At MD 2.0, we provide patients with superior primary care. We want to be the first to know about any health concerns that may arise. Primary care is performed and managed by your personal physician, Dr. Poncy or Dr. Lubarsky who are available to you 24/7.
Drs. Lubarsky and Poncy believe in more than just treating you when you are sick. Our preventative medicine doctors want to ensure you are healthy year round by promoting a healthy lifestyle, yearly executive level physical exams, and helping to prevent disease.
At MD 2.0, our concierge physician practice focuses on providing high quality care and individualized attention to each patient. Our model allows us to spend more time with each patient, allowing us to work closely with you on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and complex illnesses.
Board Certified Internist in Jupiter, FLDr. Amir Lubarsky's love of medicine allows him to listen compassionately and intently to his patients in order to provide the best outcomes.
Board Certified Internal Medicine Doctor in Jupiter, FLDr. Morgan Poncy is a board certified internist who was raised in the Jupiter area.
Since September is National Cholesterol Education Month, our concierge doctors want to review the often-confusing facts about this vital blood component.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell in your body. Made by your liver and also present in some foods, it allows your cells to function properly. It helps synthesize Vitamin D in the body as well as some necessary hormones. These include cortisol and cortisone, and the sex hormones estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, among others. It also helps create the bile you need for digestion.
Cholesterol gets transported through the body on proteins called “lipoproteins.” There are two types of lipoproteins: high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). The LDL type makes up most of the cholesterol in the body (between two-thirds to three-quarters). The HDL type absorbs excess LDL cholesterol and returns it to the liver, where it gets flushed from the body.
Why is high cholesterol bad for you?
Despite the role cholesterol plays in keeping the body healthy, only a small amount is needed to maintain critical functions. When your body has too much of the LDL-type of cholesterol, it can build up on the walls of your blood vessels. This causes them to become narrow. This in turn begins to block the free flow of blood to and from your heart and other organs in the body. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause chest pain (angina), a heart attack or a stroke, among other cardiovascular problems. Therefore, too much LDL is “bad” for your body when it isn’t balanced by higher HDL levels.
The confusion surrounding “high” and “low” cholesterol no doubt arises from their names. If we say your cholesterol levels are too high, you might think, “But isn’t ‘high’ cholesterol the good kind?” High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are good, and the higher that number, the better. But when we say you have “high” cholesterol, we’re talking about the “bad” type, meaning the low-density lipoproteins.
To confuse matters even more, triglycerides that are too high further contribute to fatty buildup in the arteries. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. High levels of triglycerides combine with high levels of LDLs to raise the risk of cardiovascular disease even further.
How to lower bad cholesterol
The optimal mix is low triglycerides, low LDL levels and high HDL levels in the blood.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the leading cause of high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are unhealthy lifestyle choices. Certain medical conditions and medications, as well as genetics, also play a role.
There are a number of LDL lowering drugs available, including the very successful statins. But, as always, it is preferable to try to lower LDL levels naturally first. There are a number of ways to go about this:
- lose weight
- avoid trans fats (most commonly found in fried foods and pastries as well as margarine)
- avoid red meat and dairy products
- cut sugar consumption
- keep alcohol consumption no greater than one drink daily
- keep stress levels low
These steps, combined with increasing HDL levels in the blood, are often sufficient for many people to remain healthy.
How to raise good cholesterol
Medications to raise HDL cholesterol have not proved effective in lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The best way to increase your supply is through lifestyle changes:
- quit smoking
- increase aerobic exercise to a total of at least one hour a week
- consume more monounsaturated fats, e.g., nuts, seeds, avocados
- increase intake of polyunsaturated fats, e.g., salmon, tuna, trout, and walnuts
- consume more soluble fiber, e.g., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes
In addition, avoid drugs that contain testosterone or other anabolic steroids, which have been shown to lower HDL levels.
Because there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, the only way to know for sure if your levels are within acceptable levels is through a simple blood test. This is especially important if you have a family history of heart disease, are a smoker, are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke or have high blood pressure or diabetes. The National Institutes of Health recommends that all adults have their cholesterol levels checked beginning at age 20.
It’s not difficult to keep “bad” cholesterol levels in check, unless you have a genetic predisposition toward high LDLs. Let us help you sort out the confusion surrounding cholesterol and heart health.
“I feel like an old person; I’m only 46,” a bank examiner from Brooklyn, told the New York Post recently. “I don’t wish this on my worst enemy.” She contracted the virus March 23, and still experiences body aches, hot flashes, arthritis and her hair has been falling out in clumps.
As some people toss around phrases like “herd immunity” (the notion that the virus should spread through the population to eventually produce a general immunity) and blithely attend “covid parties” hoping to achieve the same effect, our concierge doctors thought we’d explore one of the lesser-known risks involved in that type of thinking.
Many of those who survived the disease are beginning to speak out about the long-term effects they’re still experiencing months later.
Shelby Hedgecock first tested positive for COVID-19 in April, negative in May. Nevertheless, she tells CNN she is still having neurological issues, cognitive issues, shortness of breath, chest pain, loss of smell, and body aches and pains that send her to bed for days if she participates in even the gentlest forms of yoga.
“[My symptoms are] just all over the place, and I’m insanely tired,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo recently. Cuomo, who also contracted COVID-19 early in the pandemic, reports similar lingering coronavirus symptoms.
Amy Watson, 47, of Portland, Oregon, appears to have been responsible for introducing the phrase “long hauler” which is now attached to the syndrome. Now in her sixth month of dealing with such coronavirus symptoms as painful burning sensations on her arms, torso, head and neck, she created a COVID-19 patient support group called Long Haul COVID Fighters.
Strange debilitating symptoms
Survivors on numerous online COVID-19 support groups describe a constellation of nearly 100 lingering symptoms.
Natalie Lambert, an associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, surveyed more than 1,500 members of a group called Survivor Corps.
“They're not quite sick enough to be hospitalized, but they are suffering from very severe symptoms, sometimes for a very long time at home,” she told NBC News.
Respondents to her survey reported 98 different coronavirus symptoms they’d experienced since their diagnosis, including:
- joint pain
- shortness of breath
- memory impairment
- cognitive difficulties
- sleep disturbances
- vision problems
Alexandra Plazas-Herrera, 41, told the Post she suffered bleeding from her nail beds and the skin was peeling off her face a few months after catching COVID-19.
“It was super weird, like horror movie stuff,” she said, adding that she has also experienced a lingering fever, fatigue, persistent brain fog, poor coordination and inability to concentrate.
Many of those who report chronic symptoms had only mild or moderate cases of COVID-19; most were not serious enough to be hospitalized. A large number of them report they were healthy and “in the prime of their lives” before becoming infected. The syndrome also appears to affect all ages.
How common is this?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a survey in July of 292 people who had tested positive for the virus. It found 35 percent of respondents had not returned to their previous state of health. Other surveys, mainly in Europe, put the incidence as high as 80 percent.
Twenty percent of those in the CDC survey were between the ages of 18 and 34 with no prior chronic medical conditions.
“Data categorically show it’s a real thing,” David Putrino, a doctor of neuroscience and the Director of Rehabilitation Innovation at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, told ABC News. “These individuals are experiencing fatigue, dizziness, nausea, GI symptoms, pain . . . in the spine and chest.”
No one knows yet how long these troubling coronavirus symptoms will last; some survivors report early symptoms receding and being replaced with new ones.
Because the virus is still so new, medical science as yet has no answers for these people.
Jake Goldenstein, 20, still can’t walk down the street without becoming completely winded. He also suffers from debilitating headaches, digestive issues, congested sinuses and a racing heart.
“They gave me all types of medications. I was on a nebulizer, I was on multiple inhalers, they gave me multiple [antibacterial] medications, literally all types of medications,” the former hiker and baseball player told the Post. “None of them really seem to help.”
Lea Lane, a travel writer for Forbes caught COVID-19 in March. She’s seen pulmonologists, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, vascular specialists and neurologists. She reports her new primary care doctor told her she has “post-viral syndrome,” and “hopefully it will someday go away.”
If you experience lingering symptoms of COVID-19 infection, of course we will do our best to help manage them. But for now, our best advice is to avoid becoming infected in the first place:
- avoid places with large crowds, especially indoors
- always wear a face covering in public
- wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
Remember the primary means of transmission appears to be aerosolized virus particles emitted—including by those showing no symptoms—when talking, laughing, coughing, singing or just breathing. These aerosols can linger in the air for many minutes or even hours. So never go any place where you don’t feel safe.
My husband and I have been patients of Dr. Poncy for over ten years and have been extremely pleased and happy for him. He is not only a brilliant internist, but also a wonderful person. Now that he and his partner, Dr. Lubarsky, have opened the concierge practice it is better than ever. The nursing staff is superlative as is the front office staff. The office is very well appointed and comfortable. We feel very fortunate to have such a competent and caring physician.
About 11 years ago, I first met with Dr. Poncy. I came away from my appointment with him confident he understood my problem and contributed some thoughtful suggestions. Over the years, he has never changed. The outstanding staff Dr. Poncy has put together, along with his partner, Dr. Lubarsky, are the best! I honestly feel, when I have an appointment, it is like visiting "family".
I recommend Dr Lubarsky emphatically. He is a true professional: thorough, compassionate and an excellent diagnostician!
We have been concierge members for only 6 months but so far we have been very pleased. The office atmosphere is very relaxed and the doctor is able to give us the time we need. Time in the waiting room is minimal and we have been able to obtain spur of the moment appointments with no difficulty. We are happy that we joined
The new practice has a very warm, friendly, feeling to it. We don't have long waiting times. Everyone is very prompt.
I have been a patient for over 30 years. I actually look forwarded to a visit. Pleasant, professional in every way, I consider myself very lucky.
A great Dr. & great staff, minimum wait time. Spends as much time with you as you need. Same day appointments.
Dr. Poncy has been my primary care doctor for over 8 years. I've known Dr. Poncy for over 8 years. My neighbor recommended him for my diabetes and heart problem. The staff at Dr. Poncy's office is always very pleasant and Dr. Poncy is very patient to my concerns.
I have been a patient of Dr. Lubarsky since 2004. He has been such a great physician to me and my wife for several years. Recently, I was hospitalized at Jupiter Medical Center. My wife contacted him and he immediately responded and came to the hospital. Without Dr. Lubarsky's support, I don't think I would be at the health level I am at today.
I'm a big fan of Dr. Lubarsky! After moving from New York, I researched area Internist throughout Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. Dr. Lubarsky was a home run!