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5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs a PCP

A primary care physician (PCP) is always there for you, whether you have a common cold, need help managing a chronic condition, or are due for an annual checkup. These doctors tend to be the entry point for patients first entering the medical system, and developing a good working relationship with one is very beneficial to you and your health. Here are five reasons why you should have a PCP by your side.

1. Your Primary Care Physician Knows You

Having an established relationship with your PCP allows him or her to be familiar with you and your family’s medical history. This makes it easier for them to find patterns in your health and know how your body responds to certain illnesses.

2. A PCP is Your Entry Point to the Continuum of Care

Having a PCP is a great way to learn how to navigate the somewhat complicated medical system. They can refer you to specialists who may be more knowledgeable about a specific health issue. Through Pentucket Medical you have access to a network of primary care, medical specialists and urgent care services throughout the Merrimack Valley.

3. You Have Lower Out-of-Pocket Costs

A primary care physician co-pay is typically much cheaper than a visit to an emergency room. Having a go-to doctor who you can easily set appointments with creates a much lighter burden on your wallet, especially in the long run. Take a look at your insurance card to see the difference in cost between an office and emergency room visit.

4. A PCP Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Have goals like weight loss, eating better or general wellness? Your primary care physician can work with you to plan out how you can achieve your goals. Your doctor can recommend diets, exercise plans, and more to help you on your wellness journey.

5. You Can Receive High-Quality Preventive Care

In addition to providing care for acute illnesses and chronic conditions, your doctor can help you take measures to prevent their onset. Your PCP keeps track of your health over time, performs preventive services and screenings to catch diseases early, and offers advice to help you maintain a healthy and happy life.

Establish a relationship with a Pentucket Medical clinician today and start on the path to a healthier you. Our doctors offer same or next-day appointments, online scheduling through the Patient Gateway and an extensive list of accepted insurance plans.

cite: Baylor Medical Center

Sources:
U.S. News & World Report | How to Find the Best Primary Care Doctor
NCBI, U.S. National Library of Medicine | Contribution of Primary Care to Health Systems and Health

 

 

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 this year, let’s keep it simple and see how long we can stick to our goals.

Continue reading “Mindful Monday: New Year Resolutions”

10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath

10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath

Bathing has a long and detailed history. Submerging ourselves in water, whether in a bathing receptacle or in a natural body of water is something we do for both personal hygiene, leisure and health. There is nothing more enjoyable than going for a swim in the ocean on a warm day or having a hot fragrant bath in the cooler months.

Hydrotherapy  has been practiced for centuries. Both the use of hot and cold water can have beneficial effects on the body. Boiling water can be sourced naturally from a hot spring and many places like New Zealand and Iceland have naturally occurring hot pools that people can utilize to take advantage of the mineral rich waters. Similarly, cryotherapy or taking ice baths, can help to alleviate muscle strain and many athletes including runners will submerge themselves in freezing waters to counteract the damage or strain induced by exercise.

Regardless of the temperature, the benefits of taking a bath have been scientifically proven and can ensure optimal health of the mind and body.

Here are the health benefits of taking a bath:

Bathing can improve heart health

Although bathing in high temperatures can put unnecessary strain on your heart, especially if you have a pre-existing heart condition, taking a warm bath will make your heart beat faster and can give it a healthy work out.

Taking a bath may help you to breathe easier

Being immersed in water past your chest with your head out, can have a good influence on your lung capacity and oxygen intake. There are two factors that contribute to this; the temperature of the water and the pressure the water places on your chest and lungs. When the water is warmer and your heart is beating faster, your oxygen intake can be improved and the steam created can clear your sinuses and chest.

Your brain and nervous system can benefit from bathing

Submergence in water can reduce pain and inflammation and also calm the nervous system, reducing the levels of stress and anxiety in the body and improving your mood. Hydrotherapy can help people who suffer from multiple sclerosis as the temperature and pressure of the water gently relieves the spine of pain and discomfort.

Bathing can benefit your muscles, joints and bones

Stretching and moving in water has been shown to be low impact on the joints, muscles and bones, but very effective in providing an adequate workout through resistance. There is also less chance of injury for people who are at risk of falls, which makes aquatic exercise ideal for the elderly.

Take care of your blood and immunity with a bath

Not only does a warm bath make the blood flow easier, it also makes it more oxygenated by allowing you to breathe deeper and slower, particularly when taking in steam. Taking a hot bath or spa can kill bacteria and improve immunity. It can relieve the symptoms of cold and flu. 

Balance your hormones by bathing

Conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and some fertility issues can be assisted by bathing in colder temperatures. Hormones released by the pituitary gland such as adrenocorticotropic hormone or ACTH and other hormones such as beta endorphinand cortisol can become more balanced. Alternatively, warm water bathing can increase levels of serotonin, which is the chemical produced by the brain associated with happiness and well being.

Bathing cleanses and moisturizes your skin, hair and eyes

Exposure to fluid through bathing and steaming is a great way to ensure hydration of the body in all aspects. The human body is made mostly of water and that is why we are encouraged to drink plenty of it. But soaking in it is also extremely beneficial. We can enhance this by adding certain oils or salts to a bath or bathing in a natural body of water or pool, rich in naturally occurring minerals.

Your core body temperature will be optimal through bathing

There is no quicker and more pleasant way to regulate your body temperature than through bathing. On a cold day, taking a hot bath or spa is sure to warm you up. Going for a cold ocean swim in the height of summer is undeniably the best way to cool off.

Evidence has shown that bathing, whether in cold or hot water; at home in a vessel or out in a natural body of water can have many health benefits without adverse effects. However, it is advised that a health professional is consulted if pre-existing health conditions or diseases are present before embarking on any form of hydrotherapy.

To read the complete article click: https://www.lifehack.org/381960/10-scientifically-proven-health-benefits-taking-bath

Cite: Diane Kopman/ Lifehacks.org. Jan 2018

 

How to use your smartphone without ruining your health

How to use your smartphone without ruining your health

Our smartphones are our constant companions. We hunch over their screens, gaze at their blue-tinted light, and sacrifice human companionship for digital company. Over time, all these habits can wreak havoc on our health.

We hunch over their screens, gaze at their blue-tinted light, and sacrifice human companionship for digital company. Over time, all these habits can wreak havoc on our health.

Luckily, you can avoid some of these negative effects without entirely relinquishing your pocket computer’s company. Here’s how to protect your health from your smartphone.

Improve your posture

How do you stand or sit when you’re occupied with your smartphone? If you bend over the screen, neck cricked, then you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, this unnatural position, dubbed “text neck,” could be causing an increasing number of neck and spine injuries, research suggests. As we gaze down at our phones for hours every day, we’re reversing the typical backward curve of the neck, Todd Lanman, spinal neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told Reuters last year.

He has a fix, although it might attract a few odd looks from the people around you. Keep your phone at eye level when texting, emailing, or social networking (the higher you hold your phone, the better). This habit lets you hold your head up and your shoulders back, as you should when you’re trying to sit ergonomically at your computer.

The posture coaches at Vertical Align also recommend that you hold your phone at eye level. In addition, they suggest that, while standing, you keep your arms close to your body. When you’re sitting, lean forward—again with your phone at eye level—with your elbows supported on your knees.

Your hand position also matters. Experts also recommend operating your phone with two hands in symmetrical positions. This spreads out the strain on the arms and spine. If you’re tapping and swiping with one hand, according to the Vertical Align team, you should switch hands regularly.

Cutting down on prolonged smartphone sessions will also help improve your posture and prevent other potential problems like eye strain. Essentially, you should avoid spending extended periods staring down at your phone. If you must use your phone, break up the time with small stretches, such as rolling your neck.

Reduce blue light

The sun and your digital devices both emit short-wavelength high-energy blue light. These waves are great when they’re coming from our star—they help us stay awake during daylight hours by blocking the brain’s production of melatonin, which makes us sleepy. But when the light keeping you up is coming from a screen as you lie in bed, that’s not so good. Darkness naturally makes us sleepy, and staring at a phone late at night interferes with that.

That’s not all. Recent research has identified a process through which too much blue light can significantly damage cells in the eye. If the light kills off enough of these photoreceptor cells, scientists say, it can cause serious conditions like macular degeneration.

Luckily, both Android and iOS come with settings that can help reduce your exposure to blue light.

On an Android device, head to Settings > Display > Night Light. Select Turn on now to change the screen’s color to an amber tint, reducing the blue-wavelength light it emits. To schedule this change so it occurs automatically at a certain time of day, tap Schedule.

For iOS, you’ll find a similar option called Night Shift. Access it by going to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. To switch it on only when you need it, tap Manually Enable Until Tomorrow. Or make it turn on and off automatically by hitting Scheduled.

These color-changing options should reduce the damage blue light does to your eyes and sleeping patterns. But we’d recommend restricting your nighttime phone use as well. No matter what light settings you adjust, keeping your mind racing with social media or Netflix shows isn’t the best preparation for a smooth night’s sleep. With that in mind, think about replacing that late-night Twitter check with a book or asking your Amazon Echo to read the evening news aloud so you don’t have to look at the text.

Manage screen time

One of the best ways to protect your health from your phone is to use the gadget less frequently. To help with this goal, both iOS and Android are introducing so-called “digital wellness” tools that inform you about and help you limit your smartphone use. However, you may not be able to access them just yet. Apple’s new suite, called Screen Time, will appear in the iOS 12 update due to roll out in September; Google’s version, an app dubbed Digital Wellbeing, is in beta testing, so you need to install Android 9 Pie on a Google Pixel phone in order to try it out.

When you get the iOS update, you’ll be able to play around with it by heading to Settings > Screen Time. It will display your daily device usage, broken down into app categories, such as gaming or education. Tap the name of your device at the top of the screen to see additional stats: weekly usage, lists of the most frequently-used apps, and charts showing how frequently you pick up your phone and receive notifications. To restrict the amount of time you spend on a given app, tap that program and then hit Add Limit. You can also set limits by category by heading to the front page of the Screen Time menu and tapping App Limits. Once you reach your time limit, the apps in question will appear grayed-out on the home screen, although you can manually override this block.

When your Android phone receives an update that will enable its time-management app, you’ll see a new Digital Wellbeing entry in Settings. Here, you can view recent information on the apps you’ve used, how many times you’ve unlocked your phone, and how many notifications you’ve received. Tap on the pie chart that displays this information to access a more detailed day-by-day breakdown, and swipe right to see your statistics over the previous days and weeks. As on iOS, you can set limits: Tap the No timer button next to a given app. Again, when you reach that limit, the app appears grayed out, and launching it produces a deterrent message. To override your self-imposed limits, you need to go back to the Digital Wellbeing menu and disable the timer.

Both Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing also include tools—Downtime on iOS and Wind Down on Android—that wean you off evening phone time by blocking your app access after a certain hour. Wind Down can also also gray-out the screen or switch into Night Light mode during that time.

While you wait for the Android and iOS tools to arrive, try a third-party creation like the free app Flipd, which gently nudges you when you’ve spent too long on your phone, or the $2 purchase Forest, which encourages you to take breaks by growing a virtual forest when your phone is idle. For more options, check out this list of time-management apps.

Cite: Popular Science, August 31, 2018

We Screen, We Clean and We Protect.

To everyone who needs us now, come get the care you deserve. Our Safe Care Commitment is in effect at all of our locations providing  you with the safest possible environment for our patients and staff.

We screen to protect you, your families, and our staff

Patients visiting our offices for healthcare appointments are screened for symptoms upon arrival. If symptomatic, patients are cared for via virtual visits.

We also provide urgent care services at our Expresscare Riverwalk location which has a separate area where we use preventative measures.

We adhere to best practice safety protocols in those settings.

We follow special infection prevention guidelines for care provided to protect our patients and our staff.

We also provide telehealth services via video so you can access care and get the treatment you need from the comfort of your home or office.

Our goal is to keep everyone safe.