Kawartha North Family Health Team

Happy New Year….

The last time I wrote about New Year’s resolutions was in 2017, but as we enter a new decade, it seemed a timely subject to revisit.

Making promises as you enter the New Year goes back to the Babylonians over 4000 years ago and is said to have been started by Julius Caesar in honour of the Roman god Janus whose two faces let him look both towards the past and future.

Whilst the types of resolutions have changed over the years, one thing has remained the same; January 1st is seen as a day to reflect and to focus on self-improvement. Unfortunately, as those of us who have ever bought that January gym membership know, making resolutions is a lot easier than keeping them. So how do you keep the promises you have made yourself?
• Keep goals realistic and if necessary, break them out into smaller steps. If your resolution involves the infamous gym, consider going a few times with a friend to get comfortable first rather than jumping in expecting to become a body builder by March.
• Don’t give up the goal if you have one set back. Failing once on changing a habit still puts you ahead of succumbing to the vice daily. So if you broke down and had that extra-large piece of cheesecake or one cigarette – don’t just give up on your goal.
• Know yourself! If you love chocolate more than life, resolving to never eat it again is a sure recipe for failure. Look at allowing yourself small pleasures without overindulging. For you, the resolution may include a square of chocolate each night while watching the news.
• And most importantly, it is about self-improvement, not becoming a new person; start with self-acceptance and find that even better version of you!

So Happy New Year and here is to another decade with the new and improved us.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Have a heart…

Do you know the leading cause of premature death in women? You would be forgiven for thinking it may be cancer related, but it is actually heart disease. In fact, women are five times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer.

Whilst long accepted as a largely male concern, one woman dies every 20 minutes in Canada according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation and while men face a greater risk of heart disease at a younger age, women are more likely to die. This may come as a shock to anyone who assumes that Canada’s healthcare system is universal but in fact that is the issue. One size does NOT fit all when it comes to heart disease.

Issues start with diagnosis, continue through recognizing heart attacks and even in treatment modalities. Common diagnostics like the stress test for cardiac output for example has been shown to be far less sensitive for women than men and even more so in younger women. During a heart attack, women often experience symptoms differently than men and therefore ignore many of them. Common ones described by women and unrelated to chest pain include:
• Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
• Shortness of breath
• Pain in one or both arms
• Nausea or vomiting
• Sweating
• Light-headedness or dizziness
• Unusual fatigue
• Indigestion

As many of these symptoms may be attributed to influenza or “general malaise” they are often ignored and women tend to show up in emergency rooms or doctors’ offices long after heart damage has occurred or seek no treatment at all. Even once diagnosed, many of the standard treatments have been found to be less beneficial for women and they are referred less often for cardiac rehabilitation than men and are less likely to complete rehab if they are referred.

So we must take matters into our own hands to protect ourselves and our loved ones through education on the risks and symptoms and not ignoring the early warning signs. For more information, visit www.heartandstroke.ca

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Mark your calendars….

Mash Bash Golf Tournament at Eganridge and gala dinner at the Lakeview Arts Barn is celebrating its 7th Year of supporting the Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls Walk in clinics on Saturday September 7th.

Our Mash Bash gala event includes 9 holes of golf, cart included, scramble format, either morning or afternoon starts. This fun filled day includes lunch at the beautiful Eganridge patio and our gala evening event that continues with drinks, appetizers, prime rib dinner, live and silent auction, balloon pops and professional live music in the evening at the picturesque Lakeview Arts Barn.


There is space for 120 golfers; we are already over 50% sold, so act quickly to guarantee your spot.
There is a choice of morning golf @ 8:30, or an afternoon shotgun start @ 1pm. The cost is $250.00 per couple, $130.00 per single and includes the gala dinner event at Lakeview Arts Barn. We encourage people to put together their own foursome if possible, but we are happy to have people sign up as couples or singles as well.

Gala Evening Event; A great evening out

Tickets are available for people who only want to attend the
the gala dinner event at LAB and tickets are only $60.00. This includes drinks, appetizers, prime rib dinner, live and silent auction, balloon pops and professional live music.

The walk In Clinics are not financially supported by the government

The KNFHT walk in clinics are in their 9th year providing essential service primary health care to over 3000 patients a year. These clinics are not financially supported by the government and are funded 100% by donation.
The clinics are open to everyone in the community and are run in Bobcaygeon, 100 East Street South on Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm – 7pm and in Fenelon Falls at Pharmasave on Fridays from 9am-noon
Over the years, MASH BASH has raised over $150,000 to help keep the Kawartha North Family Health Team Walk In Clinics providing excellent medical care to the Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls communities.

For more information and to purchase tickets please feel free to contact Missy Degeer [email protected], 705-738-1112

For more information on this exciting event please contact Hector Campbell [email protected], 705-731-0274

Sing like no one is listening….

If you are one of the millions of Canadians who enjoy singing in the shower, keep it up!

While you may have heard of some of the benefits associated with singing such as its mental health impacts which have been linked to reducing depression and lowering stress levels, other benefits might surprise you.

One little known finding may not only benefit you, but also your partner. According to one recent article, experts believe that singing works to strengthen throat and palate muscles which can reduce snoring and sleep apnea, improving both of your sleep. Aside from the throat, singing can also strengthen the diaphragm and stimulates overall circulation as you pull in more oxygen while singing than during many forms of exercise. Studies at the University of Frankfurt even showed that singing boosted the immune system and if you practice correct singing techniques you will be forced to stand up straighter to allow your chest cavity to expand which will serve to improve your posture.

Of course if you take it one step further and opt to sing with others, it can also serve to let you meet new people and boost your confidence. But if all of the health benefits are not enough for you, why not simply sing because it makes us happy? There is a reason it has been an age old tradition during times of trouble to carry us through and during happy times as part of celebration.

So take a deep breath and sing!

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Dirt-free gardening….

It would not be spring if I did not write at least once about gardening, but what about those of you who don’t have a green thumb or simply are unable to get out and get dirty? Don’t despair, gardening is still for you.

Whether you lack the interest, aptitude or option to actually garden, it can still be way to get outside and get involved. This time of year, options for gardening related activities abound. Why not attend one of the many local plant sales for example? Even if you have no intention to buy, similar to attending a yard sale, plant sales can simply be a fun morning out and a way to make some new acquaintances. Many of the plant sales are run by the volunteers of your local horticultural society and going to check out some of their meetings can be sociable and informative regardless of whether you choose to put your learnings into action.

Whilst you have missed your opportunity for this year, why not check out Canada Blooms in 2020? Hosted in Toronto early each year, it is Canada’s largest garden and flower show and sure to put you in the mood for spring. Of course if you don’t want to wait until next year, you can always opt for one of Ontario’s Botanical Gardens or experience the splendour of Ottawa’s tulip festival, one of the largest displays of tulips in the world.

So whether you like to get dirty or not, take the time to stop and smell the roses. There is more to gardening than meets the eye.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Finding hidden treasure….

As spring continues to evade us, you may be trying to find reasons to venture outside for some fun and activity. Well the search is over, or just beginning if you try geocaching!

If you have ever driven through Highlands East in Haliburton around the area of Wilberforce, you may have seen the signs advertising the “Geocaching Capital of the World”. Well don’t be fooled into thinking this is merely a tourism ploy. Highlands East is in fact rated as one of the top geocaching destinations in the world. Whilst I have to confess that I do not know what would add you to the list, I do nonetheless find it intriguing.

If you are not yet familiar with geocaching, it is the outdoor recreational activity of searching for and, ideally, finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. Yes, it is a good old fashioned treasure hunt. With smart phones a common accessory, most of us have access to GPS (global positioning systems) at our fingertips and with a little bit of practice, you too can be a treasure hunter. You will definitely not get rich, as you will be leaving the treasure for the next seeker, so the joy is in the find. I guess it’s a little like catch and release finishing.

So why not try an activity that you can do with the whole family or set up a little competition with your friends as a way to get outside and active?

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Changes at Kawartha North FHT

Unfortunately Dr. Mastouri and Dr. Druzin have chosen to leave the Kawartha North Family Health Team to be able to be closer to their family and friends.  While they will be missed, we wish them well and thank them for the service each of them has provided to our communities.

Of course, we know and appreciate that their patients will have many questions and concerns so we will try to address some of them here.


Q:        When will Dr. Mastouri be leaving KNFHT?

A:        The middle of May 2019


Q:        Who will take on her patients?

A:        Dr. Caines will be joining our team the middle of May and will be taking all of her patients.


Q:        When will Dr. Druzin be leaving KNFHT?

A:        The end of May 2019


Q:        Who will take on his patients?

A:        All of his patients will be divided between Dr. Zung and Dr. Jacob in  Fenelon Falls


Q:        What if I wanted to change office locations?

A:       If you have been seen in Bobcaygeon or Fenelon Falls by Dr. Druzin or  Mastouri and would like to change offices because of travel, please let us know and we will try to accommodate you as we move through this transition.

Have a heart….

February is obviously known for hearts related to Valentine’s Day, but it is also heart month for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

I have recently been thinking about heart health as my husband is trying to address his high blood pressure and it certainly brings home the reality of looking after our hearts.  Being in his 40’s and exercising regularly, we felt assured that such things as high blood pressure were on the worry list for our neighbours not us, but lo and behold – not so.

Following a visit for an unrelated health check, a reading of 185 over 80 brought things into instant focus and made me re-evaluate how we eat and in particular how much caffeine and sodium we consume.  We are already active and at a healthy weight, both important contributing factors, and his age and gender are strikes against his blood pressure outside of my influence so that left limited control for me.

First off, I am NOT his doctor, so I told him to go see him instead.  I may work for a health care facility, but at the end of the day, this may require medication and that is outside of my purview.  What I am, however, is the cook in the house.  So I did review what we eat and overall we eat very healthy, but whilst I don’t have a sweet tooth, I like my salt.  So that was the main adjustment.  Of course in your home, make sure you limit fried and fatty foods, get your fruits and vegetables and then like myself, assess your sodium.  I think the most eye opening was the unknown sodium consumption.  I already tried to limit how much salt I used in my cooking, but on looking at things like the stock and sauces I use, it started to add up quickly.

So start by checking your blood pressure to assess your heart health and make sure you are looking after yourself and your loved ones.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT



Where’s the beef?

Where’s the Beef?

Last month, Canada revealed its most recent edition of Canada’s Food Guide.  The first iteration, called “The Official Food Rules”, was introduced in July of 1942 in an attempt to mitigate nutritional deficiencies during wartime food rationing.

Over the years, the “Food Guide” has formed the basis of many Canadians’ nutritional knowledge, basing their healthy eating on the four food groups.  Unfortunately, recent interviews by CBC showed that many Canadians have never heard of it, leaving me to question how valuable was the guide and what impact, if any, will it continue to have.

In my personal life, while I have not always followed it to the letter, it has definitely been the basis of what I consider to be a healthy diet. Certainly, the new pictorial provides a quick glance reference to remind us that our healthy diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables which should ideally constitute 50% of our meal.  Gone are milk and milk products as well as meat and alternative from the 2007 edition, having been replaced by “Protein Foods”.

Additionally what has been added and what dietitians and nutritionists will find heartening, is very basic and common sense eating advice such as drinking water, cooking more frequently and sharing meals with loved ones.

So why not take this opportunity to restart your healthy habits for the new year using Canada’s Food Guide as inspiration?

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Putting your best foot forward….

Putting your best foot forward….

Whilst sandal season may be over, I would still like to take this time to get you to check your feet.

For such an important part of the body, it seems to me that we often pay little attention to our “little piggies”. We squeeze them into shoes that are not the perfect size because they were on sale or match our outfit, we wear high heels (ok, not everyone) to look better or add a couple inches – all in the name of vanity. So as I refreshed my summer polish, it struck me that I care more what others think of my feet than I do simply because they are so vital to my health and wellbeing.

Certainly, anyone with Diabetes is well accustomed to taking extra care to prevent injuries and neuropathy, but we should all take an extra moment to ensure that we are following the basic guidelines to keep our feet healthy.

  • Of course, first and foremost, wear well fitted shoes with low or no heels;
  • Cut or file nails straight across and never shorter than the end of your toe to prevent issues such as ingrown toenails;
  • Do not treat Plantar warts at home – this is not a DIY project and can lead to painful scarring.;
  • Consult a professional early to treat corns and calluses; and
  • Exercise your feet. While there are very helpful foot exercises, a good old fashioned walk is still one of the best exercises for your feet.

So take care of your feet and they will take care of you.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT