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'wellness' posts

Are You Up to Date on Your Pap Smear?

Recent changes to Pap guidelines may have you wondering when exactly you need to have a pap smear and in turn, how often you really need an annual exam with your gynecologist. Here I’m going to review the new pap guidelines so you can determine if you are up to date! Of course, every patient should check with their physician about what they recommend regarding the timing of cervical cancer screening because some specific populations may have different recommendations. These are just the general guidelines.

Pap smears are a screening test for cervical cancer. They have helped decrease the incidence of cervical cancer by more than 50% in the last 30 years. Over the last decade we’ve also begun testing for HPV (or Human Papillomavirus) which is by far the most common cause of abnormal pap smears and cervical cancer. It is an incredibly common sexually transmitted virus that can be spread by genital to genital contact but also oral to genital and manual to genital contact. It has been estimated that 75 to 80 percent of sexually active adults will acquire a genital tract HPV infection before the age of 50. Luckily, most HPV-infected women, especially younger women, will mount an effective immune response to the virus and will never develop dysplasia or cancer.

HPV is not like herpes —YOU CAN GET RID OF IT! The amount of time it takes to get rid of the virus varies but most experts think it takes an average of 8-24 months. Women with persistent HPV infections are more likely to get dysplasia and if it goes undetected or untreated, over time it can develop into cancer. HPV infections of the cervix do not cause symptoms and can only be detected by pap screening. Unfortunately we don’t have a cure for HPV, but vaccinations are available and FDA approved for girls and now boys ages 9-26. More on HPV is sure to show up in future blog posts, so stay tuned!

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends starting pap screening ....

Time Flies (Just Breathe)

It’s already February?! If you’re feeling stressed with 2012 passing so quickly, re-visiting this post on stress & the importance of breathing might help (originally posted on Parentelligence here). 

It’s no secret that we’re all just a little stressed these days. Between the economy and information overload on the internet, we have all sorts of things to worry about nowadays. Stress and anxiety can cause physical pain, emotional strain, and strain in your relationships. When you’re stressed, your body is secreting hormones that put you into that ‘fight or flight’ state. Long term, this state will wear on your body.

Our children pick up on our heightened state and become stressed and anxious, too.This is not a good state for children to thrive in. We learn best when we’re comfortable and relaxed, not if we’re nervous and anxious.

Parents need to learn how to regulate their own stress so that we may help our children learn the same coping techniques.

Tips to regulate stress in the immediate moment:

Where to Receive the Right Level of Medical Care

 When you are ill or injured, where should you go to receive the right level of medical care?

Five Healthy New Year's Resolutions for Men and Women

I'm a family doctor at Swedish's South Lake Union Primary Care Clinic - if you're into new year's resolutions, here are five healthy ones to try:

(Listen to the end for a 'bonus' resolution)

Resuming a Routine (but this one includes lunch)

It’s that time of year to get back into your routine. Whether that means packing your child’s lunch, preparing your own, or (ah-ha) adopting the concept of this midday meal for the first time, lunch is definitely an exciting and much needed opportunity to refuel your body with the proper nutrients necessary to continue plugging away until evening! (Yeah right, who has time for that meal? Sit tight, future post to come.)

Excuses, excuses…

1. “I don’t have time”

You wait in line at Starbucks for your double tall, nonfat, 1.5 pump whatever, right? Then you have time to make lunch. I swear – Google it. Told you – 40.3 million results for “quick healthy lunch” discredits this excuse.

If you don’t want to Google a solution, here are some ideas:

  • Planned-Overs*! Purposefully prepare extra at dinner, and reserve some for tomorrow’s lunch. Grilling burgers? Grill up extra patties that you can use for tacos the next day. Salmon? Roast a few extra ounces and save for a salmon salad. Baked chicken? Cut into strips and use in sandwiches, dice and throw in pasta, or add to a can of your favorite soup for a protein boost.

*Word to the wise (or anyone who has experienced food poisoning from improperly handled leftovers): When using leftovers, you need to know the basics of food safety. Keep foods out of the “Danger Zone”, which is 40-140F. Bacteria that can make you miserably ill favors this temp range, so keep your hot food hot, and cold foods cold. Never keep perishable foods in the danger zone for longer than 2 hours (1 hour if it’s hot outside).

Click here to learn more about food safety, including steps to keeping foods safe, myths, dangerous mistakes, cooking temperatures, recalls and much more.

  • Don’t have leftovers to use? Mix and match from the columns to create numerous quick assemble, healthy lunch options:

Medicine comes in many forms

It's a well known fact that animals can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and promote healing. The Swedish Edmonds Therapy Pups (STP) program, which began in early 2008, has expanded to include more than 10 teams of volunteer handlers and their Pet Partners®. Presently, the teams visit patients on surgery floors, but they can be stopped for a visit any time you see them in the halls. While their primary purpose is to see hospital patients, they often visit patients’ family and friends too – and our staff!

So what do handlers and their therapy pups do during a visit? I asked a few of our teams to share their stories. Also, make sure you watch the ‘dog cam’ below!

Just Breathe

It’s no secret that we’re all just a little stressed these days. Between the economy and information overload on the internet, we have all sorts of things to worry about nowadays. Stress and anxiety can cause physical pain, emotional strain, and strain in your relationships. When you’re stressed, your body is secreting hormones that put you into that ‘fight or flight’ state. Long term, this state will wear on your body.

Our children pick up on our heightened state and become stressed and anxious, too.This is not a good state for children to thrive in. We learn best when we’re comfortable and relaxed, not if we’re nervous and anxious.

Parents need to learn how to regulate their own stress so that we may help our children learn the same coping techniques.

Tips to regulate stress in the immediate moment:

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