cholesterol screening and testing long island doctor

Fasting Before a Cholesterol Screening

After scheduling your wellness visit at one of our two convenient Long Island locations, your physician may ask that you don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the appointment. The reason for this is so that your doctor can order a fasting lipid panel. A lipid panel is a test that measures the fats or lipids in your blood. These are total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

There is some controversy over whether the test results are more accurate if you have fasted. New studies have shown that there isn’t a significant difference in cholesterol test results, but there could be higher triglyceride levels after having eaten. Both high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels could be indicators of a risk for heart disease.

One of the issues with not having fasted before your blood is drawn for a lipid panel is that your doctor, or the lab, will delay the test until such time that you can return after having fasted. This is sometimes counterproductive because of a person’s busy schedule. The patient may not have the time to schedule another test, or may just not bother if it is inconvenient.

For this reason, some health care professionals will go forward with the testing if the patient hasn’t fasted. The test results will still be a good indicator of lipid levels. Either way, it is very important to have this test performed so that your doctor can take immediate action if he feels you are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Be Proactive with Your Health Care

The take-away from this information is that you, as the patient, need to be proactive with your preventative care. When you make an appointment for a physical, always ask if you will need to fast before arriving at the office or lab, and for how long. If you have not fasted, or just forgot, tell your provider before your blood is drawn. That way, he can be cognizant of how the test results might be adjusted to reflect a more accurate reading, especially for your triglyceride levels.

It is important that you schedule a wellness visit or physical once a year, or as recommended by your doctor and/or medical insurance provider. This visit should include a lipid panel test, requiring a blood draw to check cholesterol levels and triglycerides.

Schedule Your Cholesterol Screening Today

hot chocolate improves mood

10 Healthy Foods to Improve Your Mood

While many believe “comfort” foods, like macaroni and cheese, greasy fries or a Boston-crème doughnut, will help them feel better, the scientific evidence disagrees. The research on which foods have a long-lasting influence on mood suggests a feel good treat should actually be something that is good for you!

The article “Diet and Mental Health,” published on mentalhealth.org, reports research suggests what people eat may affect both their physical and mental health. According to another study, published in Nutritional Neuroscience, it is just as important to minimize consumption of prepackaged and high-processed foods as it is to eat more wholesome foods. Not only will a healthful/wholesome diet help control your weight, there is scientific evidence that strongly suggests better dietary choices can help ward off symptoms of sadness.

Oral Health

foods that help oral health

The American Dental Association also points out that a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein will help your teeth stay healthy. For more information on how nutrition can benefit your oral health, contact your local dentist for more information.

Nuts

nuts to improve health

All nuts are densely packed with protein, fiber and beneficial fats. You should try to eat about one ounce of mixed nuts every day. While all nuts contain highly-value nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts, almonds and especially cashews are the go-to nuts for improving attitude.

Cashews have been making headlines for years as a potential natural antidepressant because the nuts contain high levels of vitamin B3 and magnesium. Additionally, cashews contain L-tryptophan, an amino acid the body uses to synthesize serotonin, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter.

Grass-Fed Beef

grassfed beef improves mood

Jacka says high-quality proteins are an essential component of an attitude-boosting diet. She also points out that grass-fed beef is an excellent example of a high-quality protein as well as a solid source of omega-3 fatty acids that have both shown promise in managing depression. Studies have also shown a correlation between high blood-sugar levels and negative feelings. Protein is vital in balancing blood-sugar levels, which has a significant role in controlling depression and mental illness.

Researchers from Australia sought to demonstrate how red meat benefits those with depression and anxiety in 2012. They looked at a group of 1,046 women aged 20 to 93 years, and found something jaw dropping.

The women who ate less than three to four servings of lamb or beef weekly were twice as likely to get a depression and/or anxiety diagnosis. That’s right: TWICE as likely. The researchers also discovered that lifestyle and demographics could not have accounted for the result.

A single serving of grass-fed beef is also a good source of vitamins B2, B3 and B6 and contains nearly 50 percent of the USDA recommended daily amount of vitamin B12! Grass-fed beef is also an incredibly high source of protein and contains essential amino acids like cysteine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tyrosine, tryptophan and valine. All of these nutrients have been shown to have benefits in boosting mental health.

Fish

salmon improves mood

While it has long been touted as “brain” food, fish is a food that has shown a multitude of health benefits across myriad of studies. According to findings published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fish plays a substantial role in numerous traditional regional diets, such as the Mediterranean and Japanese diets, many of which show anti-depressive benefits. Jacka suggests consuming three-ounces of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, two or three times a week. As an added bonus, the American Dental Association says that because it is so rich in important vitamins and minerals, like calcium and Vitamin D, eating fish is a good way to keep your teeth strong.

Whole Grains

whole grains improve mood

Eating high fiber, unprocessed whole grains, instead of refined flours and processed-flour products, will benefit both your body and enhance your attitude. Marjorie Nolan Cohn, RD, CDN, a New York based dietitian, says keeping blood-sugar levels stable by not overindulging in sweets and highly-refined simple carbohydrates helps to stabilize blood-sugar levels that in turn help to regulate neurotransmitter secretions. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men should consume 38 grams of fiber a day and women should get 25 grams a day.

Fruit

fruit to improve mood

A review of studies published in the journal Nutrition examined the correlation between high fruit consumption and depression. The review showed a strong relationship between eating a lot of fruit and lower incidence of feeling depressed. This is believed due to the high levels of macro and micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals contained in most fruits.

Consuming a wide variety of fruits, especially bananas and blueberries, is ideal. Bananas are sweet and healthful treat that have been shown to increase feelings of “happiness.” A study published by the US National Library of Medicine, “Effects of Acute Blueberry Flavonoids on Mood in Children and Young Adults,” show blueberries to have potential benefits for improving attitude. The USDA recommends people try to eat about two cups of fruit a day.

Vegetables

Going for a carrot, instead of a chocolate-chip cookie, when you are feeling down may not be your first thought. However, the science says root vegetables and greens are the better choice. Jacka points out that the same research that links higher-fruit intake with improved disposition also suggests that increasing vegetable intake positively correlates with the same result. Leafy-green vegetables also have many amazing health benefits, as the plants are very high in crucial vitamins and minerals like calcium and folic acid. The American Dental Association also chimes in here, reporting that these nutrients are crucial for strong teeth and gums!

Fermented Foods

fermented foods improve mood

Rapidly emerging and expanding research in gut-health issues is suggesting diet choice is critical in maintaining the intestinal microbiota that appears to affect both health and behavior. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and certain yogurts are quality sources of these beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics.

Peas and Beans

peas and beans improve mood

A study published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging showed beans, peas and legumes are a large part of the Mediterranean diet and seem to play a role in helping to manage temperament. Peas and beans also help support a health gut by supplying prebiotics that sustain beneficial gut bacteria.

Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate improves mood

While the ADA may not be too crazy about this one, a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology looked at the cognitive benefits of consuming one chocolate drink a day for one month. The study found people who drank coco had the highest boost in positive feelings, believed due to the polyphenol content in hot chocolate.

Coffee

coffee improves mood

The results of a dozen studies, reported in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, suggests that drinking just one cup of caffeinated coffee a day could boost both short- and long-term mood, The study showed that protection tops out at 400 milliliters, or about two cups, of coffee per day.

 

Are there specific foods that help your mood? Feel free to comment below!

genetics and stroke

Is there a genetic factor to strokes?

Having a stroke can be a difficult time in anyone’s life. While it is not always easy to determine just what may cause someone to suffer a devastating stroke, experts believe there is a genetic component regarding the risk factors that can lead to this medical event. The following is an overview of how you can reduce your risk of suffering a serious stroke.

High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Stroke

Many people have a family history of hypertension which is also known as high blood pressure. If anyone in your immediate family has this condition, it can raise your risk of suffering strokes or life-threatening blood clots.

Obesity Can Lead to Stroke

Being overweight can also raise your risk of heart related problems. If you have a family history of obesity, you can reduce your risk by taking steps to lose weight and keep it within normal limits.

High Blood Cholesterol

High cholesterol can be hereditary and a precursor to strokes. If you have not had a recent cholesterol screening, now is the time to do it so you can take steps to reduce it if necessary. High cholesterol can cause blood to thicken and lead to blood clots as well as strokes.

Stroke and Effects of Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to eat a healthy diet. Keeping your blood sugar steady will enhance your health and keep the risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots at bay.

Lifestyle Choices Impact Likelihood of Stroke

There are some lifestyle choices that can raise your risk of having serious strokes. Some things you can do now to prevent health problems are:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Eat A Healthy Diet
  • Exercise Most Days Of The Week
  • Lose Weight

Stroke Risk Factors

There are certain things that increase your risk of strokes. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Being Over 55 Years Old
  • Having A Family History Of Strokes
  • Being A Woman
  • Being African American
  • Having A History Of Prior Strokes

If you have a family history of strokes, it is important to schedule regular physicals and checkups with your physician to determine how you can reduce your risk of suffering one yourself. This is especially important if you have had strokes previously, as this may increase your risk significantly. Taking the time to eat right, see your doctor and exercise can help reduce your risk of strokes even if you have a family history of the condition.

Simple Rules for Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Simple Rules for Living a Healthy Lifestyle

In today’s world, many people are attempting to learn as much about nutrition as possible. Taking this step is important and advantageous because eating foods that promote mental and physical well-being can provide a wide range of wonderful, life-giving benefits. Some of them include clearer thinking, mood stability, and boosted immunity. Luckily, there are several simple rules for eating well you can follow to ensure that you can lead a life of balance and wellness. Here are some of them:

Avoid Foods That Have Been Processed

One of the most important steps to follow as you pursue a lifestyle of healthy eating is avoiding foods that have been processed. When you eat unprocessed foods consistently, you prevent your body from being bogged down from the wide variety of potentially dangerous chemicals that are now systematically incorporated into food products. Processed foods also have a higher potential to lead to heart disease. Note that there are a wide range of delicious natural foods that you can consume regularly, including fruits and vegetables. Also be sure to choose brown rice instead of white rice. And rather than selecting refined grains, choose whole grains. Finally, eating two fresh oranges is much better than buying an eight-ounce glass of orange juice.

Stay Hydrated by Drinking More Water

The majority of Americans are dehydrated, and this is a primary factor leading to a wide range of unwanted health conditions. Some of them include constipation, frequent headaches, and mood instability. To avoid these unwanted outcomes, make sure that you start drinking more water every day. One simple way to make it happen is filling a 64 ounce water bottle with liquid and carrying it with you throughout the day. Try to empty the bottle before the day ends. Also get in the habit of consuming more water-rich foods such as apples and oranges.

Choose Your Restaurants Wisely

Many health coaches now advise people to prepare their own food as frequently as possible. This is a wonderful way to ensure that you know what’s going in your mouth, but it’s also important to note that many if not most people will still want to dine out at least occasionally. To ensure that you can enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal and not have to worry about what’s going in your food, make sure that you choose your restaurant wisely. Ideally, you want to select restaurants that create all of their menu items with unprocessed foods.

Find the Ideal Doctor

Periodically consulting with your physician regarding your food choices and how they’re impacting your level of wellness is a good idea. The key to success with choosing a physician is finding someone whose opinion you trust. Note that having a medical physical is a wonderful way to help you determine whether your diet might be impacting things such as your weight, body mass index, blood pressure, etc.

 

Implement These Healthy Eating Strategies Today!

If you’re serious about leading an incredible life, know that eating well is imperative. Use the information located in this outline to get on the road to a life of wellness right now!

If you have specific questions about your health or need a physicians opinion on leading the best lifestyle, contact Sisselman Medical Group today.

cardiovascular risk assessment

Are you at risk for cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is a condition that affects the function and structures of your heart. Causes of heart disease includes multiple factors, such as atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to plaque build-up, abnormal heart valves which affects how blood flows through the heart, diseased heart muscle (such as from a heart attack), birth defects of the heart, and abnormal heart rhythms. Heart disease is currently the number one cause of death in the United States.

Risks of Heart Disease

There are two categories of risks related to heart disease: modifiable and non-modifiable. Modifiable risks include factors that can be changed, such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Non-modifiable factors are factors that can’t be changed. Examples of non-modifiable factors includes family history of heart disease, age (there is a greater risk over 65 years old), ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status related to stress, anxiety, and depression.

Having a single risk factor does not necessarily mean you will develop heart disease, but having multiple factors does increase your risk. Your doctor will discuss your family history and assess your risk during your regular health visits and will order further testing, such as blood tests or an EKG, if necessary. Early identification of risk factors can help promote your heart health.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

The symptoms experienced varies from person to person and depends on the type of heart disease you have. For example, if you have heart disease involving the blood vessels, you may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and pain in the neck, jaw, or upper back. Patients with heart disease involving weak heart muscle may experience fatigue, swollen feet or legs, irregular heart beats, and breathlessness.

Heart Disease Prevention

Prevention of heart disease requires being aware of modifiable risk factors. Making changes to your diet and exercise are important. Lifestyle choices such as avoiding smoking and managing your stress are also essential. Additionally, regularly meet with your trusted family physician for wellness visits and physical exams and to discuss any necessary changes to your health. Sisselman Medical Group is happy to provide cardiovascular risk assessments for our patients.

If applicable to your situation, your health care provider will also discuss warning signs of a heart attack and stroke during your visit. Help keep your heart healthy by scheduling an appointment with Sisselman Medical Group at either their Massapequa or Commack office locations.

GLAUCOMA TESTING & SCREENING long island (1)

Are you at risk for glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects an estimated 2.7 million people in the United States. It is most often associated with increased pressure within the eye that damages the optical nerve, but higher eye pressure is not always present. It is a progressive condition that can eventually lead to blindness. New diagnostic glaucoma techniques and treatments can help to preserve your vision. If you have a family member who the condition, you should familiarize yourself with the risk factors for this serious vision problem, so you can protect your vision throughout your life.

Glaucoma Symptoms

There are two forms of the disease, the open-angle type and the angle-closure type. In the open-angle type, there are typically no symptoms in the early stages. This absence of symptoms means that vision loss can progress significantly before it is noticed. In angle-closure, the individual may notice a variety of vision problems, such as:

· Hazy vision or blurring

· Rainbow-colored haloes around lights

· Severe pain in the eyes or in the head

· Nausea and vomiting accompanying pain

· Sudden vision loss

Risk Factors for Developing Glaucoma

Individuals who have a family history of the disease are at higher risk for developing it themselves. People over the age of 40 are more likely to develop this eye condition than younger individuals. If you are nearsighted or farsighted, you are at greater risk. If you have high pressure in the eyes, you are at increased risk. Individuals with diabetes, migraines or circulatory problems, you may be at higher risk. Those who have had an injury to the eyes may have increased risk. Also, African Americans and those of Hispanic heritage are at greater risk. In addition, people with thin corneas or thin optic nerves are at greater risk for this eye disease. Your eye doctor can tell you if you have these issues.

Sisselman Medical Group Offers Glaucoma Screenings

Sisselman Medical Group offers a wide range of services at reasonable cost, including the glaucoma test to make it easy for you to schedule regular monitoring of this eye disease. Because this eye disease is not always easy to detect, we provide a number of testing methods. Your glaucoma test score range will indicate if there are changes in the eyes that are consistent with the disease. A number of treatments are available to delay progress of the condition.

If you are at risk for developing this eye condition, make sure your eyes are tested regularly for signs of this sight-stealing disease. Contact Sisselman Medical Group today at our Massapequa office or our Commack office to schedule your screening by a physician, so you can start early treatment that will protect your vision.

losing weight as we get older

Is it harder to lose weight as we get older?

As we get older, our bodies change. Unfortunately, for many, this makes it difficult to lose weight. Those at a high weight lose it less easily than they would have in their 20s. So, what exactly slows down the body’s ability to lose weight and stay at a healthy weight as it ages? There are several factors involved in this answer.

Slower Metabolism As We Age

The first is that, as the body ages, it has a slower metabolism. In fact, metabolism slows at a rate of about 5-8% per decade. Weight gain in previous years can affect your metabolism, even if you are able to lose that weight. You will need to consume fewer calories per day than those who have not experienced a dramatic weight gain and weight loss. After you hit 50, each calorie counts. If you keep eating like you did at 25, your body won’t be able to metabolize the nutrients like it did at that age, and this, of course, can make it difficult to lose weight.

Declining Levels of Sex Hormones As We Age

In addition to your metabolism slowing down as your body ages, your sex hormone levels decrease. Women might find themselves gaining about a pound each year during peri-menopause and menopause. Your body’s changing hormone levels impact your appetite and energy levels. This is when we tend to become more sedentary since we simply do not feel like we have enough energy to get sufficient exercise. Ghrelin (a hormone secreted in the stomach) increases when we don’t get enough sleep, skip meals, or become dehydrated, which can cause us to feel more hungry.

How to Speed Up Your Metabolism

So, how can you counteract that pesky hormonal hunger and keep your body’s metabolic rate at an ideal level? If you are in your 50’s or are a woman who will be starting menopause soon, consider cutting about 200 calories out of your current daily intake. Additionally, you will want to monitor your eating and exercising habits so that you keep your ghrelin level within an ideal range. You can do this by eating within an hour of waking up, not skipping meals, and staying well hydrated.

Hitting middle-age is not a death sentence, although it can sometimes feel like it when you cannot lose weight. There is hope for good health as your body ages though. Keeping your ghrelin levels in check by eating appropriately and getting sufficient exercise can make a huge difference for many people. If you are concerned about your inability to lose weight, talk to your doctor or physician to find out how to proceed with crafting the right diet and exercise routine.

heart-health

Early Care Reduces Chance of Stroke in Patients With Irregular Heart Rhythms

Heart problems have been a concern in American society for decades now. Many scientists and researchers are looking to find new ways to prevent both strokes and heart attacks from occurring. A group of researchers at Stanford University found that providing cardiology care for AFIB patients at an early age decreased the chance of a stroke rather than providing the care at a later age. This is mainly due to the fact that doctors can prescribe anticoagulants, or blood thinners. These blood thinners reduce the body’s chance of forming blood clots, potentially leading to a stroke in the future.

As we all know, the heart is supposed to beat in consistent heart rhythms, keeping us alive by managing blood flow throughout the body. However, sometimes this rhythm can be thrown off as we age, possibly due to other underlying problems that haven’t been diagnosed. This ultimately causes an irregular heartbeat, also known as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a fairly common problem in America with more that 200,000 cases diagnosed per year in the U.S. alone. Also known as A-fib, this condition occurs when there is an irregular heartbeat and the heart is out of sync. As a result of the heart beating chaotically, there is poor blood flow throughout the body. A-fib can also be known as arrhythmia. In the medical field, there are two types of arrhythmia: tachycardia and bradycardia. Tachycardia is an excessive heart rate that exceeds 100 beats per minute while bradycardia is a condition when the heart is lower than 60 beats per minute. As you may have guessed, strokes and death decreased when the A-fib patients went to a cardiologists. The decline of strokes and deaths can also be attributed to the anticoagulants that the cardiologists prescribed the patients. This is one of the main reasons that early care is so important!

As previously stated, it’s best if heart complications are diagnosed relatively early. Symptoms of dangerous heart conditions include muscle failure, chest pain, numbness of the face, and many more. These conditions can be caused by many things including high blood pressure, smoking, degenerative stress, diabetes, and genetics. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to see a doctor or your family physician as soon as possible. If it is in fact a heart condition, your doctor will most likely send you to a cardiologist. The cardiologist will then determine which medical option suits you best for your type of condition.

Even though we can’t pick our genetics, we can certainly reduce the risk of developing irregular heart beats that will lead to strokes in the future. In fact, a lot of these are simple lifestyle changes that you and I can implement immediately. The most important lifestyle change would have to be diet, for we are what we eat. High cholesterol foods like burgers and fries should be avoided as much as possible. Instead, go with a heart healthy option like some blueberries or salmon. Cardiovascular exercise and proactive cardiovascular risk assessments have also been shown to reduce strokes. You should make it a daily goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a day with cardio being your go to exercise. Cardio has also been shown to keep the pounds off, another condition associated with strokes. Also, avoid smoking at all costs as this not only affects the heart but dramatically increases your chances of developing lung cancer. In the end, decrease stress in your life as much as possible. This can be as simple as meditating once a day. In the end, strokes can be prevented. Implementing these lifestyle changes can be the best choice you can make. However, if you ever do find yourself experiencing these signs, receive medical attention immediately. The earlier you get treated, the better off you’ll be.