Aspen Medical Center Blog

urgent care clinic

Inquiries to Ask before Visiting an Urgent Care Clinic

Many people prefer urgent care when they can’t see their doctor immediately or don’t want to go to the emergency room. For most non-emergency situations, urgent care clinics are a better alternative than the emergency room. But you must know what to ask before you set foot in the door. 

Here are some inquiries you need to make at an urgent care clinic:

1. What Type of Provider Will See Me?

Many urgent care centers have different healthcare professionals. Some are open during the day, and some are open during the evening. Many of the available centers 24/7 have only nurses staffing the facility at night. You must know what type of provider will see you because each provider has different rules for admitting patients to the hospital. 

In addition, if you need to see a specific type of provider, you should call in advance to speak to the person who will be seeing you.

2. What Prescriptions Can Be Refilled at the Center?

Some urgent care centers can refill many types of prescription medications. These centers will have this information posted on their websites, so you can check before you go. 

If they can’t refill your medication on-site as a walk-in, you should know this ahead of time. Sometimes, centers right down the street from your pharmacy won’t fill your prescription unless you pick it up at the center. This isn’t convenient, so you want to find one that will let you pick it up right at the pharmacy.

3. What Do They Charge for Their Services?

Some urgent care centers have a set fee on their website. Other centers have varying prices depending upon your level of coverage. 

For example, if you have Medicare, you might pay a little more than if you have just regular health insurance. You’ll want to find out about their fee schedule before your visit.

4. What Is Their Walk-in Policy?

Some urgent care centers will be busy, and you may have to wait a little while to be seen. If you need to check as soon as possible, you’ll want to ask about their walk-in policy. 

Do they take walk-ins, or do you need to make an appointment? You may need to call ahead to see if they have the capacity to attend to you at the moment.

5. How Long Is the Current Wait Time?

Some urgent care centers are bustling, especially in the evening and on the weekends. If you have to see them during these times, you’ll want to know the current wait time. If you have to wait for a long time, you can make plans to do something else while you’re waiting.

6. Do I Need to Follow Up with You or My Primary Care Physician?

If you break your arm, urgent care centers may be able to set the bone, put it in a sling, and send you home. But if it’s not healing correctly, you’ll need to go back for further treatment. 

If your urgent care center sends you home, but you’re concerned about your injury, you’ll want to make sure that you follow up with your primary care physician.

Conclusion

Visiting an urgent care center is an excellent alternative to the ER. They help relieve stress in emergency rooms and reduce wait times. If you have questions about using an urgent care clinic, talk to your regular doctor or call the facility.

Aspen Medical Center is your urgent care center in Santa Fe, NM, offering health services to all ages. Contact us for a consultation today!

Physicians

Debunking 3 Common Myths About Primary Care Physicians

Primary care doctors are the first point of call for a lot of patients in the US. They are the “gatekeepers” to specialized care and are there to treat symptoms and look after your general health. While primary care physicians do not have to have any particular specialty, they are more likely to be family physicians or general practitioners.

On that note, primary care physicians provide care for their patients in the areas of preventive, acute, and chronic care. This can include physical exams and diagnostic testing, immunizations, counseling, referring patients to specialists, and prescribing medication.

Unfortunately, there are far too many myths and misconceptions floating around out there that misinform consumers and make everything harder than it should be, so it’s important to look at the world of primary care through a clear lens.

Myth #1: Any Health Professional can Perform Primary Care

This is one of the most common misconceptions about primary care. While it’s true that any type of health professional can do primary care, it’s more of a specialty than a generalized title. The title of primary care physician (PCP) is held only by doctors that have gone to medical school and completed the necessary residency training to become primary care doctors.

In fact, there are many health care professionals that can do primary care, but not all of them are primary care physicians. So you may see certified ambulatory care nurse practitioners or physician assistants that are providing primary care, but they are not primary care physicians.

Remember, to be a primary care physician you must have completed medical school and a residency. To be a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, you need to have completed an accredited school and passed the necessary boards. These are not interchangeable titles.

Myth #2: You Only Need to Visit a Primary Care Physician if You’re Sick

Primary care physicians are not limited to just treating illnesses. They also help patients prevent illness through regular physical exams, administration of vaccines, diet consultations, and other preventative medicine.

They are also used as a resource for navigating a complex healthcare system and helping patients understand the different treatment options that are available to them. 

In some cases, a primary care physician will play the dual role of a physician assistant or nurse practitioner and also assist their patients in navigating the healthcare system to get access to needed treatment.

Myth #3: You Always Need the Primary Care Physician’s Referral When Seeing a Specialist

Not all specialists will require an official referral from a primary care physician. In most cases, if you have a specific condition or are having a specific issue, you can just go and see the specialist. The specialist will then be able to diagnose or treat you.

However, if you have a broad list of symptoms or a number of issues that you’d like to be taken care of, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your situation. Your doctor can then make recommendations and set up a plan for you.

The Bottom Line: Understanding Your Primary Care Physician’s Role

Primary care physicians play an important role in the healthcare system and it’s important to understand their role and how they fit into the bigger picture. While they are not the same as other healthcare professionals, they are an essential part of navigating the system and getting the care you need.

Are You Looking for a Primary Care Physician in Santa Fe?

If you are looking for a primary care doctor in Santa Fe, we would be happy to help you. Aspen Medical Center has a talented group of primary care physicians in Santa Fe who are here to provide you with the help you need!

eye

Corneal Abrasion: What Is It & How Can You Prevent It

Our eyes are essential parts of our body, and like the others, they are also prone to having issues. For instance, you can injure your eyes from poking or sand under your eyelids. These things might be simple, but they can hurt—and worse, they can cause a corneal abrasion.

What is a corneal abrasion, and how can you prevent having one? Continue reading to find out.

What Is Corneal Abrasion?

A corneal abrasion is a minor injury on the eye’s surface, and while it may seem painful, it can be treated—and will heal. You may have a corneal abrasion when tissue scraps off your eye’s surface. If you get a foreign object in your eye or rub it on hard surfaces, this can happen.

There are different corneal abrasions, and each can affect the cornea differently. These can range from minor and not needing treatment to a condition called corneal scarring that may require corrective surgery. Ultimately, prevention is key in protecting the cornea.

What Causes Corneal Abrasion?

As mentioned earlier, there are different corneal abrasions, and each has its specific cause. Here are the most common reasons for corneal abrasion:

1. Foreign Objects in the Eye

You can have a corneal abrasion when a foreign object gets in your eye. When this happens, the object can scrape off the cornea’s surface and cause a corneal abrasion. It can be anything from a grain of sand, a twig to a needle. Be careful with your eyes, and always wash your hands before touching your eyes to prevent eye injuries.

2. Caught on a Surface

A corneal abrasion can also occur when you rub your eyes on hard surfaces like walls or trees. It can result in your eye-catching on the surface, which can scrape the cornea’s surface. Protect your eyes by avoiding rubbing them on hard surfaces or catching them on sharp surfaces.

3. Falling

Your corneas can be scraped off when the ground catches you when you fall. This can happen when you trip and fall hard, hitting your face on the ground. Protect your eyes when you are in dangerous places, and always wear protective eyewear when you have to go into those places.

4. Blow to the Face

A blow to the face can also cause a corneal abrasion. Be careful when playing sports or in dangerous places, and always wear protective eyewear.

5. An Eye Infection

When you have an eye infection or a bacterial infection, it can spread to the cornea. When this happens, it can cause the cornea to be inflamed and result in corneal abrasion. Treat any eye infections immediately and avoid getting them in the first place by maintaining good hygiene and washing your hands regularly.

How Can You Prevent Corneal Abrasion?

Preventing a corneal abrasion is not always possible. However, you can easily avoid the aggravation of your corneal abrasion. Here are some tips to help you reduce the risk of getting a corneal abrasion:

  • Stay away from dangerous places. It can be tempting to go somewhere risky just for fun, but you should always consider the risks.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to your surroundings and watch out for your surroundings. Avoid walking into dangerous places too.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Always wear eye protection when you are in dangerous places. If you are playing sports, wear protective eyewear.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Not only should you wash your hands before touching your eyes, but you should also wash your hands regularly to help prevent the spread of any eye infections.
  • Clean your contact lenses. Follow the prescription of your eye doctor and clean your contact lenses regularly.

Final Thoughts

Corneal abrasions are minor injuries, and they can be treated. While it may not cause you to lose your vision, it can be very painful. As mentioned, prevention is critical when it comes to this eye concern.

If you need a primary care physician in Santa Fe for an urgent corneal abrasion treatment, you can visit Aspen Medical Center. We provide urgent care for people with immediate health concerns, including acute respiratory infections, fevers, sprains, UTIs, and eye emergencies. Call us at 505-605-5732 for more information.

diabetes

5 Apparent Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Many people suffer from various chronic conditions that severely affect their quality of life. One perfect example is diabetes, which is a condition that significantly increases the risk of kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, blindness, and amputation, among other health problems.

Diabetes occurs when there is an excessive amount of glucose circulating in the blood. Although this condition is typically caused by genetics, other things can also trigger it, such as high stress levels, obesity, and poor eating habits. Furthermore, diabetes is also divided into two categories: type 1 and type 2. Not many people are aware of their differences, so we’ll discuss some of the differences between them. These include:

#1 – Type 1 Diabetes Is More Common in Children and Adolescents

Type 1 diabetes is a condition that primarily affects children and adolescents. After the age of 30, this condition tends to disappear independently. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is more common in older people. It’s for this reason that it’s also called adult-onset diabetes.

#2 – You’re Likely to Develop Type 1 Diabetes If It’s in Your Family

One of the reasons type 1 diabetes tends to affect the younger generations is that it’s inherited. If it runs in your family, you’re likely to develop it. This does not mean you cannot develop type 2 diabetes if it’s not in your family. However, you have a greater risk of developing type 1 diabetes if you have a parent or sibling with the condition.

Furthermore, if your parent or sibling was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 30, then you’re even more likely to develop it. If you were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 15, you’re likely guaranteed to develop type 2 diabetes.

#3 – Type 1 Diabetes Is an Autoimmune Disorder

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The body can no longer have enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune disorder. Instead, it is a metabolic disease, which means genetic factors and lifestyle choices cause it. However, some cases of type 2 diabetes are caused by complications associated with type 1 diabetes, meaning it could also be considered an autoimmune disease.

#4 – Type 2 Diabetes Can Take Years to Develop

Type 2 diabetes is known to develop slowly. For this reason, many people can control the disease for years before it even becomes noticeable. As a result, the symptoms are rarely recognized. The disease typically occurs 10 to 15 years after the first warning signs, which is when it becomes a significant health concern.

On the other hand, people who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes always have the same symptoms. The symptoms are usually apparent, and they are easily identified. For this reason, most people develop this condition right after they reach puberty when the symptoms are more recognizable.

#5 – Type 2 Diabetes Needs Extra Measures for Management

Although there is no known cure for type 2 diabetes, it can be controlled with the help of medications and diet changes. However, it’s not easy to maintain the sugar levels in the blood. As a result, people with type 2 diabetes require regular medical checkups to determine how they’re doing.

On the other hand, type 1 diabetes is usually managed with medication alone. This is because it is controlled by insulin therapy, which is usually given through injections or an insulin pump. This small mechanical device delivers insulin through a tube inserted under the skin.

Conclusion

It’s easy to confuse type 2 and type 1 diabetes. However, they’re very different conditions. While both conditions need to be managed, they’re usually handled differently. People with diabetes should not be treated in the same situation. It’s best to consult with a doctor to know the possible options for treatment.

If you’re looking for primary care physicians in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center can help you! Our healthcare professionals understand every patient’s needs, so we can guarantee that you’ll get the treatment you deserve regardless of age. Simply go to our website to book a consultation!

Physician

How Will You Find the Right Primary Care Physician for You?

Primary care physicians are the backbone of most healthcare systems. They provide a wide variety of services but bear the lion’s share of responsibility for care coordination, which means that their impact goes far beyond the provision of a few services. 

Deciding to choose a new primary care physician is a big decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. To help increase the likelihood of finding a practitioner who meets your needs and wants, here are some tips:

Know “In-Network” Doctors

A lot of health plans come with negotiated special, discounted rates with specific doctors and hospitals in a particular area. In that case, you will pay less for visiting these “in-network” doctors. When you choose an in-network doctor, you can guarantee that the doctor accepts your insurance plan. 

Choose a Doctor With Expertise That Meets Your Specific Needs

Different doctors specialize in various types of medicine. Some specialize in a specific ailment, while others are only proficient in certain age groupings or types of patients. 

For example, you are a young adult needing primary care. In that case, you might consider choosing a doctor who specializes in young adults, who is up-to-date with the latest information on your specific condition, and who is familiar with your kind of body. The more you research your condition, the better you will be at finding a doctor who can give you the best care.

Ask for Referrals from Friends, Family, or Colleagues

A good way to find a doctor is to ask for referrals from people you know and trust. Some people prefer to find a doctor through word of mouth since a lot of office staff—including the doctors—rely on word of mouth to get new customers to visit their office.

Consider the Logistics

Regardless of how great a doctor you have chosen, it may not work out in the end if the office is too far away and if there is a long wait time. You may have to give up some time out of your day to see a doctor, so try to make it as convenient as possible. 

Before you sign up, make sure you can get to the location without hassle, and you can get a timely appointment without too much hassle. Also, make sure you can get an appointment when it is most convenient for you!

Read Reviews on the Doctor

You can also turn to the internet to see what others have written about the doctor. Nowadays, professional doctors and office staff have official websites outlining what they do and if they have any reviews. Other online sites will have reviews on the doctor, as well.

Call the Office and Ask Questions

Before you sign up, call the office and ask a few questions. First of all, make sure that you can get an appointment with the chosen doctor. You can also ask specific questions about how the office operates, what the office hours are like, how much the doctors charge, and the general quality of service you can expect.

The Best Primary Care Physician for You

Finding a new primary care physician is important, and it may take some time to find the right fit. Use these steps to find the right primary care for you. Although it may take some time, it will be worth it.

Aspen Medical Center is a medical clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola. We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Get in touch with us!

weight loss

A Medical Scourge: What You Need to Know about Obesity

Your family physician (or any doctor) would tell you that obesity can be fatal. However, how can you determine when a person is considered obese or simply overweight? This article will give you a better understanding of this lifestyle disease.

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is associated with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. It is also associated with a waist circumference of 40 inches or higher for men or 35 inches or higher for women. In addition, this is also associated with significant health risks.

In the United States, most people are considered overweight if the body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 kg/m 2. In addition, if the waist circumference is over 35 inches for men and 31.5 inches for women, this is also considered overweight.

Obesity Screening

Your family physician will carry out several tests to determine if you have obesity. They will ask you questions regarding your lifestyle. Questions include how often you get up to go to the bathroom at night and how many times you eat in a week.  

They will also inquire about your activities and how often you participate in physical exercise. If you fall obese, you can go to a hospital to undergo more tests. The final examination will determine your body mass index (BMI). Also, your vital signs will be documented.  

Diet and Exercise

If you are obese, this means you are acquiring excess weight. In the United States, one in three people is considered obese. It is a severe problem, and any obese person should aim to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

For an obese person, a dietician and a physician should be consulted. The dietician will help you lose weight by cutting calories and increasing exercise. If you are not accustomed to physical activity, a gradual increase in physical activity is recommended. In addition, you can consider a weight loss supplement if you want to speed up the process.

If you want to lose weight, you will have to eat a healthy diet and exercise. This lifestyle change is not easy, but it is possible with the help of your family physician and dietitian. Many people have undergone this successful lifestyle change.

Diet and exercise are the best ways to lose weight. You can visit your family physician at the earliest to determine if you are one. They will also help you lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.  

Conclusion

If you are obese, you are at risk of developing several diseases. Obesity is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. To avoid these, you have to visit your family physician to determine if you are one. You will be able to live a healthy lifestyle, and you will lose weight. 

If you want to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, you have to eat a healthy diet and exercise. You can visit your family physician for assistance. In addition, you can also consider a weight loss supplement.

If you are looking for family physician in Santa Fe, you should visit Aspen Medical Center. We do not only house reputable and seasoned doctors, but we also have state-of-the-art medical equipment. With us, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands. Call now to schedule an appointment!

care provider

What Are the Advantages of Having a Primary Care Provider?

As the primary healthcare provider for their patients, PCPs are the first responders for any unusual health symptoms or concerns. They act as a single point of contact for all future healthcare needs, as well as preventive care. Many PCPs have special training in the field of infectious disease and immunization, as well as communicable diseases, to avoid the spread of illness to others.

What Are the Advantages of Having a Primary Care Provider?

1 – Continuity

The primary care provider is a member of the patient’s healthcare team and continues to provide care for them throughout their life. Having a PCP who knows your medical history can help you get better care in the future. Having a PCP is convenient for both patients and PCPs as they can provide care for your entire family, including spouses, children, and aging parents.

2 – Easy Access

Having a PCP is convenient for when you need to see a doctor, but if you don’t have a primary care provider, then the process of finding a new one can be challenging. Most PCPs will have an established patient base. They will know other doctors, specialists, and hospitals to that they can refer their patients.

3 – Better Coordination of Care

Having PCP can help you get the most out of different specialists to diagnose and treat your illness. Coordinating care with your PCP can reduce missed appointments and duplication of tests, which helps keep costs down. For example, your PCP can tell you when you need to see a specialist versus when you can manage your chronic condition on your own.

4 – Patient Satisfaction

Studies have shown that patients like and prefer having a PCP. Having a PCP leads to better communication between healthcare providers, which leads to improved patient satisfaction. Having a PCP can also reduce the number of unnecessary ER visits.

5 – Early Detection of Serious Health Issues

Having a PCP can lead to better coordination of care with your doctor. They can help detect serious health issues, including heart disease and cancer, long before they become life-threatening. Many chronic diseases can be managed with the right care and medications.

6 – Improved Health Outcomes

PCPs can help manage your chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, to reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Studies have shown that patients with a PCP are more likely to have better health outcomes and live longer.

7 – Expertise

If you have a complex medical issue, you’ll want a specialist who’ll communicate with your PCP. Your PCP will be able to refer you to the right specialist, who will, in turn, communicate with your PCP about any updates.

Conclusion

Having a PCP can provide several advantages for patients and their families. Having a primary care provider (PCP) is a great way to get and stay healthy. By seeking regular health screenings and preventive care early on, you can avoid expensive, unnecessary, and uncomfortable visits to the ER. Having a PCP reduces health-related costs and unnecessary treatments, helping you reach your health goals.

If you are in search of a family physician in Santa Fe, visit Aspen Medical Center. We are an outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services.

health care

Urgent Care Clinics are Revolutionizing Modern Healthcare

An urgent care clinic is, as the name implies, a clinic designed to handle urgent, less common medical issues that come up. Many urgent care clinics serve the same function as traditional emergency rooms (where you would go if you had severe chest pains). But again, the urgent care clinic’s goal is to handle illnesses and injuries that are not life-threatening but require medical attention.

Urgent care clinics are also more convenient for patients. They are designed to be open evenings and weekends and in locations where access to a regular doctor might be difficult.

Today, we will explore how urgent care clinics are revolutionizing modern healthcare.

Here’s what you need to know:

Lower Costs

The first thing to realize is that you can get medical attention when needed but still stick to your budget. Many urgent care clinics offer routine medical services at the exact cost of a regular doctor’s visit or even cheaper.

The urgent care clinic can treat more minor illnesses, which means they don’t have to incur the costs (and expenses) associated with emergency room visits. Urgent care also provides more efficient referrals to emergency rooms. This means you may be able to avoid a multi-day emergency room stay for something that a simple antibiotic prescription could treat.

Convenience

Another key advantage of the urgent care clinic is that it is open when regular doctors’ offices are not. Many of the nation’s leading urgent care clinics, including the one pictured above, are available during the evenings and weekends and provide on-site lab tests.

This means that you can get medical attention while it’s convenient for you, which will help you avoid slipping through the cracks.

High-Quality Care

One of the great things about urgent care clinics is that they provide high-quality medical care to patients. While urgent care clinics cannot handle the same types of issues as regular emergency rooms (except for some minor emergencies that are not life-threatening), they are staffed by a board-certified physician. This means that you will be getting the highest level of care available outside of a hospital.

The staff at urgent care clinics is also well-trained in common ailments and injuries. It allows them to provide better care than many traditional primary care doctors.

Accessibility

Even with the growing number of urgent care clinics, many Americans have difficulty accessing traditional healthcare.

In some parts of the country, regular doctors are few and far between. Accessibility is also difficult for people who work odd hours or cannot attend a normal doctor’s office during working hours.

This is one of the many reasons urgent care clinics have grown in popularity. An urgent care clinic is the only option for routine healthcare in many areas.

With many millennials entering the workforce and many more entering the older generations, healthcare will soon be a hotly-debated topic.

If you’re interested in exploring urgent care, be sure to check out the location in your area. If you’re waiting on a regular doctor, or the wait is too long, a visit to an urgent care clinic might be just what the doctor ordered.

The Bottom Line

Urgent care clinics are revolutionizing modern healthcare. They are providing patients with convenient access to high-quality medical care. They are also a more affordable option for people who don’t have access to regular doctors. If you need routine medical treatment, an urgent care clinic may be an excellent option for you.

If you are looking for urgent care, we can help you. Aspen Medical Center provides urgent care and primary care. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Contact us today to learn more.

stethoscope

Primary Care Physicians for Today’s Health & Wellness

Primary Care Physicians (PCP), given their role and scope of practice, can play a leading role in promoting the health and wellness of individuals. But how exactly?

How PCPs Work

PCPs are one of the primary sources of health care in the US. They are often the first line of contact for people with a set of health problems or for healthy people who need to arrange for care.

Some PCPs are in solo practices, others are in a group practice, and others work in hospital-based clinics.

The Primary Care Goals

The goals of primary care physicians are to provide early intervention, maximize the time and attention to each patient, and ensure that effective interventions happen. Primary care physicians can encourage people to adopt healthy behaviors, such as exercise and routine medical screenings. They also help patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

In addition, primary care physicians personally care for patients during times of illness, including prescribing medications and managing treatments. They also serve as a key trusted source of health information.

The Conditions PCPs Treat

PCPs focus on providing patients with both medical and psychosocial problems. They commonly treat:

  • Colds and other infections
  • Chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and hypertension
  • Headaches and other musculoskeletal disorders
  • Injuries and trauma
  • Women’s health issues

PCPs treat a wide range of conditions. They are also the largest providers of long-term care for seniors as well as those with chronic conditions.

In addition, PCPs can examine and treat children, teenagers, and young adults. They can also prescribe and manage medications for these age groups.

The Value of Primary Care

PCPs are not only offering the benefits of early intervention and improved quality of care, but their services are also cost-effective.

In addition to the cost savings, the PCP-patient relationship can strengthen preventive health behaviors and help patients better manage their chronic conditions. A strong PCP-patient relationship provides greater access to care, which can help patients address conditions and prevent them from becoming more severe.

The PCP is there for you 24/7. They provide care for you and your family. As such, they are also a trusted source of health information. PCPs can help you make informed decisions about your health and help support you while addressing your health needs.

Primary Health Centers

Primary Health Centers (PHCs) are clinics that provide a range of primary care services. They are a great alternative to the traditional doctor’s office. PHCs are close and convenient to where a patient lives and works. They are also open on nights, weekends, and holidays.

PHCs are managed by health systems and private, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. Some PHCs are managed by cooperatives and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).

Like PCPs, PHCs can provide patients with a full range of medical and psychosocial care. They can treat common conditions, like colds and infections, and chronic conditions like COPD and diabetes. PHCs also cannot prescribe controlled substances or prescribe birth control.

The Bottomline

Primary care is a growing and valuable component of the health care system. In addition to meeting the needs of patients, primary care also provides cost-effective and timely care to patients with a broad range of medical and psychosocial needs. 

Aspen Medical Center has some of the best primary care doctors in Santa Fe and Espanola. We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Contact us!

ear

Why Do Ears Hurt: A Guide to Causes (And What to Do)

Parents know how common earaches are in children, but adults can get frequent ear pain, too. You don’t have to have an infection, or even anything wrong with your ears, to have ear pain. This blog post will discuss some of the most common causes.

Why Do Ears Hurt: A Guide to Causes (And What to Do)

1 – Earwax

Earwax is a natural substance produced by the body, and it has a useful function because it can help to protect the ear canal from dust and water. Commonly, earwax will drain from the ear canal to the outside of the ear naturally. Our ears create wax because our body needs to maintain a defense against bacteria, foreign objects, and moisture.

However, earwax can get impacted and clog up the ear canal, which can cause discomfort and pain. Earwax blocks the ear canal, which can lead to the irritation of the skin inside the ear canal to the formation of an ear infection.

2 – Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is an ear infection caused by bacteria or fungus. Bacteria and fungus can easily enter the inner parts of the ear canal when water gets inside the ear. The water can get in if the ear canal is wet and especially if there is a perforation or hole in the eardrum.

Swimmer’s ear is often mistaken for an ear infection, but it is actually an outer ear canal infection. However, a perforated eardrum can lead to an inner ear infection. Usual cases of swimmer’s ear are usually caused by swimming in contaminated water, but it can also occur in hot tubs.

3 – Change in Air Pressure

A change in air pressure can cause ear pain, and it is more common when people are traveling. As an airplane descends, the air pressure in the ear canal changes, and it can cause the eardrum to ‘pop.’ This popping sound is called an ‘eardrum miniature explosion.’ Change in air pressure is one of the most common causes of ear pain.

If the change in pressure is sudden, it can cause the eardrum to burst. This is called a perforated eardrum. A perforated eardrum can cause sudden ear pain, vertigo, and hearing loss.

4 – Infections

A bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infection can cause ear pain. Viral infections are the most common cause of ear pain. However, ear infections can be caused by certain bacteria and fungi, too.

5 – Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a problem that causes ringing in the ears. It is a condition that is sometimes caused by ear infections, but it can also be caused by age and exposure to loud noise.

Conclusion

Ear pain is a common problem. If the ear pain is caused by an infection, the infection can spread to the inner ear, which can lead to hearing loss, vertigo, and dizziness. It is beneficial to deal with an ear infection as soon as possible, to avoid any ear complications. Going to your doctor or a nearby urgent care center will help you get to the bottom of why you have pain in your ear.

If you need an urgent care center for your ear pain, come to Aspen Medical Center. We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. Visit us, and let’s get you treated today!

checking skin

What Is the Difference Between Measles And Chickenpox

Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish measles from chickenpox since they share some similarities. But it’s important to know that they are not the same thing. And by correctly diagnosing the illness, you will know what actions to take to treat it.

What Is Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can be spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing. The virus also lives for up to two hours in the air, so someone can catch it by breathing the same air as someone who is sick.

If an unvaccinated person comes in contact with the airborne virus, they can develop the measles virus within four days. A person who gets the measles virus will start to develop symptoms between 10 to 14 days after contracting the virus.

The measles virus belongs to the paramyxovirus family of viruses. This type of virus is known for being highly contagious and causing a characteristic rash.

What Are the Symptoms of the Measles?

After coming in contact with the airborne measles virus, a person will develop the symptoms of measles within ten days. Most people will get measles if exposed to the virus unless they have been vaccinated.

The first symptoms of measles are usually fever and a watery, runny nose. But this first phase of the illness may last only a day or two. Other symptoms that follow may include small white spots inside the mouth (called Koplik’s spots) and a red, blotchy rash that spreads all over the body.

The rash usually begins on the face and spreads to the neck, the upper chest and back, and the rest of the body.

The measles rash usually starts two to four days after the other symptoms start. The rash usually lasts four days.

If you see the measles rash, contact your doctor as soon as possible. You may also see a cough, runny nose, white spots inside the mouth, bad headache, and a high fever.

What Is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection that is spread by the airborne varicella-zoster virus. The virus causes an itchy rash that can lead to severe complications if it is not properly treated.

In most cases, the itchy rash will eventually go away without treatment. But since the virus spreads so quickly, it’s crucial to treat chickenpox immediately.

Chickenpox is a lot like the measles virus because they belong to the same family of viruses. Both viruses cause a similar rash and can be spread through the air.

However, chickenpox is not caused by the same virus that causes measles. The chickenpox virus belongs to the herpes family of viruses, called the varicella-zoster virus.

What Are the Symptoms of Chickenpox?

The rash of chickenpox usually begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. The rash usually starts around two to three days after the first symptoms of chickenpox, lasting for five to seven days.

The chickenpox rash may appear as red marks that can turn into blisters. The blisters or spots may be filled with pus. They may also begin crusting over after a few days.

A person who gets chickenpox will usually get a fever, fatigue, and a nasty headache. They may also feel pain when swallowing or have a loss of appetite.

However, the most common symptom of chickenpox is the itching from the rash. This itchy sensation causes most people to scratch the blisters, leading to complications.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the symptoms of measles and chickenpox. Measles and chickenpox are similar because they both cause a red, blotchy rash. But there are several symptoms associated with these two viruses that set them apart. And knowing the difference between measles and chickenpox can help you better understand the illness and how to treat it. 

Protect yourself from viral illnesses by getting vaccinated at Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Call us now to schedule an appointment!

doctor

Move past “Doctor near Me” and Find a Primary Care Provider

Getting that first appointment with your doctor is no small feat, let alone finding your way back if you have to switch or just find a new one because your original isn’t available. You could be left with a handful of questions. Even when you’ve got a friend or family member to review the information with, too many choices can still be overwhelming, especially if you can’t tell what separates plausible options from others. 

Here are some tips to help you find the primary care doctor that’s right for you.

Remember These Considerations

Don’t just type “doctor near me” on your preferred search engine. Always keep these factors in mind:

  • Accepted insurance providers
  • Acceptance rate of new patients
  • Character
  • Expertise
  • Patient reviews
  • Work hours

Refer to This Checklist

It’s a no-brainer to focus on the basics when evaluating your next primary care doctor, like their medical school, insurance plans, and proximity to your home. However, there are other things that you can take into account. Do you click with them? Does their personality mesh with yours? 

It’s essential to determine if you connect with your doctor to improve your health outcomes significantly. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to answer these questions. The following checklist can help get you started.

  • Make Your Search Even More Specific: When looking for a new primary care doctor, most people start with a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or family member or type primary care “doctor near me” on their preferred search engine. This leads to a handful of doctors to look into, which is a good start, but it doesn’t consider any specific traits or qualifications you’re looking for.Aside from doing virtual and physical queries, make your search even more specific. Look for experts within your state, city, and county. Narrow it down to your locale. It’s cheaper logistics-wise to consult a primary care doctor in your area than one in another area code!Type “doctor (name of state, city, or county)” on search engines” instead. That should yield more relevant results. When asking for in-person referrals, state you want the options nearest to you. You can avoid wasting time and effort that way.
  • Compare Narrowed Results: Once you find the specific traits and qualifications you’re looking for from several options, it’s time to make your comparisons.One of the most important things to consider when deciding the site to get your medical information from is the information’s legitimacy. Gathering medical information from third-party sites can be problematic because some websites have inaccurate information.An instance of this is pages that say the primary care doctor is practicing in places they have never been, lists the terrible experience, and insufficient education level.

    Do your digging to discover that a professional’s website, for example, is the most accurate of them all. It lists all their achievements, training, honors, and—most importantly—state license or approval, not just those that the other sites want to share. Thus, you can be confident with that site as a source for better decisions.

  • Check with Experts: If you’ve gone through all the steps and are still unsure of yourself in your selection, picking up the phone and talking to an expert can be an excellent way to receive some assurance that you’ve made the right choice.

    Referral centers can provide you with additional information not easily found online and answer any questions you might have concerning your appointment, the practice itself, and even the best way to get there.

Find the Right Primary Care Doctor for Your Loved One

Primary care doctors, including those who practice family medicine or internal medicine, are key to your overall health. They see the big picture, including maintaining your healthy lifestyle, helping you reach new health goals, and managing some chronic conditions. 

In a sense, they are in charge of your health. To this end, they usually put the patient first and try to provide the best care possible. In addition, they don’t have to wait until something is wrong before they intervene; instead, most people go to them when they are well. If anything goes wrong, the clinic already knows about them and can assist them immediately.

Find a new primary care doctor right away by contacting Aspen Medical Center! We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Check-in online through our website or book your appointment by calling 505-468-5885!

Medical Emergencies

Medical Emergencies: When Should You Seek Medical Assistance

The internet made it possible to access information quickly. If you hear a ringing in your ear that others cannot hear, you should research tinnitus. Or if you want to understand COVID-19 better, you can easily find scientifically-verified information on the World Wide Web.

Medical information may be readily available to the general public, but it does not mean that you will not ask for help from your family physician during medical emergencies. Remember that medical assistance is sometimes necessary for the treatment of a disease. 

At one time or another, you might have asked yourself if you should see your family physician. Although there are no established rules on when you should see your doctor, you may establish guidelines on when the situation necessitates it.

How Do You Know When to See Your Doctor?

In the event of a medical emergency, you should call 911 instead of visiting a doctor’s office. You should go to the hospital if you have experienced chest pains or difficulty breathing after eating. If anyone loses consciousness, you should seek immediate medical care for them. 

On the other hand, you should consult your family physician if you cannot move your limbs or experience swelling in your arms or legs. Seek a doctor’s opinion when you experience severe abdominal pain.

Colds or Flu

Considering that COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the common flu, it is prudent to seek immediate medical care if you exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Body malaise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritated eyes

Diarrhea

People suffer from diarrhea occasionally. It is often harmless, but there are times that you should reach out to your family physician. Here are the signs to watch out for: 

  • It has been more than three days.
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in your stool
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Signs of dehydration (parched mouth or skin, fatigue, decreased urination, confusion, or irritability)

Digestive Issue

The digestive issue is not exclusive to abdominal pain, but it includes pain in your esophagus. If you noticed the following symptoms, you should call your family physician:

  • It feels like the food is caught in your throat or chest.
  • Heartburn that does not go away or worsen.
  • You find it difficult or painful to swallow.
  • Sore throat that does not go away.
  • Nausea that will not go away.
  • Vomiting of blood or bile 
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea that does not go away
  • Black or bloody stool

Head Injury

Getting a bump on the head is not uncommon. It can be a minor issue, but if you notice signs of concussion, you should immediately consult a doctor. Here are a few symptoms:

  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Feeling sluggish or foggy
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes

Conclusion

Most of us mistake only visit the family physician when we are sick, but you should consider going to your doctor even if you feel well. You should undergo regular physical exams. Thus, you stay on top of your health. 

If you are looking for a respected family physician in Santa Fe, visit Aspen Medical Center. Our doctors can provide urgent care and carry out a physical exam for you. Come to our center for all of your medical needs!

Primary Care Doctor

Identifying the Different Types of Primary Care Doctors

A primary care physician is a professional you can trust to help you with a wide range of healthcare requirements, both normal and unexpected. These doctors can provide preventive care, and that includes routine physicals, screenings, and vaccines. They can also diagnose, treat, and manage a variety of chronic illnesses.

They usually perform regular physical exams, prescribe medications to treat illnesses, and screen you for common health problems. You can quickly turn to them to treat minor illnesses and injuries like the seasonal flu or sinus infections, skin conditions, and even sleep issues.

Find out the different types of primary care doctors in the paragraphs below and determine which one is best suited for you and your family.

Internal Medicine Doctors for Adult Patients

The main distinction of internal medicine physicians from other primary care physicians is that they only treat adults. From early adulthood until old age, these doctors are trained to handle both simple and complex illnesses.

Internal medicine specialists are adept at balancing an adult’s routine preventive care requirements with specialized treatment requirements. They are also well-versed in adult-onset illnesses such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Pediatricians for Child Patients

These doctors specialize in caring for children from birth through early adulthood. They’ve been trained to treat both mild diseases and injuries as well as more serious illnesses and injuries.

Pediatricians are specialists in understanding developmental milestones and keeping children on track for a healthy future. They are experienced with a wide range of childhood medical disorders and are skilled at conversing with children and making them feel less anxious, which is beneficial if your child is shy or afraid of going to the doctor.

Med-Peds Doctors for Adults and Children

Internal medicine-pediatricians are doctors who practice both internal medicine and pediatrics. Also known as med-peds doctors, these doctors treat both children and adults and can help with disease prevention, treatment, and diagnosis. Many people choose a med-peds doctor because they value the fact that their doctor is board certified as a pediatrician and an internist.

Family Medicine Doctors for the Entire Family

Family doctors have the distinct advantage of caring for the entire family—babies, children, parents, and grandparents. If a member of your family becomes ill, you only need to call one person who is familiar with your family’s medical history and can give highly tailored care.

Having a family physician gives you the convenience and peace of mind of knowing that all of your family’s health care requirements may be met by one trusted source. For busy parents who need to schedule many family appointments on the same day, a family medicine doctor can be a practical option.

OB-GYNs for Women

Doctors who specialize in women’s health, particularly female reproductive health, are known as OB-GYNs. They perform routine women’s health screenings such as Pap tests, pelvic exams, and STI testing. OB-GYNs can help with everything from family planning to deciding on the best birth control method for you. They also look after you during major life events such as pregnancy and menopause.

Because OB-GYNs specialize in the female reproductive system, seeing both an OB-GYN and a general care doctor, such as an internal medicine doctor, family medicine doctor, or med-ped, is a good idea. While an OB-GYN can take care of all of your women’s health issues, your primary care physician can assist you when you’re sick or have questions about your overall health.

Conclusion 

There are various compelling reasons why you should see a primary care physician—mainly because a primary care physician is your go-to person for all things health and wellness. Routine visits with the same doctor can help detect health problems sooner—keeping you healthier and saving you money on medical bills. Aspen Medical Center 

If you’re looking for a primary care physician in Santa Fe, you can find that at Aspen Medical Center. To give the best service to our patients, we offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Book an appointment with us today!

fire truck

Signs You Need to Call 911 for Someone Experiencing a Stroke

When it comes to dealing with strokes, time is of the essence. The longer one takes to get the treatment they need, the likelier they will end up with a life-long disability or even die. This thought isn’t a fun thing to think about, but that’s the reality of strokes. As such, if you notice anyone experiencing a stroke or is experiencing it yourself, getting immediate help is a must to maximize the chances of survival.

That said, are you here today to learn more about strokes? If so, keep on reading:

What Is a Stroke?

Stroke, also called a brain attack or cerebral attack, is a condition wherein a part of the brain gets damaged. This can either be due to lack of blood supply, bleeding, or a blood clot. How blood vessels supply the brain with blood is what separates strokes from other conditions like heart attack, heart failure, and aneurysm.

What Are the Signs of a Stroke?

A stroke may have varying symptoms but can vary depending on when it happens, its location, and what type of stroke it is. Every individual may have different symptoms, and this is why certain symptoms may not be enough to discern a stroke. If you notice any of the following symptoms, take note and learn what you need to do to keep yourself and other people safe.

1. Sudden headache

A sudden headache is one of the most obvious stroke symptoms. You can call 911 immediately if this happens, especially if the headache lasts for more than 5 minutes. Also, the pain isn’t just on one side but on both sides. It’s also severe and accompanied by vomiting.

2. Sudden vision loss

Sudden vision loss may be a sign of a stroke as well. Most people notice a sudden loss of vision in one eye. Some even see black spots, see double or experience blurry vision, or see a bright or flashing light. As soon as you notice any of these, get a glass of water and hold your head down. If the vision loss comes back after drinking water, call 911 immediately.

3. Disorientation

Another thing to look out for is instances where someone suffers from disorientation. They may seem confused, have difficulty in speaking or understanding, and have difficulty in coordinating the movement of their limbs and torso. If you notice this, again, call 911 immediately.

4. Weakness of the arm, hand, or leg

Weakness in the arms, hands, and legs can also be an indicator of a stroke. You might notice that someone suddenly feels weak when they’re trying to move their arms or legs. They may feel dizzy and even lose their balance when walking around. This is another sign that should definitely be taken seriously and if you notice it, call 911.

5. Confusion

If you notice someone acting confused, you should be extra cautious. They may be confused about what’s happening, where they are, or even their own identity. This is also a sign that should be reported to 911.

6. Nausea and vomiting

Two of the more common symptoms of a stroke are nausea and vomiting. Not only do they feel nauseous and vomit, but it also doesn’t stop. One of the reasons that the body feels nauseous and causes vomiting is due to the blood vessels in the brain becoming dilated. If you notice a person who feels nauseous and vomits, call 911 immediately and make sure they don’t drink anything.

Conclusion

If you notice someone having stroke symptoms, don’t wait. Dialing 911 can save a person’s life. It’s better to be safe rather than sorry. If you’re not sure if the symptoms you’re seeing are from a stroke, don’t panic. Just wait and call 911 if you think it’s serious. Only trained medical professionals can properly diagnose a stroke, so it’s better to be over-cautious than under-cautious.

Aspen Medical Center offers urgent and primary care to meet various medical needs. If you are looking for an urgent care center in Santa Fe, visit us today!

allergy

The Most Common Types of Food Allergies You May Encounter

No one ever wants to experience a food allergy. Besides the fact that it robs the enjoyment from enjoying a certain dessert or delicacy, it also tends to put a person’s health at risk, even turning into a fatal mishap at times.

In order to avoid them, one must be familiar with the most common types of food allergies so that they would know what kind of allergens to avoid and how to mitigate their possible effects. The following are just a few examples.

1. Egg Allergy

Egg allergy, or an allergy to chicken’s eggs, is one of the most common and severe food allergies. This is because it usually causes immediate and severe reactions, which may be life-threatening.

2. Milk Allergy

Another common food allergy is an allergy towards cow’s or goat’s milk. Such are commonly seen in children as their digestive and immune systems are still at a developing stage.

3. Peanut Allergy

Peanut allergy is a common allergen that affects millions of individuals, particularly in the United States. As a matter of fact, they are the most common cause of severe food-allergic reactions, which can be potentially fatal.

4. Shellfish Allergy

Shellfish allergy is an allergy to certain types of seafood. It is usually caused by the protein in the shellfish. Their most common types of allergens are shrimp, crab, lobster, and scallops.

5. Soy Allergy

Soy allergy is a common allergen that mainly affects infants, children, and adults. It is a common misconception that only Asians are affected by soy allergy. This is because soy is a staple food in Asia, but that is not the case.

6. Wheat Allergy

Wheat allergy is one of the most common allergen-related diseases in the United States, affecting over 2.5 million people. But despite its prevalence, it is often a silent case because it produces few or no symptoms at all.

7. Tree Nut Allergy

Tree nut allergy is an allergy to any of the nuts in the trees. They are very common and are not life-threatening as long as the person can avoid coming into contact with them.

8. Sesame Allergy

Sesame allergy is a common allergen primarily seen in those who have a history of it in their family. When this allergen is ingested, reactions that affect the skin and the respiratory system may occur.

9. Sulfite Allergy

A sulfite allergy is a common allergen among those who have asthma, respiratory disorders, and other allergies. Sulfites are used as preservatives to help maintain the quality of certain dried fruits.

10. Corn Allergy

Corn allergy is not as common as the other listed examples. Still, it does occur, especially in those who have a family history of it too.

11. Chili Pepper Allergy

This common allergen can be potentially life-threatening. They are usually used to spice up different types of food, so it can be problematic for those who have this allergy.

12. Mushroom Allergy

A mushroom allergy is a pretty common one, but it is usually not severe. It mainly affects those who have a history of allergies or asthma.

Conclusion

Food allergies can make life difficult for those who are affected by them. But in order to avoid them, one must be aware of the different types of allergens that can trigger the symptoms.

The above examples are the most common ones, but there are a lot more of them. By familiarizing oneself with them, you may definitely avoid them all and live a healthy life.

With all of that being said, if you are looking for an urgent care center in Santa Fe that will tend to your allergies, look no further than our institution here at Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Call us now to book your very first appointment.

person with mask

Can Urgent Care Treat Pneumonia: What You Need to Know

Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that affects the lungs and is typically mild, but can be severe in rare cases. Most patients recover quickly when treated with treatment options recommended by a doctor. However, in some cases, pneumonia is fatal. Patients should ensure they treat pneumonia properly as it can cause further lung damage if left untreated.

The key to recovering from pneumonia is seeking medical attention, including a specialized treatment plan that reduces the infection and helps you get better. Given this, some of you may be wondering if you should seek out urgent care for pneumonia. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together a brief article on this topic. If this is something that you want to learn more about, read on as we discuss if urgent care can properly treat pneumonia.

What Causes Pneumonia?

Before we discuss anything else, we first have to learn more about the disease itself. Pneumonia occurs when the air sacs in the lungs are inflamed as a result of inflammation caused by infection. This inflammation results in the fluid buildup and makes it difficult to breathe. Pneumonia usually develops in individuals who are already suffering from an upper respiratory infection, such as influenza or a common cold. Pneumonia is easier to contract if you smoke or have other underlying medical conditions that make you more prone to infection such as diabetes or heart disease.

For the most part, pneumonia is caused by:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Fungus
  • Aspirating (breathing in) chemicals or other particles

What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be quite tricky to detect as its symptoms vary in severity depending on your personal health. Here are some symptoms that you’ll want to be on the lookout for:

  • Coughing
  • Feeling feverish
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle aches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest congestion
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Chills

Can Urgent Care Centers Help Treat Pneumonia?

If you visit urgent care, you will be able to receive the same treatment as at a regular doctor’s office. Hours of operation are longer and staff is far more flexible than at a regular doctor’s office. You can use urgent care for any medical issue, but it is especially useful for those with chronic illnesses.

Two main factors determine whether pneumonia symptoms progress over time or get worse in a matter of hours. The first is whether or not you seek medical attention. This is why urgent care is effective for treating pneumonia as it ensures you get the care that you need in a timely manner. An urgent care clinic will be able to examine your medical history, perform a physical exam, and order tests to determine the type of pneumonia you have (bacterial or viral). By doing this, they will be able to provide you with the right treatment plan in order to nurse you back to health. The other factor is whether you have risk factors that put you at greater risk for contracting pneumonia, such as smoking, being obese, and having diabetes.

Conclusion

We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to furthering your understanding of how urgent care can help you deal with pneumonia. As you can see, urgent care can effectively address all the complications that come with pneumonia. If you suspect that you have pneumonia, it would be wise to seek out medical attention as soon as possible.

If you are searching for urgent care in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center is your best choice. We provide state-of-the-art medical facilities and expertise to ensure that you are well taken care of. For more information on our services or to book an appointment, contact us at (505) 466-5885.

equipment

8 Diabetes Management Tips That You Should Know About

Diabetes is a chronic health condition impacting people’s blood sugar levels and how the body transforms food into energy. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 34.2 million people in the United States are estimated to be living with diabetes. However, only 26.9 million are formally diagnosed.

Living with chronically high blood sugar levels can be inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. Avoid getting rushed to an urgent care center because of diabetes complications. 

Here are some tips that you can use to manage your condition.

Keep Track of Your Blood Sugar Levels

Practice blood sugar self-monitoring. There are at-home test kits you can use to monitor your blood sugar levels. 

All you need is to put a drop of your blood in a test strip and place it in the machine. When you monitor your blood sugar condition, you can have more informed decisions about your diet and routine for the day.

Be Mindful of What You Eat

The diet for people with diabetes can be quite strict. But the gist of it is that you need to reduce the amount of sugar, starch, trans fat, and processed food you consume. 

All these things contribute to increasing your already high blood sugar levels. Nutritionists and primary care physicians suggest eating a balanced diet with fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and other food with low glycemic index values.

Stay Active

Regular exercise can help you manage your blood sugar levels. Your body becomes more sensitive to insulin when you work out. 

Insulin is a hormone that your body releases to utilize blood sugar for energy. When your insulin levels are up, sugar levels remain at bay.

Learn More about Your Condition

If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, try to learn more about your condition. Listen to your primary care doctor’s advice, read articles online, and regularly monitor your blood sugar conditions. 

You can even have a friend or family member learn with you. When you equip yourself with the knowledge now, managing your condition will be relatively easy in the long run.

Take Your Medication

You should also make sure you are following your medication plan. Keep in mind that you can use your medications and your diet program together to help manage your blood sugar levels. 

If you continue to show positive results from your medication, you can continue treatment with your doctor’s help.

Control Stress

Studies have shown that there is a link between stress and blood sugar levels. When you get stressed, blood sugar rises because your body releases glucagon and cortisol at a higher rate. 

It’s integral to learn how to control your stress levels and relax. Try practicing good stress management techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.

Know the Signs of Hyperglycemia

As a patient with diabetes, your blood sugar tends to shift more drastically than most people. If your blood sugar level goes even higher, you can experience fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, nausea, and hunger. 

Unmanaged high blood sugar levels can result in blood vessel damage, organ blood supply issues, and more. Remember to keep your medication at hand.

Know the Signs of Hypoglycemia

The blood sugar pendulum for a person with diabetes can swing to the other extreme—hypoglycemia. Signs of hypoglycemia include sweating, shakiness, tremors, paleness, and difficulty speaking, thinking, or walking. 

Do not automatically assume that your blood sugar levels are high when you feel ill. Check your blood sugar with your test kit, take your medication when it is too high, and eat something sweet when it is too low.

Conclusion

Living with diabetes is a challenge, but it is necessary. When you properly manage your condition, there is almost nothing that you can do. Don’t forget to listen to your primary care doctor’s advice, eat healthy, stay active, and stay positive.

Aspen Medical Center is a respected medical clinic and urgent care center in Santa Fe, NM. We offer a wide range of medical services, from family urgent care to PCR tests, to keep you healthy and safe. Set an appointment today!

covid test

What You Have to Know About “Inconclusive” COVID-19 Test Results

There are several benefits to obtaining a COVID-19 certification. Perhaps you are suffering from flu-like symptoms or have been infected with the virus. If you’re going on vacation or seeing a sick relative, you should consider getting tested for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 test can detect SARS-CoV-2 infection regardless of the purpose for testing. Additionally, they may also work in different ways. However, while a COVID-19 test can help determine whether you are infected, it is not always accurate. Other times, results can be “inconclusive.”

Read on to learn more about “inconclusive” COVID-19 test results, as well as what to do next.

The Fundamentals of COVID-19 Testing

While all COVID-19 tests can help you determine if you have the virus, some are more accurate than others. Although most COVID-19 tests collect nasal mucus, others collect saliva from the mouth or throat.

Viral antigens in your mucus are detected using rapid assays (proteins found on the surface of viruses). Antigen testing, on the other hand, produces results in a couple of minutes (much like a pregnancy test). The latter is less exact and more likely to result in false negatives, meaning a person infected with the virus might have an incorrect negative result.

To detect the virus’s genetic material, COVID-19 PCR, viral RNA, and nucleic acid tests must all be performed. After this process, results may be ready within hours, or even a day or two. Additionally, such false-positive results from these tests are uncommon.

Because of the ease and speed with which antigen testing may be performed, it is still widely employed. If the antigen test results in a negative result, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test should be performed as a confirmatory test. Inconclusive outcomes, on the other hand, are the exception.

The COVID-19 Test Results

COVID-19 tests can yield one of three outcomes:

1. Positive Result

SARS-CoV-2 or antigens were discovered in your mucus sample, depending on the test.

2. Negative Result

Neither of them was discovered at the time.

3. Inconclusive Result

A laboratory’s interpretation of a test result may be incorrect, leaving patients with an inconclusive result. If the laboratory is unable to interpret your test owing to a variety of variables, such as a lack of mucus sample, a new infection, or nearing recovery, your results may be inconclusive.

Steps to Take with An Inconclusive COVID-19 Test Result

Receiving an inconclusive COVID-19 test result is disheartening, given that it provides you and your loved ones no peace of mind. Whatever your purpose for testing for COVID-19, if your results are inconclusive, you should retest.

Following an inconclusive test result, continue to self-isolate or follow quarantine recommendations until you obtain your new test results. You may also speak with your doctor or a local health agency to learn more about what to do if your lab results are unclear.

Seeking Medical Advice

If you’ve recently been exposed to COVID-19 or are having any coronavirus symptoms, the smart thing to do is to isolate and schedule an at-home testing service or at the nearest clinic nearby.

COVID-19 testing is available at a number of pharmacies and clinics. Contact your local health agency for more information on COVID-19 testing. If your flu-like symptoms increase or do not improve, see a doctor.

Additionally, it would be best to seek emergency medical attention if you or someone you know is suffering from breathing problems, chest discomfort, confusion or brain fog, trouble focusing, trouble sleeping, as well as pallid skin, lips, or nail beds.

Conclusion

These signs and symptoms may indicate a medical emergency, but it’s important to note that these are not the only ones that should be addressed. At the age of a pandemic, almost any sickness should be treated immediately. At the same time, continue strengthening your immune system through a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management, among others.
If you need to schedule a PCR test in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center can aid your needs of urgent care. Our experienced medical staff are experts in offering essential primary care designed to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Give us a call today to set an appointment!

check up

Why Getting an Annual Physical Examination Is Important

Every new year, there is one common goal that many people share―that is to be healthy and free from sickness for the years to come. Coming from the wreck brought by the pandemic, becoming strong and healthy is one of the top priorities of many. 

While eating a balanced diet, exercising, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the trusted methods for achieving the goal, one should not forget about the importance of having checkups, particularly the annual physical examination.

What Is an Annual Physical Examination?

An annual physical examination is a physical checkup done to detect and monitor a person’s health condition. It typically covers the following procedures:

  • Physical exam
  • Lab test
  • Other examinations and tests

Why You Should Consider Conducting One

1. It Paves the Way for Preventive Care

Preventive care is crucial in keeping a person healthy and fit, as it helps maintain a person’s health before any problems even occur. 

Annual physical examination is one of the best preventive procedures a person can undergo. It allows the person to be treated for the symptoms and get the needed medical attention before it becomes more than they can handle. It also reduces the risk of becoming a victim of a major illness or health condition.

2. It Is a Spot-Check for Unhealthy Changes

If the doctor realizes that there are unhealthy changes in the person, such as the weight and blood pressure changes, the doctor will be doing a good deed by informing the person of the situation. It will also allow the physician to guide the patient to the right path by prescribing accurate treatment.

3. It Makes Treatments Cost-Effective

Cost-effectiveness of the treatments prescribed is another benefit of an annual physical exam. The examination helps point out the health conditions that need immediate attention, which allows the doctor to prescribe only necessary procedures and medications.

4. It Is Good for the General Health

It is an excellent practice to get annual physical examinations to boost one’s health in general. It provides health benefits, such as improving your health conditions and discovering your medical history.

5. Keep Your Medical Records Updated

Annual physical examinations are essential in keeping your medical records updated. A physical exam will also keep you updated on your immunizations. Remember that your medical record is evidence of your medical history and records, including allergies, previous illnesses, and past operations.

In emergencies, you will need your annual physical examination records immediately. That is why it is good to update your records and keep them accessible. 

6. Answers Your Medical Questions and Concerns

It provides the patient and the doctor a chance to discuss and address the patient’s medical concerns. The doctor and the patient can share ideas and thoughts, including the possible outcomes of a particular medical condition. In addition, the doctor can explain the examination findings to the patient.

It is also an effective practice that can strengthen the doctor-patient relationship.

Conclusion

A yearly physical examination is a procedure that everyone should never neglect. It serves as a guide to monitor and maintain a person’s health condition. It is one of the best preventive measures that you can have to ensure that your health does not have to suffer in the future. Now that you know the importance of having an annual physical examination, choosing the right doctor and medical clinic is the next step.

Aspen Medical Center is an established primary care provider that provides urgent and thorough care services to its clients. Included in these many outpatient primary care services are the comprehensive annual wellness visits and physical exams. If you are looking for a reliable medical clinic in Santa Fe, call us at (505) 466-5885 to book an appointment.

asthma inhaler

Common Asthma Triggers in the Holidays and How to Avoid Them

Most people love the holidays. However, that sense of joy and celebration can also cause asthma symptoms to flare up. Your best strategy is to be aware of the situations in which you are more susceptible to an asthma attack and make plans to avoid any precipitating asthma triggers as much as possible. 

Here are some tips for helping you reduce your chances of having an asthma attack during the holidays.

1. Drastic Temperature Changes

The cold weather and early darkness of the winter months often bring fewer opportunities to get outside and exercise. These conditions can cause the body to begin releasing adrenaline and cortisol, which can cause the airways to narrow. 

The adrenaline in the body can also trigger the release of inflammatory mediators that can also lead to airway constriction. For these reasons, holidays can be hazardous for an asthma attack.

2. Smoke in the Home

When you spend time in the kitchen or at the dining table, you are likely exposed to cigarette smoke. If the weather is cold and windows are closed, smoke can linger even when not smoking. Even though you may not be eating, breathing smoke can exacerbate asthma symptoms.

3. Smoke in the Outside Air

Many folks try to avoid smoke indoors by spending time outside. However, cold air can actually increase the damage done to the airways. The colder it is, the harder the airways have to work to allow oxygen to enter and carbon dioxide to leave the lungs. Wood-burning stoves can also produce particulates and chemicals that can cause the airways to constrict.

4. Scents of the Season

Instead of candles, try decorating with pine or evergreen branches. You can also hang wreaths or other decorations with a pine scent. If you must have a scented candle, choose a candle with a label that indicates that it is made without fragrances that can trigger asthma symptoms.

5. Dust and Pollen

Dust and pollen are common allergens, especially during early spring. If you plan to go on a hike or play outside with your kids, try to do so during the cooler morning hours. Also, wash your hands before and after going outside, and change into fresh clothes to reduce the amount of dust and pollen that may have settled on you.

6. Pets

So many of us love our pets, especially during the holidays. However, try to limit your pet’s presence in the house, and make sure that your pet’s fur doesn’t always come in contact with your face. Bathing your pets regularly can also help minimize the number of allergens they release into the air.

7. House Plants

Many people enjoy decorating with their plants, but house plants can actually be a common asthma trigger. Be sure to keep plants far from your face, and try to limit your exposure to the plants’ fragrances. It can also be helpful to have a friend with asthma check the plants for pests, dust, and mold before investing in a new plant for your home.

Conclusion

While it may be challenging to avoid all asthma triggers during the holidays, you can better prepare. The most important thing to do is understand how your asthma works and what may trigger asthma symptoms in you. By being aware of your symptoms and the situation around you, you can better avoid asthma triggers.

Aspen Medical Center provides primary care and urgent care. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. If you need a primary care physician in Santa Fe, get in touch with us today! 

putting band aid

Tips on How to Avoid the Holiday’s Most Common Accidents

The holiday is indeed the most wonderful time of the year and probably the most filled with activities. Because of this, the season is also prone to lurking mishaps despite its festive mood. The time from November to January is one of the busiest for most emergency departments and urgent care facilities in the country. 

To enjoy the best you can and keep your loved ones safe and happy this season, follow our guide below to prevent the most common mishaps during the holiday. 

Be Careful in Decorating

Decorating the interiors and exteriors of your home entails proper safety precautions. Keep away from using unsteady ladders, as this causes a considerable number of falls while decorating for Christmas each year. Additionally, avoid lifting too heavy items above your head since doing this will strain your muscles.

When decorating your house for the holiday, do the following:

  • Do not lift heavy objects alone.
  • Do not stand above the second-highest rung. 
  • Ensure that your body stays within the ladder’s borders. 
  • Keep one hand on the ladder at all times.
  • Make sure your ladder is locked open and steady.

Concentrate When Cooking

The kitchen is another area of your house that you should pay attention to when it comes to safety. This is why we recommend that you prepare sufficiently for the holiday as hurriedly cooking can put you at greater risk of starting an accident in the kitchen. 

To ensure the safety of your family, try these tips:

  • Keep your kitchen clean and clear.
  • Plan your holiday meals.
  • Ready several oven mitts.
  • Separate cooked ingredients from the uncooked ones. 
  • Sharpen knives before using them. 
  • Wash your hands, surfaces, and utensils after every time you touch raw meat. 

Keep Yourself Healthy

Because of the busyness of this season, it is easy to get caught up in the celebrations and forget one’s daily routine. If you have a chronic illness, you should never risk doing this. So make sure you pack the necessary medications for your holiday trips and give your primary care doctor a call to ask for a prescription. If it helps, you can set alarms for taking pills, checking your blood sugar, and others. 

Watch What You Eat

Even if it is a holiday, try to think before eating anything. This is because overeating leads to various health conditions, especially acid reflux and heart attack. Keep in mind the following:

  • Always have a designated driver when going out to drink.
  • Eat a balanced meal by including fruits and vegetables. 
  • Eat slowly. 
  • Limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages. 

Unwrap Carefully

Surprisingly, even unwrapping gifts can bring a lot of dangers when done carelessly. Presents wrapped in thick plastic are especially prone to causing lacerations and cuts. Whether you are using box cutters, knives, or scissors, always be careful in cutting items open. And properly store these tools away when not in use so they do not end in your child’s hands or get lost in piles of wrapping papers. 

Conclusion

The holiday is a fun and busy time that may make you forget about following basic safety rules and precautions. However, bear in mind that many accidents happen when people are most careless about what they do and their surroundings. 

Use our simple tips above as your guide this season to ensure the safety and full enjoyment of the entire family!

If you need an urgent care center, turn to Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Give us a call today.

physician

4 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Primary Care Physician

Your primary care physician is responsible for giving you general care in medicine. They’re the first people you go to when you have medical concerns, and they can lead you to more specialized professionals if you need them. When choosing one for yourself or your family, it’s important to pick someone perfect for you.

Many types of doctors can provide primary care, including internists, geriatricians, and nurse practitioners. If you’re interested in looking at the full list, you can always check with your health insurance provider. You’ll most likely choose a doctor from one of their lists because getting an out-of-network primary care physician can be more expensive than necessary.

Here are some other ways to help you choose the best primary care provider for you and your family:

1. Think About the Qualities You’re Looking for in a Doctor

The idea of the perfect doctor will vary for different people because everyone has different needs. Before you choose one for yourself, it’s best to know what you’re looking for. You could prefer a female doctor over a male. You might also prefer someone whose practice is closer to home.

If there are specific conditions you’d prefer your doctor to be familiar with, you should keep that in mind. It’ll also help to have specific values or goals in mind that you’ll want your doctor to have as well. That way, you’ll be assured knowing that you more or less have the same opinion on important things.

2. Ask Your Family and Friends for Recommendations

Word-of-mouth recommendations are very common practices when it comes to choosing a doctor. This is because some people may have more experience with some physicians than others, and picking their brains for their wisdom can help you make a better decision.

If you prefer someone in your area, your family and friends could also be more familiar with the doctors there. You can ask them about their positive and negative experiences and see if that matches with what you’re okay with. They might also know more personalized information about the doctor they’re recommending.

3. Consult Your Health Insurance Provider

Consulting your health insurance provider is another smart move when looking for a primary care physician. That’s because most providers will already have a list of primary care doctors you can choose from. If you decide to make an appointment with any of them, you won’t have to worry about expensive fees.

If you have an HMO insurance plan, you can only choose from the list of doctors provided for you. You’ll only be able to choose an out-of-network doctor if it comes with a referral for an emergency situation.

4. Consult Multiple Healthcare Databases

You can also choose a primary care physician based on multiple healthcare databases. The American Medical Association’s Doctor Finder website is one of these databases filled with suggestions for professionals who can meet your needs.

Other databases include MedlinePlus’ directories, and the Medicare Physician Compare tool if you have a Medicare insurance plan. While these directories aren’t great if you’re looking for a specific individual, they can help narrow down your search and show you a list of possible primary care physicians in your area.

Conclusion

You can try these tips when looking for a primary care provider to ensure you’re getting a professional who can meet your needs the best. And when you’ve narrowed down your options, you can call them up for an initial consultation.

For the best primary care physicians in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center is a locally owned outpatient medical facility. We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. Get in touch with us today for more information.

family physician

3 Reasons Having a Family Doctor Is Essential

If there’s anything the global pandemic has taught people all over the world, it’s that nothing is for sure! No matter how secure you are in your life right now, you can never tell what may happen—you may feel healthy today, but there’s no telling if you’ll still have a sound mind and body in the future.

Given the uncertainty of life, it’s crucial to protect and prepare yourself in case of medical emergencies! Knowing the way or contact number to the nearest hospital is not enough—you must include having a family physician in your plan.

What Is a Family Physician?

A family physician can serve as your primary care provider—they will handle any medical concerns you have, from treating the common cold to figuring out what’s causing your rash.

Suppose you have any major concerns about your health. In that case, you should make an appointment with a family physician immediately so that they can properly diagnose you and give advice on the necessary treatment. If you prefer to make a phone call, you can reach out to them as well.

Why You Should Have a Family Physician

In case of any medical concerns, family physicians can serve as your one-stop shop to get you back on the road to good health. But aside from these claims, there are many practical uses for a family physician. 

Here are some of the many reasons you should have a family physician:

Easier Access to Medical Services

Hospitals are places where you can get immediate medical assistance when you’re ill or hurt. However, if you don’t know what to do in the case of an emergency, getting the help you need will be harder. You’ll be forced to call the hospital and explain what’s happening. In the process, you’ll waste a lot of time and effort—and that can be enough to make your condition worse!

With a family physician, you can access medical care much faster—your doctor can prescribe the proper medication, which you can then pick up on your way to the hospital. This will speed up your recovery and help you get back to normal sooner.

Personal Connection

When you have a family physician, you’ll be able to get a personal connection with them. You’ll get to know the people who are treating you, and you’ll be able to build trust with them. This can make treatment easier since you won’t be surprised by anything.

A family physician is a general practitioner who has seen their patients before. They’ll be familiar with your medical history, while you could be a stranger to the other doctors you might see. This means you can state your reason for visiting them sooner and more efficiently than you could state it to another doctor. The family physician will also ask specific questions about your condition and how you feel.

Ability to Refer You to Specialists

Sometimes what you need is not a family physician but a specialist—for example, a dermatologist. When you have a family physician, you’ll be able to refer to them specifically when you need a specialist. They will know what you need, allowing them to refer you to the best doctor to treat your condition.

The family physician will also recommend the best specialists to you. They are familiar with the doctors around your area and know who’s the best for what you need.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, having a family physician is best for your health! When you get sick, you can visit them and receive the best treatment for your condition. If you need a specialist, you can refer to your family physician, who will refer you to a specialist that specializes in the kind of treatment you need.

If you’ve been in search of the best primary care physician in Santa Fe, look no more! Our primary care providers at Aspen Medical Center are trained to care for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly and everyone in between. Check-in online today!

doctor and patient

The Different Health Risks in Leading an Inactive Lifestyle

You’ve probably heard of the term “couch potato,” and chances are you may have been called that. If you aren’t aware of what it means, it’s simple: you have an inactive lifestyle. As the name suggests, an inactive lifestyle is a life with little to no physical activity, such as exercise.

More and more people are now switching to a sedentary lifestyle, with people spending hours upon hours sitting in front of the TV or a computer screen. What’s worse is that it’s not just in the US, but it has also become a global problem. When you think about it, some of us are inadvertently made to become sedentary, especially at work if it’s a 9 to 5 job in front of a desk.

In this article, we’ll shed some light on how an inactive lifestyle can put your health at risk. Read on below to learn more.

How an Inactive Lifestyle Affects the Body

When you lead an inactive lifestyle, your body will undergo the following changes:

  • Burns fewer calories, making you susceptible to weight gain
  • Metabolism will take a hit, and your body will have difficulty in breaking down fats and sugars
  • Your bones will be weaker
  • Blood circulation will be poor
  • You become more susceptible to body inflammations
  • Hormonal imbalances may occur
  • Your muscle strength and endurance will decrease

The Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle

Since you’re not physically active, you’re more likely to develop chronic diseases. The risks of leading an inactive lifestyle are as follows:

  • Obesity
  • Cancer (colon, breast, and uterine cancers)
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Heart diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Type 2 diabetes

All of these risks can lead to one thing: premature death. The more sedentary you are, the higher your risks.

Getting Started with Exercise

If you have been inactive, it’s best to start slowly. As you become more active, you should keep adding more activities. However, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by this because you need to ensure that what you’re doing is appropriate for your age and health. What matters is that you at least do something. Eventually, you can switch up your goal to get the recommended amount of exercise for your age and health.

How to Be Active at Home

Here are some ways you can be active at home:

  • Do household chores because most of them involve physical work
  • Go for a walk around the neighborhood
  • Stand up and walk around the house if you’re taking a call
  • Put on a workout video and follow what’s being shown
  • Get exercise equipment, such as a treadmill or a stationary bike. If you’re tight on a budget or space, you can get smaller equipment instead, such as dumbbells, yoga balls, or exercise mats.

How to Be Active at Work

As mentioned earlier, many jobs involve sitting in front of a desk for long periods of time. With this in mind, it can be tricky to insert being physically active at work. Luckily, there are ways to do so, such as:

  • Get up and move around at least once every hour
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Take advantage of your breaks by walking around your building or office
  • Go to a co-worker directly instead of sending an email

Conclusion

We should always take care of our bodies to save ourselves from adverse side effects. The easiest way to do so is to engage in physical activity, and what’s even better is that it doesn’t have to be strenuous. As long as you do physical activities, you will maintain your body’s condition.

A primary care physician can advise you on matters related to physical health. If you’re looking for primary care physicians in Santa Fe, look no further than Aspen Medical Center! Our medical experts are trained to care for all ages, so we can guarantee that you’re in good hands. Contact us today for a consultation!

back pain

Busting 10 Common Misconceptions about Back Pain

Many people commonly experience back pain. About 80 percent of people will develop back pain at some point in their lives.

The symptoms of back pain can vary between people. While some can be sharp and brief, others can be dull and lasting.

Still, many myths and misconceptions surround back pain. Here are some of them:

Myth #1: If You Have Back Pain, You Should Rest

The most prominent myth about back pain is resting. When you have a sore back, you can lie down and lie on a pillow, but you must also maintain a regular schedule. Your back pain will get worse if you lie in bed all day. 

To relieve back pain, it is necessary to move frequently. 

Myth #2: Back Pain Is Caused By Damaged Discs

While discs are the most common source of back pain, other issues can also cause pain. For instance, muscle strain, arthritis, or even stress can cause pain. 

Multiple studies have found that about 20 percent of people with back pain visit a doctor. These people tend to experience more severe back pain, so doctors should even take more time to test them.

Myth #3: Most People Have Back Pain at Some Point in Their Lives, So You Have to Learn to Live with It 

While it is true that most people experience back pain, it should not be considered normal. If your back hurts, you should consult a doctor to figure out the cause of the pain. 

Myth #4: Lifting Heavy Objects Can Cause Back Pain

While lifting heavy objects can lead to an injury, it is not always the cause of back pain. Back pain may be more likely to occur if you lift heavy things every day. 

Myth #5: Your Doctor Can Diagnose Your Back Pain with an X-Ray

An X-ray is only recommended for people with limited mobility. Some people think they can fix their back pain with an X-ray, but doctors do not recommend this method. 

Myth #6: Bad Posture is the Leading Cause of Back Pain

Bad posture is often associated with back pain, but most people do not have bad posture. In fact, about 40 percent of people have a normal posture. Therefore, a person’s posture is not a good measure of their back pain. 

Myth #7: The Best Way to Reduce Back Pain Is to Take Painkillers

Many people think that taking painkillers can help them recover from back pain. However, painkillers can make the pain worse. Painkillers can relax the muscles and cause further spasms, which is why doctors cannot recommend them as a solution. 

Myth #8: A Hot Tub Can Help Heal Your Back Pain

A hot tub is a good option for back pain, but a bathtub can also help. Baths can help relax aching muscles. 

Myth #9: You Should Avoid Back Exercises If You Have a Sore Back

If you have minor back pain, light exercises can be helpful. However, it is essential to talk to your doctor before you start any physical activity. 

Myth #10: Back Pain Can Help You Avoid Back Surgeries

Back pain is not necessarily a sign that you need surgery. Many people with back pain do not need surgery. 

If you do need surgery, back pain can indeed help you avoid a more severe problem. 

Conclusion

These myths and misconceptions about back pain can be dangerous and lead to more severe conditions and even surgery. If you have back pain, let your doctor know and discuss the pain and other symptoms. 

Aspen Medical Center is a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Española, NM, offering state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services. If you deal with minor to significant back pain, you should seek medical help. Our well-trained primary care physicians here in Santa Fe will assist you with the utmost care. Get in touch with us today and let us know how we can help!

man with flu

4 Preventative Measures to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Whenever the cold and flu season is just around the corner, you need to take certain precautions to avoid getting hit with the flu. While you might enjoy most of your nights cozying up indoors with your family and friends, the last thing you want is to spend most of your time feeling awful and curled up with a pile of tissues. This guide offers some tips you can follow to stay healthy and build up your immune system to prepare for the cold and flu season.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy diet is still one of the best defenses against the cold. Instead of eating too many saturated fats, sugar, processed foods, and red meat, it’s better to stock up on fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. By eating these types of foods, you can build your immune system to become more robust and responsive. Some of the things you should consider eating include:

  • Selenium-rich foods like chicken, egg yolks, seafood, and whole grains
  • Citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and kiwi for your daily dose of vitamin C
  • Carrots for beta carotene and vitamin A
  • Vitamin-D-rich foods like yogurt and salmon to help you build your immune system
  • Beans, crabs, and turkey meat (dark) for zinc

Get Plenty of Rest and Sleep

If you like staying up late and pulling all-nighters, you may want to refrain from doing that once the flu season hits. Not getting enough puts you at risk of falling ill and weakening your immune system. If you want them to function at their best, you need to get at least seven hours of shut-eye every night. This is because losing some of those hours of sleep can cause inflammatory markers to go up and your immune system function to go down, increasing the likelihood of you getting sick. Since nights are longer during the cold season, take advantage of it and get as much sleep as you can.

Stay Active Even When You’re at Home

We all know how hard it is to stay active and do all your workouts when it’s wintertime where you’re mostly stuck at home. However, you really need to adopt some good indoor exercising habits to help keep your body active and avoid living a sedentary lifestyle. Think of it this way: winter is the best way to take up a new sport that you can play indoors. If you like going out for a jog or cycling around the city, you can instead do yoga or indoor rock climbing as an alternative. It can help you mix it up when it comes to your workout routine but still remain active and fit.

Get a Flu Shot

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading around the world, people didn’t seem to give that much thought to vaccines and flu shots. In today’s post-pandemic world, getting vaccinated and getting your shots just became much more important than ever. So if you want to give yourself that added protection against the flu, it’s best to get your flu shot every year and give your immune system a better fighting chance against the thousands of different strains of the flu virus out there.

Conclusion

Colds, flu, and other illnesses can give you a pretty hard time, so you better be prepared once the flu season starts. The best way to stay healthy during this time is to take preventative steps even before you feel any of the first symptoms. Follow this guide and prepare yourself better against what you’re up against every flu and cold season.

Aspen Medical Center welcomes you to our locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. We offer family urgent care and primary care services to all our clients. If you have any health concerns that need to be addressed, let our urgent care specialists examine them for you. Contact us today to set an appointment.

flu shot

How to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Flu Shot

Getting your regular flu shot can help keep you protected against the seasonal flu. Aside from reducing your chances of catching the flu, getting a flu vaccine can also reduce the transmission of the virus to high-risk individuals. So, it’s really important to get your flu vaccine every year. But did you know that there are some practices you can do to make your flu shot more effective?

Get the Timing Right

Not many people realize this, but it matters when you get your flu shot. You need to time your flu vaccine right to get maximum protection. This is because it will take around two weeks from the time you get your shot for your body to develop the antibodies it needs to protect you from the virus. Getting it too late may not give your body enough time to develop enough antibodies. According to the CDC, the end of October is the ideal time to get your flu shot so it can be most effective.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Regardless of whether you’re getting your flu shot or not, it’s essential to eat a healthy diet to keep your body healthy. But eating healthier before and after getting your shot can really help boost the effectiveness of the flu shot. That’s because a healthy diet can help promote a healthy immune system.

In particular, you should focus on eating foods that are good for your gut health. For example, probiotics are often essential in keeping your gut biome healthy and can help you fight off the flu. Other healthy foods you should add to your diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fermented foods, and yogurt.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in a person’s health. So, it’s best to develop good sleep habits so you can have quality sleep each night. Fixing your bad sleep habits is especially crucial leading up to your flu shot. After all, you’d want to be well-rested when it’s time to get your shot.

Aside from that, inadequate sleep can also increase your chances of coming down with the cold. When you’re not getting enough sleep each night, your body weakens, and your immune system can get compromised. 

In fact, a study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that the vaccine’s effectiveness was down to half in those who had less than five hours of sleep in the nights leading up to their flu shot. Since the body isn’t getting enough sleep, the immune system wouldn’t have enough time to repair and build itself at night.

Exercise Your Body

Regular physical activity is another essential aspect of personal health. And it can also help you get the most out of your flu vaccine. Engaging in plenty of physical activity can help get your body ready for the shot. In particular, regular cardiovascular exercise was found to improve a person’s response to the flu shot, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of lifestyle changes you can do to help increase the effectiveness of your flu shot. In general, it’s all about keeping your body healthy so it can be ready to receive the vaccine. This can be through quality sleep, healthy eating, and regular exercise. The timing of your flu vaccine also matters.

Keep yourself healthy and protected from the flu with the help of Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM that provides flu shots and other primary and urgent care services. Schedule an appointment now!

scratching rashes

Hives and Rashes: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever had raised, itchy welts on your skin, you may have wondered if they are hives or rashes. Rashes take many forms, usually presenting themselves as inflammation or discoloration of your skin. Hives can resemble rashes since they consist of itchy welts, and they both look swollen and red. 

Hives are triggered by allergies, while rashes have a wide range of possible causes. Despite looking similar, they require different treatments. It is crucial to understand the difference between the two, so you can treat your hives or rash properly and prevent them from worsening. Here’s what you need to know:

All About Hives

Hives are raised welts that feel incredibly itchy and can vary in size from tiny to large. They show up anywhere on your body and typically disappear in 24 hours, although new hives may appear to replace them. It’s easy to identify hives since they manifest as raised, pink or red patches or bumps and are single welts or bigger clusters of them. Sometimes they are accompanied by a stinging sensation. 

Some people experience hives in the same place, usually associated with a specific trigger, like food or medication. Doctors refer to this as fixed hives. You can quickly resolve hives by staying away from the trigger, which can be food like fruits, milk, peanuts, eggs, shellfish, pollen, insect bites, animals, and medicines. However, some people develop hives for other reasons, like scratching, pressure, infections, exposure to the sun, chemicals, or extreme temperatures, stress, and illness.

All About Rashes

On the other hand, “rash” is used to describe any sort of inflammation or discoloration that makes your skin appear different. Rashes are usually a symptom of a different health issue. They can occur in one place or spread throughout your body. 

Unlike hives, rashes can look different from each other. They can be red, blotchy, scaly, or blistered. Rashes are typically itchy, but some can be painful. You can get a rash when you’re sick with another illness, like measles or shingles, so it’s crucial to visit an urgent care center when you have an inflammation accompanied by a fever or significant pain.

There are many kinds of rashes. Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is one of the most common rashes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a definite cause, but it can be hereditary. Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition where you’ll have a crusty-looking or greasy rash that pops up on and around the scalp, caused by several environmental factors, your health, and your family history. Contact dermatitis is a rash caused by touching an object that irritates your skin, like detergent, chemicals, plants, or some types of body care. Rashes may also appear due to viral, fungal, or yeast infections.

Diagnosing Hives and Rashes

Rashes and hives have different underlying causes, so it is crucial to visit your family physician as soon as possible to isolate the cause and seek the appropriate treatment. Doctors can typically identify hives simply by looking at them, but it can be challenging to pinpoint the trigger. They may need to conduct a battery of tests like allergy tests, bloodwork, or even a skin biopsy to determine the cause.

On the other hand, diagnosing rashes is a bit more complicated. The doctor will look at your rash and ask you several questions, such as when they first appeared, if they are itchy or painful, and other symptoms you may be experiencing. These symptoms may be difficulty breathing or a fever, which may signal a severe allergic reaction.

The doctor will try to identify the cause of your rash by asking about the food, chemicals, and medication you have consumed recently. They’ll also want to know about your exposure to unfamiliar places that may have had strange plants or animals. They will ask you about new body care products you’ve been using, like detergents, which can result in rashes. However, if they suspect you of having a viral or fungal infection, they’ll take a skin swab and send it to a lab for analysis.

Conclusion 

When you have a cluster of itchy bumps, it can be difficult to tell whether they’re hives or rashes. By understanding the differences between the two and seeing your primary care doctor right away, you can get the proper treatment and prevent the inflammation from happening again.

Aspen Medical Center is a walk-in clinic and urgent care center that provides primary care to people of all ages. We offer a wide range of state-of-the-art services, like on-site x-ray, urgent care appointments, sports physicals, and more. Contact us today to book an appointment.

woman with doctor

Everything You Need to Know About a Pap Smear Test

Has the doctor prescribed you to take a Pap test or a Pap smear? If so, then this article will be perfect for you. Here, we will discuss everything you need to know about a Pap smear test so that you can prepare yourself before the procedure. It’s better if you are informed than to take the test without any idea about it.

So, let’s get to it!

What Is a Pap Smear?

First, let’s define what a Pap smear is. The terms Pap smear and Pap test are just the same things. Essentially, a pap smear is a test or a screening procedure for people suspected of or at risk of having cervical cancer. The test aims to look for any presence of precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. During the process, the cells from the cervix are gently scraped away and examined for abnormal growth. This test is also used to diagnose other conditions such as infections or inflammations.

Who Takes a Pap Smear Test?

Anyone can take a Pap smear. However, age will matter. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends that screening should start at the age of 25. Also, a Pap smear is usually recommended for women who have an increased risk for cancer or infection. 

People who are HIV positive and have a weakened immune system for chemotherapy or an organ transplant are required to have frequent Pap smears. 

What Are the General Reminders When Getting a Pap Smear?

If you’re about to have a Pap test, you should prepare for it. Here are the things you should take note of before getting the test: 

  • You should not have menstruation on the day of your Pap smear. If you have, the doctor will most likely reschedule the test because the result could be less accurate.
  • As much as possible, avoid having sexual intercourse, douching, or using spermicidal products the day before your test.
  • If you’re pregnant, the safest time to have a Pap smear is when you’re in the first 24 weeks of your pregnancy. 
  • Try to stay calm and take deep breaths during the procedure. 

What Happens During a Pap Smear?

You should know that a Pap smear may feel a little bit uncomfortable. But the good news is that the test is just very quick. To give you an idea, here’s what may happen during the procedure: 

  • First, the doctor will ask you to lie on your back on an examination table with your legs wide open and your feet resting on the supports called stirrups.
  • Then, don’t be shocked because the doctor will slowly insert a speculum device into your vagina. The device will keep your vaginal walls open and provide access to the cervix.
  • After that, the doctor will scrape a sample of cells from your cervix using a particular tool.
  • Finally, the cells from your cervix will be preserved and sent to a laboratory to be tested. 

What to Expect After the Test?

If you’re feeling some discomfort or a bit of cramping after the test, don’t panic because it is only normal. In fact, you could also experience very light vaginal bleeding immediately following the test. But, if the discomfort or bleeding continues after the day of the test, you should immediately tell your doctor about it. 

Conclusion

Now that you know more about a Pap smear, there’s no need to be afraid of the test anymore. You need to have it, especially if your doctor recommends it, because that can tell if you have abnormal cells in your cervix. If detected early, infections and inflammations can be treated properly. There’s also a higher chance to prevent cancer because treatment can start before it spreads and becomes a more significant concern. 

You can have a Pap test at Aspen Medical Center. We are a medical clinic in Santa Fe providing primary care to our patients. Our medical staff is trained to care for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly and everyone in between. Book your appointment with us today!

headache

Sinusitis vs. Migraine: Getting the Best Medical Care

Yes, we all suffer from occasional headaches. However, there could be more to the story if your headache is combined with a stuffy or runny nose or aching brows and cheekbones. Perhaps you could be suffering from sinusitis or migraines, yet not know which one is your condition. 

If you find yourself in this predicament, you must first consult your doctor or urgent care physician. With their expertise, you can be guided to the proper diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, be prepared to learn if the source of your headaches is not what you expected! 

After all, you could be suffering from migraines instead of a sinus infection or seasonal allergy headache. Read on to learn more about distinguishing the two and how to get the best medical care for you.

Sinusitis or Migraine?

If you have a cold, allergies, or nasal obstructions, you may get sinusitis and suffer from sinus headaches. This form of headache can be caused by inflammation of the sinuses or the brain cavities that connect the nose to the brain, in addition to sinusitis. Its acute stage may last up to ten days. Meanwhile, its chronic stage can last up to 12 weeks.

On the other hand, migraines induce a more severe sort of headache that can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, hormone changes, or a lack of sleep. This neurological disorder causes nasal congestion and headaches. Migraine pain or discomfort is usually unilateral or throbbing, and it worsens with daily or strenuous activity.

Similarities and Differences

It’s common to mix up sinusitis and migraines, mainly because they are similar in symptoms like pressure on the head or cheeks, sneezing, nasal congestion, enlarged nasal membrane, swollen eyes, and headaches.

Sinus headaches occur due to viral or bacterial infection, whereas migraines have an unknown cause. Chemical messengers in the brain, neurons, blood vessels, and tissue are all involved. Several circumstances can also bring on migraines. Despite their similarities, the two illnesses manifest in entirely distinct ways.

You may have a sinus headache if you have a fever, cough, congestion, and headache. Green or yellow mucus could indicate a bacterial sinus infection, which can induce headaches. 

Meanwhile, migraines are distinguished by pain, vision loss, light flashes or bizarre forms, peculiar tastes or scents, and erratic noises. They are hereditary and are more common in women.

Migraine: Symptoms and Treatments 

Certain foods, activities, and environments can cause migraines. One will have to manage nausea, vomiting, nasal discharge, and sensitivity to bright light, specific odors, and loud sounds among the migraine symptoms.

To treat migraine headaches, one may need prescription drugs, tablets, injections, and nasal sprays. These medications are also used to treat seizures, depression, and cardiac problems.

Sinusitis: Symptoms and Treatments

A sinusitis headache may be accompanied by thick nasal discharge and fever if an infection occurs. Additionally, patients with sinus infections frequently complain of ear or upper tooth discomfort.

Your urgent care physician may prescribe a decongestant or an over-the-counter nose spray to help relieve swelling. To assist nasal secretions, take a hot shower and hydrate with warm liquids. If the symptoms persist, seek antibiotics from a walk-in clinic physician to immediately kill the bacteria in your system.

Conclusion

Headaches can appear in our lives in various ways, and due to their resemblance, it’s easy to confuse a migraine with a sinus headache. 

Recognizing the similarities and differences between the two will help you determine if you have a migraine or a sinus headache and seek suitable treatment. Furthermore, you should always seek medical help and avoid self-diagnosing.

Are you looking for primary care physicians in Santa Fe? Aspen Medical Center has the resources to care for you and your family with essential primary care designed to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Our medical staff has extensive expertise caring for patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. Call us now for an appointment!

kid walking in leaves

Treating Children’s Asthma in the Fall Season: A Guide

Around the fall season, asthma flare-ups occur in a lot of children, especially as they are just going back to school. Some are unfortunate enough to even be hospitalized more times during the fall season than any other season.

There are many ways to help your child cope with asthma during the fall season. Here are a few quick tips to manage asthma and identify its probable causes.

Fall and Asthma Triggers

Fall is also considered by many as flu season, as there are significantly higher amounts of viruses festering at this time. For children with asthma, this is an even more delicate case as they have a higher chance of contracting any illnesses during this season.

Exposure to allergies and viral infections will worsen conditions, especially if they are surrounded by their classmates at school. For those with graver cases, they can contract respiratory infections and wheeze because of asthma. This can also lead to hospitalization.

What Causes Fall Allergies

During the fall season, there are a significantly higher amount of allergens present in the air. Most notably, ragweed, a plant that contains an alarming amount of pollen, grows rampantly during this season. 

This would typically start around September and dwindle down by late November. A single plant of ragweed triggers asthma, as it contains microorganisms that draw out a reactive response from your child.

The worst part about ragweed would be that under immense pressure and unfavorable conditions, it will only produce more pollen, which spells bad news for asthmatics. 

How Going Back to School Triggers Asthma

For kids, going back to school means more exposure to any airborne allergens that can trigger asthma. Preventing them from staying outside may help reduce exposure to allergens like ragweed, but there are more dangers inside the classroom as well.

Anything, from chalk dust, dust books, mold, and even pet residue from classmates may trigger it. They might also be affected by exercise-related asthma. If they have any other existing food allergies, that might also be one cause for triggering their asthma.

You can never play it too safe at school. Make sure to take the proper safety precautions as you do so.

Quick Tips to Deal with Seasonal Asthma

There are a number of ways to help prevent your child’s asthma from being triggered. Here are some that you can do.

1. Get a Flu Shot

When your child has asthma, they are at greater risk of contracting the flu. Prevent any more from occurring by making sure your child gets a complete round of flu shots.

2. Take Asthma Medication

If you notice any flare-ups, make sure to consult with your care provider about the right medication to take, and the right dosage. See if there are any adjustments to make to the medication as well.

3. Take an Allergy Test

Having allergies on top of asthma can be very harmful. Make sure you take tests to see what allergens your child’s body reacts to. This will help your care providers work with you to seek the proper treatment for your kids.

Conclusion

The fall season is a dangerous time for asthmatic kids, and we must always remain vigilant. Seeking the proper help as well as getting tested and vaccinated will prevent any flare-ups for your children during this time.

Get the best care and help for your child through Aspen Medical Center. We provide urgent care services in Santa Fe to ensure that everyone gets the proper treatment they need. Check in online with us today.

injection

Why Flu Shots Are Still Important during the Pandemic

Flu season exists for a reason. Unfortunately, it does not stop just because the world is currently fighting a pandemic. Viruses spread year-round, but most of the flu activity peaks between December and February. Before that season begins, make sure that your body is prepared for it. Get your flu vaccine as early as October to give your body enough time to respond to the vaccine. 

Since COVID-19 is still here and will not go away anytime soon, you must make yourself healthier. Staying healthy is the best defense your body can do to avoid any virus from wearing out your body. This one little move could be the protection that your body needs against any destruction. 

Every winter, hospitals get more patients due to the cold season and the flu. If you do not want to be part of this patient volume, get vaccinated for the flu as early as you can.

Who Should Get Flu Shots?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, anyone aged six months onwards should get their respective flu vaccines. The most vulnerable people are encouraged to participate in this call. If you belong to the following groups, you should prioritize getting flu shots as soon as possible:

  • You are a child or someone aged 65 and above
  • You have respiratory illnesses
  • You have lower immunity due to certain diseases

If your health condition is at a severe level, it would be best to consult and get your doctor’s approval first. When you take care of yourself through this small action, you have a high chance of not getting the flu during the flu season. 

How to Get Your Flu Vaccine

There are many ways you can get your flu vaccine. Here are some of them:

1. Get Your Flu Shot During Your Annual Wellness Exam

If you take a wellness exam annually, you can schedule it from October onwards and secure your flu vaccine by then. Make sure that you inform your doctor or anyone from the clinic ahead. You can also register your vaccine during your child’s vaccination schedule. Just make sure to notify all concerned parties beforehand. 

2. Request for a Vaccination Schedule

If you have no scheduled appointment with your health center, you can also secure an appointment for this purpose alone. Book a schedule with your clinic ahead so they can prepare and secure the vaccine for you. If you plan to have the whole family get the flu shots, notify your clinic in advance about the number of people you intend to bring. 

Is It Safe to Get Both COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine?

One of the biggest concerns in people’s heads is both vaccines’ safety, especially when mixed. However, there is no problem at all. Getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccine at the same time is considered safe. 

The mix does not result in long-term side effects and does not alter the vaccine’s effectiveness. However, you have to be familiar with the side effects that each vaccine could give you. For example, some people experience chills or headaches upon receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, but these eventually disappear. 

Mixing the two does not make these side effects worse either. They are natural effects of your body developing immunity against a virus. 

Conclusion

People have no complete control over how the virus spreads and even on how it exists, but there are small steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your loved ones from experiencing the worst from it. Getting flu shots is one of the many steps. Listening to authority and following health protocols are another. If you have not taken your flu vaccine yet, consider scheduling one soon.

Aspen Medical Center is a locally-owned urgent and primary care medical facility located in Santa Fe and Espanola. We offer state-of-the-art services, which include flu shots for all. Call us at 505-657-1799 to book an appointment. 

First Aid Training - Burn injury

An Overview of Burns and How You Should Respond to Them

Human bodies are highly sensitive to different environmental variables. This is why people can experience a range of symptoms from something as simple as a change in temperature. Although we can train our bodies to withstand high and low temperatures, no amount of conditioning can make a person resistant to fire.

When a person is burnt, it’s usually classified into one of four degrees, with the first being the lightest with the fourth being the most damaging. Dealing with burns is an urgent matter, regardless of their severity. For this reason, it’s beneficial to learn the proper way of determining and treating these conditions.

How Does a Person Get Burnt?

Burns are injuries that can come from different sources. However, they typically come from hot substances like boiling liquids, steam, fires, and even hot containers or heating implements. Other heat sources include electrical surges, harsh sunlight, corrosive chemicals, and even strong amounts of radiation.

Although people experience a burning sensation after experiencing friction from hard substances, it’s technically not a burn. Instead, the skin’s damage is due to heat energy and the coarseness of an object’s texture. This leads to a throbbing sensation which should generally subside since the damage only occurs on the outermost layer of skin.

What Are the Different Degrees of Burns?

A burn is categorized into four different levels, depending on its severity. First-degree burns are typically dry and red, showing signs of inflammation with the skin turning white when pressed. This type of burn should heal completely within a week with no scarring.

A second-degree burn is painful even to exposure to air. Additionally, the skin will seep fluid and can form blisters. This is why it’s necessary to have it bandaged or treated with topical creams and moisturizers. Although this burn doesn’t lead to scar formation, the affected skin may permanently turn darker after healing within one to three weeks..

A third-degree burn is extremely painful and always forms blisters. It can take more than 21 days to heal, depending on the affected area and the person’s skin sensitivity. If your wound develops burns immediately, it means it has come in contact with extremely high temperatures. The affected area of the skin typically results in severe scarring after healing.

A fourth-degree burn is usually painless after being away from the hot substance or environment. This is because the burn has dug deep into destroying a person’s nerve endings. The dry skin turns into a waxy white or charred black color and cannot heal without surgical treatment.

Unfortunately, some burns can seem mild but deepen over time. This is why you must be sure about the cause and extent of damage to your burnt skin. It’s best to seek a medical expert at an emergency ward for an immediate diagnosis.

What Should I Do If I Get Burnt?

It’s important to clean the burn and keep it protected with a dressing. This will prevent further irritation or risk of infection. It’s best to avoid touching the burnt area and moisturize the wound to prevent scarring. Depending on the severity of your burn, you may or may not require major medical treatments.

Conclusion

Some burns are easier to treat than others, depending on their severity and the area affected on your body. While minor fourth-degree burns are easily treatable with first-aid kits, you will need immediate medical attention for more severe cases. Even if you’re not hurting too much, you shouldn’t use your pain tolerance as an excuse to avoid professional medical assistance. Remember to keep the contact details and directions to your local clinic for any urgent outpatient medical needs.

Even if you have an urgent medical emergency, you should still look for reliable healthcare services for assistance. At Aspen Medical center, our facilities are open seven days a week. If you need to visit an urgent care center in Santa Fe, NM, contact us today.

Doctor Pointing X-ray Result

What Urgent Care X-Ray Results Can Disclose

An urgent care X-ray is a typical radiographic test that helps your physician do a non-surgical internal test in your body. It helps in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating various medical symptoms. It is among the basic procedures doctors would recommend for heart or lung disease.

Although there are patients apprehensive about X-rays, even up to now, because of the risks involved, the benefits still outweigh the risks, and your doctor recommends it as needed only to help in treating your condition more accurately. 

Your doctor may order an X-ray to inspect a painful region, track the course of an illness, or evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing treatments. 

The following are the most frequent problems that urgent care X-rays can reveal:

1. Lung Problems

Chest X-rays can detect cancer, inflammation, or infection in the lungs. X-rays can reveal if you have a chronic lung condition like cystic fibrosis, emphysema, COPD, and several other conditions, making it a vital part of diagnosing lung conditions.

2. Heart-Related Lung Problems

Another condition that a chest X-ray can reveal is abnormalities in your lungs caused by heart problems. When pulmonary edema happens to you or when fluid accumulates in your lungs, the problem can be beyond your lungs. It may be caused by severe heart conditions such as congestive heart failure.

3. Heart Conditions

X-rays can easily show the size and shape of your heart. Any abnormalities can indicate various heart conditions such as enlarged heart, congenital heart disease, heart failure, pericardial effusion (fluid buildup), or malfunctions in your heart valves. 

4. Blood Vessel Abnormalities

Aside from the shape, size, and outline of your heart, the aorta, pulmonary arteries, and veins of your heart can also be detected via X-ray. It can detect congenital heart disease, aortic aneurysms, and other severe blood vessel issues in patients.

5. Calcium Deposits

Chest X-rays can reveal the existence of calcium deposits in your heart or blood vessels, which indicates that your heart valves, heart muscle, coronary arteries, or the protective sac around the heart are damaged. It can also detect calcium deposits in your lungs caused by a previous infection or disease. 

6. Arthritis and Osteoporosis

When a patient complains of bone discomfort, the doctor may order an X-ray to rule out arthritis or osteoporosis, frequently difficult to detect on the surface.

Often, patients won’t even realize they have it until they are in their later stages. It is why an X-ray is crucial to detect them at the onset to help doctors recommend appropriate care immediately.

7. Potential Fractures

If you have any numbness, soreness, or pain in your limbs, an X-ray can check if it’s from a potential injury or fracture that must not be ignored, as it can aggravate microfractures to more severe injuries. 

8. Postoperative Changes

When a patient has had chest surgery in the lungs, heart, or esophagus, X-rays can help monitor recovery progress or lack thereof. Your doctor can examine any lines or tubes implanted after surgery to ensure no air leaks or fluid buildup.

9. Hidden Infections

An inside infection might be one of the most challenging things to identify at times. Diseases within the body might remain dormant for weeks or even months, developing without the patient being aware of the problem.

With an X-ray scan, you can discover the source of the problem and detect any anomaly in its earliest phases, allowing your doctor to recommend appropriate treatments immediately.

10. A Pacemaker, Defibrillator, or Catheter

A chest X-ray usually is taken after the placement of a pacemaker and defibrillator in a patient. It can show if the position is correct, especially since pacemakers and defibrillators have lead content attached to the heart to maintain regular heart rate and rhythm. 

X-rays can also check for catheters, which are small tubings necessary to release medications or for dialysis. 

Conclusion

Conditions that may call for an X-ray also include cancers, tumors, digestive problems, blocked blood vessels, tooth decay, or if a patient has swallowed indigestible items by accident and many others. 

An urgent care X-ray is critical to detect severe conditions before they get worse, so if your doctor requires one, trust that it is in your best interest. Finding out about these issues early on will help your doctor swiftly give a treatment plan before your condition worsens. That said, never hesitate to get one!

Aspen Medical Center is the only locally owned outpatient medical clinic providing quality primary care and urgent care in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. Allow our cutting-edge services and facilities to make a difference—book an appointment today. 

person getting a shot

Flu Season: Everything You Need to Know About Flu Shots

The flu, medically recognized as influenza, is a viral respiratory infection that affects millions worldwide. Its symptoms include a slight fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and general fatigue. While most cases of the flu tend to go away after enough best, the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused flu-like symptoms to be a major cause for concern.

Flu vaccines are updated yearly since strains grow and develop to be resistant to medicines. For this reason, getting a flu vaccine is recommended to keep yourself from getting infected. Since a flu vaccine isn’t for everyone, it’s vital to know your research before booking a schedule for a shot at your local clinic.

The Flu Vaccine’s Development

Since influenza strains develop over time, the seasonal flu vaccine needs to be manufactured months in advance. The basis of the vaccine is the result of extensive research on which strains will be most present in the upcoming season.

People can typically take one of two vaccine variants, with each providing protection to a set of influenza viruses. The trivalent vaccine protects individuals from three flu viruses: one influenza B virus and two influenza A viruses. On the other hand, a quadrivalent vaccine offers protections for two viruses of the A and B strain simultaneously.

The Flu Vaccine’s Recipients

Getting a flu vaccine is generally a safe procedure, but it can be more necessary for certain individuals. Those who are particularly in need of the flu vaccine are the following:

  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant women
  • American Indians
  • Alaska Natives
  • Healthcare workers
  • Caregivers
  • Children between six months and five months of age

There are exemptions to getting the flu vaccine. For example, children under six months of age shouldn’t receive these medical procedures. Instead, it’s better to protect the child’s adult family members from lowering the chances of infection.

The Flu Vaccine’s Effect

After receiving the flu shot, it will take two weeks before your body develops appropriate antibodies for flu protection. During this period, you’ll still be vulnerable to the flu. For this reason, you should maintain good hygiene and avoid crowds or touching your nose and mouth. These precautions are similar to what you should do after getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

The immunity to the flu will naturally decrease over time, but it should give you enough protection to last the yearly flu season. However, the continual growth of influenza viruses will require you to take another shot to maintain your body’s proper response against flu infections.

The Flu Vaccine’s Side Effects

General side effects from receiving the vaccine include redness, swelling, or soreness from the injection site. You may also have a low-grade fever or general body aches. Thankfully, these symptoms tend to go away on their own without any need for OTC medicine or prescription medication.

Conclusion

Since a diagnosis of COVID-19 requires a rapid test to confirm, it can be distressing to wait for results while experiencing flu-like symptoms. Thankfully, vaccines for the flu and COVID-19 are readily available to protect against these diseases’ more severe health complications. If you’re fit to receive the vaccine for either illness, it’s best to take it as an extra defense layer to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

Getting the flu vaccine is a long-term investment to your health and your loved ones’ protection. This is why our team at Aspen Medical care provides services to help you make the right medical choices. Take your flu shots in Santa Fe, VM, by visiting our facilities today!

vaccines

The Concept of Herd Immunity in the Age of COVID-19

For almost two years now, the world has concentrated on efforts and urgent care for the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccinations are currently ongoing across the globe, and many doctors and healthcare workers hope to finally overcome the virus or achieve herd immunity.

However, there are still many issues around the globe when it comes to proper pandemic response. Most countries’ conditions are still less than ideal for treatment and containment. If only vaccination or effective treatment and response were as simple as getting a PCR test in Santa Fe today.

We have to look at other facts to gauge worldwide response. It will at least give us a real update to know when we can see good statistics on its elimination. Or at least a dramatic decline of the virus.

The Reality of Today’s COVID-19 Pandemic

Vaccination remains the top priority in the effective elimination of the virus. Second, three key treatment methods are coming in for a COVID swab test, quarantining, and proper treatment of emerging symptoms. These are the primary pandemic responses in place to know who are carriers and separate them from the general populace for treatment.

Once a primary care doctor sees a positive result for the coronavirus, treatment is made ASAP. Many advanced treatments are in place, whether it’s for a mild or a severe case. The main goal is both isolation and successful treatment to contain the virus and avoid spreading it further.

Ultimately, by consistently carrying out these pandemic solutions, we can dramatically decrease active carriers until positive cases are eliminated. Vaccinated citizens can start outnumbering potential carriers until a very few percentages of the world’s population only has the virus. Up until the point where only patients in treatment will carry it until each case is successfully treated.

Herd community is a possibility in many countries with advanced vaccination programs. But the whole world is still trying to catch up, with many variations of the virus spreading anew. These alarming developments have to be consistently worked on as they can affect the progress we’ve made so far.

Can the World Achieve Herd Immunity?

We can achieve freedom from COVID by dramatically reduced COVID-19 infections and herd immunity through mass vaccinations. Herd immunity works when these two conditions are met, resulting in an extreme decline in cases.

The first condition still poses many difficult issues around the world. Ideally, we want a percentage decline where 90 percent or more of the world’s population are tested, treated, or vaccinated, leaving 10 percent or less to worry about for treatment. A far more realistic approach in real herd immunity is still with mass vaccinations. A perfect example can be seen with the earliest measles outbreak. It was resolved by an effective measles vaccine treatment, with 95 percent of the population successfully vaccinated. These are the rare instances we can say that herd immunity is achieved and the world has successfully beaten the virus.

Final Thoughts

As with any severe case of illness, you have to fight it with the proper response and treatment. COVID-19 has shown us that many health systems are in place to address it—in this case, isolation and preventive measures help contain it. Fast and appropriate medical responses are crucial in the effective treatment and further spread of any illness. 

Aspen Medical Center offers urgent and primary care physicians in Santa Fe who provide prompt and appropriate medical attention. We accept new and walk-in patients for the same level of treatment for everyone, including weekends and evening appointments, seven days a week. Get in touch right away for any urgent medical needs.

woman with stomach pain

3 Serious Medical Conditions Associated With Abdominal Pain

It’s pretty easy to dismiss stomach aches as something minor. Most people usually associate this symptom with mild issues such as indigestion, constipation, and the like, so they often think that there’s no cause of worry. After all, even though it feels pretty unpleasant, it will dissipate on its own after drinking water and getting enough rest.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case for most people. Believe it or not, abdominal pain can also signify more serious medical conditions. Thus, you must familiarize yourself in differentiating whether your aching stomach poses a grave concern or not.

Abdominal pain that frequently comes back and lasts for several days is not normal. And suppose you feel a sharp pain in your stomach that gradually worsens over time, followed by other symptoms. In that case, it’s best to see your primary care doctor since you might be suffering from a severe medical condition like the ones listed below.

1. Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a complication that refers to an inflamed or infected appendix, a tiny sac of tissue in the lower right area of your abdomen that serves as an extension of your large intestine. For this reason, the most recognizable symptom associated with appendicitis is abdominal pain.

It starts as a dull ache in the middle part of the abdomen, which is relatively easy to ignore. But as the infection gets worse, you will start to feel sharper pain that moves slowly toward the lower right part of your abdomen within 12 to 24 hours. Other symptoms also include fever, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

2. Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernia arises when the upper part of your stomach starts to bulge through the muscle that separates your chest and abdomen, pushing up through the opening of your esophagus. A hiatal hernia that is small in size usually doesn’t cause any problem. However, large bulges can potentially obstruct internal organs and impede body functions.

One of the early signs of hiatal hernia is chest and abdominal pain. And as the condition worsens, you may also start to feel shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of food into the mouth, and the like.

3. Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the inflammation of the digestive tract, causing it to bleed and develop ulcers. According to a primary care doctor, it can also be pretty disruptive since it leads to excruciating abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, and malnutrition.

Currently, doctors still don’t know what causes this disease. However, researchers recently found a link that the disease may be genetic. They discovered that 15 to 20 percent of people who develop Crohn’s have relatives that suffer from the same illness.

Conclusion

Given all the information above, it’s pretty clear that you must never ignore what seem to be mild symptoms such as abdominal pain. The medical conditions above can be deadly, but there are ways to treat them when detected early. So instead of diagnosing yourself, it’s best to visit and consult an experienced primary care doctor to determine what is ailing you.

Aspen Medical Center is a locally owned outpatient medical facility based in Santa Fe. Here in our care center, we offer first-rate primary and urgent care services for patients in dire need of treatment. If you’re worried about your symptoms, schedule a consultation with an experienced primary care doctor today!

Digital Blood Sugar Meter with Injections and Medication

Debunking 5 Common Myths About Type 2 Diabetes Management

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which sugar or glucose levels build up in the bloodstream. Meanwhile, Type 2 diabetes is a form of diabetes that causes the body to ineffectively produce insulin to lower down the body’s sugar levels. In effect, patients may feel constant hunger, lack of energy, fatigue, extreme thirst, and weight loss.

People with type 2 diabetes may need to undergo various treatments to help their bodies produce more insulin. Others may have to change their diets completely to adjust the sugar levels in their body without needing insulin. However, management of the condition can be a bit tricky. Additionally, there are many myths about managing type 2 diabetes. Read on to find out which ones are true and which ones are not.

1. There’s No Need to Monitor Blood Sugar

Monitoring the blood sugar is the only way to know if the sugar levels in the patient’s body are rising or staying within the target. Depending on the doctor’s treatment plan, patients may need to check their blood sugar multiple times a day.

Patients can use a blood glucose meter, where they need to prick themselves to draw out blood samples used for testing. They can also use continuous glucose monitors to check their blood sugar levels. Both options are quick and easy to use, even without a health professional’s supervision.

2. Cinnamon and Turmeric Can Cure Type 2 Diabetes

As of writing, there are no known ways to cure either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Hence, there are no magic food, herbs, or spices that can cure diabetes. However, there is much research done to find how to cure Type 1 diabetes. Both types of diabetes can be prevented as long as patients experiencing symptoms early on are brought to a hospital for observation.

However, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes still need to regularly pay attention to their health, diet, and sugar levels. They should also periodically check in with their doctors to make sure everything is in order.

3. It’s Okay To Skip Medication When Blood Sugar Is Under Control

Keeping the blood sugar levels of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes doesn’t solely depend on medicines alone. In some cases, people with the condition could keep their blood sugar levels at bay by simply changing their lifestyles.

The patients changed their diet, tried to lose weight, and they frequently exercised. In effect, their blood sugar levels stayed low even without their medicines on hand all the time. However, if the condition progresses, then, of course, you might need to follow your doctor’s orders and take your prescribed medications even if the sugar levels are under control.

4. It’s Not Safe to Exercise

Exercising regularly is a critical part of managing blood sugar levels. It helps boost the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Getting active is a way to lower A1C, which shows how well-managed your blood sugar is over time.

However, it’s unsafe to do any exercise program that you prefer. It’s advisable to consult your doctor about the best way to exercise for your condition and status. Also, inquire about your medication and the insulin dosage you use during exercise.

5. Taking Insulin Is a Sign of Mismanagement

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disorder. Using insulin shots to manage blood sugar levels is always a good thing. After being diagnosed, most people are only prescribed oral medication and lifestyle changes to keep the situation under control. Over time, our body will produce less insulin which means taking oral medication may not be enough.

Taking insulin doesn’t mean you failed. It only means you need to take extra measures to ensure that your body gets the recommended amount of insulin to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a complex disorder. Myths shouldn’t make people fear the disease. Instead, they should fuel people’s need to learn more about their health conditions to help them make better choices. 

Aspen Medical Center is dedicated to serving your health care needs. We offer urgent and primary care for patients seeking medical assistance. We accept walk-ins, but you can also schedule a check-in appointment online. Sign up on our website and pick your preferred schedule.

person typing on laptop

How Protein and Fat Impact Glucose Levels

Many people are cautious about their sugar and carbohydrate intake because consuming too much can cause many health issues now and in the future. However, thinking that sugar and carbohydrates are the only macronutrients you should regulate is a dangerous misconception. 

The truth is, you must monitor all types of food you ingest. Most people are not aware that proteins and fat can increase your glucose level, leading to potential harm to your body. They could also play a role in improving your blood sugar level.

To understand the concept of how protein and fat can affect your blood sugar level, you should also have a little knowledge about the relationships among the three macronutrients. Read on to know the relationship between carbohydrates, protein, and fat. 

Understanding Macronutrients 

The calories you ingest every day are responsible for providing your body energy to perform tasks. The three primary sources of calories are carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. For a healthy and balanced diet, you must not consume them separately. Instead, you need to prepare dishes that contain all three.

To understand what the statement above means, here are a few examples:

  • Low-fat (2% ) milk mainly contains carbohydrates, less protein, and a small amount of fat. 
  • A grilled chicken thigh without any sauce or seasoning contains protein and a little bit of fat with no carbohydrates.
  • Corn on the cob mainly contains carbohydrates with a limited amount of protein.
  • Peanut butter is composed of a large amount of fat and some protein. 

Balancing Macronutrients 

If you want to work on calorie budgeting to lower the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, you can look at macronutrients as a whole. Here are simple steps to try:

  • Go for whole foods instead of highly processed ones
  • As much as possible, take out sugar-sweetened drinks from your diet
  • Drink as much water as you can
  • Stay away from refined grains and added sugars
  • If you love vegetables, opt for non-starchy ones instead

The Proper Food Diet for a Normal Blood Glucose Level

According to research, the human body has different = glucose responses to varying carbohydrate, protein, and fat combinations in food. The sad reality is that it is nearly impossible to recommend one perfect combination for anyone looking to maintain a healthy diet.

The truth is, there is no one perfect piece of advice to maintain an average blood sugar level. The best option is to monitor your blood glucose daily. After getting the results, try to record them and compile them to bring to a walk-in clinic and let the primary care doctor make a further and thorough study about the perfect diet you should observe.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial to monitor your blood glucose level regularly. For a week, you can check it after you wake up, then the week after that, check it before meals. On the third week, check it an hour or two after finishing your meal. If you have a particularly indulgent or large dinner one evening, you can check in on your glucose level then, too. 

Remember that individual tests can help you determine the perfect balance you need for daily food consumption. You can also choose to share the results with your doctor in an urgent care center to have a more precise measurement of your food intake.

If you are in need of a primary care physician in Santa Fe, visit Aspen Medical Center. We are a locally-owned outpatient medical facility that offers the best primary care and urgent care services in Santa Fe, NM, and surrounding areas. Call now to schedule an appointment!

woman stretching

The Importance of Your Liver in Your Sugar Metabolism

Sugar metabolism is essential as it provides fuel for the body. It keeps the body energized, thanks to glucose consumption. 

But did you know that the liver can significantly affect and help with sugar metabolism? If this information is new to you, you should know that one of the liver’s many functions is regulating blood sugar. The organ plays a central role because it contributes to a lot of metabolic processes in the body. 

In this article, we will discuss how your liver affects your sugar metabolism so that you can understand how essential it is to keep your liver healthy. 

The Liver Serves as a Storage of Sugar

As you know, sugar is one of the primary sources of energy in the body. Without it, your brain, central nervous system, and red blood cells may not function properly. One of the many things that a liver can do is to serve as your storage of sugar. It keeps your blood sugar level consistent so that your brain always has energy, and other parts that need sugar always function at their best. 

In instances that you have too little insulin in your body, your liver will continue to release more sugar into the blood. Remember, if you have little insulin, sugar can’t enter your body’s cells. That is why the liver is there to help you release more sugar even without insulin. 

While your liver keeps your blood sugar level consistent, there are times when the liver releases considerably more or less sugar into the blood. So, you also need to control and balance your insulin or carbohydrate intake to avoid having low or high blood sugar. 

The Liver Can Supply Counter Regulatory Hormones

Your liver can supply you with counterregulatory hormones, such as glucagon, stress, and growth hormone if you have low blood sugar. These hormones can help you recover from having low blood sugar as they bring an extra supply to your system. Once the liver supplies you with the counterregulatory hormones, the reaction in your body can last many hours. 

The Liver Can Replenish Sugar

The liver cannot only store sugar, but it can also replenish sugar. Once the liver provides you with extra sugar to help you cope with hypoglycemia, it can replenish itself as soon as possible. If you have enough sugar stored in your liver, you can manage your low blood sugar for a while. So, you also need to help your liver have enough sugar to keep by not skipping your meals because that’s when your liver will store sugar. After your meal is digested, the sugar from your food will flow directly into your liver. This sugar is also known as glucose or glycogen, and your liver will store it for a later time when your body needs it. 

Conclusion

Generally, taking care of your liver is essential because it can help you, especially if you need sugar in your body. It acts as your body’s fuel reservoir, so when your body does not have enough energy, your liver will save the day. If you constantly feel tired, sluggish, and fatigued, you must consult your doctor right away because there might be something wrong with your liver. 

If you are looking for a primary care physician in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM to check your liver, just visit Aspen Medical Center! We have professionally trained staff providing a range of services, including vaccinations, sports physicals, and urgent care services. Our medical team is trained to care for people of all ages. Schedule your appointment with us today! 

doctor

4 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Primary Care Physician

Your health should be your number one priority. This is especially true for those of you who are on the older side. And while exercising and dieting is a great way to stay healthy, it’s also important that you have access to the best medical care available. To get the best medical care, it’s important that you choose the right primary care doctor for the job.

Now, this is easier said than done as finding the right doctor can be rather tricky. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together a couple of tips that will help you choose the best primary care physician available. If this is something you’re interested in, read on for our picks of the four tips that will help you find the best doctor possible.

Choose a Doctor That Your Family or Friends Recommend

It can be rather difficult to gauge how a doctor will be without actually experiencing what it’s like to be under their care. This is why one of the best ways to find the right doctor is via your family or friend’s recommendations. 

Because they’ve actually experienced what it’s like to be under their chosen doctor, they are able to give you a more accurate assessment of just how good a doctor is. And while you can opt to check reviews online, you can’t really trust them as much as your friends and family.

Opt for a Doctor That’s Near You

Convenience plays a huge factor when it comes to choosing a primary care physician. The last thing you want to do is to have to drive for 3 hours just to see your doctor. This is why you should consider the location of your doctor’s practice. 

Now, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to location as everyone has different preferences. With that being said, we do suggest choosing a doctor that is near enough for you to find it convenient.

Choose a Doctor That Suits Your Medical Needs

Everybody is different and everybody has different needs. Your age, gender, and medical conditions all play into your needs as a patient. When choosing a doctor, it’s best to consider your needs and base all the decisions you make on those needs.

This means choosing a doctor that’s an expert in their field. If you want to go the extra mile, we also suggest choosing a doctor that’s board-certified in your area as this indicates that they are well equipped to take care of your specific demographic.

Choose a Doctor That You Can Easily Communicate With

Lastly, you’ll want a doctor that you are comfortable communicating with. This is vital as you should let them know whenever something is bothering you when it comes to your health. This will go a long way in catching early complications and prevent them from getting worse. We suggest sitting down and having a conversation with your potential doctor so you can properly gauge whether or not they are a good fit for you.

Conclusion

We hope these tips prove to be useful when it comes to helping you find the best primary care physician available. While it may be rather tedious to be thorough about choosing a doctor, it will all be worth it in the end as the best doctors will help keep you healthy for the years to come. We implore you to invest your time and effort into this, as it will help improve your overall health.

If you are searching for primary care in Santa Fe, Aspen Medical Center is your best choice. We provide state-of-the-art medical facilities and expertise to ensure that you are well taken care of. For more information on our services or to book an appointment, contact us at (505) 466-5885.

man getting injected

More Than a Jab: 5 Reasons You Should Get a Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot every year has been essential since its discovery and is an additional layer of protection during the pandemic. The jab may not prevent the virus, but it can help prevent flu-related illnesses, which COVID-19 can make us more susceptible to.

Children as early as six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends annual flu vaccination through any licensed influenza vaccine appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status.

1. Saving Lives

Even the flu can sometimes cause serious complications that may require hospitalization. Dehydration, worsening of chronic illnesses, bacterial pneumonia, and ear infections are only a few of the issues someone catching the disease can experience. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting a flu shot, especially during the pandemic, will allow the health care system to conserve scarce medical resources for people with Covid-19, saving more people.

2. Reduced Sick Days

Catching Influenza not only requires you to rest at home but causes a lot of downtimes. Since it’s a viral infection that affects the respiratory system, not getting the proper medication may lead to flu complications. 

It can also be an issue for employees. The sickness can affect your productivity at work, hurting your capacity to earn income. Did you know that the flu is the reason for 111 million lost workdays and $7 billion lost in productivity and annual sick days?

3. Varied Strains

The influenza virus evolves quickly, and health organizations like the CDC do their best to predict which strain is likely to be prevalent and the type of vaccine that needs to be distributed. 

As soon as the vaccine comes into contact with our immune system, it activates and creates antibodies that fight off the virus. Therefore, as soon as the vaccinated person comes into contact with the actual flu strain, the body is protected and ready to fight it without getting sick.

4. Nothing to Fear

The side effects from the vaccine, such as headache, stuffy nose, or sore throat, are all minor. Other than those, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Many people don’t even experience any side effects, and those who do often report them as minor. 

5. Herd Immunity

Herd immunity is the concept that refers to the inability of disease to transmit through a population because of immunizations. The more people are immune, the more difficult it is for a virus to spread. Since the flu spreads quickly, it is crucial to develop herd immunity to prevent further infections. Remember that you’re not only doing it for yourself but the people around you.

Conclusion

Getting vaccinated against flu is a great way to prevent yourself from acquiring the virus. The shot saves lives. Flu’s most common symptoms include fever, aching muscles, chills, sweats, headache, cough, and sore throat. Even if you do acquire the flu virus, the vaccine can make the sickness less severe. However, if you develop complications aside from the primary symptoms, don’t hesitate to take a trip to the emergency room.

Aspen Medical Center offers the best primary care in Santa Fe. If you’re feeling sick and suspect a flu infection, we are ready to take care of you. Contact us through our website or set an appointment by calling our hotline number at 505-657-1799.

man smoking

Turning Over a New Leaf: Tips to Help You Quit Smoking for Good

Everyone knows how bad it is to smoke tobacco because it can impact one’s health in the long run. However, despite the risks, many people still find it hard to quit smoking cigarettes, especially those who have become dependent on it almost all their life.

Regardless if you’re someone who smokes occasionally or a person who has spent their lifetime smoking a pack a day, getting rid of your habit can be truly challenging. Unfortunately, smoking tobacco can become addictive not only physically but also psychologically.

That’s because the nicotine cigarette contains can become addicting, causing people to feel a temporary sort of high, which only makes them want to do it more. When you force yourself to quit, you could end up experiencing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. If you wish to live a healthy lifestyle, keep reading below to find out how to quit smoking and curb your addiction.

Develop a Realistic Plan

Once you realize there is no better time to quit smoking than now, the first step you need to do is decide that once and for all, you wish to stop smoking cigarettes. It’s up to you if you can go cold turkey or ease your way into it and lessen the sticks you smoke each day.

The important part is creating a plan you know you can hold onto and ensure you’re on the right path towards ridding cigarettes from your life. While it only requires a short while to quit smoking altogether, it will still involve long-term challenges that could cause you to relapse unless you receive primary care and obtain the professional support you need to keep going. 

Understand Why You Smoke

Knowing why you began smoking in the first place could help you have a better idea of what type of smoker you consider yourself to be. Every time you reach out to a cigarette, understanding why you do it could decrease your chances of smoking and instead, lean on healthy options.

If you’re smoking because you’re stressed out or depressed, you could think of going to a walk-in clinic to attend a therapy session. It doesn’t matter if you’re a chain smoker or a social smoker, if you have other addictions linked to it, like alcoholism or gambling, the more reason for you to seek professional help.  

Discover What Triggers You

Part of knowing exactly why you smoke is being familiar with the events and situations that trigger you to reach out to a cigarette, inhale nicotine, and exhale your problems away. It could be things, places, or people that every time you encounter them, you need to take a smoke break.

When you learn what makes you want to smoke, you have a better idea about the activities, feelings, and experiences associated with those triggers. Once you visit a medical clinic for help, you can let your doctor know about your smoking habits. It will allow them to help you figure out what’s the best course of action that will eliminate smoking from your life for good.

Conclusion

It can be tough to quit smoking, especially if you’ve spent a majority of your life turning to cigarettes to receive temporary happiness and help you forget about your problems. While the first step is always the hardest, it isn’t impossible to cut off your bad habits. It is never too late to seek a better life, one that’s healthier and better for you and your lifestyle. If you wish to cut off smoking from your life, you should develop a realistic plan, understand why you smoke, and discover what triggers you. Asking for help from a family physician is also necessary to achieve the expert guidance you need to turn over a new leaf.

Are you looking for a primary care doctor in Santa Fe offering tobacco cessation solutions? Aspen Medical Center provides urgent care and primary care services. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment!

asthma in summer

5 Ways to Prevent Asthma Attacks During Summer

Many would agree that summer is the best season of the year. Indeed, there is no experience much like basking in the golden sunlight, swimming in the blue sea, and feeling the warm breeze against your skin. Once the summer season arrives, it feels like anything magical can happen—once you’re in that warm weather state of mind, living feels lighter, easier, and more beautiful!

However, although summer is a universally beloved time, it isn’t a perfect season. During the warmer months, the temperature can get so high you can get dehydrated, sweat sticking to your clothes feels uncomfortable, not to mention the humidity leads to uncomfortable days under the heat.

Warm Weather Woes

With summer comes bright sunshine and luscious evergreen, but what many forget is that the season also brings forth uncomfortable heat and humidity, which is never a good combination for asthmatic individuals. If you think that winter mornings are as bad as they could get, you haven’t experienced the brunt of summer afternoons!

If you have asthma, it’s crucial to watch out for summer, as the increase in humidity can trigger some symptoms. Moreover, the combination of heat and humidity creates a fertile breeding ground for dust mites, mold, and other allergens, which could affect your breathing.

To an asthmatic person, heat and humidity aren’t just irritating—they can trigger asthma symptoms and even cause serious problems, which may require urgent care!

Managing Your Asthma in the Summer

Summer is inevitable, but asthma symptoms are avoidable! If you’re an asthmatic, you can still feel comfortable during the season and prevent summer symptoms from flaring. Just read on below to find out how:

1. Stay Cool

The key to surviving summer as an asthmatic is to avoid inhaling scorching air. Stay away from hot and humid weather by staying indoors and spend the hottest times of the day in an air-conditioned space.

2. Drink Water

Hydration is key to reducing asthma significantly. Water will thin out the mucus, clearing the lungs and making it much easier to breathe. If you can’t afford to spend your day inside the house, remember to bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.

3. Plan and Prepare

The heat won’t be able to catch you off guard if you have a game plan in place! Before going outside, make sure to check the Pollen Count and the Air Quality Health Index in your area to determine whether it’s safe to go outside or not.

If you’re going outdoors, bring everything you need just in case you experience asthma symptoms—always have your reliever medication on hand no matter the weather because you never know what can happen.

4. Know Your Limits

Many asthmatics tend to suffer during the summer because they don’t realize when they’re over-exerting themselves. Exercising and hanging out with friends is alright, as long as you make sure that you know how much you can handle. 

5. Seek Medical Help

Before summer arrives, make sure to have a chat with your doctor about your asthma treatment, especially when you know your asthma is worse during the warmer months. If you’re facing a heatwave and feel like your symptoms can’t be dealt with alone, don’t hesitate to visit a walk-in clinic for urgent care.

Conclusion

Just like other seasons, summer isn’t perfect, and it has its unpleasant characteristics. Some may find it easy to overlook or adapt to the heat and humidity during the warmer months. 

Still, others find it much more challenging to adapt to summer, especially when they have health conditions such as asthma. Keep our tips in mind so that you can survive summer asthma and have and enjoy the season as much as you can!

If you need emergency medical care for your asthma, just visit Aspen Medical Center! You can make an urgent care appointment to decrease wait times or simply walk in to be seen. Our clinic locations in Santa Fe and Espanola are open seven days a week to address your urgent health concerns. Check-in online today!

aches and pain

5 Health Risks Due to Pandemic-Induced Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity has always been regarded to have serious implications for people’s health, according to the World Health Organization. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year, people were essentially forced to stay inside their homes which may have encouraged some people to lead sedentary lifestyles. This led to what experts call “pandemic-induced physical inactivity” as the lockdown restrictions reduced public access to physical activity opportunities like visiting gyms, public parks, pools, and sports centers.

Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for a lot of conditions. The problem is, many people are not aware of those risks. So, how exactly does an inactive lifestyle affect your body? Let’s enumerate some of the risks:

Chronic Health Problems

Failing to exercise can contribute to the development of chronic medical conditions. According to a report released by the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of disease and disability around the world. The worst part is, these could be chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

We are currently in a waiting game in terms of vaccinations for COVID-19, which means many people are still stuck in their homes, with very little motivation to go out and exercise. These conditions could actually lead to some people developing mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

Obesity and Weight Issues

Maintaining an optimal weight during the pandemic can be quite a challenge. With very limited choices of retailers, grocery stores, and food service establishments, staying healthy and active was difficult, to say the least. As such, people resorted to eating less healthy options while others ate whatever was available to survive the lengthy lockdowns. That combined with the lack of exercise leads to obesity and weight issues, which increases the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Weight problems are also associated with reduced quality of life and poorer mental health.

Increased Risk of Osteoporosis

One of the lesser-known risks associated with an inactive lifestyle is developing bone problems. Osteoporosis, a chronic health condition where the bones of the body get thinner and more brittle, is linked with a lack of exercise. With most of the population spending hours upon hours sitting behind a desk and working from home, the probability of developing osteoporosis is at an all-time high. This is further compounded by the fact that some people in a remote working setup tend to work longer hours as the boundary between home and work is blurred.

Chronic Aches and Pains

As mentioned above, working long hours behind a computer is bound to cause some detrimental effects to an individual. Lower back pain, stiff neck, and nerve compression due to awkward postures are just some of the possible risks when living a sedentary lifestyle. According to a large population study published by the National Institute of Health, physically active individuals are less likely to develop chronic pain.

Mental Health Problems

As the uncertainty and insolation brought about by the COVID-19 lockdowns take a toll on many individuals, the risks of having mental health problems are that much higher now than ever. Add to that is the physical inactivity that was also the result of the pandemic. This increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems associated with spending more than a year of inactivity. 

Conclusion

With all the risks associated with physical inactivity listed above, you should understand just how crucial it is for you to find ways to stay active and healthy. As most countries expect to get their vaccinations within the next few months and beyond, this is the perfect time to devise ways to bring back your active lifestyle.

For more health-promoting tips and articles, check out Aspen Medical Center’s blog. We are the only locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe, NM, offering a range of services, including vaccinations, sports physicals, and urgent care services. Whenever you need help from a primary care doctor and other specialists, contact Aspen Medical Center. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

pain

Everything About Chronic Pain: From Definition to Management

Everyone has felt pain at least once in their life. From light bruising to intense stinging pain, most people can describe what it feels. There are also people who live in constant pain that a pill or a day of rest won’t be able to solve what they’re feeling. These people are living with conditions that sprout chronic pain, something that’s a lot more common than you think.

What Is Chronic Pain?

As the name suggests, chronic pain is a discomfort that can come and go no matter what you do. Some people experience this on a daily basis because of inflammation or dysfunctional nerves. This pain can last for weeks, months, or years.  

Is Chronic Pain Just a State of Mind?

Not exactly. 

While pain signals do come from the nerves, which are controlled by the brain, it is not like people can just stop thinking about the pain. The feeling and sensation are all real and won’t go away out of wishful thinking. Some people have pre-existing conditions where chronic pain is just one of the symptoms to go through.

What Conditions Cause Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can stem from different sources for patients. Here are some of those conditions:

Aging

One reason for chronic pain may be aging. As the body and bones degenerate as we get older, some people will start to feel it. One common condition that people may get is osteoporosis, which is when the bone density starts to weaken from the inside, making people more vulnerable to fractures.

Autoimmune Diseases

Other reasons for chronic pain are autoimmune diseases. The body needs the immune system to protect the body from harm. When someone is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it means that their own immunity system is damaging the healthy cells of their body. Here are just a few autoimmune diseases that cause chronic pain:

Diabetes Type 1

Diabetes type 1 is the kind of diabetes that someone is usually born with, in contrast with the acquired diabetes type 2. Autoimmunity affects the pancreas, destroying the cells that help produce insulin for the body. People with type 1 diabetes have reported experiencing back pain and neuropathy pain. 

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects all of the organs in the body and often manifests redness in the skin. Patients with lupus experience chronic joint pain, rashes, and fatigue.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that can cause small bones to fuse over time. People who have this will report back and neck pain that runs through their bodies.

How to Manage Chronic Pain

Before anything else, get yourself checked by a professional. If you may have any life-threatening conditions, you will need a diagnosis.

Once you know what you have (or don’t have), you can try physiotherapy to help ease the pain through various techniques.

Conclusion

Living with chronic pain is definitely not easy. It is debilitating to do your everyday tasks and feel constant discomfort when you shift your body or move around. There are things you can do to alleviate the pain, like stretching and going to physiotherapy. However, if it is unbearable, the first way to go about it is to visit a medical professional to diagnose you properly.

If you find yourself in great pain and in need of urgent care, visit Aspen Medical Center, a locally owned medical facility and walk-in clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. We offer urgent care services to help you find the source of your extreme discomfort and help you alleviate it. Get checked for your pain today. 

What is Dermoscopy

Dermoscopy is performed with a handheld instrument called a dermatoscope. It is a noninvasive powerful tool used in the screening and detection of skin cancer.

Dermoscopy is mainly used to evaluate pigmented lesions in order to distinguish malignant skin lesions. These lesions can be melanoma, pigmented BCC from benign melanocytic naevi, and seborrheic keratosis.

Several studies have demonstrated that dermoscopy is useful in the identification of melanoma when used by experts. It may be up to 35% more accurate than clinical diagnosis. In addition, it may reduce the number of benign lesions excised.

Dermoscopy has also been proven beneficial in diagnosing and managing a myriad of other skin disorders ranging from inflammatory conditions, hair diseases, to infestations.

At Aspen Medical Center we perform full skin cancer screening exams. We are committed to detecting skin cancer at the earliest possible stage while avoiding unnecessary biopsies.

Our dermoscopy specialist, Gina Ortiz, PAC, MPAS, attended the American Dermoscopy Meeting in Big Sky, Montana during 2018. In addition to further training at the UNM Skin Cancer Center.

Gina will continue to refine her skills by attending the American Dermoscopy meeting this July in Colorado Springs.

woman coughing

Cold vs. Allergies: What’s the Difference Between the Two?

If you’ve ever had a runny nose in the middle of summer, you’ve probably always wondered if it is indeed a cold caused by a viral upper respiratory infection or just seasonal allergies. Both conditions have very similar symptoms, and it’s easy to mistake one for the other. The question is, what’s the difference between colds and allergies? With help from a local primary care doctor, we try to answer what the common cold and seasonal allergies are and how you can tell one from the other.

What Are Summer Colds?

The common cold is caused by any one of hundreds of different viruses that attack the upper respiratory system. You’ve probably heard of rhinovirus, which is just one category of viruses that are one of the leading causes of the common cold. There are hundreds of different strains of rhinovirus that cause colds, but catching a specific strain of the virus could actually help you produce immunity to that particular strain. 

Compared to seasonal allergies, colds are upper respiratory infections that could happen to you all year round but are more prevalent in the colder months. Colds aren’t caused by cold climates or exposure to cold air. Some of the common symptoms of colds include:

  • Body Aches and Pains
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat

What Are Summer Allergies?

On the other hand, allergies work in an entirely different way. They can sometimes mimic the effects of a cold, and they’re also very likely to strike in winter. However, they are far more common in spring, summer, and fall because of the proliferation of allergens in the air. 

Allergies are manifestations of the body’s allergic reaction to plant pollens released during the growing season. These allergens are often inhaled into the nasal passages. Once your body detects the presence of these allergens, they will begin the process of ejecting it out of your body through sneezing, resulting in a runny and stuffy nose. Some of the most common symptoms caused by seasonal allergies are:

  • Itchy, Watery Eyes
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Skin Rashes, such as Eczema or Hives
  • Sneezing and or Wheezing

How Is a Summer Allergy Different from a Cold?

The fundamental difference between colds and allergies is that the former results from the body’s immune system combatting a disease-causing virus. The latter, on the other hand, happens when the immune system incorrectly identifies an otherwise harmless protein like pollen, pet dander, or dust.

Allergies typically cause a clear nasal discharge, accompanied by an itchy sensation in the sinuses, ears, eyes, or throat. Sneezing is not uncommon, nor is the feeling of stuffiness in the head. It’s very much possible for your eyes to become red and irritated as a result of an allergic reaction.

According to a primary care physician in Santa Fe, NM, the common cold may provoke certain symptoms that are not shared by allergies, such as sore throat, fever, or body aches. Also, a typical cold will run its course within seven to ten days. However, allergies can last for much longer, depending on what you’re allergic to and what happens to be pollinating. As long as you are exposed to these allergens, you will continue to experience the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Conclusion

Allergies are caused by pollen and other similar allergens floating around in the air, while colds result from a viral infection. Generally speaking, allergies do not cause fever, and they are much more persistent. A cold from a viral infection will last a couple of days until your body has successfully eradicated the virus.

Aspen Medical Center welcomes you to our locally owned outpatient medical facility in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. We offer family urgent care and primary care services to all our clients. If you have any health concerns that need to be addressed, let our urgent care specialists examine them for you. Contact us today to set an appointment.

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What You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine This Flu Season

Flu may seem like a common disease, but it can sometimes be serious, contagious, and life-threatening. Influenza is so much more than that. Depending on your circumstances, you could get a high fever, profound body aches, serious fatigue, and so on. 

It may not be a problem for young and healthy people, but the situation can be complex for young children and older adults. The worst thing about the flu is how quickly the illness evolves. It should not be taken lightly.

Luckily, there are many ways to protect people from the flu these days. The seasonal flu vaccine may be innocuous but it saves many lives every year. If you are curious how the seasonal flu vaccine works, here is some vital information you should know:

How Does Flu Vaccine Work? 

Similar to other vaccines, the flu vaccine works by triggering a person’s immune response and creating a defense against disease-causing pathogens. When a person develops antibodies against a particular disease, these antibodies can fight against and provide protection from the virus. 

As mentioned earlier, different kinds of flu become contagious depending on the season. 

Researchers predict what flu virus would be more active during a particular period and produce the specific vaccine to defend against it.

In the US, there is a vaccine that fights four kinds of flu viruses (quadrivalent). This flu vaccine is meant to fight the following viruses:

  • The Influenza A (H1N1) virus
  • The Influenza A (H3N2) virus
  • Two Influenza B viruses

Another one can fight three different flu viruses, called the trivalent. It can kill the following viruses: 

  • The Influenza A (H1N1) virus
  • The Influenza A (H3N2) virus
  • One of the two Influenza B viruses

Persons aged six months and older are encouraged to get a flu vaccine every year. Keep in mind, however, that the antibodies work after two weeks, so schedule your flu shot before the flu season—ideally, by the end of October.

The Types of Flu Vaccines You Would Encounter

Here are some essential things you need to know about the available vaccines:

The Trivalent Flu Shot

This flu vaccine is made from three ingredients approved for people aged 65 and above. It also comes with an adjuvant, an element that helps the body build a more robust immune response.

The Quadrivalent Flu Shot

This flu shot is made from four ingredients, and it can be used for people of different age groups, particularly those six months and older. Here are some common ones you might encounter: 

  • FluMist Quadrivalent: Good for people aged two to 49 years old; not ideal for pregnant people, immunocompromised persons, and the like
  • Flucelvax Quadrivalent: Recommended for people four years old and above
  • Flublok Quadrivalent: Approved for people 18 years and older
  • Quadrivalent Flu Shot Using an Adjuvant: Best for people aged 65 years and older
  • Fluzone High-Dose: Also recommended for people aged 65 years and older

Conclusion

Both the trivalent and the quadrivalent influenza vaccines are generally available in clinics and hospitals. Before choosing one, make sure that the vaccine you would receive is appropriate for your age and health. The vaccines should also be labeled suitable for a particular period. For example, in today’s time, the products you would encounter are the influenza vaccine products for the 2020 to 2021 season. 

Get your flu shots every year from a trusted clinic. Aspen Medical Center is a provider of state-of-the-art urgent care and primary care in Sta. Fe. We offer immunization services as one of our essential primary care services. If you need one, call us today at 505-466-5885 to book an appointment.