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Posts for: December, 2020

December 30, 2020
Category: Health Care
Tags: Heart Disease  

Here are some simple strategies to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Do you have a family member with heart disease? Are you concerned about your current health? Many people turn to our Houston, TX, internists Dr. Tomas Rios and Dr. Nicolin Neal because they are concerned about their health and risk for developing heart disease. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in US men and women, you must be doing what you can to reduce your risk. Here are some ways to protect yourself from heart disease,

Get your blood pressure under control

Normal blood pressure falls below 120/80. If you have a family history or personal history of high blood pressure, you must be monitoring your blood pressure and making sure you are getting it under control if it’s elevated. If our Houston, TX, doctors have determined that you have hypertension (high blood pressure), they can provide you with the proper medication needed to get your blood pressure levels in check.

Monitor your cholesterol

Along with monitoring your blood pressure, it’s also important that you see your family doctor regularly to check your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol leads to clogged arteries, which can increase your risk for a heart attack or coronary artery disease. The good news is that lifestyle changes and medications can help you get your cholesterol back on track to reduce your risk for heart-related complications.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

You must be following a healthy diet that is low in sodium, sugar, and saturated fats. A plant-based diet offers a lot of amazing benefits, particularly for your heart. Don’t forget to load up on lots of fresh vegetables, healthy fats (e.g. avocados, nuts), whole grains, and lean sources of protein. If you have concerns about your diet or would like to find ways to alter your diet to improve your heart health, talk with our doctors.

Get up and moving

It’s also important that you are getting regular aerobic exercise to get the heart pumping. Remember, your heart is a muscle, so working out can strengthen and improve how your heart functions. Plus, exercising regularly can help you lose excess weight and reduce stress, which is also great for your heart! Make sure to work out at least 30 minutes a day.

Lose excess weight

Those who are overweight or obese are also more at risk for heart disease, so you must maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). If you are concerned about your weight, our doctors can help you find safe, effective weight loss solutions to help you shed those pounds safely and to lower your risk for heart disease.

It’s important to make smart choices about your health right now so you can lead a healthy life for the future. One way to do that is by visiting your primary care doctor at least once a year for a checkup. If it’s time for your annual checkup, call Rios Healthcare Associates in Houston, TX, at (832) 323-9230 to schedule an appointment.

December 30, 2020
Category: Health Care
Tags: Stress  

At Rios Healthcare Associates in Houston, TX, our dedicated team prioritizes your physical health and emotional well-being. Part of preventive care is understanding the stresses which impact our patients, the effects on their bodies, and how we can help them manage stress responses. Dr. Tomas Rios and Dr. Nicolin Neal want you well equipped so you function well and love life.

Just what is stress?

Sounds like a really basic question, doesn't it? Intuitively, we all know when we feel stressed. However, what causes it, and what does it do to our overall wellness?

The Cleveland Clinic defines stress as anything which changes bodily function quickly or chronically, over time. A too-long, quick-paced work environment causes stress on your body. So, does a car accident, moving to a new home, or getting married.

While some stress is positive (you need a deadline to accomplish many tasks efficiently), too much can harm our physical and emotional well-being. Instead of strengthening our resolve and ordering our priorities, intense, repeated stress puts the body into "fight or flight" mode continually. In short, we wear down physiologically.

Impacts on the body

Stress touches everything. It triggers the release of many chemicals--hormones--which, for the short-term, help you get through a crisis. Constantly or repeatedly released hormones, such as cortisol, harden arteries, increase blood pressure, upset the stomach and bowel, increase inflammatory processes, and reduce your ability to fight off acute and chronic disease. Research cited by the American Psychological Association demonstrates it.

Examples of how your body responds to stress include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Panic attacks
  • Chronic fatigue
  • GI pain and bloating
  • Poor absorption of key nutrients
  • Decreased sexual function and libido
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Heart attack, hypertension, and stroke
  • High blood glucose and cholesterol levels

Managing your stress

At Rios Healthcare Associates, Dr. Rios and Dr. Neal recognize the signs of stress in their patients, and they can help. Simple lifestyle modifications can reduce physiological stress. Our Houston, TX, team suggests:

  • No tobacco
  • Limited alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Seven to nine hours of sleep per night
  • Routine exercise
  • Talking it out with a trusted friend, therapist, or pastor

Contact Rios Healthcare Associates

We are here for your ongoing and emergency health needs, including stress management. For a personal consultation with Dr. Tomas Rios or Dr. Nicolin Neal in our Houston, TX, office, call us. We are open seven days a week. Phone (832) 323-9230.

December 23, 2020
Category: Health Care
Tags: Flu Season   Flu  

The onset of the fall and winter months in the U.S. also means flu season has arrived. Contracting the flu can result in a host of symptoms, including fever, body aches, a sore throat, fatigue. Preparing for flu season ahead of time by taking certain precautions can potentially reduce your likelihood of getting sick. Dr. Tomas Rios and Dr. Nicolin Neal, the skilled providers at Rios Healthcare Associates in Houston, TX, can help you take steps to safeguard yourself during flu season.

Symptoms of the Flu

Several symptoms are associated with the flu. However, not everyone will always develop the same symptoms. For example, some individuals might have a fever while others do not. Common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue

Children sometimes also experience vomiting or diarrhea when they have the flu. These symptoms can occur in adults as well, but it is less common for them to have either of these in conjunction with the flu.

It is important to note that many of the symptoms associated with the flu also occur with the common cold and it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. One notable difference is that the symptoms of a cold tend to develop gradually, while flu symptoms come on quickly. See one of the experienced doctors at our office in Houston, TX, for diagnosis and treatment if you develop any of the symptoms associated with the flu. Our providers can determine whether you have a cold or the flu and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Flu Prevention

One of the best ways to prepare for the upcoming flu season is to take measures to safeguard yourself against getting sick. By taking certain precautions, you might be able to prevent the flu from affecting you. Steps for preventing the flu include:

  • Get a flu shot early
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Maintain a safe distance from others who are ill
  • Disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (e.g., doorknobs and remote controls)

Another way to prepare for flu season is to maintain good health, which can contribute to a stronger immune system. Ways to stay healthy include getting enough rest, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet rich in healthy foods. It is also helpful to avoid or quit smoking, which can decrease your immune system’s response to the influenza virus and other viruses.

We can help you prepare for flu season by administering a flu shot and helping you take preventative precautions. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Rios or Dr. Neal, call Rios Healthcare Associates in Houston, TX, at (832) 323-9230.