Are You Heart Healthy? Take This Quiz to Find Out

Heart healthyWhether it’s pounding with excitement, fluttering with nervous energy or beating steady as you rest, your heart is working hard for you every single day. It’s the most important muscle in your body because it pumps blood and oxygen to your organs.

If you struggle with high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, your heart suffers. High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder than it should, which can lead to thickening in the left ventricle and increase your risk of heart attack. While not all cholesterol is bad, too much can increase your risk for heart disease. You can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels that make it more difficult for your heart to pump blood through your arteries.

February is Heart Health Awareness Month. The skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers want to help you understand your risks so you can recognize early warning signs and symptoms.

Just about everything you do and everything you eat affects your heart health. Take our quiz to find if you’re doing things that will help keep your heart strong and healthy.

How healthy is your heart?
Heart Health Quiz

Do you have a history of heart disease in your family?

  • No—Or none known
  • Yes—One or both parents
  • Yes—Extended family (e.g., aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.)

Do you have a fitness routine?

  • Yes—I exercise 3-4 times per week
  • Yes—I do something active every day
  • No—I have not made daily exercise a priority

Do you have excess weight?

  • Yes—I need to lose more than 50 pounds
  • Yes—I need to lose fewer than 50 pounds
  • No—I am a healthy weight for my height

Do you have diabetes?

  • No—As of my last medical check up
  • Yes—I manage it effectively
  • Yes—I need to manage it more effectively

Do you smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products?

  • No—I do not smoke or use tobacco products
  • Yes—I smoke or use tobacco products occasionally
  • Yes—I smoke or use tobacco products every day

How often do you eat fast foods (e.g., high fat or fried)?

  • Less than once per week
  • 2-3 times per week
  • Almost every day

If your answers included one or more bolded options in the quiz above, your lifestyle choices may be increasing your risk for heart disease. To help you make heart healthy changes, we encourage you to partner with a skilled physician at Pomona Valley Health Centers. Call 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment today.

How Sweet the Success: Ten Tips for Managing Diabetes and Pregnancy

Pregnant woman receiving a diabetes test

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. It can occur before, during or after pregnancy and may cause a number of health problems for you and your developing baby.

Seven out of 100 women will develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes and typically resolves itself soon after delivery. However, this leads to an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Ten Tips for Managing Diabetes During Pregnancy

To help keep you and your baby healthy, it’s important to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible—before, during and after pregnancy. Here are useful tips for managing diabetes throughout your pregnancy:

  1. Eat smaller meals, more often
    Eat three meals and 2-3 healthy snacks every day to help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Each meal should have a selection of complex carbohydrates, leafy green vegetables and fiber. It’s also important to limit saturated fats and avoid food and drinks that contain a lot of sugar.
  2. Don’t skip breakfast
    Pregnancy hormones are often strongest in the morning, which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise even before you eat. A breakfast of whole grains and protein is usually best.
  3. Eat more fiber
    Whole grain bread, rice, whole oats, barley or any other whole grains high in fiber will help keep blood sugar levels lower than refined grains (e.g., white bread and white rice). Other high fiber food options include split peas, lentils and beans.
  4. Measure starchy foods
    Starchy foods are important, but they may increase your blood sugar levels if eaten in excess. Measure your starchy foods at mealtime to avoid complications. A reasonable serving size is about one cup of cooked rice, grain, noodles or potatoes, or two pieces of bread per meal.
  5. Measure fruit portions
    Fruit is nutritious, but it contains natural sugars that can elevate blood sugar levels. Eat only one small portion of fruit at mealtime like one cup of mixed fruit. It’s also important to avoid fruit that has been canned in syrup or fruit juice.
  6. Limit milk intake
    Milk is healthy, a great source of calcium and good for your baby. But too much at one time can lead to high blood sugar levels.
  7. Avoid sugar
    Do not add any sugar, honey or syrup to your foods.
  8. Stay active
    Engage in moderate physical activity that raises your heart rate each day. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning this or any new exercise routine.
  9. Lose excess weight before pregnancy
    Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight before pregnancy is especially important if you have diabetes or a family history of gestational diabetes.
  10. Read nutrition labels closely
    Though certain foods may advertise that they’re sugar-free, sugar alcohols may be used instead. Check the food labels total grams of carbohydrates.

If you’d like to learn more about managing your diabetes during pregnancy­—or need help managing your diabetes before you get pregnant—the skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help. Call 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

Pregnancy and the Flu: Prenatal Precautions to Note This Winter

Sick Pregnant Woman

During the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s body begins to naturally repress its immune system. This allows immune cells to flood into the lining of the womb, which causes inflammation. While inflammation typically means pain and discomfort, this is a unique situation in which it actually helps ensure a successful pregnancy. It also helps support the growth and development of the fetus throughout the entire pregnancy.

The downside is that changes to the immune system along with changes in the heart and lungs during pregnancy make women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) much more vulnerable to severe illness from the flu. If these symptoms are left untreated, it could mean a trip to the emergency room.

The flu is not only harmful for pregnant women, but also their developing babies. A common flu symptom is fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects, congenital heart disease and certain facial deformities in babies.

How to avoid getting the flu while pregnant

  • Get your flu shot
  • Wash hands often and use hand sanitizer regularly
  • Wipe down surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, etc.)
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

Is it safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy?

Yes, it’s safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend all women who are pregnant during flu season get vaccinated, regardless of which trimester they’re in. The flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of respiratory infection (commonly associated with influenza) in pregnant women by about 50 percent.

The skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) offer comprehensive prenatal and OB care as well as the flu vaccine. Protect yourself and your growing baby this winter with prenatal care services from PVHC. If you’re concerned about your pregnancy and the flu, call 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment today.

Ten Tips to Improve Your Child’s Health

healthy children

Every parent wants to keep their kids healthy and happy so they can grow and develop into healthy, successful adults. Educating your children about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle is essential, perhaps now more than ever. In the United States alone, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s.

While genetic factors are difficult to change, parents can play a role in teaching children about healthy lifestyle choices so they can maintain a healthy weight now and well into their future.

Ten Tips to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Here are ten things parents can teach their children through words and actions:

  1. Eat dinner together
    Families who eat together stay together and kids benefit academically, socially and mentally. While it would be great to share a meal together every day, that’s not always a reality in today’s world. Make it your goal to enjoy a family meal three to four times per week.
  2. Eat the rainbow
    Introduce a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, prepared simply, to help them develop a broad palate that will serve them well into adulthood.
  3. Drink lots of water
    Kids are more susceptible to dehydration than adults because they have higher body water content and higher metabolic rates. Keep them hydrated with easy-to-access water throughout the day and plenty of nutritious high-water-content foods.
  4. Exercise for fun
    Make exercise fun by playing hopscotch or freeze tag and riding bikes outside. Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services recommend children and adolescents age six and older get at least an hour of moderate or vigorous physical activity each day.
  5. Be safe
    Your kids will notice your safety habits, so take care to look both ways before crossing streets and wear your seatbelt or bike helmet. Remind your kids to do the same and provide ongoing guidance to your children about the importance of safety.
  6. Be kind
    About 20 percent of students report being bullied each year. As adults and parents it’s important to model violence-free mediation and conflict resolution so when children leave the home they have a wide variety of skills and strategies to negotiate conflict.
  7. Be together
    Time together as a family helps you build strong relationships that will help you though any tough times. In addition to family meals, try to spend time one-on-one, with each other and your children.
  8. Visit the doctor
    Preventive medical care is essential for overall health. Talk to your children about the importance of clean teeth and healthy bodies. Let them see you take care of your body too, with regular checkups.
  9. Limit screen time
    Life is busy and sometimes we want to relax in front of the TV, kindle or iPad. However, the American Hospital Association recommends one hour of screen time per day for children age two to five and no more than two hours for kids and teens age eight to 18.

Annual checkup are important for everyone, so call Pomona Valley Health Center at 909-536-1493 to schedule your appointments. Our team of skilled physicians is ready to help with the unique needs of your entire family.


Cold and Flu Season: How to Stay Healthy

You know the signs: runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and sneezing. It’s the start of a cold or worse—the flu. Each year in the United States millions of people suffer with cold or flu symptoms. Adults get between two and three colds a year on average and kids, well, they can get even more. Though most people tend to get sick in the winter and spring months, it’s possible at any time throughout the year.

Sick family in bed

How to protect yourself from a cold

Common colds are highly contagious between one and two days before you even realize you’re getting sick and until all of the symptoms are gone. So, the best way to stay healthy is prevention. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the common cold, but here are a few things you can do to help keep you and your family healthy all season long:

• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water
It’s important to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds every time you wash. This helps ensure viruses that may be living on your hands are washed away. If soap and water aren’t readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands
Viruses that cause colds and flu can enter the body through the nose, eyes and mouth—making you sick. If you need to touch your face, be sure to wash your hands first.

• Stay away from people who are sick
Anyone who is sick can spread the cold or flu virus through close contact with others. Droplets from a cough or sneeze can spread out to about six feet, so keep your distance if you can.

• Keep your surroundings clean
To keep cold and flu viruses away; sanitize doorknobs, light switches, faucets and other surfaces that are touched at least one a day. This is especially important if you’re a parent or guardian of school-aged children.

How to protect yourself from the flu

Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) recommends getting vaccinated against the flu every year to protect yourself from severe illness. It’s best to get vaccinated before the flu is active in your community because it takes about two weeks for the antibodies (in the vaccine) to fully protect your body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting the flu vaccine by the end of October, though it can be beneficial throughout the entire flu season, even into January or February.

Stay healthy this cold and flu season with help from the skilled doctors at PVHC. We offer walk-in appointments for flu shots at all five of our locations: Pomona, Chino Hills, Claremont, Chino Hills Crossroads and La Verne.

How the Right Primary Care Doctor Can Help With High Blood Pressure

Did you know one in every three Americans has high blood pressure? Anyone (including children) can develop high blood pressure, a condition that vastly increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Doctor taking blood pressure

How can my primary care doctor help with high blood pressure?

Asymptomatic high blood pressure can go undiagnosed for years and lead to more serious cardiovascular conditions. So, it’s important to keep your doctor appointments, including your annual wellness exam. Visiting your primary care doctor at least once a year—when you’re feeling well­­—will help them establish a baseline for your overall health. It also helps your doctor understand what’s normal for you and what is not.

At the first sign of elevated blood pressure, you and your primary care doctor can discuss simple dietary and lifestyle changes to help return your blood pressure to normal levels. When you treat your doctor like health partner, they will be better equipped to provide the medical intervention early, before you experience any negative or lasting impacts to your health.

Do I need to see a specialist or cardiologist for my high blood pressure?

Doctors who specialize in family medicine are highly skilled in identifying and treating high blood pressure. Referral to a hypertension clinic, specialist or cardiologist is only necessary in a very small minority of people who have persistent and severe elevations in blood pressure despite treatment with multiple blood pressure medications.

Symptoms of high blood pressure

Though many people can live for years without any symptoms, here are the warning signs of high blood pressure that should never be ignored:

  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficult breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in the chest, neck or ears


If you or a loved one needs skilled medical care and services, trust your health to the skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers. Our primary care doctors have extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure.


Here’s how to get started: Find a primary care doctor near me.


American Diabetes Awareness Month: A Successful Pregnancy With Gestational Diabetes

If you’re pregnant and have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes you are not alone. In fact, the prevalence of both preexisting and gestational diabetes in the United States is on the rise.

This year’s National Diabetes Awareness Month is focused on promoting health after gestational diabetes. Women and their children who’ve had gestational diabetes are at an increased lifelong risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or it resists insulin.

pregnant woman smiling

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and goes away for most after the baby is born. If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it means you and your baby’s blood sugar levels are too high. However, by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels throughout your pregnancy you can still have a happy and healthy baby.

Diabetes, pregnancy and your primary care doctor

Women with gestational diabetes can have successful pregnancies and healthy babies with proper medical care and monitoring. If you’ve kept regular well woman appointments throughout the years you can benefit from having the same trusted primary care doctor during your pregnancy as well.

It’s essential to have someone who understands your medical history who can provide individualized obstetric care during this unique time in your life, especially if you’re managing pregnancy with diabetes.

Reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes

Women who’ve had gestational diabetes are three to seven times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 5-10 years. Their children also carry a heightened risk for both obesity and type 2 diabetes. The good news is that you can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Here are a few easy ways you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Choose 100 percent whole grains instead of processed white and enriched products
  • Eat a rainbow of assorted fruits and leafy green vegetables
  • Reach for more lean meats and skinless poultry than red meats
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid juices or sports drinks
  • Get three to five hours of moderate exercise each week

The skilled family medicine doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers have extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy with diabetes and we want to help you have a healthy, happy baby. Call us at 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: One Test Could Save Your Life

A woman getting a mammogram

Every October major breast cancer charities across the globe participate in an international health campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and educate women about the importance of annual mammograms.

At Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC), we’re doing our part to raise breast cancer awareness this month by sharing the benefits of a 3D mammogram. In addition to ultrasound and regular x-ray services, PVHC is proud to offer leading edge testing like 3D mammograms—the most accurate breast screening system available. With our new SmartCurve System, mammograms are now more comfortable and more accurate than ever. This month, we are offering $50 mammograms if yours isn’t covered by insurance.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray image of the breast tissue. Most doctors recommend women get an annual mammogram following their 40th birthday. It’s an essential part of a women’s healthcare as they can be used to detect lumps, tumors and other abnormalities in women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer—which can save your life.

Benefits of a 3D mammogram

Women with dense breast tissue in particular may benefit from a 3D mammogram because it provides a clearer picture that a traditional 2D mammogram. A 3D mammogram, or breast tomosynthesis, combines multiple breast x-rays to create a three-dimensional image of the breast. They are also used to investigate breast issues or concerns, like a suspicious lump or thickening. Here are additional benefits of 3D mammograms:

  • More Accurate Detection
    3D mammography minimizes the impact of overlapping breast tissue, making tumors easier to see.
  • Earlier Diagnosis
    Overlapping tissue can hide small cancers in a 2D scan, whereas with a 3D mammogram the multiple image ‘slices’ can be analyzed one by one.
  • Less Anxiety
    With improved accuracy in diagnosing abnormal structures, 3D mammography can help reduce the likelihood of false positives, additional scans and biopsies.
  • Safe and Effective
    During a 3D scan, women will experience a minimal amount of additional radiation as compared to a traditional 2D mammogram. However, this dose is well below the FDA-regulated limit and no additional risk is associated with this scan.

Schedule your Mammogram Today! SmartCurve Badge

PVHC is proud to be the FIRST in the region to offer the new SmartCurve System for mammograms. Now more comfortable and more accurate than traditional exams. In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are offering $50 mammograms if yours isn’t covered by insurance.

If you’re 40 years or older be sure to schedule your annual mammogram because this one test could save your life. Call PVHC at 909-536-1493 to schedule a state-of-the-art 3D mammogram today.

What Does a CT Scan Show?

What Does a CT Scan Show?

A CT scan is a diagnostic procedure that allows doctors to see inside your body without making an incision. It uses a combination of x-rays and a computer to create highly detailed 2-dimensional images of the organs, bones and other tissues. The data collected from the 2d images is then used to construct 3D images. These images can help your doctor diagnose and treat a number of conditions more effectively and without the need for surgery.

A CT scan is much more advanced than an x-ray because it allows the radiologist to capture x-ray images in multiple sections of the body and at many different angles. Instead of taking flat x-ray images of your chest or abdomen, a CT scan creates a “slice” or cross-section of your body. This allows your physician to view organs and tissues from any angle. This technology is also useful for monitoring a patient’s progress during or after treatment.

CT scans are especially useful for those who are unable to have an MRI. An MRI uses powerful magnets so it may not be safe for those who have metal in their body (e.g., hip or knee replacements or metal fillings). Be sure to check with your doctor to find whether an MRI or CT scan is right for you.

Why are CT scans used?

Your doctor may recommend a CT scan to:

  • Detect bone and joint problems, like complex bone fractures and tumors
  • Identify or detect changes in cancer, heart disease, emphysema, or liver masses
  • Show a tumor’s shape, size and location
  • Examine and diagnose internal injuries and bleeding (e.g., from a car accident)
  • Locate a tumor, blood clot, excess fluid or infection
  • Guide procedures like biopsies, surgeries and radiation therapy

The physicians and radiologists at Pomona Valley Health Centers have more than 30 years experience to CT technology in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Call 909-536-1493 if you need a high-quality CT scan in Chino Hills, Pomona, La Verne or Claremont.

The Benefits of Genetic Counseling

genetic counseling

If you are concerned about your current or future pregnancy, the skilled genetic counselors at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help. They work closely with you and your physicians and provide the personalized care you deserve. Our genetic counselors help couples understand genetic or medical conditions and their causes, as well as their probability of conceiving a child with a medical concern.

What are the benefits of genetic counseling?

Genetic counseling benefits couples in many ways, including:

  • Increased understanding
    Genetic screening tests can help calculate the likelihood that the fetus might be born with Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease or sickle cell anemia. Genetic counselors are there to effectively communicate this information and help couples understand any potential benefits of preventative measures to individuals and their family members.
  • Better peace of mind
    For parents-to-be who are aware of a family history of a particular disease or condition, it can be cathartic to learn that they do not carry the gene.
  • Early intervention
    In some cases, genetic testing can uncover a hidden gene mutation that puts you at risk of developing a deadly disease. Our counselors help you understand the cause of this condition and what you can do to prevent it from developing and/or spreading.
  • Appropriate testing
    A genetic counselor can help couples determine what tests are most appropriate for your pregnancy. It can be especially important if any standard prenatal screening test yields an abnormal result.
  • Decision-making
    Our counselors help you understand testing options, diagnosis and the underlying causes of the genetic disorders, as well as guide you through any decision-making regarding genetic testing or family planning.

Contact Pomona Valley Health Centers to learn more about genetic counseling. We are eager to help you have a healthy, happy pregnancy. Call us today at 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.