My Blog
March 22, 2021
Category: Health Care
Tags: Chronic Disease  

Having a primary care doctor that you trust is key to helping you manage chronic illnesses.

Here at Rios Healthcare Associates, our Houston, TX, board-certified doctors Dr. Tomas Rios and Dr. Nicolin Neal understand that managing and treating chronic diseases isn’t always easy. After all, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Fortunately, Dr. Rios and Dr. Neal can work with you to find the treatment options that best fit your unique needs and health concerns.

Some of the most common chronic diseases we see include,

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis

When it comes to managing one or more chronic diseases, your physician is an integral part of crafting a treatment plan that will help you lead the best life possible while also managing symptoms and preventing complications.

Ways We Manage Chronic Diseases

Not all chronic diseases will respond to the same types of treatments. This is why our Houston, TX, team of physicians can craft a treatment plan that’s based on your condition, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and your current health and lifestyle. There are many ways in which we can help you manage chronic disease. Some of these include,

Lifestyle changes: Everything from physical activity to what you eat and how well you sleep can impact someone with chronic health problems. You might be surprised to discover just how much your symptoms can improve by cleaning up your current lifestyle. Our medical team can work with you to help you lose weight, determine the best food and nutrition options for you and also determine the best workout routine to make sure you are taking advantage of its health benefits.

Medications: We know that certain health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure can improve drastically just by implementing a healthier lifestyle; however, many of these conditions will still need medication to keep them in check. Our doctors can also provide you with the right medications to help control everything from asthma attacks to high blood sugar.

Alternative options and therapies: Our doctors are always staying up to date on the latest treatment options and medications available to those with chronic conditions, so we also can provide this information to you. Along with medications and lifestyle adjustments, we may also recommend supplementation, acupuncture, or massage therapy, which has also been proven to improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, diabetes, digestive issues, and high blood pressure.

We understand how chronic disease can impact all facets of a person’s life, which is why the medical team at Rios Healthcare Associates in Houston, TX, wants to make sure that you get the care you need to leave a happier, healthier, and richer life. To discuss your chronic disease management needs with one of our qualified medical professionals, call (832) 323-9230 today.

March 19, 2021
Category: Health Care
Tags: Annual Exam  

When was the last time you visited the doctor for your annual wellness check?

Annual checkups aren’t just for kids and teens. In fact, adults can also benefit from visiting their doctor at least once a year for a comprehensive examination. Here in Houston, TX, our board-certified doctors Dr. Tomas Rios and Dr. Nicolin Neal want to make sure that their patients lead long, healthy, and full lives. One of the best ways to do this is to provide preventive checkups and screenings that can improve patient health and also catch health issues early.

Thinking about skipping out on your next annual checkup? Here’s why that isn’t a wise idea.

Know Your Levels

With millions of Americans dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol it’s important that you know your numbers. Of course, many people have these conditions but don’t even know it. This is one big reason why you should visit your doctor once a year. Here at our Houston, TX, practice, we can easily measure blood pressure and take bloodwork to check blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Knowing these levels and making necessary changes to your lifestyle now could prevent a stroke or heart attack.

Keep Up to Date on Vaccines

Vaccines aren’t just for kids and teens. Adults can benefit from getting certain vaccines such as the flu shot once a year. Throughout the years, our Houston, TX, doctors may also recommend other types of vaccines including HPV and shingles. By visiting your doctor once a year we can make sure that you get the vaccines you need to protect yourself from illnesses.

Get Screened for Cancer

You may be surprised to discover that a simple annual checkup could also detect cancer. Depending on your age, lifestyle, and risk factors we may recommend screenings for breast and cervical cancer, prostate cancer, or skin cancer. By catching cancer early on when it’s treatable we can save lives. Get screened at your next annual checkup and protect your health.

Better Understand Your Symptoms

If you’re feeling tired all the time or dealing with brain fog these seemingly common issues could actually be signs of other problems such as thyroid disease, sleep disorders, or a nutritional deficiency. This is why it’s important to bring up any symptoms you are experiencing with your doctor during your annual checkup. That way we can run the appropriate tests and blood work to find out what’s going on.

Nothing is more important than your health. If you or your teen is well overdue for their annual checkup, all you have to do is call Rios Healthcare Associates at (832) 323-9230 and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rios or Dr. Neal when it’s convenient for you.

February 08, 2021
Category: Health Care
Tags: Prostate Exam  

Prostate cancer affects about one out of every ten adult males in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. Cancer is always easiest to treat when its caught early. Prostate exams are an effective way to detect prostate cancer during its early stages. Dr. Tomas Rios and Dr. Nicolin Neal, the experienced internal medicine doctors at Rios Healthcare Associates in Houston, TX, can assess your risk factors for prostate cancer and advise you regarding when you should undergo a prostate exam.

Screening for Prostate Cancer

The American Cancer Society advises that men with an average to low risk of developing prostate cancer do not need to undergo a prostate exam before their early 50s, and only if they are interested in being screened. Men with a high risk of developing prostate cancer, such as those with a brother or father diagnosed with the disease, should undergo a prostate exam around age 45. Men with more than one first-degree relative with prostate cancer are at an even higher risk for developing the disease and should consider being screened as early as age 40.

Screening for prostate cancer can involve a blood test and a digital rectal exam. The purpose of the blood test is to check for a protein that is a prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Men with higher levels of this protein could be at risk for developing prostate cancer. If the blood test reveals a high PSA level, additional testing is usually performed.

A digital rectal exam involves a physical examination of the prostate. To perform the exam, the doctor gently inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate, which is just in front of the rectum. The doctor checks for bumps or hard areas, which could be signs of cancer. If suspicious areas are discovered, a sample can be taken for biopsy to determine if cancer is present. The exam is performed quickly and can be slightly uncomfortable for some patients, but is usually not painful.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Men of any age who are experiencing certain symptoms should talk to one of the skilled doctors at our office in Houston, TX, about scheduling a prostate exam. These symptoms could be a sign that prostate cancer has developed. Diagnosing the condition right away is important so treatment can begin promptly. Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Shortness of breath, dizziness, or fatigue
  • Pain along the spine, hips, or ribs
  • Numbness in the feet or legs
  • Erectile dysfunction

A prostate exam can lead to early detection and prompt treatment of prostate cancer. Dr. Rios or Dr. Neal can assess your risk for developing prostate cancer and determine when you should undergo screening. To schedule an appointment, call Rios Healthcare Associates in Houston, TX, at (832) 323-9230.

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.

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