kid walking in leaves

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

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

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

Fall and Asthma Triggers

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

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

What Causes Fall Allergies

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

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

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

How Going Back to School Triggers Asthma

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

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

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

Quick Tips to Deal with Seasonal Asthma

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

1. Get a Flu Shot

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

2. Take Asthma Medication

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

3. Take an Allergy Test

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

Conclusion

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

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

First Aid Training - Burn injury

An Overview of Burns and How You Should Respond to Them

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

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

How Does a Person Get Burnt?

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

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

What Are the Different Degrees of Burns?

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

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

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

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

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

What Should I Do If I Get Burnt?

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

Conclusion

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

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

Doctor Pointing X-ray Result

What Urgent Care X-Ray Results Can Disclose

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

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

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

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

1. Lung Problems

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

2. Heart-Related Lung Problems

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

3. Heart Conditions

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

4. Blood Vessel Abnormalities

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

5. Calcium Deposits

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

6. Arthritis and Osteoporosis

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

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

7. Potential Fractures

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

8. Postoperative Changes

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

9. Hidden Infections

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

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

10. A Pacemaker, Defibrillator, or Catheter

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

person getting a shot

Flu Season: Everything You Need to Know About Flu Shots

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

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

The Flu Vaccine’s Development

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

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

The Flu Vaccine’s Recipients

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

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

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

The Flu Vaccine’s Effect

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

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

The Flu Vaccine’s Side Effects

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

Conclusion

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

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

woman with stomach pain

3 Serious Medical Conditions Associated With Abdominal Pain

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

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

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

1. Appendicitis

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

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

2. Hiatal Hernia

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

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

3. Crohn’s Disease

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Digital Blood Sugar Meter with Injections and Medication

Debunking 5 Common Myths About Type 2 Diabetes Management

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

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

1. There’s No Need to Monitor Blood Sugar

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

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

2. Cinnamon and Turmeric Can Cure Type 2 Diabetes

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

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

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

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

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

4. It’s Not Safe to Exercise

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

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

5. Taking Insulin Is a Sign of Mismanagement

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

person typing on laptop

How Protein and Fat Impact Glucose Levels

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

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

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

Understanding Macronutrients 

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

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

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

Balancing Macronutrients 

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

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

The Proper Food Diet for a Normal Blood Glucose Level

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

woman stretching

The Importance of Your Liver in Your Sugar Metabolism

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

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

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

The Liver Serves as a Storage of Sugar

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

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

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

The Liver Can Supply Counter Regulatory Hormones

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

The Liver Can Replenish Sugar

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

Conclusion

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

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

doctor

4 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Primary Care Physician

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

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

Choose a Doctor That Your Family or Friends Recommend

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

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

Opt for a Doctor That’s Near You

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

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

Choose a Doctor That Suits Your Medical Needs

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

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

Choose a Doctor That You Can Easily Communicate With

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

Conclusion

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

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

man smoking

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

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

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

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

Develop a Realistic Plan

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

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

Understand Why You Smoke

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

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

Discover What Triggers You

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

pain

Everything About Chronic Pain: From Definition to Management

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

What Is Chronic Pain?

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

Is Chronic Pain Just a State of Mind?

Not exactly. 

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

What Conditions Cause Chronic Pain?

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

Aging

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

Autoimmune Diseases

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

Diabetes Type 1

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

Lupus

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

Ankylosing Spondylitis

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

How to Manage Chronic Pain

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Conclusion

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.

Conclusion

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!

physician

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. 

Conclusion 

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. 

vaccine

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. 

Conclusion

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!

doctor

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.

Conclusion

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.

doctor

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.

Conclusion

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. 

Conclusion

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.

Fever

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.

Conclusion

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.

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: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/

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 https://www.meetup.com/Aspen-Wellness-Walkers/

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!