To My Patients,
Much has already been said about COVID 19, which is still with us, so I'm not going to add much to the conversation today. It is time to start thinking beyond COVID too!
I have been keeping the office closed (except for very few, exceptional, cases), and doing all I can to answer our patients' needs through telemedicine (FaceTime for iPhones, Zoom for Android-based phones). Telemedicine is still in full swing, if you'd like an appointment, just give us a call at 203-853-1919 - The process is so easy!
The few patients who tested positive for the COVID 19 virus where symptomatic but not very sick; they were treated and did very well.
As We Look Beyond COVID 19:
Many of our patients are doing work from home, and are now not up to their usual physical activity. Their main complaint is weight gain. It's not easy to control noshing while at home. A little bit of willpower will do, but activity will do even more. There are many home exercise programs that do not require special equipment and, as I mentioned in a previous email, the Royal Canadian Air Force Program is still one of the best.
Worried about Alzheimer's Disease?
There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there are lots of over the counter preparations touted to be helpful (the majority worthless), and many healthy life styles that may help in prevention; see my brief review in a previous letter, available on my blog.
Recently, researchers at Rush Institute for Healthy Aging found that diets rich in specific flavonols were associated with a 48% lower incidence of Alzheimer's. The richest sources of these flavonols are common foods, mainly Kale, beans, spinach, apples, tomato sauce and olive oil. And some tea doesn't hurt either. Isn't this what we thought all these years? Yes. But it's nice to know!
High blood pressure is a known risk for the development of premature heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. It turns out that having your blood pressure checked at the doctor's office is not enough. If you have, or are suspected of having high blood pressure, it's very important that you check your own blood pressure at home. Some home devices are notoriously inaccurate (and I don't trust readings at the supermarket either...), but others are good, automatic, and keep records (I don't want to make waves by mentioning names here...). Regardless of what you get, the BP machine should be checked against a Mercury sphygmomanometer like the one we use at our office. Need a recommendation or calibration? Contact me.
But that's not the entire story. Blood pressure can fluctuate widely throughout the day. This may sound unintuitive, but BP may be highest when you wake up in the morning (sometimes referred to as "the morning surge"), and then may change with mood and activity.
All of this is very important information which is not available from a simple BP measurement at the doctor's office.
So, when BP is a potential problem, make sure you have a reliable BP machine. Check your blood pressure at different times of the day and under different situations. Above all, discuss your finding in person (or maybe Facetime) with your choice of physician so you don't carry the risks associated with high BP.
Until next time, keep safe distance and stay well, and until we're COVID-safe, see you on the phone!
Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.