Author Archive

The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Health Screenings

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Sometimes making checkup appointments and seeing the eye doctor doesn’t feel all that important. Health screenings get pushed to the next year or worse, are simply never thought about. However, getting screenings is one the most essential things a man can do for his health. If you don’t know about a problem, you can’t make it better and you can possibly lose the window of opportunity to improve or even save your life. So, break out the date book and get ready to schedule some screenings.

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of blood pumping through your arteries is abnormally high. This can cause a wide-range of problems, including aneurysms, kidney failure and vision issues. Developing high blood pressure is very common, affecting one in three Americans. The risk becomes higher as we age, increasing when men hit 45. Being African-American, obese or having a family history of high blood pressure also means you could be more at risk.

To prevent high blood pressure you should maintain a healthy weight through eating right and exercising. Since little or no symptoms may appear with high blood pressure, it’s important to get screened by a physician. Then you can discuss your numbers and how to achieve a healthy level.

High Cholesterol
There are a couple of different kinds of cholesterol, and too much of one kind can block your arteries. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is the kind of cholesterol that blocks arteries. LDL levels should be kept down. If they rise above high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), then you have high cholesterol. Having high LDL levels can mean a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease.

You can have high cholesterol at a young age, so you should get screened starting at age 20. Getting your cholesterol checked consists of a blood test. From the results, a physician will be able to help you figure out your LDL, HDL and blood fat levels.

Type Two Diabetes
It is terribly important to get screened for type two diabetes because 1) symptoms can go unnoticed for years, causing one-third of Americans with diabetes to be unaware of their condition and 2) diagnosing and treating diabetes can have a profoundly positive impact on your health.

After age 45, you should get tested for type two diabetes at least every three years. Tests could include the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, random blood sugar test, fasting blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test. You should get screened earlier if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol or have a family history of diabetes. Treatment could be as simple as exercise and a healthy diet, so don’t wait to be tested.

HIV and STIs
Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, can be present and show no symptoms. It’s important to get tested, especially to avoid unknowingly infecting another person. If you’ve have unprotected sex, have a new partner or are worried about infection for any other reason, it’s a good idea to get tested.

Not all routine exams or physicals include STI tests. Talk to your physician about getting tested, especially for common STIs like HIV, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea. These tests can be as simple as a mouth swab, urine sample or blood sample. Don’t be embarrassed – your physicians want to make sure you are healthy!

Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure that damages the optic nerve, leading to partial or complete vision loss. It affects most people after age 40 and tends to be inherited. Early signs of developing this condition can be as slight as losing some peripheral vision, which is why getting a full eye exam every one to two years is essential.

Cancer Screenings

Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, affecting one out of every five Americans. The group most likely to develop melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is white men. Melanoma is responsible for the majority of deaths caused by skin cancer, where men are twice as more likely to die from it than women.
Men are more likely to develop skin cancer because they typically spend more time in the sun. They also do not take as many precautions as women when they are exposed to UV rays, such as applying sunscreen or wearing protective clothing.

Check your skin often for irregularly-shaped, dark spots. Play close attention to the face, back and shoulder regions. If you find any concerning marks, make an appointment with a physician. Additionally, have your physician check your skin since it can be hard to easily see your whole body.

Prostate Cancer
Prostates grow larger for all men as they age, with most seeing problem-causing symptoms, from urinary issues to prostate cancer. You should get screened for prostate cancer starting at age 55. Consider getting checked earlier if your brother or father had prostate cancer or if you are African-American.

Screenings usually involve a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test that measures prostate-specific antigens. Based on these results, your physician might recommend a biopsy.
If you’re experiencing problematic urinary changes, have a family history of prostate cancer, are African American or if you’re over the age of 55, talk to your primary care physician about those issues.

Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer it a term that describes cancer that forms in either the colon (large intestine) or the rectum (last six inches of intestine). This cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Men have a one in twenty-two chance of developing it over their lifetime.

Small growths, called polyps, can grow and eventually turn cancerous. To detect and remove these polyps, tests such as a colonoscopy is performed. Colonoscopies and other tests are recommended starting at age 45. Colorectal cancer is usually preventable, so get screened!

Testicular Cancer
Although testicular cancer is relatively rare, it is the most common cancer for American males aged fifteen to thirty-five. Symptoms can include a lump in either testicle, ache in the groin, enlargement or tenderness of breasts and/or the feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.

All men should have a testicular exam as part of their routine physicals. Talk to your physician if you have a family history of testicular cancer or an undescended testicle. You should also perform self-exams, feeling for hard lumps, smooth bumps or changes in the size or shape of the testes.

Just like your car needs annual maintenance and your house needs yearly inspections, your body needs to be checked too. Make appointments to get screened for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, STIs and any cancers that might be of concern given your age or family history. Taking measures to check in with your health can only benefit you. An early detection and treatments are well worth the waiting room visit.

To make an appointment at our Primary Care Clinic to discuss any needed screenings or to schedule a screening, call 208-239-3814 or visit for more information.

Do Skin, Hair and Nail Vitamins Really Work?

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Most vitamins and supplements containing biotin, fish oil or vitamins A, C and E can help stimulate hair and nail growth. You can typically find specialized vitamins that have high concentrations of the vitamins and minerals below.

Here are a few vitamins and minerals to keep in mind and how they function:

  • Biotin. Biotin (also known as B7) strengthens hair and increases its density. Other ways to fit biotin into your diet include eating eggs, bananas or drinking milk.
  • Fish Oil. Fish oil makes hair and nails shiny. Fish oil also serve as an antiaging supplement. If your skin is damaged from too much sun exposure, the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may help.
  • Vitamin A. Vitamin A reduces acnes flares and is an antiaging agent. Having a vitamin A deficiency may increase the risk of developing acne, as it becomes more difficult for dead skin to be removed from hair follicles which may lead to blocked pores.
  • Vitamin B. Vitamin B is known to lower the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer and precancerous growths.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals, brighten the skin and stimulate collagen. Vitamin C also helps fight the formation of melanin (skin pigmentation).

Many who are vitamin deficient do not realize the deficiency until symptoms develop. Signs of various vitamin deficiencies may include brittle hair and nails, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, poor night vision, dandruff, hair loss, red or white bumps on skin and/or restless leg syndrome. If you feel that you are vitamin deficient, talk to your primary care provider about which vitamins may be best for your diet.


Benefits of Playing Outside

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Children today spend less time outdoors than any other generation, devoting only four to seven minutes to unstructured outdoor play per day and spending an average of seven and a half hours in front of electronic media.

These statistics are significant because experts agree that outside play builds healthier children. Outdoor activities such as running, jumping, throwing, pulling and catching require motor skills and aerobic exercise. Playing outside also provides opportunities for children to reap the benefit of soaking in vitamin D, which according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); four out of every ten toddlers and children are vitamin D deficient. Children burn calories, strength bones and muscles when they are running and jumping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims childhood obesity rates more than doubled from 1980 to 2010, outdoor play for at least one hour per day of moderate to vigorous activity is highly recommended.

When outdoor play is completely unstructured, children come up with their own plan; when they choose how to play and are provided the freedom to do so, they develop positive behavioral skills. Children are more imaginative and inventive when they explore and learn about the world around them. Behavior skills develops a child’s communication skills and fosters their ability to play well with others.

Are you having trouble with your child’s attention span? Playing outside can increase the amount of time they are able to focus. The AAP found that outdoor play helps develop a child’s ability to stay more focused in the classroom; it too  promotes creativity that allows them to perform better in the classroom and academic learning.

Playing outside gives children the freedom to practice important life skills. Time alone, and with other children will give them the opportunity to make decisions, practice creativity, problem-solve. Of course, these skills are recognized as valuable to future planning, prioritizing and multitasking.

The benefits go on and on. Send your children outside in the backyard to play. Give them the freedom to play however they want to exercise their mental and physical wellness.


Foods that Trigger IBS

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Irritable Blower syndrome, also known as IBS, is a disorder that affects the large intestine. There are many different factors that can cause IBS such as; muscle contractions in the intestines, abnormalities in the nervous system, inflammation in the intestines, severe infection and microflora (the good bacteria inside the intestines).

Symptoms may increase when individuals eat or drink certain foods.

Food that may cause constipation:

  • Wheat- breads and cereals made from refines grains
  • Chips and cookies
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy

Foods that may cause diarrhea:

  • Foods with a high amount of fiber such as fruits and vegetables
  • Fried foods
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Milk
  • Carbonated drinks

General symptoms of IBS may include; pain related to bowel movements, change in bowel movements and change in the appearance of stool. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, an estimated of 10-15 percent of people with a gastrointestinal disorder suffer from IBS.

If you are experiencing any new or abnormal symptoms or if you develop any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your primary care physician . To find a primary care physician please visit or call 208-239-3815.


Why Prescription Drugs and Alcohol Should Not Be Consumed Together

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

“Prescription painkillers, sedatives, antidepressants, and antipsychotics are the most commonly used drugs mixed with alcohol,” claims the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Mixing these two substances may increase your risk of overdose and damage to the body. In 2010, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found around 16 million US citizens reported prescription drug abuse.

Combining alcohol with prescription drugs may cause a counter effect and reduce the purpose and effectiveness of a prescription medication. In addition, combining alcohol with prescription medication may also induce the drug to create an even more harmful effect on the body.

Unfortunately, prescriptions mixed with alcohol consumption occur more frequently than expected. The dangerous combination may not always be intentional; failure to read the labels accurately can put individuals at an increased risk for harmful side effects. People may also have the impression that the effect of the drug is completely out of your body’s system before it has been fully depleted from your system.

Chronic health issues may develop if an individual mixes alcohol and prescription drugs frequently. Issues can vary from heart problems; stroke or heart attack; liver damage; internal bleeding; brain damage; depression; anxiety or other mental health problems.

Side effects of may include:

  • Upset stomach, nausea
  • Fatigue, drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Coordination loss
  • Emotional change

If the label on a prescription drug does not list a warning, this does not indicate it can be mixed with other substances. Always contact your physician or pharmacist and ask if alcohol should be avoided with prescribed medication. If you or someone you know mixes these substances together and experience life-threatening consequences such as breathing issues, blue-colored lips and fingernails, uncontrollable vomiting, seizures and coma call 911 immediately.

Eggcellent Eggs

Thursday, April 18th, 2019



Photo by Randy Mayor

Hardboiled, poached, sunny side up, or scrambled, eggs are an “egg”cellent source of protein, choline, riboflavin, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. With Easter just around the corner, here are some tips for hard boiling, peeling, and storing your eggs safely by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

A great way to add vegetables and protein in the morning is making a crustless quiche. There are many different vegetables that you may include in a quiche that will add flavor, color, fiber, and vitamins and nutrients. Vegetables may include spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, and asparagus. Here is a crustless quiche recipe that I hope you will enjoy this Easter from

Portneuf Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center Recognized for Excellence

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Portneuf Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center Recognized for Excellence

Pocatello, ID –The Portneuf Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center team was recently awarded the President’s Circle Center of Excellence for outstanding performance.

The center was recognized for achieving patient satisfaction rates higher than 92%, a healing rate higher than 91% and a median of less than 30 days to heal during 2018. The center was awarded this prestigious honor by Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. The award is named after Dr. Robert A. Warriner III, a renowned physician who was a pioneer in wound care and the former Chief Medical Officer for Healogics.

Portneuf Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center is a member of the Healogics network of nearly 700 Wound Care Centers®, with access to benchmarking data and proven experience treating approximately 2.5 million chronic wounds. The center offers highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections and other chronic wounds which are resistant to healing with regular care.

Leading edge treatments include negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered tissues, and biosynthetic dressings, in addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) where the patient is surrounded with 100 percent oxygen in a special unipersonal chamber to improve would healing.

“We are very proud to receive this national award for the 8th consecutive year,” said Medical Director Julio Vasquez, MD, FACS, certified wound specialty physician and founder of the center. “We feel that it is a recognition of the consistent high quality of care we provide. This is the result of exemplary team work that focuses on obtaining the best clinical outcomes for patients with complex wounds.”

“Our team is committed to providing excellent wound care and hyperbaric oxygen treatment to our community, with high satisfaction scores, shorter times to heal and efficient use of our resources,” said Dr. Vasquez.


Renewed Knee for Active Portneuf Volunteer

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Renewed Knee for Active Portneuf Volunteer

About three and a half years ago, Karen Knowlton injured her knee in a fall. She tried knee injections, physical therapy, and even a knee brace to help relieve the pain. No matter what she tried, her knee never seemed to recover from her fall. Karen consulted her doctor and decided that a knee replacement was the best option to help her resume her active lifestyle.

As a Portneuf Medical Center volunteer, Karen knew choosing Portneuf for her knee replacement would be the best choice. On March 5, 2019, Karen received a total knee replacement. She described her medical staff as pleasant and friendly. Each staff member explained what they were going to do and they were more than willing to answer any questions.

“I was really pleased with my treatment while in the hospital, both before and after surgery,” says Karen. “The nurses were attentive and quick to help whenever Karen pushed the button for assistance.”

Karen felt very comfortable during her hospital stay. Her pain was controlled well, while she found the hospital bed very comfortable, and the food tastier than expected. She noted how the nurses always asked for her approval before they allowed a visitor to come into her room and appreciated how the staff members communicated with her.

Before Karen was released to go home, she received the appropriate training to help her fully recover at home. The staff encouraged her to get up and move around without being overbearing. Karen felt that each staff member took their time to explain each step and personally cared to talk to her and her husband.

“Considering that few look forward to surgery or a hospital stay, it was a really good experience,” Karen said. “I can’t even single out one or two individuals for extraordinary care, as they were all extraordinary in my opinion.”

Preventing Kidney Disease

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Preventing Kidney Disease

According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in three Americans is at risk for developing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Patients do not realize that they are having kidney issues and many are unaware of the symptoms. If you are experiencing conditions such as high blood pressure, anemia (low amount of healthy red blood cells), weakening bones or if you are concerned about the health of your kidneys, it is important to contact your primary care provider. If you have a family history of kidney problems, being aware is even more critical. The early detection of CKD is key in the success of addressing it.

Partnering with your specialist and your primary care physician is beneficial when it comes to kidney care. If you are worried about kidney problems, it is important to understand more about the symptoms you are experiencing. This is the first step in taking control of your kidney health. A specialist can explain how the kidneys remove waste and balance the fluids in your body, as well as determine how to keep your kidneys healthy.

Here are some of the ways you can take control of your kidneys’ health:

  • Take the medications prescribed by your doctor
  • Limit consumption of foods high in saturated fats, protein, sodium and potassium
  • Exercise regularly

Although kidneys don’t complain, they are vital to the way our bodies function and key to maintaining good health.  If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms or if you have a family history of kidney disease, please contact Portneuf Medical Group – Nephrology at 208-239-3899.

Preventing Kidney Stones through What You Eat

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Preventing Kidney Stones through What You Eat

If you have ever experienced a kidney stone, you will do whatever it takes to prevent them from forming again. Kidneys act like the filtration system of the body, they process 190 quarts of blood per day and eliminate excess water.

“When we have too high a concentration of various substances and minerals in the urine, tiny crystals will form, which are the beginning of a kidney stone,” said Jason Orien, MD, Portneuf Urology. “The concentration of these substances in the urine depends on several factors including how much fluid we drink, foods we eat, medications we take, and various disorders of the GI tract or parathyroid gland.”

According to Dr. Orien, here are some way to help prevent kidney stones:

  • Drink more water. Aim to drink 100 oz. of fluid per day, preferably water.
  • Control your salt intake. Foods such as bread, pizza and processed foods typically contain high amounts of sodium; this may lead to kidney stone formation.
  • Increase your citrate intake. Citric acid will minimize your risk of developing kidney stones. Lemons and limes have the most citric acid; it may be beneficial to make a homemade lemonade.
  • Regulate your calcium intake. Keep your calcium intake at a normal level, without taking too much or having too little.

“I often recommend patients add lemon juice to their water, and in some cases prescribe medication that contains citrate,” said Dr.Orien.

The symptoms of a kidney stone may include flank pain (discomfort in your upper abdomen, back and sides), blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, sometimes fever or an increase in frequency of urination. Kidney stones are typically diagnosed with a CT scan, ultrasound or x-ray. If you feel the symptoms of a kidney stone, please see your primary care physician. If you are feeling severe pain, fever or chills, go to the emergency room.

Some kidney stones will pass on their own without surgery. Others, depending on the size of the stone and severity of symptoms, may require more aggressive treatment. Kidney stones may not be life-threatening, but can lead to an infection in the urinary system or lead to sepsis.