Category Archives: News

prostate cancer

What Every Man Should Know about Prostate Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. The prostate is a walnut-sized organ located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. It produces fluid that makes up a part of semen.

prostate cancer

Not counting some forms of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, and second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths. Every year, more than 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 25,000 men die from it. CDC provides men, doctors, and policymakers with the latest information about prostate cancer.


Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all. Some symptoms of prostate cancer could be:

  • Difficulty in starting urination.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Difficulty in emptying the bladder completely.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
  • Painful ejaculation.

If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away. These symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer, such as BPH (Benign prostatic hyperplasia).

Risk Factors

There is no way to know for sure if you will get prostate cancer. Men have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer if they are 50 years old or older, are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer.

Screening for Prostate Cancer

Not all medical experts agree that screening for prostate cancer will save lives. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for men that do not have symptoms. The potential benefit of prostate cancer screening is early detection of cancer, which may make treatment more effective. Potential risks include false positive test results (the test says you have cancer when you do not), treatment of prostate cancers that may never affect your health, and mild to serious side effects from treatment of prostate cancer.

Most organizations recommend that men discuss with their doctors the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening. CDC continues to support informed decision making, which encourages men to talk with their doctors to learn the nature and risk of prostate cancer, understand the benefits and risks of the screening tests, and make decisions consistent with their preferences and values.

Tests that are commonly used to screen for prostate cancer are:

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE): A doctor, nurse, or other health care professional places a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the size, shape, and hardness of the prostate gland.
  • Prostate specific antigen test (PSA): PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood, which may be higher in men who have prostate cancer.
    However, other conditions such as an enlarged prostate, prostate infections, and certain medical procedures also may increase PSA levels.

Is prostate cancer screening right for you? The decision is yours. To help men aged 50 years or older understand both sides of the issue, CDC has developed several helpful guides to assist you with making an informed decision.


This article written by Allen Francis, MD.
Family Medicine, Davis Medical Group

Aging heart health

Heart Facts: How Age Affects Your Heart Health

As we get older there are age-related changes that may affect our heart and blood vessels. Blood vessels in an aging heart become more rigid and less elastic which can lead to high blood pressure. Arteries can become blocked by plaque which can increase the risk for heart attack or stroke and the aging heart pumps less efficiently which can increase the risk for heart failure.

Aging heart health

“Unfortunately women are particularly vulnerable to age-related heart disease,” notes Dr. Lehmitz, an Internal Medicine Physician at the Salt Lake Senior Clinic. “At menopause, the risk of heart disease and stroke begins to rise, partly because the woman’s body is no longer producing the hormone estrogen,” he explains.

Hereditary risk factors you can’t control

  • A genetic predisposition for high cholesterol
  • A genetic predisposition for high blood pressure
  • A family history of diabetes (which increases the risk for heart disease)
  • An early history of heart disease and heart attack in immediate family members

Risk factors you can control

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure tells your doctor that your heart is working extra hard to move blood through your arteries. This can lead to a higher risk of developing heart problems, stoke and kidney problems. Normal blood pressure for an adult is about 120 over 80 mm/Hg. Most high blood pressure can be controlled with diet, exercise and medication. “It is critical that aging adults get their blood pressure checked on a regular basis,” recommends Dr. Lehmitz.

Heart and blood vessel disease is the #1 cause of death in smokers worldwide. Smoking damages the lining of the arteries and promotes plaque build-up. This build-up can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Only 44% of American adults get some exercise. Another 28% aren’t active at all. Exercise can help lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure, improve blood flow through the body, increase muscle strength and improve lung function.

Weight & Diet
Excess weight raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol. Overweight adults are at increased risk for high blood pressure and more likely to develop diabetes. “The food we eat has a huge impact on our overall health. A healthy high fiber, low fat and low salt diet can reap significant health benefits for the aging heart,” states Dr. Lehmitz.

This article written by Paul Lehmitz, MD
Senior Medicine – Salt Lake Senior Clinic

healthy living

A Recipe for a Healthy Day

Did you begin the New Year with a resolution to improve your health and fitness? Are you making progress on your goals? Weight loss and fitness are usually at the top of the resolutions list. But did you know that half of the people who make New Year’s resolutions have given up on them by June?

healthy living

So, maybe you got a bit side-tracked. It’s not too late to recommit to those goals which often requires making some lifestyle changes. Don’t take on too many changes at one time. Be reasonable in your approach and take it one day at a time. Begin by writing down your goals and keep them someplace visible – like on your refrigerator or taped to your bathroom mirror. Set small incremental goals and look for balance to your approach. When you think about your day, what small changes can you make that might help achieve one of your goals, such as weight loss?


Research now suggests that there is a relationship between sleep and weight (body mass index). Make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Research suggests that seven to eight hours of sleep may be “protective” against obesity. Sleep deprived individuals perceive themselves to be hungrier and may eat more as a consequence.


Eat a well-balanced diet, avoid snacking, and watch your portions. Extremely sweet or fatty food captivates the brain’s reward circuit, only leading to further cravings. Consider changing your “food environment” by not bringing fatty and super sweet foods into the house to help you avoid temptation.


It’s all about creating a routine. Find some form of exercise you enjoy doing for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can still benefit from several shorter spurts of exercise each day, if time is a problem. Don’t sit for long periods of time. Periodically get up and stretch, walk around the office or climb a set of stairs.

Stress Management

We live in an increasingly stressful environment. Look for opportunities each day to do something you enjoy, spend time with loved ones, and make a small difference in someone else’s life. If you feel you are suffering from depression, don’t be embarrassed to seek help.

Improve your health and well-being one day at a time. Develop your own recipe for a healthy day.


This article written by Steve Harmon, DO.
Family Medicine, South Valley Primary Care

mens health month

June is Men’s Health Month

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. You can learn more at

mens health month

It may be “macho” to ignore pain or depression, but it isn’t healthy. The truth is that women are 33 percent more likely than men to visit a doctor regularly. And, according to the Men’s Health Network, men die at higher rates than women when it comes to the top 10 causes of death – heart disease, cancer, stroke, COPD, accidents, pneumonia/influenza, diabetes, suicide, kidney disease and chronic liver disease.

In 1920, women outlived men by only one year. According to the CDC, women today are outliving men by 5.1 years. The stakes are simply too high for men to continue to “tough it out” when it comes to their health. Having a relationship with a health care provider and monitoring a man’s health as he ages is critical for the early detection of significant health issues.

Heart Disease

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in both men and women. Heart disease tends to manifest itself at an earlier age in men than in women. One in four men has some form of heart disease. Men can take charge of their risk by making healthier lifestyle choices. Prevention goes a long way in reducing the risk of stroke, cancers, diabetes and depression.

Depression & Suicide

A much ignored health issue for men is depression. U.S. men are four times more likely to commit suicide compared to women. Part of the blame can be attributed to undiagnosed and treated depression. Depression in men may look different from what is seen in women. It may manifest itself through: anger, aggression, risk-taking behavior, job burn-out, midlife crisis, and alcohol or substance abuse.


Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Smoking is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, followed by colorectal cancer. To learn more about recommended screenings for these cancers, please visit the American Cancer Society website at Screening saves many lives.

Men – it is up to you to take charge of your health. Do it for yourself – do it for the ones you love.


This article written by Miguel Angel Ruiz Villalobos, MD.
Family Medicine, Western Hills Medical Clinic


Allergy Testing Without Discomfort. Allergy Management Without Shots.

Davis Medical Group and North Pointe Medical Clinic now offer an easy and painless approach to allergy testing for our patients.


The testing is done in the office where tiny droplets of allergenic extracts are applied to the patient’s back. 70 allergins can be tested. Patients can choose which ones they want tested, or they can test all of them. Total testing time takes about one hour. There is no scratching or poking of the skin. Within 15 to 20 minutes the doctor can see if the patient has a reaction to any of the allergens. Testing can be performed on children and adults.

And the good news is that once identified, allergies can be managed using daily drops that are placed under the tongue (sublingual), rather than having to use allergy shots. These drops are the same serum that is used in allergy shots.

Dr. Francis notes, “We are finding that we have much better patient compliance with this approach to treatment. This means the patients are getting better results in managing their allergies and associated symptoms.” Within a few months, most patients realize a significant reduction in the need for allergy medications.

Benefits to the use of sublingual allergy drops include:
• They are natural and extremely safe with rare, mild side affects
• Most patients feel noticeable relief within just two months of starting treatment and many improve in as little as a few weeks
• They are painless-no shots or scary needles
• You avoid excess trips to the doctor’s office, saving lots of time and money
• They work especially well for children
• They provide long-lasting results

Most common allergens in Utah

In Utah, trees pollinate between February and May. The most common tree allergies in Utah are caused by:


Grass allergies are generally most problematic between May and July. The highest pollen counts for grasses are generally attributed to:

Bermuda grass
Meadow fescue
Orchard grass
Wild oat
Red top

Weed pollens can be aggravating to allergy sufferers from July through November or the first hard frost. The most problematic weeds are:

False Ragweed
Careless weed
Yellow dock
Marsh elder
Lambs quarter
running injuries

6 Common Running Injuries

Did you know 40% of running injuries are knee injuries? Many runners deal with some type of nagging pain or discomfort. If ignored, these pains can lead to full-blown injuries. Sometimes taking a little time off may get you back on the road and help you avoid a significant injury.

running injuries

Runners Knee
This is an irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap. Most people notice pain when going up or down stairs, sitting with the knee bent for long periods and squatting. Biomechanical factors can put an extra load on the knee. Shortening your stride while running, and landing with the knee slightly bent, can help take some of the load off the knee joint.

Achilles Tendonitis
This is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the large tendon that connects the two major calf muscles to the back of the heel. An Achilles tendon problem can result from a dramatic increase in training. Don’t try to run through it. Back off on your running for a few days to a week, icing several times a day. Exercises to strengthen the calf muscle may help.

Hamstring Issues
The hamstrings run down the back of our thighs. Hamstring issues arise when these muscles are weak due to being too short or too long – basically a muscle imbalance. Many runners’ quadriceps over- power their hamstrings, which can cause injury. A sudden onset of strong pain or bruising could be a true pull and should be evaluated by a Sports Medicine specialist as soon as possible.

Stress Fractures
A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone, often found in the shin or foot of runners. This can be caused by overtraining. The pain is most often felt in the tibia, metatarsals (in the feet), and calcaneus (heels).

Shin Splints
Shin splints often occur from a new workout routine which can result in pain in the front or inside of the lower leg (shin), along the tibia. People with flat feet are most likely to develop shin splints.

Plantar Fasciitis
This results from small tears or inflammation of the ligaments and tendons that run from your heel to your toes and may feel like a dull ache or bruise along the arch or bottom of the heel. Runners with very high or low arches are very vulnerable to this problem.

When in doubt, check it out. If you are concerned about a sudden pain associated with running, or dealing with a nagging condition, see a sports medicine specialist to see how it should be treated.


Tell Me Your Story

“If I listen to my patient, he is telling me his story.”


Have you ever had a physician ask to hear your story? Have you ever complained that your doctor doesn’t listen? Healthcare is the most personal of service experiences, but too often the experience feels detached and impersonal.

Dr. Steven Harmon, Family Medicine physician at South Valley Primary Care, believes that hearing “your story” is key in caring for patients. Not only helping build relationships but also in getting a more accurate diagnosis. “Typical medical training focuses on disease processes and the physical aspect of medi-cine. While taking care of the body is important, we shouldn’t for get to take care of the mind and spirit of a person as well,” explains Dr. Harmon

“As health care providers, we need to incorporate the entire patient when we discuss their diseases. Taking into account the social context of a patient helps to find solutions to problems that would go overlooked if we don’t consider them. I find patients are more satisfied and feel more ownership of their health care when I consider the mind, body, spirit, and they are included in designing an appropriate treatment plan, said Dr. Harmon.

Research tells us that patents that feel heard and trust their doctor are more likely to follow treatment recommendation and ultimately improve health outcomes. “One of the key things that drew me to primary care was creating relationships and working in a partnership with my patients,” noted Dr. Harmon “Maybe one day I’ll even take care of the children of my current pediatric patients,” he added. “It is very rewarding to work together with patients helping them learn the “why” and “how” of their disease. I want my patients to know why they are being treated and be involved in setting their own health goals,” he commented.

Dr. Harmon works with his colleague, Karen Olson, FNP a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner. She has cared for patients in our area for many years. “We are interested in promoting wellness and disease prevention,” said Karen. “We would rather help our patients remain well than treat them after they are ill,” she added.

Doctor Steve Harmon UtahWritten by Dr. Steve Harmon, DO
Family Medicine
South Valley Primary Care


Current Treatments for Osteoarthritis

Author: Theresa Gourde, MD

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition caused by the gradual erosion of joint cartilage over time. When this happens, the bones rub painfully against each other and joints become stiff, swollen painful and arthritic.


While osteoarthritis mostly affects the hands, knees, hips and spine, it can affect almost any joint. The condition becomes more prevalent with age, and it is more common in people who are overweight. The good news is osteoarthritis can be treated a number of different ways, depending on the severity and stiffness of the pain. These include non-medical therapy, medication, and, in severe cases, surgery.

Treatment Without Medications
There are several ways to improve arthritis symptoms without a prescription.

Weight loss. Excess weight puts undue pressure on joints. One of the best ways to ease joint pain is to lose extra pounds by maintaining a healthy diet of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthier fats.

Physical therapy. Moderate exercise and physical therapy strengthens joint muscles and improves flexibility.

Hot and cold therapies. Applying a heating or cold pack to arthritic joints can help alleviate arthritic pain and stiffness. Keep the heating pad at a low setting and wrap cold packs in a towel. Hot and cold applications should be limited to no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Rest. Arthritic symptoms can worsen with too much activity. Adequate rest can significantly improve the symptoms.

Treatment With Medications
Drug therapy is an important part of treating osteoarthritis.

Pain relief. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can ease arthritis pain but do not treat inflammation. Other effective over-the-counter medications include anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. With sudden or severe arthritis, narcotic analgesics such as codeine may be required. Narcotic medications can become habit-forming, so it’s important to keep in close touch with the prescribing doctor while taking them.

Joint injections. Hyaluronic acid is a natural lubricant and shock absorber that is injected into the joint to ease osteoarthritis pain. Steroid shots like cortisone also offer quick relief from pain and inflammation.

Treatment With Surgery
Surgical procedures are typically used for patients who have exhausted all other arthritis treatments.

Realignment. This procedure is used when bones have become misaligned from prolonged arthritis. This type of surgery is generally reserved for younger, more active patients as an alternative to joint replacement surgery.

Joint replacement. When there is severe arthritis in the hip or knee, joint replacement surgery may be used to replace a damaged joint with an artificial joint. This procedure significantly reduces joint pain, and the results typically last for at least three years.

Fusion. When joint replacement surgery is not an option, fusion may be used to permanently join two or more bones together using screws, pins or plates until they heal. The bones will fuse as one, but the joint will lose its flexibility.

Osteoarthritis is a painful, chronic condition, but there are a number of treatments available. Talk with your doctor to make sure every possible treatment option is being explored.

weight loss Utah

Do You Know the Risk Factors and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

Author: Miriam Padilla, MD

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 95% of Americans with diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes usually develops later in life and is an illness where the pancreas makes less insulin over time. Physical signs of type 2 diabetes do not develop in the early stages, so this chronic condition can be easy to overlook. When symptoms do start to occur, many people are surprised to learn they have the disease. This is concerning given that type 2 diabetes can become debilitating and even life-threatening over time.

Risk factors that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes include family history, unhealthy eating habits, excess weight and lack of exercise. It’s important to know the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in order to manage the condition as early as possible.  See your doctor if you experience any of the following:

Increased appetite. When your body lacks enough insulin to transport sugar to the cells, you lose energy, which makes you more hungry.

Weight loss. Type 2 diabetes affects your body’s ability to metabolize glucose. To compensate, your body uses other fuels that are stored in muscle and fat, so  any calories you take in are seen as excess glucose by your body and released in your urine.
Increased thirst and urination. You may drink (and urinate) more often if your blood sugar is too high. That’s because your body is pulling fluid from the tissues, which can make you more thirsty.

Slow-healing sores. People with type 2 diabetes have a difficult time healing and resisting infections.

Fatigue.  When your cells lack sugar, you’re likely to become for tired and irritable.

Vision problems.  If your bloodstream has excess sugar build-up, fluid may be taken from the lenses of your eyes, affecting your ability to see clearly.

The good news is type 2 diabetes can be managed by eating right, exercising, losing weight, treating high blood pressure and cholesterol with medication, and taking insulin as prescribed. If you believe you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, schedule an assessment with your doctor to learn more about what you can do to minimize risk.


Salt in the Diet

How Much Salt is Too Much?

Evidence continues to mount that Americans need to reduce the amount of salt in their diets. Too much dietary salt can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), which increases the risk of stroke or heart attack.

In an article published in the British Journal of Medicine researchers showed that if people could cut back their salt intake by 25 to 35 percent, they could reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 25 percent.

Taking the salt shaker off the table is not enough. 80 percent of salt in the diet comes from eating out, packaged and processed food. For example, one cup of canned soup can contain more than 50 percent of the recommended allowance of 1500 to 2400 mg of salt (sodium) per day. Once slice of lunch meat can have 350 mg of salt.

Keep in mind that a certain amount of salt in the diet is needed to support healthy functioning. However, be aware that aging, pain medications, antidepressants, diuretics, heart or kidney failure, and some other diseases can cause the body to improperly store the salt that is taken in. Tips for reducing salt in your diet include:

  • Choose fresh, frozen or canned foods with no salt added.
  • Buy unsalted nuts, seeds and dried beans.
  • Limit salty snacks.
  • Avoid foods that list salt as one of the top four ingredients.
  • When cooking at home, try to replace salt with other herbs or spices.