House Calls

House Calls Started This Year

House calls are meant for patients who are temporarily or permanently home bound, or for other good reasons can't make it into the office.

To schedule a house call: Tel (203) 853-1919; email istaw@drstaw.com

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Some Announcements and More Insurance Information

To My Patients,

Hope all is well. Are you preparing to "winterize?" That snow and ice will be here before you know it!


A Couple of Announcements

We will be away for a few days, Wednesday 10/30 through Tuesday 11/5/19, back in the office on Wednesday 11/6. We'll be visiting our son and his family in Denver. The "little ones" (not so little anymore) are anxious to surprise us with their Halloween costumes. Janine will be in the office during most of the time. At others times, please leave a voice message or send me an email at istaw@drstaw.com and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Our practice now participates in the following insurance plans:
      - Medicare (including some Medicare Advantage plans)
      - Aetna
      - ConnectiCare
      - UnitedHealth Care (includes Oxford)

It's time to make that appointment you've been putting off, give us a call today!


Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes, Here We Go Again

It is estimated that 30.3 million Americans (close to 10%) have diabetes; one fourth of them don't even know it. In addition, an additional 70 million (24% of the population) are prediabetics, and almost three fourths of those will develop diabetes. If you were to break down the percentages by age groups, seniors over 65 years old fare the worst.

I need not tell you about the potentially devastating health risks and consequences of diabetes, but I must emphasize, again and again, that good control of diabetes will markedly decrease the chance of complications.

Good control is not limited to just having a normal fasting blood sugar and an acceptable A1C. Good control also implies a normal blood sugar "spike" after meals, and it implies controlling other associated risk factors such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, and a general state of inflammation in the body.

There is no "one answer fits all" to the control of diabetes; the answer has to be tailored to the individual patient. I spend much of my time in the office doing just that.

Prediabetics generally have no specific symptoms. The diagnosis becomes apparent at time of routine blood work, usually during a periodic physical exam or insurance-related blood work. New onset diabetes frequently presents itself as unexplained thirst, frequent urination and weight loss, together with a general feeling of "not well." It's usually prediabetes that's gone unchecked for too long; I'm sure you'd prefer not to be there.

If you have any questions, feel free to call the office or contact me by email. If you're concerned about having diabetes or you think you may be a prediabetic (especially it there's a family history of diabetes), don't wait, call, it's an easy test.


Flu vaccine 2019

It's time to get the flu shot. Judging from this year's Australian experience, the flu season will hit the US earlier and perhaps harder than last year - and last year was a particularly bad flu year (79,000 deaths by CDC estimates!). Make sure you get the quadrivalent vaccine (the one with four antiviral components), not the trivalent one. According to the CDC, if you have the "common" egg allergy (itching, hives), you can still get the flu shot just like everyone else. But if you have more severe symptoms than hives, the flu shot should be administered only in a medical setting that can handle complications. You can get the flu shot in most pharmacies, just let us know you got it, for the record.

We DO have a small quantity of flu vaccine in the office for those who prefer to get it here - let us know if you want it before our supply runs out.


What About "Dr. Google?"

Almost everyone browses the net for medical information, nothing wrong with that. The more information you have about a medical issue, the better it is. But the information has to be reliable; the net has a lot of good information, but it also has an enormous amount of misinformation, and sometimes this is outright dangerous. Look for medical information on trusted sites, like those listed below. Be suspicious of information not based on scientific studies, those based on individual or anecdotal experiences, and on lengthy infomercial-types meant to sell worthless products. In doubt? I'll help you decide.

Some acceptable sites for medical information include:
Take care of yourself and stay well and stay well,

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
www.drstaw.com




Sunday, August 18, 2019

Medicare and Anthem are Back




To My Patients, 

Summer is coming to an end soon; hope you had a chance to take some time off. The gardening season had a late start this year, but things are in full bloom now. Earlier this summer, we had our youngest grandchildren and our daughter in law (the Colorado gang) with us for 5 weeks - it's too quiet around our house now... 


 To Our Medicare and Anthem (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) Patients

We are now participating in both Medicare and Anthem insurance! We also continue to participate in ConnectiCare. 

I will continue to concentrate on disease prevention, early detection, and the identification of health risk factors. The idea is, as it has been, to reduce or eliminate those risk factors in order to reduce the chance of developing major disease. 


 Vaping 2019, Is It Safe?

Not a day goes by without someone asking me about vaping or e-cigarettes. 

When e-cigarettes first became popular, more than 10 years ago, I thought it was a good idea. People who smoke would switch to e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking, or at least in an attempt to reduce the carcinogens they were inhaling from regular cigarettes. 

But the idea was hijacked. Now it's not just e-cigarettes, it's a vaping epidemic, and much of it is dangerous, and it's a big business. 

Vaping is no longer "just an attempt to stop smoking." The amount of nicotine inhaled can be much higher than regular cigarettes, carcinogenic formaldehyde could be inhaled if the device is malfunctioning, toxic flavorings (containing diacetyl) have been linked to a serious lung disease (bronchiolitis obliterans). 

But most importantly, vaping has been taken up by non-smoking young children, down to the primary school level. Their lungs and brains are still developing, and they are much more vulnerable to vaping effects than adults. Major adverse behavioral changes in teenagers have already been documented, and it appears that these changes carry into adulthood, and could be permanent. Vaping is a gateway to nicotine addiction and to the introduction of other harmful substances (particularly high potency marijuana-THC), especially at a young age. 

So, what's the verdict? 

I still think that, if you are an adult smoker who wishes to use e-cigarettes to wean off regular cigarettes, it's a useful tool if used as directed. 

If your kids are using it, educate them. Do all you can to help them stop and make sure you don't enable them (sometimes without recognizing it). Remember that e-cigarettes come in small packages and can easily be hidden from sight. 

He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything - Arabian proverb. 

Stay well, 

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
istaw@drstaw.com

Twitter / Dr. Staw