avoid-getting-a-cold

Six Ways to Avoid Getting a Cold

There’s no getting around it: It’s that time of year. Even here in South Florida, colds peak through the winter months. And of course you’ve heard the old saying: “They can put a man on the moon, but they can’t cure the common cold.” It’s true. We can’t. So the second-best alternative is to avoid them altogether.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that adults average two or three colds per year, with even more in children. It also notes that most people contract their colds during winter and spring, but that colds are a year-round curse. They’re the main reason people miss school and work, according to the CDC.

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winter-depression

It’s Not You, It’s Nature

Feeling kind of blah lately? Not as much energy as you had all summer? Not so willing to drag yourself to parties, or even out of bed? What about swimming? Tennis? Volleyball? Can’t think of even one good reason to chase a little white ball around with a stick when they couldn’t keep you off the course all spring and summer?

Maybe you’re depressed. Or maybe you’re just normal. We here at MD 2.0 Jupiter often begin to notice a subtle change in many of our clients around this time of year, even here in Florida, where we don’t have to face the extreme plunges in temperature. Nothing serious, just a little less enthusiasm, a bit less cheerfulness, a little less energy. Carb cravings and changes in sleep patterns are also a part of the syndrome. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but if you’re feeling something less than your usual perky self, rest assured there’s a scientific reason for it.

It has several names: “winter depression,” “seasonality,” “seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” but the fact is, researchers have determined that the shorter days in winter are the chief cause of winter blues. This likely has an ancient-survival connection, as humans learned to restrict activity when food sources were scarce. Of course, that’s not a problem today, but the tendency may still be hardwired into our biology, and people may experience symptoms on a sliding scale from barely noticeable to full-blown clinical depression.

Your body’s circadian clock, which triggers sleep and wake cycles among other bodily regulatory mechanisms, also decrees the output of serotonin, the so-called “mood” hormone. Studies have revealed that the circadian-related output of serotonin drops markedly with the decrease in light during the winter. This has led to fairly successful attempts to boost the winter mood of sufferers with light-box therapy, which employs specially built full-spectrum lamps to alleviate symptoms.

If you feel the “winter blues” are impacting your life, your concierge practitioners at MD 2.0 Jupiter can help you employ the correct light therapy, prescribe such antidepressants as Paxil and Prozac, or recommend cognitive behavioral therapy. Meanwhile, there are steps you can take to mitigate milder cases.

1. Stay active, preferably outdoors

Exposure to early morning light has been shown to be the most effective at reducing symptoms, as has vigorous exercise. An early morning walk or run might be all you need to boost your spirits.

2. Light up your life

If you can’t get outside, at least let the sunshine in as much as possible. Open blinds and drapes first thing in the morning, and keep them open all day.

3. Eat right

Yes, we’re still singing that same ole song, because it’s important. Simple carbs and sugars wreak havoc with your blood sugar, and hence, your mood. Lean meats, fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates are what your body needs to keep your brain in top shape.

Meanwhile, be sure to let us know if your low mood begins to interfere with your daily functioning. We can help.

senior-moments-or-alzheimers

‘Senior Moments’ or Alzheimer’s?

Everyone forgets things from time to time, but with publicity these days so focused on Alzheimer’s, even middle-aged people can worry that forgetting their car keys or their mother’s phone number can signal the onset of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is a subset.

Yet there are many other reasons—usually benign—why people have trouble remembering things. Let’s look at a few.

A top contender is side effects from medications. Sometimes the drugs themselves can include memory impairment as a side effect (statins for cholesterol control and some diabetes drugs, for example); other times it’s the combination of drugs that when taken alone are fine but when taken in combination produce unexpected side effects. The concierge physicians here at MD 2.0 Jupiter are prepared to discuss these concerns with any drug you are taking.

Another possible reason for memory impairment is sleep apnea. Along with many other negative effects, obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with spatial navigational memory, the kind that helps you find objects or addresses. ADHD and minor or “silent” strokes can also cause you to have difficulty remembering things. So can anxiety, depression, an underactive thyroid, and poor nutrition, especially low vitamin B12. As we age, it becomes harder to assimilate B12 from foods, which can lead to fuzzy thinking, confusion, even dementia. Please discuss all these possibilities with us.

Often, though, poor memory is simply attributable to the stress of ordinary, day-to-day life. It even happens to younger people. Look at the parents who leave their children in hot cars. Over 30 infants and children have died that way just this year. How could anybody forget their own child, we wonder. And yet, despite all the warnings, all the tricks to help parents prevent this tragedy, it happens over and over.

The answer is simple: information overload. Think of your brain as a large room. If that room has only five items in it, when asked to locate your keys in there, it’s a simple task. But if that room has 5,000 items, or 50,000 or 500,000, you’ll eventually find them, but it’ll take quite a bit longer. This is what happens to our brains as we age. When we’re children, we may have five items in our brains. But as we grow older, we’re now storing everything from our high school locker combinations to our Aunt Sally’s banana cake recipe, not to mention everything we learned in school, have read in books and newspapers, and seen on TV. And these days we’re probably also on the Internet, with its constant bombardment of information. We need to remember how to do math, the date of our niece’s baby shower, and user names and 10-digit passwords for all kinds of things. Is it any wonder our brains take a little longer to find and retrieve a single piece of information, even if we think it should be a simple thing?

The rule of thumb is, if you can’t find your keys, it’s probably nothing. If you forget what your keys are for, that’s a red flag. Either way, if you’re worried, please call us.

conceirge-doctor-flu-shot-jupiter-fl

The Ouch Is Back—Why the Flu Shot Is Now Your Only Option

When the FluMist spray was introduced in 2003, the medical community rejoiced, hoping the nasal spray which became available in place of the annual flu shot would induce more people to get protected. Parents were happy, too, in being able to dodge the tears from their little ones.

Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control has decided that FluMist cannot be used for this upcoming flu season because it is ineffective. First licensed by the FDA in 2003, FluMist contained a weakened, live flu virus. The injection uses an inactivated virus. Early clinical trials seemed to show that the spray worked as well as or better than the shot, which led an estimated 20 million people to opt for FluMist last year.

In June of this year, however, the CDC released a study which showed that the nasal spray was effective only three percent of the time in children from two to 17 years of age during the 2015-2016 flu season. By contrast, the flu shot last winter was effective 49 percent of the time in adults and 63 percent in children. FluMist’s effectiveness rate seemed to plummet in 2013 when makers of the spray switched from including three strains of live virus (a trivalent) to four (a quadrivalent), although no one seems to be able to say how that impacted efficacy. The bottom line is, it’s not an option for the 2016-2017 flu season.

Keep in mind that the influenza virus kills thousands of people each year, so the flu shot is strongly recommended. Thus, the concierge physicians here at MD 2.0 Jupiter want to offer a few tips on how to make it a little less ouch-inducing for our clients.

1. Distraction seems to work best, not only for children but for adults, as well. Don’t look at the needle. Check out your smart phone, daydream about your next vacation, replay Sunday’s game in your head. Have your kids blow bubbles, play with a toy, eat a cookie (and don’t make a big thing out of getting a shot—treat it casually in front of them).

2. For fearful or pain-sensitive adults and children, let us know. We can administer a local anesthetic cream to the skin prior to the injection.

3. Hold your breath before and during the injection. This increases blood pressure which helps to decrease pain sensitivity.

4. Relax your muscles as much as possible before receiving the shot. Tensing up causes more pain both during and after the injection.

5. Apply either ice or a warm compress (try both to see which works best for you) to the site after the injection, and be sure to use your arm as much as possible in the ensuing hours to increase circulation.

6. If soreness persists after three days, call us! That’s why we’re here!

are-supplements-dangerous-concierge-doctor-jupiter

Is There Danger In Your Supplements?

When those of us who practice concierge medicine visit with our patients, we often find they’re self-dosing with numerous over-the-counter supplements, everything from multivitamins to herbal supplements to mysterious concoctions meant to prevent various illnesses, aid in weight loss and body building, even enhance sexual performance.

With over 30,000 supplements on the market today, most of them unregulated, we are concerned that our patients may be unaware of hidden side effects and even dangers with many of the pills or concoctions they innocently consume. Between 2007 and 2012, the FDA received reports of more than 6,300 reports of serious adverse events linked to dietary supplements, including 115 deaths and over 2,100 hospitalizations.

And yet, many continue to take these vitamins and supplements in the belief that—because they’re “natural” or that they’re sold over the counter—they can’t do you any harm. A 1994 law (the Dietary Health and Education Supplement Act) actually prevents the FDA from regulating dietary supplements, or removing them from sale unless it can prove a supplement is unsafe.

Thus, many supplements sold over the counter are unregulated; analysis of some supplements have found little or none of the advertised content actually existed in the product. But even when the ingredients in supplements contain exactly what they’re supposed to, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe. They can interact with other supplements and prescription medications you’re taking, interfering with effectiveness. And they can cause other problems.

Most people have heard of the dangers associated with some of the diet supplements targeted for weight loss and body building. However, sometimes even the most innocuous-seeming supplements may do more harm than good. For example, you may not be aware that vitamins A and E are not water soluble, and will not be excreted in the urine. Instead, they can build up in the body’s tissues and lead to an inadvertent overdose. Another example: Vitamin E and beta carotene supplements can actually increase the chances of developing lung cancer in smokers.

Herbal supplements raise similar concerns. St. John’s Wort, for instance, is sold over the counter for mild depression. Some potential side effects include dizziness, sun sensitivity, insomnia, anxiety and headaches. It can also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills and certain heart medications. Fish oil can cause nausea and diarrhea, and increase the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the risk of bleeding. Some people have suffered such severe liver damage with green tea extract that they required a liver transplant.

The fact is, any foreign substance introduced into the body can cause a negative reaction. Just ask anyone with a peanut allergy. Remember: “Natural” doesn’t necessarily mean safe. Tobacco is “natural.” So is poison ivy, ragweed, and deadly nightshade.

Before you take any supplement, check out the source for quality, and always mention it to your doctor. We here at MD 2.0 Jupiter are thoroughly conversant with dietary supplements and their pros and cons, and stand ready to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Diabetes – Complications and Proper Management

Diabetes Mellitus or DM is a serious, non-communicable disease that affects a body’s capability to produce insulin, use insulin, or both, to stabilize blood glucose level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statistics report, about 29.1 million Americans are suffering from it, where 21 million are diagnosed cases while 8.1 million remain undiagnosed. It is also the 7th cause of death in the US in 2010. A common misconception about the condition states that only people who are 40 years old and up suffer from it. Truth be told, the prevalence of diabetes to people who are less than 30 years old is gradually increasing. In fact, about 1.7 million cases were divulged in 2012.

Diabetes Complications

Diabetes should be managed properly at all times. Unfortunately, if you continue to have an unhealthy diet or if you fail to control your blood-sugar through medications, complications may arise. Here are some medical conditions that you have to face, caused by the uncontrolled glucose:

  1. Neuropathy – Half of the recorded cases suffer from nerve damage. The condition’s symptoms include tingling and numbing sensation, or stabbing pains, particularly in the hands and feet. This transpires
  2. Eye Complications – Diabetic patients are susceptible to Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Retinopathy, to name a few.
  3. Cardiovascular Problems – Including coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetic cardiomyopathy.
  4. Kidney – Lack of adequate amount of insulin in your body damages the tiny blood vessel clusters, called glomeruli, inside your kidneys. The damaged filtering system can cause chronic kidney failure which will require kidney transplant or dialysis.
  5. Foot Infection – Caused by neuropathy, cuts, and blisters on the lower extremities will poorly heal. When the infection reaches the bone, amputation may be required.

Proper Diabetes Management

Once you have learned that you have an abnormally concentrated blood glucose, you have to make sure that you will manage your condition immediately to avoid complications. Visit MD 2.0’s concierge doctors and medical practitioners. We can provide you personalized and comprehensive health care to help you treat this properly. Appropriate medication will be given, depending on your condition. You will either be required to receive oral medicines or insulin shots to stabilize your blood glucose.

You must not rely on these medications. It is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, too. First, you have to alter your diet. Eat well by choosing carbs that are packed with fiber as these will not spike your blood sugar. Learn how to balance your diet by portioning your food. It can be hard at first but you will eventually get the hang of it. There are a lot of meal guides available on the internet. Choose the right recipes that will not aggravate your condition and always consult your doctors.

Physical activities must also be done 30 to 60 minutes a day to improve the production and efficiency of the insulin in your body. This will also help enhance weight loss, improve blood circulation, and decreases chances of hypertension. If you want to increase your activities, you need to visit MD 2.0 once again to evaluate the presence of macro- and microvascular complication that could possibly be worsened due to exercise programs.

Proper diabetes management should be executed to keep you healthy at all times. It may be hard at first, but knowing the basics will help you ensure that you can lessen the complications your condition brings. Ask support from your family. Educating them about your condition will also help you live a healthy lifestyle.

 

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Why Vitamin D is Essential

For those of us living locally in South Florida, we’re pretty familiar with vitamin D! But did you know that even though we live in the sunshine state,  a lot of us are low in vitamin D? It’s not uncommon! Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, of which bodies should have sufficient amounts. It is a bit of a challenge to get enough vitamin D in a normal, everyday diet, so oftentimes people choose to supplement their intake with medical supplements that can be purchased over the counter. Vitamin D is found at a cellular level in the body. Vitamin D is found in some foods, as well as natural sunlight, and is needed for health and the maintenance of strong bones. It helps bones by increasing calcium absorption in the body, which is one of the main building blocks of bones. People who are deficient in vitamin D may have thin and brittle bones, which leads to osteomalacia. Vitamin D is used for many functions of the body, including muscle movement, nervous system communication, and immunity against disease. Vitamin D, with its strong ties to calcium, helps protect aging people from osteoporosis.

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The Dirty Dozen

One thing that most of us have in common is the desire to live a long & healthy life. Part of reaching that goal includes getting adequate amounts of rest, exercise, fresh air and eating a healthy diet. Our diet is a large part of who we are and really contributes to our current state of health. So what should a healthy diet include? Food from the seven food groups of course, but especially fruits and veggies.

Have you heard the term “Dirty Dozen” buzzing around lately online and in the news? Many people will argue the point that organic produce is costly and when compared to non organic produce, it is all the same. But this is far from the truth. There is actually a list of fruits and veggies known as the Dirty Dozen that we must all look out for. Why? When it comes to non organic produce, there are many pesticides used in the farming process, to kill insects and protect the produce. Although these pesticides are successful at doing that, these from the dirty dozen are the fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated. Some of the pesticide residue still remains even after washing and peeling in some cases.

The fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list include: Peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, celery, strawberries, cherries, spinach, imported grapes, lettuce, potatoes and pears.

What does this mean in terms of health? While eating fruits and veggies do help us remain healthy, eating those from the dirty dozen may actually contribute to a few medical problems. Pesticide residue is ingested when we eat this produce and has been shown to cause certain types of cancer, disrupt reproductive function and affect the endocrine system. In addition to these medical issues, heavy toxicity from these pesticides have also been shown to cause birth defects and neurological problems in unborn children.

If you simply cannot afford organic, you may avoid the dirty dozen altogether and buy certain fruits and veggies that are non-organic, but safe from pesticides. These fruits and veggies have very little to none in terms of pesticide residue, or their outer skins are so tough, this prevents any pesticides from touching their edible parts. These include: eggplant, avocado, asparagus, mango, pineapples, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, sweet potatoes, watermelon, cauliflower and cantaloupe. In the end, making even moderate changes to our diet can make a world of difference in overall health and longevity. We are truly what we eat!

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Foods That Provide Hydration

Living in Florida, hydration is very important! Adequate hydration is a key factor in your maintaining your overall health and well-being. Staying properly hydrated is essential for your body to regularly perform important functions such as: regulating your body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Although the consumption of water or other liquids on a daily basis is an essential part of staying hydrated, there are multiple foods that you can incorporate into your everyday routine to increase your water intake.

Eating the USDA recommended amount of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will assist you in providing enough water intake for your body. The foods listed below have a high water content, and contain: fiber, vitamin C, electrolytes, potassium, magnesium, and numerous other essential nutrients. Sufficient nutrient intake can help prevent common medical ailments such as headache, fatigue, and dizziness.

Fruits and Their Water Content
Cucumbers : 96.7%
Watermelon: 91.5%
Oranges: 87%
Cantaloupe: 90.2%
Strawberries: 91.0%
Grapefruit: 90.5%
Tomatoes: 94.5%

Vegetables and Their Water Content
Broccoli: 90.7%
Cabbage: 95%
Sweet Peppers: 93.9%
Celery: 95.4
Spinach: 92%
Iceberg Lettuce: 95.6%
Radishes: 95.3%
Zucchini: 95%

By incorporating fruits and vegetables with a high water content into your diet, and regularly consuming water, you are helping your body to work better for you. If you feel thirsty, you are already in the process of becoming dehydrated. Including high water content foods into your meals is a straightforward way to keep the entire family properly hydrated and healthy. More information about the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables per day is available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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How to Sleep Better at Night

Sleep plays a vital role in your physical health, emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Yet medical reports show that one in three adults experience insomnia. Ongoing sleep deprivation impacts the way that our brains function and can even make us more at risk for certain chronic diseases. However, medical research has shown that there are numerous strategies that can greatly improve our sleep quality!

Exercise:
Daily exercise can help us sleep better. Researchers determined that adults who exercise for 30 minutes at least three to four times per week sleep on average, nearly 45 minutes to an hour longer than adults who do not exercise regularly. In addition to an improvement in sleep quality, people also feel more alert during the day. Although, it’s important not to exercise right before bed because this could actually keep you awake rather than helping you sleep!

Get on a schedule:
Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle and improve sleep quality. Erratic sleep schedules can leave you feeling groggy during the day since it impacts your body’s biological clock. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a consistent sleep pattern on workdays, weekends and holidays – no matter how badly you might want to sleep in!

Limit caffeine and alcohol intake:
Caffeine, a common stimulant in coffee, chocolate, sodas and tea, causes hyperactivity and sleeplessness. Try to avoid consuming caffeine after lunchtime. Additionally, health experts also claim that tyrosine-rich foods like fermented cheeses, avocados, some types of beer and red wine can worsen sleep quality. While some studies show that moderate alcohol might help you fall asleep, it actually contributes to sleep disturbances and frequent early awakening.

Manage stress:
Stress often contributes to insomnia by making it difficult fall asleep and stay asleep. The right amount of stress can help keep us alert and energetic during the day. Too much stress can make us anxious and tense, making it difficult to stop our racing minds when trying to fall asleep. It sends our brains into overdrive and can create a vicious cycle of insomnia. If you have a stressful job or find it difficult to turn off your mind at night, it may be beneficial to incorporate a stress management program into your daily routine.

Unplug:
Recent studies show just how much the white light from our smartphones, laptops, and televisions impact our sleep. Try to unplug and read a book instead an hour before you wish to fall asleep. This might take away some of your stress too!

Sleep is vital to our health – physical and mental! Get the rest your body needs by following our tips!

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