Staying Healthy on Vacation in a Foreign Country

Photo by Mysaell Armendariz

How You Can Stay Away From the Summertime Blues

Summertime means vacation time. Beaches and drinks with umbrellas in them and lots of photos for Facebook and Instagram. For many travelers, however, vacations can also lead to sickness. Drinking bottled water helps reduce the chances of “Delhi Belly” and “Montezuma’s Revenge;” getting appropriate vaccinations are always recommended.

The chances of contracting Hepatitis A also increases when you travel outside of the American borders. This highly contagious viral disease is hardest on seniors with weaker immune systems. The disease attacks mainly the liver. At its peak, it can leave you feeling weak for an extended period of time – in some cases, even months. The symptoms begin several weeks after contracting the disease, so Hepatitis A won’t likely ruin your vacation – but it can put a damper on the rest of your summer.

How To Know If You’re At-Risk

Traveling with reputable companies to first-class accommodations does not eliminate contracting contagious diseases. In fact, quite the opposite is true. According to the World Health Organization, most cases of hepatitis A in travelers occur in those who stick to higher-level hotels and resorts. A gourmet meal or a pristine bathroom can still harbor disease – and the rigors of traveling can weaken your natural defenses. Assume you are at risk whenever you travel abroad, regardless of the level of cleanliness and service.

If you’re traveling in regions where hepatitis A outbreaks occur, avoid raw or undercooked meat and fish. If you buy fresh fruits or vegetables at a local market, wash them with bottled water before eating. Very hot coffees and teas are typically safe, but ask for a disposable cup, not a hand-washed mug.

While you’re on vacation, you may be substituting drinking water for other beverages, but dehydration can leave you vulnerable. Alcoholic drinks tend to be safe (use your straw, and – even on vacation – always drink in moderation). Drinking water is historically less so. Quench your thirst with bottled water instead of local “tap” water – and use bottled water when brushing your teeth. Skip the ice, and don’t drink beverages of unknown purity. If bottled water isn’t available, boil tap water before using it.

Wondering If You Have Hepatitis A?

Don’t panic. Most cases of hepatitis A are mild cases don’t require treatment. Nearly everyone who becomes infected recovers without permanent liver damage. But vigilance is always a better choice than treatment. Vaccines are available for people most at risk. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Hepatitis A can last from a mild case of several weeks to a severe case lasting a few months. Again, age often plays a factor in the severity of the symptoms. Hepatitis A signs and symptoms appear most often four weeks after exposure and develop over several days. Symptoms may also start abruptly in as few as two weeks or as many as seven, and include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Finally, not everyone with hepatitis A develops signs or symptoms. For this reason it is important to be diligent upon returning home from an area prone to the disease. Immediately, wash your clothing, bathe, and clean personal items with disinfectant.

Should You See the Doctor?

Exposure to hepatitis A can be treated before the first signs of symptoms. You can receive the hepatitis A vaccine within two weeks of exposure to thwart possible infection. Likewise, immunoglobulin therapy is also available before the beginning of symptoms. Ask your doctor – or your local health department – about receiving treatment for hepatitis A if:

  • You’ve traveled internationally recently, particularly to Mexico or to South or Central America, or to any area with poor sanitation
  • A restaurant where you recently ate reports a hepatitis A outbreak
  • Someone close to you, such as someone you live with or your caregiver, is diagnosed with hepatitis A
  • You recently had sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is not a living bacterial infection, it is a viral disease. As is the case with most viruses, there is no specific treatment or cure once infected. At this point, the only thing you can do is get a lot of rest.

How You Can Stay Healthy

To avoid getting hepatitis A you have to know how you can get infected in the first place. For all illnesses that commonly affect travelers, follow these simple instructions:

  • Do NOT eat food handled by someone who has not properly washed his or her hands.
  • Do NOT eat food that comes from contaminated water. Shellfish (like mussels, clams) or any local fish where there is an outbreak of disease.
  • Do NOT eat food that is washed in contaminated water. Eating even a healthful salad can make you sick in a month. Stick to cooked vegetables for your diet.
  • Hepatitis A is most often found on your hands (by shaking hands with someone who is infected, for example). The disease is then transferred to your mouth, where it enters your system. Be sure to wash your hands as often as possible.
  • Again, contaminated drinking water can put you at risk for Hepatitis A and other illnesses. Avoid ice and brush your teeth with safe, bottled water.

You can have a great vacation and not worry about contracting a disease if you practice good hygiene. Those most likely to contract hepatitis A will do so from contaminated food or water. But don’t forget that the disease can also spread from close contact with someone who’s infected. Wash your hands frequently, and any older travelers should look into the two-part Hepatitis A vaccine.


Rheumatoid Arthritis: What You Need to Know

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

If you have pain or stiffness upon waking, or nagging, constant joint pain that you’ve ignored, you need to read this.

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of pain in advanced years. After decades of use, cartilage, bone and ligaments simply “wear out.” By contrast, Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease, and is much different. RA, as it is often abbreviated, is found in women three times more often than in men and affects over 1 million Americans.

There are over 100 forms of arthritic diseases that are diagnosed by inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues. These diseases may begin at any age, but typically begin in the decades between age 40 and 70. In these ways, rheumatoid arthritis is very similar.

How is RA different?

RA is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling and limited motion and function of many joints. While RA can affect any joint, the small joints in the hands and feet are the most likely sites. Inflammation may occasionally affect organs as well – the eyes or the lungs, for example.

Rheumatoid Arthritis affects up to 3 percent of American women. It occurs in all races and ethnic groups. Older teenagers and young adults are sometimes diagnosed with the disease. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (a condition related to RA) is a rare condition found in children and younger teenagers. Knowledge of these diseases continues to expand through research efforts.

What is RA like?

Severity of the disease ranges from mild and moderate to severe. The more moderate cases have peaks and valleys of symptoms; the pain caused by the disease “flares up” but isn’t constant. The most severe forms of the disease have fewer to almost no periods of remission. Left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can linger for years and lead to serious joint damage and disability.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Symmetrical pattern of affected joints
  • Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
  • Joint inflammation sometimes affecting other joints – including the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles and feet
  • Fatigue, occasional fevers, a loss of energy
  • Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest
  • Symptoms that last for many years
  • Variability of symptoms among people with the disease

While RA is a disease of the joints, its effects are not solely physical. Rheumatoid arthritis affects all aspects of a person’s life. It can interfere with the joys and responsibilities of family life and its symptoms affect nearly all decisions. Many people with RA also experience issues related to depression, feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem.

How can I get help?

Specialists at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic are very familiar with rheumatoid arthritis and its symptoms. Rheumatologists at ADC understand the many forms of arthritis and related diseases like lupus and gout.

Our primary goal is to limit any arthritic damage, especially in rheumatoid arthritis.  Services at ADC include bone density testing, joint injections and an IV infusion clinic for new medications.  Our rheumatologists are armed with the latest information regarding your disease and treatment options to improve your quality of life. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Over 50? Schedule Your Colonoscopy Soon.

Photo by Mpumelelo Macu on Unsplash


  • The CDC estimates that 60% of colon cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone over 50 got a colonoscopy.
  • Roughly 90% of new colon cancer cases occur after age 50.
  • Screenings are brief, painless and the most effective of all cancer prevention methods.
  • But 40% of Americans for whom colonoscopies are recommended do not get one.

Discussing colorectal cancer isn’t a common topic for most people, and it’s understandable. It involves talking about an intimate part of the human anatomy, and – even scarier – cancer. But if you are over 50, it is definitely a conversation you should have with your doctor.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in America; 50,000 Americans die annually from the disease. The American Cancer Society and Center for Disease Control both recommend colonoscopies once a decade after 50.

A colonoscopy is a procedure which allows a physician to look at the interior lining of the rectum and large intestine. Using a thin, tube-like lighted instrument equipped with a lens, a doctor looks for abnormal areas, polyps, and possible cancer. This procedure may also help find other colon diseases, such as Crohn’s Disease or Colitis. It can also help identify ulcers, areas of inflammation or bleeding and causes of diarrhea.

If you are 50 and haven’t set up a colonoscopy, discuss this very important procedure at your annual physical. If you are over 50 and haven’t had this screening, or if you know someone for which this is true, contact us to set one up today. Below, some highlights are listed detailing what to expect with your first procedure.

Preparing for Your Colonoscopy
Days before the procedure, your physician or nurse will give you preparation instructions. The purpose of this preparation is to clean out the bowels and will result in multiple bowel movements and cause liquid stools.

If you are unable to complete the prep as directed: please call your physician. It is likely that your test be rescheduled.

You will also receive dietary instructions prior to the procedure. In some cases, a liquid diet is requested for a short duration, 1-2 days before your scheduled procedure. For your safety, it is imperative not to consume any food or liquids within the 4 hours prior to the procedure.

Always discuss your health history if it has changed in any way since you last saw your GI physician.

Upon Admission

Plan for half a day at the doctor’s office. Whoever accompanies you to ADC will be asked to remain during your procedure and to drive you home. This person would also keep your valuables, such as a wedding ring or a cell phone.

Before the procedure you will be asked by your physician about pain of any kind. You may also ask any questions that you have at any time. You and the team will discuss your current medications and your personal allergies to any medications. Medications are given by physicians orders throughout the procedure (most commonly used are Demerol; Versed; Fentanyl; and Phenergan). Please notify your nurse if you are allergic to any of these medications. After reviewing your vitals, an IV will begin.

During the Procedure

  • The procedure usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes
  • Your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation are monitored continuously. You will also be placed on a small amount of oxygen through a nasal cannula.
  • Your physician may take biopsies, remove polyps or perform treatment during the procedure. Specimens that may be removed will be sent out later for testing. Your physician’s office will call you with the results once that testing is completed.

Following the Colonoscopy

Following the procedure, it is typical to remain in recovery for 2-3 hours. After some time, you will receive another checkup, again checking your temperature and other vital signs. At this time, your physician will also take you through what they saw during the procedure. If appropriate, you will be able to begin drinking fluids again.

Discharge instructions are always reviewed with you and the person accompanying you. You may be sleepy at the time of discharge and are encouraged to go home and rest for the day. Any special instructions from your physician are also written on the discharge sheet. If follow-up is needed, your physician will advise you at that time.


CDC: 46 States Experiencing Flu Outbreak

Combat Flu With These 5 Sleep Hygiene Tips

Getting back to a normal pace after the holiday season can sometimes be difficult. To make matters worse, the CDC has reported that 46 states are experiencing a flu outbreak. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene is a great way to remain healthy this time of the year.

What is Sleep Hygiene?

The behaviors that affect the quality of a person’s sleep are collectively known as that person’s sleep hygiene. These habits occur before, during and after time spent in bed. While the recent holidays may have thrown off your previous schedule, it is best for your mind and body to return to those sleeping habits.

For most people, falling asleep and staying asleep comes naturally. There are certain lifestyle and dietary habits that promote sound sleep. And it is possible those habits were instilled by parents to children. Others may have figured out through trial and error what habits work best for them.

But many people have to be more intentional with their actions. If sound sleep is elusive, try the techniques suggested here. They may help you sleep better on a regular basis.

What is causing me to sleep poorly?

1. Stress

It is no secret that any sleep problems are caused by stress. What’s surprising is that it may not be caused by current stress. When someone is dealing with stress, they may start to develop certain strategies counterproductive to effective sleep. A stressed person may partake in regular napping, excessive use of caffeine, or alcoholic beverages at bedtime, working at night, or sleeping at irregular times.

These coping mechanisms may work in the short term to reduce the stress level. The problem then lies in the time after the stressful situation is eliminated. Those coping strategies may have now become a habit. Actions that alleviate stress before may now cause sleep problems. The cycle of repeated difficulty falling asleep creates new tension and a fear of sleeplessness can result.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the brain and interferes with sleep. Coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate, prescription and nonprescription drugs – including some OTC pain relievers – contain caffeine. Moderate daytime use of caffeine typically does not interfere with sleep at night. But heavy or regular use during the day can lead to withdrawal symptoms and sleep problems at night.

If you suffer from insomnia, try to drink fewer than two caffeinated beverages a day. Avoid caffeinated substances after lunch and see if this helps your sleeplessness.

3. Nicotine

Nicotine withdrawal can also disrupt sleep patterns. As with caffeine, nicotine is another stimulant that makes falling asleep difficult. Smokers who quit can expect to fall asleep faster and wake up fewer times throughout the night.

4. Alcohol

One of the effects of alcohol is a slowing of brain activity. It seems reasonable then that when taken at bedtime, alcohol would help one sleep. True, alcohol may help induce sleep – at first. But it also disrupts sleep later in the night.

You body metabolizes the sugars in alcohol as quickly as it can. If you have a “nightcap” before bed, your body is performing this function as you are trying to sleep. Working in this manner may lead to awakenings during the night. Alcohol is also known to induce nightmares and early morning headaches. For more sound sleep, avoid alcoholic beverages within four to six hours of bedtime.

5. Meals

Metabolizing a large meal before bed can lead to difficulty sleeping. Foods that irritate the stomach also can make sleep fitful.

A light snack at bedtime, however, can promote sleep. Milk and other dairy products consumed with carbohydrates like crackers, are especially good as bedtime snacks.


Good, restful sleep is one of the best things you can do during the flu season. The above suggestions should help you fall and stay asleep. If these tips don’t do the trick, consider scheduling a sleep study today. Sleep problems can lead to a number of health issues and should not be taken lightly.

Wishing you sweet dreams.


Five Things to Know About HPV

dmitriy-ilkevich-437760Photo by Dmitriy Ilkevich on Unsplash

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. HPV is the Leading Cause of Cervical Cancer.

79 million Americans have Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection. 12,000 American women will contract cervical cancer this year, almost entirely as a result of HPV. Of those, roughly one-third will lose their battle with the disease.

What can you do?

Cervical cancer as a result of HPV is typically a slow moving condition and – when caught early – can be treated. Learn more about the virus and the diseases it causes, and contact your healthcare provider if you have further questions.

1. All sexually active adults have at some point or another had one of many strains of the Human Papillomavirus. Many strains cause no problems and are thwarted by your immune system in one to two years. Other strains cause genital warts, which can flare up once or become a chronic condition.

But other strains are destructive to the cells at the opening of the cervix. Sometimes, weakened immune systems are unable fight off the viral infection. The virus can live in the body for weeks, months, years or decades without affecting the cervix.

2. There is no treatment for the virus once it has entered your body, but vaccinations are available for teenagers and young adults. The virus is passed by genital contact with other soft tissue areas (even without penetration). Proper use of male condoms reduces the likelihood of passing the contagion on somewhat, but only the areas covered by the prophylactic.

Pregnant women almost always have normal deliveries and healthy babies who do not have the virus.

3. 14 million Americans are infected with  HPV every year. Even if you receive this diagnosis, remember that it is a completely normal infection, much like the chicken pox. The American Sexual Health Association and the National Cervical Cancer Coalition have online support communities at where you can find information and support from others.

4. A Pap test can alert your physician if there are any abnormal cell changes to the cervix. HPV tests alert doctors and patients to which women are at the highest risk for cervical cancer. Pap/HPV co-tests are suggested for all women over 30.

A Pap test is the only way to find precancerous cells of the cervix. Catching problematic cells before cancer begins is the best way to fight cervical cancer. Get screened according to the guidelines suggested by your personal physician, typically every 3 to 5 years. But remember, the virus can be dormant for long periods of time. Don’t forget to continue screening for this reason.

5. Dr. Joanna Wilson is one of the practitioners of HerCare. At ADC, they treat each woman as a unique individual to develop physical and psychological well-being. The Practitioners of HerCare provide primary care and annual exams with an emphasis on applying the latest scientific knowledge of gender differences in diseases and treatments.

Dr. Wilson believes that the woman’s annual pelvic examination is a vital component to a patient’s overall health, and refers for obstetric and surgical gynecologic and urologic care. She believes that the patient and doctor are a team working towards a common goal, and that success is based in patient education and empowerment. Contact us at HerCare to set up an appointment for a Pap test today.

(Some information provided by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.)

6 Tips for Cold and Flu Season

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

An apple a day isn’t all you need to do to keep the doctor away.

It’s that time of year again. The weather is cold outside and your immune system is working overtime to make sure you’re healthy. Do everything that you can to help with these simple tips.

Wash Your Hands

The number one tip of all. It’s too cold to be outside, so you’re spending even more of your free time indoors. You know what? So is everyone else. More people than ever are touching the same things you are, passing along more germs and viruses than you are used to. One is going to slip past your body’s natural defenses.

If you get a cold or flu this year, you likely have your own dirty mitts to thank. As you pick up germs on your fingers, you may scratch your eye or eat some finger food and invite those germs into your body.

There is a solution, and it’s simple and easy. Wash your hands with soap. Do it often and well. Use hand lotion to keep them from drying out in the cold winter and causing cracks in your skin. This is a key way to prevent a cold or flu.

Get Your Flu Shot

We recommend getting a flu shot.

The flu is not a minor problem; a severe case can sideline you for days. The vaccine is the best, most effective way to allay those fears. Above that, the flu can be dangerous, especially for older adults, pregnant women, and young children who don’t wash their hands as well as you do. Get your shot, and this year you may still get sick or you may not. But know that without that shot you may be more likely to cause you and your family a lot of misery.

Be Prepared for the Season

Where’s your hand sanitizer? Do you need to get some more? When you go to battle cold and flu germs, make sure you have the weapons you need. Multi-vitamins, pain relievers, decongestants – make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked. Don’t forget hand soap and hand sanitizer and tissues. Is your thermometer battery working?

When you are at the supermarket, load up on fluids, herbal tea, and simple comfort foods like chicken soup. You may not get sick, but you want to be prepared if you do! How many times have you prepared for a worst-case scenario only for it not to happen? Maybe this time you can avoid the flu by being ready for it.

Pay Attention to Your Symptoms

Do you have a bug or a virus? Is that a cold or the bonafide flu? Unfortunately, there isn’t a surefire way to differentiate your symptoms. Even your physician may not be sure.

True, colds are milder. Usually the overreaching complaint is a runny or stuffy nose.

The flu is usually more sudden and severe. Fever, body aches, and exhaustion are more common with the flu. And they are typically shorter lasting but more intense. Both of these conditions come from a virus, so you can’t “kill” it, but there are other ways your physician can help you out.

Choose the Right Medications

Over the counter, there are lots of cold and flu remedies to choose. Avoid combination medications that package lots of drugs in one pill — like a decongestant, cough suppressant, and a painkiller. If you don’t have a cough, or if you only have aches, you are taking medication that you don’t need. You don’t feel good, true – but take the time to read labels and choose only the medications that will help.

If you have antibiotics, don’t be tempted to use them. Again, these are viruses and antibiotics work only with bacterial infections. Also, using antibiotics when you don’t need them is a bit dangerous. It increases the risk of breeding dangerous germs that are resistant to drugs.

Don’t Go to Work

Stay home. Yes. It’s not easy to take a sick day. But if you have a cold or flu, you should. Even if you feel better after lunch, don’t go in for half a day. Don’t run errands. When you’re sick, stay home, rest, and recover. It’s better for you and everyone around you.

Pushing yourself when you’re sick and working instead of resting wears down your body. Your body may have a harder time fighting off the virus. Your cold could last longer. You could also spread the virus to other people. Stay home.

Study: Sleep Apnea Among Truck Driver’s Increases Risk of Accidents in N. America

Study: Sleep Apnea Among Truck Driver's Increases Risk of Accidents in N. America - BSA ADC

Study: Sleep Apnea Among Truck Driver’s Increases Risk of Accidents in N. America – BSA ADC

According to a 2014 Harvard study, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is likely increasing the risk of motor vehicle accidents, particularly among commericial truck drivers in the United States and Canada.

The study concluded OSA is “associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents“.

OSA is often difficult to study due to limited laws and subsequent challenges in identifying it among truck drivers. Yet, OSA is likely common among North American commercial drivers.

Many drivers are not diagnosed with Sleep Apnea leaving many undertreated, the study concluded. This, despite a number of options being available for screening and treatment in the United States.

BSA Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic Sleep Disorders Center opened in 1999 for the diagnoses and treatment of patients who have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep at night, problems with excessive daytime sleepiness or other medical problems that may occur or exacerbate during sleep.

We are the only comprehensive clinic in Amarillo which offers our patients evaluations and follow-up consultations with board certified physicians in:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pulmonary Diseases
  • Sleep Medicine

Our Basic Sleep Study Procedure

We use the latest technology for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in a comfortable and home-like atmosphere.

See Our Video

How We Can Help With Sleep Disorders

Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to increased health risks and an overall lower quality of life, as well as increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, particularly among commercial truck driver’s. Contact us today. 806.353.1422


Colonoscopy: Everything You Need To Know

Wandering about a Colonoscopy?

Here are some questions that might help clear up any confusion you may have. Please feel free to contact BSA ADC for more extensive details and information regarding Colon health and services that may be offered at BSA ADC.

Take a video tour!

I know I am supposed to hold aspirin products for 5 days.  What are considered aspiring products?

Aspirin products include:  Advil, ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, naprosyn or any medications you take for arthritis (including iron).

What foods am I supposed to avoid 2 days prior to the procedure?

It is important that you stop eating high roughage foods such as lettuce, beans, cabbage, corn as well as any high fiber foods including whole wheat bread.  If you take fiber laxatives, you must also stop taking them 2 days prior to your procedure.

What foods are ok to eat?

It is ok to eat meat, potatoes, pastas, fruits, and white breads.

I know I am supposed to begin a clear liquid diet at breakfast on the day prior to the procedure, what is considered a clear liquid?

Clear liquids include all of the following:

  • Strained fruit juices (without the pulp)
  • Water
  • Clear broth or bouillon
  • Coffee or tea (without milk or non-dairy creamer)
  • Gatorade
  • Carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks
  • Kool-aid or other fruit flavored drinks
  • Plain jello (without fruit or toppings)
  • Ice popsicles
  • No red or purple fluids/liquids
  • No milk products or solids

Where is ADC Endoscopy Specialists located?

Our physical address is #1 Care Circle Drive.  Our facility is located inside Legacy Squares office park off of Amarillo Boulevard West between Coulter & Soncy.

Gout diagnosis, treatment options, and case management from BSA ADC

Gout diagnosis, treatment options, and case management from BSA ADC

Gout diagnosis, treatment options, and case management from BSA ADC

(Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

What is Gout?

Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid. The buildup is also known as hyperuricemia. The higher your uric acid level, the more likely you are to get gout. Excess uric acid can form crystals in the joints and lead to swelling and pain.

The first attack of gout usually occurs in the big toe.

Flares are said to be extremely painful, and are associated with red, swollen and tender joints. Flares can also be found in the feet, ankles, hands, wrists elbows and knees.


How Is Gout Diagnosed?

Doctors often ask about symptoms, medical history and family history of gout. Signs and symptoms of gout include:

  • Hyperuricemia
  • Uric acid crystals in joint fluid
  • More than one attack of acute arthritis
  • Arthritis that develops in 1 day, producing a swollen, red and warm joint
  • Attack of arthritis in only one joint, usually the toe, ankle, or knee.

To confirm a diagnosis of gout, your doctor may draw a sample of fluid from an inflamed joint to look for crystals associated with gout.

How Is Gout Treated?

Doctors use medicines to treat an acute attack of gout, including:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Colchicine, which works best when taken within the first 12 hours of an acute attack.

Sometimes doctors prescribe NSAIDs or colchicine in small daily doses to prevent future attacks. There are also medicines that lower the level of uric acid in the blood.

How Can I Manage my case of Gout?

High levels of uric acid can lead to crystals in the joint, causing swelling and pain. If uric acid levels are left untreated, flare-ups will happen more often, be more painful, and joint damage will occur.

Keeping uric acid levels below 6 mg/dl reduces the risk of gout attacks with long-term treatment. At this level, crystals in the joints dissolve, resulting in fewer attacks.


You don’t have to live another day with uncontrollable pain in your joints.

Contact us to learn more about gout or to schedule an appointment.

What Is Endocrinology?

From Diabetes, To Bone Disease

Endocrinology is the study of Hormonal and Metabolic Disorders.

ADC Endocrine System

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Endocrinologists of BSA Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic are thoroughly trained in the management of hormonal and metabolic disorders. With the aid of our experienced staff, our Endocrinology Department can assist in the management of your diabetes, complex metabolic bone disease, or disorders affecting the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands. Patient education services are available for patients in the care and management of these disorders. We also provide dietary counsel for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Call and schedule an appointment today at BSA ADC.


Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly utilize blood sugar. Carbohydrate foods create blood sugar and the body needs insulin in order to process the sugar into energy for the body to function properly.

Type I diabetes is a condition in which the body’s immune system damages the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. This form of diabetes is treated with insulin replacement by injection since the body is no longer capable of producing enough of it’s own insulin.

Type II diabetes is a much more common form and is progressive in nature. This form of diabetes causes insulin resistance which means the body still produces insulin, but had difficulty utilizing it. There are various medications in pill form to treat Type II diabetes, but because of the nature of Type II diabetes, sometimes the pancreas wears out and insulin replacement by injection is required.

At this time there is no permanent cure for diabetes. Your physician will determine what medications you may need and should be carefully used daily. You should visit your doctor every three to six months so that the efficacy of treatment can be re-evaluated. Good glucose control is essential in order to prevent or retard the onset of diabetic complications. These include, but are not limited to damage to the small vessels of the eye, kidney damage, coronary artery disease, and peripheral nerve damage. These complications can lead to blindness, heart attack or stroke, dialysis, and amputation. The good news is that with proper self-care and medical expertise you can significantly reduce or avoid these complications altogether.

Weight control through diet and exercise is important. If you are overweight, your chances of diabetes increases significantly and you are putting yourself at risk. BSA Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic has a patient education specialist to assist you in the care and management of diabetes through diet and exercise.

You need to EXERCISE on a regular basis, preferably every day for at least 45 minutes. An exercise program should be initiated slowly and built up gradually to avoid injury and build stamina. Go for the distance rather than intensity. Our patient education specialist can assist you in starting an exercise regimen that will work for you. Be sure and obtain clearance from your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

CHECK YOU BLOOD SUGARS with a home glucose monitor regularly. Your physician or diabetic educator will prescribe a routine and frequency that best suits your needs, but many doctors ask that you monitor before breakfast and before supper. Please be sure to record your numbers and to bring your results along with your meter when seeing the doctor. He or she will want to discuss those readings with you.

Periodic Checks

GLYCOHEMOGLOBIN is a test developed to give information about your average blood sugar level during the past two or three months. It should be checked every three to six months. The American Diabetic Association recommends that the patients diabetic regimen be adjusted to achieve a glycohemoglobin of less than 7%. Any contributing risk factor for vascular disease should be aggressively assessed and treated. Cholesterol, triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, and smoking are all factors that need to be addressed. Your physician or educator can help you understand your results and your treatment options. Some medications typically used to treat elevated blood pressure also have a protective effect in preventing kidney complications of diabetes. Any medication prescribed by your physician should be taken only as directed. Consult your doctor before adding or deleting any medication including over the counter meds.

MICROALBUMIN urine testing should be performed yearly to evaluate the likelihood of diabetic kidney involvement.

A visit to the OPTHALMOLOGIST should be scheduled at least yearly. He or she will evaluate any diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, or other conditions and plan treatment accordingly.

You should have a COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL EXAMINATION yearly that includes a treadmill exercise test. Underlying coronary artery disease is often more common in an individual with diabetes and needs early intervention.

SICK DAYS require special consideration. Anything your body perceives as stress can and will increase your blood sugar. This stress can be physical or emotional in nature. If you are ill your blood glucose will rise even if you cannot eat. Rules of thumb for sick days are as follows.

  • Stick to your meal plan if you can eat.
  • Take your diabetes medication unless your physician tells you to stop.
  • Check with your doctor before taking any other medication.
  • Drink at least one large glass of liquid each hour. If you are eating, these liquids should be sugar free.
  • Test your blood sugar every 4 hours.
  • Ask someone to check in on you or have them call every few hours to make sure you are all right.
  • If in doubt, consult your physician. Early and effective management of sick days will reduce your chances of developing diabetic coma.