The Dr J Blog!

Immunizations Needed to Maintain Health

As flu season approaches, we are reminded of the need for annual immunizations. For example, flu shots. The influenza vaccine represents one of the several immunizations that the Center for Disease Control and others recommend some adults and children receive. These vaccines help the body’s defenses to become sensitive to particular bacteria or virus. As a result, the immune system is prepared to fight off the infection before it can take hold.

The influenza vaccine protects the body against specific strains of the influenza virus. Each year the Center for disease control develops a vaccine based on what they think will be the predominant and most serious flu viruses that year. Although not 100% accurate every year, the vaccine has been very successful and decreasing the number of deaths and miss workdays each year related to the flu. In recent flu epidemics, at least 10,000 deaths have been reported. Much of this might be preventable if people are immunized annually. This is especially important for folks over for 65 years of age or those of any age with certain underlying illnesses. However, in 1989, only 30% of people over 65 received the vaccine.

If you’re wondering if you need the vaccine, talk to your doctor. Pneumococcal streptococcus is a bacteria that has been implicated in pneumonia and meningitis. Pneumococcal disease causes approximately 40,000 deaths per year with most of these deaths occurring in the elderly or in persons with long-term diseases. Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for a person 65 years or older who have chronic illnesses or week immune system’s and possibly other groups.

The two currently licensed pneumococcal vaccines have the potential to provide protection against 23 different types of the bacteria that cause most cases of pneumococcal infection. Diphtheria is a very serious disease. It can make a person unable to breathe, cause paralysis or heart failure. About one out of every ten people who get to Diptheria dies of it. Tetanus, sometimes called “lockjaw”, is a very serious disease that can occur after a cut or wound gets the germ into the body. Tennis makes a person unable to open his or her mouth or swallow and causes serious muscle spasms. In the United States, tetanus kills three out of every 10 people who get the disease. Not many cases of tetanus or diphtheria occur in the United States because people have immunizations that can protect them. Booster doses are recommended for both of these as adults. If you think you need a dip Syria or tennis immunization, speak with your doctor.

It is recommended to be vaccinated every 10 years for these. I encourage you to talk with your doctor about these and other immunizations available for adults. Julie L. Reihsen M.D. is a family practice physician and owner of Dallas Family Medical in Addison, Texas.

Diet, Exercise Can Keep Cholesterol Under Control

by Dr. Julie Reihsen

It seems every day we read or hear more news about cholesterol. What does it all mean? Cholesterol is a type of fat made by the liver. Cholesterol is also contained in certain foods that you eat such as eggs, meat, and dairy products. Shrimp is full of cholesterol. However, the real cholesterol danger lurks in the slyly packaged “cholesterol free” cookie. You see, shrimp contains very little of the fat that makes the cookie taste so good. And it is the saturated fat and food that has the greatest effect on your cholesterol level.

Foods high in saturated fat raise cholesterol because your liver turns saturated fat into cholesterol. Cholesterol is a white, waxy fat found naturally in your body. It is used to build cell walls and make certain hormones. Cholesterol travels through the blood in different types of packages called lipoproteins. The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) delivers cholesterol to the body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Too much cholesterol and your blood can raise your risk of heart attack or a stroke. The cholesterol can deposit along the walls of your arteries and causing to become narrow. Eventually, the deposit can build to a point where it blocks the flow of blood through the artery. If an artery that supplies blood to your heart becomes blocked, you may have a heart attack.

According to the national cholesterol education program, everyone age 20 or older should have their cholesterol checked. After that, you should have it checked at least once every five years. Depending on your cholesterol level and your risk factors for heart disease, your doctor will recommend how often to test. The test measures the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. The best total cholesterol is less than 200. A total cluster all above 239 means that you may have an increased risk for heart disease. The total cholesterol is composed of the HDL, or “good” cholesterol which cleanses the arteries, plus the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol which builds up and clogs arteries. It is best to have an LDL cholesterol of less than 130. If the LDL is greater than 160, you are at higher risk for heart disease. And HDL of 60 or more reduces your risk for heart disease is whereas if this is below 35 your risk is increased. If your cholesterol is elevated the methods to reduce it are eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.

Generally, the diet should emphasize fruits and vegetables, low-fat meats and fish, and fiber-rich foods like whole-grain bread. Limit your intake of saturated fat in palm and coconut oils. Pay attention to labels on food packages. Read the amount of total fat, saturated fat, and the portion size. Limit foods high in cholesterol like egg yolks and liver. Also, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times a week may raise the beneficial HDL in your bloodstream. Discuss any exercise program with your doctor prior to beginning. Finally, if you do smoke, stop. This may raise your HDL level. If eating healthy and exercising do not bring down your cholesterol level after about six months, your doctor may wish to discuss using certain medications to lower your cholesterol levels. This will require periodic monitoring and may be a lifelong treatment. So this is generally reserved for those who do not lower the cholesterol with diet and exercise. If you have any questions about cholesterol or want your cholesterol level checked, talk with your family doctor.

Depression is Often Misunderstood

The word depression can be confusing. Is often used to describe normal emotional responses. At some point in their lives, everyone may feel blue. However, when the symptoms persist for longer than a couple of weeks, a person may be suffering from depression. Depression is an illness. It is extremely common, one of the most common illnesses seen in all of medicine.

One in 12 people can expect to develop depression at some time in their lives. It is a mysterious illness affecting the entire mind and body causing a person to feel miserable in many ways. Unfortunately, it may be confused with other illnesses. For example, people who think or be told they have “low blood sugar”, “vitamin deficiency”, “low sugar”, “menopause” or “are all run down and need a rest” may actually have depression causing their trouble.

Unfortunately, depression is not well understood. The cause is unknown. We used to think it was due to something unhappy in a person’s life or to some purely psychiatric cause. We now know, however, that this disease happens to people who have no reason to be depressed, and who have no psychiatric illness. In other words, this is a disease often affecting normal and healthy people.

A person who suffers from this illness may have a multitude of symptoms, which may have a profound impact on their personal and professional relationships. Usually, they will feel tired all the time, even when they have not even worked or exerted themselves very much. They’ll be just as tired on days they’ve rested as on days they haven’t. Sleep will be off in one or two ways. They may go to sleep and then wake up during the night and remain awake. Alternatively, they will sleep too much, often requiring naps during the day. They will feel irritable and become upset very easily over little things that usually would not be upsetting. They’ll often feel very sad for no reason, and in fact, may break into tears without knowing why. A normal sex drive will be very much decreased; in fact, it may go away altogether. They may have headaches, usually like a pain going down into the neck. They’ll find it difficult to enjoy things and will feel little enthusiasm, even for things usually enjoyed. Abdominal symptoms such as constipation or diarrhea are common just as losing or gaining weight. They may find it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, study, or just get things done. Often they’ll have feelings of worthlessness, sinfulness or guilt. Worst of all, severe depression makes some actually not feel like living at all.

Depression can be serious. However, many people fail to recognize the symptoms and do not get the help they need. Depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses with up to 80% to 90% of depressed people responding to treatment. Nearly everyone gets some relief from their suffering. If you feel like you may suffer from depression, seek help from your doctor. If you feel someone you know has this illness encourage him or her to find medical treatment.

What Can A Healthy Diet Do For You?

Synthetic Sweeteners Increase Cardiometabolic Risk

A recent study in Norway reported by TIME magazine of more than 4000 folks with an average age of 66 showed that people who had healthier diets had larger brain mass when measured on brain scans. In addition, they had more gray and white matter and a larger hippocampus.

A recent study in Obesity Reviews that was reported in US News and World Report indicates all foods are not the same in terms of health value. The study found that fructose-sweetened, high fructose corn syrup-sweetened or sucrose-sweetened beverages increase cardiometabolic risk, whether or not a person gained weight.

Whereas consuming the same amount of calories in cheese and yogurts is associated with a decrease in cardiometabolic risk. Eating saturated fatty acids in certain dairy foods can lead to a decrease in cardiometabolic risk as well.

Our Office Has Moved

Patient’s who’ve not had an appointment in the last two years may be unaware that our office has moved! But don’t fret because we’re at Treepoint Plaza, just a few blocks south of our original location. Getting here is easy as we’re right off Dallas Parkway and there’s plenty of spacious parking.


Our new space is modern and equipped with the latest technology to ensure we can get you in and out as quickly as possible.

The view is awesome and kiddos will love the fun elevator! Hope to See you soon!

(972) 248-2020

Join us on Facebook at @JulieReihsenMD 

It’s Never Too Late To Talk About Obesity

Two‐thirds of the American population is obese. 

We all know obesity can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. But what is the definition of obesity? Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’ weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI can be used to screen for weight categories. Normal BMI range from 18.5 to 24.9, overweight range from 25‐29.9, obesity is BMI over 30.

Here are a few weight loss strategies from Dallas Family Medical:

Count your calories: Keep in mind that it takes approximately 3,500 calories below your calorie needs to lose a pound of body fat. To lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, you’ll need to reduce your caloric intake by 500—000 calories per day. Use the free apps such as calorie king, lose it to help you count calorie. Cut calorie intake: Eating more fruits and vegetable, increasing fiber, making better drink choices and watch the portion.

Burn your calories: 150 minutes/ week of moderate‐intensity aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week. Don’ be frustrated if you haven’ achieved your weight loss goal, no matter what your weight loss goal is, every pound counts. Even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

If you already try your best on the diet modification and exercise and wonder if there’s medication for weight loss, the answer is yes. Belviq and Contrave are both FDA approved weight loss medications, indicated for people BMI>30 or >27 with High BP, diabetes or high cholesterol. Cost range from $55 to $110 /month based on the insurance coverage. The goal for both of the medications is at least 5% percent body weight loss in 3-month duration. But both of the medication can be used for long-term weight loss.

Are you ready for weight loss? Call us and schedule an appointment today, we would like to talk you more about our weight loss program.

The Answer Is In

The answer is in. 

In a review article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers noted Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig are the most reliable systems for maximizing the chances for long-term weight loss.  Jenny Craig participants had the best outcomes in their review article.  In one study it was noted, people who used the Jenny Craig program lost more weight after one year than their counterparts who received either diet education or behavioral counseling.  Weight Watchers was endorsed as the most cost-effective option.  The researchers noted, in another set of clinical trials, people who used Weight Watchers dropped 2.6% more weight after one year as compared with people in a control group who received education only.

In my personal experience, Weight Watchers provided me with an effective system to track my food choices and to monitor my progress.  I was able to eat the food of my choosing and it was cost-effective.  Due to the fact I was eating less both in volume and in eating out, I probably saved money overall even with the costs of the program!  I also found that teamwork and having a group for support and for a healthy competition was even better!   Having the team approach took the work out of losing weight and changing my lifestyle and put the fun in!

As you know there are more medication options both over the counter and prescription than ever.  Remember the following:

1.  Medications do not replace a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet choices.
2.  Medications may have side-effects.
3.  Medications can interact together.
4.  Medications need to be medically monitored in most cases.
5.  Medication options should be discussed with your doctor before beginning to take them.

Surgery is also an option for a select group of people.

I would encourage you, if losing weight is a goal you have, to look at these programs.  If you need help, to consider medications, recognizing a healthy lifestyle and diet are the basis for weight loss and long-term weight control.  If you would like to talk to us more about diet or medications, please call us.