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How to Find the Best Physician for You and Your Family
There should be a lot of thought and consideration involved in finding a doctor to take care of you and your family’s needs.
When searching for a doctor, asking for recommendations from friends and family is an excellent place to start, but choosing a doctor is a personal decision. A good physician for one person may not be a good fit for another. At the end of the day, you should feel empowered to advocate for yourself as you select a doctor.
Below we’ll share four tips for picking the best physician for you.
1. Do Your Homework
Once you’ve determined your needs, or perhaps you’ve been referred to a specialist, roll your sleeves up and start digging. Word of mouth, through friends and family members, is a great starting point and can help guide you on your search.
Get online and check out the reviews on Google, Facebook, and Healthgrades. These sites will provide insights on physician credentials, specialties, years in practice, patient reviews, education and, in some cases, data about malpractice, sanctions, and board actions. Your insurance company’s provider directory may also have patient reviews.
And before you go into the office, call ahead to a prospective practice and gauge how you’re treated on the phone. There’s a lot you can learn from the management of a practice and how you’re treated when you first call in. If you feel like you’re just a number and it’s difficult to get through, it will most likely be hard to get help when you have a question or problem.
2. Listen to Your Gut
You don’t have a lot of time to get to know your physician before s/he begins examining you. So listen to your instincts. If you feel safe, at ease, and comfortable with your physician, then trust that intuition.
First impressions are also critical. Do you feel at ease right away? Can you relate to the doctor? Do you feel comfortable talking with him/her? If something inside you says ‘no,’ or you feel that your doctor isn’t someone that you can be completely open and honest with, then they probably aren’t the right physician for you.
3. Trust Is Key
Along with that first impression, you’re going to have to trust your provider throughout your care. You should feel like you can be upfront and honest about even the most embarrassing things.
Be sure that you feel as comfortable as possible discussing sensitive topics with them. Ask yourself, ‘Can I talk to this person about the things that make me self-conscious or about which I might feel ashamed?’ If not, keep searching. There’s a very intimate relationship that develops between you and your gynecologist, so find that person who makes you feel relaxed and at ease.
4. Bedside Manner Is a Must
While all doctors should be respectful and compassionate, those qualities take on even greater importance when it comes to your health.
Your doctor should be a good listener, engage in a dialogue, take your questions and concerns seriously, and explain his or her advice and actions. If you feel your doctor doesn’t listen or have time for you, then he or she probably isn’t the right one for you. Credentials, experience and expertise are undoubtedly important, but once you’re between the office walls, comfort is critical.
Bottom line: don’t settle if you think your doctor isn’t interested to help and spend time with you or if you feel you’re not getting what you need. You should feel heard and respected. Your physician should address you by name, look you in the eye (not at your chart), ask questions as needed, and give you time to talk without interruption.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are reactions caused by the immune system as it attacks environmental substances that are typically harmless to most people. They may occur in response to a range of different materials (called allergens), including food, pollen, dust mites, animals, insect bites, or medicines. Over 50 million children and adults in the U.S. have allergies, and allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the country.
An allergy can affect different parts of the body. Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, impacts the nose and eyes, while eczema affects the skin. Food allergies can influence the gut, skin, air passageways, lungs, and at times, the whole body through the blood vessels.
Conditions like asthma, which also affect the lungs, are closely related to allergies. However, the underlying causes are not the same.
How Exactly Do Allergies Work?
With allergies, your immune system responds to harmless substances that it misidentifies as foreign invaders. Histamines and other chemicals are released by the body to rectify the issue, which leads to common allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy nose or eyes, runny nose, and watery eyes. For people who suffer from seasonal allergies, this histamine response may continue throughout most of the spring season.
This reaction persists every time you come into contact with the allergen in the future. Your immune system then creates antibodies to target that specific allergen. And the next time you are exposed to the allergen, the immune system will attack.
The word “allergy” comes from ancient Greek terms for “other work.” This refers to the tendency of some immune systems to experience abnormal reactions to “normal” substances in their environment.
The most common allergens include:
- Pollen, trees, and plants
- Specific medicines
- Animal dander
- Dust mites
- Insects that sting (bee, wasp, fire ant); bite (mosquito, tick); or are household pests (cockroaches)
- Particular foods (eggs, dairy, peanuts, and shellfish)
What are the Symptoms of Allergies?
Allergies have a unique symptom profile. Symptoms typically depend on the kind of allergy and its severity. The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction).
Allergenic symptoms for nasal allergies can include:
- Clear, runny mucus
- Dry coughing
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Feeling unwell or sick
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can cause:
- Itching of the nose, eyes, or roof of the mouth
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
Food allergies may cause tingling or inflammation in the mouth, throat, or face as well as hives. Rash, swelling of the face, or wheezing can arise from certain medications. And bee or insect allergies can cause swelling at the site of the sting, extreme itching, shortness of breath, or coughing. Some allergies can recur seasonally like clockwork, or they can last year-round if you have dust mites or mold allergy.
Other more severe symptoms, like trouble breathing and swelling in your mouth or throat, may lead to anaphylaxis. A life-threatening medical emergency, anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Loss of consciousness
- A drop in blood pressure
- Severe shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- A rapid, weak pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
While most allergies can’t be cured, treatments can help relieve your symptoms.
How are Allergies Treated?
Proper allergy treatment is based on your medical history, the results of your allergy tests, and the severity of your symptoms. Treatment may include avoiding allergens, administering medication, or undergoing immunotherapy (allergens given as a shot or placed under the tongue).
The best way to prevent allergy symptoms and limit the need for allergy medicine is to avoid allergens as much as possible. This includes removing the source of allergens from your home, office, and other places where you spend time. You can also reduce your symptoms to airborne allergens by washing out your nose daily.
If you’re allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when pollen is high. If you have a dust mite allergy, dust, vacuum, and wash your bedding often.
If changing the environment fails to provide relief, or it isn’t feasible, many safe prescription and over-the-counter medicines exist to relieve allergy symptoms. They include:
- Nasal corticosteroids are nose sprays – to reduce swelling
- Mast cell stabilizers – prevents your body from releasing histamine
- Corticosteroid creams or ointments – relieve itchiness and stop the spread of rashes
- Oral corticosteroids – to decrease swelling and stop severe allergic reactions
- Epinephrine – some people might need to carry an emergency epinephrine shot at all times. An epinephrine shot can reduce symptoms until emergency treatment arrives.
Your medical care provider can help you determine which medications are most appropriate for your allergies.
Allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a form of long-term treatment that decreases symptoms for many people living with allergies. Both children and adults can receive allergy shots, although they are not typically recommended for children under age five.
Allergy shots decrease sensitivity to allergens and often lead to lasting relief of allergy symptoms even after treatment is stopped. This makes it a cost-effective, beneficial treatment approach for many.
With immunotherapy, your body is exposed to small amounts of what you are allergic to, and over the course of months to years, the immune system develops a defense against these allergens. This type of treatment prevents allergic reactions from occurring in the first place. It is the only form of therapy that targets the issue at the root cause.
Immunotherapy is individualized based upon each patient’s allergy profile. Many people benefit from allergy shots for many years after receiving a full course of shots.
To learn more about your allergies and how you may benefit from one particular treatment over another, please feel free to contact us.
Rapid COVID Testing Available To All Patients
Due to the rising COVID cases and in response to the needs of the community, we are opening our rapid COVID testing to all patients.
How does it work?
- You are seen via telehealth by one of our providers.
- The provider will determine when the best time for testing is for you based on your situation.
- You will be scheduled at our facility at our dedicated testing center.
- It is a finger prick and results are back in 15 minutes.
How do I get an appointment?
- If you are already a patient here, please text (407) 250-9975 to set up a telehealth appointment with one of our providers.
- If you are a new patient, simply fill out the new patient form.
- Email it back to NewPatient@WindermereMedicalCenter.com and someone will contact you for an appointment.
- This telehealth visit is ONLY to obtain an order for COVID testing and address any related symptoms.
- The provider will determine which test is appropriate and when to come for testing.
- Self-pay cost for telehealth encounter and rapid 15 minute test or blood antibody is $250. No nasal swab (PCR) test available for self-pay.
- NO WALK-IN appointments will be offered this testing.
- COVID testing is only offered to patients age 16 and older.
- No copay or deductible will be collected, but we will submit to your insurance.
- Any recommended time off work/school is based on CDC guidelines and will be indicated in discharge instructions. Work forms/FMLA will not be completed.
You will be responsible for any payments not covered by your insurance. Text (407) 250-9975 for an appointment.
DOWNLOAD THE QUICK PATIENT REGISTRATION FORM
Coronavirus Appointment FAQs
As part of our response to COVID-19, we’re taking additional proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of anyone visiting our office so you can feel confident you and your loved ones are protected while at our office.
Here are several common questions and answers addressing our increased safety measures.
What are you doing to keep patients safe?
We’ve taken several additional steps to help ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff at this time.
Here’s what our team is doing to keep you safe:
- We’re open with restricted hours and a change from our normal process.
- Enforcing 6-foot social distancing measures throughout our office.
- All employees and patients are required to be screened and wear masks prior to entry into the building.
- We’re sanitizing all equipment and rooms after each use.
- Using extra hand-sanitizing stations.
- Increasing the frequency and intensity of handwashing and office cleaning.
- Our staff is equipped with CDC-recommended personal protective equipment.
- We have special protocols and appointments for high-risk populations.
Do I have to come to the office for my appointment?
Depending on the reason for your visit, you may be able to change your in-office appointment to a telemedicine appointment. Please contact our team to inquire about scheduling a telemedicine appointment.
How does COVID-19 affect my appointment?
Aside from the additional safety protocols, you’ll experience several differences during your appointment with your provider as well including the use of social distancing whenever possible and a mask being worn at all times.
Our goal is to provide you with the same quality care you’ve always been able to receive with us while following all recommended federal, state and local COVID-19 guidelines.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Yes, for the safety of you and our team, we ask that you wear a mask during your visit.
What are signs of COVID-19 and what should I do if I’m experiencing a symptom?
COVID-19 symptoms may appear at any point from two to 14 days after exposure. Common symptoms, in no particular order, include:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
The health and safety of our team, our patients and our community is our top priority. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of the virus, please contact our office and reschedule your appointment as soon as you can.
What happens if a patient comes in with COVID-19?
Our team has a set of specific guidelines and protocols in place to follow should a patient with COVID-19 visit an office location. You can feel confident all appropriate recommendations from the CDC will be followed as well as extensive disinfecting, cleaning and proper social distancing measures will be implemented as quickly as possible.
What if I have an appointment but have tested positive for COVID-19?
We ask all patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 please let our staff know and reschedule their appointments until their self-quarantine/isolation period is over. If you are still experiencing symptoms, please reschedule your appointment.
Patient Guidelines on the Coronavirus
Niral Patel, M.D., discusses why he made the decision to close Windermere Medical Center amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Windermere Medical Center is following CDC guidelines in regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and is taking precautions to prevent its spread. Our goal remains, as always, to provide you the best possible treatment for your healthcare needs. However, the safety of our employees and patients is our utmost concern.
Our office will be implementing Telehealth services. Patients should receive a request through the Patient Portal to access Telehealth services. If you have not received an email from our team inviting you to the Telehealth services, please text us at (407) 250-9975. Please use this texting service for any questions, messages, or medication refills that patients may need.
Windermere Medical Center Addresses Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Infection and guidance for Evaluating and Reporting Persons Under Investigation (PUI).
Due to the current risk of COVID-19, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the People’s Republic of China (this does not include the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, or the island of Taiwan).
3 Things You Should Know About Chiropractors
Chiropractic treatment is one of the most popular forms of integrative health care in the United States. Half of the adults in the U.S. have had some experience as a chiropractic patient, and 33.5 million U.S. adults reported visiting a chiropractor within the last year.
Chiropractors can complement the traditional medical care you receive and empower you to take control of your health. Increasingly, chiropractors can be found in conventional health delivery systems, including hospitals, multidisciplinary clinics, the military, veteran’s health care facilities, and corporate on-site employee clinics.
Here are three things you should know about what they do — and don’t do:
1. Chiropractors Don’t Prescribe Medication
Chiropractors do not prescribe medication or perform surgery. Their therapeutic approach often involves spinal manipulation—applying a controlled, specific force to the spine or extremity joints to improve motion, alignment, and overall flexibility.
A chiropractor may prescribe:
- Soft-tissue therapy: to relax tight muscles, relieve spasm and release tension in the fascia (the connective tissue that surrounds each muscle)
- Adjustments: to gently realign joints and increase range of motion
- Joint bracing/taping: to support sprained joints or muscles as they heal
- Corrective exercises and stretches: to restore and maintain mobility and range of motion
In addition to spinal manipulation, chiropractors may also employ other treatments, including:
- Thermal therapies (heat, ice, paraffin bath, diathermy)
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Cold laser or low-level laser therapy
- Soft tissue friction, stretching, or strengthening techniques (active release technique)
- Electro therapies
- Relaxation and rehabilitation procedures
- Neural mobilization
- Counseling about diet, weight loss, and quitting smoking
2. Chiropractors Treat More Than the Back and Neck
Chiropractic care can effectively treat back pain, but it can also treat other types of discomfort, including neck pain, joint pain, and headaches. Moreover, it can also help boost your immune system, speed up metabolism, ease digestive troubles, and increase flexibility and movement.
Chiropractors are trained to treat pain anywhere in the body, including:
- The head and jaw
- The shoulders
- The elbows and wrists
- The hips and pelvis
- The knees and ankles
Chiropractors assess your entire musculoskeletal system and treat the root of the problem. They make sure that the joints are moving correctly and the surrounding muscles are functioning well.
After your primary care physician has evaluated your pain, chiropractors can offer complementary care for many common problems, including:
- Sports injuries (disc, neck, and pinched nerves)
- Physical rehab
- Auto/work injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
3. It’s Safe
Chiropractic treatment is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Chiropractors treat problems in people of all ages, and all patients are screened to ensure that they are good candidates for chiropractic care.
When adverse reactions occur, they tend to be extremely rare, just as in the case of many other types of healthcare. Chiropractic care is often recommended for pregnant women and infants.
Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic treatment. Still, some may experience mild soreness, stiffness, or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current research shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal manipulation typically fades within 24 hours.
Neck pain and some types of headaches are treated through precise cervical manipulation (known as a neck adjustment). Neck manipulation, when performed by a skilled and well-educated professional such as a doctor of chiropractic, is a remarkably safe procedure.
Doctors of chiropractic are well-trained professionals who provide patients with safe, effective care. Their extensive education has prepared them to identify patients who have special risk factors and to provide those patients with the most appropriate care, even if that requires a referral to a medical specialist.
The goal of chiropractic care is to restore your health over the long term instead of relieving symptoms (that may return) over the short term. Chiropractors work in partnership with patients to develop an individualized health plan that is focused on prevention including proactive strategies to help them achieve and maintain optimal health.
The spine is the body’s foundation, and when it is out of alignment, the central nervous system cannot effectively send and receive messages through the body. Chiropractors can identify the root of any pain, injury, or discomfort and create a treatment plan to help you live a healthier, more active life.
Dr. Patel Voted Best Physician in Southwest Orlando for Sixth Consecutive Year
Thank you to all of our patients for voting Niral Patel, M.D., the Best Physician in Southwest Orlando for the sixth consecutive year!
Here are some of the reasons why Dr. Patel won:
- Comprehensive medical services for the entire family
- Cost-effective care
- Our higher level services, such as laceration repair, IV fluid treatment, fracture care, and other acute care treatments cost much less than the same services in an emergency room setting.
- In-house ancillary services such as IV fluids, lab draws, x-ray, ultrasound and 2D echo’s
- Access to our walk-in clinic with no Urgent care co-pays*
- Open 6 days a week with extended hours until 9 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Our top priority is ensuring your optimal health by focusing on preventative care
*Urgent care co-pays do not apply. Your insurance will be verified to determine patient responsibility.
…and Dr. Patel simply cares to have the best health for his patients!
Patients at Windermere Medical Center can now text us with questions about their care and upcoming appointments.
Patients can text to:
- Confirm appointments
- Schedule appointments
- Reschedule appointments
- Cancel appointments
- Ask a nurse a question
- Request medication refill
Our staff is available to respond to patient texts during the following hours:
- Monday – Friday | 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday | 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Our new Doctible Patient Communicator system now allows our patients to easily communicate with us through texting and eliminates phone tag. The texting system provides a seamless experience to patients by using their preferred communication method, ultimately saving them time and improving their overall experience with our practice.
Try it at (407) 250-9975. We look forward to hearing from you!
For questions or to learn more about any of our services, please feel free to contact us.
7 Ways to Manage Anxiety
You can learn to manage your anxiety better over time to decrease the number of panic attacks you experience. The strategies listed below can help you cope and prevent anxiety before it starts.
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. Chills, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate are just some of the alarming reactions that occur during an anxiety attack. These symptoms can intensify and increase leading to:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Feelings of danger or dread
You can’t control when an anxiety attack hits, and trying to control it can sometimes make it worse. At Windermere Medical Center, our mission is to work in partnership with our patients to develop an individualized health plan that is focused on prevention including proactive strategies to help them achieve and maintain optimal health. Below we break down 7 measures you can take to help you relax, feel better, and take control of your mind.
1. Breathe through Your Belly
Deep breathing can help you during an anxiety attack. However, it’s essential to practice the right type of deep breaths. Namely, you want to inhale deeply down to your diaphragm and belly.
Close your eyes and take deep breaths making sure your belly expands as you breathe in and empties when you breathe out. It helps to imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach. Try breathing in for four counts and breathing out for four counts for about five minutes. By evening out your breath, you’ll slow your heart rate, which will help calm you down.
Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that you’re okay and helps your mind and body relax. You can also try lying down on a flat surface and putting one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Take a slow breath in and make sure it fills your belly enough that youcan feel it rise slightly. Hold it for a second, then slowly let it out.
2. Know Your Triggers
Everyone has different triggers, and identifying them is one of the most critical steps to coping and managing anxiety. If you haven’t recognized your triggers yet, here are some common ones:
- A stressful job or work environment
- Meeting your partner’s family
- Driving or traveling
- Side effects of specific medications
- Giving a presentation in front of people
- Phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces), and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
- Chronic pain
Identifying your triggers can take time and self-reflection. You can pinpoint triggers on your own or with some extra support through therapy or with friends. Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out — is it a due date, a person, or a specific situation?
When you do figure out your triggers, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If the trigger is unavoidable — if it’s due to a stressful work environment that you can’t currently change — using other coping techniques may help.
3. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Both caffeine (an “upper”) and alcohol (a “downer”) can kick your anxiety into overdrive. Therefore, cutting back on them can help you reduce anxiety attacks and the overall level of anxiety you feel.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. Consuming too much of it can aggravate anxiety because it stimulates your fight-or-flight response. Coffee and soft drinks aren’t the only things with caffeine. It can also pop up in:
- Diet pills
- Energy drinks
- Some headache medicines
Alcohol is classed as a depressant drug, meaning that it slows down vital functions—resulting in slurred speech, unsteady movement, disturbed perceptions and an inability to react quickly.
Alcohol’s impact on your body starts from the moment you take your first sip. While an occasional glass of wine with dinner isn’t a cause for concern, the cumulative effects of persistent alcohol consumption can take its toll on the body, including:
- Heart and liver damage
- Pancreatitis and stomach distress
- Sexual dysfunction
Exercise is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, as it can reduce anxiety and stress. In fact, just a few minutes of exercise can help you decrease symptoms of anxiety and improve your mood.
Regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, enhance sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
When you exercise, your body gets flooded with endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — and also improve your ability to sleep. Moreover, as your body heat naturally increases during exercise, you’ll enhance the neural circuits that control cognitive function and mood and boost your serotonin levels.
Studies show that exercise is effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when anxiety (or stress) has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
Bottom line: When your body feels better, so does your mind.
5. Focus on the Present
Feeling stressed or anxious often coincides with dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Focusing your mind on the present moment can help you feel more relaxed and put things into perspective.
Healing arts like tai chi, yoga, and mindfulness meditation can provide potent tools to stay present amid anxiety. Mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.
6. Get a Good Night’s Rest
Many people with anxiety disorders have You can learn to manage your anxiety better over time to decrease the number of panic attacks you experience. The strategies listed below can help you cope and prevent anxiety before it starts.
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. Chills, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate are just some of the alarming reactions that occur during an anxiety attack. These symptoms can intensify and increase, leading to:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Feelings of danger or dread
You can’t control when an anxiety attack hits, and trying to control it can sometimes make it worse. But you can take measures to help you relax, feel better, and take control of your mind.
7. Exude Confidence
You can better manage your fear of what might be by manifesting confidence and conviction that you can get through any experience that may arise. The more you safely pass through each anxious moment and overcome it, the more confident you become. You’ll be able to build off those moments, one by one. Coming to trust in yourself and your ability to get through life’s inevitable difficulties will help decrease the “what ifs” of tomorrow.
Just remember when experiencing anxiety that you’re going to be okay. Challenge any dark or anxious thoughts that come up by asking, “Are these thoughts serving me in a positive manner right now? Is there another way I can look at this situation?”
Feelings of anxiety can be painful and debilitating. However, if you can find the strength to sit with them, they will eventually lose their power and pass away. Evoke the saying, “This too shall pass.” When they have faded away, remember you have survived, and you are resilient.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about how you can manage anxiety better, please feel free to contact us.
What are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?
How can you tell if you have diabetes? Diabetes symptoms may occur over time, or they may appear suddenly.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong, metabolic disease defined by an excessively high level of blood glucose (blood sugar) that over the long haul, can cause severe damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nervous system.
There are a few types of diabetes, though the most prevalent forms are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They differ based on origin. You may experience sudden symptoms of diabetes or receive an unexpected diagnosis due to chronic but obscure symptoms. Most early indications result from increased glucose levels, a kind of sugar, in your blood.
Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in children and young adults when the pancreas becomes incapable of producing insulin. Patients must monitor their blood sugar levels via daily self-administered insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes, the disease’s most prevalent form, typically develops in adults. The disease manifests when the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar, or when the body becomes unable to use the insulin it manufactures efficiently.
Over the past three decades, the number of people living with diabetes worldwide has increased fourfold. More th
an 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, including almost 12 million adults aged 65 and older.
The Early Signs of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system starts to recognize insulin-producing beta cells as a foreign entity. The immune system destroys those beta cells over time, and they become unable to produce the required insulin to feed the muscles, organs, and fat cells.
Risk factors that increase the onset of type 1 diabetes include:
- Family history: Type 1 diabetes involves a genetic susceptibility to developing the disease; if a family member has had type 1, you are at a higher risk.
- Viral infections: Certain viruses (such as German measles, coxsackie, and mumps) may trigger the development of type 1 diabetes by causing the immune system to turn against the body.
- Race/ethnicity: In the U.S., Caucasians seem to be more susceptible to type 1 than African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.
- Geography: People who live in northern climates seem to be at a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can come on suddenly and include:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination – When diabetes escalates your
blood sugar, your kidneys may not be able to resolve the situation. Thus, the body produces more urine, which requires increased fluids. The result: you’ll need to urinate more often, and as a result, you can get very thirsty. And when you drink more, you’ll need to urinate more often as well.
- Severe hunger – If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body produces, the glucose can’t permeate the tissues. Subsequently, you will experience decreased energy, increased hunger, and lethargy.
- Dry mouth and itchy skin – Because your body is using fluids to make urine, there’s less moisture for other bodily functions. You may get dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can also make you itchy.
Other early symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:
- Unintended weight loss
- Sudden bed-wetting in children
- Irritability and mood swings
- Fatigue and weakness
- Blurry vision
Type 2 Diabetes
Age, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and family history influence the onset of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas produces relativelynormal amounts of insulin. However, your body is unable to use insulin effectively. As a consequence, blood sugar control is abnormal, primarily due to insulin resistance.
You are more likely to develop type 2
Are overweight or obese
- Are 45 years of age or older
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
- Have high blood pressure
- Are not physically activediabetes if you:
- Have a history of heart disease or stroke
Type 2 diabetes is often preventable by taking several simple steps: keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and refraining from smoking.
Early signs of type 2 diabetes include:
- Yeast infections – Yeast infections can occur in both men and women with diabetes. Yeast feeds on glucose, so excess glucose makes it thrive. Infections can grow in any warm, moist fold of skin, including:
- Between fingers and toes
- Under breasts
- In or around sex organs
- Slow healing of cuts and wounds – High levels of sugar in the blood can damage the body’s nerves and blood vessels, which can impair blood circulation. As a result, even small cuts and wounds may take weeks or months to heal. Slow wound healing also increases the risk of infection.
- Increased hunger – Your body uses the glucose in your blood to feed your cells. Type 2 diabetes impedes this process, which prohibits your cells from absorbing glucose. As a result, your body is continually looking for more fuel, causing persistent hunger.
- Nerve pain or numbness – You are likely to experience this after years of living with diabetes, but it can be a first sign for many.
- Blurred vision – Blurred vision usually occurs early in unmanaged diabetes. It can be a result of sudden high blood sugar levels, which affect the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, causing fluid to seep into the lens of the eye.
- Dark skin patches – Dark, velvety discoloration in the folds of your skin is called acanthosis nigricans. It’s most common in the armpits, neck, and groin regions, and the skin also becomes thickened.
Early signs of type 2 diabetes may also include:
- Frequent urination, including during the night
- Extreme thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
If you suspect that you are experiencing any of the early signs of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s essential to consult with your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and swift treatment can significantly reduce the risk of life-threatening complications.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need additional information.
2019 Top Physicians List Features Our Providers
Our physicians were selected as some of Orlando’s leading physicians as chosen by readers of Orlando Family Magazine in their 2019 Reader’s Choice poll for Top Physicians.
The 2019 Reader’s Choice Top Physicians list includes 254 physicians across more than 45 specialties throughout our community who make the health of their patients their top priority.
Make a Difference this Holiday Season by Giving to Toys for Tots
This year, Windermere Medical Center is partnering with Toys for Tots to help less fortunate children in our community. We need your help before Monday, December 18!
The US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Program collects new, unwrapped toys during November and December each year, and distributes them as Christmas gifts to disadvantaged children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
Monday, December 18 is the last day for us to accept new toy donations.
Please bring your toy donations to our office before then. Your generous gift will bring hope to less fortunate youngsters in our community and contribute to bettering the lives of our country’s most valuable resources – our children.
Stroke Prevention: How to Lower Your Risk
Every two seconds, someone in the world has a stroke, making it the second leading cause of death globally — more than 6 million people die from stroke every year. Stroke kills more people each year than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. In fact, stroke is more common than most people think: one in five women and one in six men are at risk of a stroke throughout their lifetime.
For stroke survivors, serious life challenges persist, with many stroke patients living with some form of permanent disability, and facing social isolation, a lack of psychological and emotional support, and depression.
However, good news and a silver lining are close at hand. According to the American Stroke Association, 80% of strokes are preventable. The key is to raise awareness and improve education about stroke diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.
What Is a Stroke?
Stroke is a neurological emergency that carries a risk of morbidity and death. It comes about when the blood supply to the brain is impeded by the accumulation of fatty acids along the walls of an artery. Our brain cells can get damaged or be destroyed when denied oxygen-rich blood, and adversely affect the body’s core functions including:
Stroke can occur in all age groups. Studies report the risk of stroke doubles for each decade between the ages of 55 and 85. But strokes also can happen in childhood or adolescence. Blood circulation to the brain can be hindered in two ways and result in two types of stroke, ischemic (clots) and hemorrhagic (bleeding).
Ischemic strokes make up roughly 87% of all stroke cases. When blood vessel walls become clogged, blood flow becomes restricted and can result in blood clots or a severe narrowing of the artery in or around the brain. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the leading cause of hemorrhagic stroke. When an artery deteriorates and bursts, blood pools into the brain causing damage to the tissues and cells.
What Are the Warning Signs of a Stroke?
About 70% of patients do not correctly recognize their transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke, and almost 30% put off seeking medical attention for more than twenty-four hours. What’s worse, 30% of early recurrent strokes happen before seeking medical care.
In the presence of a stroke, your body will send some clear signs to sound the alarm:
- Drooping facial muscles
- Sudden weakness or numbing in the arms or legs, particularly on one side of the body
- Slurred speech and difficulty understanding others
- Sudden vision difficulties in one or both eyes
- Abrupt onset of dizziness or trouble walking
- Sudden severe headache for no apparent reason
If you notice one or more of these signs, urgent action is required. A stroke is a medical emergency, and you should call an ambulance or get to a hospital right away.
Immediate Stroke Treatment Is Critical
When it comes to saving lives and restoring quality of life, early recognition and treatment are vital to a patient’s well being and full recovery. Here’s why:
Research shows that stroke patients recover better when they receive care in a specialized stroke unit under the supervision of a specially trained team.
The first line of defense for ischemic stroke is to take a clot-breaking medication known as tPA (tissue Plasminogen Activator) which can help increase blood circulation in clogged blood vessels and in some cases reverse the effects from stroke. The medication can be given up to 4.5 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms. Patients can also undergo an endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), an innovative procedure using x-ray guided imaging to take out large blood clots near the brain.
Hemorrhagic stroke typically cannot be treated with tPA or other clot-busting medications, and the recovery time is often longer than with an ischemic stroke. Your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the damaged artery in your brain and to stop any bleeding.
The rehabilitation process begins once you are stable and may continue for months or even years. Every individual’s recovery period will depend on their family and medical history, and lifestyle.
Research shows that 25% of stroke survivors will have a recurring stroke at some point in their lives. However, patients can take control of their health to reduce the risk of having another stroke. Enhanced public awareness and education are needed to realize the full potential for stroke prevention.
Treatments to prevent further stroke include:
- Medications that lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Antiplatelet therapies
- Anticoagulation medication
- Surgery for patients with severe carotid artery restriction
Knowing your personal risk factors can help minimize your chances of a stroke as can making lifestyle choices such as:
- Eating a healthy, low-salt, and well-balanced diet
- Staying active and exercising regularly
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
To learn more about how to treat or prevent stroke, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and address any of your concerns.
The Difference Between Allergies, a Common Cold, and a Sinus Infection
Florida is known for its sunny weather, tropical plants, and warm temperatures. However, our perennially great weather comes with a downside; allergies can last year-round for many Floridians, putting us at the top of the list for the number of allergy sufferers nationwide.
If you or your little ones are stuffy, sneezy, or just feeling under the weather, how can you tell what you’ve got, especially when leaves are falling or the ragweed blooming at full force? For most of us, telling the difference between a cold, allergies, and a sinus infection can be more than a little confusing and downright challenging.
Identifying the precise cause of your symptoms allows you to receive the right treatment to get well as quickly as possible and prevent a recurrence of symptoms down the road. Below, we discuss the main differences between allergies, the common cold, and sinus infections and what you can do to make insightful and empowered treatment decisions.
The Common Cold
Roughly 22 million school days are forfeited to the common cold every year. And almost one billion adults and children come down with a cold annually. Over two hundred different types of viruses cause colds, but the rhinovirus is the strain responsible for half of them.
The most common way to catch a cold is by coming into physical contact with someone who is already sick. An individual with a cold can also spread the bacteria into the air by coughing or sneezing, potentially infecting anyone who breathes them in. Moreover, you can contract a cold by rubbing anything that contains germs such as cutlery, coins, or a doorknob and then touching your mouth, nose, or face.
A cold usually manifests rather quickly, your symptoms will maximize around day three, and you can expect to feel better in between five to seven days without needing antibiotics. Signs of the common cold include:
- Significant nasal congestion
- Thick yellow or green mucus
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- At times a fever
A sinus infection comes about when the nasal cavity becomes infected or swollen typically due to a viral or bacterial infection. Allergies, nasal polyps, and dental infections can also aggravate sinus discomfort and symptoms. Sinus congestion can bring about achiness and a feeling of fullness or pressure in the face. More than 30 million patients suffer from sinusitis annually, making sinus infections one of the main reasons people visit the doctor’s office.
The sinus cavities are lined with thin, moist layers which constantly secrete mucus. During a sinus infection, thick mucus production spikes and can block the nose and sinuses, creating congestion and pressure.
Acute sinusitis, defined as lasting for less than four weeks can include the following symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Sinus headaches
- Nasal discharge with a different smell
- Throat irritation and dry cough
- Dental pain
The main differences between a sinus infection and the common cold are the extent and type of symptoms. While a cold will generally run its course in less than ten days, a sinus infection will last ten days or more, and symptoms can deteriorate after one week. Another telltale sign of a sinus infection is when you feel like you’re getting better after a couple of days, only to feel worse again, then improve another time, and get worse once again. Antibiotics may be prescribed if your symptoms last longer than ten days.
Roughly 50 million children and adults in the U.S. have allergies, and Florida tops the list of states for the highest allergy count in the country.
The most common allergens include:
- Pollen, trees, and plants
- Specific medicines
- Animal dander
- Dust mites
- Insect bites
- Particular foods (eggs, dairy, peanuts, and shellfish)
With allergies, your immune system attacks harmless substances that it misidentifies as foreign invaders. Histamines and other chemicals are released by the body to rectify the issue which leads to troublesome allergic reactions.
Allergies have a unique symptom profile. Symptoms typically depend on the kind of allergy and its severity. Allergenic symptoms for nasal allergies can include:
- Clear, runny mucus
- Dry coughing
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Feeling unwell or sick
Food allergies may cause tingling or inflammation in the mouth, throat, or face as well as hives. Rash, swelling of the face, or wheezing can arise from certain medications, and bee or insect allergies can cause swelling at the site of the sting, extreme itching, shortness of breath, or coughing. Some allergies can recur seasonally like clockwork, or they can last year-round if you have dust mites or mold allergy.
For more information about treating sinusitis, allergies, or the common cold, please contact us. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions or concerns.
Is It a Cold or the Flu?
Your nose is stuffy, your throat is sore, you sneeze non-stop, and your body aches. How do you know if you have the common cold or the dreaded flu virus? What’s the difference between the two anyway?
A cold is a contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. More than 200 types of viruses can lead to a cold the most common one being the rhinovirus, responsible for at least 50% of all colds.
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is another type of respiratory infection that develops into a more serious condition, like pneumonia, bronchitis or sinus/ear infections. The flu is caused by the influenza A or B viruses. A cold can be caught year round, while the flu is typically seasonal.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, adults have an average of two to three colds per year and children have even more. Roughly 22 million school days are lost each year in the U.S. due to the common cold. Where influenza is concerned, it is estimated that 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.
Cold and Flu Prevention Tips
The common cold and flu are usually transmitted by someone already infected by the virus. This can happen through physical contact or by touching a surface contaminated with their germs like a doorknob, faucet, or a fork, and then touching your nose or mouth. Cold and flu can also be spread by infected droplets in the air as a result of a cough or sneeze.
Since the cold and the flu are both contagious, the best way to prevent getting sick is by frequently washing your hands with soap and hot water. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and always wash your hands afterwards. Try to avoid anyone who has a cold or is showing flu-like symptoms. Most doctors recommend getting a flu vaccine at the start of the flu season (flu season begins October and can last until May).
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Symptoms between the cold and flu are similar, with slight differences.
Symptoms of the cold include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Mild-to-moderate fever
- Headache or body aches
- Mild tiredness
Typically, colds clear up on their own. However, the rule of thumb for making an appointment to see your doctor for a cold is if you have a temperature higher than 100.4° F, if symptoms last more than 10 days and if symptoms are severe or unusual.
Symptoms of the flu include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Moderate-to-high fever (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
- Dry, hacking cough
- Severe muscle or body aches
- Shaking chills
- Profound fatigue (may last up to two weeks)
Cold and Flu Treatment At Windermere Medical Center
Typically doctors can get a sense of whether the symptoms are caused by a cold or the flu by examining the patient’s nose, throat, and ears. If the doctor feels it is necessary, he/she may run a Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test (RIDT). The test is used to detect the virus in nasal secretions and is a common method of diagnosing the infections.
The doctor will then explain to the patient what is causing their symptoms. The doctor may write prescriptions for prescription medications or over-the-counter medications to help with the symptoms and may even write a doctors note (for school or work) if the patient is contagious.
To help alleviate their symptoms, patients can turn to a variety of non-prescription medicines including:
- Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin
- Nasal decongestants
- Cough medicines
- Sore throat soothers
If you have any questions or need more information about treating the cold or the flu, please feel free to contact us.