Sports & COVID-19

Youth sports are back in Michigan…with restrictions

One of the many great disappointments during the pandemic was the loss of sports. From preschool t-ball to professional sports, being active and on a team is such an important part of so many lives. And those that don’t participate, spectate! The rules of the game have changed several times since the beginning of the pandemic, most recently with the resumption of contact sports for Michigan youth.

Beginning February 8th, in-person practice and competitions for sports leagues are now allowed…with some restrictions. For contact sports to resume, masks must be worn at all times during practices and competition. If masks can’t be worn during play, participants must be regularly tested for COVID-19, consistent with MDHHS’s Testing and Additional Mitigation Measures for Athletic Practice and Play guidance according to the state.

If your or your child’s sport of choice is non-contact and played outdoors where the athletes can maintain a social distance, masks will not be required. For all other sports, indoor or outdoor, masks or testing protocol will be required.

Following the guidance outlined by the state is crucial to stop the spread of the virus among athletes and spectators. There will be less people in the stands – up to 250 people are allowed in stadiums that seat fewer than 10,000 people, and up to 500 people are allowed at venues that seat more than 10,000 people, and those that do attend will also need to wear a mask at all times.

General Mitigation Measures for Athletics from the state of Michigan:

  • Wear a face mask at all times in practice and competition.*
  • Wash hands frequently and cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Use separate equipment as much as possible. Frequently clean and disinfect any shared equipment and surfaces.
  • See the MDHHS Guidance for Athletics for more recommendations to mitigate risk and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in sports.

*Exceptions are for athletes in contact sports where face masks pose a safety hazard. In these situations, additional mitigation measures, including testing before unmasked play, are required. Please see the MDHHS Guidance for Athletics for more information

For more details on the how COVID-19 impacts youth sports in Michigan visit: http://bit.ly/3s9XxV5

Under Pressure

This image has an empty alt attribute

Get pumped about managing Hypertension!

Considering nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, it’s a term we hear frequently, but what is it exactly? High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is when the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries is consistently too high. When left untreated, hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. It’s normal for our blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, but when it stays high for long periods of time your heart can be damaged leading to health problems or even death. The good news is, there several steps you can take to manage hypertension and live a healthy life!

Stop Smoking.

You should do this today. Smoking is harmful for many reasons and we encourage all patients who are smokers to quit immediately. It’s often easier said than done, so check with your provider for some strategies to ensure you quit smoking for good.

Exercise.

Physical activity strengthens your heart, and a stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort, thus decreasing the force on your arteries and lowering your blood pressure. For some patients, exercise lowered blood pressure enough to quit taking medication. Daily exercise can also prevent hypertension as you grow older. If you are implementing a new exercise routine, or starting to exercise for the first time, be sure to chat with your doctor before you begin.

Eat a Heart Healthy Diet.

In other words: put down the salt shaker! Incorporating the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) into your daily life can have a big impact on not just hypertension, but your health overall.

DASH DIET:

  • Eat more vegetables and fruit
  • Eat less foods that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol and trans fats
  • Eat more whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts
  • East less sodium, sugar and red meats

The diet itself is pretty simple but following it can be a challenge. Try making small changes at first and ease your way into a new diet. Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner, choose fruit, plain popcorn or low-fat yogurt as your afternoon snack, switch to low-fat dairy products, limit how much butter, salad dressing or other condiments you use, and if you don’t know already, learn to read food nutrition labels and choose low sodium foods.  

Take Your Medications.

You may not be able to manage you high blood pressure with diet and exercise alone, but there are medications that can help you reach your blood pressure goal. Talk with your doctor about the right approach for you. They will know when it’s time to work medications into your routine. Once you are prescribed a medication for high blood pressure, it’s important to take it exactly as directed. If you are not able to follow your physician’s instructions, be sure to discuss your options at your next appointment. Don’t make changes to your treatment without guidance from your doctor.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home.

Once you implement changes into your lifestyle, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis to understand if you are going in the right direction. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to check it daily to ensure your numbers are stable and staying in a safe zone. Check with your provider for best practices for measuring your blood pressure at home. They can also help you find the right fit when it comes to purchasing a cuff. Once you’re ready to go, use this helpful log to keep track of your numbers for the month.


Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from getting the care you need. We put protocols in place to ensure your safety while visiting any IHA practice. Contact your primary care physician or cardiologist to schedule your next appointment today.

Originally posted February 2020

Flu Season 2021

We’re seeing less flu activity in the wake of COVID-19

Before COVID-19, Influenza was the virus making headlines every fall. This year however, we’re seeing unusually low flu activity at IHA, a 98% decline in positive cases in fact, but numbers are also much lower around the country according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

It’s not entirely a surprise to see flu numbers drop. People are staying home more, washing their hands, wearing masks and social distancing when they do go out. Since the flu virus spreads via respiratory droplets in a similar way to COVID-19, all the protections that are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19 are helping to curtail the spread of influenza. People are also taking more precautions when they are symptomatic with an illness and staying home. Going to work or school sick, coughing or sneezing is a thing of the past.

It’s not just Michigan seeing a drop in cases of the flu, the CDC reports that seasonal flu activity is lower than usual this year nationally. Take a look at these flu activity maps for the same week January 2020 versus January 2021. Most states are reporting minimal cases of the flu this year, while last year it dominated the map.

Perhaps the biggest contributor to the decline of influenza this year has to do with children, who have been attending school virtually across much of the state and country or at least wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands while at school. Kids are catching the flu virus in smaller numbers and are not bringing it home to their parents and families like in past years.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


The flu season is not over and it’s not too late to be vaccinated against the flu! A flu shot is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. According to the CDC, getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.

Contact your primary care practice to schedule a flu shot today.

Kids & COVID-19

When can your kids safely return to school after a positive COVID-19 test?

It’s true fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 when compared to adults, but children can still be infected with the virus, get sick from it and spread it to others, even when they have no symptoms (asymptomatic). If you have or think you or your child might have COVID-19, it is important to stay home and away from other people both outside and inside the home. As much as possible, keep sick members of the family away from well members of the family, especially those that are more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19. Staying away from others when you are sick helps stop the spread of COVID-19. But just how long does a child need to quarantine and when can they return to school? The timing of when your child can return to school/camp/daycare/work after they had COVID-19 symptoms or exposure depends on the situation. Read on for advice from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on when it’s safe to return to normal life (or normal pandemic life).

If your child has current symptoms of COVID-19 but did not get tested; They may return to school, camp, daycare or work when:

  • It has been 10 days since symptoms developed AND
  • 24 hours with NO fever (without using any medications) AND
  • Symptoms such as cough and congestion are improving

If your child tested positive for COVID-19; They may return to school, camp, daycare or work when:

  • It has been 10 days since symptoms developed AND
  • 24 hours with NO fever (without using any medications) AND
  • Symptoms such as cough and congestion are improving

We do not recommend testing without symptoms but in some cases, this is a requirement. If your child tested positive for COVID-19 and has NO symptoms; They may return to school, camp, daycare or work when:

  • It has been 10 days since the test was performed
  • IF during this time period ANY symptoms develop (fever, cough, congestion, vomiting or diarrhea) please follow the information above on when they may return to school, camp, daycare or work.

If your child had COVID-19 symptoms and tested negative for COVID-19; They may return to school, camp, daycare or work when:

  • 24 hours with NO fever (without using any medication)
  • Other symptoms are improving

If your child has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but your child has not been tested OR has tested negative;

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 needs to quarantine. What counts as close contact?

  • Your child was within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes
  • Your child lives at home with someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Your child had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them)
  • Your child shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

Steps to take: Stay home and monitor your health.

  • Stay home for 10 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19 to be sure you don’t develop symptoms. Contact your pediatrician if symptoms develop. (The local Health Department may recommend 14-day quarantine).
  • Continue to watch for fever (100.4°F), cough, shortness of breath or other sick symptoms that may concern you about your child, until 14 days after exposure date.
  • When possible, continue to wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, especially people who are at high risk for getting COVID-19, avoid crowds, wash hands frequently.

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone that tested positive for COVID-19, contact your pediatrician for testing and next steps.

COVID-19 Vaccine Myths & Facts

The development of the COVID-19 vaccine brings hope that we will soon be able to hug loved ones, greet people without a mask and meet friends for dinner. While the COVID-19 vaccines available have been proven safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, it’s understandable that there may be some apprehension around getting the vaccine. We’re here to help sort out the myths from the facts, so you can confidently get your vaccination and move toward an end to the pandemic.

Visit ihacares.com/covid19 for the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates and frequently asked questions .

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

The COVID-19 vaccine offers hope for the future, but for now ending this pandemic will require all the available tools. Your best defense against COVID-19 is the combination of the vaccine, wearing a mask, social distancing and continuing to wash your hands.

If you have symptoms of COIVD-19 or have been exposed, save your spot at one of our testing locations.

Toy Buying Tips

Pediatrician-approved gifts for every child.

The official kickoff to holiday shopping is just days away. Before you check-off your child’s wish list, check-out some pediatrician-approved gifts that every kid will love!

Pretend.

When a child is given the freedom to play without rules or guidelines, their imagination will take over. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said it best: “Pretending through toy characters (such as dolls, animals, and action figures) and toy objects (like food, utensils, cars, planes, and buildings) help children learn to use words and stories to imitate, describe, and cope with real life events and feelings. Imagination is the key here! Imaginary play is a large part of a child’s social and emotional development.”

Pretend Shopping List:

  • Play kitchen with accessories (food, utensils, plates, etc.)
  • Vehicles (diggers, cars, emergency vehicles, planes, etc.)
  • Dress-up clothing and accessories
  • Microphone
  • Chalk board

Assembly required.

A simple puzzle holds so many benefits for a young mind – problem-solving, fine motor, language and cognitive skills. Looks for age and developmentally appropriate building blocks, puzzles, train tracks.

Assembly Required Shopping List

  • Building Blocks
  • Puzzles
  • Train tracks
  • Magnet tiles

Art

It’s amazing to see what kids are capable of without restrictions. Consider give an art basket to build their creativity and fine motor skills.

Art Shopping List:

  • Crayons/Markers/Color Pencils
  • Age appropriate paints
  • For older children, encourage them to try new media like oil pastels, chalk pastels, ink, etc.
  • Blank sketch books (try different sizes, large and small)
  • Glue
  • Kid-friendly scissors
  • Clay
  • Art accessories: pipe cleaners, pom poms, tissue paper, stickers and anything else you can think of!

Skip the video games.

There are educational apps and video games that work to teach the ABCs, but what they are missing – creative thinking, emotional development and impulse control – are much more important factors in the healthy development of your child. According to the AMA, Research suggests tablet-based toys may actually delay social development for infants and young children, because they don’t include real life facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations.

Skip the Video Games Shopping List:

  • Match games
  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Age and interest appropriate Books
  • Magazine subscription
  • Busy board with a variety of locks and latches

Play!

Especially in the winter months, getting physical activity is so important – for kids and grown-ups alike! Not only does it help to develop good habits for later in life, but being physically active also holds benefits for emotional health.

Play! Shopping List:

  • Hula hoop
  • Sports gear (football, baseball, basketball – choose based on what interests your child)
  • Twister
  • Indoor bowling set
  • Yoga mat paired with child appropriate exercise classes or DVDs
  • Roller blades (don’t forget the helmet and pads)
  • Gym shoes
  • Push and riding toys for little ones just walking

This post was originally published November 2019.


IHA Urgent Care locations are open on holidays! Don’t spend your holiday waiting in a waiting room. Save your spot in line at an Urgent Care location near you and wait at home.

Virtual Care at IHA

Communication tips for the best virtual patient experience

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries to rethink how they deliver services to the public. The medical field is no different. Virtual Care, or healthcare via phone, video or email, offers access to timely medical care without leaving home or entering a waiting room in-person. This format is new to a lot of patients, so we pulled together our providers recommendations for a successful telehealth medical appointment.  

  • Practice using the technology. Download the platform (IHA providers use Zoom) ahead of your appointment time. Then, make sure it works! Virtual appointments require both video and audio. Ensure your device meets the requirements, know how to join your video appointment and do so a few minutes early.
  • Consider using headphones with a microphone for better sound and privacy.
  • Know where to go to troubleshoot any issues that come up.  Logging on early will give you an opportunity to work out issues before your provider joins the conversation. Visit ihacares.com/resources/video-appointments for information on video appointments with an IHA provider.
  • Find a quiet space where you can focus on your conversation with your provider. Discourage interruptions by putting a sign on your office door or tell those around you it’s not a good time to interrupt.
  • Eliminate distractions before your appointment begins – do not login for your video appointment from the car, cafeteria, bathroom, or while making dinner.
  • Consider your background. Try to minimize natural light by not sitting in front of a window. The glare can make it difficult for your provider to see you in your video.
  • Bring a flashlight along to your appointment if you have a skin issue such as a lesion or rash to help your provider your skin. Measure the are prior to the appointment if possible.
  • Confirm your insurance coverage and copays for telehealth appointments. Virtual appointment coverage varies based on insurance companies, so be sure to confirm your personal coverage ahead of time to avoid unexpected bills.
  • Treat a virtual appointment as you would an in-person appointment. Have relevant health history and treatments at your fingertips and come prepared with your questions or concerns. Write them down beforehand if possible.
  • If you would have brought someone else with you to your in-person appointment, have them sit with you, virtually or in-person if you are living with them, for your virtual appointment. It can be helpful later to have a second person listening and even taking notes. They may hear something you miss or come up with a question you may not have thought of.
  • If you use medical devices on a regular basis (blood pressure monitor, heart monitor, thermometer, glucometer, etc.), have them close at hand during your virtual appointment. Or better yet, take readings prior to your call or video appointment.

When it comes to healthcare, we understand patients have individual needs and one size doesn’t fit all! So we offer several ways to access care – Actually 5!

Allowing patients to get care in a way that works best for them is what we’re all about. Click below to schedule your appointment, your way.

Managing Anxiety

How does anxiety look & feel during a pandemic?

by Alberto Nacif, MD

Pandemics can be stressful. Holidays and elections can be stressful. Virtual school, social distancing and not seeing friends and loved ones can be stressful too. All these things together can be a recipe for anxiety. Anxiety and fear can feel overwhelming for both adults and children alike. Sometimes it can be hard to identify anxiety or understand the strong emotions that can come along with anxiety, especially for children.

What does anxiety look and feel like?

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Changes in behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances

What do you do when feeling anxious?

Being there for and taking care of family and friends is important but you should create a healthy balance with caring for yourself too. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control on coping with the stress that comes with living through a pandemic.

  • Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
    • If you think you may need a COVID-19 test, save your spot at an IHA testing location: ihacares.com/saveyourspot
  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
  • Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
  • Make time for quiet. If you find comfort in prayer or meditation, make time to incorporate this quiet time into your day. As little as 10 minutes can make a difference in your anxiety level. 

Quick tips for taking control of your anxiety.

  1. Take control of your breathing. Try square breathing: breathe in through your nose, pause, breathe out through your mouth and pause, counting to four at each step. Watch Alberto Nacif, MD give instructions on square breathing here: https://bit.ly/2Izy1aL
  2. Tighten and relax your muscles. In areas where you feel physical tension tighten your muscles and then relax them. 
  3. Go to your happy place. Yes! It does exist! Think of a time or a place in your life where you felt at ease, happy or at peace. Focus on the positive feelings associated with this moment in time.

Know when it’s time to seek medical professional help.

If stress or anxiety get in the way of your daily life several days in a row, it may be time to contact your primary care provider. There are many resources available for managing these feelings and your provider can help you find the best fit for you.

Celebrating Thanksgiving During COVID-19

Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Please be sure to follow the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) orders to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.

Wear a Mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.

  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu.
  • Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Wash your hands.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Attending a gathering.

Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the MDHHS order, consider these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering:

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

Hosting a gathering.

If having guests to your home, please limit the number of people based on the MDHHS order. Additional ideas that can make your celebration safer include:

  • Have a small outdoor meal.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils and plates.

Consider new Thanksgiving activities.

Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you

  • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.

Watch television and play games with people in your household

  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
  • Find a fun game to play.

Shopping

  • Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
  • Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
  • Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.

Other Activities

  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.

Safe travel tips for college students.

There is no universal approach to Thanksgiving this year for colleges and universities. Though some are encouraging students to stay on campus for the holiday, others are allowing them to go home for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Still more are sending students home to begin their winter break or finish their semesters remotely.

Take the risk seriouslyYoung people have been identified as sources of some family outbreaks, infecting their older, more vulnerable relatives who live in the same household. Experts also point out that travel could increase students’ risk of exposure to the virus, and that holiday celebrations held indoors could facilitate transmission.

Self-quarantine and get testedIn the days before leaving campus, students should be tested, preferably with a PCR test, the laboratory test used to diagnose the coronavirus. Many colleges and universities have been regularly testing their students, and some have rolled out special guidance for holiday travel.

Source: Centers for Disease Control


Save Your Spot for drive-up COVID-19 testing at select IHA Urgent Care locations 

During this pandemic, feeling sick can be scary. If you have symptoms like fever, cough, or shortness of breath, it is important to get tested for COVID-19. You should always contact your doctor with questions or concerns, but having test results will help with their recommendations for your care. 

IHA offers convenient drive-up COVID-19 testing for new and established patients. We offer both PCR and Rapid tests. Your provider will determine which test is best for you based on your symptoms. Rapid testing is not always recommended. Do not go to your local IHA Urgent Care or emergency department for COVID-19 testing. 

Patients in need of a COVID-19 test, please be aware:
1. You must have an appointment. Save Your Spot at one of our COVID-19 testing locations below.
2. Testing is being prioritized for symptomatic patients and patients who have had a high-risk exposure.
3. COVID-19 test results usually take 24 to 72 hours to return, but due to recent significant increases in testing – results are taking up to 5 days.
4. If you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have not had a high-risk exposure, please visit Michigan.gov to find an alternate testing location. 

Breast Cancer Basics

Understanding Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factors

by Tara M. Breslin, MD

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to spread the word about the importance of breast health all year long. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed in the United States, typically in women, but it occurs in men as well. In 2020 alone, an estimated 276,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Most of these new cases will occur in women older than 50, but 10% will occur in women younger than 45. Recognizing the warning signs of breast cancer and early detection will mean more treatment options and a better chance of being cured.

Be aware of changes in your breasts

  • Lump in the breast or underarm
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Indentation or retraction of the nipple area
  • Change in breast size
  • Rippling (flattening or indentation) of the skin covering the breast
  • Crustiness or rash of the nipple or areola

What to you do if you notice a new symptom

Stay up-to-date with breast screenings

Regular screening for breast cancer is done before there are any signs or symptoms and is the best way to find cancer early when it’s easier to treat. The first step(s) of screening for breast cancer typically include mammogram and/or a patient’s awareness of changes in their breast.

  • Self-Awareness: Conduct regular and frequent self-exams of your breasts. Become familiar with your breasts, so you aware of, and able to, recognize changes right away.
  • Clinical Breast Exam: This exam is done in a clinical setting, by a physician who will use their hands to look for lumps or changes in your breasts.
  • Mammogram: An x-ray of the breast and the best way to detect cancer early. A screening mammogram is done for asymptomatic women, a diagnostic mammogram is done for women with a new symptom or mammographic abnormality.

A mammogram found something suspicious, now what?

If your doctor finds something concerning on your mammogram, the first step would be diagnostic imaging to further characterize the area.  This may include: diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, MRI.

  • Biopsy: a small sample of cells or tissue is removed and reviewed under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. There are a variety of ways to perform a biopsy. Talk to your physician about the options available to you, if you require a biopsy.
  • Diagnostic Mammogram: an X-ray test used to diagnose unusual breast changes, such as a lump, pain, nipple discharge, change in breast size or shape or previous breast cancer. If your screening mammogram does show an abnormality, you may need additional imaging like a diagnostic mammogram.
  • Breast Ultrasound: Using sound waves to produce images of the internal structures of the breast, the breast ultrasound can help a physician determine if a mass an abnormality is more likely a solid mass or fluid-filled cyst.
  • MRI: The MRI uses magnets and radio waves to produce images of the breast. These images provide more information and details than other tests. Your physician may recommend a breast MRI for you if your biopsy results were positive for cancer or if you’re considered high risk for breast cancer. The breast MRI is intended to be used along with a mammogram, not as a replacement.

Who would be considered high risk for breast cancer?

As a person ages, their risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases, but there are a few other risk factors that you cannot change:

  • Age: Most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
  • Genetics: Inherited changes (mutations) to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women who have inherited these genetic changes are at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Dense Breasts: Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can sometimes make it hard to see tumors on a mammogram. Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.
  • Personal History of Breast Cancer: Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer a second time. Some non-cancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ are associated with a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Family History of Breast Cancer: A woman’s risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister, or daughter (first-degree relative) or multiple family members on either her mother’s or father’s side of the family who have had breast or ovarian cancer. Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer also raises a woman’s risk.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and your risk factors is important for every woman and man. If you have questions or concerns about your breast health, schedule an appointment with an IHA Breast Surgeon.