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!


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.


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.


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!

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.  


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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


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


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.


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!

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.


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.


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.


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!

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.


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.


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! 


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.


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.


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


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. 


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!

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.


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. 


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!


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.


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.


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.

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.


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. 


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.


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!

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.


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.


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. 


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! 


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.


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 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.


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!


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:


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 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.


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.

doctors accessories

In Case of Emergency: Our Guide to Seeking Urgent Care

Urgent care centers function differently from doctor’s clinics and even emergency rooms, and some people aren’t familiar with their services. Urgent care centers and walk-in clinics provide treatment for patients with conditions that require immediate attention but are not life-threatening. They also cover other medical services such as X-rays, lab exams, and even vaccinations.

Here are some things you should know before seeking urgent care:

1. Don’t Wait for an Emergency

Health emergencies of any kind can be incredibly stressful, and it can be difficult to make level-headed decisions if you or someone in your household is in need of immediate medical attention. This is why it’s important to know a local urgent care center before you get sick or injured.

Look up all the urgent care centers in your area and choose one that accepts your health insurance. It should ideally be a center that provides general care. If you have children, you should also locate a pediatric urgent care center in your back pocket. List down the names of these facilities and their addresses, contact information, and operating hours. Keep this list near your phone or in a common area so everyone in your house can refer to it during emergencies.  

2. Try to Call First

Most urgent care centers accept walk-in patients, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, many social distancing protocols can complicate this. If you can, call your local urgent care center before coming in. Medical personnel will screen you via phone call and advise the best time for you to come in.

Even without the pandemic, it’s still best practice to call ahead and ask about the wait time to see a health care provider. If the center doesn’t allow appointments, you will still have a better idea of how busy it is and how long you have to wait before getting treatment. In addition, some urgent care centers allow online check-ins for patients. Providing all your information before dropping by will also help streamline the treatment process.

3. Bring Important Documents

Unlike clinics and hospitals, urgent care centers don’t carry extensive medical records. Even if you’ve been to their facility once or twice before, they still may not have a file on your medical history to treat your condition.

Make sure to take note of all your medical information before you go to urgent care. This includes your prescription medication, previous medical diagnoses, and your primary care physician’s name and contact information. Of course, it’s important to bring your health insurance information, too. You also need at least one photo ID to verify your identity.

When to Skip Urgent Care and Go to the ER Instead

Urgent care centers can help treat simple urgent health concerns. However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, they are best evaluated at a hospital emergency room:

  • Severe head injury or trauma
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Signs of stroke (weakness, confusion, loss of vision, difficulty speaking)
  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe burns
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Open fractures
  • Fever in a one-month-old infant or younger


Urgent care centers are convenient options to receive medical treatment for non-life-threatening symptoms and conditions. Remember to bring all pertinent identification and medical documentation with you as well. Most importantly, identify which locations can handle and treat you for shorter wait times and to ensure your safety.

At Aspen Medical Center, we provide efficient, compassionate, and high-quality urgent care services for you and your family. Our clinic locations in Santa Fe and Espanola are open seven days a week to address your urgent health concerns. Please call ahead at 505-466-5885 for patient screening.

ankle sprain

4 Effective Tips for Avoiding Sprains and Injuries

There are very few injuries that will lead you to require urgent care faster than a sprain. Indeed, sprains can be quite severe and painful, especially if they happen in far-flung places where it will be difficult for you to receive medical attention. Considering that summer is close and many of you likely have plans to go hiking or mountain climbing, it would be in your best interest to prepare and try to mitigate any risk of injury.

But how do you go about doing this? To help you out, we’ve prepared a list of four tips that will help you avoid sprains and other injuries:

Warm-up Before Engaging in Physical Activities

The thing that you have to understand about muscles is that they take some time to warm up, especially for underutilized muscles. However, failing to warm up properly can cause some major issues, as the muscles will be more prone to straining. A good way to think about it is to compare it to a rubber band. Rubber, when frozen, is stiff and is more prone to snapping. This is why you need to warm your muscles up before any extraneous physical activities.

Now, you don’t have to do anything too extreme to warm your muscles up. Simply engaging in gentle stretching before any physical activities will go a long way when it comes to minimizing the risk of accruing any injuries.

Wear the Right Shoes

Aside from stretching, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re dressed appropriately. Slipping and falling is a common cause of many injuries. This is why you’ll want to make sure that you’re wearing the right shoes when engaging in physical activities. If you’re going on a hike, it will be best to wear hiking boots that provide your ankles with support and have tread that will prevent you from slipping.

Provide Extra Support 

Now, it’s important to note that protecting your feet isn’t just about shoes. While shoes are important, there are other pieces of equipment that can provide you with the support that you need. For example, using things like a brace or ankle tape will also be useful when it comes to preventing sprains and injuries. This is because they provide you with extra support while you’re engaged in physical activities to avoid the risks of sprains.

Build Up Strength

An excellent preventive technique for injuries is to strengthen your muscles through regular exercise. By building up muscle strength, you give yourself a stronger base and will make it easier for you to stay on your feet and control sudden changes in body position. While it may seem trivial, this can be the difference between a minor scratch and a trip to the emergency room. Exercises like squats, lunges, and dips will be the key to strengthening your muscles.


We hope the tips we’ve shared above prove to be useful in helping you avoid any unnecessary injuries and sprains. When it comes to preventing sprains, the most important thing to do is prepare as much as possible. Accidents do happen, and injuries can often be unavoidable, but there are always things that you can do to minimize the risk!

If you are searching for an urgent care center 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 today at 505-657-1799!


3 Primary Care Physician Myths You Should Stop Believing

Seeing a primary care physician is a great way to prevent, treat, and diagnose various medical issues. They provide comprehensive medical solutions for chronic conditions and initial executive checkups to make sure you are healthy. Despite knowing these facts, most patients are propagating false information that affects those in need of these healthcare provisions. Worse, it leaves them most susceptible to diseases like COVID-19, diabetes, and more. 

Protecting yourself and others from misinformation on primary care is necessary to ensuring access to medical services for all and addressing immediate-to-long-term health problems. It is just as important as finding the right provider near you. To ensure all these needs are met, consider the following common primary care physician debunked myths: 

Myth #1: You should only call your primary care provider when someone is sick and needs further medical attention 

Most individuals feel that they only need to see a doctor when they are sick and need extra assistance. However, remember that there can be times when you don’t feel sick yet, but it only means that the symptoms are not fully developed. You also need checkups, vaccinations, physicals, and other related processes to keep your health and well-being in check, which is what your primary care physician is trained to provide. 

By getting primary care, it ensures that your medical history, lifestyle, and perceived medical risks are all accounted for, guaranteeing protection against diseases. It can lead to more savings on hospital costs and other treatments because of your more resilient health. Most importantly, it can provide a happier, longer life! 

Myth #2: Any healthcare professional can offer primary care, so finding a primary care physician near you is not necessary

One of the most common mistakes most patients make is that they believe any healthcare specialist is just as trained to give primary care, so seeing a physician is unnecessary. However, they are completely misinformed. The truth is primary care physicians undergo internal medical and family practice residence for three years. They also have to pass an intensive examination to be licensed in their respective states to practice medicine. 

In a clinical setting, primary care physicians take the lead alongside nurses and other supporting medical staff in overseeing medical testing, medication, preventive care, and other related procedures. You can only get this kind of assistance from certified providers nearby. So, ensure you find a reliable one nearby, get yourself and your loved ones checked, and enjoy positive wellness despite these challenging times. 

Myth #3: You don’t need to reach out to your primary care physician during emergencies 

Did you know that your primary care physician can actually be in a better position to handle emergency processes than most urgent care providers? It is because they know your bodily conditions by compiling a comprehensive medical record of perceived risks and preexisting internal or external issues. While it does not mean you shouldn’t go for urgent medical care when needed, it is best to contact your primary care doctor during emergencies. They will relay relevant information about you, offer better treatment, and mitigate further health complications. 


Primary care is one of the most important medical solutions to a better quality of life. Avoiding false information about it can help ensure you and others around you can get the immediate attention needed. Remember all the debunked myths mentioned above and connect with medical professionals like us! 

Are you looking for the best primary care physicians in Santa Fe? Visit the Aspen Medical Center. We provide state-of-the-art medical facilities and expertise to keep your health and well-being in check through vaccinations, physicals, and more. Book your appointment with us today by contacting us at (505) 466-5885. 


Be Vaccinated: Everything You Need to Know About Immunization

There have been a lot of arguments surrounding immunization. Some don’t believe in it, while many others encourage it. But how important is immunization, really?

What Is Immunization?

Let’s define immunization first. Immunization is the process where people are protected against illnesses caused by infection. A vaccine is the material used for immunization, which contains an agent that resembles the disease-causing bacteria. It is made from the toxins that killed or weakened the microorganism. 

When the vaccine is injected into the body, the immune system recognizes the agent and destroys it. So, when the actual microbe attacks you, it will keep you safe against the disease. 

How Important Is Vaccination?

There are many benefits to immunization. For one, getting vaccinated is a lot cheaper than getting treated for diseases when it comes to the costs. Also, vaccination doesn’t only protect you but also the community. 

Immunization is highly recommended in children and adults. How will it help your kids? 

  • It will help protect your children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases that may include amputation, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
  • It helps prevent diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough. 

Kids who are not vaccinated have a huge chance of spreading the disease to other children who might be too young to get vaccinated. Other than that, they can spread the disease to adults with a weak immune system. 

When it comes to vaccines for children, they’re only given following a thorough review by experts, which takes a long time. 

Now, how does vaccination help adults? Like the benefits to children, immunization in adults will also help protect themselves and the community from diseases.

At times, vaccination will depend on several factors, such as: 

  • Age
  • Health conditions
  • Travel plans
  • Personal vaccination record

Some of the available vaccinations for adults are:

  • Swine flu
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Tetanus 
  • Pneumonia

What Are the Necessary Travel Vaccinations?

Besides the usual vaccinations for kids and adults, there are also travel vaccinations necessary. In certain countries, you will be asked to get vaccinated, such as the yellow fever vaccine, which is administered when traveling to African countries. 

If you travel to the US or European countries, you will also need to have vaccinations against typhoid, tuberculosis, and meningococcal meningitis. 

What About People Who Can’t Be Vaccinated?

There are some people who can’t be vaccinated because they may either be too young or sick. You can help protect them by keeping you and your loved ones’ vaccinations up-to-date. 

Indeed, immunization is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family, and future generations from infectious diseases. With vaccination, it can wipe out diseases that could spread in the present and future. 

You’re not only looking after your family when you get vaccinated; you are also helping protect the vulnerable people in your community. The more people are vaccinated, the fewer people will be infected. In turn, the less widely a disease will spread. 


Immunization plays an even bigger role in our communities today. Now that you know how important it is, make sure you don’t miss a vaccine. Not only will you save your life, but others as well. 

Get your vaccinations here at Aspen Medical Center. We provide primary care and urgent care services to patients of all ages in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM. Check in online today!


5 Tips to Help You Find the Right Primary Care Physician

When it comes to reaching peak overall health, it will pay to work with the right primary care physician. These are doctors who help their patients reach the best and highest quality of life by administering various types of health maintenance and promotion methods. 

The services of a primary care physician include disease prevention, counseling, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic disease and patient education strategies in periodic intervals and checkups. These doctors may aid patients in making crucial health decisions that are aimed at reaching peak health and wellbeing.

Knowing all that a primary care physician can do for your health makes it all the more important to choose the right one to be your healthcare ally. However, it may be easier said than done to find one to suit your health needs if you are gazing down a long faceless list of names. As you prepare to narrow down this list, here are a few considerations to think about when you schedule an over-the-phone or face-to-face consultation with your selected physician:

How to Find the Right Primary Care Physician for You

1 – Consider Which Doctors Are in Your Network

Look into which doctors in your area will be covered by your healthcare plan. Your plan will help you keep your health status up while keeping costs down in the process. If you do not have any health care insurance, it is best to find a doctor that offers an affordable package that will not have you breaking the bank in order to stay healthy.

2 – Do Your Family and Friends Have Any Recommendations?

It is also important to get the input of your family and friends. Ask them if they can recommend any primary care physicians to you based on positive experiences of their own.

3 – How Easy Is It to Get Hold of This Doctor?

When you will need an emergency consult, will the doctor you are choosing be available to see you? How accessible are they via phone? It is important to consider these factors, especially when you will need medical advice in an emergency.

4 – Where Will Diagnostics Tests Take Place?

Speaking of accessibility, it is important to note where you will be taking your diagnostics tests, should you ever need them. Choosing a physician that has a conveniently-located clinic will prove to be useful, especially when you will need to have multiple tests done at one time.

5 – The Proximity of Their Clinic

Lastly, it is important to find a doctor that has a clinic that has a clinic that is easily reachable. Although it is somewhat impossible to find a doctor who has a clinic that is right next door to where you live, you want to find one that is fairly close.


While all doctors may be skilled in their own right, finding a primary care physician to help you reach peak health is a personal decision. Looking into the circumstances and individual pros and cons of each doctor you are considering will help you decide which one you should choose.

If you are looking for a good primary care physician in Santa Fe, you can get access to primary care and all your other medical needs at 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. Call 505-466-5885 to book an appointment.


Pap Smear: When Should or Shouldn’t You Get One

Pap smear or cervical smear is a test done to screen for any abnormal cells in the cervix. This test can also determine any vaginal infections or inflammation that the patient should be concerned about. However, the main reason for getting a Pap smear is to screen for cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer has been the most prevalent type of cancer that caused death in women in the US. But thanks to Pap smear tests, the number of cervical cancer cases has significantly declined since it had been made available in the 1950s. This is why early detection of cancer, which is what Pap smears are for, can increase one’s chances of getting cured!

If you are between the ages of 21 and 69, it is recommended that you get regular Pap smears at your local family medical clinic. But there are circumstances when a test is not necessary. Here’s how to know when you should get a Pap smear and when you don’t have to:

When Is It Acceptable to Not Get a Pap Smear?

Pap smears may not be necessary if you are considered low risk for cervical cancer. For instance, if you are below 21 years old, whether you are sexually active or not, the risk for cervical cancer is very low. Any abnormal cell presence often returns to normal even without treatment.

The same goes if you are over the age of 69 and you have had regular Pap smears in the past and got normal results. The tests are also no longer necessary if you had your cervix removed during a hysterectomy procedure. However, if you had a hysterectomy because of the existence of pre-cancer or cancer cells in your cervix, you may still need to get the test.

When Do You Need a Pap Test?

Your need for a Pap test and its frequency depends on several factors, including your age and your risks.

If you are between the ages of 21 and 29, it is recommended that you get a Pap test at least once every three years, especially if you are sexually active. The same goes for women aged 30 to 69 years old. Likewise, your doctor may recommend an HPV test every five years, or you can still get tested for both.

It is also recommended for pregnant women to get tested. It is typically done in the early stages of pregnancy because it would be best to get it treated immediately before any conditions worsen if there is any abnormality. Note that the Pap smear should be done before you reach the sixth month of pregnancy. Then, you shouldn’t have a test done until 12 weeks have passed since you gave birth.

How to Ensure That Your Pap Smear Is Accurate?

Pap smear results can come back as unsatisfactory, which could mean that:

  • There was an error in the test administration.
  • The cells couldn’t be adequately evaluated because of the presence of mucus or blood.
  • There were not enough cervical cells to do an accurate test.

To prevent an unsatisfactory test result, you should get tested at least five days after the last day of your period. And then, 48 hours prior to your test, you shouldn’t have intercourse or use tampons, douches, vaginal creams, lubricants, and other vaginal products.


Pap smears are one of the most important tests that women should get, together with a mammogram and colonoscopy. It’s always better to get tested early on so that you can get the peace of mind that you are healthy. Even if the test comes back and it turns out there are cancerous cells, it’s still a good thing that you can detect it sooner rather than later as this will increase the chance of defeating cancer.

You are responsible for your health, so make sure that you get necessary tests like Pap smears from your primary care physician.

If you want to get your Pap smear done, be sure to visit your trusted family care clinic in Santa Fe, NM. At Aspen Medical Clinic, our physicians will always care for your well-being so that you can live a happy and healthy life. Contact us today to schedule your test appointment!

woman doctor

4 Key Medical Appointments You Must Schedule in 2021

Over the past year, health has truly become a priority for everyone. Gone are the days when being healthy only held true for the younger generation. Thanks to technology, senior citizens also no longer have to plan their bucket list around the average lifespan in the US. 

Nevertheless, this is not to say that you can neglect your routine medical checkups. For the most part, many people usually see their doctors when it’s already too late, but you must always remember that prevention is better than cure. Besides, the COVID-19 crisis has compelled people to always take good care of their health, which is why you must not forget to attend your regular checkups.

In this article, we will share four important medical appointments you need to plan for in 2021:

1. With a Primary Care Doctor

Sure, you may only be visiting your primary physician when you aren’t feeling well. But did you know that you must visit your physician at least once a year? Your doctor will perform a physical exam to determine the condition of your health and assess your medical history. If your physician sees any red flags, you will be asked to get some tests such as lab work or imaging service. From there, they’ll determine whether or not you need to get some medical treatments to treat your situation.

2. With an Eye Doctor

The general rule of thumb is to see your eye doctor once a year or every two years. Of course, you need to see one as soon as you’re having some eye problems. During your eye check, keep in mind that the expert will check for signs of the four common diseases. These eye conditions include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration, which are more likely to develop after the age of 40. This is when routine checkups for early prevention become extremely necessary!

3. With a Gynecologist 

Women need to see their gynecologist every six months to once a year. Regardless of sexual activities, they must begin seeing their doctors as early as the age of 21. During a routine appointment, your gynecologist will require you to get a Pap smear, a pelvic exam, and a breast exam to look for any signs of illnesses. At the same time, you must inform your doctor about your overall health and bring up any irregularities in your period. You also have to be honest about your sexual activities and any concerns about your reproductive system.

4. With a Radiologist (Mammogram)

It’s essential to visit a radiologist to undergo a mammogram. If your family has a history of breast cancer, you must consider doing this checkup at least once a year. This is because women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have a higher risk. You will also need to have genetic testing, particularly if your family member has a history of breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer. This genetic testing will require your blood or saliva sample sent to a lab for analysis, and you will receive the result in about a month. 


At this point, we’ve covered four key medical appointments you must make in 2021—primary care physician, eye doctor, gynecologist, and radiologist. While these four appointments are basic checkups, you must still consider your family and medical history to acknowledge which areas require a serious check. Ultimately, these preventive medical appointments may very well save your future—have that checkup today, and your body will thank you tomorrow!

Are you looking for reliable primary care and urgent care? You’ve come to the right place. We’re a locally owned outpatient medical clinic in Santa Fe and Espanola, NM offering state-of-the-art primary care services and an urgent care center. As your health is our top priority, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

doctor with a stethoscope

Signs It’s Time to Set an Appointment and See Your Doctor

If you have a medical emergency, it’s easy to decide to go to the doctor. Usually, you can prevent these emergencies altogether by just going a little earlier, though you may be unaware of subtler signs. Here is a list of reasons why you might need to go to the doctor right now:

Cough and Colds

Cough and colds are a sign of infection that most people ignore. This is because they can be mistaken for an allergic reaction or just a sign of a weak illness that will easily pass. There are instances wherein colds can stand for something more serious, though. If your colds don’t go away over time or downright worsen, go to a doctor. Long periods of congestion can lead to infection at various levels of severity. 

Also, if your cough lasts more than two weeks, that may be whooping cough, which needs medical attention. Even if your cough and colds aren’t so bad but are accompanied by other symptoms, that could be an indicator of a serious infection. 

For example, if you have a fever and/or muscle aches, you may have the flu. If you are in your senior years, an expectant mother, or have a history of heart disease, you should be extra careful. Also, if you have extreme difficulty swallowing, chest pain, or shortness of breath, you should definitely see a doctor as these are not normal cold symptoms. Nausea that leads to continuous vomiting should also be noted here. If that’s the case, you may need to get an IV to help hydrate and nourish your body.


A fever can just be a normal way your body fights infection. Similar to a cold, it doesn’t have to be an indicator of something more serious. In certain cases, such as if your fever is above 103˚ Fahrenheit (39.4˚ Celsius) or lasts more than three days, it could mean that you are about to be very sick and need to see a primary care doctor. 

Sudden Weight Loss

Sudden weight loss could indicate an overactive thyroid, diabetes, liver disease, and a number of other larger issues. It could even be a sign of something dangerously fatal, like cancer. In general, if you’ve lost 10% or more of your body weight in six months, seeing a doctor can save your life.

Severe Pain in Certain Areas

Extreme, sustained pain in the chest, abdomen, or pelvis can mean severe illnesses, so you should have yourself checked. Enduring pains in the chest area could mean a heart attack. Pain in the abdomen, especially if accompanied by nausea and vomiting, could be gallstones. When your pain is concentrated in the pelvis area, that could be appendicitis.

Change in Bowel Movement or Urination

Look for a sudden change in your bowel movement’s pattern. If you see things like bloody stools, diarrhea, constipation, or excessive urination, then you should probably consult your doctor.

Concussion Symptoms

If you’ve suffered a hit to the head, check yourself for signs of a concussion. See if you have any increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, or headaches. Any of these could be a sign that you have a concussion and should thus see your doctor.


This list of symptoms that could be signs that you should seek medical attention is small and incomplete. This is just a starting point of the most common reasons, but there are many more. Monitor your body closely to get an accurate picture of your health, and see your primary care physician if there are any problems.

Looking for a medical clinic in Santa Fe? Contact Aspen Medical Center today! We offer state-of-the-art primary care and urgent care services.




It’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving. This is not only a time when we get together with family and friends and eat lots of delicious food, but it is also a time to give thanks and be grateful.

Gratitude, from the Latin gratus, meaning “pleasing or grateful,” is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, as well as better physical and mental health. There has actually been a great deal of research done on the effects of gratitude and the list of its benefits is almost endless. Perhaps this would be a good time to review some of the benefits of gratitude and to consider some advice on how to practice gratitude in daily life.

Studies show the following benefits of gratitude:

  • Gratitude improves happiness
  • Gratitude improves sleep quality
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem
  • Gratitude leads to more helpfulness and empathy
  • Gratitude improves resilience
  • Practicing gratitude makes you more optimistic and helps you feel better about your life
  • Grateful people are more hopeful and healthier
  • Gratitude improves relationships
  • Gratitude boosts the immune system

Gratitude helps us focus on what we have instead of what we lack. The practice of gratitude does not come easily to everyone and sometimes it is difficult to feel grateful but it is a feeling that can be developed. Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude:

  • Write a thank-you note. Help make yourself and another person happy too by writing a thank you note to someone who had a positive impact on your life.
  • Thank someone mentally. If you are too busy to write a note, just think of someone who did something nice and thank them in your mind.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. One way to bring more of the positive effects of gratitude into your life is to keep a gratitude journal. Write down three things that you are grateful for before you go to bed.
  • Count your blessings. Counting blessings is something that can be done either in writing or just in your head. Listing all the good things in your life and all the ways you are fortunate can be an effective way to experience thepleasant feeling of gratitude.
  • Pray. If you are religious, giving thanks through prayer is a way to cultivate gratitude.
  • Meditate. Meditation is a way to practice awareness of the present moment and bring more peace and balance into one’s life. Gratitude can be an object of meditation by focusing on what you’re grateful for. Make gratitude a habit!

Andrew Ropp, MD

Medical Director

Protect Yourself from the Heat

Protect Yourself from the Heat

According the Nature Conservancy, “More than 95 percent of New Mexico has experienced mean temperature increases over the last 30 years.” July is generally the hottest month of the year in Santa Fe with average daily high temperatures of 86°F. At this time of year, the risks of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, are increased.

What are heat exhaustion and heatstroke?
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body gets too hot. If heat exhaustion goes untreated, it can lead to heatstroke. This happens when your internal body temperature reaches at least 104°F. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. Heatstroke can lead to shock, organ failure, or brain damage. In extreme cases, you can die from heatstroke.

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, heavy sweating, pale or cool skin, weakness and/or confusion, dizziness, headache, nausea +/- vomiting, rapid heart rate, and dark-colored urine which is indicative of dehydration.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke?
In addition to the symptoms of heat exhaustion listed above (with the exception of heavy sweating and pale or cold skin), warning signs of heatstroke include fever with a temperature of 104°F or higher, red or flushed skin, lack of sweating, trouble breathing or shortness of breath, fainting, and seizures.

How does a person get heat exhaustion or heatstroke?
Heat-related illnesses occur when a person is not able to keep him or herself cool. The main causes of heat exhaustion and heatstroke are hot weather and exercise. Your risk of heat-related illnesses is increased by prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

How can we prevent or avoid heat-related illnesses?
During hot weather, it is important to try to keep cool. This is especially true for babies, children, and the elderly who are more sensitive to the heat. If you are ill, overweight/obese, or have heart disease, you are also at greater risk. People who work outside or in hot settings are also at greater risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Try not to go outside when it is very hot. If you must go outside, wear light-colored, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Wear a hat or use an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher here in Santa Fe and surrounding areas. Drink plenty of water. If you are in a hot environment, drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you are not thirsty. If your urine is clear or light-colored, you are probably drinking enough water. If your urine is dark-colored, it may be a sign of dehydration. Try to limit or avoid drinks that contain caffeine (tea, coffee, soda, etc.) or alcohol. Avoid spending too much time outside between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m if possible. Take frequent breaks from the heat/sun and outdoor activities. Do not stay or leave a child in a parked car when it is hot outside. (If there is any danger of forgetting a child in a hot car, you can use the trick of leaving your left shoe in the back seat with the child.)

What do you do if you or someone you know has heat exhaustion or heatstroke?
If you suspect you are getting too hot, get out of the sun/heat into a cooler environment even if it is just into the shade. Lie down and elevate your legs to improve blood flow to the brain. Take off any heavy or tight-fitting clothing if possible. Apply cool wet towels to the skin or take a cool bath to help cool your body temperature. Drink fluids (water or a sports drink). Take frequent sips; do not guzzle. Avoid caffeine or alcohol.

When to call 911:

If someone is displaying the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke listed above, take their temperature. If the temperature is 104°F or more, call 911 and seek medical help immediately. If after trying to help someone cool down, symptoms do not improve or temperature is 102°F or higher after 30 minutes of treatment, call 911. If the person faints or has seizures, call 911. If the person stops breathing, call 911 and start CPR.

Just remember to stay hydrated and do your best to keep cool this summer!

Get out and exercise

Get out and Exercise!

Regular exercise is one of the keys to living a healthy life. Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we are blessed with 300 sunny days per year. Although it can get cold at times in the winter, there are opportunities to stay physically active, whether indoors or outdoors, year-round.

There are multiple benefits to exercise. I have often joked that if I could put all the benefits of exercise into a pill and sell that pill, I would become an instant multi-millionaire! Unfortunately, at this time, no such pill has been developed so you actually need to get up off the couch and move your body to get the benefits.

What are these benefits? According to the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,

physical activity can help:
Control Your Weight.
Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers.
Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles.
Improve Your Mental Health and Mood.
Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you’re an older adult
Increase your chances of living longer
See this link for more details:

What kind of exercise is right for you? That is a complicated question. If you have any concerns about possible heart disease or a heart problem, you should consult your doctor or health care provider before starting any rigorous exercise program. If you like, call Aspen Medical Center Urgent Care & Primary Care for an appointment or just walk in.

I suggest finding some type of exercise you enjoy. Walking, for many people, is an easy and accessible form of exercise. I walk to work everyday. One common recommendation is to try to get 10,000 steps a day. There are many apps and devices to help achieve this goal or the goal can be individualized. You can join the Aspen Wellness Walkers, sponsored by Aspen Wellness, our acupuncture clinic and wellness center. We usually sponsor a walk somewhere in Santa Fe every weekend. For more information, go to

Other types of exercise include rock climbing, hiking, swimming, biking, skiing, and jogging. Some people like to dance. Others play sports such as basketball, soccer, pickle ball, volleyball, softball, or tennis. Others like yoga, Tai Chi, or Zumba. I believe there is an appropriate exercise for everyone. All you have to do is start. Ideally try to work up to an average of at least 30 active minutes (e.g brisk walking) 5 days a week. This can do wonders for your mood and your overall health. Good luck!