NCMA Cardiovascular Services Physicians Recognized by Sonoma Magazine’s 2017 ‘Top Doctors’ Survey

NCMA Cardiovascular Services Physicians Recognized by Sonoma Magazine’s 2017 ‘Top Doctors’ Survey

Santa Rosa physicians Masis  Babajanian MD, Patrick S. Coleman MD, Thomas E. Dunlap MD, Harendra K. Punatar MD and Keith Korver MD of NCMA Cardiovascular Services were recently selected as top cardiologists by Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctors survey.

Sonoma Magazine’s Top Doctor survey was submitted to Sonoma County doctors who were then asked which medical specialist they would most often recommend to a loved one, and more than 300 professionals emerged as top docs in 50 categories of medicine. Among physician peers Dr. Babajanian, Dr. Coleman, Dr. Dunlap and Dr. Korver ranked at the top for cardiology specialists, supporting what the many patients who routinely benefit from the expertise and outstanding cardiovascular services provided by these exemplary physicians already know.

The NCMA Cardiovascular Services is comprised of highly skilled physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals dedicated to providing patients’ health care needs. Since 1975, the group has focused on sub-specialization within cardiovascular health to provide services by the most highly trained and experienced physicians and staff.

About Dr. Babajanian

Dr. Masis Babajanian is a fellowship trained cardiologist specializing in Cardiovascular Disease, Internal Medicine, Invasive Cardiology, Nuclear Cardiology and Pacemaker Implants. He received his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine and received his fellowship in cardiology from Tulane University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine.

About Dr. Coleman

Dr. Patrick Coleman is a board certified cardiologist with fellowship training in nuclear and interventional cardiology. He serves as the Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories for both SRMH and Sutter Santa Rosa, as well as the Director of the Cardiology Section at NCMA. In addition to practicing cardiology at NCMA’s Santa Rosa and Ukiah offices, Dr. Coleman regularly gives lectures to the general public and health providers about maintaining and improving heart health and emergency response.

About Dr. Dunlap

Dr. Thomas Dunlap is a fellowship trained cardiologist specializing in Cardiovascular Disease, Peripheral Vascular, Endovascular Medicine, Interventional Cardiology and Pacemaker Implants. He is the Regional Director of Cardiac and Vascular Services at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Director of the Cardiology Division of NCMA, and Chairman of the Endovascular Committee of Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa. He is published in numerous medical journals on cardiovascular health.

About Dr. Korver

Dr. Korver attended medical school at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine and served his residency in general surgery at Georgetown University Hospital; Integrated Surgical Residency, University of Hawaii. He is also fellowship trained in Cardiothoracic Surgery, UCSF School of Medicine; Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Cardiac Transplant Surgery from UCSF School of Medicine..

About Dr. Punatar

Dr. Punatar obtained his medical doctorate at Miraj Medical College in Miraj India and went on to complete his residency and fellowship training in cardiovascular disease from Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. He has been a valued member of NCMA’s team of expert cardiologists for over 23 years, and he regularly sees patients in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

About NCMA Cardiology

NCMA Cardiology is comprised of a team of cardiologists and one cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon —all board-certified in their fields. NCMA’s HeartWorks Cardiac Rehabilitation Center provides each patient with a personal diet and exercise plan supervised by a team of physicians, nurses, and cardiac exercise specialists.  In accordance with its practice of providing comprehensive cardiovascular health care, NCMA offers comprehensive care in areas including;

  • Cardiovascular Testing and Services
  • Interventional Services and Procedures
  • pacemaker and defibrillator clinics
  • anti-coagulation clinics
  • congestive heart failure clinics
  • pulmonary hypertension clinics
  • lipid clinics
  • adult congenital heart clinic
  • general check-ups with cardiologists

NCMA’s services offers cardiac care in three counties, with 11 offices, located in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, Ukiah, and Lakeport. To learn more about NCMA Cardiology visit www.ncmahealth.com.

 

NCMA Welcomes Cardiologist Dr. Henry W. Huang, M.D. FACC to FountainGrove Cardiology

Dr. Henry W. Huang is the newest cardiologist to join NCMA’s Cardiovascular Services team of highly skilled physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals dedicated to patient health care needs. Since 1975, the group has focused on sub specialization within cardiovascular health to provide services by the most highly trained and experienced physicians and staff.

About Dr. Henry Huang MD

Dr. Henry W. Huang is the newest cardiologist to join NCMA’s Cardiovascular Services team of highly skilled physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare professionals dedicated to patient health care needs. Henry W. Huang, M.D., FACC is board certified in both cardiovascular diseases and internal medicine and he currently holds certifications in clinical lipidology, nuclear cardiology, cardiovascular computed tomography and national board certification in adult comprehensive echocardiography. Dr. Huang has been featured for two consecutive years in Pasadena Magazine as among Top Doctors in the field of cardiology.

Dr. Huang graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2000. He continued his discipline with a chief fellowship at California Pacific Medical Center in 2006. Most recently Dr. Huang held the position of assistant professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of Nuclear Cardiology, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In his spare time, he enjoys working out and exploring the restaurants and wineries of Sonoma County. He is also a car enthusiast and sports fan.

About NCMA

From cardiac catheterization to open-heart surgery, from electrophysiology to rehabilitation and prevention, the Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Cardiovascular Services team is dedicated to delivering the highest quality care and the best patient results.  This team of professional staff not only maintains its commitment to our patients’ health and well-being but to maintaining a tradition of excellence and expertise in our practice of the most current, innovative treatments in cardiovascular medicine.

For more information about FountainGrove Cardiology and the full range of services offered by Northern California Medical Associates, visit the website. To make an appointment with Dr. Huang call (707) 573-6199.

Recognized ‘Top Doctor’ NCMA Orthopaedic Specialist Dr. John Tomasin, talks about Hip Replacement Surgery

Special Note: Congratulations to NCMA physician Dr. John Tomasin of Healdsburg Orthopaedics who has been voted one of the top doctors in the field of orthopaedics in Sonoma Magazine’s 2017 Top Doctors survey. For this survey local doctors were asked which medical specialist they would most often recommend to a loved one, more than 300 professionals emerged as top docs in 50 categories of medicine, and Dr. Tomasin’s name rose to the top in his specialty. NCMA would like to congratulate Dr. Tomasin on this timely recognition.

According to most recent statistics the number of hip replacements performed in the United States continues to rise – with hip replacement happening more often in people age 45-50 making up 95 percent of all procedures. This number is a very significant jump – 205 percent in just the past decade. The majority of hip replacements are due to degenerative arthritis caused by wear-and-tear stemming from this population of patient’s more active lifestyle – making them more likely to struggle with arthritis.

“The increasing number of patients who opt for hip replacement proves that this procedure is one of the most studied and cost-effective ways to improve the quality of life, and we are happy to be able to offer THR to residents of Northern Sonoma County.” said NCMA Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. John Tomasin, MD. “The recovery rate has improved right along with technique making it easier for patients to choose surgery over suffering from constant join pain. The statistics also demonstrate that the baby boomer generation is less willing to accept the limitations that accompany arthritis,” added Tomasin.

Dr. Tomasin practices at Healdsburg Orthopaedics in Healdsburg where he offers a full array of orthopaedic services, including hip replacement surgery. He is a Board-Certified physician in Orthopaedic Surgery as well as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. He attended medical school at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Tomasin completed his Sports Medicine Fellowship at Hughston Sports Medicine Clinic in Columbus, GA as well as an AO Fellowship in Munich, West Germany. Dr. Tomasin has been published in numerous professional medical journals, including Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma, and The Physician and Sports Medicine.

Getting Hip with Joint Health

Hip replacement is one of the most successful contemporary surgical procedures. Refined surgical techniques, improved implant characteristics, aggressive physical rehabilitation and a focus on pain management have all contributed to this achievement. The long-term success rates for both total hip and total knee surgery well exceed 95 percent. Advances in approaches along with pre- and postoperative physical therapy are improving an already very successful operation. The latest peri-operative pain control methods, including spinal anesthesia and continuous peripheral nerve blocks for regional anesthesia, add to patient comfort throughout the surgical process.

“These recent changes have dramatically improved results for patients,” explained Dr. Tomasin. “With more rapid recovery and shortened length of stay. Having the latest techniques in our surgical repertoire has made it possible to better determine the best approach to take with each patient.”

Understanding Hip Injuries

Hip pain is a common symptom experienced by all age groups – the intensity of which can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that impairs normal daily activities. Senior citizens are particularly susceptible to hip injuries resulting from a fall. This is due to a decrease in bone density as part of the aging process combined with a reduction in joint elasticity – the combination of which leaves them susceptible to fractures. People who are overweight are also disposed to hip injuries because of the excessive pressure placed on the on the hip.

Common Reasons for Hip Pain

With the advancements in surgical technique many hip disorders may be treated by an orthopaedic surgeon through arthroscopic surgery or other minimally invasive procedures. When osteoarthritis becomes so severe that the pain is intense or the hip joint becomes deformed, a total hip replacement will likely be a consideration. Hip fractures sometimes require surgery to repair the fracture or to replace the hip. Other common causes of hip pain include;

  • Bursitis – due to overuse or repetitive actions around the joints of the body
  • Muscle strains – (particularly groin and hamstring muscle strains) result from small micro tears in muscles caused by a quick twist or pull to the muscle
  • Hip fractures or a break in the hip bone – usually occurring in a fall by an elderly patient
  • Tendonitis – stemming from the many tendons located around the hip that can become inflamed resulting in pain around the hip region
  • Arthritis – is the most common cause of chronic hip pain frequently treated with a joint replacement

When to Seek Help for Hip Pain

If a hip injury impairs the ability to stand, bear weight and walk, consulting with an orthopaedic physician is the best bet. If the pain is more gradual and does not respond to rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medications then seeking medical help is also a good idea. This is especially true if the hip pain begins to limit the range of motion of the hip or causes limping.

About NCMA Orthopaedics and Dr. Tomasin

In addition to making ongoing scientific presentations on orthopaedic medicine across the country Dr. Tomasin has practiced orthopaedic medicine in Sonoma County for more than 20 years. After establishing a private medical practice in 1988, Dr. Tomasin established partnerships with various medical groups in Sonoma County and serves as a Clinical Medical Professor at Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa.  Dr. Tomasin has served as medical consultant for the Northern California Rugby Football Union and team physician for the Santa Rosa Rugby Club. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, California Orthopaedic Association and Hughston Society of Sports Medicine. And, he was the team physician at Healdsburg High school for 27 years and at Cardinal Newman for 10 years.

NCMA Orthopaedics diagnoses, treats, and manages a full spectrum of orthopaedic health issues. In addition to general orthopaedic medicine services, NCMA Orthopaedic surgeons also have expertise, special interest, and experience in the following areas: ACL repair, foot and ankle surgery, hand surgery, joint injections, joint replacement, knee ligament repair and x-ray. To learn more, visit our website or call 707-433-0126 for more information.

NCMA Otolaryngologist Dr. David Quenelle, MD: The connection between antidepressants and tinnitus

Dr. Quenelle discusses the new study by Oregon Health & Science University that reveals why prescription antidepressants may aggravate tinnitus symptoms

People of all ages experience symptoms of hearing loss, including tinnitus and these symptoms can sometimes lead to serious social problems and depression. Researchers at OHSU presented findings this month on a study focused on understanding why a common antidepressant medication may worsen tinnitus symptoms in some patients. Published in the journal Cell Reports, researchers focused on the neuromodulator ‘serotonin’, which is largely considered to be responsible for maintaining mood and social behavior, sleep, memory, appetite and digestion. This study discovered that neurons of the brain known as fusiform cells become hyperactive and hypersensitive to stimuli when exposed to antidepressants that work to elevate serotonin; a situation which may compound symptoms in people who suffer from both depression and tinnitus.

People most at risk of experiencing an increase in tinnitus symptoms are those who take the type of antidepressant classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) which works in the brain by boosting the level of serotonin specifically.

“We have known for some time that prescription medications can damage inner ear hair cells and cause tinnitus,” explains Dr. David Quenelle of Santa Rosa Head & Neck. “Culprits include non-prescription medications like aspirin and acetaminophen taken at high doses. Prescription medication such as certain diuretics and antibiotics are also known to cause or aggravate tinnitus, so it’s not surprising that anti-depressants can also be added to the list.”

Tinnitus in a nutshell

According to the American Tinnitus Association more than 50 million Americans deal with tinnitus every day, often to a debilitating degree, making it one of the most common health conditions in the U.S. More than 20 million people struggle with chronic tinnitus, and 2 million of those report extreme and debilitating symptoms. Veterans are the fastest growing segment of the population suffering from severe tinnitus reportedly affecting more than 900,000 people.

Tinnitus is commonly associated with hearing loss. Onset can stem from a variety of known and unknown causes, including but not limited to neurological damage, excessive ear wax, ear infections, and nasal allergies. The primary symptom of tinnitus is the perception of a persistent buzzing or ringing sound within the ear, not associated with external auditory stimuli.

“Symptoms of tinnitus can be perceived in a range from mild to severe for those who have the condition,” says Dr. Quenelle. “Ironically for some people, it can also lead to depression, making it all the more important that physicians treating patients for depression also screen for hearing loss or tinnitus before prescribing medication.”

Severity of Symptoms

Tinnitus is a medical condition that can have negative consequences on a patient’s overall health and well-being. Even moderate symptoms can interfere with a person’s ability to work and socialize. Most commonly reported symptoms include:

  • Anxiety & Depression
  • A sense of feeling distressed
  • Mood swings
  • Poor concentration
  • Problems sleeping
  • Pain (tinnitus accompanied by hyperacusis)

There may be no medical cures for tinnitus yet, but there are proven devices and treatments that can significantly reduce the symptoms including; hearing aids, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, relaxation therapy, counseling, habituation therapies, tinnitus maskers and hypnosis.

About SRHN Hearing Center

People of all ages experience symptoms of hearing loss, including tinnitus and these symptoms can sometimes lead to serious social problems and depression. SRHN’s Hearing Center’s team of board certified otolaryngologists and experienced audiologists is devoted to finding the best, personalized hearing solutions and providing comprehensive care for all hearing and balance needs. To learn more visit our website or call (707) 523-7025.

 

 

The Hearing Center SRHN

 

Dr. Tara Bartlett D.O. joins The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa

Dr. Tara C. Bartlett, DO joins the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group to become the newest member of a team of healthcare professionals made up of compassionate, expert doctors, midwives, nurses and medical assistants, all aimed at providing unmatched care to patients. Dr. Tara C. Bartlett, D.O., is a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist.  She graduated from University of California, Los Angeles as a Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors.  She holds a B.S. degree in Biology with a minor in Global Studies.  Dr. Bartlett obtained her medical degree at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in California.  She completed her residency at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

Dr. Bartlett holds numerous awards and certifications including Da Vinci robotic surgery certification.  She is trained in minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic surgery, hysteroscopic surgery, myosure device, novasure endometrial ablation, nexplanon insertion, and intrauterine device placement.  She has participated in a number of research projects pertaining to her specialty including HPV genotyping research.

Dr.  Bartlett has a special interest in international medicine and was awarded the Rafi Younoszai International/Cross-Cultural Health Scholarship Award in 2013.  She has participated in medical outreach providing OB/GYN services for areas with minimal healthcare access in Peru, the Dominican Republic, and northern Spain.  “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Bartlett as the newest physician to join our unique group of women healthcare providers,” says Dr. Lela Emad of the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group. “We are honored to have her in our practice. With this addition, both staff and patients gain a very talented and caring physician focused on providing quality support and unmatched healthcare to patients.”

About the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group

With a team made up of compassionate, expert doctors, midwives, nurses and medical assistants aimed at providing unmatched care to patients, the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group offers a full range of obstetrics and gynecology services to women in the North Bay region.  Services offered include;

  • General gynecological health screenings
  • State-of-the-art diagnostics
  • Comprehensive pregnancy and postpartum care
  • Full midwifery services
  • Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery
  • Uro-gynecological procedures
  • Incontinence care
  • Menopause care
  • Laser hair reduction, skin care and Botox Cosmetic

Along with Dr. Bartlett, the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group’s staff of physicians includes; Lela Emad, MD, Shazah Khawaja, MD, Amita Kachru, MD, and Susan Logan, MD. Together, these doctors share a unique whole-body approach to medicine as they strive to find the underlying causes of a woman’s health problems, rather than simply treating the symptoms. Every one of the health professionals at Women’s OB/GYN is committed to both alleviating short-term ailments and maximizing long-term health.

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. To learn more about these fine physicians and the many services provided by the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group visit the website. Call for an appointment at (707) 579-1102.

NCMA Welcomes Internal Medicine & Geriatric Specialist Rachel Mayorga MD

Dr. Rachael Mayorga NCMA Healdsburg physician Dr. Rachel Mayorga is a primary care doctor who specializes in internal medicine and geriatric medicine. Her practice focuses on individualized preventative and long-term wellness.

Dr. Mayorga’s practice philosophy is based on the principles, which enable, patients to enjoy greater access to and more quality time with their doctor. Her practice is particularly suited for people seeking a doctor who will spend time with them to design a personalized plan for health.

Board certified in Internal Medicine and in Geriatric Medicine, Dr. Mayorga is a specialist in “Healthy Aging,” and has lectured and participated in community outreach programs. Dr. Mayorga collaborates with her patients to customize a care plan focused on their unique health needs and life goals.

Dr. Mayorga received a Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine from Rush-Presbyterian, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She completed residency in internal medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated with an MD from the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah.

NCMA’s Internal Medicine & Geriatric Physicians diagnose, treat, and manage a full spectrum of health conditions. In addition to general internal medicine services, they also have expertise, special interest, and experience in gastroenterology, endocrinology, health screenings, diabetes management and care, immunizations, women’s health and much more. To schedule an appointment call 707.385.0222.

Just a Few Extra Pounds Has Big Consequences on Heart Health

NCMA Cardiology expert Dr. Thomas Dunlap on the importance of maintaining healthy weight over time as new study reveals hazards associated with heart health and minimal weight gain.

NCMA Cardiology expert Dr. Thomas Dunlap on the importance of maintaining healthy weight over time as new study reveals hazards associated with heart health and minimal weight gain.Researchers now say that gaining just a small amount of weight can have a negative impact on the structure and function of the heart muscle over time, increasing long-term risk of heart failure. The study tracked a group of 1,262 adults (average age 44) who were originally free from heart disease and other conditions that put them at high risk for heart disease for seven years. Participants underwent MRIs scans of their hearts and multiple body fat measurements at the start of the study and then again seven years later. Scientists discovered that even a five percent weight gain led to an increased risk of thickening and enlargement of the left ventricle.

“We’ve known for some time now that patients who carry extra pounds are much more likely to develop heart disease,” says NCMA cardiologist Dr. Thomas Dunlap. “This study helps to stress the importance of maintaining optimal weight and points out the need to be persistent with an exercise program that will help keep the pounds off.”

One bit of good news from the study was revealed by those who actually lost weight. The participants of that group were more likely to exhibit decreases in heart muscle thickness, resulting in lower risk of heart disease.

“It’s important to take steps to improve heart health before a problem arises,” says Dr. Dunlap. “If maintaining weight at optimal levels can decrease a person’s chances of developing heart disease over time, then making lifestyle choices to improve cardiovascular health will also improve quality of life, while lowering the risk for heart disease. Once symptoms begin to manifest, walking back the clock to earlier levels of cardio health is not always easy, or in some cases; even possible.”

Heart Disease is Serious Business

According to the American Heart Association more than 5 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure, less than 50 percent of those with heart failure live a full five years following diagnosis. The deadly duo of heart disease and stroke are among the most prevalent and costly health complications today. Heart disease or stroke wreak havoc on people’s lives measured in increased medical bills, lost wages and decreased quality of living.

  • 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in the United States
  • 800,000 deaths occur from heart disease each year, a total of 1 in every 3 deaths – about the same number as die from cancer, respiratory disease and accidents – combined
  • 150,000 of deaths from heart disease occur in people under age 65
  • $320 billion in health care costs and lost productivity were attributed to heart disease and stroke in 2011

The top five ways to get a handle on heart disease include; managing high blood pressure (talk to your doctor), take up a daily routine of physical activity (at least 20 minutes per day), make an effort to eat whole foods (avoid processed alternatives), avoid excess salt and quit smoking. 

About NCMA Cardiology Services

From cardiac catheterization to open-heart surgery, from electrophysiology to rehabilitation and prevention, the NCMA’s Cardiovascular Services team is dedicated to delivering the highest quality care and the best patient results. The professional staff not only maintains its commitment to patients’ health and well-being but maintains a tradition of excellence and expertise in the practice of the most current, innovative treatments in cardiovascular medicine. For more information, visit the NCMA website.

 

Experts Predict Sonoma County Allergy Sufferers Will Have a Lot to Sneeze About

Linda Biggers SRHN Allergy Clinic Manager & Clinician talks about the impending allergy season and provides options for allergies sufferers.

We are able to test for more than 40 different inhalant allergens that are common to the area, such as trees, grass, weeds, molds, dust mites, animals, and others. From the results of these tests we are then able to advise patients on the best options for treating their individual allergy symptomsAn increase in wetter weather in the Northern California area naturally means a lot more green and growing foliage and plants, and along with that; a humdinger of an allergy season. A relief from drought conditions is most welcome, but for pollen sensitive allergy sufferers, it also means an increase in misery-causing grass and weed pollen.

“Our patients have been reporting the typical allergy season symptoms, such as itchy eyes and sneezing,” explains Linda Biggers NCMA’s SRHN Allergy Clinic Manager & Clinician. “This is not surprising since according to the experts we are already well into grass pollen season. Grass pollen is the most allergy causing pollen; and it’s one of the most prolific pollen producers in our area.” Grass pollen levels typically become most prevalent though the month of June. “This year the pollen intensity might go on a bit longer thanks to the current uptick in heat we’re experiencing,” she added.

Although allergies might be a challenge to deal with, it is a normal physiological reaction to airborne allergens. Typical reactions include a runny nose and a swelling of the sinus passages as the body tries to block the allergen from getting into the system. The immune system reacts defensively to the pollen and responds to attack by producing large amounts of antibody. This allergic reaction can cause symptoms including; itchy watery eyes, runny nose, itchy throat, hives, fatigue, and irritability.

Understanding Pollen Season

Anyone who suffers from seasonal pollen allergies probably knows that it’s spread by the wind. Any warm afternoon breeze can be loaded with pollen from trees, grasses, flowering plants and a plethora of weeds. Although springtime may be the launch of allergy season, many plants pollinate year-round. And according to online pollen reporting sites, pollen counts vary from day to day and hour to hour depending on heat and precipitation.

According to researchers, nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the U.S. and it’s a problem that is on the increase. As many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children report allergy symptoms. Allergic disease including asthma, is the now the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. in people of all ages. It has been estimated that between 24-40 million of allergy patients suffer specifically from an airborne allergy resulting in hay fever or Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis.

Allergy Independence with Immunotherapy

Over-the-counter remedies and staying indoors might not work for everyone and that’s when doctors might recommend immunotherapy. This type of allergy therapy follows a thorough allergy test to screen for which allergens are causing the problem, patients are then set up on a schedule of injections that are geared toward not only relieving allergy symptoms but eliminating them altogether.

“We are able to test for more than 40 different inhalant allergens that are common to the area, such as trees, grass, weeds, molds, dust mites, animals, and others. From the results of these tests we are then able to advise patients on the best options for treating their individual allergy symptoms,” said Biggers

“In order to get a person’s immune system to stop over-reacting to allergens, we may offer immunotherapy which uses a gradual desensitization process that involves injecting extracts of identified allergens. Normally these injections are given once a week over the course of several months,” she explained. “We then graduate treatments to bi-monthly and eventually to just once a month. The goal is to make you feel better while cutting back or eliminating your allergy medications.”

About SRHN Allergy Center

The Allergy Center at Santa Rosa Head and Neck (SRHN) provides patients with a clear solution to the treatment of allergies using a collaborative team of board-certified otolaryngologists and allergy specialists. SRHN physicians are members of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. For more information on the Allergy Center at Santa Rosa Head & Neck visit the NCMA website or call (707) 523-7025 to schedule an appointment.

 

Long wet winter leads to concerns over exploding mosquito populations in Northern California

By all indications, and due to months of wet weather, there is a booming mosquito season underway in Sonoma County. While officials call for diligence, asking homeowners to scout for any open water sources that can be emptied or eliminated, healthcare providers are looking at potential health concerns. Along with the annoying buzz of mosquitos is the buzz associated with potential infections stemming from their itchy bites, namely Zika and West Nile.

The Buzz on Mosquitoes

“One good thing is that we don’t need to be too concerned about Zika,” explains Dr. William A. Markoff NCMA Family Practice Physician. “This virus has been linked to birth defects in Central and South America but authorities tell us that the mosquitoes known to transmit this virus are not in our area. Concerns over mosquito transmitted viruses this year remains focused on West Nile Virus, which – while most people suffer few to no symptoms, can cause serious problems in others including neurological issues.”

West Nile Virus Symptoms

Last year there were 442 cases of West Nile reported in California, with 10 of those in the nine-county Bay Area. West Nile Virus generally results in mild flu-like symptoms in some people, while others have no symptoms and suffer no consequence at all. A small segment of the population seems to be vulnerable to the more serious symptoms that includes swelling of the brain and potentially; death. Although there is a vaccine to prevent it, West Nile Virus can also be fatal to horses, and particularly birds.

Of the 176 known mosquito species in the United States there are roughly 20 mosquito varieties common to Northern California, and most of those will be out in force this year. Early mosquito prevention is key to protecting public health. This means scouting property for pools of standing water that mosquitos might find inviting and keeping an eye out for other potential incubating sites including wet tarps, tires, plastic containers, tin cans, jars, buckets, etc. District managers have also begun ground and aerial spraying to control mosquito activity where necessary.

Don’t scratch that itch

The best – and most difficult advice to take following a mosquito bite is; don’t scratch. Scratching creates openings on the surface of the skin which allows bacteria in and can cause infection. To relieve the itch and lower chances of an infection there are some time-honored techniques which include:

  • Clean the bite area with soap and water (or dab with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol)
  • Apply an anti-itch cream
  • Use Aloe Vera to soothe and heal the itch
  • Make a thick paste of baking soda & water and apply to affected area
  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine if itching persists

“Although extremely rare, if a mosquito bite does result in a fever or causes vomiting, or shortness of breath it would be advisable to seek medical attention immediately,” adds Dr. Markoff.

About NCMA Family Medicine

NCMA Family Medicine physicians provide services at offices in Lakeport, Santa Rosa, and Petaluma. NCMA philosophy is based on the fact that early screening and detection can result in less acute episodes of illness that can be devastating both physically and financially. Family medicine physicians provide primary health care for people at every stage of life. For more information about Dr. Markoff and all NCMA medical services visit the website at ncmahealth.com.

 

Dr. Ashwani Bedi on Heart Health for Life and the Results of Decades of Research

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Dr. Ashwani Bedi discusses the results of this month’s study on heart disease.

Earlier this month researchers from the Chicago Heart Association Detection Project released results of a study focused on 25,800 people who had turned 65 by 2010. Pulling data from the same participants who also made up a study from 1967 to 1973, researchers looked at heart health during younger years and how that played out over time.

They found that people with favorable heart health at younger ages lived about four years longer altogether, survived about five years longer before developing a chronic illness such as cancer or heart failure and spent 22 percent less of their senior years with a chronic disease compared to people with two or more heart risk factors earlier in life. This group also saved almost $18,000 in Medicare costs.

“Cardiovascular health is a lifetime concern,” says Dr. Ashwani Bedi, NCMA Cardiologist. “The American Heart Association says that about 41 percent of the U.S. population will have cardiovascular disease by 2030. That is a shocking statistic. This study clearly demonstrates that life-long heart health can be achieved, if patients make it a priority early in life. It’s hard to imagine a simpler solution than that.”

Cardiovascular disease includes conditions that affect the structures or function of the heart. It is the leading cause of death in the U.S. causing more than 800,000 deaths per year and $300 billion in direct medical expenditures. “The best way to prevent cardiovascular disease is to learn about it early and to take steps to prevent it from occurring,” says Dr. Bedi.

As a practicing Cardiac Electrophysiologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms, Dr. Bedi understands the importance of prevention and the need to make lifestyle changes early in life to help ensure a healthy heart for life. “It’s human nature to not focus on our cardiovascular health until later in life when it becomes a problem. This study shows the importance of making lifestyle changes to support heart health earlier in life.”

How to prevent heart disease

Heart failure is a major health problem for both men and women in the U.S., affecting nearly 5 million Americans. About 550,000 people are diagnosed with it each year. It is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65. The hallmarks of prevention for heart disease include:

  • Eating healthy
  • Getting active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
  • Manage cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Take steps to manage stress

“Ultimately, it’s never too early or too late to learn about heart disease. The earlier in life a person can take steps to prevent cardiovascular disease, the better the chances that person has for staying healthy for life,” Dr. Bedi said.

About Dr. Bedi

Dr. Bedi is board certified in cardiac electrophysiology, cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. He brings specialty expertise in all aspects of cardiac electrophysiology including SVT and VT ablations, atrial fibrillation ablations, pacing (including BiV pacing) and defibrillation as well as intracardiac echocardiography. Dr. Bedi was the recipient of the Health Care Hero Award and received multiple WOW designations at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. He has a professional interest in cardiac ablations, prevention and awareness of sudden cardiac death in communities and has been actively involved in cardiac screening for college athletes.

For more information about the full range of services offered by Northern California Medical Associates, visit the NCMA Health website. To make an appointment with Dr. Bedi, call (707) 573-6199