Surface Creek Veterinary Center - February 2021

Our Newest Registered Veterinary Technician Meet Amy Cortez! The Best Companion

The Benefits of Spending Time in the Mountains In the famous Swiss novel "Heidi,” a little girl recovers from her fragile health — both physically and mentally — by spending time in the mountains. There are plenty of anecdotal stories about the medicinal effects of mountain air, but how much is supported by research? Here's what there is evidence for so far: Cleaner, Pollution-Free Air One basic but important benefit of getting to a higher altitude is the escape from city pollution. It may surprise some city dwellers that air pollution is linked to asthma attacks for those with sensitive lungs and also to more serious conditions. Research suggests that prolonged exposure to air pollution may lead to chronic illnesses such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and other lung diseases. Up in the mountains, you’ll likely be able to breathe a little easier. Reduced Risk of Obesity and Heart Disease People who spend more time at high altitudes may also experience a decreased appetite and lower risk of obesity. One study from 2017 even found that living at a higher elevation is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol. Even more interesting, mountain air may passively improve your weight loss journey as well. Natural Weight Loss One German study followed 20 obese men who lived in an environmental research station below the highest peak in the country. The subjects reached the peak effortlessly by railway or cable car, and they were allowed to eat as much as they liked. By the end of the week, however, each had lost an average of 1.5 kilograms or 3.3 pounds. Two factors are thought to have contributed to the weight loss: A naturally decreased appetite from the altitude (the men ate nearly 700 fewer calories than usual) and an increased metabolic rate. While there is still more to learn about the potential benefits of spending time in the mountains, these three studies give the greenlight for more high-altitude adventures.

The last few months have brought a lot of change for Amy Cortez, our newest veterinary technician. At the beginning of

December, she moved from her home state of

Indiana to Colorado and started a new job here at Surface Creek Veterinary Center.

Amy’s love of animals, coupled with her desire to learn a new skill set, drew her to a career as a veterinary

technician. Though she has a degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and worked for a time in that field, a change was in order. That’s when she got the idea to become a veterinary technician from some friends in Indiana who were techs. She graduated from her tech school in Indiana in 2010 and never looked back, just as she and her partner, Matt, haven’t looked back since relocating to Colorado in December, only days before Amy started her job. “He’s more into the country life, and we always felt like Colorado was the right place for us,” Amy says. They found a house they loved here, and so far, they’re adjusting just fine to the winter and loving that, despite cold temperatures, the sun is often shining.

“One thing that drew us to Colorado is the sun,” she says.

Living here allows Amy and her partner to enjoy outdoor activities — kayaking and hiking being two warm-weather favorites. They also love visiting breweries and art shows and going to the theater, which is no surprise since both Amy and Matt have art backgrounds, and Matt is a large-scale oil painter. Though it’s only been a few months since she started here, Amy says her favorite aspect of her work is simply getting to do a job she loves every day. She likes working with companion cats and dogs and having the opportunity to help them. Because of this, it’ll come as no surprise that there are three pets in her household. Her yellow Lab, Hudson, turned three last month, and he’s part of a pack that includes two cats: a polydactyl tuxedo cat named Pilgrim and a long-haired cat named Luna.

Next time you come into the clinic, be sure to say hello to Amy and welcome her to town!



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