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

Friday, December 22, 2017

To My Patients

Sent December 21, 2017

Back from Israel, back from France, back from Continuing Medical Education in Manhattan... Back in the office in full force! 

Are you ready for the new year? I've got a few tips and pointers that will help you make the best of your health in 2018. 

 Physical Exam
You still have a few days to get your comprehensive physical exam before the end of the year, a money saver for some people. For that reason, I extended the usual office hours to accommodate those who need to come in on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday of next week (between the holidays). 

Call us today at (203) 653-1919 for an appointment, we'll do our best to accommodate you! 

 Rethinking High Blood Pressure - 130=120?
It's the talk of the town, the blood pressure guidelines changed (by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and other health organizations). Any blood pressure above 120 mm Hg systolic (the higher of the two BP numbers) is considered elevated. The old cutoff mark was 130 systolic. This is a change that took too long to come, we've known the facts for years, but it does encourage more people to make the necessary changes to keep their pressure under control and prevent the complications of hypertension, especially stroke and heart attacks. 

Is this lower blood pressure right for everyone? No. There are some instances were a higher blood pressure is acceptable, or even necessary, but these have to be discussed with a physician after a thorough evaluation. 

 Taking NSAIDs Regularly? Think Again
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Aleve and Celebrex) are usually taken for short duration skeletomuscular pain or headache. Some are available over the counter. Taking these medications for short periods (a day or two at a time) is generally considered safe. Recent studies proved what was suspected for a long time, that taking NSAIDs chronically causes a small, but definite, increase of the risk of a heart attack. This is in addition to the known risk of heart burn, ulcers and GI bleeding. 

Of the familiar NSAIDs, Celebrex (a prescription drug), appears to be the safest. So, if you are using an NSAID on a regular basis, let's see if we can find an alternative. 

 Flu shot
The flu season in Connecticut appears to have started, but is still at a minimal level. 

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? If not, get the quadrivalent vaccine if you can; otherwise, the trivalent vaccine will do - just get it! 

If you have a severe (not mild) egg allergy, get the vaccination in a medical facility equipped to handle allergic reactions. 

 To Our ConnectiCare Patients
I continue to participate in the ConnectiCare network as I always have. You may have gotten a notice from ConnectiCare that I will no longer be a provider in their network, but the issue was resolved. FYI, ConnectiCare has been receiving the highest grades from my patients, join them if you can. 

 Uninsured And Under-Insured Patients
Judging from the changes just passed by both Houses, and the significant hikes in insurance rates, I expect that more people will be uninsured, or will be under-insured (e.g., very high deductibles, high copays, hospital-coverage only), and will have to pay out of pocket for ordinary medical services. 

As many of you know, we try our best to make our practice services as affordable as possible, and take into account financial need and difficulty. We use lab facilities (blood work, x-rays, etc.) that can better accommodate self-pay patients. 

So, if you are uninsured or under-insured, don't deny yourself medical care, contact our office. 

Remember that making New Year's resolutions is the easy part... 

Have a happy, healthy New Year! 

Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
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