Probiotic Supplements May Negatively Affect Antibiotic Medications

Although antibiotics truly revolutionized medicine in the 20th century, there is evidence of antibiotic use since ancient times. Today, these antimicrobial substances are the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections by either killing or inhibiting the reproduction of bacteria. When the bacterial cause (pathogenic microorganism) of an infection is identified, a definitive antibiotic therapy is used. When the cause is unknown, a broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy may be prescribed based on the patient’s symptoms. Antibiotics are also used as a preventative measure for topical application to surgical wounds, etc.

Read more “Probiotic Supplements May Negatively Affect Antibiotic Medications”

How Adult Patients Benefit from Orlando Internal Medicine

One of the most confusing and misunderstood medical designations for patients is the role of the internist. Unfortunately, the title is mistakenly associated with the business world’s concept of an “intern”, who most often is a graduating student seeking some real world experience before embarking on his or her career. An internist, on the other hand, is a highly trained specialist that practices as an internal medicine physician by applying scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and primary care of adult patients across a broad spectrum of complex illnesses and conditions. Read more “How Adult Patients Benefit from Orlando Internal Medicine”

Plan Ahead for Your New Year’s Spirits

If you do not have health restrictions, there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation during the holidays. What does come into question is engaging in heavier drinking than necessary. That said celebrating the “New Year” should not be an excuse to disregard your health and wellness. In fact, it is easier to avoid excessive food and alcohol intake by sticking to your health goals or weight loss plan. Nonetheless, if you do feel that you or a family member has a drinking problem, addiction or dependency on alcohol, contact Delta IMC to schedule a consultation with our Board Certified physician. Help is always available.

Whether you plan on “drinking out” at your favorite pub or will be attending a New Year’s Eve party, it is imperative to have a designated driver to enjoy a safe holiday. As part of your overall “Holiday Plan”, you should also limit yourself ahead of time. Don’t wait until you get to the party or start watching a bowl game to set your limitations. Since you know what you are capable of drinking in a reasonable manner, set your limits beforehand and do not exceed what you planned to drink or eat. This will serve as a safeguard, so you don’t develop a lax attitude toward excessive indulgences.

If you are someone who tends to give in to pressure when others are partying hard, take a friend that shares similar health or fitness goals. This will help you resist pressure and you will feel more comfortable asking for a non-alcoholic drink, such as a slice of lime in sparkling water. If you do intend to drink, make sure you hydrate ahead of time as well as after the party is over. Water dilutes the alcohol and helps eliminate it from your body. Since everyone has a different tolerance for alcohol, there’s no set limit. But, a couple of drinks should do, so consider drinking a glass water between rounds.

When all else fails and you wake up with a headache, feeling nausea, sensitivity to light, achy muscles or diarrhea, then you probably have a hangover. Although people have been creating home cures for centuries, the science behind curing a hangover is pretty simple. Now is the time to refurbish your body’s fluids and nutrients like vitamins, minerals and amino acids. This will help break down toxins and lessen your body’s negative reaction to the over indulgence of alcohol. At all costs, avoid that plastic cup full of last night’s beer as well as greasy or heavy foods. Enjoy your Holidays; and don’t forget to call Delta IMC to schedule your annual physical for 2019.

Is an Autoimmune Disease Causing Your Nagging Symptoms?

If you have been ill for some time and no one believes you are living with a serious medical condition, you may be suffering with the onset of an autoimmune disorder. Researchers believe that as many as a hundred diseases may be caused by faulty immune system attacks on healthy tissues and organs. If you have a family medical history that includes inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid conditions, there is a good chance that your chronic fatigue, low-grade fever, headaches and upset digestive tract may be classic symptoms of autoimmune diseases. Although the blood cells in our body’s immune system are suppose to protect against harmful invaders, faulty autoimmunity results in antibodies attacking healthy cells, which can lead to damaging inflammatory responses.

When your body’s immune system attacks due to a breakdown in immunologic tolerance, you can develop one or more of the following diseases:

  • Graves’ Disease
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Celiac Disease
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Guillian-Barre Syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Vitiligo
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Systemic Lupus
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Vasculitis
  • Myasthenia Gravis

The body’s immune system is a first responder with protective mechanisms that are activated when you are exposed to stress and stressors. No single test can be used to diagnose most autoimmune diseases, which means healthcare providers will rely on symptoms and lab work to check for the presence of inflammation these diseases are known to produce. Since some autoimmune diseases limit your body’s ability to produce hormones, medications may be needed to regulate an underactive or overactive gland. In addition, there is a clear link between dietary intake and autoimmune disease, as well as a pronounced need for each individual to discover which foods cause an issue with his or her diet. For help with a personalized autoimmune treatment plan, contact DeltaIMC to schedule an appointment with our board-certified internist.

Is It Time for a New Flu Shot?

Although it still feels like summer in central Florida, fall is officially here and that means it is time to visit your Orlando internal medicine center to get your 2018-19 annual vaccination. As flu strains travel around the globe, the bug morphs each year, which means a new shot is needed at the beginning of each flu season. Even though the peak season for our area is around the new year, early immunization can provide protection for your entire family throughout our busy holiday season. In fact, the Florida Department of Health encourages all residents older than six months of age to get his or her flu shot before Oct. 31, when the celebration begins with Halloween.

Because the virus can change so quickly, last year’s flu shot probably won’t protect you from this year’s viruses. Getting an annual flu shot is a safe and effective way for members of a community to prevent the spread of a potentially deadly disease. This year’s vaccine causes your body to develop the antibodies needed to combat several new strains of the influenza virus. In turn, your body’s antibodies help protect you against the infection. The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates immunization reduces the risk of flu illness by 40% to 60% during the flu season when new viruses are circulating. Complications from the flu are most dangerous for pregnant women, very young children, people with chronic disease, and elderly individuals.

The droplets from sneezing, wheezing, and coughing spread influenza and can remain active for days on the everyday surfaces that we share at work, school, home and on-the-go. The only safeguard against an epidemic or pandemic is for everyone to get a flu shot. Soaring death rates can occur very quickly leading to an uncontrolled spread of influenza. Over the past three decades, up to 50,000 deaths have occurred each year from serious complications related to the flu. A century ago, the Spanish Flu Pandemic killed around 50 million people worldwide and some were reported to have died within hours of their first symptom. If you haven’t received your 2018-19 flu shot, stop by Delta Internal Medicine today. Our offices are conveniently located in downtown Orlando at 220 E. Gore St., Suite 201, in Orlando, FL 32806.

Diversity May Be Key to Good Gut Health

Studies of diets based on consuming large amounts of fast food suggest that obesity may be due to more than simply overeating. Since about 90% of your cells are non-human microbial cells, you really are what you eat. Good news is that you can cultivate a new gut microbiota by altering your dietary intake. The more diverse your daily consumption of healthy foods, the better off you and your gut bacteria will fare over the long haul. Unfortunately, the average American diet is loaded with added sugars, artificial ingredients, trans fat, and remnants of antibiotics, none of which support good health.

Ways to improve your gut microbiota

The diversity, quality and origin of your dietary intake shapes your gut microbiota and affects its composition. Consuming probiotics helps to maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in the gut microbiome and supports your immune system’s defensive mechanisms. Other science-based ways to improve your gut bacteria include:

  • Eat a diverse range of foods
  • Eat lots of vegetables,
  • Eat legumes and beans
  • Eat lots of fruit
  • Eat fermented foods
  • Limit artificial sweeteners
  • Eat prebiotic foods
  • Eat whole grains
  • Eat a plant-based diet
  • Eat foods rich in polyphenols
  • Take a probiotic supplement

Dietitians caution that you can consume as many probiotics as you want but, if your daily intake includes foods that damage the microbiota, the live bacteria are not going to survive. For example, diets that are low in non-digestible carbohydrates have been shown to reduce total bacterial abundance. Conversely, dietary intake that is high in fiber results in an increase in microbiota gene richness.

Gut Imbalances Affect Crucial Metabolic Parameters

For centuries, scientists believed that bacteria were organisms that should be avoided. As it turned out, your body is naturally loaded with bacteria that help to digest food and play an important role in preventing chronic diseases, including obesity. A number of dietary studies on gut microbe have proven a diverse but balanced microbiome produces positive health benefits, such as better glucose tolerance, better immune function and better weight control. Doctors and dietitians now understand that the balance of the microbiome directly affects an individual’s metabolic parameters with direct implications for health and well-being. It appears that gut balance and food diversity also may play a major role in the development of obesity.

Whether you are struggling with weight issues and want to restore your health and wellness, you can make an appointment with our board-certified internist Dr. Michael Akpeke at Delta IMC, your downtown Orlando Internal Medicine Center.

Balance Your Macronutrient Intake for Healthy Weight Loss

If you ignore the quality of the calories you consume and fail to lose the weight in a healthy way, you are much more likely to regain the weight than someone who achieved weight loss consuming a nutritional balance of protein, carbs and fat. When your meal plan is customizable, the flexibility of consuming healthy amounts of these macronutrients becomes empowering and does not feel restrictive. Obesity affects one in three adults and understanding how to maintain the best balance of macronutrients could be critical in collectively achieving healthier body weights for all Americans.

  • PROTEIN – When it comes to reducing hunger, your gut uses protein to make hormones that slow digestion to keep you feeling fuller, longer. This in turn slows the release of glucose into your blood to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes. Proteins are made of amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids found in all meat sources that your body cannot synthesize. Protein deficiency can contribute to lack of energy, loss of concentration, weakness, mood swings and difficulty sleeping.
  • FAT – If you were told to avoid all fats, you need to rethink the role of this important macronutrient. Fats help your body produce important hormones. Healthy fats are good for you but try to eat most of your fat from unsaturated sources, such as avocados, nuts, olive oil and seeds, rather than saturated fats. You should always try to avoid unhealthy fats from foods like French fries, margarine, hydrogenated oils and trans fat.
  • CARBOHYDRATES – Carbohydrates do not make you fat or keep you from losing weight as long as you are consuming them within the context of how much energy your body needs on a given day. Added sugars are not naturally occurring and are defined as those added to foods during preparation or processing. Major sources of added sugars include soft drinks, cookies, cakes, pies, fruit punches, dairy desserts and candy.

Shedding unwanted weight, building muscle mass, and maintaining a healthy weight would be easy if one-size-fits-all. However, everyone has to take a different road to get his or her ideal body. If you are insulin resistant and your macro menus are moving the scales in the right direction, try increasing your fat intake while reducing your carbohydrate intake. After all, the overall goal of weight loss should be to reduce fat deposits while preserving lean muscle tissue. Moreover, when it comes to choosing what to eat more of and what to cut back on, consider the end goal of living a healthier, happier life.

FDA Drug Recall: Blood Pressure & Heart Medications

In mid-July the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified healthcare professionals and patients taking certain generic blood pressure medications containing the drug valsartan of a FDA Drug Recall. The dangerous drug recall was issued after the agency discovered impurities of N-nitrosodimethylamine. NDMA has been classified as a probable human carcinogen and cancer-causing agent. The three major pharmaceutical companies identified in the sales and distribution of recalled lots of valsartan and valsartan-combination drugs have agreed to a voluntary product recall.

 Consumers can visit the FDA website for drug recall instructions. You can match the name of the drug and company listed on your prescription label to determine if your medication is affected by the recall. Since these heart medications are used to treat and manage serious medical conditions like high blood pressure or heart failure, patients are advised “Do Not Stop Taking Medication” without first consulting a physician. You doctor and pharmacist can provide important information about your alternatives, such as a different medication or simply another valsartan product.

Remember, the drug valsartan is not the problem. So, patients should not lose faith in taking the blood pressure medication as prescribed. All medications named in the FDA drug recall are generic versions of the brand name Diovan, which is made by Novartis International AG. Brand name versions of Diovan as well as other generic valsartan heart medicines from other manufacturers are not included in the recall. In an announcement from the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, it was explained that the recalled medical products failed the FDA’s current safety standard test for contaminants. The medications being recalled are all linked to the same Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturer, Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical.

NOTE: Consumers are asked to report adverse reactions and other health-related issues to the FDA through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.


The American Heart Association has released new guidelines for the treatment of hypertension with nearly half of adults considered to have elevated or high blood pressure. As the first major update since 2003, the bar for what is considered high blood pressure just got lowered. The total number of adults with hypertension is expected to rise to 103 million from 72 million as established by the previous standard. The change in blood pressure numbers is outlined in the American Heart Association 2017 Hypertension Practice Guidelines,* an extensive report by healthcare experts with no ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

AHA New Blood Pressure Categories

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13 million men and women are walking around with undiagnosed high blood pressure. In addition to tightening the definition of high blood pressure, the new AHA guidelines redefine blood pressure categories as:

  • Normal Blood Pressure (still 120 over less than 80)
  • Elevated Blood Pressure (120 to 129 over less than 80)
  • Stage 1 Hypertension (130 to 139 over 80 to 89)
  • Stage 2 Hypertension (140 or higher over 90 or higher  )
  • Hypertensive Crisis (above 180 over 120 or higher)

NOTE: The old category of pre-hypertension (120 to 139 over 80 to 89) has been eliminated under the new guidelines.

A panel of twenty-one scientists, who reviewed more than 900 studies, believes the impact of the new AHA guidelines will be greatest among younger and middle age adults, with prevalence of high blood pressure expected to triple among men under 45 and double among women under 45.

Hypertension is the “Silent Killer” 

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiac problems and strokes, and is sometimes called “the silent killer” because so many adults live with high blood pressure and do not know it. Since it is impossible to treat the disease when you are not sick and unaware that you are living with a dangerous medical condition, the AHA is encouraging everyone to get an annual checkup and discuss treatment options with your family care provider. Only a small increase is expected in the number of adults that will require antihypertensive medication. Patients with Elevated or Stage 1 hypertension should initially be treated with lifestyle modifications that include a diet that is high in fruit, vegetables and fiber and low in saturated fat.

*The 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Management of High Blood Pressure was released November 13, 2017 at the American Heart


With today’s fast-paced world where 24-7 is the norm, many people have lost sight of the benefits gained from a good night’s sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sleep plays a vital role throughout your life and getting quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems, impact weight loss efforts, affect how you get along with others, cause problems with decision making and problem solving, leave you feeling fatigued and alter your risk-taking behavior. Since sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels, deficiencies are directly linked to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes and stroke.

Tips for improving your sleep habits:

  • Commit to a Sleep Schedule
  • Go to Bed and Get Up at Same Time
  • Avoid Caffeine 4 to 6 Hours Before Bed
  • Keep Your Bedroom Cooler at Night
  • Avoid Exercise 2 to 3 Hours Before Bed
  • Focus on Winding Down at Night

In addition to supporting healthy growth, sleep is needed to maintain a healthy balance of hormones insulin (controls blood sugar levels), ghrelin (causes you to feel hungry) and leptin (causes you to feel full). Recent research studies have concluded that with every hour of lost sleep, your odds of becoming obese goes up.

Sleep is an important lifestyle issue but one that is increasing overlooked. If you are experiencing difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, Request an Appointment with a primary care provider at Delta Internal Medicine Center. Your immune system relies on sleep to help fight common infections, chronic disease and other illnesses. A quick exam can help determine how your problem sleeping may be related to your overall health and wellness.