To My Patients,
Hope all is well - Last month, Sandy and I were away on a long weekend in Jumby Bay Island, Antigua. It was a special occasion that brought together 10 of our immediate family members (4 generations), to honor the life of our late son in law. The experience was unforgettable
More family news, we'll be visiting our Colorado clan, which we try to do several times a year. They usually stay with us 2-3 weeks during the summer. We'll be away for a week from Wednesday April 19th through Wednesday April 25th, and back on the office on Thursday April 26th with morning office hours.
As usual, Janine will be available for phone inquiry/scheduling, and I'll be reachable by email. In case of need, Janine knows how to get me, but if you need something, give us a call before we leave!
If urgent care is needed while we're away, Dr. Sarfraz will cover me, 203-254-9454.
Please give us a call at 203-853-1919 if you need an appointment And now to some real issues:
Cost of medicine and related issues
The cost of medical care in the US is now more than $12,000 a year per person, about 18% of GDP, and It's more than twice the average cost of medicine in the 30 OECD countries (Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development).
You'd think we would get better care, would you?
It's very disappointing to find that Americans see their doctor more frequently than in other developed countries, but suffer a great deal more chronic conditions (not just obesity...), and have an overall average life expectancy of 77 years, three years less than in other developed countries.
Care can be costly. Insurance premiums are climbing. Copays and deductibles are going up steadily, medication denials are now common; insurance companies are frequently more interested in bottom line than in their patients' health. As a result, between 6-10% of people in the US have no medical insurance, and many more are under-insured.
While there is no easy way to fix things with our present healthcare system, one thing has been very clear, and I've been emphasizing this for years.
One has to be an integral part of his own health care system. Those who "do the right thing" have a better key to a longer, healthier life. This includes staying in good physical shape, keep weight in check, sleep adequately, avoid "offensive" foods, and the list goes on.
When it comes to medication, take all the medication you need, but take only the medications you need, which frequently needs to be coordinated with multiple caregivers.
Just in case you wondered why I wrote this - We're here to help!
The erythritol issue
Erythritol is an artificial sweetener that belongs to a class known as alcohol sugars (e.g., xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and others). These sweeteners are very low in calories and are used in many sugar-free and keto-type diets. Recent studies suggest (but do not yet prove) that the consumption of large amounts of erythritol increases the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. This may apply to the entire class of sugar alcohols. The mechanism for this effect appears to be related to an increase in blood clotting.
A "Large amount" of erythritol is taken to be 30 grams (that's 5-6 teaspoonfuls) which, if taken within a day or two, has been shown to increase clotting tendency. Generally, this is a much higher dose one would consume in 1-2 days.
Erythritol is the main component of several artificial sweeteners (Truvia, Splenda, and others). The suspicion is out there. If you're going to use erythritol, or any other sugar alcohol sweetener, do it in minimal amounts. If you're at heart disease risk, avoid it!
A longevity hint
Numerous studies of "super age seniors" (those above 85 years old) and centenarians (those above 100 years old) looked at the elderly's eating habits. The common finding is that longevity is associated with a diet low in animal protein (mainly red and processed meat!), but rich in vegetable protein, mainly beans, grains and soy products.
One explanation for this longevity observation is that red meat contains specific amino acids like methionine and branched-chain amino acids that can accelerate the aging process. Of course, this is only one component of many factors that influence longevity, but no one should overlook it.
Please give us a call at 203-853-1919 if you have any questions Until next time, stay well,
Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
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