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Top 3 Reasons to go for Annual Physicals

Most of us know that going for an annual physical from your doctor is important to stay healthy. But many people think they don’t need one, since they are in a state of good overall health.

Research shows that people who go for regular annual physicals can prevent disease and lead healthy lives.

Here are areas where regular check-ups and annual screenings can make a big difference to your health.

Heart Disease

While it may seem that heart attacks and strokes happen suddenly, these conditions would give off warning signs prior to their occurrence. There are risk factors also associated with these conditions and they can be detected with an annual physical.

Cardiovascular exams help to save tens of thousands lives annually. Addressing risk factors can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke to a large extent.

Cancer

Cancer kills more than five hundred thousand people every year in the United States. About one and a half million are diagnosed with some type of cancer every year. It has been proven that early detection and diagnosis can help in complete and faster recovery.

It has been estimated that almost a third of all cases of cancer may be cured and a large percentage of all cancer deaths can be prevented with early detection and annual physicals can go a long way in early detection.

Vaccinations

Modern vaccinations save millions of children across the globe every year. But they aren’t just meant for kids. A routine physical with your doctor will help keep track of the vaccinations you need and ensure you get them on time.

Many people suffer from a chronic illness without being aware of it. Unfortunately, chronic diseases are responsible for a majority of all deaths. It’s not possible to treat a condition if you don’t even know you have it. Annual physicals can help detect a disease in its early stages so that it can be prevented from worsening.

Annual physicals and preventive health screenings can prevent many diseases from developing, detect many in their early stages, increase life expectancy and help you maintain an overall state of good health. You can achieve all this and more by scheduling your annual physical today. All you have to do is call your nearest healthcare center or urgent care center.

If you are looking for San Diego internal medicine doctors, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like internal medicine, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, house call doctors and internal medicine doctor in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

5 Urgent Signs you should see a Doctor for your Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common complaint that can generally be treated at home with stretching, heat and over-the-counter medications. But sometimes it may become severe. If you are suffering from lower back pain and are not sure when to see a doctor, here are key signs to watch out for.

Constant Pain

If you are suffering from constant lower back pain and the pain relieving methods you are using are not working, you may need urgent medical attention. The pain could be the result of an underlying condition and leaving it untreated may worsen the condition.

Pain is the Result of Trauma

Accidents and physical trauma can damage the spinal cord. If your back pain began after you were in a traumatic event, make sure you see a doctor or visit an urgent care center for an examination of the affected area.

Pain is accompanied by Numbness

Back pain accompanied by numbness in the legs and pelvic area may be a sign of pinched or damaged nerves. See a pain management doctor in San Diego and make sure you list all your symptoms – pain, irritation, numbness, tingling, and any other unusual sensation.

Pain is becoming worse

Pain that is growing worse with time can be a sign that your condition is becoming worse. A pain management doctor is the right person for an accurate diagnosis and treatment for back pain.

Pain is accompanied by Fever

Lower back pain accompanied by a fever may be indicative of an infection of the kidneys or another organ. Visit the nearest urgent care center to find out why.

If you are looking for pain management doctors in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like San Diego diagnostic radiology, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, house call doctors and internal medicine doctors help you live a happy, healthy life.

4 Big Reasons to Skip the Waiting Room

Have you ever waited in a waiting room at your primary care physician’s office or at the ER in the hospital? If yes, you must have heard the words, “You can take a seat. The nurse will call you shortly.”

What happens afterwards is anyone’s guess. You sit in a chair for hours, worrying about what germs it may be carrying, listening to crying babies and flipping through old magazines, worrying about how late you would be for your work!

Fortunately, urgent care facilities, such as Pacific Medical Care in downtown San Diego, offer urgent care services (without endless waiting, of course!) for urgent, yet non-life threatening medical issues, after hours and on weekends.

Here are the top reasons you should skip the ER or the waiting room and seek urgent care.

  • Endless waiting when you are feeling unwell
  • Worrying about infection (even more so if you are carrying your kids along)
  • Explaining the same thing to many people before you get to see the doctor
  • Hidden fees for after hours, holiday, and weekends

You may not always be able to prevent sickness but you can ensure that you don’t have to sit in a waiting room again.

If you are looking for an urgent care center in San Diego downtown, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like urgent care, internal medicine, mobile diagnostics, house call doctors and mobile foot doctor in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

Stomach Pain and Urgent Care

Have you ever experienced an upset stomach but didn’t know why? Here are a few things that can cause stomach aches and pains.

Acidic foods

Fruit juices high on citrus, sodas, spicy and fried foods and alcohol can create acid reflux and tummy aches.

Diarrhea

If you are vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, it could be due to a virus or bacteria, especially if you have been traveling. Stomach pain, accompanied by chills; body ache and fever show that the infection is viral.

Diarrhea and vomiting is your body’s natural response to get rid of the bug, so instead of taking an OTC medication to stop it, seek medical attention at an urgent care center near you.

Foods that cause bloating

Some foods or food ingredients tend to cause bloating, such as cruciferous vegetables, artificial sweeteners, dairy products and legumes.

Gastritis

You would need medication for acute gastritis attacks. Avoid over the counter medication and consult a doctor. Pacific Medical care in San Diego provides mobile doctor services that can treat these symptoms acutely.

If you are looking for mobile doctor services in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like urgent care, mobile diagnostics, house call doctors and internal medicine doctor in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

How is Restorative Pain Management Better than Other Approaches?

Restorative Pain Management works by not only treating the pain itself but by directing therapy at the cause of your pain. By challenging the traditional wisdom of other pain management therapies, restorative pain management doctors, such as those at Pacific Medical Care center in San Diego, have shown significant reductions in pain and a greater quality of life for pain patients.

Too many pain clinics prescribe pain medications for every pain condition. This can lead to addiction, tolerance and hormonal abnormalities. Restorative pain management is an innovative approach that involves restoring relief and increased function with approaches that only use narcotics as a last resort. Since pain is treated by targeting the root cause, the patients’ risks of unnecessary and potentially dangerous treatments and prescription drug dependency is highly reduced.

Board Certified pain management physicians target the source of your pain and treat it using interventional pain procedures such as trigger point therapy, epidural injections, radiofrequency ablation, occipital blocks or joint injections to name a few. This results in lasting pain relief and an improved quality of life.

If you are looking for pain management doctors or foot doctor services in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like internal medicine, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, pain management doctors and foot doctor in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

Who should I see for Chronic Pain Treatment?

If you are suffering from chronic pain, you should see a pain management doctor immediately. While your primary care doctor can offer some help in some cases, for advanced types of pain they’ll likely refer you to a pain management doctor. Modern pain medicine uses minimally invasive treatments or interventional treatments to manage chronic pain to give you an improved quality of life.

A pain management doctor is a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. Highly-trained and experienced pain management doctors can diagnose conditions, coordinate treatment, and provide ongoing care for pain patients.

Pain management doctors can treat pain for a wide range of conditions – from acute sports injuries to cancer pain. Pain is considered chronic if it’s lasted for three or more months. The following are conditions that can be treated by pain management doctors.

  • Upper and lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Nerve pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

If you are looking for pain management doctors and mobile doctor services in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like internal medicine, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, pain management doctors and mobile doctor services in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

Cholesterol and heart disease – do you know your numbers?

You may have heard about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol. But what is it, and how do you know if you have the right amount?

Your body uses cholesterol, a type of fat, to make important compounds like vitamin D and hormones. Hormones control functions like digestion, mood, and reproduction. Many people don’t realize that your liver makes all the cholesterol you need. But you also absorb it from your diet.

Knowing the bad from the good

 

Cholesterol can’t travel through your blood stream. Instead, your digestive tract packages it into a ‘lipoprotein.’ Think of these as a raft of cholesterol molecules packed together. I carries it to organs in your body. There are two kinds of lipoprotein rafts: low-density and high-density.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Low density, or LDL, is ‘bad’ because it builds up in your blood vessels. If LDL levels are high, the compounds stick together and form ‘plaques’ of gunk that build up in arteries. The most serious risk of plaques is a heart attack. Click here (Note: link to heart disease blog post if desired) to learn about other heart problems caused by plaques in the blood.
High density, or HDL, is ‘good’ because it scavenges the body for LDL and takes it to the liver to be re-used. As a result, having higher level of HDL lowers the amount of LDL in the blood. Which also lowers your risk of heart disease.

How do I know my levels?

 

If you are over 20 years old, you should get your blood tested once every five years. You will need to fast (not eat any food) for about 12 hours before your appointment. You doctor will draw blood to take four important measurements:

  1. LDL (Amount of “bad” cholesterol in your blood)
  2. HDL (Amount of “good” cholesterol in your blood)
  3. Total cholesterol (Amount of LDL and HDL combined in your blood)
  4. Trigclycerides (a type of fat that combines with LDL to form plaques.)

What raises my LDL (“bad”) cholesterol?

 

  • * Low levels of HDL – the “good” cholesterol that removes LDL from the blood
    * Cigarette smoking
    * Family history of heart disease
    * Age – men over 45 years old and women over 55
    * Gender – women are more likely than men to have high LDL levels

How can I improve my numbers?

 

  • * Eat HDL-friendly fooods like olive oil, beans an legumes, high-fiber fruits, and fatty fish
    * Avoid LDL-heavy foods including trans fats, fatty red meats, eggs, and milk products with more then 1% milk fat. Fast food is often heavy in LDL.
    * Increasing exerciese and losing weight. This increases the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol)
    * If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. Additional resources here.
    * You can’t change your gender, age, or family history of heart disease. But your doctor can prescribe medications that will counter these risks. These include:

– Statins, a drug that prevent the liver from making cholesterol

– Vitamins and supplements that reduce LDL and raise HDL

– Inhibitors can block how much fat is absorbed from your diet.

Remember! It is important to stay on top of your levels to keep your heart healthy and to prevent life-threatening heart attacks and blood clots. If you need help remembering, try this:

LDL – LOWER LEVELS TO LIVE LONG
HDL – HIGHER LEVELS FOR A HAPPY LIFE

New diabetes test to identify kidney failure before it happens

There are two common tests for kidney function. These are urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) and estimated glomerular filtration rate.

How do these tests work? Your kidneys contain millions of tiny filters, or ‘glomeruli.’ Blood passes through them to remove waste and excess water. People with diabetes or pre-diabetes have high blood sugar levels, unless they take medications or change their diet. High blood sugar is toxic to the kidneys. Over time, the glomeruli become damaged, and cannot filer properly.

How doctors measure kidney damage

There are two bio-markers that can show damage has occurred. A ‘bio-marker’ is a molecule that reflect how well the body is functioning.

  1. The estimated GFR measures how well your kidneys are working. The bio-marker used in this test is creatinine. This is a compound that glomeruli filter from blood. So, damage to the ‘filters’ will change the amount of creatinine in your blood. A GFR of 60 or higher is normal. A lower GFR is a sign of kidney damage.
  2. The ACR bio-marker is a protein called albumin. Blood and protein should not be in urine. If the test finds albumin, it is a sign that glomeruli have become damaged and ‘leaky.’

Why so much focus on diabetes and kidney function? Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease in the United States.  End-stage renal disease (ESRD) occurs when kidney damage is so severe that the organs stop working. These patients must go on dialysis or receive a transplant. Identifying who will develop ESRD can save thousands of lives.

Can we predict kidney failure?

ACR and GFR can measure kidney damage that has already occurred. But how can doctors know if a patient with damage will go on to develop kidney failure?

Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center discovered that molecule called TNFR 1 is a biomarker for kidney failure in people with diabetes.  The test has a strong prognostic value, meaning it can identify people will develop ESRD. It identified 81% of all study participants who developed ESRD within three years.

This test is not currently available. Researchers hope to develop it in order to identify patients who will develop ESRD before kidneys fail.

But it’s important to remember that these patients developed ESRD within three years. This means that their kidney damage was already very advanced. Diabetic patients should strive to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Even if your kidneys seem to function normally. This includes testing blood sugar daily with a glucometer. It is also importnat to see your doctor regularly to test your HbA1c. HbA1c uses another biomarker in your blood. It is a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time (several months). Even if your blood sugar level is normal at one time in the day, a high HbA1c means that on average, your blood sugar is high.

We may be able to identify patients at risk of kidney failure. But treatment and prevention of kidney damage has not changed: maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Hypertension is a silent killer. Do you know your numbers?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is called the ‘silent killer’ because it does not cause many symptoms. As a result, most people don’t know that they have high blood pressure.

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can occur at any age, even in young children. The only way to know if you have hypertension is to measure your blood pressure using a blood pressure (BP) cuff. A doctor or a nurse can do this for you.

The BP cuff provides two numbers that measure the pressure in your blood vessels. The top number is called “systolic blood pressure,” and bottom number is called “diastolic blood pressure.”

Your doctor will determine if you have hypertension using the following numbers
(Systolic/Diastolic):

  • Healthy blood pressure:          120/80 mmHg or lower
  • Pre-hypertension:                    121-81 mmHg to 139/89 mmHg
  • Hypertension:                          140/90 mmHg or greater

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

Risk factors are traits that make you more likely to have an illness compared to other people. The risk factors for hypertension include:

  1. Lifestyle

Smoking and alcohol increase blood pressure, while regular physical activity lowers blood pressure.

  1. WeightYou are more likely to have high blood pressure if you are overweight or obese. Use your BMI (body mass index) to determine if you are overweight. We discuss how to do this in detail here.
  2. Age

Anyone over the age of 60 has a higher risk for hypertension. However, it is beginning to occur at early ages because more young people are overweight.

  1. Race or ethnicity

High blood pressure is more common in certain races or ethnicities. People with African American heritage are more likely to have high blood pressure, and it may occur earlier in life. Certain blood pressure medications work better for this group. So be sure to talk to your doctor about the best drugs to control your hypertension.

  1. GenderMen are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure before age 55. After age 55, high blood pressure is more common in women.

High blood pressure: What’s the big deal?

Because hypertension causes few symptoms, most people don’t understand why it is dangerous. But over time, high blood pressure causes heart attack and strokes. These are the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, one in four people will die from heart disease.

Hypertension is deadly because high pressures put strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this damages your organs. Especially your brain, kidneys, and eyes.

Long term effects of hypertension include:

  • Stroke (brain damage)
  • Artery disease
  • Damage to eye sight
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure

By the time these happen, the effects may not be reversible. So it is important that you prevent hypertension before it happens.

How can I treat hypertension?

The best treatment is prevention. This means addressing risk factors before they cause high blood pressure. The most important changes to make are:

  1. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight is the best way to prevent heart disease and death
  2. Don’t smoke. If you need help to quit smoking, you can find resources here.
  3. Get regular physical exercise, including walking and taking the stairs.
  4. See your doctor regularly to track your blood pressure, especially if you have risk factors. Besides lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe you medications to lower blood pressure.

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Restorative Pain Management – Pain Medicine’s Answer to Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can prevent you from leading a normal personal and professional life. Restorative pain management has been designed to relieve your pain, prevent it from recurring in the future and improve quality of life for the patient.

Restorative Pain Management at leading pain management clinics, such as Pacific Medical Care in San Diego, combines cutting-edge treatment options, treating the patient as a whole and a multidisciplinary approach. This makes restorative pain management uniquely suited to achieve pain relief and help patients get their life back.

Restorative pain management employs a wide variety of therapies to diagnose, reduce, and completely eliminate pain. The goal is to help a patient get back to their normal activities as quickly as possible.

Pain specialists, who practice restorative pain management, first diagnose the problem to determine the underlying condition and then treat it accordingly.

Restorative Pain Management Techniques

Several different pain management techniques may be used alone or in conjunction with each other to provide lasting pain relief to patients.

Epidural steroid injections

Epidural Steroid Injections work to reduce inflammation and pain in the nerve roots as they exit the spine. The injections are a combination of a local anesthetic and a steroid injected into the epidural space (the area right outside the membrane that covers the spinal cord and its nerves).

Facet Joint Injections

Facet joint injections are often used to diagnose the cause and location of pain.

A facet joint injection uses a local anesthetic and/or steroid, which is injected directly into the facet joint to block the pain. Facet joint injections are used as a tool to help the patient tolerate pain better so that they can undergo physical therapy.

Lumbar Facet Nerve Blocks

Nerve blocks are injections administered along the sides of the spine to diagnose or treat the root cause of pain.

Sacroiliac Injections

Sacroiliac injections are a combination of a steroid and a local anesthetic to relieve pain in the sacroiliac joint (at the bottom of the spine).

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation treatment uses radio waves to generate small electrical current which delivers heat to targeted nerve tissues, to prevent the transmission of pain signals from the spinal column to the brain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation

A device implanted near the spinal cord to deliver low-level electrical impulses to the epidural space. These signals override the pain signals from peripheral nerves to the brain.

If you wish to consult experienced pain management doctors in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Their services, like internal medicine, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, house call doctors and mobile foot doctor in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

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