NCMA

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.

 

Redwood Family Dermatology Joins Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA)

Growing Northern California Medical Group adds Top Level Specialty Dermatology Services.

Redwood Family Dermatology

Redwood Family Dermatology

Santa Rosa, CA – Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) is proud to announce that Redwood Family Dermatology has recently joined their multi-specialty medical group. The dermatology practice provides general dermatologic treatment, outpatient surgery, clinical trials and a full range of cosmetic services.

“We’re excited to add this excellent dermatology practice to our group’s medical services,” explains NCMA CEO, Ruth Skidmore. “Our patients benefit with easier referrals, shared health record access and continuity of care.  NCMA is well known in Northern California for attracting top level physicians to join it’s elite medical team and NCMA patients recognize and appreciate the premium level of care.”

Started in 2002, Redwood Family Dermatology has offices in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Their four physicians and two certified physician assistants are recognized local leaders in the management of skin health and skin disease by providing the highest level of care and offering outstanding service.

  • Jeffery Sugarman, MD, PhD, is the practice founder Associate Clinical Professor in the Departments of Dermatology and Family and Community Medicine at UC San Francisco. Dr. Sugarman is board certified in both pediatrics and dermatology and has published various articles on topics ranging from cancer research to childhood eczema.
  • Albert Peng, MD, received his BA from Cornell University and his MD from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Dr. Peng specializes in adult medical dermatology and skin cancer surgery and is formally trained as a Mohs surgeon.
  • Ligaya Park, DO, MSHS, received her medical degree and masters in health sciences from Western University in Pomona, California, followed by a one year traditional internship at University Hospitals Richmond Medical Center and dermatology residency at University Hospitals Case Western Medical Center. She specializes in general medical dermatology.
  • Judith Hong, MD, earned her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). During medical school, she completed a 1-year clinical research externship with Dr. John Koo at the UCSF Psoriasis and Phototherapy Skin Treatment Center. Her disciplines include medical and cosmetic dermatology along with dermatology surgery.
  • Angela Wyble, PA-C, is a licensed physician assistant who graduated from the Samuel Merritt College of Physicians’ Assistant Program in Oakland, California. Her experience includes dermatology, pediatrics, surgery and emergency medicine.
  • Heather Lowe, PA-C, is a licensed physician assistant. She moved to California and worked for three years in a Sonoma community clinic practicing primary care and subsequently dermatology including cosmetics.

These providers offer a full line of dermatology care for patients including adult dermatology, skin cancer screening and treatment, Mohs surgery, cosmetic dermatology, esthetic services, laser hair removal, intense pulsed light treatment, V-Beam laser treatment, excimer laser for psoriasis, BLU-U light treatment and sclerotherapy and clinical research. Redwood Family Dermatology also uses injectables such as Botox® and Dysport® for fine facial lines along with Restylane® and Juvederm® for deep skin folds, facial lines and lip lines.

NCMA CEO Ruth Skidmore notes, “In our changing health care landscape, adding this top-level dermatology practice to our existing medical group is very exciting. Local

patients will benefit with increased access and providers benefit via our centralized administration and professional practice management model. NCMA handles physician recruitment, billing, contracting, purchasing, collections, human resources, accounting and reporting functions leaving the physicians with more quality time for their patients.”

About NCMA and RFD

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) is the premier provider of medical and surgical care north of the Golden Gate since 1975. NCMA has successfully created a model featuring an independent, multi-specialist group practice that allows their patients access to a sweeping range of medical and surgical services, diagnostic testing and preventive programs. NCMA is owned by the most highly respected primary care physicians and specialists.

NCMA’s clinical specialties include centers of excellence in cardiology (comprehensive care, interventional and the HeartWorks rehabilitation program), cardiovascular testing/services, cardiovascular/thoracic surgery, dermatology, endocrinology (incorporating the NCMA Diabetes Center, thyroid disease and osteoporosis treatment), endovascular care (NCMA Vein Center), ENT/otolaryngology (Santa Rosa Head & Neck Surgery, NCMA Allergy Center, NCMA Hearing Center and the NCMA Thyroid Center), family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics & gynecology (Women’s OB/Gyn Medical Group), orthopedics, podiatry, pulmonary medicine, rheumatology and urology (including Northern California’s only HIFU treatment for prostate cancer). The group serves patients in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties.

Redwood Family Dermatology (RFD) was started by Dr. Jeffrey Sugarman as a solo physician. He was later joined by Albert Peng MD, Judith Hong, MD, Ligaya Park, DO, Angela Wyble PA-C and Heather Lowe PA-C. The practice also offers the services of an esthetician, Dionne Ferronato and Tatiana Longoria, RN who provides cosmetics as well as laser services for psoriasis and RFD providers are committed to clinical, professional, ethical, and academic excellence through active engagement in ongoing medical research and education, sensitivity to patients’ needs, and community service.  In August 2006, RFD opened a satellite office in Ukiah, which provides convenience for coastal area patients. The practice serves patients in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties with office locations in Santa Rosa and Ukiah.

For more information about the full range of services offered by Northern California Medical Associates, including dermatology, visit www.ncmahealth.com.  To make an appointment with Redwood Family Dermatology call: (707) 545-4537 or for more information on NCMA or RFD go to: ncmahealth.com or redwoodfamilyderm.com

 

 

The New Vein Clinic at NCMA and Dr. Vishal Patel Provide a Wide Range of Healing Options for Patients with Venous Disorders

Northern California Medical Associates is proud to provide patients with a full range of venous treatment options at their new Vein Clinic

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) announces a new service under the direction of cardiologist Dr. Vishal Patel for patients with venous disorders – The Vein Clinic. Utilizing the latest minimally invasive techniques and treatments for a full spectrum of venous disorders, this new specialty clinic is unique to the area and provides advanced care for patients. The Vein Clinic at NCMA is part of the expert cardiac and vascular care team utilizing leading-edge medical technology serving the North Bay.

Understanding Causes and Symptoms

veinsNearly 25 million people suffer from venous reflux in the U.S., a condition which causes varicose veins and other severe venous diseases including leg ulcers. Venous reflux disease, also referred to as venous insufficiency, is a condition that affects the circulation of blood in the lower extremities. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, counter to the force of gravity.  When the valves become weak and no longer close properly, they allow blood to flow backward, resulting in a condition called reflux.

While venous reflux itself may not be serious it can cause major discomfort and various complications. Symptoms often increase the risks of a wide variety of other chronic conditions. Many of the resulting diseases, such as thrombophlebitis can be quite serious. Without proper treatment, venous reflux can even become debilitating. With diligent treatment and monitoring however, many patients experience dramatic symptom relief.

Facts about Venus Reflux and Varicose Veins

Venous reflux tends to be more common in women than in men. According the latest statistics, it’s also more likely to occur in women between 40 and 49 and in men between 70 and 79. Inactivity, which includes sitting or standing for long periods of time, can result in high blood pressure in the leg veins and that increases a person’s risk of developing venous conditions. Other risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • cancer
  • muscle weakness
  • leg injury, or trauma
  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • blood clots
  • family history of venous insufficiency

Venous reflux disease can produce a number of clinical problems for the patient and can significantly impact a person’s lifestyle.  In addition to being very painful, the more serious symptoms include edema, skin changes, venous ulcers – and venous reflux disease commonly produces varicose veins which are abnormally swollen and discolored superficial leg veins.

Treatment Options

walking legsThe Vein Clinic at NCMA offers several treatment options depending on severity. “Our new Santa Rosa clinic offers patients several treatment options including radiofrequency ablation (also known as Venefit or VNUS Closure), which represents a minimally invasive means of curing varicose veins and venous insufficiency,” explains Dr. Patel. “This treatment involves the use of radiofrequency energy, delivered through a catheter in a vein, to close the vein from the inside. Only a tiny incision in the leg is required for this procedure to be performed.” It is often done in the office using only local anesthesia and does not require a hospital stay. “Most patients find that the procedure is nearly painless, and the vast majority of patients are back to their usual routine by the next day,” he adds.

About The Vein Clinic and Dr. Patel

The Vein Clinic at NCMA is geared toward putting patients on the path to long-term recovery. The clinic provides comprehensive diagnostics and treatments for all types of vein disorders without lengthy hospital stays or extensive surgeries.

Dr. Vishal Patel’s background as Director of the Vein Clinic began with board certification in interventional cardiology, cardiovascular disease, endovascular medicine and specialty certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Physicians’ Vascular Interpretation.  Vein disease treatment is Dr. Patel’s professional specialty and patient outcomes are extraordinary. To request more information about venous reflux today call (707) 573.6166.

NCMA Health Connect – Creating Better Connections With Our Patients

NCMA pic

– Click above to learn how to create your account –

Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) is announcing NCMA Health Connect, our new on-line secure patient portal allowing you more access with your NCMA medical providers.

NCMA Health Connect will help us correspond with you securely, keep information up-to-date, and is available 24/7 from the comfort of your home or business.

Start connecting today. Once you sign-up, you will be able to:

• Request an appointment
• Review your medical summary
• Message your doctor’s office securely
• Pay your bill on-line

NCMA’s main goal is always to serve our patients in better ways. We hope you will take advantage of our new NCMA Health Connect.

For more information & to learn  how to create your account, click below and view announcement poster:
Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) is announcing NCMA Health Connect, our new on-line secure patient portal allowing you more access with your NCMA medical providers. NCMA Health Connect will help us correspond with you securely, keep information up-to-date, and is available 24/7 from the comfort of your home or business. Start connecting today!

– Click Here –

Thanks, and welcome to NCMA Health Connect.

Hernia patients who seek treatment immediately are more likely to enjoy a quick recovery

One of the more common conditions treated by NCMA’s General Surgery physicians involves hernia repair surgery using laparoscopic surgery. While the national statics indicate most people wait to treat a new hernia, best outcomes among NCMA patients occur for those who seek treatment sooner rather than later.

Hernia repairs have always been common and routine surgical procedures and technologies to treat hernias have advanced as a result. Information provided by the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that more than five million Americans currently suffer from a hernia – and three million new cases are reported annually. While the only effective treatment for a hernia is surgery, only about 750,000 Americans will actually seek treatment.

What is a Laparoscopic Procedure?

A laparoscopic or ‘minimally invasive’ surgical procedure is a technologically advanced option to traditional or open surgery – giving patients the opportunity to enjoy a quicker recovery. Laparoscopic surgery makes it possible to treat conditions like hernias using very small incisions, usually only millimeters in length. The general surgery physician then incorporates the use of specialized surgical instruments including a laparoscope – or a fiber-optic instrument – that is inserted in the abdominal wall. This device transmits images to a video monitor, allowing the surgeon to see the operative area on the screen.

Dr. Allen Cortez, General and Laparoscopic Surgery / Trauma Care“The minimally invasive approach to hernia repair is preferable to open surgery,” said NCMA General & Laparoscopic Surgeon, Allen W. Cortez, MD. “A hernia can be painful, unsightly and if left untreated can cause life threatening complications. I recommend that patients with hernia symptoms seek treatment sooner, rather than taking the wait-and-see approach.”

The minimally invasive approach to hernia surgery makes it possible for patients to be treated on an outpatient basis using local or epidural anesthesia rather than general anesthesia – expediting the recovery process. Surgery can take less than 45 minutes to complete and patients usually go home within a few hours of surgery, and are able to return to normal activities in only a few days.

What causes a hernia?

Hernias are generally caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall or groin area, and there are many causes for a hernia, including:

• age
• chronic coughing
• pregnancy
• constipation
• lifting heavy weight
• sudden weight gain

Hernias can also be congenital in nature, and those usually involve the belly button or appear as umbilical hernias, groin or inguinal hernias. Patients are especially susceptible to hernias following abdominal surgery which can weaken the tissue surrounding abdominal muscles, leading to a breach or separation. Women who undergo C-sections or hysterectomies, or men who have abdominal surgeries are most susceptible.

If left untreated, hernias can become so advanced that they require emergency surgery. A hernia becomes a particularly serious issue when it protrudes to the point that it cannot be pushed back into the abdomen or groin.

When to Consult a Physician

Patients need to seek treatment any time a newly discovered lump in the abdominal wall or groin area appears. These types of symptoms are also accompanied by pain and obvious swelling. “Patients who opt to wait to see a physician risk the hernia becoming larger which can be more difficult to repair,” explains Dr. Cortex. “If we can catch it in the early stages, it’s a much less involved surgery, but if it becomes larger and protrudes through the intestinal wall even more, complications are possible.”

NCMA’s General Surgery Team treat and manage a full spectrum of surgical procedures. In addition to general surgery services, physicians also have expertise, special interest and experience in the following areas: colon and rectal surgery, endocrine surgery, surgical oncology, trauma surgery and vascular surgery. For more information visit our website or call (707) 579-2100.

Empire Eye Doctors Join Northern California Medical Associates’ Eye Care Institute

Empire Eye Doctors, a prominent eye care practice in Santa Rosa since 1956, has recently teamed up with Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) and Eye Care Institute (ECI).

The Empire Eye Doctors care team includes two ophthalmologists, David Lightfoot, MD, and Dan Lightfoot, MD, and one optometrist, Stewart Wolfe, OD. The ECI eye care team includes Robert L. Anderson, MD, Gary Barth, MD, Daniel Rich, MD, Bruce Abramson, OD, Kalane Wong, MD, and Esther Penn, MD.

Dr. Gary Barth of ECI states, “We are really excited about having the Empire Eye Doctors group join us as it will provide our patients with even more choice in locations, easier access to quality eye care physicians, and more comprehensive medical eye care services.” Empire Eye Doctors are taking on the NCMA and ECI name and will maintain their current address, located at 720 4th Street in Santa Rosa. NCMA and ECI also have offices located at 1017 2nd Street in Santa Rosa and in Petaluma at 1383 McDowell Blvd #100.

NCMA and ECI offer a broad range of services to meet their patients’ vision needs. Their goal for more than six decades has been to improve, or restore their patients’ visual health. The list of services offered includes: Eye exams, cataract, and corneal surgery, glaucoma treatment, laser vision correction, cosmetic services, contact lenses, and full-service optical shops.

To schedule an appointment in the Second Street office please call (707) 546-9800, to schedule an appointment in the Fourth Street office please call (707) 575-3800, and to schedule in ECI’s Petaluma office call (707) 763- 6400.

NCMA Cardiology Launches “Be Heart Smart” Campaign During National Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, and Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Cardiology is kicking off its “Be Heart Smart” campaign to do its part to spread heart health awareness. Since 1975, NCMA Cardiology has focused on educational outreach in addition to providing a comprehensive range of cardiac services from highly trained, elite physicians. With the “Be Heart Smart” campaign, NCMA Cardiology aims to educate the public about various aspects of heart health in order to empower people to make the right choices and to live a heart healthy life.

Be Heart Smart fb masthead

Heart disease has been the number-one killer of Americans for the past 80 years. In 2015, it isn’t news to most people that heart disease is the leading cause of premature death in the United States. It also isn’t news to most people that heart disease is preventable. The shocking news is that even though people know the risks of heart disease and that it is preventable, the incidence of heart disease and related deaths continues to grow. According to the American Heart Association, one in seven deaths is related to coronary heart disease, and one in nine is caused by heart failure. In light of the growing problem, February has been deemed “Heart Month” in America. NCMA Cardiology has launched its “Be Heart Smart” social media campaign this month as a means to help people realize the power of preventative healthy living to reverse the trend of rising heart disease.

While there are some risk factors you can’t control such as age, gender, heredity, and race, people can significantly mitigate their risk for heart disease by making healthy lifestyle choices. With its campaign, NCMA Cardiology hopes to reach as many people as possible and to cause them to stop and think about their hearts when making health-related choices. NCMA cardiologists have identified seven interrelated goals that will help people reduce their risk for heart disease. In essence, the “Be Heart Smart” campaign is about (1) managing diet and weight, (2) exercising regularly, (3) quitting smoking, (4) reducing stress, (5) keeping blood pressure in the healthy range, (6) managing cholesterol levels, and (7) controlling blood sugar.

First and foremost, managing diet and weight is the most important step towards minimizing one’s risk of heart disease. NCMA Cardiology strives to redefine the meaning of ‘diet’ in popular culture. One’s diet encompasses everything he or she ingests over a lifetime. Alternatively, when one ‘goes on a diet,’ this most likely means the dieter is resisting the foods that he or she prefers to eat for a set period of time for the sake of losing weight. This type of dieting is not an effective way to sustain weight loss, as once the diet ends, the person rewards themselves with the unhealthy foods they resisted while dieting. To truly have a healthy diet, NCMA cardiologists recommend eating smaller portions at meals, and snacking on vegetables and fiber-rich whole grains during the day. Allow yourself to indulge in high-fat, and high-sugar foods, but don’t overdo it. Your diet does not have an end-date.

While obesity poses one of the most serious threats to heart health, you don’t have to be obese to have an increased risk of heart disease due to a poor diet. Everyone’s body processes food differently. Although it is unlikely, some people can appear slim and fit while sustaining themselves on potato chips and soda pop. This does not change the fact that these people are increasing their risk for heart disease through their diets. What foods are really the best for your heart? Recent studies have shown that the “Mediterranean diet” can reduce the risk heart disease by about 20% in both men and women.

“Just taking a walk in the morning or the evening will put you on your way to better heart health.”

After maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly is the next most important step towards reducing hearth health. Not only will living a sedentary lifestyle reduce muscle strength and endurance, it will also contribute to metabolic problems such as high blood sugar and cholesterol. Much scientific research has gone into how much exercise is enough, and today’s leading experts recommend getting at least 60 minutes of continuous, moderate aerobic exercise each day of the week. NCMA cardiologists recognize that this recommendation is more than what many Americans are willing to do or have time for, so they level with patients and tell them the raw facts—true up until the extreme, the more cardiovascular exercise people get everyday, the more they reduce their risk for heart disease. While 60 minutes a day brings about excellent health benefits, even just 20 to 30 minutes of continuous, moderate aerobic exercise five days a week has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease by 30-50%. Just taking a walk in the morning or the evening will put you on your way to better heart health.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that smoking dramatically increases your risk of cardiovascular heart disease. Like it says on every cigarette box today, smoking causes heart disease. Smoking accelerates the progression of heart disease in people predisposed to having it, and drastically increases the chances of it developing in people who would otherwise be at a very low risk. In conjunction with the Northern California Center of Well-Being, NCMA offers smoking cessation classes. Even if you aren’t ready to quit, it is important to talk to your NCMA physician about your smoking habit so that he or she may provide you with all of the resources, clinics and classes offered through NCMA.

When it comes to reducing stress, it is important to clarify what kind of stress is most necessary to reduce for the sake of improving heart health. Reducing physical stress such as exercise, for example, should not be thought of as an effective means to reduce one’s risk of heart disease. Emotional stress, such as work-related, relationship, and financial stresses, has long been suspected and recently confirmed to increase one’s risk for heart disease. These types of stresses, however unpleasant or dangerous, cannot always be avoided. Reducing stress, therefore, is ultimately about finding ways to relax when confronted with stressful situations. No two people will ever react to the same type of stress the same way, so it is also important for individuals to determine the stresses that affect them most. Avoid them when you can, and find relief through deep breaths and communal support when you can’t. Include your doctor in conversations about your stress levels for further feedback and advice.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and off-balance, volatile blood sugar levels are all relatively common in our society and can significantly increase one’s risk of developing heart disease. While the best way to mitigate these risks is through exercise, healthy eating, and not smoking cigarettes, treatment may require management with drug therapy and careful monitoring by your physician. Other contributing factors other than lifestyle choices such as genetics and metabolic disorders are often unavoidable and may warrant even closer care with your doctor.

Improving your heart health and reducing your risk for heart disease doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Simply making an effort to be conscious of heart health in your day-to-day living can go a long way. To start, NCMA Cardiology encourages everyone to pick two or three goals on the “Be Heart Smart” list to go after. In addition, keeping regular appointments with your cardiologist before any serious heart issues arise is the best way to stay on top of your heart health.

NCMA Cardiology is comprised of 14 cardiologists, two cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, and one electrophysiologist—all board-certified in their fields. 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. In accordance with its practice of providing comprehensive cardiovascular health care, NCMA offers HeartWorks, pacemaker and defibrillator clinics, anti-coagulation clinics, congestive heart failure clinics, pulmonary hypertension clinics, lipid clinics, and an adult congenital heart clinic in addition to general check-ups with cardiologists. 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.

Be Heart Smart IconNCMA Cardiology provides cardiac care in three counties, with 11 offices, located in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, Ukiah, and Lakeport. Visit our website at www.ncmahealth.com for more information on NCMA health services and contacting NCMA offices. Please call (707) 573-6166 to schedule an appointment with NCMA Cardiology, and visit NCMA’s Facebook page to follow the “Be Heart Smart” campaign.

###

Sonoma Medicine Magazine’s Article on High Intensity Focused Ultrasound – by Dr. Michael Lazar

Michael Lazar, MDPatients diagnosed with prostate cancer are faced with treatment options. The historical remedies—radiation therapy, surgery, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and freezing the cancerous
gland—have risks and negative side effects, especially incontinence
and impotence. A new technology, however, is coming of age in its
ability to diminish these risks and side effects. This nonsurgical
outpatient option—high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)—takes
approximately one to four hours to perform, depending on prostate
size, and has a relatively short recovery period.

With HIFU, most patients are up and walking around within two to three hours and may resume normal activities within a couple of days, with minimal discomfort. HIFU patients also experience fewer side effects than those receiving traditional prostate
treatments weeks after the procedure, patients may experience mild urinary symptoms,
such as frequency and/or urgency to may also pass an occasional small amount of blood or mucus-like materials, which is normal. Read the full article here …

NCMA Lazar article pic

Sonoma Medicine Publishes “Office-Based Balloon Sinus Dilation” by Dr. Stefan Zechowy

A veteran member of NCMA’s Santa Rosa Head and Neck Surgical Group (SRHN), Dr. Zechowy is an expert Otolaryngologist specializing in nasal and sinus surgeryear surgerysleep apnea surgery, as well as thyroid surgerySonoma Medicine Magazine recently published Dr. Stefan Zechowy‘s article detailing the efficacy of the state-of-the-art Balloon Sinus Dilation (BSD) procedure.

 

 

"Office-Based Balloon Sinus Dilation" Preview

Click Here to read Dr. Zechowy’s full article as published in Sonoma Medicine’s Fall 2014 Issue.