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Alzheimer’s Awareness

At Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale, we understand how important it is to help patients and their families recognize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, early detection and treatment can help you or your loved one maintain a greater quality of life. Learn more about signs and stages of the disease and contact your primary care physician as early as possible.

What Is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease that causes memory loss and impaired mental functions. It’s the most common cause of dementia, a general term referring to signs and symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. Most people who suffer from this degenerative disease are 65 and older but even those in their 40s or 50s can be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. It is actually an abnormal state in which brain plaques and neurofibrillary tangles build up and clog nerve cells.

Your Healthy Partners Primary Care physician can determine whether any signs or symptoms of dementia are due to Alzheimer’s disease. While the causes of Alzheimer’s aren’t fully understood, scientists and medical experts believe genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors play an integral role in the degeneration of brain cells over time. Mild memory loss and forgetfulness are two common symptoms in the early stages but there are signs and symptoms that do appear as the disease progresses.

Know the Warning Signs

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Thinking and difficulties in concentration
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Making poor judgements
  • Difficulty with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things or getting lost
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in behavior and personality

Having a strong network of support is the first step in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible for yourself or a loved one if you have concerns about possible signs and symptoms of dementia. There are current Alzheimer’s medications that can help treat cognitive symptoms in addition to lifestyle and home remedies. While survival rates do vary, early detection is your best offense against this difficult disease.

Blood Pressure Awareness

At Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale, we understand the importance of checking blood pressure on a regular basis. Known as the ‘silent killer,’ high blood pressure often has no symptoms and causes 60,000 deaths per year. If you or a loved one are concerned about high blood pressure, make an appointment today at any Healthy Partners Primary Care location.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is measured by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. It is normal for blood pressure to change throughout the day but it is abnormal if it gets too high consistently. The medical term for this common and dangerous condition is hypertension.

Blood pressure has two numbers and it is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Healthcare workers use a gauge, stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff to measure:

  • Systolic Pressure: blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood
  • Diastolic Pressure: blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats

For adults, normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. Prehypertension, when your readings are at or above 120/80 mm Hg, can lead to high blood pressure. And you more than likely suffer from high blood pressure if your readings are consistently at or above 140/90 mm Hg.

Am I at Risk For High Blood Pressure?

Although anyone can develop high blood pressure, there are many risk factors to consider, including:

  • Age. About 65 percent of Americans over the age of 60 have high blood pressure. Although blood pressure tends to rise with age, younger children and teens can suffer from prehypertension due to climbing obesity rates.
  • Race/Ethnicity. High blood pressure as well as serious complications such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure is more common in African-Americans.
  • Gender. Women 65 and older are more likely to develop high blood pressure; however the condition affects more men than women before 64 years of age.
  • Weight. The more you weigh, the harder you heart will have to pump blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Blood pressure will increase to keep up with the demand.
  • Lifestyle. Too much sodium, too little potassium, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day and not enough exercise all play a role in rising blood pressure.
  • Family history. Genetic factors can raise the risk of developing prehypertension or high blood pressure.

Too many Americans struggle with high blood pressure increasing their risk for a stroke, heart attack or heart failure. Your Healthy Partners Primary care physician can monitor your blood pressure and work with you to prevent or treat this dangerous condition.

  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and then discuss how you can reach your goal.
  • Take your blood pressure medication as directed.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Participate in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.
  • Eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium, saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol.
  • Check your blood pressure regularly.
  • Manage stress.

You can have high blood pressure and not know it. That is why it is called the silent killer. It is also why it is so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you or a loved one is concerned about possible symptoms or would like to learn more about lowering or maintaining a healthy blood pressure, please contact your Healthy Partners Primary Care medical office to schedule an appointment.

Cholesterol Awareness

Did you know Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale offers nutritional counseling and wellness programs that can help you lower your cholesterol? If you’re concerned about cholesterol levels in yourself or a loved one, contact one of our primary care locations to learn more.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that circulates in your blood. Your body makes cholesterol on its own and it plays a vital role in hormone production, digestion and it supports the integrity of the cell membrane. Your body already has all the cholesterol it requires but the regular consumption of animal products raises blood cholesterol to higher levels.

Cholesterol travels through your blood by special protein carriers called “lipoproteins.” There are two types of lipoproteins:

  • low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
  • high-density lipoproteins (HDL)

It’s important to have healthy levels of both proteins. LDLs transport cholesterol throughout the body and can build up in the blood stream and artery walls. The cholesterol that accumulates in the arteries joins with other substances to form plaque, causing a condition known as atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries.” Cholesterol plaque can grow over a period of years and slowly block blood flow. This can lead to coronary heart disease, Angina, heart attack or stroke.

HDLs, often referred to as good cholesterol, remove excess cholesterol from the blood and take it to the liver. Having higher HDL blood levels is associated with less risk of heart disease while low levels are correlated with increased risk.

How Can I Lower My Cholesterol?

Lowering your cholesterol level can slow down, reduce, or even stop plaque from building up and may also prevent heart disease. Here are some helpful tips for lowering cholesterol:

  • Choose unsaturated fats such as olive oil
  • Limit total amount of meat, fish, poultry, and low-fat cheeses to 7 ounces or less each day.
  • Exercise.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat more fiber.
  • Lose any extra weight.
  • Choose egg whites and limit egg yolks to no more than three per week.

Knowing your cholesterol level is important. Your health care provider can check your cholesterol level by taking a sample of blood. Stop by one of our Healthy Partners Primary Care locations and learn more about maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Diabetes Awareness

At Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale we understand that diabetes is a complex disease that requires continuing medical care. It’s important for you or your loved ones to be aware of diabetes warning signs and get tested at any one of our locations.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood, effecting our body’s ability to make and use insulin. Blood sugar, also called blood glucose, comes from the food we eat and is the primary source of energy. In fact, every single cell in the body needs sufficient blood sugar to function properly. Insulin, the hormone made by the pancreas, allows our body to use sugar and keeps levels from getting to high or too low. A person with diabetes either does not make enough insulin or cannot use their own insulin effectively. As a result, sugar builds in the blood causing physical reactions that range from mild to severe.

What Are The Types of Diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes: Only 5 percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive because the body does not produce enough of the hormone on its own. Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Genetics and lifestyle are both risk factors for type 2 diabetes. It’s the most common type of diabetes and it can occur at any age, even during childhood. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin but their body does not use the hormone properly. This is called insulin resistance which means the cells have trouble absorbing glucose, causing a buildup of sugar in the blood.
  • Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes can develop when a woman is pregnant. Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before will often experience a slight rise in blood sugars. If the glucose level is too elevated, eating right, exercising and medication can help.
  • Other specific types of diabetes resulting from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses may account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

What Are The Symptoms of Diabetes?

The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

Common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Some people with type 2 diabetes experience mild symptoms that go undetected. If you or a loved one is concerned about possible symptoms or would like to learn more about Diabetes, please contact your Healthy Partners Primary Care office to schedule an appointment.

Learn More About Maintaining a Healthy Heart

At Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale, we understand the importance of living a heart-heathy lifestyle. Adopting simple changes to your diet and exercise routine can help you and your loved ones manage health conditions and prevent heart disease. Learn tips on how to be on the path to heart healthy life.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease describes a group of diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems and congenital heart defects. More than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease each year making it the leading cause of the death in the United States. The most common type, Coronary artery disease(CAD), occurs when arteries that supply blood to the heart become hardened and narrowed by cholesterol plaque. This can eventually lead to chest pain, heart failure or a heart attack.

What Are The Symptoms of Heart Disease

Symptoms of heart disease depend on the type and may differ between men and women. If you or a loved one experiences any of the following signs or symptoms, please make an appointment with your local Healthy Partners Primary Care physician.

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue that increases during physical exertion
  • Fluttering or thumping feeling in the chest (arrhythmia)
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

Can Heart Disease Be Prevented?

Although certain types of heart disease cannot be prevented, you can improve your vascular health and prevent other types of heart disease through lifestyle changes such as:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce and Manage Stress Levels
  • Exercise Regularly
  • Eat Fruits and Vegetables
  • Keep Diabetes, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Under Control

A healthy heart is a happy heart. Stop by one of our Healthy Partners Primary Care locations today to learn more about heart health and preventing or managing heart disease.

Learn the Value of Nutrition

At Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale, we understand that nutrition is a critical component to overall health and wellness. Diet-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer are rising at alarming rates and yet these illnesses are often preventable. Our healthcare providers can address your specific nutritional needs and create a plan based on wholesome foods and healthy lifestyle choices.

Meeting Your Nutritional Needs

Our nutritional needs continue to change as we grow older and make lifestyle changes. From counting calories to recent diet trends, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed but eating right doesn’t need to be complicated. If you’re looking for personalized nutritional counseling, please contact your primary care doctor. For basic dietary advice, check out the following general tips:

  • Choose from a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein.
  • Include beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds as well as healthy fats.
  • Introduce more brightly-colored foods to your daily diet such as reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. Different colored foods play different roles in the body.
  • Eat breakfast! Research continues to indicate that breakfast supports weight loss and weight maintenance.
  • Practice portion control to keep from overeating. Slow down and take a moment to think about what you are eating and how it will fuel your body. Are these just empty calories or is this food contributing to a healthy diet?
  • Reduce sugar and salt intake. Processed foods contribute to a high-sodium and high-sugar dietary intake that can wreak havoc on your health. Read labels and learn how to monitor and control the amount of sugar and salt you take in each day. Choose low sodium and low sugar foods.
  • Limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of total calories. Butter, cheese, lard, and palm oil can play a small role in your overall diet but saturated fats do appear to increase the risk of coronary artery disease.

A Happy & Healthy You

Nutritional intake is connected to our weight and overall health. Eating right and maintaining a healthy body mass index will greatly reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stroke, cancer, and much more. Stop by one of our Healthy Partners Primary Care locations and learn more about the importance of nutrition and physical activity.

Learn More About Everyday Wellness

At Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale, we understand the importance of achieving optimal wellness. That’s why we offer you and your loved ones preventative care with a personalized approach to meet your health and wellness needs. By working with you to achieve your wellness goals, our Healthy Partner Primary Care physicians can help you maintain healthy lifestyle practices.

Stay Strong and Fit With Regular Exercise

Physical activity is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Moderate exercise on a regular basis provides many health benefits in your younger years and as you get older. From cancer and diabetes prevention to boosting memory and mood, staying physically active is an excellent way to beat disease and a great way to have fun. Regular exercise can also improve the health of those who suffer from chronic disease and disability.

Maintaining a sense of independence is fundamental to healthy aging. Regular exercise and physical activity as part of your daily life can help you keep doing the things you like and stay independent as you get older. Endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility are all important to your physical and mental health, and even more so as we age.

It’s Never too Late to Start Exercising

Being active and exercising on a regular basis should be a life-long habit. If you do not currently exercise, it is never too late to start. Find ways throughout the day to make physical fitness a priority and you should feel your energy, mood, strength, and flexibility start to improve. Set yourself up for success right from the start by seeking creative ways to make exercise a part of your life. From outdoor activities to yoga or a class at the local fitness center, there are more options than ever before. The key is to finding an exercise routine you’ll stick with over time.

Easy ways to exercise everyday include:

  • Make exercise a non-negotiable. Make exercise a part of your identity and remind yourself why staying fit is so important to health and disease prevention.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t be hard on yourself if right away you do not see major changes. Set a few short term goals that you’d like to achieve and record your achievements in a daily journal.
  • Keep it fun and interesting. If the gym has become too boring and routine, try hiking and exploring nature instead. Be open to trying out new routines.
  • Find a workout buddy. An exercise partner keeps you accountable and they can also be great listeners. Motivation a key benefit of having a workout buddy.

If you or you loved ones are interested in learning more about adding exercise to your daily routine, make an appointment today at any one of our Healthy Partners Primary Care locations.