8 Tips to Help Prevent SIDS

By Tyler Pascavis, MD

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is something that every parent should be aware of.  It is estimated that 3,400 sudden unexpectant infant deaths occur in the United States each year.  The good news is, there are multiple ways you can lower the risk of SIDS.

8 Ways to Reduce SIDS Risk

  1. Your infant should always sleep on his or her back. Placing your infant on their side or stomach to sleep can increase the risk of SIDS.
  2. Use a firm sleeping surface that meets the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Soft mattresses increase the risk of suffocation.
  3. Infants should sleep in their own crib or bassinet. Sleeping in a bed with others, such as co-sleeping with a parent, can increase the risk of SIDS.
  4. Your infant can sleep in the same room as the parent(s) on a separate, safe surface for at least the first 6 months of their life. This can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
  5. Crib bumpers, loose blankets, and stuffed animals all increase the risk of sudden death and suffocation, and these items should not be placed in the infant’s sleeping area. 
  6. Tobacco smoke, alcohol, and illicit drug use in the household all increase the risk of SIDS. It is important to set boundaries with other family members and friends to not expose your child to secondhand smoke.
  7. Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS. It is recommended to breast feed until at least 6 months of age.
  8. Avoid overheating your infant.  Usually, an infant only needs one more layer of clothing than you do. If you are comfortable in a t-shirt for example, then the infant is likely comfortable in a onesie plus another layer, like their swaddle blanket. Signs of overheating include sweating or your infant’s chest feeling hot to touch.

Although there is no way to completely prevent SIDS, these things can greatly reduce the risk. If you have any questions about SIDS, your NOAH doctor is here for you and your baby. Click here to make an appointment today.

Support NOAH’s Mission and Community Impact

NOAH impacts 45,000 lives every year and each one of those lives is a story of hope, compassion, and community. Donations from the community directly support NOAH’s mission.

When Theresa came into a NOAH clinic without an appointment this summer, she asked about just one concern: her blood pressure. NOAH gets patients the care they need, so even though the schedules were full that day, Theresa saw a provider.

During Theresa’s appointment, the doctor noticed and asked about other medical issues that had clearly been a big issue for a long time. Theresa explained that she had been to other health centers and community clinics, but none of them took the issues seriously or discuss treatments. And they were serious issues.

NOAH treats the whole patient because health and wellness are so much more than symptoms on a list.

That day her doctor also learned that Theresa was struggling with housing, food, and that she was the guardian of her younger sister with developmental delays. Theresa was facing a lot, but luckily, she was at NOAH. NOAH’s community resource team helped her get housing, food resources, and transportation to get to further medical appointments.

Her NOAH doctor took the time to build trust, allowing Theresa to get further tests, treatments, and referrals for specialists to address her health issues with the same care and compassion as NOAH.

Theresa had a voice in her treatment at NOAH, and was treated with care, patience, and respect. Theresa’s future is much brighter because she walked into NOAH that summer day.

This is just one patient. Support NOAH’s comprehensive care, which includes medical care, mental health services, virtual healthcare options, and community resources to allow patients to take care of their health, their families, and themselves.

Donations to NOAH qualify for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. This is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit. To learn more about how this works, visit here: https://noahhelps.org/tax-credit/

MyChart Now In Spanish / MyChart Ahora en Español

MyChart, the patient portal used by NOAH, HonorHealth, and many other healthcare organizations in Arizona and around the country is now available in Spanish as well as English.

MyChart, el portal para pacientes utilizado por NOAH, HonorHealth y muchas otras organizaciones de atención médica en Arizona y en todo el país ahora está disponible en español e inglés.

NOAH patients or their family members for whom Spanish is their primary or preferred language will now have better access to their healthcare. Having information and communications with your provider team in the language you prefer is an important step for patients to live their healthiest life.

Los pacientes de NOAH o sus familiares para quienes el español es su idioma principal o preferido ahora tendrán un mejor acceso a su atención médica. Tener información y comunicaciones con su equipo de proveedores de atención médica en el idioma que prefiere es un paso importante para que los pacientes vivan su vida de la manera más saludable.

MyChart is free and available as an app on your phone or tablet and is accessible via web browser as well.

MyChart es gratis y está disponible como una aplicación en su teléfono o tableta y también lo puede accesar a través del navegador web.

Benefits of MyChart / Beneficios de MyChart

Patients can use MyChart from anywhere to:

  • Schedule or cancel appointments with your provider.
  • Review test and lab results.
  • Email your provider with non-urgent medical questions and get a response within two business days.
  • Request prescription refills from your provider.
  • Review your medications, immunizations, allergies, and health history.
  • Access patient education resources through nationally recognized sources.
  • Review post-visit instructions.
  • Securely pay your bills online for all of your NOAH and HonorHealth accounts.

Los pacientes pueden usar MyChart de cualquier lugar para:

  • Programar o cancelar citas con su proveedor.
  • Revisar los resultados de pruebas y análisis de laboratorio.
  • Enviar un correo electrónico a su proveedor con preguntas médicas no urgentes y obtener una respuesta dentro de los dos días hábiles.
  • Solicitar a su proveedor que vuelva a surtir sus recetas médicas.
  • Revisar sus medicamentos, vacunas, alergias y antecedentes médicos.
  • Tener acceso a recursos educativos a través de fuentes reconocidas a nivel nacional.
  • Revisar indicaciones posteriores a la visita.
  • Pagar de manera segura sus facturas en línea de todas sus cuentas de NOAH y HonorHealth.

Learn more about MyChart in Spanish or MyChart in English, or sign into your MyChart account and get started!

¡Obtenga más información sobre MyChart en español o MyChart en inglés, o inicie su sesión en su cuenta MyChart y empiece hoy mismo!

NOAH Awarded Grant to Address Rising HIV in Arizona

NOAH was awarded a grant recently to be part of the solution to the rising cases of HIV in Maricopa County. The program, called Partners in Prevention, is an important way communities across the country are coming together to address the HIV epidemic in the U.S., with the most focus on places like central Arizona.

Maricopa County is recognized as one of the 57 HIV “hot spots” by Health and Human Services. The goal of the program is to work together to reduce new transmissions by 75% by 2025 and by 90 percent by 2030.

The two-year grant NOAH received is from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is part of the first phase to reach the HIV reduction goals nationwide. During those two years, NOAH will launch a specialized team to address the rising cases in Maricopa County by:

  • Increasing HIV testing to identify individuals currently living with the virus. People can call NOAH at 480-882-4545 to make an appointment to get tested!
  • Reducing HIV spread by prescribing PrEP – a medicine that prevents the virus – for people who are at high risk. Learn more about PrEP here.
  • Treating patients. NOAH will connect patients who test positive with high-quality, compassionate, on-going care with partner organizations including Valleywise and Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS.
  • Working with organizations including Sonoran Prevention Works to expand prevention efforts and testing in key areas.

Solving this important issue will take collaboration between individuals and groups with years of experience in healthcare, community outreach, HIV treatment, impactful prevention efforts, and more. NOAH is honored to be able to work with leaders in Maricopa.

New and existing patients can request a test with NOAH online or by calling 480-882-4545.

NEWS: NOAH’s Nurse Triage Line Now 7 Days a Week

NOAH launched the Nurse Triage service in August of 2021 to help reach more patients and community members. The Nurse Triage service helps people answer urgent medical or other health questions with an RN on the other end of the line. This service is free and helps patients avoid costly and unnecessary emergency department or urgent care visits with a highly-trained and caring medical professional just a phone call away.

Phoenix’s ABC15 came to NOAH to learn more about Nurse Triage and talk to the team behind it.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is More Than Pink

Breast cancer and the color pink go hand-in-hand during October. But there’s so much more to breast cancer awareness and NOAH wants you and your loved ones to be aware about breast cancer risks, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and more.

Breast Cancer Awareness Fast Facts:

  • Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but according to the American Cancer Society, men can get breast cancer too.
  • Breast cancer is often (though not always) detected by a lump in the breast. However, most lumps in the breast are benign (not cancerous), but ALL lumps should be checked by your provider.
  • There are different kinds of breast cancer that start in different areas of the breast.
  • Alcohol increases the risk of developing breast cancer. An average of 1 drink per day increases risk by 7-10% while 2 to 3 drinks per day increases risk by 20%!
  • Being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight are the best things to do to prevent breast cancer. This is especially true for women after menopause.
  • Mammograms and breast ultrasounds are the most commonly used, and the most effective screening tool available to detect breast cancer early.
  • There is little to no benefit of doing self-breast exams or clinical breast exams, but women should still be alert and see a provider if anything looks or feels different.

Treatments for breast cancer will vary depending on the type of breast cancer and when it is diagnosed. At NOAH, we want to work with you to keep a healthy lifestyle, focus on prevention, answer any questions you have, support you through a diagnosis, and help you during treatment.

To learn more about breast cancer risks, types, treatments, and more, check out the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer section. To talk with your NOAH provider about any questions you have, request an appointment today.

Cool Down! A New Dietary Treatment for Menopause

By Daniel Davis, MD | Internal Medicine

A study published by the North American Menopause Society found a plant-based diet rich in soy reduces moderate-to-severe hot flashes by 84%. During the study, nearly 60% of women became totally free of moderate-to-severe hot flashes. Overall hot flashes (including mild ones) decreased by 79%.

What does this all mean for diet and menopause? We dive in with Dr. Daniel Davis.

What are hot flashes?

Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause with about 80% of American women experiencing them. Hot flashes can be mild or serious enough to impact your day-to-day life. The feeling is usually a flushing warmth or heat in the upper body and face.

Traditional treatment for hot flashes

Most women with mild hot flashes can treat them with small changes: fans, air conditioning, dressing in layers, and avoiding things like spicy foods and stress. For serious hot flashes, women for a long time were given estrogen (a group of hormones in women) therapy. Now we know that these treatments increase the risk of some cancers, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes! After learning this, many providers began treating serious hot flashes with other medicines like anti-depressants. Diet wasn’t considered in most patient’s treatment plans.

But that changed in March of 2021 when a study in the American Journal of Menopause showed diet might play an important role in menopause and hot flashes.

How does diet impact menopause?

Scientists have known for a long time that not all women have hot flashes like American women, particularly those countries not following a western/American diet. In countries like Japan and other parts of Asia, only about 15% of women develop hot flashes compared to 80% of American women!

While researchers are still figuring out why 65% more American women have hot flashes compared to Japan, diet is top of mind. People living in Asian countries usually eat less animal products (meat, dairy), eat more vegetables, and have other differences.

How did the study work?

The March 2021 study looked at women all experiencing the same hot flash symptoms, and randomly put them in two groups and watched they symptoms:

  • Group #1 – Dietary Changes – low fat vegan diet
  • Group #2 – No Dietary Changes – known as the control group

Women in group #1 with the vegan diet saw a 79% decrease in all hot flashes. Women in group #2 had a 49% decrease.

For severe hot flashes – the kind that disrupt daily life – women in group #1 had a decrease of 84%, while women in group #2 saw severe hot flashes decrease 42%. When it came to less severe hot flashes (mild or moderate), 59% of the women on the vegan diet in group #1 said they didn’t have ANY!

The vegan diet group also lost a significant amount of weight and had other health improvements compared with group #2 that did not change their diet.

What does this mean about estrogen, diet, and menopause?

Estrogen is still an important factor for menopause and hot flashes. But doctors and researchers want safer ways to replace estrogen. One way is diet.

Luckily most plant foods – like soybeans and tofu – have estrogen-like nutrients that help during menopause. What’s even more exciting is that these foods have health benefits, like decreasing the risk of breast, prostate, ovarian, and uterine cancer.

People concerned about children or males consuming estrogen don’t need to be. There isn’t a hormonal effect on men or on children’s normal development from foods. Most people can and should consume soy. If someone has a soy allergy, which is rare, they should not treat hot flashes with soy foods.

What about estrogen supplements for menopause?

I recommend against consuming phytoestrogen supplements (plant-based estrogen-like pill). Herbal supplements in the USA often contain ingredients not on the label and they aren’t regulated by any government agency, so we really don’t know what is in them or if they provide any benefits. Additionally, not all plant-based estrogen-like nutrient pills are the same. Some have potentially risky plant estrogens being sold as safe supplements.

What does Dr. Davis recommend?

As a doctor, I recommend you talk to your primary care provider or registered dietician if you are working with one before making any major changes to your diet. If you want to make an appointment with a dietician, NOAH’s has a team of registered dieticians here.

Plant based diets, like a vegan diet, can have a lot of health benefits and a well-planned vegan diet is good for anyone according to the American Dietetics Association. Eating a plant-based diet can also prevent and be part of a treatment plan for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and obesity.

What now?

This study shows that diet can have a tremendous impact on menopausal symptoms. The vegan diet in this study is safe and could lead to many other benefits. Ask your medical provider or dietician if you can give it a try.

You can read more about this study here, and find the full scientific paper free here.

Understand Gynecological Cancer

By Dr. Monica Mansour | Family Medicine Residency

September was gynecologic cancer awareness month, but it is always a good time to learn about these diseases. There are five main types to be aware of: cervical, ovarian, uterine/endometrial, vaginal, and vulvar cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2021 an estimated 110,000 women will be diagnosed with one of these cancers and approximately 32,500 may die from them.

Steps to lower your risk of gynecological cancer:

  • Practice safe sex. Use condoms and ensure you and your partner(s) are routinely getting checked out for sexually transmitted infections.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoking increases your risk of cervical, ovarian, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Talk to your doctor if you need help quitting.
  • Get your HPV vaccine. Males and females aged 9-45 years may qualify for it. The vaccine helps reduce the spread of the human papilloma virus which causes abnormal pap smears in females, as well as cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. The HPV virus can also cause cancers of the head, neck, and anus.
  • Talk with your doctor about your medical history. When you started your period, if you have ever been pregnant, if you had fertility issues, or have a history of endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome. These and other facts will help you and your doctor come up with a plan that is right for you.
  • Know your family history. Risk for developing ovarian or uterine/endometrial cancer is higher in people who have a family history of these cancers. A family history of breast cancer, and any other cancer, is also important to share with your doctor.
  • Be aware of your body and talk to your doctor about new changes that don’t feel right to you. Irregular vaginal bleeding or bleeding after sex, pelvic pain or bloating, sores or lumps of the vagina are some symptoms that you should get checked out.
  • Unfortunately, many gynecological cancers do NOT have symptoms. Talk with your doctor to determine how often you need a pap smear and don’t skip out on your annual exams. This is a great time for you and your doctor to check in with each other.

Schedule an appointment today with a NOAH provider to discuss your health history, family health, questions, or concerns, and get any needed tests or screenings scheduled. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to keep you and loved ones safe from gynecological cancer.

Here’s What to Know About the Flu Shot

By Andrea Klock MSN, FNP-C | Family Nurse Practitioner

It’s that time of year again: Flu Season. Most people are familiar with the influenza (flu) vaccination and thankfully many of us receive a shot every year. With the current focus on COVID and that vaccine, it’s still very important to protect ourselves and each other from the flu.

Because the flu vaccine has been common for years, a lot of people don’t know the facts about the vaccine, like and why a yearly shot is necessary as compared to receiving a series or booster like the COVID vaccine.

Common Flu Vaccine Questions Answered

Why is the flu vaccine so important?

The CDC estimates that on average 3 – 11% of the population in the United States contract influenza yearly. But this number only reflects symptomatic patients who got tested for influenza. The percentage is higher when including persons who did not have symptoms or didn’t see a provider for a test.

Who is at high risk for problems if they catch the flu?

Those who are considered high risk for more serious complications if they get the flu include people who are 65 years or older, have a cancer diagnosis, are pregnant, have chronic medical conditions, or are young children.

When is the flu season?

Although the influenza virus can be detected at any time during the year, the peak infection time starts in the fall and goes through the winter months.

Why do I need the flu vaccine every year?

The influenza virus changes – mutates – every year creating new strains every flu season. The vaccine is restructured every year to provide the best possible coverage from new strains.

Can receiving the flu vaccination cause you to get the flu?

No – the flu vaccine is made with an inactivated virus or single protein (very small part) from the virus. Any reactions that mimic the flu after receiving the vaccination are our own body’s immune response.

How do I prevent catching the flu?

Along with getting the flu shot, the best way to prevent getting sick is to avoid others that are sick. A lot of what we did to slow COVID helps slow the flu too, like cover coughs and sneezes, wash your hands, and disinfect surfaces that may have been contaminated with the influenza virus. Always stay home from work, school, and other activities when sick to keep it from spreading to others.

Did you get your flu shot yet? Make an appointment with your NOAH provider today and get protected from the flu this season.

Watch Out for West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is having a major moment in Arizona this year and it’s important we all pay attention.

People get this virus when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. In 2020, Arizona had just 11 confirmed cases. In 2021 so far, there are an average of 25 cases every week since cases began for around 135 cases total and 5 deaths (as of 9/23/21), with no indication of it slowing down anytime soon.

While we all celebrated the much-needed rain we are getting here in Arizona this year, that rain is also why we have record-high cases this year.

NOAH’s Medical Director Dr. Vanyo-Novak shares what symptoms to look for, when to see a provider, and how to prevent mosquito bites.

“West Nile Virus symptoms include sudden fever, headache, joint aches, muscle aches, back pain, and decreased appetite,” said Dr. Vanyo-Novak. “Other, less common symptoms include eye pain, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. And, between 25-50% of patients get an itchy rash on the chest, back and arms.”

Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus will never develop any symptoms. And, because it is only spread through mosquito bites, an infected person can’t spread it to another person.

“Symptoms usually come on anywhere from two to 14 days after mosquito bite and can last for up to 10 days,” said Dr. Vanyo-Novak. “Please contact us if you are feeling unwell and have some of the above symptoms.”

While most people either never develop symptoms, or recover on their own, West Nile Virus can be dangerous. This happens when the virus spreads to the nervous system.

“The more serious symptoms like vision changes, balance issues, intense headaches, light sensitivity, confusion, or paralysis need to be addressed immediately,” stressed Dr. Vanyo-Novak. “These can indicate the person developing meningitis or encephalitis. If experiencing any of these symptoms go to the ER.”

Because it is a virus, there is no cure for this infections. That’s why preventing mosquito bites is important.

“You can prevent West Nile Virus by staying indoors, limiting or avoiding standing water outside your home (puddles, bird baths, pools), and using mosquito repellent.”

The CDC shares a few more prevention tips here to help your family, friends, and neighbors avoid pesky mosquito bites and avoid the West Nile Virus.