My Blog
May 13, 2020
Category: Family Medicine
Tags: Smoking  

Find out the many ways smoking can impact your overall health.

So, you’re thinking about quitting smoking, but you’re not sure where to begin. Our Brandon, FL, primary care physicians, Drs. Joel & Elizabeth Biggers, are glad to hear that you want to ditch this seriously unhealthy habit. They can even provide you with programs, treatment options, and other recommendations to ensure that you finally kick smoking to the curb. Wondering why you should quit? Here are the many ways smoking can affect your health:

Smoking Affects Your Heart

Cigarettes have a profound effect on your cardiovascular health. For instance, smokers are far more likely to develop heart disease or experience a stroke than non-smokers. Smoking causes the blood vessels to thicken and narrow, which increases blood pressure and causes the heart to beat faster. You don’t even have to be a heavy smoker in order to develop heart disease (even less than five cigarettes a day is enough to increase your risk). After just one year of quitting you can cut your risk for coronary heart disease in half.

Smoking Damages Lungs

Smoking can cause long-term damage to the airways and increase the likelihood of dealing with conditions such as:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer

If you have asthma, just being around secondhand smoke alone can trigger an asthma attack. While smoking can cause detrimental effects to your respiratory system, the good news is that even in as little as one month after quitting, your lung function will improve. You may suddenly notice that it’s easier to take a full breath, you may not get as winded going up stairs or you may cough less.

Smoking Increases Your Risk for Cancer

Smoking isn’t just responsible for lung cancer, it can also increase your risk for developing cancer anywhere in the body including the liver, pancreas, stomach, colon, and esophagus. Smoking also increases your risk for cancer-related death. Fortunately, by quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk for different cancers including lung cancer. In as little as five years, your risk for certain cancers, such as esophagus and mouth cancer, are cut in half, and cervical cancer risk is the same as a non-smoker.

Prioritize Your Health

Stub that cigarette out and take control of your life; it’s never too late. If you are dealing with any health concerns or issues, know that the team at Biggers Family Medicine are still here for you, even during these challenging times. We can provide drive-up appointments to minimize exposure and to keep patients healthy. To schedule an appointment please call (813) 655-4646.

May 13, 2020
Category: Family Medicine
Tags: Heart Disease  

Discover some key changes you can make to your current lifestyle to prevent heart disease.

The goal of our Brandon, FL, primary care physicians, Drs. Joel & Elizabeth Biggers, is to help patients lead long, healthy lives that support good general health. With heart disease being incredibly common in both American men and women, it’s important that everyone understands what lifestyle factors play a role in their heart health and how they can change them for the better. Here are some ways to prevent heart disease,

Make Healthier Lifestyle Choices

There are many factors that can predispose you to heart disease. Fortunately, just by making heart-healthy habits, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing the condition. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Those who are overweight or obese are more likely to deal with heart disease. If you are overweight or having trouble losing weight talk with our Brandon, FL, doctors to find out ways to safely but effectively shed those unwanted pounds. Even just losing 10-15 pounds can improve heart health.
  • Choose heart-healthy foods: Your diet has a significant influence on your health. It’s important that your body is receiving the vital nutrients it needs through healthy, whole foods. Avoid packaged and processed foods, as well as foods high in sodium, cholesterol, trans fat, and sugar. If you do drink alcohol do so in moderation, as drinking too much alcohol can elevate your blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercising most days of the week will not only go a long way to helping you maintain a healthy weight, but it can also improve your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. It’s recommended that all adults receive around 2 and a half hours of moderately intense exercise every week, while children and teens should receive about one hour of exercise each day.

Get Health Conditions Under Control

Another way that you can take charge of your health is to know your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. All of these can affect the health of your heart. While you can monitor blood pressure and sugar from the comfort of your own home, you should also visit your primary doctor at least once a year to make sure that your cholesterol and blood pressure are in check. If there is a problem, we can prescribe medication to help improve these conditions to prevent heart complications.

We want you to know that the medical team at Biggers Family Medicine will still be providing medical care during this Covid-19 pandemic. If you are concerned about your health, dealing with an urgent health problem, or if you are worried that you might have coronavirus, please contact our office at (813) 655-4646 to schedule a drive-up appointment.

April 27, 2020
Category: Family Medicine
Tags: Proper Nutrition  

Proper nutrition is vital for keeping people healthy throughout their lifetime. Good nutrition helps kids develop and grow properly and minimize their risk of developing chronic health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancers, and obesity among many others. Proper nutrition, of course, comes from a healthy diet, which according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  • Is packed with vegetables, fruits, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and whole grains.
  • Is low in added sugars, salt, cholesterol, trans fat, and saturated fats.
  • Includes a sufficient amount of nuts, eggs, fish, poultry, lean meats, and beans.
  • Stays within a person’s daily caloric requirements.

If you’re having difficulty within your nutrition or have special circumstances, Dr. Joel Biggers or Dr. Elizabeth Biggers, your primary care physicians here at Biggers Family Medicine, P.A. in Brandon, FL, can help customize a healthy eating plan fit for your specific needs. Meanwhile, start with these tips:

Incorporate All The Colors of Rainbow in Your Diet

Foods such as leafy, dark greens, tomatoes, beets, oranges, berries, and fresh herbs are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Try incorporating onions broccoli, or bell peppers to omelets and stews to give them a convenient and quick boost of nutrients and color.

Eat Fresh or Frozen Veggies

Commit to buying something from the produce section and trying something that you’ve never tried before each week.

Eat Fresh or Frozen Fruits

If your favorite fruits are not in season, consider trying their dried, canned, or frozen varieties. Do note though that some canned fruits contain syrups or added sugars so pick ones that are packed in their own juices or plain water. If you’re a diabetic, ask your primary care physician in Brandon, FL, about fruits you should avoid, as certain fruits could raise your blood sugar faster than others.

Include Calcium-Packed Foods

Opt for fat-free and low-fat yogurts without the added sugars. These dairy options are available in a broad range of flavors and are perfect dessert alternatives if you have a sweet tooth.

For Expert Advice on Proper Nutrition and Healthy Eating, We Can Help

Call (813) 655-4646 to set your appointment with one of our primary care physicians, Dr. Joel Biggers or Dr. Elizabeth Biggers of Biggers Family Medicine, P.A. in Brandon, FL.

Don’t let RA-related joint pain takeover your life. We can help.

You’ve been recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a progressive condition that attacks the body’s joints. Now what? Our Brandon, FL, primary care physicians Drs. Joel & Elizabeth Biggers are here to make sure that whatever your diagnosis, you get the proper care and pain management you need. Here are some ways to ease the joint pain and stiffness that comes with RA.

Heat and Cold Therapy

Both ice and heat therapy can provide pain relief while also getting the blood circulating. Cold is particularly good for reducing swelling and inflammation of the joints. You can apply a toilet-wrapped ice pack to the affected joints for up to 15 minutes at a time. You may also choose to soak in a warm bathtub to ease achy, stiff joints.

Strengthening and Mobility Exercises

Staying active can help RA patients improve their symptoms. By getting up and moving every day you can reduce stiffness and swelling in the joints, while improving joint mobility and range of motion. Before beginning any kind of exercise program it’s important to consult with our Brandon, FL, doctors to find out what kinds of activities will improve your symptoms. Some exercises can make RA worse. Beneficial exercises include low-impact aerobics like swimming, as well as strength training and balance training and reconditioning.


Most people with RA will require medication to slow the progression of the disease. The most commonly used type of medications for RA is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug. Patients may be prescribed more than one of these types of medications, and these medications work by preventing the immune system from attacking and destroying the joints. Medications such as these may also be combined with biological treatments, which targets the immune system’s response directly to prevent damage to the joints.

Some patients with RA may also find relief from their symptoms through alternative therapies such as:

  • Meditation
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy

If you are experiencing worsening joint pain and stiffness, it’s important that you see a doctor right away to find out what’s going on. With the proper care, the medical team at Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, can help slow the progression of RA. Call us today at (813) 655-4646.

April 13, 2020
Category: Cardiovascular

You have the ability to protect against heart disease by making healthy choices.

Despite the fact that millions of Americans have some form of heart disease, there is comfort in knowing that you have the ability to reduce your risk for heart disease through simple lifestyle adjustments. Leading a healthy lifestyle can greatly improve your heart health, and our Brandon, FL, primary care physicians Drs. Joel & Elizabeth Biggers can help you make changes to your lifestyle now to prevent heart disease from happening to you. Here are three steps you can take right now to greatly improve your heart health,

Quit Smoking

If you smoke or uses tobacco products one of the best things you can do for your health, particularly your heart health, is to quit. Even secondhand smoke has the ability to increase your risk for heart disease. As soon as you quit smoking, your risk for heart disease begins to drop, and your risk will continue to decrease over the years. If you’re having a hard time quitting on your own, our Brandon, FL, doctors can recommend certain programs or products that can help you quit smoking for good.

Get Up and Moving Daily

It’s important that everyone gets at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week. Staying fit and active can greatly lower your risk for heart disease. Plus, exercise can also boost endorphins, which is known to improve mood. Regular exercise can also reduce your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If you’re not sure how to begin exercising, talk with your doctor first.

Eat a Healthy, Heart-Friendly Diet

What you eat can also have a major impact on your overall health, particularly your heart. Many people follow a Mediterranean-style diet because it’s chock full of healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, as well as lots of vegetables, whole grains, lean meat (like fish and chicken) and low-fat dairy. Processed foods are often high in sodium and sugar, which can have a serious impact on your heart. Foods that also contain a lot of saturated and trans fats such as red meat, fast food and desserts can increase your risk for heart disease.

If you are looking for strategies to protect your heart, the medical team at Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, is here to help. No matter how at-risk you are for heart disease, leading a healthy lifestyle will improve your heart health and overall wellbeing. Call us today at (813) 655-4646 to learn more.

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