.

Today’s childhood vaccines protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, including polio, measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox.

“Thanks to vaccines, most of these diseases have become rare in the United States,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC. “But many still exist here, and they can make children very sick, leading to many days of missed school, missed work for parents, and even hospitalization and death.”

Since 2010, we see between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough and up to 20 babies die each year in the United States. Most whooping cough deaths are among babies who are too young to be protected by their own vaccination. “Without vaccines, these numbers would be much, much higher,” Dr. Messonnier said. “That’s why kids still need vaccines.”

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk of disease and can spread diseases to others in their classrooms and community—including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.

School age children need vaccines. For example, kids who are 4 to 6 years old are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, also called whooping cough), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and polio. Older children, like pre-teens and teens, need Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), HPV (human papillomavirus), and MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate virus) vaccines. In addition, yearly flu vaccines are recommended for all children 6 months and older.

Check with your child’s doctor to find out what vaccines they need this year.

Parents can find out more about the recommended immunization schedule at www.cdc.gov/.

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High Blood Pressure

One in 3 American adults have high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk for serious health problems, including stroke and heart attack.

Get your blood pressure checked regularly starting at age 18 – and do your best to keep track of your blood pressure numbers.

What puts me at higher risk for high blood pressure?

Your risk for high blood pressure goes up as you get older. You are also at increased risk for high blood pressure if you:

  • Are African American
  • Are overweight or have obesity
  • Don’t get enough physical activity
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Don’t eat a healthy diet
  • Have kidney failure, diabetes, or some types of heart disease
  • Have a family history of hypertension

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries when your heart pumps blood. Arteries are the tubes that carry blood away from your heart. Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries to the rest of your body.

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Carol Dvorak is Retiring!

It is with mixed emotions that we announce Carol Dvorak’s retirement from North Hills Family Medicine.   She is retiring from medical practice as of May 31, 2019. After 40  years at North Hills Family Medicine serving as a Nurse Practitioner, Carol has defined what a family practice is truly about.    We are honored and privileged to have worked with her.

Carol’s work as a nurse practitioner has left the world a better place.   She has treated her patients with dignity and respect, and the way she has helped so many people is admirable.  She has earned the respect of her peers and admiration of her patients through the years as she grew with generations of families.

She is looking forward to having the opportunity to spend more time with her husband, children, grandchild, and other family and friends.  We wish her well in her much-deserved retirement.

Carol’s patients will be able to continue their care in a seamless transition to one of our other providers in the practice: Dr. Lambert, Dr. Gabriel, Kaylynn Young, PA-C, Kayla Bakane, PA-C, Kyleigh Benton, PA-C or Megan Oliver, PA-C at our North Hills location.  Please call today to schedule an appointment at 817.284.1165.

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Choose Your Screening.

Early diagnosis of colon cancer is the key to surviving the disease. When detected in its early stages through screening tests, 90% of colon cancer cases are preventable, treatable, and beatable.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following tests for colorectal cancer screening: colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and at-home stool testing.

Stool-Based Tests

Stool-based tests are non-invasive colorectal cancer screening options. No special bowel preparation (no laxatives or enemas) is required for a stool-based test. However, if the test does show abnormal signs of blood or a possible cancer or pre-cancer, a colonoscopy will be needed to confirm the result, and possibly to remove any abnormal findings or polyps. It’s important to remember the cause of an abnormal result may be a non-cancerous condition, such as ulcers or hemorrhoids.

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Get Screened!

Recent studies have shown that up to 70% of Americans WITH insurance are not up-to-date on their colon cancer screening. This number includes people who are of eligible screening age and have not been screened as well as those who were screened once but have not done the necessary follow-ups or are due for another test.

Often times the hardest part of the screening is picking up the phone to make the call. Here are 5 reasons to make that call now.

  1. You can prevent colon cancer. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the country. But it doesn’t have to be! A colonoscopy can detect and remove colon polyps before they become cancer, preventing the disease from occurring.
  2. Think of your family. Imagine you could have stopped colon cancer, but you didn’t. Your family needs you now and in the future. Schedule your screening, and then talk to your family about the results. Family history matters!
  3. Early stage colon cancer may not have symptoms. There is a 90% 5-year survival rate when the disease is caught in early stages. That number drops to about 10% when it is diagnosed in late stages. Only 40% of patients nationwide are diagnosed with early stage disease.  GET SCREENED!
  4. Treat your body better than your car. A colonoscopy screening is good for 10 years! If your colonoscopy shows no polyps you don’t need to go back for 10 years. If you could find a car maintenance plan that efficient, wouldn’t you sign up on the spot?!
  5. You’re covered. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover screening colonoscopies. Take advantage of your coverage!
  6. (consider it a bonus) One day of prep beats months (or years) of treatment! Ask any colon cancer survivor and they will tell you that picking up the phone and making the appointment and the prep required for a colonoscopy is nothing compared to recovering from invasive abdominal surgery followed by chemo and radiation treatments. You have no excuse. MAKE THE CALL!

 

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American Heart Month

Join Together To Protect Your Heart and Celebrate #OurHearts During American Heart Month

Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is that we’re more successful meeting our health goals when we join forces with others. To underscore this point and mark American Heart Month this February, NHLBI is launching the #OurHearts movement, to inspire people to protect and strengthen their hearts with the support of others.

Here are some facts, how-to tips, and resources to inspire you to join with others to improve your heart health.

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Catalyst Care Team and Services

North Hills Family Medicine is a proud member of the Catalyst Health Network, which allows us to maximize our ability to provide you with high quality efficient care and the following added benefits to you:

  • Chronic Disease Support: We have a team of RNs and care coordinators who will work closely with you and your family to help you understand chronic disease states, manage referrals and be the voice for you between your appointments with us.
  • Thrive Pharmacy: A clinical pharmacist will contact you directly to help ensure that your medications are appropriately prescribed and cost-effective. They will help to coordinate medication lists between us and specialists and set up delivery of your medications in a convenient package delivered to your doorstep every month.


WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?

If you have been referred to one of our care team services, you can expect a phone call from a care team member shortly after your appointment to discuss your physician’s plan of care.

WHO IS THE CARE TEAM?
The care team is comprised of Pharmacists, Care Coordinators, Care Managers (RN) and Referral Coordinators who work directly with your NHFM physician.

HOW MUCH DO THESE SERVICES COST?
These services are free of charge.  We believe our patients should have access to resources that empower them to manage their healthcare needs.

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Well-Woman

Schedule a well-woman visit with your healthcare provider every year. The well-woman visit is an important way to help you stay healthy.

Well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. These visits focus on preventive care for women, which may include:

  • Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems
  • Screenings, which are medical tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat
  • Education and counseling to help you make informed health decisions

What happens during a well-woman visit?

Your well-woman visit is a chance to focus on your overall health and wellness. There are 3 main goals for the visit:

  1. Documenting your health habits and history
  2. Getting a physical exam
  3. Setting health goals
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