Monday, August 18, 2014

Fresh is in for Summer!

Move over heavy lasagna and fettuccini alfredo…

Comfort foods are out and fresh fruit and vegetables are in! When the weather gets warmer most people tend to lighten up their diets by eating less. Now is the time to renew (or begin) your love for nutritious and sweet-tooth satisfying foods to not only lose weight in San Francisco but get added health benefits as well.

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other substances that are important for good health in San Francisco. They not only taste great, they are low in calories.

Here are some easy tips to incorporate flavorful summer crops to your weekly menus:

  •  Add a banana or fresh berries to your cereal or oatmeal
  • Add green peppers, spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms to eggs and frozen pizza
  • See how much color you can add to your plate at each meal (green spinach, purple grapes, red strawberries, orange carrots, etc.)
  • Pre-cut raw vegetables for snacks-on-the-go
  • Have chocolate-covered strawberries for desert (in moderation)
  • Make your own smoothies with fresh or frozen fruit and low-fat yogurt or milk
  • Include corn, zucchini or other fresh vegetables in skewers, grill baskets or when grilling

You don’t have to give up comfort foods entirely this summer; just eat them less often and in smaller amounts. You’ll be amazed at how your body size will shrink and your energy level will soar!

For more tips on how to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet or tips to lose weight, contact Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher in San Francisco at 415-923-3560 or

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stay Cool When the Heat is On

We all know that too much sun exposure can lead to painful sunburn in San Francisco, and sunburns increase the risk of skin damage, cancer and prematurely aged skin.

But overexposure to sun and heat can also lead to other serious problems that interfere with your brain functions, muscles, and other organs. Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher treats many patients each summer for heat-related illnesses in San Francisco. While most people can recover quickly from these illnesses, they can be deadly if not treated properly.

When your body begins to sweat out too much water, salt, potassium, magnesium and other nutrients, you may experience heat exhaustion or heat cramps. Early symptoms that you’ve had too much sun include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Thirst
  • Leg/stomach/arm cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

If you do not take measures to cool your body down, you may move into full-on heat stroke/sun stroke after intense heat exposure and dehydration for long periods of time. Symptoms of heat stroke can include the symptoms listed above as well as:

  • Lack of sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate and breath
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • High body temperature
  • Fainting
  • Pale skin
  • Dark urine

 Prevent Heat Stroke

To avoid heat-related illnesses, listen to your body and be smart when outdoors

  • Avoid drinking dehydrating beverages, such as soda, alcohol and coffee. Choose water and sports drinks instead.
  • Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
  • Go indoors during the hottest times of the day.
  • Take frequent breaks when working or playing in the heat.
  • Avoid over-exertion in the heat.

Heat stroke can be life-threatening. If you see someone who is experiencing the signs of heat stroke in San Francisco, call 911 immediately. Remove the person from the sun/heat and have him drink water or other electrolyte drinks, such as Gatorade. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Remove constrictive clothing and apply ice packs to the groin and armpits to help cool the body.

If you have experienced heat exhaustion, it is important to contact a doctor to make sure it does not progress into heat stroke. A doctor like Dr. Kutzscher can let you know when it is safe to resume your normal activities. Call Marilyn Kutzscher at 415-923-3560 or to learn more tips on how to beat the heat in San Francisco this summer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Be Prepared: Carry a First Aid Kit

Traveling can be fun! But whether you are trekking to a remote country or just an hour from home, good times can quickly go downhill if someone gets sick or injured. It’s always good to be prepared for any type of minor emergency and having a first aid kit on hand may help you, your family, friends and fellow travelers stay safe.

First Aid Kit Essentials

  • Sunscreen and soothing aloe vera gel
  • Adhesive bandages in varying sizes
  • Pain/fever reducer
  • Allergy medicine
  • Gauze pads and tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Blister care
  • Bug repellant
  • Insect bite/sting relief
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Space heat blanket
  • Oral thermometer
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Instant cold compress
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Hand sanitizer or soap
  • Scissors/tweezers
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Candles and matches
  • First aid manual

 If anyone in your traveling party is prone to allergic reactions, be sure to pack injectable epinephrine as well. There may be additional first aid kit requirements, such as splints and prescription medications, depending on your medical condition, how far you are traveling and how remote the location.

Be sure to check the contents of the first aid kit regularly to replace any items that have been used or those that have expired, especially if you are planning a long trip outside San Francisco.

If you are planning a trip to a foreign country, you may need certain pre-trip vaccinations to keep you healthy. Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher in San Francisco helps patients learn the steps to take before, during and after trips. Contact her at 415-923-3560 or to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Birth Control Use May Increase Risk of Glaucoma

A recent study presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2013 meeting showed that women over age 40 taking oral contraceptives for 3 years or more were twice as likely to develop a glaucoma diagnosis.  

Glaucoma results in slow optic nerve damage at the back of the eye due to various factors which can but may not include abnormally high eye pressure.  If left undiagnosed or untreated, irreversible vision loss can gradually occur.  Early stages are typically present with no symptoms, which is why early detection and intervention are essential in minimizing or preventing vision loss. 

It is important to note that the exact correlation between oral contraceptives and glaucoma has not been determined.  Estrogen is thought to be protective against glaucoma, and post-menopausal women are more at risk compared to men of similar age.  Oral contraceptives control the amount of estrogen in the body, and this alteration in hormonal levels may be a contributing factor in glaucoma development.  This has not been proven as of yet, however this study implies a potential glaucoma risk factor in addition to others (family history, race, age, high eye pressures, even history of migraine). 

Until there is conclusive data linking oral contraceptive use and glaucoma, it is prudent to make a note of any history of long term oral contraceptive use, and screen for glaucoma with annual eye examinations.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dental Health and your Heart

What do your teeth and gums have to do with your heart? Possibly a lot. There appears to be a connection between gum disease and heart disease in people who suffer from both conditions. Although this is still a highly debatable issue among the medical profession, there are studies that show a correlation between these two conditions.

Inflammation is a common thread between the two diseases. Uncontrolled plaque (bacteria) build-up on your teeth leads to inflammation of the gums and eventually periodontal disease. Likewise, the accumulation of fat deposits in your arteries can lead to inflammation/clogging of the arteries causing heart attacks or strokes.

Bacteria may actually be the culprit. The bacteria found in plaque may find its way into your bloodstream, ultimately landing in the arteries and create problems there.

There is no solid evidence proving that poor dental health leads to cardiovascular disease. But taking control of your

health with daily proactive steps to live as healthy a life as possible only makes sense.

How to Avoid Heart Disease

  • Eat healthy, unprocessed foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Control high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
  • Stop smoking
How to Avoid Gum Disease
  • Brush your teeth and gums methodically for two minutes, twice a day
  • Floss once daily
  • Use antiseptic mouthwash daily
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings
  • Stop smoking
If you notice swelling in your gums or if you have already been diagnosed with periodontal disease, visit your dentist to take control of your mouth health. It’s also worth a trip to your family doctor to see if you have any early signs of heart disease. The early symptoms of heart disease are often “silent,” so taking cues from other areas of your body or mouth may help prevent serious complications in the future.
Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher in San Francisco is a family doctor who can help identify early signs of heart disease. To schedule an appointment, contact her office at 415-923-3560 or

Friday, March 7, 2014

No Bones About It: Osteoporosis is Serious

You may not think of your bones as being “alive,” but they really are constantly growing tissue. Bones are made up of collagen for flexibility, calcium-phosphate minerals for strength and cells that keep the bones healthy. Your bones are continually being broken down and rebuilt throughout your life. Unfortunately, as you grow older, the bone formation begins to slow down while bone loss continues.

This is osteoporosis, and it affects an estimated 200 million people worldwide. Like so many conditions, this is often called a “silent” disease because there are usually no outward symptoms. But as the bones become more brittle, they are more susceptible to breaks and fractures.

Healthy living at any age can decrease your risk for osteoporosis. Take proactive steps by:
• Consuming bone-healthy foods such as low-fat dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables
• Incorporating the proper amount of calcium and Vitamin D into your diet (see below)
• Stopping tobacco use
• Limiting alcohol consumption
• Exercising regularly through cardiovascular movements and weight training

Osteoporosis in Women
For women, menopause is often the start of significant bone loss. In fact, women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density in the five-to-seven years after menopause, which typically begins at age 51. This is due in part to the fact that estrogen levels drop off in menopausal women. One in two women over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Calcium Recommendations for Women
Age 19-50: 1,000 mg/day
Age 51+: 1,200 mg/day

Vitamin D Recommendations for Women
Age 19-70: 600 IU/day
Age 70+: 800 IU/day

Osteoporosis in Men
Osteoporosis typically starts later in life for men (by the mid-60s) because they may have more bone mass. A common cause of osteoporosis in men is low testosterone, which is converted to estrogen to create stronger bones. Certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory steroids, prostate cancer drugs and anti-seizure drugs can also lead to bone loss. One in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Calcium Recommendations for Men
Age 19-70: 1,000 mg/day
Age 71+: 1,200 mg/day

Vitamin D Recommendations for Men
Age 19-70: 600 IU/day
Age 70+: 800 IU/day

Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher can perform bone density tests to determine if osteoporosis has set in. She also uses other tests to identify osteoporosis and help patients take steps to control the condition. If you are over age 50, contact Dr. Kutzscher in San Francisco to schedule an appointment. Call 415-923-3560 or visit

Friday, February 21, 2014

Important Vaccines for People Over 60

Many people think that vaccinations are only for very young children. But the truth is that getting certain vaccines after you turn age 60 can strengthen your immune system and protect you from certain illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults over 60 have these vaccinations:

• Influenza Vaccine (seasonal flu) – every fall /winter

• Zoster Vaccine (shingles-painful skin rash) – 1-time dose

• Td Vaccine (tetanus-diphtheria, a bacterial infection) – 1 dose, then booster every 10 years

• Tdap Vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also called whooping cough) – 1 dose in place of one 10-year booster

• Pneumococcal Vaccine (infections in the lungs, brain, blood or ear) – 1-time dose

Flu and Shingles Statistics (CDC)

• An average of 24,000 people in the United States die every year from the flu; most are age 65+

• Nearly 1 million Americans get shingles every year; half of them are age 60+

Other factors such as your current health, lifestyle, environment or occupation may make you more susceptible to certain diseases. Talk to your doctor about other immunizations available that may prevent you from becoming ill.

Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher encourages all of her patients to get immunized against preventable diseases. If you are over age 60 and have not had all of the immunizations listed above, please contact Dr. Kutzscher in San Francisco today at 415-923-3560 or to schedule an appointment.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tips to Avoid Depression this Winter

If you tend to feel a little more depressed or SAD during the winter months, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). During the winter, the days become shorter so we are exposed to less natural sunlight and tend to move our bodies less. People who are particularly sensitive to light (or the lack of light) may be more prone to suffer from this condition.

Winter depression can show itself in any number of ways. Symptoms of SAD may include:

• Crying spells
• Lack of energy
• Desire to stay home
• Irritability
• Moodiness
• Weight gain

You may not even realize that you are suffering from SAD because the symptoms can be negligible as they begin but then gradually increase to something more serious – even leading to thoughts of suicide. If you have been experiencing the winter blues, there are things you can start doing immediately to promote winter happiness:

• Schedule a physical exam to make sure your symptoms are not the result of an underlying medical condition.
• Investigate light therapy to mimic sunlight. Simply having access to a light box for 30 minutes every day may reverse your symptoms. Check with a doctor prior to starting this therapy.
• Get off the couch and exercise. Find a physical activity that brings you enjoyment and try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Partner with a friend for extra motivation.
• Go outside – even if it’s cold – during the daylight hours for a few minutes every day.
• Remove processed foods and excess sugar from your diet. Choose colorful vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean meats to give your body clean fuel.
• Limit alcohol consumption.
• Maintain a regular sleep pattern.
• Schedule time to hang out with friends. Laughter can go a long way to increasing your mood.
• Practice stress reduction techniques such as meditation or yoga.

If your mood has changed this winter, contact Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher to determine if SAD is to blame. Her San Francisco office can be reached by calling 415-923-3560 or visiting

Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Handle the “M” Words: Marriage and Menopause

Menopause. Most women are all-too-familiar with the changes their bodies will start to undergo as they head into their 50s. While jokes about hot flashes can help to lighten the mood surrounding this hormonal change, the truth is that menopause symptoms can be the root cause of failed marriages…even those that have seemingly stood the test of time. If there is any small crack in the armor of your marriage, menopause may be just the catalyst to break it apart.

We can thank the lack of hormone production (estrogen and progesterone) for the creation of menopause. This natural occurrence leads to a variety of possible symptoms, which not only affect women but also the men in their lives.

Symptoms of Menopause

• Hot flashes (short bouts of sudden heat occurring in different areas of the body or face)
• Night sweats (often due to hot flashes)
• Irregular menstrual cycles (spotting, heavy bleeding, more frequent, longer lasting)
• Unpredictable mood swings (irritability due to stress, fatigue or depression)
• Weight gain in the abdomen, hips and thighs (due to loss of muscle mass, genetics and an unhealthy lifestyle)
• Dry skin (due to the loss of estrogen)
• Thinning hair (due to hormonal imbalances, stress, genetics or illness)
• Irregular sleep patterns (often due to waking up from night sweats and hot flashes)
• Vaginal dryness (due to the reduction of vaginal lubrication produced during sex)
• Osteoporosis (weakening of bones due to the loss of estrogen)

Of course, there are varying degrees of menopausal symptoms; some women will be seriously affected while others may only experience minor changes. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, you have to realize that men simply won’t fully understand what you’re going through. In fact, they may be scared of your unpredictable mood swings and frustrated by your lack of interest in sex.

Ways to Combat the Effects of Menopause

• Emotional effects: Talk about your feelings regarding changes to your physical appearance. Chances are your husband is still very attracted to you, regardless of how you view yourself.
• Mood swings: Explore meditation, yoga or other ways to reduce stress. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating unprocessed foods and exercising regularly.
• Physical effects: Lead an active lifestyle. Don’t fall into the “couch potato” trap and let fat storage take over.
• Hot flashes: Identify what triggers your hot flashes and then work to avoid those (caffeine, spicy foods, heat, tight clothes, stress). Dress in layers and use fans when you can. Regular exercise may also help.
• Sexual intimacy: Try vaginal moisturizers or lubricants. Explore alternative stimulation techniques. Talk to your doctor about estrogen replacement to treat vaginal dryness. Talk to a therapist who specializes in sexual dysfunction.

If you are experiencing any signs of menopause, contact Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher in San Francisco at 415-923-3560 or She can help you determine ways to deal with this inevitable condition so both you and your spouse can navigate the ups and downs of menopause.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Protect Your Health When Traveling Internationally

While traveling abroad can be exotic and exciting, many Americans make the mistake of failing to take the right health precautions before, during and after their trips. Those “precautions” will vary, depending on the region in which you are traveling, so it’s important to schedule a doctor visit at least three months before your departure to ensure you take the right measures to protect your health.

International Travel Tips for Health

  • Get the appropriate vaccinations for influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, pneumonia, measles, polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, yellow fever, meningitis, dengue and others
  • Be aware of the diseases common to the area in which you are traveling
  • Bring any prescription medications you may need
  • Ask your doctor about bringing antibiotics
  • Drink bottled water to avoid traveler’s diarrhea
  • Avoid getting drinks with ice – the ice may be contaminated
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked food – even salads and fruit with thin skin
  • Check all travel warnings
  • Avoid eating in establishments that don’t appear clean
  • If you will be sexually active, bring condoms and practice safe sex
  • Pay attention to your body; if you are feeling ill, get medical attention 
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose
  • Get plenty of sleep
Depending on where you have traveled, it may be wise to visit your doctor after your trip for a routine check-up. Your doctor can advise you on this during your pre-travel appointment.

If you are planning to travel internationally, schedule an appointment with Dr. Marilyn Kutzscher in San Francisco at 415-923-3560 or to determine what steps you should take before, during and after your travels.