On Tuesday evening, October 25, the Navigating the Medical System Lecture Series launched its first virtual lecture of the season, featuring Dr. Mel Breite, Founder and Director of the series. Dr. Breite shared that this is the 11th year of the program and he thanked various individuals who have helped since its inception. He included Councilman Jim Gennaro who was instrumental in helping Dr. Breite to initiate this informative program.

Dr. Breite related that the next lecture will be on Tuesday, November 15, and will deal with liver disease and liver transplants.

He began by noting that many people are behind in their immunizations because of the pandemic. He also urged everyone to receive a flu shot now. He pointed out that there was a significant bump of flu in Australia. He shared that there is a new pneumonia vaccine which is an improvement over the old one. It prevents the worst type of pneumonia. If you are over 50, he recommends you get the shingles vaccine (Shingrix). It’s two shots and is available at drug stores. He recommends a tetanus shot every ten years.

He then held up his tape measure and shared that “we are what we eat.” A man’s waist should not be larger than 42 inches and a woman’s waist should not exceed 38 inches. He also said your BMI (Body Mass Index) should be between 20 and 25. If it is 30, then you are overweight and 40 is morbidly obese. He advised that if it is over 27, you need to work on bringing it down.

He shared some studies on diet and noted that diets restricting eating to certain hours may work temporarily but as soon as you go off it, it stops working. He noted results of two long-term studies that showed that eating healthful foods and not prepared ones and eating a smaller amount resulted in better health.

Omega fatty acids are no longer recommended. This does not help to prevent disease. They also don’t help dry eye syndrome. He noted, “There are a lot of gimmicks out there.”

He then cited a study on statins. People with cholesterol who were in the group who took statins lived five years longer than those in the group that took a placebo. This was a study done in China with people whose blood cholesterol was higher than 250.

Dr. Breite then shared the latest information about diabetes medications. He noted that injections of insulin weekly have been shown to encourage weight loss.

He noted that the AlC numbers for elderly people with diabetes should now be up to eight. The goal used to be six, but this was causing blood sugar to go too far down.

He then shared that prediabetes is no longer considered a diagnosis. He also shared that taking Vitamin D is no longer recommended unless your level is really low. He added, “I personally don’t think any supplements do anyone any good.” He qualified this statement by noting that AREDS supplements are shown to help with macular degeneration.

This informative lecture ended with a lively Q&A session. The community is grateful to Dr. Breite for this informative life-saving program.

By Susie Garber