April is Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month


Every two weeks 75% of the population experiences some level of stress. Millions of Americans suffer from unhealthy levels of stress at work. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, taking care of yourself is a sign of strength.


What is Stress?


There are several definitions of stress. Some individuals define it as trouble concentrating, not being able to sleep, or having too many external pressures and demands. Others state it’s a feeling of tense, nervous, irritable, or apathetic emotions. The medical definitions view stress as a measurable change within our bodies.


What are the Dangers of Stress?


Stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other illnesses. It can affect your immune system, which protects us from serious diseases. Stress contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, drug addiction, suicide, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.


What are the Coping Strategies of Stress?


  1. Stay healthy and adopt healthy lifestyle changes
  2. Learn to relax and meditate
  3. Create a change in scenery
  4. Get some exercise
  5. Smile
  6. Take one task at a time
  7. Give yourself a break
  8. Learn to say no
  9. Be Flexible
  10. Avoid excessive competition
  11. Don’t get frustrated with criticism
  12. Mange your anger
  13. Be honest


** It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to be avoid and reduce stress. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center. **

February is Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Febuary 23rd – March 1st 2014


What is an Eating Disorder?


An eating disorder is extreme behaviors, emotions, and attitudes toward weight and food issues. The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.


What is Anorexia Nervosa?


Anorxia is when one restricts their food intake to below their requirement for physical health. Those with anorxia have a fear of weight gain. They are unable to recognize their actual shape or know how serious their condition is.


What is Bulimia Nervosa?


Bulimia is when one eats a large amount of food at one time and vomits or takes laxatives in order to prevent weight gain. People with bulimia usually feel out of control during these occurences. They judge themselves based in their weight and shape.


What is Binge Eating Disorder?


Those with binge eating disorder usually eat a large amount of food at one time. They can feel out of control during these episodes. People with this disorder might have the feeling of guilt and shame when they eat and usually eat alone. These individuals will eat until they are at a point of discomfort. 


What are the Signs and Symptoms of an Eating Disorder?


-          Frequent comments about feeling “fat”

-          When weight loss, dieting and control of food are primary topics

-          Disappearence of large amounts of food in short periods of time

-          Evidence of purging might include frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, smells of vomiting, presence of laxatives or diuretics

-          Skips meals

-          Hides body with baggy clothes

-          Maintains excessive, rigid exercise regimen due to the need to “burn off” calories

-          Uses excessive amounts of mouthwash, mints and gum


How can you Help somone with an Eating Disorder?


When starting a conversation with someone who may have an eating disorder you should be supportive and non-judgmental. You need to let them know that they are not alone.


   Here are some tips:


-          Know to differentiate between facts and myths about weight, nutrition and exercise

-          Ask them what you can do to help

-          Listen openly 

-          Explain the reasons for your concerns but try not to mention specific eating behaviors

-          Ask if they are willing to explore these concerns with a healthcare professional

-          Don’t invade their privacy and contact the patient’s doctors

-          Don’t insist the person eat every type of food at the table

-          Don’t offer more help than you are qualified to give


**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent and get help with eating disorders! Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**

February is American Heart Month 

What is Heart Disease?


There are many types of heart disease. The heart gives oxygen and nutrients to all tissues of the body. If it becomes ineffective, vital organs may stop working. If the heart stops working death will occur. Some heart diseases are heart failure, arrhythmia, heart valvue problems, stroke, and heart attacks.


 What are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?



  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Age (55 or older)
  • Family history



What is the most common type of Heart Disease?


Coronary Heart Disease


Coronary heart disease can appear as a heart attack. Around 785,000 people will have a heart attack in a year and 470,000 of those people will have a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, someone will have a coronary attack and about one every minute will die from one.



What are the signs and symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease?


Chest discomfort:

Discomfort in the center of the chest for a few minutes or it goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body:

Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

Shortness of breath:

This may occur with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs:

These may include cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.



How can you prevent against Heart Disease?


Having a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent heart disease

  • Choose lean meats and poultry
  • Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products
  • Reduce trans fat in your diet
  • Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol
  • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation
  • Keep an eye on your portion sizes


**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent against Heart Disease. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**

December is World’s AIDS Day Awareness


What is World AIDS Day?


World AIDS Day is a day to unit against the fight of HIV, support indivduals with a diagnosis of AIDS/HIVand a time to remember those who have passed. The first World AIDS day was held in 1988. There are 34 million people currently living with HIV in the world. Even though treatment for AIDS and HIV has come along way and there are laws to protect the people with this diseadee, Stigmas and discriminationstill exists against those with the disease.


What is the Difference between AIDS and HIV?


HIV means that you have the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in your body. You get  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) when your body’s immune system can no longer fight off diseases. As HIV advances, it causes more damaged to your immune defence cells. People can live many years with HIV and not develop AIDS; however they can still pass on the virus. This is why it is important to be tested regularly.


How is HIV transmitted?


HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids, such as vaginal fluids, semen, blood, rectal secretions, and breast milk. The most common way of transmission is through sex without a condom or sharing infected needles or syringes. HIV can also be transmitted through oral sex but the risk is lower than anal or vaginal sex. You cannot transmitt HIV through normal contact, kissing, or sharing a cup or plate.


What are the Symptoms of early HIV Infection?


Ten days after infection  is usualywhen the most common symptomsappear. Symptoms  can be a fever, rash, and severe sore throat that all happen at the same time. It is strongly encouraged that patients are tested during symptoms as they may not show any further symptoms. Right before HIV turns into AIDS some other diseases  such as uch as pneumonia, blood poisoning, tuberculosis, fungal disease, and viral diseases may appear.


Is there Treatments or Vaccines for HIV?


HIV treatment has become more effective in the past decade and helps HIV positive indiviudals life a normal and active life. .  HIV treatment reduces the level of HIV in the body which can also reduce the chance of HIV being transmitted to others. Treatment also reduces the chance of an HIV positive woman to pass it on to her child.

There are no vaccines to prevent against HIV.


Where can I get tested?


You can make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center with your Primary Physican to get tested. You can be tested through blood or saliva. Depending on the type of test you have  it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 weeks to get your results. These tests are very accurate and all HIV postive tests are repeated for verification. If you think you are at risk do not wait to get tested.


**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent, get tested, and treat HIV! Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**





December is Seasonal Affective Disorder Awareness Month


What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?


SAD is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. For most people with SAD depression usually starts around the end of fall and into the winter. However, some people might experience SAD during spring and summer months.

 What are the Symptoms of SAD?


For the fall/winter months symptoms may include:


  • Anxiety
  • Loss of Energy
  • Oversleeping
  • Weight Gain
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Hopelessness
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Loss of Interest
  • Change in Appetite



For the spring/summer months symptoms may include:


  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Poor Appetite
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Weight Loss
  • Increased Sex Drive


What Causes SAD?


The specific causes of SAD are not known. Genetics, age, and your body’s chemical make up most likely play a role. More specifically your biological clock, serotonin levels, and melatonin levels most likely are responsible. Your biological clock may be affected due to the changes in time of sun set and sun rise which can lead to a feeling of depression. A drop in serotonin levels can be caused by a reduction in sun light which can lead to mood changes. Sleep patteners and mood swings may also be affected by a change in melatonin levels that can affects by the change of seasons.


What are the Risk Factors of SAD?


Risk factors include:

  • Being Female
  • Family History
  • Having Clinical Depression or Bipolar Disorder
  • Living Far from the Equator

How are you Diagnosed?


Your doctor can diagnose you with SAD depending on your response tou several detailed questions and a physical exam. These details questions would include questions about your changes in mood, thoughts and behavior; sleeping and eating habits; as well as questions about yourpersonal and professional relationships. Medical tests are not usually performed unless the doctor suspects that a certain condition is causing your depression.


What is the Treatment for SAD?


You andh your doctor should discuss the best treatment for you. Some treatments may include light therapy, medications, psychotherapy or a combination of them. There are also several lifestyle and home remedies you can do to help treat your SAD. Making your environment brighter or sunnier, exercising regularly and getting outside are just a fewexamples of changes a person can make. Supplements may also be included into your treatment, such as St John’s wart, SAMe, Melatonin, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Do not take these supplement without discussing them with your doctor first as they can cause complications if you have certain diseases.


**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent and treat seasonal affective disorder! Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**





November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

What is Pancreatic Cancer?


Pancreatic cancer is when malignant cells form in the pancreas. The pancreas is a 6 inch long gland that is located behind the stomach but in front of the spine. It produces digests enzymes that break down the food we consume and hormones that control blood sugar levels. The pancreas also helps the body store and use energy that we get from the food we consume. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer because it is usually diagnosed at a late stage. It is the fourth leading cause of death in America.


What are Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors?

  • Increased age (over 60 years)
  • Genetics
  • African Americans
  • Tobacco usage
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Fatty diet
  • Pancreatic cysts


What are Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms?


There are usually no symptoms during the early stages of pancreatic cancer. Most of the symptoms are very common and could be caused by a number of other reasons. The most common symptoms are persistent abdominal pain, unexplained and significant weight loss, and an immense amount of upper back pain. Some other symptoms may include loss of appetite, change of bowel movements, pain while eating, or nausea and vomiting.

How is Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosed?

  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy for pancreatic cancer
  • Laparoscopy
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Pulmonary function test
  • MRI scan
  • Exercise tolerance test

How is Pancreatic Cancer Treated?


Pancreatic cancer can be treated with one or a combination of treatments. These treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, clinical trials, and pancreatic enzyme replacement treatment for symptom control. Work with your doctor to figure out what the best plan of action for treating your cancer.


**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer early! Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**


November is American Diabetes Month

American Diabetes Month

What is Diabetes?


Diabetes is a condition where your body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use it properly. It can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in America.  There are several types of Diabetes, such as, Prediabetes, Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes.  Prediabetes is when your blood glucose levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is when the body cannot produce insulin and is usually diagnosed in children and teens. Type 2 diabetes is when your body does not use insulin properly.  Gestational diabetes is when a pregnant women who did not have diabetes before pregancy now has high blood glucose levels.


What are Diabetes Symptoms?


Symptoms of diabetes  include urinating frequently, feeling very hungry or thirsty, blurry vision, severe fatigue, weight loss, numbness or tingling in feel or hands, or cuts and bruises that  are slow to mend.


How is Diabetes Diagnosed?


Diabetes can be diagnosed at your doctor’s office either by an A1C test, Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test, or Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). An A1C test measures your blood glucose over the past 2-3 months. If your blood glucose is over 6.5% you have diabetes. FPG test checks your fasting (before food or fluid intake) blood glucose levels. You cannot eat or drink 8 hours before the test. If your blood glucose is greater than 200 mg/dl you have diabetes. OGTT checks your blood glucose 2 hours after you drink a special drink. If your blood glucose is greater than 200 mg/dl you have diabetes. 


How is Diabetes Treated?


Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented making changes in your lifestyle. Changing your lifestyle means eating healthy, increasing physical activity, and maintaining a normal weight. Adults should get 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. Even if you do not lose enough weight to be at your ideal weight, losing 15 pounds will help prevent against diabetes. If you would like to know if you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes visit:

Diabetes can be treated several ways. Lifestyle changes, medication, blood glucose monitoring, and managing your ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol) are all ways to treat your diabetes. To know the best treatment plan for you visit your primary care physician.



**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent and treat your Diabetes! Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

What is Breast Cancer?


Breast cancer is a tumor in the breast that forms when cells grow and divide out control. The tumor usually grows slowly and may take years before it is  discovered. However, there are some tumors that grow quickly and are extremely aggressive. Both men and women can devlope breast cancer. Women and men are treated the same way and have the same survival rate when in the identical stage of cancer. Men are usually diagnosed at a later stage because it takes them longer to report an abnormality.


What are the Symptoms?


Symptoms may include lumps or knots in the breast or armpit, swelling or redness on the breast, change in size, dimples in the skin, rashes or itchy skin, abnormal discharge, or constant soreness. It is best to see your primary care physician to know if these are signs of cancer. You should examine your breasts  daily to know what is normal for you. When you notice something abnormal please contact your doctor.


What are the Risk Factors?



  • Aging
  • Inherited Gene Mutations
  • Family History of Breast Cancer
  • Lack of Exercise
  •  Over Weight
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Bone density
  • Previously Diagnosis of Cancer


How can you Prevent against Breast Cancer?


There are several ways you can prevent against breast cancer. One of the best ways to prevent against breast cancer is to get screened. If you are over 40 years old you should get a mammogram every year. It is also beneficial to perform a daily breast exam. Another prevention is to be physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating healthy. Eating healthy includes avoiding fatting foods, limit red and processed meat, eating 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, reduce salt, and drink alcohol in moderation.


How do I know if I have Breast Cancer?


The best way to know if you have breast cancer is to get tested. These tests usually happen when you or your doctor finds a lump in your breast or if you have an abnormal mammogram. If cancer cannot be ruled out by a mammogram you will need a biopsy. A biopsy removes cells or tissue from the area and is studied under a microscope. If cancer is found early, it can frequently be treated successfully.


How do you Treat Breast Cancer?


There are several ways to treat breast cancer. Treatment is based on the size of the tumor, the tumor grade and type, the tumor characteristics, and the lymph node status. If diagnosed, you should discuss with your oncologist the best treatment for you. Some of the most common treatments are:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Chemotherapy drugs



** Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center to know more about risks and prevention against breast cancer.**


October is National Liver Awareness Month

Liver Awareness Month



Why is my Liver Important?


The liver purifies blood and detoxifies infections, alcohol, metals, drugs, chemicals, and poisons from the blood. It digests fats, manufactures proteins and processes everything you take in.

If you do not work to keep your liver healthy you could develop:


  • Liver failure
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Fatty Liver
  • Ascites
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Gilbert Syndrome
  • Hepatitis A, B or C
  • Liver Cancer
  • Liver Fibrosis
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Wilsons Disease



How Can You Tell if Your Liver is not Working?



  • Jaundice
  • Dark colored urine
  • Severe itching
  • Pale colored stools
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Breast pain
  • Depression
  • Spider shaped blood vessels on stomach
  • Menstrual disturbances
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low appetite
  • Tender or painful abdomen


How can you Prevent against Liver Disease?


Liver disease can be prevented by avoiding alcohol, stress, sugar, and fatty foods. Alcohol destroys healthy liver cells. Stress prevents the liver to work properly. When too much sugar is consumed, the liver starts to convert it to fat which increases the chance of fatty liver disease and prevents the liver from functioning normally.  Fatty foods can slow down liver function, increase the risk of fatty liver disease and increase the risk of hypertension. You can also prevent liver disease by drinking more water, practicing relaxation techniques, and eating a healthy diet. Water helps the liver process waste and relaxation techniques will help relieve stress.


How do you Treat Liver Disease?


There are several types of liver treatments. The type of treatment you receive depends on your diagnosis. You and your doctor should discuss t what the best treatment plan will be for you.


** It is best to see you Primary Care Physician regularly in order to keep your liver healthy. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**

September is National Cholesterol Education Month

National Cholesterol Education Month




What is Cholesterol?


Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that our bodies need. Too much cholesterol in our blood can cause a build up on artery walls. This build up may lead to heart disease or stroke. There are ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). When people talk about high cholesterol levels they are referring to the LDL cholesterol. Two out of three adults have high cholesterol and most do not have it under control.


Why is it important to be Screened?


Screening is how an individual knows what their cholesterol numbers are. Many people do not know they have high cholesterol because there are no symptoms. This is why screening is so important. The screening process is simple and can be done by your primary care physician. Individuals 20 years and older should have their cholesterol checked at least every 5 years.


What do my Numbers mean?


Total Cholesterol Level


Less than 200 mg/dL


200-239 mg/dL

Borderline high

240 mg/dL and above


LDL Cholesterol Level

LDL Cholesterol Category

Less than 100 mg/dL


100-129 mg/dL

Near optimal/above optimal

130-159 mg/dL

Borderline high

160-189 mg/dL


190 mg/dL abd above

Very high


What are the Risk Factors of High Cholesterol?


Unhealthy diet
Being overweight
Physical inactivity
Age (men 45 and up; women 55 and up)
Cigarette smoking
High blood pressure


How do you Prevent High Cholesterol?


Making lifestyle changes can prevent against high cholesterol. Other changes may include eating a low-fat, low-salt, and high-fiber diet, being physically active, maintain a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco.


 How do you Treat High Cholesterol?


Two ways to treat high cholesterol drug treatment and lifestyle changes. Medications prescribed by your doctor can lower your cholesterol but should be used with lifestyle changes.  Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and avoiding tobacco use.


**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to know your cholesterol numbers! Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**