Olden named 2014 Family Physician of the Year


dr-oldenContact: Shannon Dininny, Memorial Communications: 509.577.5051

YAKIMA – Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce that Carl R. Olden, MD, FAAFP, has been named the 2014 Family Physician of the Year by the Washington Academy of Family Physicians.

This prestigious award is given annually to a family physician who exemplifies a compassionate commitment to improving the health and well-being of people and communities across Washington. Dr. Olden’s practice includes obstetrics and geriatrics, and as one colleague says, he has been a “guiding light for many of us throughout the state in promoting quality care.”

Dr. Olden was born in Toppenish and raised in Yakima, and his family roots run deep in our Valley. He is the founder of Pacific Crest Family Medicine, serves as Memorial’s medical director and is a faculty member for the Central Washington Family Medicine Residency program.

Dr. Olden also has shown commitment to improving health around the world. He has traveled with the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) program to Moldova, Tajikistan, Mexico, Lithuania, Portugal and the Azores, Qatar, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. He also worked with Heart-to-Heart International in Moldova and Tajikistan, and served as a U.S. representative to the Hiroshima International Council for Healthcare of the Radiation Exposed.


Congratulations Dr. Olden!

Terrace Heights HealthyNow Clinic Opens!

Memorial Physicians is pleased to talk about the opening of a second Healthy Now clinic, located at 3904 Terrace Heights Drive in Yakima. Healthy Now is a convenient care clinic for those times when your doctor is not available and you need care fast, but the emergency room is not the best option. Matthew Kollman of Memorial Physicians appeared on KIT 1280 on May 27, 2014 to talk more about the clinics.

What is a convenient care clinic?

Convenient care clinics are usually open for extended hours, often before and after your doctor’s regular business hours and on weekends. They help reduce employee absenteeism since they offer flexible hours and no appointment is needed. If you have a non-urgent medical condition, a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant might be able to quickly provide the care you need, including prescriptions.


Memorial Physicians now has two Healthy Now convenient care clinics?

That’s right. Memorial Physicians opened the first Healthy Now clinic in December at 3909 Creekside Loop in Yakima, and it’s definitely meeting a need in the community. We’ve averaged 29 patients per day since it opened.


We also expect the second clinic in Terrace Heights to serve a very real need for health care services in that neighborhood in Yakima, and we’re excited to offer that care.


Are other clinics planned?

We plan to open a third clinic in West Valley – on 72nd Avenue near Rosauers – later this summer to meet demand for services there.


Will all three clinics offer the same services?

Yes. We will treat a variety of illnesses and injuries that might not be serious enough for a trip to the emergency room.

• Colds                                                 • Ear Aches                                         • Sore Throats

• Minor Burns                                   • Sprains and Strains                      • Flu

• Routine physicals for camp, school or employment


What can I expect?

At Healthy Now you and your family will be seen quickly and professionally by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. These trusted health care professionals are licensed and credentialed to practice medicine, and they are on site to follow through on your care, from symptom to prescription.


Because these are walk-in clinics, we are unable to predict exact wait times, but the average office visit for minor illnesses is 20 minutes. Keep in mind, we are likely to be busiest before and after the average work/school day (8–10 a.m. and 5–7:30 p.m.). Like other health care settings, you may also experience longer wait times in the fall and winter months.


Healthy Now accepts most insurance plans and Medicare. We also accept cash, credit cards, and debit cards.


What is your location and hours?

Hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome.  Appointments are available online at healthynowclinic.com.

Or call 574-6095 for the Creekside location, or 574-6090 for the Terrace Heights location.

Changing how you think may change how you feel

Maybe this question has been on your mind: Can my mental state affect my physical health?

Doctors have suspected for centuries that there is a powerful tie between mind and body, and modern medical studies prove them right. Researchers now know that unhealthy levels of stress, depression and anxiety can wreak havoc with your hormones, immune system, heart health and blood pressure.

Back pain, chest pain, headaches, extreme fatigue, diarrhea, a stiff neck or a racing heart are just a few of the physical symptoms that can appear when your emotional health is off-kilter, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Tending to your emotional health can improve your quality of life. It also may help your body fight infections, recover from an illness and prevent chronic disease.

What helps the mind-body balance grow strong? Thankfully, research has answered that question too. These top the list:

  1. Getting a move on. Exercise changes how the body responds to stress. It improves mood too.
  2. Finding healthy ways to relax. Some people use music, art, prayer, woodworking, reading or even 10-minute walks to lower stress in their life.
  3. Expressing yourself. Negative feelings and fears that are bottled up may flow out as aches, pains and problems. A trusted friend, partner or religious adviser may be able to help you focus on positives and work through challenges. Some people keep a gratitude journal or write down goals and accomplishments. Professional counseling is advised if you are stuck or feeling overwhelmed.

Finally, remember these words of wisdom: Be honest with your doctor about the stresses and challenges you face. Ask for help if you think you’re feeling depressed. Your doctor can suggest many ways to improve your health and wellness—both mental and physical.

Additional sources: American Psychological Association; National Institutes of Health

Eating triggers: How to tame temptations

Every day you decide what to eat, but you might not understand why you eat.

For instance, do you eat only when you’re truly hungry or do you sometimes nosh because you’re bored or sad or because a tempting TV ad sent you to the fridge?

The answer to those questions can be important—especially if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight.

One way to find out is to keep a food journal for a few days. By jotting down what, when and where you eat and how you’re feeling at the time, you might spot what drives you to overeat or to choose less-than-healthy foods.

The next step: Finding ways to avoid the triggers. Here are suggestions for three common ones.

Craving comfort

You use food to relieve stress, loneliness and other emotions.

Instead of reaching for food:

• Get physical—head to the gym, take a walk, weed the garden

• Breathe deeply for 5 minutes

• Sip a cup of hot tea

• Write down what’s bothering you

Tube temptations

You mindlessly munch while watching TV.

• Eat only in the kitchen or dining room and not in front of the TV.

• Don’t keep hard-to-resist foods, such as sweet or salty snacks, in the house.

• Ride a stationary bike, do crafts, brush the dog or lift hand weights while you watch TV.

See food, will eat

Smelling and seeing food strips away your willpower.

At a restaurant:

• Ask the waiter or waitress to remove the bread or chips before the meal.

• Request a take-home box when you order. Put half your meal in it before you eat.

At home:

• While cooking, chew sugar-free gum or sip a calorie-free beverage, like water with a slice of lemon.

• Dish up plates in the kitchen instead of passing food around the table.

At work:

• Sit far away from doughnuts or other goodies at a meeting.

• Keep healthy snacks in your drawer. They can help you avoid the high-calorie offerings in the vending machine.

Sources: American Heart Association; American Psychological Association; National Institutes of Health

Gardening for good health

Life begins the day one plants a garden is a Chinese proverb that can be interpreted in multiple ways. There’s the obvious beginning of the life in the seed as it sprouts forth new growth. But when a cancer survivor plants a garden it is a testament of faith in the future that might also bring short-term gains such as healthier eating, increased exercise, and improved physical functioning.

A research project in Alabama called “Harvest for Health” is studying this exact premise. They are pairing Master Gardeners from the local cooperative extension system with 100 breast cancer survivors to plant a garden at the survivor’s home. The Master Gardeners visit with the survivors twice a month for one year and provide advice while also answering the new gardener’s questions. Hopefully, with positive results more funding will be available so the program can be expanded to survivors throughout Alabama.

But, there’s no need to wait until the results are in to begin your garden. A garden is one of the best therapies for all of us no matter our individual circumstances. Start planting your garden now so you can cultivate new life.

Kim McCorquodale RD, CSO

For better late-life heart health, exercise more

May 19, 2014—Sticking to an exercise program after age 65, or boosting the intensity just a touch, could be key for heart attack prevention, according to a study in the journal Circulation.

Why? Because intense exercise seems to help the heart maintain a steady beat during daily life. Researchers call this “heart rate variability,” and that process is improved in those who exercise.

“These small differences are influenced by the health of the heart and the nervous system that regulates the heart,” said Luisa Soares-Miranda, PhD, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health. Changes in heart rate variability may be an early sign of problems with this system and a predictor of future heart attacks, she added.

About the study

The study involved 985 adults who were 65 years of age or older and originally participating in the Cardiovascular Health Study.

Researchers asked these people to wear portable monitors on their bodies, so they could monitor participants’ heartbeats in 24-hour periods over five years.

The researchers then looked at that heartbeat data in relation to the participants’ exercise levels. They measured how much time people spent doing physical activities, as well has how difficult or intense that activity was.

The study revealed that:

  • The more physical activity people engaged in, the better.
  • Participants who increased either the amount of time they spent exercising or the intensity of that exercise had better heart rate variability scores than those who did not.

Researchers said the difference between the highest and lowest levels of physical activity would translate into about an 11 percent decrease in risk for heart attack or sudden cardiac death.

“Any physical activity is better than none, but maintaining or increasing your activity has added heart benefits as you age,” Dr. Soares-Miranda said. “Our results also suggest that these certain beneficial changes that occur may be reduced when physical activity is reduced.”

For more details about the study, visit the Circulation website.

The take-home message
Staying physically active and perhaps even pushing yourself to do a bit more than you usually do—with your doctor’s approval—may lower your risk of having a heart attack as you age. Even if you’re not physically active now, it’s not too late to start.

It’s important for all seniors to talk with a doctor about their exercise ideas. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does offer general exercise guidelines. According to CDC, people 65 years of age and older who are generally fit and have no limiting health conditions should get:

  • At least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking (or 1.25 hours of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running or jogging) each week.
  • At least two weekly muscle-strengthening sessions that target the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.

An equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, combined with muscle-strengthening activities, is also acceptable.

Irregular periods could mean increased risk of ovarian cancer

May 18, 2014—The early stages of ovarian cancer are difficult to spot. That’s why a recent study presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research is so important. Here, researchers suggest that something as simple as a history of irregular menstrual periods could boost the risk of ovarian cancer.

In this study, researchers found that women who had irregular periods in their 20s had more than two times the risk of ovarian cancer death while in their 60s. That means their risk of ovarian cancer was similar to the risk seen in women who had a mother, sister or daughter with ovarian cancer, said study author Barbara A. Cohn, PhD, MPH.

A difficult disease to spot and treat

Ovarian tumors are difficult to find during a routine pelvic exam, according to the American Cancer Society, and screening hasn’t been shown to save lives in women at average risk.

“Unfortunately, there is no reliable method for early diagnosis or screening,” Dr. Cohn said. “And symptoms like abdominal pain and bloating often do not come to a woman’s attention until the cancer has spread.”

That means ovarian cancer is often diagnosed long after the disease has taken hold, and it’s much harder to treat successfully at that point, Dr. Cohn said. This study could be important simply because it provides doctors with a new symptom to look for, and it could help women know just what symptoms to report to their doctors in routine visits.

About the study

The study included information about 14,403 women enrolled between 1959 and 1967 in the Child Health and Development Studies. These women were followed for more than 50 years.

About 13 percent of the women reported menstrual irregularity—cycles longer than 35 days or not having periods—at age 26. Of these, 64 died from ovarian cancer at an average age of 69 years.

Researchers analyzed the data and found that:

  • Women with irregular periods had twice the risk of dying from ovarian cancer.
  • The incidence of being diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer was also twice as high among women with irregular cycles.

Dr. Cohn and colleagues ruled out several ovarian cancer risk factors. These included the use of fertility drugs (which may increase risk) and birth control (which may lower risk) prior to getting pregnant. And since the women all had children (which may lower the risk of ovarian cancer), infertility also was eliminated as a possible explanation.

The take-home message
The study suggests that irregular or missed periods may raise a woman’s lifetime risk of getting ovarian cancer. And since the disease is hard to spot, women might die from ovarian cancer too. But the study doesn’t prove cause and effect or mean that women with unpredictable periods will develop cancer.

“Our study finding could lead to better understanding of the 90 percent of ovarian cancers that occur in women with no family history and with no known high-risk inherited mutations,” Dr. Cohn said. “This information may help earlier diagnosis and perhaps lead to a strategy to prevent ovarian cancer by pointing toward how the cancer develops and spreads.”

While this information might not help women who already have ovarian cancer, it does suggest that vigilance is important for all women. Gynecologic exams can help your doctor spot some types of diseases, and discussing your menstrual history during these exams could help your doctor to monitor your overall health and your ovarian cancer risk. It’s a conversation well worth having.

Second stroke not inevitable

Second stroke not inevitable: New guidelines point the way to prevention

May 17, 2014—Stroke survivors today could cut their risk of a second stroke by working with their doctors and making healthy changes such as eating right and exercising.

That’s among the takeaways from updated American Heart Association and American Stroke Association guidelines. The update, published online in Stroke, addresses lifestyle changes and treatments that may be needed after a clot-caused ischemic stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or warning stroke.

“A vast amount of new research is revealing new and improved ways to protect patients with an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack from having recurrent events and further brain damage,” said Walter Kernan, MD, the chair of the writing group that pulled together these guidelines.

Key findings

Ischemic strokes, or brain attacks, occur when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. And they have a high rate of recurrence, according to the statement that accompanied these guidelines. TIAs involve strokelike symptoms that increase the risk of a future stroke, often within days or weeks. But the guidelines emphasize a number of ways people can reduce those risks. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Of all the prevention strategies, regulating high blood pressure with lifestyle changes, medicines or both may be the most crucial. Since about 7 in 10 stroke survivors have high blood pressure, this tip is simply vital.
  • Cholesterol-lowering statins are important for those with strokes caused by artery disease. But niacin or fibrate drugs, which boost levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, are no longer recommended because it’s not clear if they help prevent second strokes.

The update includes a number of new recommendations too. For example, some people may need:

  • Screening for diabetes, obesity and unhealthy eating patterns that might contribute to stroke
  • A sleep study to check for and possibly treat sleep apnea—a condition in which breathing stops briefly during sleep
  • Monthlong monitoring for an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation
  • Blood-thinning medicines called anticoagulants

Stroke survivors should also try to get active three to four times per week with a doctor’s approval. Brisk walks or bike riding are often recommended.

On the nutrition front, switching to a Mediterranean-style diet may be somewhat beneficial, according to the authors. Such a diet is generally rich in plant-based foods and includes heart-healthy oils, low-fat dairy and limited amounts of red meat.

In addition, some people may need other therapies, depending on their situation. These can include aspirin to help prevent clots or procedures to open clogged neck arteries.

You can read the full guidelines here.

The take-home message
Staying healthy after a stroke or TIA starts with a careful and rapid assessment of the causes and risk factors so that treatment can quickly begin, Dr. Kernan noted.

“Then, patients must work with their doctors regularly to stay on their prevention program,” he said. “With this approach, every patient can look forward to a healthier future.”

You can learn more about your stroke risk factors by taking this assessment.

8 Ways to Break Up with Workplace Stress

April 1, 2014 / Posted By: Limeade Marketing

According to the American Medical Association, stress is the cause of more than 60 percent of basic human illness and disease.

We know – WOW.

It seems unfathomable at first, but when you think about it, stress plays a starring role in unhealthy eating, substance abuse, insomnia and lack of physical activity. And research shows that high stress leads to depression, fatigue, hypertension and high blood pressure.

It takes its toll in the office too; a study by Harris Interactive found that 83 percent of Americans are stressed out at work – up from 73 percent in 2012. This workplace stress can have serious effects:


  • Medical expenses are 46 percent higher for employees who say they’re under uncontrolled stress.
  • Stress has caused 52 percent of Americans to quit a job, look for a new job or turn down a promotion.


Now for the good news. There are ways to prevent AND reduce stress.


1. Schedule short walking breaks. There’s nothing like fresh air and daylight to reduce stress, clear the mind and help you recharge. If you can, take walking meetings with colleagues too – talk about smart multi-tasking!

2. Make time for a weekly lunch with friends. Taking time to laugh and have fun can reduce stress and help you feel more at ease.

  1.  Keep moving. Thirty minutes of daily heart-pumping exercise can increase energy and help you relax.

4. Snack smart. Avoid irritability from a blood sugar crash by reaching for healthy snacks like fresh fruit, chopped veggies or yogurt.

5. Clear the clutter. Research has found that even looking at clutter can increase stress. Take a moment to tidy up your desk and get organized for the day.

6. Make time to sleep. Getting a good night’s rest is essential for staying productive during the day. Aim for seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night.

  1.  Re-prioritize. Feel like your to-do list is unmanageable? Revisit your list and make a new, manageable list of priorities just for the day.

8. Schedule uninterrupted work time. Texts, emails and office visits can all increase stress. Schedule time for uninterrupted work time and turn off as many distractions as possible.