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Mat-Su Valley

EDICAL UIDE 2013 / 2014

Walk your way to a healthier heart 10 tips to make drinking water your habit

Frontiersman Mat-Su Valley

A special publication

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DO YOU NEED AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE? The Health Insurance Marketplace opens October 1, 2013 Mat-Su Health Foundation wants to help, so we’ve added a page on our website to help individuals and businesses separate fact from fiction when it comes to health care reform. You can check it out at Or, call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY 1-855-889-4325) to get reliable information straight from the source – 24/7!

Ready to get started? You can create a Health Insurance Marketplace account at today. It’s the first step in getting ready for open enrollment. Then, when the Marketplace opens, you’ll be ready to compare plans side-by-side, apply for health coverage, and enroll in a plan!

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Certified lactation consultants All-in-one private labor, delivery & recovery rooms Trusted OB/GYNs on the medical staff Skilled, compassionate OB nurses Your baby, your way

10 little fingers. 5 big reasons to have your baby at Mat-Su Regional. At Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, you can truly have your baby, your way. The childbirth specialists on the medical staff accommodate any style of birth, from full epidural to completely natural. And for your comfort and convenience, we offer hotel-like birthing suites – featuring free Wi-Fi, entertainment centers, sleep sofa for family and more. To learn more or to find an OB/GYN who delivers at Mat-Su Regional, call 861-6000 or visit Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.

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We have a specialist for that.

ACTUALLY, SEVERAL. At Imaging Associates, we have a radiologist in every subspecialty – from neurology to sports medicine to pediatrics. That gives us the expertise to find what matters most.

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Providence Mat-Su Health Care ........................(glossy) 32

Comfort Keepers ....................................................... 13 (glossy) 30 HOPE Community Resources ..................................................7 Mat-Su Senior Services ................................................................ 14

CANCER CARE Midnight Sun Oncology .............................(inside back page) 31


IMAGING Imaging Associates of Providence ...................... (glossy) 4

Alaska Heart Institute ...................................................................... 6


INTERNAL MEDICINE Dr. Barnes ..................................................................................................... 13

Alaska Center for Dentistry .................................................. 17 Same Day Dental ................................................................................... 8


MEDICAL LABORATORY Alaska Medical Lab Services ................................................ 21 Providence Mat-Su Lab ..................................................(glossy) 32


Valley Dermatology ........................................................... (glossy) 29

Alaska Brain Center ............................................................................ 17


EAR, NOSE, & THROAT Alyeska Center of Facial Plastic Surgery & ENT ........................................24, 28

Denali Orthopedic Surgery .....................................(glossy) 29

PEDIATRICS Alaska Pediatric Associates .................................................... 22 Ptarmigan Pediatrics ......................................................................... 16

EYE CARE Alaska Eye Care Centers ........................................... (glossy) 30



Geneva Woods ....................................................................................... 12

Alzheimer’s Resource Agency ............................................. 24 Capstone Urgent Care .................................................................... 23 Family Medicine of Alaska ........................................................ 24 Mat-Su Health Services ................................................................ 28 Medical Park Family Care .......................................................... 22 Providence Mat-Su Health Care ........................(glossy) 32 Summit Family Practice................................................................. 10 Sunshine Clinic ......................................................................................... 15


GYNECOLOGY Anchorage Woman’s Clinic...................................................... 19

Body in Balance/ Active Soles ............................................ 21 Excel Physical Therapy ................................................................... 18 Wasilla Physical Therapy ............................................................ 27

RECONSTRUCTIVE & COSMETIC SURGERY Alyeska Center of Facial Plastic Surgery & ENT ................................................. 28

REGIONAL HOSPITAL Mat-Su Regional Medical Center ...................... (glossy) 3



Mat-Su Health Foundation ..................................... (glossy) 2, 9

Vein Specialists of Alaska .......................................................... 11


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Are you chronically dehydrated? BY DR. GARRETT CHRISTENSEN D.C.

Most Americans are

“I am the most uninteresting man in the world. I don’t always drink water, but when I do, I drink ... water. Stay hydrated my friends.� In a world with so many wonderful flavorful beverages available to us, it’s no wonder that water takes a back seat. The human body is composed of 75 percent water. Trillions of cells depend on H2O to function properly and to communicate effectively with each other. We all have heard that we need six to eight glasses of water a day — or more in cases of extreme heat or exercise — to stay hydrated. So what happens if we don’t consume that much? As a chiropractor, I see a lot of patients who come to our office suffering from headaches. There can be many reasons for headaches, but did you know the most common reason is dehydra-

tion? Other common symptoms of dehydration are nausea, fatigue, constipation, urinary tract infections, respiratory problems, high/ low blood pressure, difficulty focusing, muscle cramps and joint pain or pain in general, just to name a few. Did you know that every disease is accompanied with dehydration? That’s not to say that if you stay hydrated you will have a golden ticket to living 100 years disease free, but your likelihood will increase. When one is dehydrated it takes longer for nutrients to be delivered to and from muscles and organs and athletic performance can drop by as much as 25 percent if you lose as little as 4 percent of your body’s water during exercise. There is a difference between being acutely dehydrated for a few

and having to rush to the hospital to get IV fluids and being chronically dehydrated over the course of years. Acute dehydration can be very serious and life threatening, but maintainable rather quickly given the proper medical attention. Symptoms include dry mouth, dry mucous membranes, lethargy, increased respiration rate, dry skin, headache and thirst, to name a few. Chronic dehydration is more challenging to notice and takes perseverance to overcome. If you suffer from headaches, genSee HYDRATED, Page 26






Christopher Thomas, MD

Matthew W. Corbett, MD

Brian T. Scully, MD, FACC

Walk your way to better heart health BY DR. LISA GRAY

Heart disease affects most Americans in some way. It is the leading cause of death for two-thirds of men and women in our country. The risk factors associated with the development of cardiovascular disease have been well established: age, family history, diabetes (or high blood sugar), hypertension (or high blood pressure), smoking and high cholesterol. The good news is that many of these risks factors associated with heart disease can be modified through lifestyle changes. Incorporating an exercise program has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. An exercise program based on walking can engage

Studies show Americans walk the least amount of any industrialized nation. the whole family, is not people the most. An employee expensive and has the lowest sitting at a desk expends dropout rate of any exercise the same amount of energy program. required to sleep. The slowThe potential benefits of est walking (even less than walking affect sedentary one mile-per-hour) doubles

this rate. For every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours. A Harvard study concluded walking at a moderate pace (3 mph) for up to three hours per week can cut the risk of heart disease in women by as much as 40 percent. Another study showed women’s diabetes risk was cut in half. Walking for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week has been shown to be beneficial. Generally, a 20-minute walk takes about 2,000 steps and equals a mile. Sadly, Americans walk the least amount of any industrialized nation. We trail Australia, Japan and the Swiss. Australians take 9,695 steps a day; Japan 7,168; the Swiss 9,650; and the average See WALK, Page 27




Page 7

Don’t waste that lemon peel H

ow can you use the whole lemon without waste? Simple: place the lemon in your freezer, and once it is frozen get out your grater, shred the whole lemon and sprinkle it on your foods. Sprinkle it in your whiskey, wine, vegetable salad, ice cream, soup, noodle dishes, rice and fish dishes. All the foods will unexpectedly have a wonderful new taste that you may have never tasted before. Now that you have learned the lemon secret you can add it to your instant cup of noodles. Lemon peel contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the juice itself and is a health rejuvenator in eradicating toxic elements in the body. So place your lemon in the freezer and sprinkle it on your food every day. It is a key to make your foods tastier and you get to perhaps live a healthier and longer life. Lemon citrus is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy. Why do we not know about this? Because there are laboratories interested in making a synthetic version that will bring them huge profits. You can now help a friend in

need by sharing this information. The taste is pleasant and does not produce the horrific side effects as chemotherapy. How many people will die while this closely guarded secret is kept so as not to jeopardize the multi-millon-dollar pharmaceuticals? The lemon tree is known for its many varieties of lemons and limes. It is credited with many virtues, but the most interesting is the effect it produces on cysts and tumors. This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types. It is considered also as an anti-microbial spectrum against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms. The source of this information is fascinating that it comes from one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, and that after more than 20 laboratory tests

since 1970 the extracts revealed that it destroys the malignant cells in 12 cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas. The compounds of this tree showed 10,000 times better than the product Adriamycin, a drug normally used chemotherapeutic in the world, slowing the growth of cancer cells. What is astonishing is this type of therapy with lemon extract only destroys malignant cancer cells and it does not affect healthy cells. â–

Lemon peel contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the juice itself and is a health rejuvenator in eradicating toxic elements in the body.

Attention Denture Sufferers: Are You Sick and Tired of Your Loose, Ill-Fitting Dentures? Let me reveal Six Secrets to a “Perfect Fit� Denture during your free denture

Now You Can Experience the Satisfaction of, evaluation. Join our growing number of satisfied patients who now enjoy eating and Gorgeous, Comfortable Dentures That Actually smiling again. “It’s fantastic to FINALLY have teeth that fit well and look Stay Put When You Smile and Eat... great. Now I can actually bite and chew again!� Do you want SOLUTIONS for the problems you’re having with your dentures? Call by Tuesday July 30th and you’ll also receive a $100 Savings Certificate good toward ANY services we provide. Page 8

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“That’s My Professional Promise To You!� - Dr. Charles Cole


“That’s why I am supporting Prop B1, which taxes alcohol to fund emergency services and education. That makes a lot of sense to me. Prop B-1 will also save lives and reduce underage drinking.” Elizabeth Ripley Executive Director Mat-Su Health Foundation


Please vote October 1st to support emergency services and education in the Mat-Su Borough.

Paid for by Yes on Prop B-1 Mat Su Alcohol Tax, 950 E. Bogard Rd. Ste 218, Wasilla, AK. Message approved by Elizabeth Ripley, Chair. Sole Contributor: Mat-Su Health Foundation

For more information, visit

Paid for by Yes on Prop B-1 Mat Su Alcohol Tax. 950 E. Bogard Rd. Ste 218, Wasilla, AK Message approved by Elizabeth Ripley, Chair. Sole Contributor: Mat-Su Health Foundation


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Water changed my life BY WAYNE LOVE

When we get on with age we try to do things to improve our health, but it is hard to change our old habits of soda and fries. Changing your diet is hard to do for most people, including me. Let me share with you what I found out four years ago. I was 66 years old, was way overweight and had high blood pressure, lack of energy and arthritis. A gentleman told me about restructured

Two weeks of drinking the right water resulted in a loss of weight and arthritis relief.

water and what it might do for me. I was skeptical, and it showed. He looked me in

health guidance for people of all ages


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the eyes and said, “Wayne, it is free to try! Drink it for two weeks and you tell me it doesn’t work.” He also said the water doesn’t heal anything, it only gives your body the tools it needs to heal itself. The first day was a detox (slight headache and colon cleanse) and the second day my stools were not stinking up the house (which I thought peculiar). The third day was a great day in August 2009, attributing that day to the sunshine. I remember that evening in my garage I thought to myself, “Oh my word, I have not stopped one time today to take a break.” Being about 285 pounds overweight, I would take at least three breaks on a long day. I had so much energy! On the ninth day I happened to check my blood pressure and found out I was in the legal range to pass my next physical for my COL license. I thought to myself, “Water can do that?” I checked it daily thinking it was a fluke and it would go back up, but it never went back to the140s over 90s, it


stayed in 130s over 80s. In two weeks, I lost eight pounds and my arthritis felt about 70 percent better. Now after four years I feel as good as I felt in my 50s. It is the cheapest thing I’ve found to obtain better health. It has made me realize a person can die feeling good. This technology comes from Japan, which has the longest life expectancy compared to other nations. The Japanese are No. 1 and the USA is No. 38 in longevity (Cuba is ahead of us). The Japanese have used this technology for 40 years in hospitals with much success — in fact, 1 in 6 homes in Japan also use this technology. So, if you ever get a chance to try this water, do yourself and your family a favor and do it! I think this technology allows you to take complete control of your health. Try it and see what you think. ■ Visit Wayne Love, “The H20 Guy,” at 5901 Mayflower Ct., Wasilla, or call him at 2329088.

Keep fit, have fun as you age FAMILY FEATURES

Regular physical activity at any age can help you live longer, feel better and reduce health problems. But far too many people, including baby boomers, don’t get the exercise they need. According to the 2012 Participation Report from the Physical Activity Council (PAC), 35 percent of Americans over the age of 55 are physically inactive. Since regular exercise helps control blood Getting older doesn’t have to get in the way of a healthy and active lifestyle. One way to include physical activity into your daily routine is to identify an activity you enjoy.

See KEEP FIT, Page 28

Varicose Veins Are Not Only


But Also a True Medical Disease

Varicose disease progresses not only with worsening ropey veins, but causes progressive pain and swelling. The swelling leads to impaired circulation that causes the skin of the legs to become unhealthy, even causing infection or breakdown to skin ulcers. It is also linked to aggravating Restless Leg Syndrome. Treatment

has come a long way. Stripping is out, and modern minimally invasive treatment, including laser, is now standard-of-care, doesn’t require hospitalization and is completed in about an hour. No general anesthesia is required, healing time is very quick, usually without any scarring, and risks and down-time are minimal. The medical providers of Vein Specialists of Alaska are certified in vein medicine and have successfully treated thousands of patients. Oral or IV sedation options are available if desired.

e or ef


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Health insurers will cover the necessary initial consult and ultrasound evaluation. In most cases, insurance will also cover the minor surgical outpatient curative vein procedures.

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or toll-free 855-907-8346

Page 11


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Don’t miss Alzheimer’s warning signs


ew families are fortunate enough to say they have not been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. A progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, Alzheimer’s impairs thinking and memory, accounting for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Though many people’s experiences with Alzheimer’s disease involves an elderly relative, the disease is not exclusive to the elderly. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer’s, which most often appears See SIGNS, Page 19

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Healthy choices at every meal FAMILY FEATURES

For families of the nearly 30 percent of the general population who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, making healthy diet decisions is not an option, it’s a necessity — especially when those sufferers are children and young adults. “It’s no secret that getting children to make healthy choices at meal time poses a challenge for all parents, but when you throw IBS into the mix, the task gets much harder,� said Patsy Catsos, registered dietitian and author. While there are no known causes or cures, there are simple ways to figure out a child’s food triggers to avoid some of the discomfort it brings. Below are three simple tips to help families outsmart IBS: See CHOICES, Page 24

Yields 6 servings 8 ounces uncooked corn elbow macaroni 2 tablespoon cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 3/4 cup lactose-free milk 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 cups grated cheddar cheese 1.5 ounces crumbled potato chips Instructions: Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cook pasta according to package directions in 8-quart saucepan. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside. Combine cornstarch, salt, dry mustard and black pepper in same saucepan. Add milk. Stir briskly until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with flat end of pancake or burger spatula. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese and red pepper flakes. Add pasta, stir, spread out and transfer to greased baking dish. Sprinkle potato chips on top of casserole. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow casserole to cool briefly before serving. Nutrition (per serving): 361 calories, 16g total fat, 496.4mg sodium, 40.2g carbohydrates, 4.5g fiber, 15.1g protein.

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Know your family health history FAMILY FEATURES

Step 2: Talk to family

A number of celebrities have graced recent headlines by making some drastic decisions about their health, and in turn, raising awareness for the importance of knowing one’s family medical history. For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a history of breast, cervical or ovarian cancer indicates a strong risk of cancer in some women, and thus proactive and preventative measures, like having a mastectomy or hysterectomy, may be warranted. While facing these decisions can be difficult, Brittney Wilson, a registered nurse, knows first-hand the positive effect that knowing one’s family medical history can have on a patient’s overall health. Since many diseases tend to follow genetic lines, it’s important to know your roots in order to make better lifestyle choices. For example, if you have a history of common medical conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, you have a higher chance of developing them as well, but prevention is possible. Wilson offers steps you can take to develop a family medical history record that will help

The best way to gather information about your medical history is to talk with relatives about their health. An upcoming holiday gathering or family reunion is a great opportunity to start the conversation. Explain why you want to learn more about your family history and ask direct, specific questions to uncover any reoccurring medical issues and when they occurred. Consult existing documents, such as family trees, birth certificates and obituaries, to help obtain this information. From these materials, you can begin identifying potential patterns.

Getty Images

Knowing your family’s health history is an important part of preventative health maintenance.

inform your lifestyle choices and serve generations to come.

Step 1: Seek answers You inherit half of your genetic profile from each parent. So, the first step in establishing your family medical history is to seek answers to any doubts or questions you may have about your parents’ identity. In today’s society, and with the rising rate of children born out of wedlock, this situation is actually more common than you might think. In fact,

a recent survey conducted on behalf of Identigene, a DNA paternity test laboratory, concluded that one out of 10 Americans has personally been in a situation where a paternity test was needed. In addition, nearly one out of five respondents said that they or a close friend or family member has questioned paternity. However, discovering your paternity can be fairly simple. Kit tests can be found nationwide drug stores and supercenters, and offer accurate and confidential results within a matter of days.

Step 3: Be proactive After identifying potential patterns, make a point to discuss them with your primary care doctor at your next annual exam. A medical professional might suggest necessary screening and proactive steps you can take to help stay healthy and avoid certain predisposed conditions in the future. It’s also a good idea to continue to update your family medical history record to help future generations. â–

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Page 15

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Families can work with their physicians to help craft a long-term care plan for their aging members.

Make long-term care plans before they are needed FAMILY FEATURES

The best time to make decisions regarding long-term care is well before it’s needed. An unexpected illness or injury may force you or a loved one into making hasty decisions. Long-term care is a set of services and supports for people who are unable to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are

Now welcoming

self-care activities, such as getting in and out of bed, walking, bathing, dressing, eating, and bowel and bladder management. About 70 percent of people turning 65 can expect to need some kind of long-term care services as they age. Experts encourage everyone over age 50 to take the time, while you have it, to See PLANS, Page 22

Ptarmigan Pediatrics

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Your pediatrician is just a phone call away! Page 16



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Protect young eyes in the technology age FAMILY FEATURES

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Prolonged use of electronic devices can exacerbate underlying eye conditions.


See EYES, Page 23

All You Need for a Healthy Smile!


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Whether it’s a tablet with an educational purpose or a big screen displaying the latest video game, the use of electronic technology is skyrocketing among kids. In fact, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, children ages eight to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours with electronics every day. Unfortunately, all of that screen time can cause eye fatigue, and ultimately have an impact on your child’s overall vision and eye health. To view things closer, our eyes automatically adjust by drawing inward; our pupils get smaller to focus, and our eye muscles adjust so we can

see a clear image. As a result, extended use of electronic screens can cause tired, blurry or irritated eyes. Intense focus on a video screen also leads to a diminished blink rate, which can result in eye injuries. Although there is no scientific evidence that computers and handheld electronic devices directly cause vision problems, using these devices wisely can help prevent eye fatigue and strain, as well as associated headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes. To help protect your child’s vision, consider these tips from Ameritas, a leading provider of dental, vision and

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Achieve personal harmony and balance during cancer FAMILY FEATURES

What if after surviving your first cancer diagnosis at the age of 51 you were re-diagnosed just 18 months later? Metastatic colorectal cancer patient Dave Johnson experienced that first-hand, and was initially reluctant and scared to tell his family, friends and coworkers. However, he soon learned two important lessons — that he had more support around him than he thought, and that he could control his lifestyle and personal harmony. Now at the age of 53, Johnson, a fulltime banker, has discovered a new sense of inner wellbeing and, according to his physician, is again cancer free. Many people find achieving personal harmony and balance difficult; the demands and

stresses of everyday life often impede the ability to find inner peace. For those facing a cancer diagnosis, achieving that balance may feel impossible. And, yet, it is as important, if not more, for people living with cancer to find and maintain a sense of inner harmony. After being diagnosed with an advanced form of colorectal cancer, Johnson knew he had to fight the disease head on, from both a medical and mental perspective. Johnson worked with his physician to choose his treatment, and made the conscious decision to focus on areas of his life he felt he could control. “Setting goals and priorities, as well as staying active, became very important to me, and helped me accept my diagnosis as my ‘new normal,’” said Johnson. “The ability to fulfill

goals and keep both my mind and body busy helped me focus on the sweet spots in life that give me strength and joy.” Johnson also said expressing his emotions was important to regaining his balance. “There were many days when I could have said ‘why me’ and focused my energy on feelings of anger and resentment,” he said. “I’d let myself experience those feelings but I made a point of expressing those emotions and then moving on, which helped me maintain mental clarity. Additionally, my faith helped me accept the challenges I was going through.” Tips to achieving personal harmony and balance during cancer include: • Express your emotions: Make a point of expressing your emotions before they

start to have a negative impact. • Set goals and priorities: Focus on the areas you can control and set out to fulfill the goals most important in your personal and work life. • Keep active: Find activities to keep both your body and mind busy that you also enjoy. • Enjoy the company of loved ones: Surround yourself with positive, supportive relationships, whether with your family, friends or co-workers. • Be open with your doctor: Don’t be afraid to discuss any cancer fears you have with your doctor or nurse. Johnson stressed the importance of surrounding himself with positive, supportive relationships, including others who were also navigating a cancer journey. Learn more at ■


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Because it can strike men and women even if they aren’t elderly, it’s important to know the warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

Continued from Page 13

when someone is in their 40s and 50s. In 2011, 59-year-old Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history and a beloved figure on the campus of the University of Tennessee, revealed that she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. That announcement opened the eyes of men and women across the country, who might otherwise never have known that dementia could strike so early or to someone who seemed as healthy as Summitt, who vowed to continue coaching despite the diagnosis. Because it can strike men and women even if they aren’t elderly, it’s important to know these 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s, courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer Society of Canada. 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s. This is especially so if men and women forget things that happened very recently, which can negatively impact their daily lives. Additional signs include forgetting important dates and events; asking for the same information over and over again; or relying on memory aides such as reminder notes or even family members for things individuals could once remember on their own. 2. Difficulty planning. Some people might start to exhibit difficulty following a plan or working with numbers, be it following a recipe or

paying the monthly bills. Concentration is often difficult for those exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

to occur more frequently over time, and they often accuse others of stealing items they simply can’t find.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Daily tasks such as driving to work or remembering the rules of a familiar game will prove difficult for people with Alzheimer’s.

8. Decreased or poor judgment. Poor judgment, such as not visiting the doctor or mishandling finances, is another warning sign for Alzheimer’s. These poor decisions can extend to personal grooming, which men and women with Alzheimer’s might neglect.

4. Disorientation with regards to time and/or place. Nearly everyone has had momentary lapses where they forget what time it is or what day it is. But such lapses are not momentary for people with Alzheimer’s, who might even get lost on their own street and not remember how to get home.

9. Withdrawal from society. Men and women with Alzheimer’s might start to withdraw from society, removing themselves from social activities, projects at work or hobbies. Avid sports fans might no longer be able

to follow their favorite team, while social butterflies might grow reclusive. 10. Changes in mood and personality. People with Alzheimer’s might experience mood swings for no apparent reason and can become anxious, confused, depressed, fearful, or suspicious. Acting out of character might also be indicative of Alzheimer’s. ■More information about Alzheimer’s disease is available at and www.

5. Trouble understanding images and spatial relationships. Some people with Alzheimer’s have difficulty reading, judging distance or determining color or contrast. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s might walk past a mirror and not realize he or she is the person in the mirror. 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s might experience trouble holding or joining a conversation. An example is stopping in the middle of a conversation and having no idea how to continue. They might also struggle with vocabulary, often having trouble finding the right word to express what they’re thinking. 7. Misplacing things. People with Alzheimer’s might put things in unusual places and then experience difficulty retracing their steps to find those items. This tends

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Take steps to know these itch-relief basics FAMILY FEATURES

From bug bites and dry skin to poison ivy and chronic skin conditions, itching makes life very uncomfortable. And it’s an annoyance that gets under just about everyone’s skin. Sixty-five percent of U.S. adults have suffered from some kind of itch in the past 12 months; and for 26 percent of those polled, the itch was bad enough to see a healthcare professional, according to a recent online poll conducted online by Harris Interactive for a pharmaceutical company. You know it when you feel it, but what exactly is an itch, and is there anything you can do about it?

Anatomy of an itch The skin is your largest organ, and the average body is covered by about 20 square feet of it. Because it’s so large and exposed, it comes in contact with a lot of potential irritants. Itching, known as pruritus, is a

Knowing what caused your itch is important in determining a treatment.

built-in defense mechanism against those irritants. Sometimes the body’s immune system overreacts to an illness, producing an itchy rash. But for most non-illness-related itching, here’s how it works: • Stimuli — such as dust, pollen, bug

Yvonne donates to give back.

venom or plant oils — land on your skin. • When the irritant gets past the surface layer, skin receptors get irritated. • The receptors send a signal to your brain. • You start to itch. The natural response to an itch is to remove the irritant, so the scratching begins. The scratching sensation interrupts the itching sensation because it tells your brain that the irritant is gone. While this may give some initial, immediate relief, scratching ends up irritating the nerve endings in that spot even more and can open up the skin, exposing it to more irritants. And more itching.

Itch treatments It’s important to make sure you know the cause of the itching so you can take appropriate measures to stop it. There are See ITCH, Page 21

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ITCH Continued from Page 20

some things you can do to help reduce itching and soothe irritated skin: • Avoid scratching — cover the area with bandages or dressings if you can’t stop scratching. If needed, trim your fingernails and wear gloves to bed. • Apply cool, wet compresses. • Apply a topical anti-itch cream or lotion to the affected area. • Moisturize your skin with a high-quality cream at least twice a day. “Some anti-itch creams work by reducing inflammation, but that’s not always enough,â€? says Dr. Vishakha Gigler, a San Diego-based dermatologist. Some anti-itch creams “bind to

a subset of nerves called Type C fibers. These are the nerve cells that send the signals of itching, stinging or burning to the brain. By binding to these nerve cells ‌ (they work) to inhibit the transmission of those signals. This results in a rapid reduction in itching, stinging and burning.�

Kids get itchy, too The poll found that itches make kids — and their parents — feel pretty bad. • 81 percent of parents are miserable when their kids are miserable from itch symptoms. • 62 percent said itching keeps their children up at night. • 68 percent indicated they’ve used creams to treat itch symptoms. • 75 percent said they worry

about using steroid treatments on their children to treat itch.

When is an itch more than just an itch? It’s obvious when an itch is caused by a bug bite or poison ivy. But what if you’re not sure what’s causing the itch? • Dry skin: Itching that doesn’t come with obvious skin changes, like a rash, is most often due to dry skin, also known as xerosis. Dry skin usually results from environmental factors like hot or cold weather with low humidity, and washing or bathing too much. • Skin conditions: Eczema, psoriasis, scabies, hives, and chickenpox can cause itchy skin. The itching is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as bumps, blisters,

and red, irritated skin. • Internal diseases: These include liver disease, kidney failure, thyroid problems, celiac disease and some cancers. Typically the itching affects the whole body, not just one area. • Allergic reactions and irritations: An irritation can come from wearing wool, or coming in contact with soaps, chemicals or other substances. Sometimes the substance can cause an allergic reaction, such as poison ivy or some food allergens. • Nerve disorders: Multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, pinched nerves and shingles are conditions that affect the nervous system, and thus can cause itching. • Drugs: Some antibiotics, antifungal drugs or narcotic pain medications can cause rashes and itching. â–

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PLANS Continued from Page 16

research options and make important choices. Long-term care planning means developing a personal strategy now for how things should be handled later when you or a loved one is in need of care. Important considerations include the following:

Staying in charge An important part of long-term care planning is outlining how you would like things to be handled. Expressing preferences clearly about how any declines in ADLs should be handled, what financial resources are available, and who should provide needed care is a good way to retain control. All adults over age 18 should execute legal documents that appoint one or more individuals to make health care and financial decisions for them in the event they become unable to make decisions for themselves. Adults who lose the ability to make decisions


before executing these documents must have the court system appoint someone to make decisions for them. An attorney can also prepare an advance care directive, which is a set of written instructions detailing what medical care you want or do not want.

Housing Those who would prefer to stay at home for as long as possible should make a plan to do so, and consider making modifications as needed. Home modifications are often intended to allow maximum self-care, and to help avoid a fall. Avoiding a fall can help delay or avoid the need for long-term care. Typical modifications include widening doorways, adding wheelchair ramps, improving lighting, mounting stairway chair lifts, installing medical alert systems and adding handrails or safety grips. An important consideration for anyone planning to stay home is to ensure the bathroom can be used safely. Ideally, your residence should maximize your ability to continue performing ADLs, and help you avoid a fall.

Primary care Maintaining a good relationship with a primary care physician is key. Regular check-ups can lead to early diagnosis of any physical, mental or emotional decline. Be honest and open about symptoms, daily habits or changes in appetite. Be sure to have the primary care physician review all medications. Ongoing medication management is an important part of staying healthy and avoiding a fall.

Family care Unpaid family members are the most common source of long-term care help. But, they may not be able to provide all the care you need, or be there every hour of the day. If you intend to rely on family members for long-term care services be sure to involve them in your long-term care planning. Make sure they are willing and able to be caregivers for you. See PLANS, Page 23



A S S O C I AT E S , P C

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PLANS Continued from Page 22

Paid care As part of your long-term care plan, look into caregiving services in your area, including in-home care providers and elder daycare centers. Find out about elder shuttles, meals on wheels and other low-cost services offered in your community. Several types of housing come with support services for people who cannot fully take care of themselves due to aging and/or disability. • Public housing is available for low-to-moderate income elderly and persons with disabilities. • Assisted living homes are group living settings that offer housing in addition to assistance with ADLs and other services, such as meals. Generally, they do not provide medical care. • Continuing care retirement communities provide a range of housing options,

EYES Continued from Page 17

hearing care plans: • Know that prolonged use of electronic devices can exacerbate underlying eye conditions, so electronics should be used in moderation. Limit screen time to two hours or less a day (including watching TV, playing video games and using mobile phones). • Encourage intentional blinking while electronic devices are in use to help refresh eyes with natural moisture that helps prevent bacterial infections, dry spots and corneal breakdown. • Reduce additional eye strain by managing glare from windows and using low-watt bulbs in light fixtures. • Keep computer screens

including independent living units, assisted living and nursing homes, all on the same campus. • Nursing facilities, or nursing homes, are the most service-intensive housing option, providing skilled nursing services and therapies as needed. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different types of facilities available in your area. Ask family and friends for any recommendations they may have and take advantage of information available on the Internet. Visit to find out more information about each type of facility and costs associated with long-term care. Your local Area Agency on Aging office also offers a list of resources available to the elderly in your area. Having your long-term care plan squared away and clear, so there are no misunderstandings or second-guessing, can be the greatest gift you can give to your loved ones, and yourself. ■ 20 to 28 inches away from the face. • Practice a rule of 20s to give eyes a rest. Every 20 minutes, ask your child to look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds before refocusing attention up close again. • Move around and change positions periodically while using a device. • Watch for signs of eyestrain while electronic devices are in use, such as squinting, frowning at the screen or rubbing eyes. • If vision problems or discomfort arise, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor for a professional evaluation. ■






Page 23

CHOICES Continued from Page 14

• Begin by discreetly keeping a food and symptom journal for at least two weeks. Record portion sizes, times of meals and symptoms. This information will be important for discussions with a medical

professional in case symptoms increase. • Next, discuss with your medical provider about incorporating a high-potency probiotic medical food for young sufferers of IBS. • Lastly, remember there are many healthy, IBS-friendly recipes the entire family can enjoy. Everyone will want

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ents and stir thoroughly with wooden spoon. Mixture should be consistency of stiff cookie dough. Transfer mixture to baking tray. Spread it out and press it down using wooden spoon. Let dough rest for 30 minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on edges. Allow tray to cool before cutting into bars. Store in airtight container. Nutrition (per serving): 183 calories, 10.6g total fat, 41.1mg sodium, 18.9g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 5.5g protein. â–

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Raise the bar on healthy smiles FAMILY FEATURES

Sports drinks, energy drinks and those must-have morning coffees all have one thing in common — they typically contain an abundance of sugar or sugar-alternatives that are harmful to the health of those pearly whites. Another beverage whose ingredients can also wreak havoc on your smile is always the life of the party — the cocktail. “Selecting healthy, natural superfoods with specific functions improves the ability of our body to create that beautiful smile we all desire,” said Dr. Ken Banks, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) cosmetic dentist and contributor to its recipe collection. According to recent studies, cocktails infused with wholesome ingredients can improve immunity and offer a tasty tonic for teeth. The next time you are looking for refreshment, seek beverages that use fruits, vegetables, grains and other superfood ingredients.

contain vitamin K and C, as well as other substances that promote healing. Eating pineapple generates a healing alkaline response in the mouth. • Carrot juice: Essential for forming tooth enamel, carrot juice is loaded with vitamin A. • Ginger: This spicy yet sweet root has anti-inflammatory properties, which support healthy mouth tissue. Try these refreshing drink recipes that use healthy ingredients for cheery cocktails that will make your guests smile big at your next gathering.

cane juice and whisk until combined. For cocktail, muddle strawberries in mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients except sparkling water and lightly shake with ice. Double strain into tall glass over ice. Top with 3 ounces sparkling water, stir briefly.

Fresh ideas for entertaining To share insight on creating healthier beverages, the AACD partnered with professional mixologists Ira Koplowitz and Nick Kosevich, owners of Bittercube, to create “Raising the Bar on Healthy Smiles.” This online collection of original, curative cocktail recipes benefits smiles while offering a unique twist to entertaining. For more recipes to drink to your oral health, visit smilebar. “There are numerous accounts throughout history of monks, physicians and alchemists who were interested in distilled alcohol as a cure for ailments, so it makes sense that these great-tasting recipes could also have healthy benefits,” said Koplowitz. When creating drinks for your next party or social gathering, adding these ingredients may benefit oral health: • Strawberries: The malic acid in strawberries acts as a safe bleaching agent that rivals many expensive teeth whitening products. • Pineapple: These flavorful fruits

UPON RETURN 31-inch cubes of pineapple 1/3 ounce agave syrup 1 ½ ounces brandy or cognac ½ ounce fresh lemon juice ¼ ounce Curacao liqueur 1 dropper bitters Lemon peel, 1 inch in diameter twisted

FROM THE WILD 2 strawberries, muddled 1 1/2ounces white rum 1/2 ounce cane syrup (see recipe below or substitute with simple syrup) 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice 1 dropper bitters 3 ounces sparkling water Strawberry slice and vertically slit lime wedge, as garnish Cane syrup: 1 cup hot water and 1 cup evaporated cane juice

Instructions: Muddle pineapple and agave syrup. Add remaining ingredients. Add ice, shake and double strain into coupe glass over ice. Twist the lemon peel over the drink and rub on the rim of glass. ■

Instructions: To make cane syrup, bring water to a boil, remove from heat, add evaporated


Page 25

HYDRATED Continued from Page 6

eral pain, fatigue, constipation, stomach problems or are prone to urinary tract infections, chances are you are chronically dehydrated. You may not suffer from any discomforts and be living in a chronically dehydrated state, but if you continue to down the same path, chances are you will develop some type of disorder in the near future. Our bodies are constantly regenerating themselves. Your body is not the same body it was a few years ago. Nearly every single cell has passed on and a new cell has taken its place. During that process our own bodies produce a stunning amount of metabolic waste. That waste is transported or ushered out of our bodies by water through our urine, breath, sweat and stool. If water is limited, that metabolic waste cannot be exported properly and builds up in our bodies. To put it crudely, our cells’ waste products are hanging out in our tissues. This brings new light to the phrase “you’re full it.” So what happens when our bodies can’t properly rid our own metabolic waste? Our cells contain mostly water and they need all that water to function effectively. When our water supply is low our bodies naturally conserve that water. As a result, many of our body parts stop functioning optimally. Our muscles may cramp, our colon may withhold the amount of water necessary to produce a smooth bowel movement resulting in constipation, our blood pressure may go up due to our blood vessels constricting to make up for the lack of water and our brain may stop producing at blazing fast speeds and move more like that old HP in the back room that takes 30 minutes to boot up. Asthma and allergies may be a direct result of chronic dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, histamine becomes activated and aids in redistributing water throughout the body to the vital organs. When histamine is left unchecked or dehydration is not dealt with, reactions may occur due to the fact that we lose a significant amount of water through our lungs and in the body’s efforts to conserve water the bronchioles restrict to limit the amount of water loss resulting in difficulty breathing. Joint pain can also occur from chronic dehydration. The cartilage in our joints is composed primarily of water. It is also Page 26

avascular (doesn’t have a direct blood supply) in adults. Because of this, water is needed to transport the nutrients to maintain and repair any damaged cartilage from wear and tear. When the adequate water supply is limited, the joints may not repair themselves fast enough to keep up with the daily grind, causing chronic joint pain. If you know that you don’t drink much water, and it may even be difficult to drink water because you can’t stand the way it tastes, here are 10 simple tips to get you drinking water like never before. • Start small. Wherever you are currently, up it by a glass gradually until you have reached your optimal level. • Try putting just a little bit of citrus juice in your water (lemon or lime), or use certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils in your water to flavor it. (Avoid artificial sweeteners.) • Drink at designated times throughout the day. For instance, drink a tall glass first thing when you wake up in the morning. Then just before you know you are going to eat or at break time. • Carry a water bottle with you or in your car. I recommend glass for a few reasons, but everything tastes better in glass anyway. • Try drinking from a straw. • Substitute your beverage of choice, like that acid forming soda or coffee, for a drink of pure, clean water instead.

• Set reminders around the house or alerts on your phone or computer to remind you to drink every few hours. • Drink water steadily throughout the day, especially when hiking or skiing. Would you believe that more people are dehydrated in the winter than in the summer? It’s true. • Don’t rely solely on thirst to be your guide. Contrary to popular belief, dry mouth or thirst is not the first sign of dehydration. • For children, offer them water first and if they just will not drink try very diluted juice as a way to quench their thirst. Discourage your children’s schools from carrying caffeinated or sugary drinks in school vending. If you still just can’t bring yourself to drink water, see a physician to rule out any potential underlying problems that may exist. There are many enticing drinks that get in the way of water like coffee, tea, soda, juice, Crystal Light, alcoholic beverages and energy drinks, but beware of the myth that these drinks contain water which makes them part of the daily allowance. This is a great mistake. On the contrary, these drinks and many others dehydrate the body further. A simple rule to remember in order to stay hydrated is to drink twice the amount of water to whatever other beverage you are drinking. How much water do I really need each day? An easy way to be sure you’re getting enough is to drink half your body weight in pounds. So, if I weigh 120 pounds then I’m going to consume 60 ounces of water each day and more if I’m exerting myself or am sweating frequently. Now remember, your urine should be clear or slightly colored on a continual basis to ensure you are getting enough water. “Doc, I tried to increase my water intake, but I had to run to the bathroom all the time and that got annoying real quick, so I stopped drinking as much.” Be patient. That should only last a few weeks. It takes some time for your body to begin to use that extra intake of water. In conclusion, many ailments can be prevented by simply drinking an adequate amount of water on a daily basis. There are also many benefits to staying properly hydrated. You can learn to love water and make a part of your routine. As you do, you can be assured that you are doing your body a great favor in allowing it to perform its proper function. ■


WALK Continued from Page 7

American just 5,117 steps a day. Despite this fact, walking is the most popular form of exercise in the United States. It might seem intuitive that walking is so healthy. After all, humans migrated across the planet on foot to become the dominant species. But it has only been through the last half of the 20th century that the medical community began to view exercise as more central to public health. It is only recently that science discovered mechanisms by which walking lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. Walking at a moderate pace increases heart rate and respiratory rate, which uses more glucose, which can then lower blood sugar levels

and make the insulin in our body work better. The enzymes have been discovered that move the bad cholesterol (LDL) from the blood stream to the liver where they can be excreted for digestion as bile. The more you walk, the more LDL your body expels. Researchers have found that three 10-minute walks each day can even be better for blood pressure lowering than a 30-minute session. Both groups lowered their blood pressure during the day and evening of exercise, but the multiple sessions had an effect the following day. ■ Dr. Lisa Gray is cardiologist at The Alaska Heart Institute.

Making a commitment to walk daily is a step in the right direction for realizing a healthy lifestyle.

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Page 27

KEEP FIT Continued from Page 11

pressure, body weight, cholesterol and so much more, boomers need to find ways to get their bodies moving so they can live longer, healthier lives. “Though any amount of exercise is beneficial, ultimately adults should work up to getting at least 30 minutes most days of the week, as long as they feel comfortable and pain-free,” said world-renowned nutritionist Joy Bauer. “From taking a Zumba class to walking and stretching, getting regular physical activity helps the joints stay loose, maintains muscle mass, and gets the blood flowing – all of which make everyday tasks easier.” The American Council on Exercise recommends older Americans choose exercise programs that include cardiovascular, muscle conditioning and flexibility exercises. Low-impact, non-jarring exercises such as walking and swimming are good options. A key to sticking with a fitness program is making sure it’s enjoyable. A fun new program for older adults is

Zumba Gold, a low-impact dance-based workout designed specifically for boomers and seniors. Workout routines combine salsa, merengue, flamenco and cumbia moves with fun music. The program was created by 71-year-old Joy Prouty, a veteran in the fitness industry and a former Rockette. “From cardio to toning, this collection brings together some of Zumba’s most popular offerings in a format enabling older adults to rediscover the energy of their youth,” said Prouty.

Workout safety tips Whenever beginning a new fitness activity or program, make sure you do it safely. • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well. • Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids. • Listen to your body. If it hurts or it feels like too much, stop. You also need to be aware of danger signs while exercising. Stop the activity and call your doctor or 911 if you experience pain or pressure in your chest, arms, neck or jaw; feel lightheaded, nauseated

or weak; become short of breath; develop pain in your legs, calves or back; or feel like your heart is beating too fast or skipping beats. “It’s important to see your doctor before beginning any workout routine to receive a thorough cardiovascular evaluation,” said Bauer. “Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, I recommend starting out slowly.”

Pick an enjoyable activity The best way to find a regimen that will stick is to choose something that you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stick with it and reap all the benefits the physical activity has to offer. Bauer adds that a program like Zumba Gold is great because, if you enjoy dancing, it won’t feel like exercise and it can also be a social outlet. “Combining physical activity with social time is a total win-win,” Bauer said. ■

Put Your Best Face Forward


Dr. Christina Magill is now serving patients of all ages in the Valley!


Ȉƒ”ǡ‘•‡ƒ†–Š”‘ƒ–‡˜ƒŽ—ƒ–‹‘ƒ†–”‡ƒ–‡– Ȉ ‡ƒ†ƒ†‡…•—”‰‡”›ǡ‹…Ž—†‹‰‘•‡ǡ‡›‡Ž‹† ‡”›ǡ‹……Ž— Ž—†‹ †‹‰ ‰ ‘• ‘ ‡ǡ ‡ ‡›‡Ž‹† and sinus procedures e es Ȉ ƒ…‹ƒŽ…‘•‡–‹…ƒ†”‡…‘•–”—…–‹˜‡•—”‰‡”› ”‡…‘ ”‡ …‘• •––” – —…–‹˜‡•—” —”‰‡ ‰‡”› ”› ”‡Œ—˜‡ƒƒ–‹ –‹‘  Ȉ‘Ǧ•—”‰‹…ƒŽˆƒ…‹ƒŽ”‡Œ—˜‡ƒ–‹‘

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Page 28



Vaughn Gardner, MD

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Arthroscopic Surgery • Sports Injuries • Hand Surgery • Foot Surgery • Knee Surgery General Orthopedics • Fractures • Total Joint Replacement


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Tue-Thur 8:30-5:30 • Sat 8:30-4:30



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Quality Cancer Care in the Mat-Su Valley

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Providence Mat-Su services

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2250 S. Woodworth Loop, Palmer

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Providence Mat-Su Laboratory Patient Service Center The center offers on-site phlebotomy services and daily courier service to local providers for specimen pickup and processing.

Providence Matanuska Health Care 907-761-5900 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m., M, T, Th, F 8 a.m.–8p.m., W

Providence Mat-Su Laboratory Patient Service Center 907-761-5890 8 a.m.–5 p.m., M-F (closed for lunch 1–2 p.m.)

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2013 Mat-Su Valley Medical Guide  
2013 Mat-Su Valley Medical Guide  

32 pages of medical resources you can use.