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What your doctor listens for when checking your heart

checkheart

It’s a practice we’re all likely used to, whether it’s for a checkup or an illness-specific appointment. Your provider pulls out his or her stethoscope as he or she listens to different areas of your chest, you may also be asked to take several deep breaths. Have you ever wondered exactly what your provider is listening for?

The sounds our hearts make can warn of several different issues. Typically, your heart should be sounding out a regular, steady rhythm with a strong beat of about 60 to 100 times per minute. A heart sound is produced by the closing of your heart valve, a sound that is described as a “lub” noise as the valves between the atria and ventricles close and a “dub” noise as valves between the ventricles and large blood vessels close. If your provider hears a rapid or irregular heartbeat, a heart murmur or additional heart sounds, further testing could be needed to rule out the following potential issues.

Heart murmur
A heart murmur is essentially a noise, not a specific disease. Murmurs are generated by the turbulent flow of blood inside or outside the heart. Heart murmurs can be innocent or abnormal. An innocent heart murmur is one that is not indicative of any underlying health problems, and may disappear over time.

Abnormal heart murmurs are often caused by valve or blood flow abnormalities. Your provider will determine whether a murmur is innocent or abnormal and a sign of a health issue by listening to your heartbeat and assessing how long the murmur lasts, when it happens, what activities prompt it, and where it is the loudest. Continue Reading »

Nutritional benefits of Navy beans

navybeans

Navy beans, you know them, those small off-white colored beans that look… well, pretty plain. Did you know they pack a nutritional punch?

Navy beans, like most beans, are high in fiber and low in fat – perfect for folks who want to eat healthier or who are watching their waistlines. These beans are high in potassium, which plays a role in blood pressure regulation. They are also high in protein, which is great news for anyone wanting to increase their intake of plant-based foods. They are a good source of iron, too.

Interesting fact: Navy beans got their name because they were a staple food in the US Navy during the 19th century. They are also referred to as the white pea bean, but Navy bean is its more popular name.

It is the bean most commonly used to make baked beans. They have a mild taste and this allows them to pair well with other foods. They can be used to make spreads or dips and take on the flavor of spices used in those recipes. Continue Reading »

Super (healthy) Bowl Party!

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Well, the Packers are not going to the Super Bowl this year. However, many folks will be watching the game anyway – which means Super Bowl parties! This is a time when friends and family get together to cheer on their favorite team. Along with all the cheering, there is a lot of eating! Super Bowl weekend is a good time to enjoy tasty and healthy snacks as you watch your favorite team move the ball down the field.

Go Mediterranean
Data suggests that the Mediterranean way of eating, which includes fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, olive oil, beans, other legumes, fruits and vegetables can be very beneficial. For your party, arrange a platter with a variety of olives (green, Kalamata, stuffed), along with hummus and toasted whole wheat pita chips. Or try babaganoush (an eggplant based dip) with chopped vegetables such as carrots, celery and cauliflower florets. Instead of wings try offering shrimp with a dip made from Greek yogurt. This dip could also be used for chopped vegetables. Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream cuts down on the calories and fat. Speaking of fats…

Think healthy fats
Consider putting out an assortment of nuts, served alongside dried fruit like apricots, dried pineapple, raisins and cherries. Throw in some dark chocolate dipped nuts, too.

Serve guacamole along corn chips or toasted pita chips. Try making a Mexican layer dip, which incorporates layers of black beans (or refried beans), shredded low fat cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes with green chilis, Greek plain yogurt, chopped avocado (or guacamole). Serve with whole grain tortilla chips. Speaking of avocados…

Consider mixing avocado with shredded cooked chicken and sautéed onions for a variation on the classic chicken salad. The avocado adds healthy fat to this traditional salad and allows you to cut down on the amount of mayonnaise used. Serve with whole wheat pita bread for some delicious mini sandwiches. Continue Reading »

Connecting the community to health care that leaves no one behind

connectionspecialist

My name is Sarah and I’m a connection specialist for Affinity Medical Group. I’ve been with Affinity for 14 years. As a connection specialist I connect people with providers. If you are new to the area or are simply looking for a new primary care or specialty provider, I can help! In addition, I can answer any other questions you may have regarding our system as a whole, and other offerings we provide to our patients.

Being a connection specialist allows me the opportunity to help our community get properly matched with great health care. I understand that finding a new health care provider can sometimes be stressful. It’s my goal to make the entire process as smooth and stress-free as possible. I will ask you a series of questions to help me understand your needs and then match you with the most appropriate provider.

As a mom of a child with a chronic health issue, I know how important it is to find great health care providers when you need it most. This is why I feel strongly about my position. I enjoy providing you with a one-on-one consultation to help find a provider that matches your needs. I’m also able to provide you with location details and when the next available appointment will be with the provider of your choice.

I feel strongly about encouraging the community to secure a primary care provider and scheduling preventative care. In today’s society it’s important to make sure we look at preventative measures to live healthier lives.

This is my first post of a series of upcoming blog posts. I look forward to connecting with you and helping make your health care search a little bit easier.

To learn more or to speak with me directly, please call (920) 628-9280 or email me at sastern@affinityhealth.org.

How to take care of your spine/back

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Not taking care of your spine can turn out to be a real pain in the back—literally. Back pain is a common complaint, but there are simple steps you can take to improve your spine health and lessen or eliminate pain. Read through the following tips and think about how you typically move as you go through daily activities. Could you make some of these simple changes?

Sleeping
Healthy sleeping habits benefit your overall health, and the way you sleep impacts the health of your spine specifically. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it puts unnecessary pressure on your spine and neck. If you sleep on your back, you can better maintain the healthy neutral curvature of your spine and avoid painful compression of its joints, nerves and muscles. If you sleep on your side, make sure your pillow is thicker to keep your neck and back straight. It can also be helpful to place a pillow between your knees keep your hips, pelvis and spine aligned.

Stretching
Another way to lessen spine pain is to make stretching a routine part of your day. Prep for good posture by stretching out your hamstrings (the muscles in the backs of your legs) every morning. Tight hamstrings pull on the bottom of your pelvic muscles and in turn cause lower back pain. Stretching breaks throughout the day are also a good way to get your blood flowing if you’re sitting or performing repetitive actions for a long period of time. Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.