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If you have allergies, you may have noticed your symptoms getting worse with each passing year, a trend many experts attribute to rising Young woman with cedar allergiestemperatures associated with climate change. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), our shifting weather patterns increase both the levels of pollen and the amount of time it sticks around.

And while some people have seasonal allergies, year-round allergies caused by dust mites and pet dander may be worsened by airborne allergens like pollen.

In addition to climate change and longer pollen seasons, many medical experts believe the “hygiene hypothesis” may also play a role in the increase of allergies; it states that being too clean (overusing hand sanitizers, etc.) stunts our immune system development.

The good news is that no one needs to suffer through allergy season. By working with your physician and employing a few smart strategies, it’s possible to find relief and take charge of your allergies.

Check pollen counts daily

The 2019 allergy season is already upon us and it’s showing signs of being a bad one.

Climate change has led to warmer climates, early spring season, and longer and later seasons that allow for the eyes, nose and throat to be exposed to pesky pollen. In addition, urban areas and cities are more likely to have greater level of air pollutants, causing more intense allergy seasons.

To help prepare yourself, get in the habit of checking the pollen count in the same way you consult the weather forecast. If it’s high, try to stay indoors and close your windows. Think about purchasing a good mask for outdoor activities like yard work, and shower to wash off allergens before going to bed.

Being aware of the allergen types floating around may help, too. In areas of the country where you have three or four seasons per year, allergy season may start in February and March depending on the weather. It can begin with tree pollen, going through spring until just before early summer in many areas. Grass pollen season also overlaps and appears again in many areas by mid-spring and through summer. Lastly, weed and ragweed pollen levels rise during summer and go into the fall—and mold allergies can happen anytime.

To check for specific pollen and mold counts in your area, visit the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology pollen count website at aaaai.org or pollen.com.

Get a head start on treatment

If you have seasonal allergies, it’s best to start treatment before your symptoms become severe.

Steroid nasal sprays are the first-line treatment for seasonal allergies and can be obtained via prescription or over the counter (OTC); Flonase Allergy Relief and Rhinocort Allergy are two popular products. Some people manage their allergies with OTC oral antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec), while others may need to consult a physician if nonprescription medications don’t help or if allergy symptoms worsen.

Consult an allergist

While mild allergies or occasional flare-ups may be controlled by OTC medications, talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms such as chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.

For long-term allergies, patients often do better with a nasal steroid (such as Flonase or Nasonex). Unlike nasal decongestant sprays (such as Afrin) that are only supposed to be used for a few days and can cause rebound congestion, steroid nasal sprays reduce swelling and sensitivity in the nasal passages, making them less susceptible to allergy triggers.

Your doctor may also refer you to an allergist. Some patients may be good candidates for allergy shots, or sublingual immunotherapy (where a pill is taken orally and dissolves under your tongue). Both of these treatments start by introducing a patient’s immune system to a small bit of pollen weekly, eventually making them less sensitive to the allergens.

Allergy-proof your home

In addition to managing seasonal allergies with medication, it’s also important to allergy-proof your home against indoor allergens including dust, mold and pet dander. Doctors can even provide blood tests to determine exposure or sensitivity to these and other allergens.

Bedrooms are the most important rooms to allergy-proof. Vacuum frequently since rugs and carpet can trap allergens and put hypoallergenic covers on your mattress and pillows to protect against dust mites, the tiny organisms that live in the dust and fibers of household objects.

Washing your sheets once a week can also get rid of built up allergens and having an air purifier in your bedroom can help filter out pollen, pet dander and mold spores and help improve air quality.

Ultimately, allergy season may only get worse, but improving your awareness, treatment and home environment could save you a lot of misery—and tissues.

 

Los efectos positivos del ejercicio moderado en las mujeres menores de 50 años

Cardiólogo Dr. José Mejía visitó Leslie Montoya de Univision para discutir un nuevo estudio realizado por el Asociación Americana del Corazón.  

Aspectos destacados del estudio

  • Actividad física recreativa disminuye el riesgo de enfermedades coronarias en mujeres jóvenes.
  • La actividad no tiene por qué ser extenuante estar vinculado con un menor riesgo de enfermedades del corazón .
  • Los beneficios de la actividad física aplicada a las mujeres con sobrepeso y obesidad , así como los de peso normal.

Leer más sobre el estudio aquí en Inglés

Cardiologist Dr. Jose Mejia visited Univision’ s Leslie Montoya to discuss a new study from the American Heart Association.


The positive effects of moderate exercise for women under 50

Study Highlights

  • Recreational physical activity decreases the risk of coronary heart disease in young women.
  • Activity did not have to be strenuous to be linked with reduced heart disease risk.
  • The benefits of physical activity applied to overweight and obese women as well as those of normal weight.

Read more about the study here

 

Only fresh and healthy food for my baby.

According to the CDC, “each year in United States approximately 3,000 pregnancies are affected by serious defects of the spine and brain called neural tube defects (NTDs). Hispanic women have a 30-40 percent higher risk of having babies with these birth defects. “

One of the easiest ways to prevent these birth defects is by taking folic acid.  Folic acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that everyone needs to take in order to have optimum cellular health and growth.   

Who should take folic acid?

All people need folic acid. However, folic acid is very important for women who are between 15 and 45 years of age, even if they are not currently trying to get pregnant.  According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the current recommendation is for  pregnant women get at least 600 micrograms of folic acid daily from all sources.  However, Dr. Yvette Guitterez-Schieffer, ADC OB/Gyn, recommends 1000 micrograms a day for pregnant patients and those trying to get pregnant.   Dr. Gutierrez-Schieffer also recommends that those women with a family history of neural tube defects should take 2-4 mgs a day.

Why is folic acid important?

Folic acid when taken before and during early pregnancy has been found to decrease birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (NTDs).  These neural tube defects include Spina Bifida and Anencephaly.  

Where can you find folic acid?

It may be hard to get the recommended amount of folic acid from food alone.  There are two easy ways to ensure you get enough folic acid in your daily diet.  

  • First is by taking either a multivitamin, or a prenatal vitamin, that has at least 800 micrograms of folic acid.  
  • Secondly, most breakfast cereals in the United States are fortified with 100% of the daily allowance of folic acid.  

Are there any natural ways to get folic acid?

There are many foods that have folate in them, however it can be hard to get the necessary amount of folic acid from food alone. So even if you eat foods that have folic acid in them, take your multivitamin each day, too.

Food sources for folate can be found in:

  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach, collard greens and romaine lettuce
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Citrus fruit, like oranges and grapefruit

Are there other benefits from taking folic acid?

Since folic acid is a key nutrient in cell health it’s important for everyone to get at least 400 mcg per day.  Folic acid has been shown to help with heart health as well as help those who may suffer from anemia.  

Sources:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sherwin Yen, M.D. joins The Austin Diagnostic Clinic Endocrinology section

Sherwin Yen, MD , Endocrinologist with The Austin Diagnostic ClinicWe are pleased to announce the addition of a fifth endocrinologist to ADC’s specialty group.   Dr. Yen will be seeing patients at ADC’s Main Clinic inside the North Austin Medical Center, 2nd floor, south wing.

Dr. Yen received his medical degree from Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.   He went on to complete his internship and residency in Internal Medicine, followed by a fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

He is a Texas licensed doctor with professional membership in the following organizations.

  • Travis County Medical Society
  • Texas Medical Association
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Society of Bone Mineral Research
  • Endocrine Society
  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

Dr. Yen is accepting new patients, including those with traditional Medicare part B,  to his practice.  He will diagnose and treat patients with diabetes, thyroid or metabolic disease.   He speaks limited Mandarin Chinese.

Dr. Yen joins partners Kavita Juneja, MD, Hien Tran, MD and Paul Moore, MD in North Austin.   A fifth partner, Farheen Yousuf, MD practices exclusively at ADC Westlake.

To make an appointment call 512-901-4055.