December 22, 2016

Holiday Feast Safety Tips

“Food poisoning outbreaks increase during the holiday season, most cases attributed to meat,” said Eric South, D.O., primary care physician with CHI St. Joseph Health. Take note of the proper food safety precautions so your guests can stay comfortably stuffed.


If your holiday feast involves a turkey, handle it with care from thaw to finish. Defrost your turkey in the refrigerator, using the microwave, or by soaking it in cold water that is changed out every half hour. Never leave a turkey out to thaw at room temperature; it can quickly reach an unsafe temperature that promotes harmful bacterial growth.

Separate and Clean

Always disinfect any surface that comes into contact with raw meat; this includes countertops, hands, and utensils. Before preparing the next portion of your meal, put all utensils and dishes that touched the raw meat into the dishwasher, disinfect anything you or the meat may have touched, and wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap. Use a new, clean set of utensils and preparation ware to cook your side dishes. Keep your raw meats away from your raw produce at all times.


If you’re stuffing your turkey, cook the stuffing in a separate dish before filling your raw turkey with it. Then, immediately place the turkey into an oven set at 325 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Cooking time depends on the size of your turkey, but you can figure out if your turkey is fully cooked using a food thermometer. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit by inserting the food thermometer into the very center of the turkey and into the thickest sections of meat. Wash the thermometer with warm, soapy water after every use. Let the turkey cool for 20 minutes before carving.


Within two hours of preparation, put all leftovers into a refrigerator set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Use clean, shallow containers to store your leftovers, and try not to overfill your fridge. Throw away any food that sits out longer than two hours. Cooked meats can be stored for only three to four days before it’s time to throw it out.

Symptoms of food poisoning include cramps, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. If you experience symptoms of food poisoning, visit your CHI St. Joseph Health primary care physician. Severe cases can include bloody stool and dehydration, in which you may need to visit your nearest emergency room.


CDC – Food Safety Tips for your Holiday Turkey

CDC – Food Safety – Clean – Cook – Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer


December 12, 2016

MatureWell: 10 Important Health Screenings

Our physicians at CHI St. Joseph Health understand that our health needs change as we age. Our risks for certain conditions increase over time, making health screenings more important as we mature. Make sure you are aware of these 10 health exams.

  1. Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women in the United States. Catching the cancer in an early stage increases the effectiveness of treatment. Depending on the type of exam, you may need to get screened every year to every 10 years. Your physician can inform you of your screening options and which exam may be best for you. It is recommended adults over the age of 50 get screened for colorectal cancer. If you have a history of colon problems, ask your doctor if you should be screened at an earlier age.

  1. Blood Pressure Screening

“High blood pressure is a common condition that can take a toll on your health, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke,” said Leena Kodali, M.D., medical director for CHI St. Joseph Health MatureWell Lifestyle Center, opening spring 2017. Everyone should have his or her blood pressure checked at least once a year. If the top number is over 140 or the bottom number is over 90, make an appointment with your physician immediately. Your doctor can help you manage your blood pressure for a healthier heart.

  1. Cholesterol Screening

Your body needs cholesterol, but if too much builds up in your arteries, your risk for heart disease and stroke increases. Everyone should begin cholesterol screenings between ages 40 and 45 and continue screening every five years. As with blood pressure, your doctor can advise you on the best ways you can keep your cholesterol levels under control.

  1. Osteoporosis Screening

Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease; it can be caused by a multitude of factors. To help prevent bone loss, be sure to eat plenty of foods with calcium and vitamin D. People over the age of 50 who have fractured a bone are recommended to receive a bone density test. Men and women over the age of 50 with risk factors should speak with their healthcare providers about screening.

  1. Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It is also the second most common cancer. Most lung cancers don’t cause symptoms until the later stages, when the cancer is more difficult to treat. Adults over the age of 55 who have a history of heavy smoking should get screened. Learn more about CHI St. Joseph Health’s new lung screening program featuring low-dose computed tomography.

  1. Eye Exam

Our vision often weakens as we age and may require prescription glasses or contacts. All adults are recommended to receive an eye exam every two to four years from age 40 to 54 and every one to three years from age 55 to 64. If you have diabetes or an increased risk for glaucoma, your eye doctor may recommend yearly exams.

  1. Hearing Exam

Like our vision, our hearing often weakens as we age. A third of adults over the age of 65 and half of adults over the age of 75 will experience hearing loss. The inability to hear can be dangerous; fortunately, treatment and technology are available to help. If you are experiencing hearing loss, speak with your primary care physician or schedule a consultation with an otolaryngologist or audiologist.

  1. Diabetes Screening

About one in every 11 people is diagnosed with diabetes. This serious condition can lead to even more health problems, but with the right care, you can manage diabetes. Everyone should be screened for diabetes every three years starting at age 45. If you are overweight or have other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, you may want to talk with your doctor about screening at an earlier age.

  1. Mammogram

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Like other cancers, breast cancer is more treatable when detected in the earlier stages. Women should discuss mammograms with their doctors starting at the age of 40. If you have breast cancer risk factors, you may want to discuss screening earlier. After beginning mammograms, women are recommended to get them every one to two years. While women have a higher risk, men can also get breast cancer, so it’s important to know your personal risk.

  1. Prostate Exam

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. As they age, most men will experience prostate enlargement that can cause urinary problems, which is another reason to get it checked. Men should begin discussing prostate exams with their healthcare providers at the age of 50 or earlier if risk factors are present.

Are you overdue for a health screening? Schedule an appointment with your CHI St. Joseph Health primary care physician for a comprehensive wellness check. Ask your physician about our MatureWell Lifestyle Center, offering health and wellness services to adults 55 and older.



Medline Plus: Health screening – men – ages 40 to 64

Medline Plus: Health screening – women – ages 40 to 64

CDC – Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

CDC – Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests

CDC –  High Blood Pressure

CDC – Cholesterol

Medline Plus: Osteoporosis – overview

NIH – Hearing Loss and Older Adults

CDC – Diabetes – Basics

CDC – What Is Prostate Cancer?



November 8, 2016

How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Too much of anything is bad for the body. The key to reducing harm when consuming alcohol is drinking in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, but avoiding alcohol altogether is better for your health. Alcohol affects people differently, but there are a number of health conditions caused by excessive alcohol use that affect both women and men.

For Women

Although men are more likely to drink alcohol and drink larger amounts, differences in body structure and biology between the two genders cause women to absorb more alcohol and take longer to remove it from their systems. These differences also make women more susceptible to long-term health problems with alcohol use.

According to the CDC, excessive drinking may disrupt menstrual cycles and increase the risk of infertility. Other alcohol-related health concerns for women include liver disease, neurological issues, and cancers. Studies have shown that women are at higher risk for these conditions, but men are also affected by these conditions.

For Men

Men are more likely than women to drink excessively. Excessive alcohol consumption among men interferes with testicular function and male hormone production, resulting in impotence, infertility, and reduction of facial and chest hair. Other alcohol-related health concerns in men include cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.

Alcohol Poisoning

A deadly consequence of binge drinking is alcohol poisoning. According to the CDC, an average of six people die of alcohol poisoning each day in the U.S. Alcohol poisoning is caused by drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time,” said Anthony Soriano, M.D. “Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death.”

In the United States, one standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of alcohol is found in 12 ounces of beer, about eight or nine ounces of malt liquor, five ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or liquor. Excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

Learning about the affects of alcohol on your body can help save your life. If you’re struggling with excessive alcohol consumption or are concerned with its impact on your body, talk with your CHI St. Joseph Health primary care physician.


CDC – Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use and Your Health

CDC – Fact Sheets – Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health

CDC – Fact Sheets – Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health

CDC – Alcohol Poisoning Deaths


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