Five Tips for a Fresh Fall

Crisp air, colorful leaves, plaid, soups and pumpkin spice are staples signifying a new season is upon us – Fall. Think of the new season as a fresh start to incorporating some healthier lifestyle tips. Try out some of these ideas for a fantastic fall:

  1. Pick-up some fresh fall produce like pumpkins, beets, sweet potatoes and squash and add them into a dish.
  2. Get your flu shot. This is the best way to prevent the flu.
  3. Take in mother nature by being more active and going for a run, hike or a bike ride.
  4. Scare off those Halloween candy cravings by lowering your sugar intake. Our tip is to buy only what you need and keep it out of sight in a cabinet.
  5. Give back and consider volunteering to support the local community.

At St. Joe’s, we want you to enjoy your healthiest autumn yet by incorporating some of these tips and connecting with your health care team. If you don’t have a provider, we can help you find one today. Find a St. Joe’s doctor here.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In the US, 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. There’re additional factors such as family history or a previous atypical biopsy that can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Diagnosing breast cancer early is key. Here are ways to identify abnormalities: 

  • Performing monthly self-exams
  • Scheduling annual mammograms
  • Talking with your provider

Don’t overlook your routine health screenings. After all, staying on a healthy course and detecting health concerns early is important. Screening mammography significantly reduces a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer.

Mammograms begin at age 40 for most women, but at high risk of breast cancer may need to start earlier.

Talk to your St. Joe’s doctor about your risk for breast cancer.

Healthy Tips to Protect Against the Flu

Kids are back-in-school and all the fall activities are just around the corner.  Don’t let cold and flu season ruin your fun. Here are six tips to prevent catching and spreading the flu:

  1. Get a flu vaccine. Check with your doctor’s office and schedule a visit.
  2. Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap.
  3. Avoid touching your face.
  4. Get your ZZZs! Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  5. Exercise to boost your immunity and your energy.
  6. Eat healthy and drink water. If you do happen to get sick, staying well-hydrated is important for your recovery.

Preparing for Flu Season: COVID Boosters & Flu Vaccines

COVID-19 & Flu: What you should know

The flu and COVID-19 have some similarities in symptoms. How are they similar? Both COVID-19 and the flu can share these symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, tiredness, sore throat, runny nose, body aches and stomach issues.

If you feel sick with any of those symptoms, or if you’ve been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, please speak with your primary care physician to get a plan to keep yourself and others safe. COVID-19 seems to be spreading more easily than the flu.

Per the CDC, as more people become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the spread of the virus should slow down. St. Joe’s is taking extra precautions at our facilities to keep you safe.

CDC Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Booster for Certain Individuals


The FDA expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered at least six months after initial completion of the primary vaccine series.

Booster dose eligibility:

  • Individuals 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster
  • People aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster
  • People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster based on their individual benefits and risks
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster

Still need your COVID-19 vaccine or looking for a place to get your booster shot?

Find a location near you to get your COVID-19 vaccine or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Booster.

Need a flu vaccine or help finding a doctor?

Schedule your annual check-up and get vaccinated while you’re at the doctor’s office. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from illness.

Get Back to Your Rhythm: The Convergent Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of heart arrythmia or irregular heartbeat affecting 2.7 to 6.1 million people in the United States.

About AFib, Its Signs, and Symptoms

AFib is an electrical problem of the heart that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

When someone has AFib, the electrical signals in the top chambers of the heart (or atria) have become irregular which can lead to a faster heart rate in the bottom chambers of the heart (or ventricles). When the heart isn’t fully and effectively pumping blood through the body, normal activity can become tiring, make breathing challenging, or cause dizziness.

Common risk factors for AFib include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, sleep apnea, and heavy alcohol use. People can develop AFib even if they don’t have any of these risk factors and lead a healthy lifestyle. This is why early treatment is the key to managing AFib.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of AFib. Watch our AFib video.

Treating AFib: The Convergent Procedure

Many treatment options exist for AFib including medications, medical procedures, or a combination of the two. For patients with persistent AFib that doesn’t respond to medical therapy or prior ablation attempts, a hybrid combined ablation, more commonly known as the Convergent Procedure, might be an option.

What is the Convergent Procedure?

It’s a staged procedure that combines minimally invasive surgery and catheter-based ablation. For this procedure, a cardiac surgeon and a cardiologist work side-by-side to create scar tissue within the heart. This scarring blocks abnormal electrical signals to restore a normal heart rhythm. The surgeon may also seal a part of the heart called the left atrial appendage which can lower your stroke risk.

What are the benefits of the Convergent procedure?

Many patients are able to reduce or eliminate the use of some medications, including anticoagulants after having the Convergent procedure. They are also significantly more likely to be in a normal heart rhythm long-term compared with catheter ablation alone.

Who qualifies?

This procedure is ideal for patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation who have failed prior ablation or medical management and it only requires a two-night stay in the hospital. If you’ve been diagnosed with AFib talk to your doctor to see if Convergent is a treatment option for you.

*If you think you may be experiencing a heart attack or medical emergency – call 911.

Ready to get back to your rhythm?

Schedule an appointment with one of our heart doctors today.

Nancy Wright lost 138 pounds

Nancy lost 138 pounds

At 362 pounds, Nancy had developed type 2 diabetes and was having difficulty walking. Her primary care doctor suggested she make an appointment with MBI.

Although initially resistant to the idea of bariatric surgery, Nancy was unhappy and knew she had to make a change in her lifestyle. Nancy and the MBI team worked together to create a customized plan for her. In May 2019, Nancy had her bariatric surgery.

Now, Nancy goes to the gym every day and is off all of her medications. “Bariatric surgery is a journey and you have to make the decision to be all in,” said Nancy.

Hilary Harris lost 140 pounds

Hilary Harris

Hilary lost 140 pounds

Hilary was a type two diabetic and suffering with rheumatoid arthritis pain when her primary care doctor suggested she make an appointment with MBI.

“The MBI team was nice, calming and answered all of my questions,” said, Hilary. She decided to move forward and had bariatric surgery in February 2020.

Now Hilary is down 140 pounds, no longer a diabetic and has a lot less arthritis pain. MBI support groups have been helpful in keeping Hilary on track throughout her journey. She has more confidence and is excited to participate in more activities, such as exercising.

Amanda Carr lost 100 pounds

Amanda Carr lost 100 pounds

When completing everyday tasks such as walking and going up the stairs started to leave Amanda short of breath, she knew she needed to make a change to her lifestyle.

Amanda saw a post for MBI on Facebook in the fall of 2019 and decided to call and schedule a consult. The MBI staff was honest and helpful in preparing her for the journey ahead. She had bariatric surgery in January 2020.

Now, she has more energy and is feeling great. “I’ve lost 100 pounds and I’m excited to be doing more activities with my children,” said Amanda. She looks forward to continuing her new active lifestyle.

Vegetable Paella

Paella is traditionally made with sausage, chicken and seafood. We’ve taken this recipe meatless, and swapped white rice, for brown rice, giving this recipe more fiber.

This recipe packs a nutritional punch, giving you the following daily values:

  • 200% Vitamin C
  • 70% Vitamin A
  • 72% Manganese
  • 8% Calcium

Serve With: Pears packed in Natural Juice

Ingredients:

1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups onions, diced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
¼ cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives
4 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1 cup dry medium grain brown rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1 cup canned artichoke hearts, halved
2 tsp. paprika
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4oz. green beans
1 lemon wedged

Preparation:

  1. Simmer broth with bay leaf in a saucepan over low heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Sauté onion, bell pepper and olives in 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in rice and cook for another minute.
  3. Slowly add the wine, cook until the wine is nearly evaporated. Add broth, tomatoes, artichokes, and paprika. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the rice is tender about 40 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chickpeas, peas, and green beans, cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through. Garnish with lemon wedges. 

ä   Servings:                   4

Š    Time to Prepare       20 minutes

Š    Time to Cook:           60 minutes

Nutrition per Serving:

Calories 321; Fat 3.5 g (sat 0.5 g); Protein 13 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 127mg; Fiber 15 g; Carbohydrate 57 g

What You Should Know about Prediabetes

If your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes, then you have a serious medical condition known as prediabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health data through 2018 indicates that 88 million American adults — approximately 1 in 3 — have prediabetes, so you are not alone. Left unchecked, prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, which has serious implications for your health, and specifically your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.

Here is the good news: For most people, getting type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable and neither is prediabetes.

Are there symptoms of prediabetes?

Since there are no symptoms of prediabetes, how can you tell if you have it?

Weight is one important factor. For most people, there is a direct correlation between weight and healthy or unhealthy blood sugars.

Fat is important too. There are different types of fat, and fat around the belly tends to be correlated with insulin resistance. Pay attention if you have weight gain in the abdomen, or your shape is “more like an apple than a pear.”

The results of your lipid panel at your annual checkup provide more clues. They can help to determine if you have begun to have insulin resistance, which is present in both prediabetes and diabetes.

Five 5 Factors of Insulin Resistance

If you get an annual physical, your primary care provider (PCP) will likely order a lipid panel blood test that measures different kinds of blood fats, including HDL (high-density lipoprotein, aka “good fat,”), LDL (low-density lipoprotein, aka “bad fat,”), total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Some of these lipids along with other factors can indicate that a person has insulin resistance.

If you have any three of the following insulin resistance markers, you may have Insulin Resistance Syndrome, which increases your risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • High triglycerides
  • Low HDL (aka, “good cholesterol”)
  • Difficulty controlling blood pressure
  • Difficulty controlling blood sugars, based upon an abnormal fasting blood sugar or HgB A1c
  • Having a waist circumference of more than 35 inches in females or 40 inches in males

Can medications cause increased blood sugar levels?

Yes, certain medications can affect blood sugar levels. It is important to have a discussion with your PCP to check for these side effects and to consider your options.

How to Avoid Prediabetes

The good news is that prediabetes is reversible. Statin medications can help raise your HDL, but they are no substitute for following a healthy diet and exercising. The best way to avoid prediabetes is to practice the following:

  • Eat healthy foods in appropriate quantities.
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol.
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Get an annual checkup to keep an eye on your lipid profile.

The Bottom Line

Even if other family members have prediabetes, following these important steps will go a long way toward giving you a healthier life that doesn’t involve issues with controlling your blood sugar.  

Learn more about the St. Joe’s Diabetes Education program and Diabetes Prevention Program.