Women’s Health Week #3 – Contraception & Birth Control

By Dr. Hadass Fuerst & Dr. Marissa Jacobs

Women’s Health Week is May 8 -14 and this year NOAH is highlighting three health issues that women should be familiar with and discuss with their provider any time of year.

NOAH recommends that everyone have a primary care provider (PCP) and a medical home. If you don’t have one or both of these, contact NOAH and establish a PCP who is right for you!

Contraception & Birth Control

Nearly 65% of all women between age 15 and 49 in the U.S. use some form of birth control. But the reasons why are more than pregnancy prevention. Learn more about the types and uses for contraception from two of NOAH’s family medicine providers, Dr. Hadass Fuerst and Dr. Marissa Jacobs.

Why use birth control?

Birth control reduces the chances of an unintended pregnancy when used correctly. But beyond that, many individuals use hormonal birth control to help regulate menstrual cycles, prevent ovarian cysts, regulate hormones, and reduce menstrual pain, Acne, and excessive body hair growth.

What are different contraception options?

You have options but talk to your PCP or OBGYN about what method is right for you. Here are the different types of birth control available:

  • “The Pill” – A daily pill that combines two hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Failure rate: 7%.
  • Progestin-Only Pill – Like “The Pill” above but only the hormone progesterone. Failure rate: 7%.
  • Implant (Nexplanon) – This is a small rod placed in the arm by your doctor that gives a continuous dose of progestin slowly over 3 years. Low failure rate: 0.1%.
  • IUD (Intrauterine Devices) – These small T-shaped devices are placed in the uterus by your doctor. There are two options:
    • Hormonal: Releases a small hormone dose each day and can last 3 to 6 years. Low failure rate: 0.1% – 0.4%.
    • Copper: Can stay in your uterus for up to 10 years. Low failure rate: 0.8%.
  • Injection/Shot – This is a progestin shot every three months. The biggest side effect of the injection is weight gain. Failure rate: 4%.
  • Patch – The patch placed on a person’s skin releases hormones. A new patch is put on each week for three weeks, with no patch during the fourth week. These can be difficult in hot climates because it doesn’t stick as well. Failure rate: 7%.
  • Vaginal Ring – The ring releases estrogen and progesterone. You wear the ring for three weeks and then remove it on the fourth week. Failure rate: 7%.
  • Other methods:
    • Diaphragm – 16% failure rate
    • Male condom – 18% failure rate
    • Female condom – 21% failure rate
    • Cervical cap – 23% failure rate
    • Sponge – 24% failure rate
    • Fertility based methods (tracking cycle days, basal body temperature) – 26% failure rate
    • Spermicide – 28% failure rate

How to pick the right form of birth control?

Remember that not everyone will respond the same way to every form of birth control. And not everyone has the same reason for needing birth control. Be sure to discuss with your provider any types of current or previous forms of birth control used and any side effects so together you will find the right form of birth control for you!

Women’s Health Week #1 – Cervical Cancer

By Dr. Hadass Fuerst & Dr. Marissa Jacobs

Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day every year. This year for Women’s Health Week from May 8 – 14, NOAH is highlighting three health issues that women should be familiar with and should discuss with their provider any time of year.

NOAH recommends that everyone have a primary care provider (PCP) and a medical home. If you don’t have one or both of these, contact NOAH and establish a PCP who is right for you!

Cervical Cancer

Around 12,000 people are diagnosed cervical cancer every year. Understand more about this cancer from two of NOAH’s family medicine providers, Dr. Hadass Fuerst and Dr. Marissa Jacobs.

What is Cervical Cancer and what causes it?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that forms at the lower end of the uterus. Most cervical cancers are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the most spread sexually transmitted infection (STI). About 80% of people will be infected with this virus at some point in their lives, and most people’s bodies will naturally fight off the virus. For those who can’t fight it off, HPV can lead to health issues like cervical cancer later in life. That’s why the HPV vaccine is so important. More on that later.

How Can I Lower My Risk of Cervical Cancer?

Yes! First, get regular Pap smears/tests. According to the CDC, millions of women aged 21-65 haven’t had a Pap test in the last five years! Pap tests are covered by private insurance and Medicaid/AHCCCS and are the best way to diagnose any problems. Pap tests save lives.

Second, get the HPV vaccine if possible. It is safe and very effective at reducing the risk of getting HPV-caused cancers later in life.

The CDC estimates that around 93% of cervical cancer cases could be prevented by regular Pap tests and HPV vaccine.

How Often Do I need a Pap Test?

It used to be that Pap tests were recommended every year. With what we know now about HPV and cervical cancer risk factors, that recommendation has changed. The new recommendation for people also being tested for HPV is every three years for people aged 21-29, and every five years for people 30-65.

Who Can Get HPV Vaccines?

Typically, the three-dose HPV vaccine is recommended for males and females around age 11 or 12. We wrote all about the HPV vaccine here!

Understanding Food Allergies

Food allergies are getting more attention in recent years – which is a good thing! Around 32 million Americans, including 5.6 million children, are living with a potentially life-threatening food allergy. The more we know about allergies, the better!

Food Allergy vs Food Sensitivity

First things first; food allergies and food sensitivities or intolerances aren’t the same thing. Food allergies are a serious medical condition where your body’s immune system reacts to a specific food protein. It can look like getting a rash or hives, swelling, dizziness, itching, and even anaphylaxis (a serious reaction that can affect breathing and blood pressure read more here).  

If someone thinks they or a family member may have a food allergy, a medical provider should be the one to test and diagnose the allergy.

Food sensitivities or intolerances do not involve the immune system. Things like lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity, and others are in the digestive system. They can cause serious discomfort like bloating, constipation, cramping, and nausea, but they can’t be fatal. Read more about food sensitivities.

Most Common Food Allergies

People can be allergic to many different kinds of food. Common food allergies are:

  • Peanuts – One of the most common food allergies in children and adults, peanuts – a legume (different from a tree nut) – is usually a lifelong allergy.
  • Milk and Dairy Products – Cow’s milk is the most common allergy in infants and young children, though most outgrow it. It is also one of the most common adult food allergies too.
  • Eggs – A common food allergy for babies and children, many will outgrow it. Some adults remain allergic, and it can be to egg whites, or egg yolks since they contain different proteins.
  • Shellfish – Allergies to this type of seafood, including shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crayfish are typically lifelong, though most people don’t experience a reaction until they are an adult.
  • Soy – Most common in infants and young children, most outgrow a soy allergy. Soy is a legume like peanuts but being allergic to one doesn’t mean someone will be allergic to the other.
  • Wheat – This allergy affects children the most, but many outgrow it by age 10. This is not the same a celiac disease, wheat allergies are to the proteins found in wheat, not gluten.
  • Tree Nuts – Not the same as peanuts, tree nuts include almonds, cashews, walnuts, and more. An allergy to these nuts also includes things like nut butters and oils. Being allergic to one type of tree nut increases the risk of becoming allergic to other tree nuts.

What Next?

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a food allergy, try not to feel overwhelmed. While it does mean you need to change what you eat, there are many resources and people and groups to support you, including NOAH’s Nutrition Services team.

Make sure you have a proper diagnosis with a medical provider. Discuss with them what the diagnosis means. Will the child outgrow it? What medications should you have? What does a severe reaction look like?

Finally, the most important thing to know is that the best way to prevent an allergic reaction to food is to avoid that food. That is what most doctors recommend along with having an epi-pen on-and always to treat any reaction to food allergies. Even a small amount can cause a reaction, but here are some tips.

There is promising news about a new intensive treatment called “food allergen desensitization” which is available and can resolve the allergy in some cases – though definitely not all cases. If you are interested in learning more about this treatment, ask your medical provider if this is right for you.

To get you started on figuring out your food allergies and staying safe, check out our recipes with different ingredient options.

How Important is Healthy Skin?

Did you know your skin is the largest organ in your body? Your skin protects you, tells you a lot about your overall health, and it grows and changes with you throughout your life. Our skin has a big job to do, which is why keeping skin healthy is so important.

Here are some useful tips to keep your skin healthy at every age.

Pay Attention to Dry Skin

Dry skin can be the result of environmental factors, or it can be because of what is happening inside our bodies. Either way, pay attention to it and hydrate your skin. Drinking a lot of water – 8 glasses – throughout the day, is one of the best things you can do for your skin (and other parts of your body!).

Dry skin can also become a problem if not treated with itching, flaking, even bleeding from dry skin. Many of us in Arizona have to deal with “hard water”, or water heavy in calcium and magnesium. This can make it harder for soap to wash off your skin, so spend a few extra seconds rinsing your hands, face, and body. Moisturize with ointments, creams or lotions after showers, baths, and handwashing, but make sure they don’t contain alcohol which can have the opposite effect.

Baby’s Skin Can Have Different Needs

Babies are a wonder, and so is their skin! Baby acne, birthmarks, diaper rash, hives, eczema, and others are common in babies, but they are things all new parents and caregivers should be familiar with. The American Academy of Dermatology Association has detailed information about these conditions and many more. If you ever have questions about your baby’s skin, talk to your NOAH provider.

Protect Your Skin from the Sun

The great news is that sunscreen is both the easiest and best way to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Try for SPF 30 and wear it all year on whatever part of you isn’t protected by clothing – think hands, arms, face, even the tops of your ears. Sun can cause skin aging and increase the risk for certain types of skin cancer.

Everyone deals with some types of skin troubles during their life. Whether it is acne, blackheads, rashes, or dry skin, it is helpful to know how to protect your skin and when it’s time to call your provider. If you have any questions, make an appointment with your provider.

It’s Time to Talk About Colorectal Cancer Screenings

If you are over 45 then it’s time to talk to your doctor about Colorectal Cancer Screenings. We know it isn’t anyone’s favorite topic, but it is easier than you may think to get screened.

A few Colorectal Cancer facts to know before we talk about screenings:

  1. Colorectal Cancer is colon cancer and rectal cancer combined because they both begin in the large intestine.
  2. If caught early, around 90% of people survive this cancer diagnosis. Catching it early is critical!
  3. More men than women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, but not by much. So everyone should be screened.
  4. It might make you a little uncomfortable to talk about, but discussing Colorectal Cancer and screenings saves many lives!

At NOAH, It’s Our Job to Save Your Butt!

All jokes aside, our providers WANT to talk to you about Colorectal Cancer and get you screened.

NOAH is here to discuss colon and rectal cancers with you. We want all of our patients to know the risks, the signs and symptoms (or lack of!), how easy it is to get screened, and that by talking about this can save lives! We have more details about Colorectal Cancer risks, ways to reduce your risks, and a few more details about screenings here. Our NOAH Nutrition Services team also put together some tips on ways to reduce your risk for Colorectal Cancer with food!

As you saw in the video, there are options for screenings and we will help you find the one that is right for you. Request an appointment with a NOAH provider today online or by calling 480-882-4545.

Colorectal Cancer Risk, Prevention, and Detection

Colorectal Cancer Fact A

March is colorectal cancer awareness month and “It’s Our Job to Save Your Butt!” In all seriousness though, colorectal cancer is the fourth most diagnosed form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society the overall lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 (4.3%) for men and 1 in 25 (4%) for women. The good news is that if caught early nine out of ten people diagnosed will survive.

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

  • Age 50 or older
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Certain types of diets
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Personal history of inflammatory intestinal conditions
Colorectal Cancer Fact B

How to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer Screening

NOAH providers recommend people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular screenings at age 50. How often you get screened depends on the type of test you get.

Here’s a look at how the different options at NOAH stack up:

TEST NAMETYPEHOW IT WORKSPREPHOW OFTENCOST
VARIES BY INSURANCE

(Often Covered in Full)
Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)Stool sample collected at home and mailed to a lab for testingLooks for blood in the stool.NoneEvery yearLeast expensive
Cologuard TestStool sample collected at home and mailed to a lab for testingLike the FIT test, looks for blood in the stool but also checks DNA in the stool for abnormal (possibly cancerous) cells NoneEvery 3 yearsMore expensive than FIT test but less expensive than a colonoscopy
ColonoscopyVisual screening performed in a hospital or specialized clinicChecks for polyps (small growths in the colon or rectum) that may be cancerous or pre-cancerousRequires bowel prep before the procedure and anesthesia duringEvery 10 yearsMost expensive

Talk with your provider about which type of test is right for you. Then, be sure to follow through with your testing, understand your results and even schedule a reminder on the calendar for your next screening.   

Questions? Ask away, we don’t mind because it’s our job to save you’re butt! Request an appointment today!

Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Saving Lives With Modern Day Medicine

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is a female African-American scientist known for helping to create the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

Dr. Corbett developed her interest in science early in life and committed to pursuing a career in science while she was still in high school. She embraced every opportunity to participate in lab research working alongside world famous scientists.  After earning her bachelor’s degree, Dr. Corbett went to work as a trainer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she also studied respiratory illness and vaccine development. 

For the next five years she continued her research on the other side of the world in Sri Lanka before returning to the NIH in 2014 to work on vaccine development.  Dr. Corbett’s efforts led medical advancements that would later be used in the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine.        

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of NIH researchers including Dr. Corbett, began developing a vaccine based on some of the previous research conducted by Dr. Corbett.  To manufacture and test the vaccine, the NIH partnered with Moderna, a biotechnology company. The vaccine rapidly entered animal trials soon followed by clinical trials; eventually to become one of the first approved vaccines for COVID-19.   

When asked about her involvement with the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, Corbett said, “To be living in this moment where I have the opportunity to work on something that has imminent global importance…it’s just a surreal moment for me”. Corbett also stated she cried when results showed the Moderna vaccine worked.

NOAH honors Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is to ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been as a society, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve this goal.

For more life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America, check out these posts:

Recipes and Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy

By Brandon Bolton, RDN | Nutrition Educator

February is American Heart Month, so let’s raise awareness and support for heart health in the fight against heart disease!

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it is the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many risk factors that impact your chances of having heart disease. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risk factors are and what you can do to lower them.

Some risk factors for heart disease include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • lack of physical activity
  • unhealthy eating behaviors

Heart Healthy Eating Habits

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining a heart healthy diet. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Eat a balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources
  • Try to have at least half of your grain intake come from whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa
  • Aim for 1 to 2 cups of fruit daily
  • Aim for 1 to 3 cups of vegetables daily
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products when having milk, cheese, or yogurt

If your menu needs a pick-me-up or you’re looking for some heart healthy recipes to get you started, try these yummy options which are brand new to NOAH’s recipe collection:

Peaches N’ Cream Overnight Oats

This yummy breakfast tastes great and includes plenty of fruit, dairy and fiber to get your day off to the right start. It’s super easy to whip up before bedtime and ready to enjoy the next morning. Swap out the peaches for seasonal fruit and enjoy a variety of flavors throughout the year.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

This salad packs a punch when it comes to heart health. Lentils are high in potassium which counters the bad effects of salt and lowers blood pressure. Bonus, just 1/2 cup of lentils contains almost one-third of the recommended daily fiber intake.

Jackfruit “BBQ” Sandwiches

Grab some extra napkins because this sandwich is dripping with classic barbecue flavor. While jackfruit can be used as an alternative source of protein, it only contains about three grams of protein per serving so you may want to add some beans to your plate for a well-rounded meal. Since cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals, switching to a plant-based protein meal one night a week is a great way to lower total cholesterol intake.

For even more tasty menu options, check out our full library of nutritious recipes.

Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams

NOAH honors Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is to ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been as a society, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve this goal.

Dr. Danial Hale Williams
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931)

A Healthcare Pioneer

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams started his own medical practice in Chicago, Illinois after completing medical school in 1883. In an era where hospitals didn’t admit African Americans and denied Black doctors, Dr. Williams was one of only three Black doctors in the state. He went on to advocate for Black rights and founded Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses in 1891. Provident Hospital was the first medical facility in the nation to have interracial staff. The hospital still operates as Provident Hospital of Cook County in Chicago.

Considered a pioneer in heart surgery, Dr. Williams is best known for being the first surgeon to perform open-heart surgery on a human. The remarkable surgery, performed in 1893, was a success. The African-American patient, James Cornish, was discharged 51 days later.  Cornish went on to live for decades after his groundbreaking surgery.

Dr. Williams moved on to become the Chief Surgeon for Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington DC from 1893-1898 where he continued to pursue equal rights and encourage the employment of interracial staff. He also founded the National Medical Association in 1895 as an alternative to the all-white American Medical Association that did not extend membership to Black doctors. As a charter member of the American College of Surgeons in 1913, he was the first and only African-American member for many years.

Dr. Williams’ work as a pioneering physician and advocate for racial equality marks a significant milestone in Black history that is still celebrated today.

For more life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America, check out these posts:

Get COVID Testing at NOAH’s FastTrack

NOAH offers FastTrack COVID testing at several health center locations. These FastTrack appointments are drive-up and only take a few minutes, making them easy for patients. Results are typically provided in about 24 hours.

The NOAH FastTrack testing does NOT require a separate telehealth or in-person provider appointment. However, a FastTrack testing appointment must be scheduled in advance, we cannot accommodate walk-in patients for this service. New and existing patients can schedule appointments at the location and time the works for best for them. Some same-day appointments may be available.

How FastTrack works:

  1. Request a COVID Test either online or by calling 480-882-4545.
  2. Show up to the NOAH Health Center at your scheduled time.
  3. Receive testing by a member of NOAH’s team.
  4. NOAH will contact you by phone with your test results (response time may vary but is usually within 24 hours).
  5. Your test results may also appear on your MyChart account.

The FastTrack test is a PCR test, which stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. These tests are highly accurate and processed by our lab, Sonora Quest Labs. While the FastTrack test is not the same as an at-home test, patients receiving a FastTrack test at NOAH will receive a FREE at-home test kit (contains two tests) for future testing – while supplies last.

If you would like to talk with your healthcare provider prior to scheduling a COVID test, please schedule a telehealth or other type of appointment by requesting an appointment online, calling 480-882-4545, or message your provider through MyChart.

Each FastTrack test MUST have a separate appointment, even if patients – such as family members – plan to drive together. Please schedule all FastTrack COVID tests together if you plan to bring multiple people for testing.

For other questions around COVID and vaccines, visit NOAHhelps.org/COVID.