Texas Family Medicine April 2022 Blog
By: Dr. Brian Byrd
In this month’s update we will talk about stroke prevention, nutrition tips, and the latest COVID developments that matter to you, our patients.
Strokes are awful! They rob my patients of their quality of life as much as just about any other disease.
Although it is possible to treat stroke if the person makes it to the ER within an hour or so of symptoms, a lot of stroke symptoms are permanent . . . and dreadful. Extremity paralysis & difficulty speaking are the two most common.
Fortunately, you can decrease your chances of having a stroke by working with your physician to control your blood pressure and cholesterol. Sometimes, I prescribe one baby aspirin a day to my patients who are at high risk for stroke.
Some new evidence is encouraging. We can markedly cut our stroke risk by being consistent with daily exercise. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of exercise to get there. You don’t have to be Richard Simmons or Jack LaLane!
Walking or bicycling lowered stroke risk 20%. Higher intensity exercise lowered stroke risk 40%.
That’s impressive prevention for just 30 minutes a day.
I like to remind my patients that as their physician I try to set an example when it comes to exercise. So once a day, 5-6 days a week, I climb on my stationary bike and pedal for 25 minutes. Then I do about 15 minutes of floor exercises.
Like you, I don’t look forward to those 25 minutes on the bike. It can be incredibly boring! But I use that time to read and think, and sometimes watch football.:)
Just remember me next time you start your exercise routine and know that poor ol’ Dr. Byrd is right there with you. You can do it!
Knowing how much your food intake affects your health, you probably try to eat well most days.
Healthy Eating Apps. If you are like me, you eat pretty well during the week and allow yourself to splurge on Saturday. Bring me a big burger!
For those of us who like using smartphone apps, we have some helpful nutrition tools that are available and inexpensive. A recent Healthline article reviewed a bunch of apps and rated them. So I took a look.
Since we always have our phones with, good apps make it easy to reliably record and track what we eat. MyPlate Calorie Counter has ane asy to use platform for recording your meals and tht allows you to track your calorie intake week to week and month to month.
An app called “Yum” provides recipes for healthy and easy to make dishes. Needing some variety in your weekly meal rotation. Check out “Yum.” It is doctor approved!
For those who want to go next level, “Noom” pairs you with a nutrition coach and offers customized meal plans, and lots of encouragement. It is one of the most popular nutrition apps in the world. There is a fee to use Noom.
The Omicron Variant known as BA.2 now comprises most of the cases in the United States and North Texas. Although it is more contagious than the Omicron virus that spread so quickly in December and January, it is not as dangerous.
Most of us have either been vaccinated or have been infected with COVID at least once. That means there is a lot more “general” COVID immunity than there ever has been. That will help but it doesn’t offer 100% protection.
There are two new oral treatments that I’ve written about in this blog. Pfizer and Merck each have an oral pill that you can take after you get sick. The Pfizer drug in particular is quite good.
If you get sick, don’t wait too long to call us so we can get one of these started.
The FDA just approved a second COVID booster for people 50 and up at least four months after their previous shot. People who are 12 and older and have underlying conditions are also eligible.
It is likely that more COVID variants will continue to affect us. The virus is mutating all the time but only a variant that is more contagious than its predecessor is likely to cause us trouble.
The CDC no longer recommends wearing masks indoors in low-risk environments. We still wear masks in our office because some of our patients are considered high risk for serious disease. Ne
vertheless, if you’ve been vaccinated or have had COVID, you and your provider can choose to remove your masks in the exam room.
Be sure to sign-up for your patient portal at https://healow.com/apps/jsp/webview/signIn.jsp. There you can request medication refills, schedule an appointment, and check lab results.
Reminder, we are available 24/7/365. If you need a physician after hours for a non-emergency situation, please call us at 817-433-5155. We can handle most illnesses, call in prescriptions, and save you a trip to an acute care clinic.
Brian Byrd, MD