Why Prenatal Diagnosis is Important for Your Health

Prenatal Diagnosis

More than 70 percent of pregnant women in the United States routinely screen their unborn children for things like Down syndrome, spinal cord defects or other genetic conditions. Not only is prenatal diagnosis important in determining the health of the fetus, they can also help identify health concerns for the mother.

What is prenatal diagnosis?

Prenatal testing, screening and diagnosis are important tools to help your doctor determine, before birth, whether your fetus has any genetic disorders or congenital anomalies. Tests can be anything from amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) to a simple blood test. These tests are especially useful for children born to mothers over the age of 35 who are at an increased risk for genetic abnormalities.

How can prenatal diagnosis help protect my health?

Prenatal diagnosis has also helped reduce the mother’s risk of hemorrhage or stroke during childbirth by detecting conditions like placenta previa and preeclampsia.

  • Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta is too close to the cervix to allow for a safe vaginal delivery. Women with placenta previa are at a heightened risk of hemorrhaging, particularly during childbirth.
  • Preeclampsia is a unique pregnancy disorder in which the expectant mother has continuous high blood pressure. This disorder can lead to stroke, kidney and liver damage, fluid in the lungs and seizures.

Prenatal blood tests are a sophisticated, highly sensitive and noninvasive method that can pick up very unexpected issues. If a woman’s fetus tests positive for genetic conditions, but her baby is born healthy, the test could reveal an underlying issue with the mother. Doctors are noticing that imbalances in the genetic material of the expectant mother may be associated with a tumor. Researchers and doctors were unaware that tumors could be a source of the false positive DNA results until 2013, however, it’s an extremely rare finding and will not be used as a cancer screen. While broad benefits of this finding have yet to be discovered, doctors continue to look for patterns that might suggest which expectant mothers are at risk for cancer.

Contact Pomona Valley Health Centers to learn more about prenatal diagnosis. We can help you have a happy, healthy pregnancy and delivery experience. Call us today at 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

Menopause Management: How We Can Help

Menopause Management: How We Can Help

Menopause is the natural decline in reproductive hormones in women. This life event typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 50. It’s often self-diagnosable because its symptoms are very consistent. Some of the most common symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness and sleep issues. Though menopause is a naturally-occurring event in every woman’s life, the skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help you manage its symptoms, so you can get back to uninterrupted sleep at night and symptom-free days.

How we help you manage menopause

Menopause is a natural process, but treatments are available to minimize common symptoms. These treatments include:

  • Estrogen therapy
    Estrogen therapy is the most effective treatment option for relieving menopausal hot flashes. As an added benefit, estrogen also helps prevent bone loss. While long-term therapy has shown an increased risk for developing some types of cardiovascular disease and breast cancers, it has also shown to benefit women when the therapy is started around the time menopause begins.
  • Vaginal estrogen
    Vaginal creams may be used to temporarily relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms. Estrogen creams are inserted directly into the vagina and absorbed by the vaginal tissues.
  • Gabapentin
    This medication was originally intended to treat seizures. However, it has proven useful for women who are unable to use estrogen therapy, but suffer from nighttime hot flashes.
  • Clonidine
    A pill or patch originally intended for treating high blood pressure may also provide some relief from hot flashes.
  • Low-dose antidepressants
    Low-dose antidepressants may help decrease menopausal hot flashes and may be taken by women who are unable to take estrogen for various health reasons.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can manage the symptoms of menopause, contact Pomona Valley Health Centers. Our skilled specialists can tell you everything you need to know about menopause management. Call us today at 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

Arthritis Pain Management: What You Need to Know

Arthritis Pain Management: What You Need to Know

Despite what many people may think, arthritis is not an “old person’s disease.” The fact is, about 50 million Americans of all ages live with some form of arthritis. But how do you know if you’re hurting from a sports injury or from arthritis? And if arthritis is causing your pain, how can you manage it?

Pain types: What you need to know

There are two main types of pain: Acute and chronic. Acute pain is often described as a sharp, throbbing, shooting or stinging feeling, which can be brief (burning your hand on a stove or pulling away from a knife cut) or linger after an injury or surgical procedure.

Chronic pain (aching, dull, burning or throbbing pain) is pain that lasts for at least three months. But for some people, it can last as long as six months and continue for years. Arthritis pain, migraine headaches, nerve damage and low back pain are examples of chronic pain.

Arthritis pain management: What you need to know

Many people manage their pain with over-the-counter and prescription medications, which typically do not treat the pain source. For other people, medications work best as a complementary therapy to long-term pain management techniques, which might include:

  • Losing weight – Taking off extra pounds is not only great for your overall health, it will help reduce the stress on your joints, improve mobility, decrease pain and may even prevent future joint damage.
  • Exercising – Staying active is great for maintaining joint flexibility. Just be sure to avoid weight-bearing workouts like running or walking, and try low-impact exercises such as water aerobics or swimming.
  • Applying hot/cold therapy – Hot therapies, such as taking hot showers or baths, and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad, help ease joint stiffness. Cold treatments, like gel ice packs or a bag of frozen vegetables help ease joint pain, swelling and inflammation.
  • Eating arthritis-friendly foods – Omega 3 fatty acids, which are high in fish oil supplements, have been shown to reduce joint stiffness and pain. You can also find high amounts of omega-3s in Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. In addition, many people find that adding turmeric (a yellow spice packed with anti-inflammatory properties) to their food decreases arthritic pain.

Other helpful arthritis pain management techniques include getting regular massages, practicing meditation and taking herbal supplements. Consult your doctor before adopting a new exercise routine, nutritional program or supplement regimen.

Providing excellence in arthritis pain management in Pomona, Chino Hills and Claremont

Whether you’re experiencing the pain of an injury, or the chronic pain of arthritis, getting the expert care you need is close to home. At Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) our experienced, board-certified physicians are ready to provide effective arthritis management strategies, tools and total support to help you stay out of pain.

For all your health needs, from family medicine to urgent care, you’ll find a commitment to prompt, convenient, cost-friendly health care at PVHC. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 909-536-1493 or click here to use our online form.

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.