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Former Combat Doctor Joins Dedicated Medical Team: As Seen in The Shopper

Dr. Kristen Reineke-Piper

More than merely a career choice, Dr. Reineke-Piper felt called to become a doctor.

For as long as she can remember, Dr. Kristen A. Reineke-Piper wanted to be a doctor. “There’s no good reason for it,” she admits with a smile. “We had no doctors in my family. No one had any ties to working in medicine. But from the time I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to take care of people. Being a doctor felt like more than just a career choice. For me, being a doctor felt like a calling.”That sense of calling led the New Jersey native to pursue a medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. But her interests were so expansive that it took her some time to decide upon a specialty.

“I love all aspects of medicine, so it was hard for me to pick just one over all the others,” Dr. Reineke-Piper confesses. “For a while I considered becoming a surgeon. Then I considered becoming an OBGYN. I finally decided upon family medicine because it allows you to do a little bit of everything.”

After graduating from Rutgers, Dr. Reineke-Piper served as an air-force physician for eight years. Her military service—which included tours of duty as a combat doctor in Afghanistan—also felt like a calling.

“While serving in Bagram, we treated our troops as well as Afghan troops and special forces,” Dr. Reineke-Piper recalls. “Every now and then, we’d treat those Afghan civilians who had clearance. We also treated U.S. civilians who were there as private contractors. Private contracting jobs in Afghanistan usually pay very well, and what surprised me was the number of Americans who, in order to get those jobs, weren’t forthcoming about their health issues and medical histories. The result was that occasionally, a U.S. civilian private contractor would have an episode—such as a massive heart attack—which was pretty serious since it was a three-hour flight to the nearest cath lab.”

Dr. Reineke-Piper’s military service was followed by stints as a Family Medicine Faculty Physician at Saint Louis University and in the Scott AFB Family Medicine Residency Program in Illinois. She also taught civilian and military medical students and residents while working in a full-scope medical practice. Deciding that she wanted to be closer to family in New Jersey, Dr. Reineke-Piper began to search for opportunities in the Mid-Atlantic states. That search led her to Family Medicine Healthcare in Portsmouth.

I enjoy meeting patients and being able
to invest the time necessary to truly get to know them.
This is the why I love family medicine: there’s so much diversity
and meaningful personal interaction.
—Dr. Kristen A. Reineke-Piper


FMHC Providers(From left to right) Physician Assistant Jessie Creakbaum, Dr. Kristin Ramsey and Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed with Dr. Kristen A. Reineke-Piper


Founded by Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed, Family Medicine Healthcare has been providing comprehensive health care to the residents of Portsmouth, the Western Branch area of Chesapeake and northern Suffolk since 2004. The team at Family Medicine Healthcare stands out in the field of family medicine with their continuing care of patients who are hospitalized or placed in nursing homes. “We don’t mind the extra work to take care of our patients,” Dr. Abdelshaheed says.

The staff of Family Medicine Healthcare performs all necessary lab work and tests before directing patients to specialists. “We exhaust everything before we send patients somewhere else,” Graisse Abdelshaheed, the manager of Family Medicine Healthcare, explains.

All doctors and nurses on staff are dedicated to going the extra mile needed to cultivate the type of personal relationships that so many patients consider vitally important. The effort has paid off: for three consecutive years—2015, 2016, and 2017—Family Medicine Healthcare has been awarded the Virginian Pilot’s gold medal for Best Doctor/ Healthcare Provider in Portsmouth in the category of family healthcare.

“When I first met with Dr. Abdelshaheed and Graisse, their philosophy and approach to caring for others seemed like a perfect fit for mine,” Dr. Reineke-Piper recalls. The feeling was mutual. In August, she joined the practice.

“Dr. Reineke-Piper will be an asset,” Dr. Abdelshaheed says. “She has a strong medical background, and I am confident that she will take care of our patients very well.”

Dr. Reineke-Piper will also contribute her expertise to expanding the range of in-house procedures offered at Family Medicine Healthcare. Experienced in performing advanced medical procedures that often require the intervention of a specialist, she plans to offer vasectomies—usually performed by urologists—as well as knee and shoulder injections—usually the specialty of orthopedic surgeons. Dr. Reineke-Piper is also certified to administer Botox injections for migraines. “I have seen that the Botox injections really work and it’s immensely satisfying,” she says. “I hope to be able to do them here.” In addition, she will  perform biopsies, routine scan procedures, and procedural contraceptives.

Visiting Family Medicine Healthcare patients who have been hospitalized or placed in nursing homes enables Dr. Reineke-Piper to not only keep up with their condition, but to also offer them a sense of support and continuity.

The support that Family Medicine Healthcare offers its patients mirrors the nurturing environment in which the medical staff works.

“Everyone has been very helpful as I’ve gotten used to how the practice functions,” Dr. Reineke-Piper notes with a smile. “I love that at Family Medicine Healthcare I can take care of patients from across the spectrum—from pediatrics to geriatrics. I wanted to be able to do everything that I was doing before, including women’s healthcare. That is what drew me to this practice. I enjoy meeting patients and being able to invest the time necessary to truly get to know them. This is the reason I love family medicine: there’s so much diversity and meaningful personal interaction.”

“I love what I am doing with my life,” Dr. Reineke-Piper continues with a warm smile. “For a patient to entrust me with not only their care, but also the care of their loved ones, is something I take very seriously.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Reineke-Piper, call our office today at 757-488-3333.

~by  Anna Mirkova

The Shopper Magazine. Click here to see full article.


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Summers’ Story – How a Doctor’s Compassion Erases Fear

About four years ago, I knew it was time to for me to schedule a physical. I hadn’t been to the doctor in a while, and, to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward my appointment. That is before I meet Dr. Abdelshaheed and his compassionate staff at Family Medicine Healthcare.

Western Branch Family Doctor, Dr. Abdelshaheed, Family Medicine Healthcare

Dr. Abdelshaheed’s caring personality and genuine concern for my health situation have kept me coming back regularly these past four years. I hadn’t been to a doctor in a while, so I had a handful of medical problems and questions I needed addressed. Dr. Abdelsaheed was extremely thorough in my exams and in making certain he was referring me to the best specialists in our local area.

I have bone degeneration in my neck and arthritis in my limbs. Dr. Abdelshaheed has referred me to excellent orthopedic specialists, a spine center, and pain management doctors. Being a mother of a young child, he valued my desire to be active. He made sure I had the help I needed to be up and moving. One day when I was in terrible pain, Dr. A gave me in-office epidural injections in my shoulder. This was when I noticed the unmatched level of compassion in him as a doctor. He was thrilled when the injections started helping my pain.

Like so many other people in Hampton Roads, I suffer from terrible seasonal allergies. If left unmanaged, they make me very sick. Dr. Abdelshaheed continually manages my allergies with great success. He also referred me to an allergy clinic. Dr. A always refers me to the right doctors at just the right time. He has never hesitated to get me the help I need when I need it.

Even through my multiple referrals, Family Medicine Healthcare has regularly kept updated medical records so that they provide the best, comprehensive care in combination with the specialists. This continuity of care is critical to me.

My husband, Neil, is also a patient at Family Medicine Healthcare. Whenever either of us have an appointment with Dr. A, we comment about how excellent of a doctor he is and how we always leave with a smile. Maybe that is because Dr. A’s smile and his sincere love for his patients is contagious!  In all of my many appointments with Dr. Abdelshaheed, he has taken his time listening to my health concerns without fail. I don’t know of any other doctor that actually hears what their patients have to say! It is the most comforting feeling to trust your primary care doctor.

Thanks, Dr. A and the nursing and administrative staff at Family Medicine Healthcare for always going above and beyond! I know my health is in good hands.

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Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in one or more joints.  Uric acid forms when the body breaks down purines, which are normally dissolved by the body and pass through the kidneys into the urine.  With people who have gout the uric acid builds up and then forms sharp crystals in the joint spaces, which causes pain and swelling.

What Causes Gout?Image Source:


Eating foods that are rich in purines may increase the risk of getting gout.  These are foods such as salmon, organ meats, sardines, asparagus, mushrooms, and herring.

People are more likely to develop gout if they:

  • are overweight
  • drink excessive amounts of alcohol
  • have high high cholesterol
  • have diabetes
  • have high blood pressure

Men develop gout more often than women.  However, women are more likely to develop gout after menopause.  Gout also tends to be hereditary.

Some medications also may cause gout.  These include:

  • Certain diuretics (water pills)
  • Niacin (B complex vitamins)
  • Low dose aspirin
  • Some drugs used to treat cancer

The symptoms of gout may be sudden and usually start at night , often in the big toe joint.  It can also occur in the joints of the feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists.  The affected area becomes red, feels hot and aches.  The joint also hurts more when touched.

During a gout attack, resting in bed and placing an ice pack on the joint may help to ease the pain.  Medicines that reduce inflammation, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may help the symptoms.  While having a gout attack reduce the amount of animal protein you eat and avoid alcohol completely.  The sooner you receive treatment, the sooner the pain will go away.  With treatment, the gout attack should go away within a few days.

Without treatment, a gout attack can last days or weeks.  This could cause more joints to get affected.  If you have gout for many years, you can develop tophi.  This is uric acid crystals that form lumps under the skin, which could lead to kidney stones or kidney disease.  Your doctor can also prescribe medicines to prevent future gout attacks.  These medications help flush the uric acid from your joints and reduce swelling.

If you are experiencing any of these painful symptoms, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment, 757-488-3333.

~Keeping you well, Dr. Abdelshaheed

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What is A-Fib?

Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heart beat that is usually very fast.  A person’s risk for atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) tends to increase as he or she gets older. In fact, over 13% of all Americans over the age of 70 have been diagnosed with A-Fib. Since life expectancies for Americans are on the rise, so too is the number of people with A-Fib. Hospitalizations due to atrial fibrillation in the US have also increased greatly in recent years. They are now 2 to 3 times what they were 20 years ago.

The heart has 4 compartments called chambers.  The top 2 compartments are called atria.  The bottom 2 chambers are called the ventricles.  During atrial fibrillation, the atria stop beating regularly.  Instead they tremble in a disorganized way.  This can cause an irregular and very fast heart beat.

A-Fib is most common in people older than 60 years of age; however, it can appear at any age.  Sometimes atrial fibrillation has no cause, yet the risks increase with the following conditions:

  • Heart disease due to high cholesterol
  • Larger heart size caused by high blood pressure
  • Damage to the heart valve
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Heavy alcohol intake
  • Use of certain medications

The most common symptom of atrial fibrillation is feeling your heart beat rapidly, for no reason.  This is known as heart palpitations.  Other symptoms include irregular pulse,  feeling tired, shortness of breath and chest pain.  Other times atrial fibrillation may have no symptoms.  Atrial fibrillation can also cause blood clots to form in the heart.  This blood clot can travel to the brain and lead to stroke.

The treatment for atrial fibrillation depends on the severity of symptoms and the patient’s past medical history.  That is, it depends on how the person is feeling and if they have a history of stroke or high blood pressure.  Your doctor will make this evaluation and establish a unique treatment plan that is appropriate for you.

Treating the cause of atrial fibrillation will often return the heart to a normal state.  Those who are taking blood thinning medicine will probably need regular blood tests, as well.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms of A-Fib, make an appointment to discuss this with me today – 757-488-3333.

~Keeping you well! Dr. Abdelshaheed

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We know this is an “uncomfortable subject”, but a very common problem many of our patients deal with.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum or anus. There are three types of hemorrhoids; internal, prolapsed, and external. Internal hemorrhoids involve the veins inside your rectum. Internal hemorrhoids usually don’t hurt but they may bleed painlessly. Prolapsed hemorrhoids stretch down until they bulge outside the anus. A prolapsed hemorrhoid may go back inside the rectum on its own, or can gently be pushed it back inside. Finally, external hemorrhoids involve the veins outside the anus. They can be itchy or painful and can sometimes crack and bleed.

Relieving the pain

  • Take warm baths.
  • Clean your anus after each bowel movement by patting gently with moist toilet paper or moistened pads such as baby wipes.
  • Use ice packs to relieve swelling.
  • Use acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol), ibuprofen (one brand name: Motrin) or aspirin to help relieve pain.
  • Apply a cream that contains witch hazel to the area or use a numbing ointment. Creams that contain hydrocortisone can be used for itching or pain.

Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the veins of the anus or rectum. One of the main causes is straining when having a bowel movement. This may happen if  constipated or have diarrhea. It may also happen when on the toilet too long. Hemorrhoids can also be caused by obesity, heavy lifting, child birth,  or any other activity that caused you to strain.  Just about everyone has hemorrhoids at some time, but some things may make someone more likely to get them. People whose parents had hemorrhoids may be more likely to get them. Pregnant women often get hemorrhoids because of the strain from carrying the baby and from giving birth. Being very overweight, or standing or lifting too much can make hemorrhoids worse.

Preventing constipation

  • Include more fiber in your diet. Fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals are good sources of fiber.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (except alcohol). Eight glasses of water a day is ideal.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid laxatives, except bulk-forming laxatives such as Fiberall, Metamucil, etc. Other types of laxatives can lead to diarrhea, which can worsen hemorrhoids.
  • When you feel the need to have a bowel movement, don’t wait too long to use the bathroom.


See your doctor if you notice bleeding to make sure the cause is hemorrhoids and not some other problem. Bleeding from your rectum or anus or bloody stools may be a sign of something more serious, such as cancer.

Don’t use hemorrhoid medicine without talking to your family doctor first. Painful hemorrhoids usually stop hurting on their own in 1 to 2 weeks. If yours keep causing problems, talk with your doctor.  Rubber band ligation can be used to treat internal hemorrhoids. It involves placing a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid. This stops the flow of blood to the area and the hemorrhoid withers away. Internal hemorrhoids can also be destroyed by injecting them with a chemical. A hemorrhoidectomy (surgical removal of the hemorrhoid) may be needed if internal hemorrhoids are prolapsed or very large.


If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, call the office at 757-488-3333 and make an appointment today. Treatment is available!

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed, MD

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