Welcome Dr. Hernandez!

Live Well Family Medicine is excited to announce that Martin Jay Hernandez, MD has joined the practice and is accepting new patients. Dr. Hernandez is board certified in Family Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine and is passionate about helping all of his patients improve their overall health and wellness and prevent disease.

Dr. Hernandez brings extensive experience from his 11 years in private practice and 2 years as an Ambulatory Faculty Physician for the St. Joseph Family Medicine Program. He was voted Top Doctor in Family Medicine by Phoenix Magazine in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2014.

Welcome Dr. Hernandez!

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Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep is an important building block for optimal health. Many Americans report problems with sleep. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early and can arise from multiple different causes including medical and mental health conditions, breathing problems at night (e.g. sleep apnea), and unhealthy sleep habits. Unhealthy sleep habits can lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability and mood problems, weight gain, forgetfulness, memory problems and increased accidents. When sleep problems are caused by unhealthy sleep habits, sleep can be significantly improved by adopting new, healthy sleep habits. These habits are known as sleep hygiene and can have a major impact your sleep. 

Basics of sleep hygiene include:

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule: go to bed and get up the same time every day including on weekends. Make sure to go to bed early enough to allow for at least 7 hours of sleep time. 
  • Establish a calming routine each night before bed
  • Avoid screen time 60 minutes before bedtime
  • Get enough physical activity during the day
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch or avoid altogether if you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • If do don't fall asleep after about 20 minutes, get out of bed and don't return to bed until you feel ready to fall asleep
  • Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and relaxing. Keep the temperature comfortable and on the cool side

Read more about sleep hygiene on the web here and check out our handout for better sleep on our patient education page.

Also check out our blog post on mobile apps for health including CBT-i Coach, the free app created by the VA to help you learn about sleep and healthy sleep habits.

Our doctors at Live Well Family Medicine can help you determine the cause of sleep problems and work towards achieving health promoting sleep.

Is It Possible to Increase Willpower and Change Habits?

Changing our behavior and habits is not easy. But whether it's exercising more, eating healthier, or taking concrete steps towards other health goals, improving our ability to change can be a major factor in promoting health and preventing illness. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It is a fascinating and instructive book by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. that helps us understand the biology, mental traps, and social factors that influence our self-control. A health psychologist and Stanford instructor, Dr. McGonigal teaches that self-control is like a muscle that can be exercised and that self-criticism, guilt, and stress can lead to giving in and loss of self-control.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. He describes that the basic structure of all habits involves a cue, a routine, and a reward. When we first start a new behavior, significant effort and concentration is often needed and this effort can be difficult to sustain if we do not harness the power of habit. By understanding how habits work and how new habits can be created, we can shift new healthy behaviors to auto-pilot so that they become automatic and do not require high levels of continual effort.


Our physicians at Live Well Family Medicine look forward to working with you to achieve your health goals in 2018!

Mobile Apps for Health!

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) have created many free mobile apps to help with a variety of medical and mental health conditions. Take a look at all of the VA mobile apps here.

Dr. Donesa-Zuzak and Dr. Perales often use the following mobile apps in conjunction with their treatment plans:

CBT-i Coach helps you get the most out of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) so that you can develop good sleep habits and sleep better.

Mindfulness Coach provides you with tools and guided exercises to help you practice mindfulness, which means paying purposeful attention to the present moment without passing judgment on it or your feelings. Mindfulness has been shown to be effective for reducing stress, improving emotional balance, increasing self-awareness, helping with anxiety and depression, and coping more effectively with chronic pain.

Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool. Breathe2Relax App is a hands-on diaphragmatic breathing exercise.

Stay Quit Coach can help with quitting smoking. It provides support and information for adults who are already in treatment to quit smoking and can help them stay quit even after treatment ends.




When Should I Use Antibiotics?

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week is November 13-19, 2017 and is intended to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic prescribing and use.

Since the 1940s, antibiotics have transformed our ability to treat infections effectively. Unfortunately inappropriate antibiotic use has led to increasing antibiotic resistance.  Now these lifesaving drugs do not work as well as they once did, and successfully treating common infections has become more difficult.

Every year in the United States, more than 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die and have serious health consequences from antibiotic-resistant infections and antibiotic side-effects.

How do antibiotics create resistant bacteria?

  • Every time a person takes an antibiotic, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply. These resistant bacteria can then cause hard to treat infections and spread to other people.

As we enter the winter when respiratory infections are more common, it is important to know what types of infections need antibiotics and what type of infections do not. Taking antibiotics for some types of infections can put you at risk without providing any benefit.

Check out the chart below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn about which infections need antibiotics and which do not. Dr. Perales and Dr. Donesa-Zuzak aim to:

  • Use antibiotics only when they are needed so they will work for you when you need them and will not cause harm when you don't need them.
  • Help you with symptom relief from infections so you feel better as soon as possible.

Take the CDC's Antibiotics Quiz to test your knowledge about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.

Learn more about what you and your family can do to use antibiotics safely and appropriately:

What is the Best Way to Treat Chronic Pain?

Chronic Pain can cause a lot of suffering for patients, their families, and their communities. The medical profession has not done a very good job of helping people with chronic pain understand pain and how to treat it over the past 20 years. In fact, many medical treatments, do not help patients recover from chronic pain. Our Australian colleagues have created an excellent video to help us understand and manage chronic pain - all in less than 5 minutes. As discussed in this excellent video, our doctors help patients actively manage their own pain by building greater physical and mental health.


Some other excellent resources to learn about chronic pain and pain treatments:



Your Family Doctors Share 7 Important Words for a Healthy Diet

Dr. Perales and Dr. Donesa-Zuzak believe that a healthy diet is essential to maintain optimal health and prevent illness.  Renowned food author Michael Pollan has perhaps the simplest and best advice about how to follow a healthy diet in the first seven words of his book In Defense of Food

Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

The first two words are probably the most important and speak to eating real food rather than processed food.  In an address to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pollan also described 7 helpful rules for eating:

  1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
  2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
  3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
  4. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
  5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
  6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
  7. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

Dr. Perales and Dr. Donesa-Zuzak look forward to talking with you about your health goals and how a healthy diet can help you attain them.

Welcome Dr. Donesa-Zuzak!

Live Well Family Medicine is excited to announce that Kathryn Donesa-Zuzak, MD is joining the practice.  Dr. Donesa-Zuzak is a board certified Family Doctor and brings 17 years of compassionate and evidence-based clinical experience to Live Well Family Medicine.  She uses a whole person approach with all of her patients and has additional expertise in lifestyle medicine and clinical nutrition as tools to help her patients promote greater health and prevent disease.

Welcome Dr. Donesa-Zuzak!

Kathryn Donesa-Zuzak, MD