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Aspirin and Cardiovascular Disease

The old standard line…..”take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning.”Turns out this has some truth about aspirin but not completely so.

Two concepts to understand before we continue. Primary prevention means doing things to prevent the onset of a disease. Secondary prevention means you already have a disease and are trying to do everything to stop it from getting worse.

For many years, we thought aspirin was appropriate for primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease (CAD). Recent information has raised some questions about this.

There is absolutely no question that aspirin is helpful in secondary prevention of coronary artery disease. Aspirin is one of the first medications we give when coronary artery disease first strikes and it is an important part of ongoing therapy for CAD.

Primary prevention is another story. Aspirin for years was recommended for primary prevention of CAD. It may have some benefits in that regard. However, a clinical trial study called ARRIVE demonstrated that while aspirin can help in primary prevention of CAD, the benefit may be negated by side effects such as bleeding.

The same result was seen in another clinical trial called ASCEND. This focused on patients with diabetes who are generally more at risk for CAD. There was clearly a benefit of aspirin for primary prevention but it was counterbalanced by bleeding risk.

What do we take from this? The use of aspirin for primary prevention (preventing CAD) is not an automatic move but must be tailored to the individual patient. It is an important discussion to have with your health care provider. 

Kenneth Adams MD, Cardiologist, Pentucket Medical


Prevention is the Key to Good Health

Preventive care is important because it establishes a relationship with your healthcare team who can help you be your healthiest.  By scheduling an annual physical exams, screenings, and being mindful of your lifestyle choices, you are more aware of how to maintain or improve upon your overall health.   

Looking for a new primary care clinician? Click the link (Clinicians) above to find one near you. 

Interested in learning the latest health guidelines? Click the links below: 



Mindful Monday: New Year Resolutions


With the New Year upon us, we often reflect on the year and begin to plan for the coming year. We do this by making resolutions- however; most of us break them- so lthis year, let’s keep it simple and see how long we can stick to our goals.

1) Prepare for Change.

For example, If you are planning to lose weight and who doesn’t have that one on the list– throw out or donate all food that will tempt you to eat.

2) Set a goal that motivates you.

Find something that “makes you want to do it”- start an art class, journal, or schedule a monthly ‘self-care day’.

3) Limit the number of resolutions

Five resolutions is a whole lot easier to manage than 20.

4) Make it manageable

Now that we are set with those five resolutions evaluate them. If one is being able to run the Boston Marathon this year it is probably not feasible unless you have been training to do so. However, it is a great idea, so start planning, have a goal of by the end of April, running a 5k or running/ walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes/ 3 times a week and go from there.

5) Be specific

‘Planning to travel more this year’- perfect- but to where? Choose a spot, start shopping for great deals and post pictures to remind you of your upcoming trip.

6) Break up big goals into smaller ones.

Again–running marathons, traveling– learning to bake the perfect loaf of bread– all take time to plan and master. So take it step-by-step and measure success throughout the process versus waiting until you have reached your goal.

7) Write them down 

Keep them on a post-it by your desk, or bathroom mirror so you can see them every day- doing so will help reinforce your motivation.

With all of this, the most important resolution is- ‘if you do not succeed do not give up’. Remember, it took Thomas Edison over 100 failed attempts before he produced a light bulb that worked. Corny, yes -but it reminds us that if we do not keep trying we may never know if we succeeded.

Wishing you a Happy Successful New Year.

Free Blood Pressure Walk-in Clinics this December


Hypertension when left untreated is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Knowing your numbers is the first step in managing this treatable condition.

During the month of December Pentucket Medical is offering free blood pressure walk-in clinics at the dates/ times below. If you cannot get to one of our locations during these times, you can provide your latest BP numbers by posting them on calling your clinician’s office.



Cold and Flu Season is Here

With cold and flu season amost here one of the frequently asked questions from patients is, “when should I get vaccinated?” The answer is, you should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins.

CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later.

Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.

To schedule your flu shot contact your primary care clinician. (Schedule below).

Should you get sick know that you can be treated at one of our ExpressCare locations. (Andover or Riverwalk/ Lawrence) visit to schedule an appointment online and for site hours.


Pentucket Medical Leadership Transition

It is with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of Tom Fazio, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Pentucket Medical Associates and John Sarro, Executive Director. Dr. Fazio has been a member of the group for 41 years and Pentucket’s physician leader for the past 30 years. John has been the group’s administrator for 15 years and associated with the Partners HealthCare System for 20 years.   

Both have contributed significantly to the successful growth of Pentucket Medical. Under their leadership, Pentucket Medical has become the premier medical group in Northeast Massachusetts. Join us in thanking Tom and John for their years of tireless commitment and dedication to the patients and the clinical and support staffs of Pentucket Medical and in wishing them well in this next phase of their lives.

We are pleased to announce the following succession and transition plans for Pentucket Medical. Effective October 1, Garrett Bomba, MD will assume the role of Chief Physician Officer, and Jason Khalil will become Executive Director.

Dr. Bomba is board certified in emergency medicine and has been the medical director of ExpressCare the Pentucket Medical urgent care service for the past 8 years. Jason Khalil has served as the Senior Director of Finance for Pentucket Medical for the past 7 years. Both are well respected not only for their professional skills and knowledge but also their commitment to exceptional patient care and a great patient experience.

Please join us in welcoming Garrett and Jason as they assume their new roles.


Top: Left to Right: John Sarro, Dr. Tom Fazio Lower: Left to Right: Jason Khalil, Dr. Garrett Bomba



Study Links Diet Soda to Strokes, Death Research shows doubling of stroke risk for some women over 50 

A study of more than 80,000 women ages 50 to 79 links drinking two or more diet drinks a day with an increased risk for certain kinds of stroke, coronary artery disease and death.

Published in the journal Stroke, a publication of the American Heart Association, the study follows other research that previously connected the artificial sweeteners found in diet soda and other beverages with a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, obesity and other conditions.

But the study released is one of the first to look at the link between drinking artificially sweetened beverages and the risk of certain types of stroke in a large, racially diverse group of older women.

“Many well-meaning people, especially those who are overweight or obese, drink low-calorie sweetened drinks to cut calories in their diet,” noted lead study author Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, in a statement. “Our research and other observational studies have shown that artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless, and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.”

Compared with women who drank diet drinks less than once a week or not at all, women who drank two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day were:

   23 percent more likely to have a stroke
   31 percent more likely to have a clot-caused (ischemic) stroke
   29 percent more likely to develop heart disease 
   16 percent more likely to die from any cause

The risks were found to be higher in women who consumed diet drinks two or more times a day, more than doubling the risk of a clot-caused stroke among women without previous heart disease or diabetes, obese women without previous heart disease or diabetes, and African American women without previous heart disease or diabetes.

While the study identifies the notable link between diet beverages and, in particular, small artery strokes, the study authors pointed out that it does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship because it was based on self-reported information about drink consumption. The self-reported study data also did not name specific artificial sweeteners in the colas, sodas and fruit drinks.

cite: by Harriet Edleson, AARP, February 14, 2019


Self Care is Not Selfish. Even at Work.


Self-care is simple; it encompasses a few basics that, when added together, make you a happier, more centered person.  It is learning to find the right balance, especially when work has gotten you into the habit of blowing off a meal or skipping exercise, all while burning the midnight oil.  You’re going to crash. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.


Below are 10 ideas about how to add self-care into your work life:

  • Get up, stretch, and move.
  • Snack smartly (nutrition plays a huge role in your ability to cope with stress).
  • Take three deep breaths at key intervals or critical moments throughout your day.
  • Journal for one minute about a positive experience at work each day.
  • Take a walk during your lunch break.
  • Make a playlist that motivates you.
  • Write down three things that you are grateful for at work.  Give yourself a few activities away from the computer.
  • Do some yoga poses.
  • Have lunch with co-workers outside the office.

It is good to care about others, but you should not forget to care for yourself. This means doing the things you enjoy and making time to do them every day.