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


November 3, 2016

3 Ways You Can Prevent The Flu

At the same time you take steps to protect yourself from the flu, you are also helping prevent others from getting sick. We encourage you to do your part to keep the people in your community healthy. Take note of these tips to stay well this flu season.

  1. Get your annual flu shot.

Getting vaccinated is the most important step in flu prevention. The annual vaccine is made up of weakened forms of what research suggests will be the most common virus strains of the upcoming flu season. Anthony Carnell, DO, primary care physician at CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care Austin’s Colony, says, “The flu vaccine helps your body develop antibodies to fight the flu virus if it enters your body, preventing you from getting the symptoms that accompany the flu.” Make an appointment with a CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care physician to receive this year’s flu vaccine.

  1. Avoid contact.

Avoid contact with people who are contagious, and avoid others when you’re sick. Avoiding contact with others can prevent the person-to-person spread of the flu virus. It’s also important to avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth, to prevent the transfer of germs from your hands to places where germs can easily enter your body. Especially during cold and flu season, wash your hands often with soap and warm water. After rubbing soap over every inch of your hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds, rinse under warm water and dry using a clean or disposable towel or hand dryer. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  1. Practice healthy habits.

Strengthen your immune system by eating lots of nutritious foods, managing stress, getting a good amount of rest every night and regularly exercising. Be sure to also drink plenty of hydrating fluids to keep your body feeling its best. As you set the stage for a healthy body, you can also take steps to create a healthy environment. Disinfect household items with which you often come in contact: phone receivers, remote controls, doorknobs, and more. Lastly, keep the environments of your neighbors healthy by covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing.

If you get sick, visit your nearest CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care location. Make an appointment online at or by calling 979.314.5624. Our physicians are committed to helping you maintain good health through education, communication and the latest developments in healthcare.


CDC – CDC Says “Take 3” Actions to Fight the Flu

CDC – Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs

CDC – Wash Your Hands


September 20, 2016

What’s the State of Your Prostate?

The prostate is a gland in men the size of a walnut that increases in size after age 40. It is located between the bladder and rectum and surrounds the urethra and functions to help produce semen. Most men after age 40 will develop enlargement of the gland, which is why it’s important to get it checked regularly to catch problems early.

Prostate Problems

The most common issues with the prostate involve an array of symptoms, but some men do not have any external symptoms, which is why an annual exam after age 50 is recommended. Enlargement of the gland has three main causes:

  • Prostatitis is the most common of the medical issues associated with the gland, characterized by prostate inflammation. It is recognized that half of all men will develop prostatitis and need treatment in his lifetime.
  • Enlarged prostate, BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), is the most prevalent health concern among men. After age 50, most men will encounter BPH, but this does not mean cancer is the underlining reason. An embarrassing and annoying symptom is difficulty starting and completing urination.
  • Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate grow uncontrollably. This condition is the most worrisome because it is second only to lung cancer in cancer deaths in men.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. One in every seven men will be diagnosed with this particular cancer. While age is the biggest risk factor for prostate cancer, ethnicity, family history and gene mutations also play a role. With early detection, prostate cancer can be successfully treated.

Prostate Exams

Clint Cheng, MD, primary care physician at CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care Barron Road, shares that prostate medical conditions are extremely common in older men. “Prostate cancer screening is a complex topic that is best discussed with your doctor to determine your risks and to determine if and when you should have prostate cancer screening.”  While the most concerning medical diagnosis is prostate cancer, men who have an enlarged prostate often have significant symptoms that can be addressed with treatment to improve their quality of life.  These prostate issues can be evaluated by discussing symptoms, doing a digital rectal examination, and checking bloodwork that includes a PSA (prostate screening antigen).

Are you overdue for a prostate exam? Schedule an appointment with a CHI St. Joseph Health primary care physician to take care of your important screenings by calling 979.774.2121 or requesting an appointment online.prostate


CDC –  Prostate Cancer

American Cancer Society

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