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For Cardiovascular Health and Athletic Performance: A Vegetable That Can’t Be Beat!
Here’s a great health trivia question: What vegetable most effectively lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, and gives athletes a competitive edge? You might already know the answer – it’s beets! Research shows that some of the natural chemicals in beets lower cholesterol; improve oxygen delivery to muscles; and help blood vessels relax and expand (thus lowering blood pressure). That’s a lot of benefits – all packed into a humble root! Most folks carry strong opinions about beets – there are those who love them and those who don’t. Many people describe the taste of beets as rich, sweet, and earthy, while others pick up a strong hit of plain old dirt! Genetics might have something to do with our preferences for different foods – some of us can taste certain flavors more strongly than others. However, even if beets are not on your list of favorite foods, give this delicious pesto a try. Super Beet Pesto It’s made with earthy red beets, flavorful grated cheese, rich walnuts, pungent garlic, and bright lemon juice and it was a hit at this year’s YRMC Celebrate Life Expo, where it won over beet lovers and skeptics alike! Check out how easy it is to make fabulous beet pesto on this segment of AZTV’s Arizona Daily Mix. Beets are a good source of nitrate (a nutrient some vegetables absorb from the soil), and studies show that the high level of nitrate in beets and other vegetables (including leafy greens, cabbage, celery, parsley, dill, and leeks) can help blood vessels relax and stretch, thus lowering blood pressure. In fact, many scientists attribute much of the blood pressure-lowering effects of the famous DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) to the generous portions of nitrate-containing greens and other vegetables recommended in the plan. Our bodies convert some of the nitrate we get from vegetables into nitric oxide, a compound also naturally produced by healthy blood vessels. Nitric oxide relaxes and stretches blood vessels as the heart contracts and pushes blood throughout the body. Unfortunately, aging and chronic disease, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, can impair the ability of blood vessels to make nitric oxide – leading to hypertension. Studies show that dietary nitrate, from nitrate-rich veggies, can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension by supplementing nitric oxide levels in the blood. Whole Red and Chiogga Beets The nitrate in beets can also give athletes a competitive edge. Studies demonstrate improved performance when athletes consume beet juice (up to 500 ml or 16 ounces) 2-3 hours before a competition. When the nitrates in beet juice are converted to nitric acid, athletes experience increased oxygen delivery to muscles, more efficient muscle performance and improved glucose metabolism as muscle cells use sugar for energy. Beets are also good for lowering cholesterol! This benefit seems to be related not to nitrate, but to the important phytochemicals that give beets their ruby-red color. Here’s a great video with Michael Greger, MD, founder of NutritionFacts.org. In this video, Dr. Greger shares research demonstrating the affinity certain vegetables have for grabbing onto bile. Bile is made from cholesterol and is a normal part of our digestive juices. Certain phytochemicals and soluble fibers in food bind with bile in the intestines and prevent bile from being reabsorbed, recycled and used again. This forces us to make new bile, which lowers cholesterol levels in our blood. Phytochemicals and fibers that bind bile may also reduce our risk of certain types of cancer. In a study comparing the bile-binding ability of 13 different veggies, beets take the lead! Sliced Red and Chiogga Beets It’s clear that some vegetables, like beets, are packed with phytochemical and other nutrients that protect us from illness and disease. For more recipes using beets, leafy greens, fresh herbs and other super-delicious and nutritious plant foods, check out Your Healthy Kitchen, YRMC’s online video cooking tutorials. You can also follow me on Facebook at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, where you’ll see what I am making at home, and get insider tips and recipes, and information on food- and gardening-related activities in the community!
YRMC Announces Opening Date for New Primary Care Clinic in Chino Valley
Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has announced the date for the opening of a new primary care clinic in Chino Valley. The new primary care clinic – YRMC PhysicianCare, Primary Care – is an important step to expand healthcare services for people in Chino Valley, Paulden, Ash Fork and other communities in the region. The new clinic, located at 474 N. State Route 89 in Chino Valley, is scheduled to open on Monday, August 13. YRMC will discontinue service at their existing YRMC PhysicianCare location in Chino Valley on this same date. Patients who currently receive care at YRMC PhysicianCare in Chino Valley will begin to receive care at the new location on Monday, August 13. YRMC PhysicianCare, Primary Care in Chino Valley will deliver primary care medicine through a team of healthcare professionals including physicians, advanced clinical practitioners and other highly trained professionals. Our Healthcare Providers Physicians Jean Earl, DO, and Charity Weldt, MD, will continue to serve patients at the new YRMC PhysicianCare, Primary Care location. Scott Ekdahl, DO, MPH, and Gerald Baldwin, PA-C, will also join the practice on Monday, August 13, followed by Anthony Brown, DO, who will join the practice on Monday, August 20. Dr. Ekdahl and Dr. Brown will accept new patients. There are also plans to add an additional primary care physician later in the year. Current and New Patients People who are currently receiving care at YRMC PhysicianCare in Chino Valley will simply drive to the new location when it opens on August 13. No new patient documentation will need to be completed by current patients. New patients will need to complete new patient documentation which will be available at the clinic beginning on August 13.
My Memories of YRMC: Monica Rodarte
By Monica Rodarte, Tempe, Arizona It was September 26, 1980. I had entered the maternity ward at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) in full-on labor. My baby was already crowning. It was the first day at work for the nurse who came to my aid. As she was rushing me to the labor room, the nurse said they would call my doctor. I told her I had called him before heading to the hospital. He’s not coming, I told her. He said I wasn’t in labor. She got me on the table and instructed me not to push. We needed to wait for the doctor. He’s not coming, I repeated. Then I told her, “Go out for a pass, because this baby is on the way.” That nurse delivered my baby boy, Michael, at 8:44 pm. I was in labor for one hour and delivered in four minutes. When Michael graduated from McClintock High School in Tempe, my Mom recognized that same nurse sitting behind us in the stands. I asked her if she used to work at YRMC. She said, “Yes.” I said to her, “My son is graduating tonight and I am pretty sure you delivered him.” I told her the story, and asked her if she remembered that night. Unfortunately, she didn’t, but we both had a good laugh. What are the odds? I wish I knew that nurse’s name. She delivered my greatest joy, and kept my hospital bill under $250!
Two Years Later, 100 Pounds Lighter – and Still Learning!
Russ Dowling’s life changed the day he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. As a man who works on his feet all day, he was anxious about complications like heart disease and peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves in his feet) and was at a loss about what to do to turn things around. That was two years ago. Today, after taking the Diabetes Self-Management Classes at Yavapai Regional Medical Center, working with his physician, and asking lots of questions, he’s 100 pounds lighter and his blood sugar levels are normal. His journey hasn’t been a straight shot (a budding pepperoni habit recently tripped him up a bit), and he’s still adding new, healthy habits into the lifestyle he enjoys. He’s learned that change is a process, not an event, and that change doesn’t happen overnight! Before the diagnosis of diabetes, Russ described himself as a man who was “living the dream”. He ate whatever he wanted and remarkably, all of his labs were normal. When results from labs drawn for a physical at work confirmed diabetes, he felt like he had been handed a ‘death sentence’. Russ states, “I really had no idea what to do. I needed help and information and I got all of that in the diabetes classes offered at the YRMC Del E. Webb Outpatient Center in Prescott Valley”. Gathering information is an important first step anyone can take toward gaining a sense of empowerment and control in managing a disease like diabetes. However, information alone often fails to sustain healthy habits. Likewise, fear of complications from a disease might initially trigger a desire for change, but fear fades as time goes by, making room for old habits to return. Debbie Peterson knows all about the challenges surrounding lifestyle change. As a Professional Certified Life Coach (PCLC), DBA Coaching Clarity by Definition, she works with people who are looking for support in creating new habits. Debbie states, “The emotions and attitudes we have, as well as the value we place in changing lifestyle habits all predict our success”. She defines attitude as an emotional tie to beliefs about ourselves (and others) and emphasizes the big role that feelings and emotions play in making lifestyle changes that stick. Developing awareness of the feelings you have about making specific lifestyle changes can help clarify what motivates you to adopt new habits, as well as what holds you back! Practitioners of Motivational Interviewing (MI), a client/patient-centered counseling approach that helps people find their own motivation for change, view the conflicting feelings we often have about change as rich sources of useful information that can actually help people move forward. After all, while there are usually very good reasons to adopt a healthier diet, to drink more water, or begin a regular exercise routine, there are also good reasons to maintain the status quo! With any change in life, there are things to gain, but also things to lose, like comfortable routines and familiar ways of being with yourself and others. Simply writing down the pros and cons of adopting a new habit can help you honestly assess and come to terms with the up- and downside of change. Russ was fortunate to see mostly the upside of a new diet, weight loss and good blood sugar control. He wanted to keep working to support himself and his family, and he didn’t want anything to interfere with a big love in his life – travelling the country on his motorcycle. However, he did struggle with feelings about missing favorite foods and the comfortable habits he shared with others in his life. Making compromises and setting realistic goals has helped Russ maintain his (mostly) healthy diet. Debbie Peterson emphasizes the importance of being honest with yourself about change. “Having unreal expectations will foster feelings of disappointment that can sabotage your efforts and lend a hand to failure. Even though disappointment is nothing more than a feeling, we tend to experience that feeling when we buy into the anxiety of wrestling with our comfort zone”. She adds, “Keep your expectations real for each habit change. Most of the time we know what’s right, but choose what’s easy”. The power to make our own decisions and be the primary movers in our own lives lies at the heart of most successful lifestyle changes. By gathering information, honestly assessing the pros and cons of new habits, and being realistic about expectations (remember, nobody is perfect), we can dramatically increase our chances of creating healthy, lifelong habits!
3D Tomosynthesis Mammography Units Added to YRMC Imaging Sites
Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) introduced two additional 3D Tomosynthesis mammography units to their imaging sites in March, bringing the total to three in the YRMC network. The evidence is clear that Tomosynthesis—3D mammography—is a more precise screening for breast cancer for certain women. According to Kathleen Hoffer, Imaging Operations Manager for the BreastCare Center at YRMC, “3D mammography is becoming the standard, especially for women with dense breast tissue, and we want to make it available throughout the community. This is why we placed a new Tomosynthesis unit at Prescott Medical Imaging in Prescott and an additional unit at the BreastCare Center in Prescott Valley.” Research confirms that breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer afflicting women in America, so detecting it is a high priority. The standard 2D mammogram creates a 2-dimensional image of the breast with two x-ray images of each breast. The 3-dimensional mammogram adds an additional view that allows breast tissue to be evaluated in greater detail with no significant increase to the radiation dose. The 3D mammogram is particularly important for women with dense breast tissue. Younger women often have denser breast tissue than older women do and will benefit even more from a 3D mammogram because of its increased accuracy rate. It also has less false positives and much lower call back rates, so a 3D mammogram is overall more accurate than a standard 2D mammogram. “When someone gets a call back and has to return for additional screening, it is very anxiety-provoking for the patient and their loved ones”, states Radiologist Brent Johnson, MD. “This is another reason 3D mammograms are better for the patient. If there is a 15 percent chance of being called back—using conventional 2D mammograms—some women may decide to avoid mammograms all together, which increases the chance of a breast cancer being missed entirely. It is very sad when I see advanced cancers that could have easily been detected much sooner simply by having a timely mammogram.” When a woman is screened with a 3D mammogram, the call back rate decreases by half from 15 percent to about 7 or 8 percent, which significantly reduces the need for additional testing and associated anxiety. Dr. Johnson states, “The extra cost of a 3D mammogram is mitigated by not having to do as many ultrasounds or extra views, a breast MRI or biopsy. Those extra tests are not only more expensive in the long run for patients, but often can ultimately increase radiation exposure compared to starting with a 3D mammogram.” Kathleen Hoffer adds, “3D mammograms are performed based on provider or radiologist recommendation. Patients who are aware that they have dense breast tissue should insist on a 3D mammogram.” Many insurance providers, including Medicare, have now opted to cover Tomosynthesis screenings, because it is actually less expensive in the long run, making the 3D mammogram better for patients in terms of cost. Some patients opt to pay the additional cost not covered by insurance simply for their peace of mind, knowing they are getting the most state-of-the-art mammogram. If you would like to have a 3D mammogram at the BreastCare Center in Prescott Valley or in Prescott at Prescott Medical Imaging, please speak to your primary care provider or call (928) 771-7577 for Prescott Medical Imaging or (928) 442-8900 for the BreastCare Center in Prescott Valley.
Prescott Area Youth Hit the Biking Trails this Summer with Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance
We’ve all seen the reports: the Prescott area is frequently rated one of the best places in the country to live. One of the foremost reasons is that our region is an ideal destination for outdoor recreation and leisure activities due to the near-perfect climate and clean air. The hiking and biking trails are nationally acclaimed. But how do we get our local youth connected to what our environment has to offer? That’s the question raised by the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance (PMBA), a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Since 2010, the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance has been dedicated to planning and building trails, as well as developing recreational riding opportunities for the citizens of Prescott. This year, the alliance is kicking off a prescott summer youth program to engage Prescott area youth in the fun and rewarding sport of mountain biking. The program will also offer our youth community service engagement opportunities. When asked why this engagement is critical, Brent Roberts, President of PMBA, offers a two-fold response, “There’s a superficial answer in that we want to give kids something to do that’s healthy, fun and offers group cohesiveness and a social outlet. But the deeper goal is that experiential programs that get kids doing things outdoors are critical for long-term mental health and well-being. We want kids to challenge themselves; to realize that they have more capability than they originally thought.” Throughout the summer, PMBA will offer weekly mountain bike rides, skills clinics and bike repair workshops, all organized around age and ability and led by trained and experienced coaches and instructors. The program is free of charge to all area youth. “When we wrote the grant for the program, we wondered if we were going to be able to raise the needed matching funds,” says Roberts. However, members of PMBA were pleasantly surprised. “It was amazing to see how much enthusiasm there was for this project. People responded so quickly and organizations were eager to support us. It was gratifying to see that our community was ready for a summer youth program like this.” Yavapai Regional Medical Center is among the PMBA Summer Youth Program supporters. “The Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance Summer Youth Program dovetails perfectly with Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Mission,” says Ken Boush, Director of Marketing and Communications at YRMC. “As the community’s not-for-profit healthcare provider, healing is only one aspect of what we do. YRMC also promotes health education, preventive medicine and ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle for all ages. We’re proud to be involved in a program that offers kids, sometimes for the first time, a love for getting outdoors and exercising.” The weekly rides, skills clinics and bike workshops will take place Wednesday and Thursday mornings, beginning June 6th. In addition, kids and their families have an opportunity to participate in trail stewardship, where they work with a team to maintain local trails. “This gives our youth a first-hand glimpse at what it takes for a public asset like a trail system to stay in shape,” says Roberts. “They’ll see that the privilege of using public lands goes hand-in-hand with a responsibility to be stewards of those assets and to commit time and energy to maintain them.” Roberts insists that the adults involved will get as much, or more, from working with the youth. “It’s such a positive experience for the leaders, instructors and even the parents,” he says. “Some of these kids begin programs like this feeling like they don’t have anything going for them. To watch them let go of that negative self-talk and connect with a new identity and a skill they never knew they were capable of… it’s incredibly rewarding.” For more information about PMBA and the Summer Youth Program, contact Brent Roberts at (928) 713-9825 or visit prescottmtb.com.
New Design and Enhanced Navigation Features Introduced to YRMC’s Patient Portal, YRMC CareConnect
Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) and YRMC PhysicianCare patients will find a fresh new design featuring improved navigation the next time they log-on to YRMC’s on-line patient portal, YRMC CareConnect. “We want our patients to have the best experience possible when accessing their confidential medical records through our on-line patient portal,” states Dee Betts, Director of Health Information Management at Yavapai Regional Medical Center. “Based on feedback from our patients, we redesigned the home page to give it a fresher look and we re-engineered the way our patients navigate through the site to make it easier for them to find the information they need.” Access to YRMC CareConnect is provided free of charge to patients of Yavapai Regional Medical Center, YRMC PhysicianCare, Prescott Medical Imaging and Prescott Valley Medical Imaging. Patients can subscribe to YRMC CareConnect when registering for services at an YRMC facility, when visiting their YRMC PhysicianCare provider, or by contacting YRMC’s Health Information Management Department. When using YRMC CareConnect, patients have access to their personal health profile, laboratory results, radiology studies, medication lists, patient education resources and a comprehensive library of healthcare information. “In today’s high-tech world, people expect to have access to their health information through their preferred device, be it a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone,” states Betts. “With YRMC CareConnect, they do.” For more information contact YRMC Health Information Management at (928) 771-5657 or call YRMC’s general switchboard at (928) 445-2700 and ask for Health Information Management.
First WATCHMAN Procedure at YRMC’s James Family Heart Center
The James Family Heart Center at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) has reached another significant medical milestone with the introduction of the left atrial appendage closure (LAAC) procedure, better known as the “WATCHMAN™.” “The launch of this new service is another excellent example of why the community can be proud to have this state-of-the-art Heart Center right here at home,” said Pierre Tibi, MD, Medical Director of The James Family Heart Center at YRMC. “ The WATCHMAN™ is performed in YRMC’s hybrid operating suite – regarded as among the finest in the nation – by either Soundos K. Moualla, MD, YRMC Structural and Interventional Cardiologist, or Nisha Tung-Takher, MD, YRMC Cardiac Electrophysiologist. Who is eligible for the WATCHMAN™? The procedure is designed for people with Afib (atrial fibrillation) that’s not related to a heart valve problem as well as people who don’t respond well to blood thinners. Afib affects the heart’s ability to pump blood normally. It can cause blood to pool in the left atrial appendage and form a clot. A permanent heart implant, the WATCHMAN™, reduces the risk of blood clots originating in the left atrial appendage. “These blood clots can escape from the left atrial appendage, enter the bloodstream and cause a stroke,” said Gwen Rhodes, RN, YRMC Patient Navigator. “Many stroke-causing clots that come from the heart are formed in the left atrial appendage. That’s why closing off this part of the heart is recommended for some people as a way to reduce their risk of stroke.” Specially trained physicians like Drs. Moualla and Tung-Takher use computer guidance to implant the WATCHMAN™ device, which is about the size of a quarter. After making a small incision in the upper leg, these physicians insert a narrow tube, similar to a standard stent procedure, and guide the WATCHMAN™ into the left atrial appendage. The WATCHMAN™ device closes off that part of the heart to stop blood clots from escaping. Visit YRMC’s website for more information about the WATCHMAN™ and other YRMC James Family Heart Center services.