The Ideal Neurology Clinic Blog

Diabetes is a killer. It causes stroke, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy, poor wound healing, peripheral vascular disease, immunosuppressive, eye disease, cranial nerve palsies, and more. But did you know you can prevent or delay diabetes? Now hold on, you may say. Diabetes runs in my family. We’re all just big-boned. We like our bread and our sweets, and they go straight to my waist. I mean, with modern medicine, can’t you just take a pill to prevent diabetes??

Well, in a landmark study done more than fifteen YEARS ago, people were put into 3 groups: the first, a placebo group. The second, metformin, a drug commonly used to treat and delay diabetes. The third? No medicine, just “lifestyle modification,” that is, trying to lose 7% of their body weight (less than 15 lb if you weigh 200), and exercising at least 150 minutes per week.All of these people were then followed for almost three years and monitored for diabetes.

The results were staggering. Patients just receiving placebo got diabetes at a rate of 11% per year. The metformin group got it at 8%. The lifestyle modification group? 5%. Those numbers may sound high to you, and that is because ALL of these patients started out with a high risk of developing diabetes- they all had elevated blood sugars to begin with. Average BMI was 34. The conclusion was that medicine can help delay diabetes. But lifestyle modification did it almost twice as well!

So the next time you think diabetes is all in your genes and you have no control, stop right there and think of this study. You have control! Now, as Nike says, just do it!

Be well.

If I can sum up my tips for personal wellness in one word, it would be EXERCISE.

If I can have two words, it would be EXERCISE and HYDRATION.

Three? EXERCISE, HYDRATION, and SUNSHINE (gotta have that Vitamin D!)

Guess what? All of those are free for us in Sunny South Florida. They don't require any skill or training. They don't even require any time.

Need more exercise? Park your car further from your work.

Need more hydration? Drink 2 liters of water from the tap.

Sunshine? Do some work outside on the grass. Grant yourself a few minutes to play or take a walk. Eat your lunch on a bench outside.

The reason I love these is that exercise has been shown to improve so many neurologic conditions, from chronic pain to Parkinson's disease to preventing cognitive decline and dementia. Hydration helps headaches. Sunshine and Vitamin D helps Multiple Sclerosis and insomnia.

A nice healthy dose of daily social interaction, fruits and veggies, whole grains, eight hours of sleep, and a regular routine are also helpful. 🙂 More on those another day. Be well!

If you're reading this, you probably think most people have headaches, right? Why should you go see a neurologist if it's just a fact of life? Stress, red wine, weather changes, they all are known to cause headaches, am I right?

Actually, it may surprise you to learn that some people have never had a headache in their life! Or if they do, they don't need to lie down in a dark and quiet room for hours before it goes away.

So at what point do headaches become a medical problem? In this post, Boca Raton Neurologist Dr. Renata Chalfin discusses the symptoms and warning signs that you may need some help if you have headaches.

Signs you would benefit from the help of a medical doctor, especially a neurologist

If you've had headaches most of your life, you may have learned to deal with them somewhat, but you don't have to suffer forever. There are many treatments, both natural and conventional, that have been shown to be very effective in treating headaches.

If you have headaches that are severe enough for you to miss work, school, household duties, or personal events, you should see a doctor. Same goes if you have a headache more than once per week, especially if you're taking medications for pain more than a couple times a month (Excedrin, Tylenol - all of these count!). Don't freak out yet! This doesn't mean that you have a serious condition. Your doctor will take your history and examine you. If everything is normal, you may just have a primary headache disorder such as Episodic Migraine or Tension Headache. Treating these with the advice of a neurologist is your best chance of getting rid of them altogether or at least keeping them at bay and preventing them from turning into something chronic.

If your headaches last more than 4 hours (adults) or 2 hours (children); are accompanied by sensitivity to lights, noise, or smells; or nausea and/or vomiting, you should see a doctor. Some of these may be signs of Migraine. Best to get checked out and receive some medical advice.

But what if your headaches are even more than that? The rest of this post lists red flags - for seeking immediate medical attention - and other signs of a serious medical condition. If you have a question, give me a call! I'd be happy to talk you through things.

Dangerous Signs - Go to the ER!

  • Sudden, severe headache that peaks within 1 minute or less ("thunderclap headache"); or

Headache accompanied by:

  • head trauma/injury, drug use, toxin exposure, or possible carbon monoxide exposure

  • neck rigidity and/or fever

  • confusion, hallucination, or behavior changes

  • vision loss, even if it's transient, or double vision

  • numbness

  • weakness of an arm, leg, or both on one side of the body

  • inability to speak or understand speech

  • dizziness/sensation of room spinning, slurred speech

  • seizure (obviously, I hope)

Serious signs you should seek the advice of a medical doctor soon

  • New headaches in a person over age 50 that never suffered from headaches;

  • Headaches that have changed, become worse or more frequent than they used to be;

  • Headaches that occur primarily in the morning;

  • Headaches that awaken you from sleep;

  • Headaches that worsen with coughing, straining, or sneezing;

  • Headaches that change with position, e.g., are triggered by lying down/bending over or standing up;

  • Blurring or loss of vision that occurs when you bend your head forward;

  • Systemic conditions (pregnancy, immunocompromised state, cancer, or just fevers/chills, night sweats, weight loss);

Headaches accompanied by:

  • blurring of the vision, vision loss, or seeing halos around lights;

  • ringing or whooshing sound in the ears;

  • losing your peripheral vision;

  • loss of coordination or balance;

  • nausea or vomiting; or

  • sweating, racing of the heart, and high blood pressure.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, please call 561-961-8575 to make an appointment with Dr. Renata Chalfin. We frequently have same or next day appointments!


Phone 561-961-8575

Fax 561-898-1710

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