• Endocrinology and Diabetes Management: The Role of the Internist

    If you have diabetes, an endocrinologist may be part of your care team, or you may work with an internist to manage your care. If you haven’t yet been diagnosed with diabetes but want to lose weight to avoid developing the type 2 form of the disease, an internist can also help you succeed with a medical weight loss plan . If you want to lose weight in Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County area, or if you have diabetes, here is a look at the role that an internist can play. internist performing diabetes check

    Endocrinologists and Internists in Diabetes Management

    An endocrinologist is a specialist who provides care for people with disorders of the endocrine system, including people with thyroid disease and diabetes. Internists are primary care doctors who specialize in adult patients and often work closely with patients on chronic disease management.

    If you have type 1 diabetes—the autoimmune form of the disease—then an endocrinologist will likely manage your care. For people with type 2 diabetes, your internist may manage your treatment plan, unless you experience complications, in which case your internist may refer you to an endocrinologist.

    Internists and Weight Loss

    Being overweight dramatically increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight can decrease your dependence on diabetes medicine, and if you are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes, weight loss can reduce your chances of developing it. Your internist can help you achieve weight loss success by helping you find a plan that works and by identifying and treating underlying conditions that could be leading to weight gain. Your internist can also help you lose weight with prescription-strength appetite suppressants and other treatments that are only available as part of a medical weight loss program. If you have type 2 diabetes, your internist may provide weight loss support as part of your overall treatment plan.

  • Should Cancer Patients Exercise?

    Oncology care professionals generally do recommend that cancer patients enjoy light exercise. In this case, weight maintenance is the goal, not weight loss. Even if a cancer patient was actively working to lose weight prior to the diagnosis, the oncologist would likely prefer that he or she focus only on maintaining weight during treatment. The oncologist may also recommend that cancer patients work with a functional medicine specialist, such as Dr. Briones in Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County. Functional medicine specialists can help cancer patients support overall wellness.

    Before Exercising During Treatment

    No cancer patient should exercise unless it’s been approved by the oncologist. The doctor may refer the patient to a physical therapist, who can design a safe and effective workout program tailored to the patient’s needs. Usually, cancer patients who are approved to exercise will be advised to stick to no more than a moderate-intensity workout, such as brisk walking. Additionally, cancer patients should understand the following precautions before starting a workout program. young woman meditating in the comfort of her home

    • Avoid public gyms when white blood cell counts are low.
    • Avoid exercising with persistent nausea and vomiting.
    • Avoid exercising when potassium and sodium levels are abnormal.
    • Avoid exercising with a low red blood cell count.
    • Talk to the doctor before exercising at a vigorous intensity.
    • Talk to the doctor before substantially changing an approved exercise plan.
    • Enjoy exercise that has a very low risk of falls.

    Exercising During Treatment

    Exercising during cancer treatment can be beneficial for patients, as it can:

    • Boost energy levels
    • Improve mood
    • Help with stress management
    • Encourage social connections
    • Reduce the risk of blood clots
    • Improve balance

    However, patients should take care not to get overly enthusiastic with their workout regimen. The goal isn’t to train for a marathon, but rather to improve quality of life. It’s advisable to slow down and rest when fatigue sets in.

    Exercising During Remission

    According to conventional wisdom, cancer patients primarily need to worry about not losing too much weight. But actually, some chemotherapy drugs can cause weight gain, not loss, especially chemo drugs used to treat breast cancer. Once patients have achieved remission, they might once again join a weight loss program. Careful nutrition planning is recommended to support optimum health. Patients in remission are usually encouraged to follow an exercise program that includes strength training, since cancer treatment often leads to a loss of muscle tone.

  • How an Internist Can Help You Manage Heart Failure

    Internal medicine practitioners are similar to family physicians, as they diagnose, treat, and work to prevent diseases and conditions. However, unlike family doctors, internists focus exclusively on adult patients. If you’ve been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, consider adding an internist to your care team, such as Dr. Briones, who serves Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County. stethoscope and red heart on table

    Medication Management

    Heart failure patients will usually be prescribed a combination of medications. Although there is no cure for heart failure, medications can help suppress the symptoms, and make it easier for your heart to pump blood. Taking your medications as prescribed will help prevent your condition from becoming worse. When patients take combinations of medications, managing them becomes even more important. Some heart failure medicines may require dietary modifications, such as aldosterone antagonists. These drugs can elevate your potassium level to a potentially dangerous point, and so your internal medicine practitioner may give you a low-potassium meal plan to follow. Another consideration is side effects. All drugs have the potential for side effects, and you won’t necessarily experience any major problems. If you do, talk to your internist—he or she may be able to prescribe a different drug within the same class.

    Nutritional Guidance

    Good nutrition is important for everyone, regardless of health status. However, it’s even more crucial for heart failure patients to eat a heart-healthy diet. Your internist will work with you to design a meal plan that you’ll enjoy and find easy to follow. An ideal diet for heart failure includes:

    • Lots of vegetables and fruits
    • Whole grains, rather than refined grains
    • Lean proteins
    • Nonfat or low-fat dairy products
    • Negligible amounts of sodium

    Too much sodium in your diet leads to water retention. This is indicated by swollen legs, ankles, and feet. Water retention forces your heart to work harder, causing shortness of breath.

    Weight Loss Counseling

    Heart failure patients are often advised to lose weight as obesity can lead to cardiovascular problems. Following the internist’s recommended meal plan is an effective way to reach a healthier weight. Your doctor will also likely discuss your exercise recommendations, and help you stay on track with your lifestyle plan.

  • No-Stress Diet Tips for Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is all about being with family and friends, although the food also has a starring role. If you’re worried that the upcoming holiday season will derail your diet, consider booking an appointment with a weight loss doctor soon. It can be helpful to be following a structured weight loss program going into the holiday season, as it may make you think twice before overindulging. You’ll also learn how to lose weight in Mt. Kisco or the surrounding Westchester County with an approach that fits your lifestyle. thanksgiving - food

    Intensify your exercise efforts.

    If you’ve been slacking off on your exercise routine, now is a good time to get back on track. Avoid increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts too quickly, as this can lead to injuries. But do make an effort to work out on most days of the week. Plan to work out on Thanksgiving morning. It will remind you of just how much effort it takes to burn a few calories, and so you’ll be more likely to eat in moderation. If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, or you’ll be stuck in the kitchen all day, make sure you fit in a challenging workout on the day before.

    Volunteer to bring a salad.

    It’s customary to bring a pie when going to a relative’s home for Thanksgiving, but you can buck this trend and bring a large, tossed salad instead. This way, you’ll know for sure that there will be something healthy to fill up on. Take a large portion of salad and eat it first before selecting other items.

    Pack a healthy snack for the car.

    Travelers arrive at their destinations famished, and are more likely to eat too much. If you’ve got a long trip ahead of you, bring along some fruit and unsalted nuts. A light snack before the big meal will tame your hunger so that you can retain your willpower.

    Drink plenty of water.

    To successfully lose weight, it’s necessary to learn to love the taste of water. Skip alcoholic beverages and fruit juice, and sip plenty of water while catching up with your family. Thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger, so staying well-hydrated will help you reach your goal weight.

  • What Is Visceral Fat?

    Unless your tummy is trim, you probably have excess visceral fat. This is the fat that’s stored in your abdomen, and it’s actually more harmful for your health than the fat stored elsewhere in your body. So if you’re having trouble trimming your tummy, it may be time to visit a weight loss clinic in Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County. Watch this featured video clip of “The Doctors” for more motivation to lose weight.

    You’ll see a depiction of what visceral fat looks like in your belly. Visceral fat surrounds the vital organs and secretes chemicals that trigger systemic inflammation. Unless you lose weight, your visceral fat will eventually place you at a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Weight loss is hard, but medical support can help—and putting in the effort now just might save your life.

  • Managing Your Appetite with Mindful Eating

    During a typical day, an average person might hastily grab breakfast on the way out the door or in a fast food drive-thru. He or she might work while eating lunch and watch TV while eating dinner. This is the opposite of mindful eating, and it’s one reason why so many people find it difficult to lose weight. When you become a patient at a weight loss clinic serving Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County, you’ll learn the effective strategies—like mindful eating—that will help you finally reach your weight loss goals . mindful - eating

    Understanding Mindless Eating

    To manage your appetite by eating mindfully, it’s helpful to understand exactly what mindless eating is. Mindless eating is the act of consuming food without experiencing it. It often involves eating while working, texting, watching TV, studying, or even driving—which is dangerous as well as unhealthy. Mindless eating is also characterized by:

    • Eating food to satisfy an emotional need
    • Eating while isolated from others, at random times that aren’t mealtimes
    • Ignoring the body’s satiety signals
    • Eating to reach an end goal

    Understanding Mindful Eating

    Mindful eating is done to satisfy hunger, but it’s the process that matters—not the end result. With mindful eating, diners pay attention to each bite they take. They chew slowly, taking the time to experience the flavors, textures, odors, and even the temperatures of the food. A mindful eater can identify when he or she is half-full, full, or still hungry. Mindful eaters also pay attention to how they feel while eating, and after eating as they digest their meal. Considering how the food was grown or raised, processed, and cooked is another part of eating mindfully.

    Practicing Mindful Eating

    Mindful eating can be more difficult than you might think, as it’s easy to let the mind wander, or to get bored and turn on the TV. Try to start by eating a few mindful meals each week, and gradually increase their frequency. The following tips can help you get started:

    • Turn your cellphone off
    • Sit down to the meal with your family
    • Face away from the TV
    • Eat in companionable silence—don’t force conversation
    • Eat slowly

    Focusing your mind on the experience of eating can help you understand your appetite and manage it better. You’ll see concrete benefits as you lose weight.

  • Does OPTIFAST Really Work?

    At Dr. Briones Medical Weight Loss Center, we’re pleased to offer OPTIFAST as one of our medical weight loss plans in Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County area. This supervised weight loss plan has a track record of success and is specially designed for patients with a BMI over 35. Could OPTIFAST really help you lose weight? Here is what you need to know.

    Patients on the OPTIFAST program lose over 50 pounds on average, which leads to an 11% average decrease in blood pressure and a 14% average decrease in cholesterol. After two years, approximately 50% of patients maintain at least 5% of their initial weight loss. OPTIFAST helps patient achieve these weight loss goals through a full meal replacement that slowly transitions to self-prepared meals over the course of 26 weeks. Combined with physician supervision and peer support, patients who choose OPTIFAST are able to achieve weight loss that has been unattainable on other programs. Only a weight loss doctor can determine if OPTIFAST is right for you, so schedule a consultation for more information.

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  • Signs You Could Benefit from Hormone Replacement Therapy

    As you age, it is natural for the levels of hormones in your body to dip. Unfortunately, this hormone imbalance can lead to a range of unpleasant side effects, from weight gain and low libido to memory loss and mood swings. If you are suffering from these symptoms, hormone replacement therapy could help. Hormone replacement therapy in Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County area can help you lose weight, reclaim your memory, and finally feel like yourself again.

    Hormone replacement therapy using bio-identical hormones replicates the way natural hormones work in your body. Because the hormones are identical to the ones your body produces, they are used efficiently and don’t cause any negative side effects. Bio-identical hormones are available as pills, injections, pellets, gels, creams, and patches and are safe for both men and women. Talk to your doctor at your medical weight loss clinic to find out if a hormonal imbalance could be affecting your health and if replacement therapy could be right for you.

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  • Meet Medical Assistant Natasha Ortiz

    When you visit Dr. Briones Medical Weight Loss Center , one of the friendly faces you’ll meet is medical assistant Natasha Ortiz. Natasha is an integral part of our weight loss clinic serving Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County area and is committed to ensuring every patient feels comfortable and gets the support they need in their weight loss journeys.

    Natasha Ortiz Natasha is a certified medical assistant with a background in OBGYN, internal medicine, gastroenterology, and weight loss medicine. Since joining our weight loss clinic in 2012, Natasha has built a close relationship with our patients as she escorts them to their exam rooms, takes vital signs, and when necessary, draws blood or performs EKGs. Patients adore her friendly smile and the positive attitude she brings to her job. Natasha works closely with Dr. Briones to ensure every patient has the tools he or she needs to achieve his or her weight loss goals and maintain that weight loss in the long term.