My Blog
October 11, 2019
Category: Family Medicine
Tags: Medicare  

If you want to change your Medicare coverage now is the time.

Every year from October 15th until December 7th, Medicare has its Annual Fall Open Enrollment. This open enrollment only happens once medicarea year and it allows everyone a chance to change, enroll or even disenroll from their Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. Our Brandon, FL, primary care physicians Drs. Joel & Elizabeth Biggers offer up this friendly reminder that the time to change your Medicare plan is now. Don’t deal with Medicare coverage that doesn’t offer what you need.

Here are some things you should know about Medicare’s Annual Fall Open Enrollment,

  • It might sound obvious but if you are satisfied with your current plan then you don’t have to do anything during this time; however, because plans can change each year you may want to take some time to look over your current plan and other Medicare plans to ensure that any care and medication you receive from our Brandon, FL, doctors will still be covered in the upcoming year.
  • If you’re interested in enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan this is the only time in which to do it. Along with enrolling yourself in a plan, you can also switch to another plan that can include prescription drug coverage.
  • If you are someone who doesn’t need to take regular medication then the Advantage plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage may be better suited to your needs. The reverse is true for those who take long-term prescription medications. The Fall Open Enrollment is the only time that you can pick a new Advantage Part D plan, or prescription drug plan.
  • If you want to sign up for Medicare, October 15th through December 7th is the only time to do this. Annual Fall Enrollment Period and Open Enrollment Period (which occurs January 1st through March 31st) should not be confused. The Open Enrollment Period only allows pre-existing Medicare Advantage Members to make a one-time change.
  • You can enroll in a new plan simply by calling 1-800-MEDICARE. Working with Medicare directly will ensure that you get the coverage and plan you want. Make sure to write down the date and name of the representative that helped you. Confirm all the details of your new plan with Medicare to make sure you understand the plan fully before enrolling.

Here at Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, your health comes first. We want healthcare to be affordable for everyone. Whether you have questions about your Medicare coverage or you need to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call us.

October 11, 2019
Category: Family Medicine
Tags: flu vaccine  

With flu season right around the corner have you gotten your flu shot yet?

It’s that time of the year again—flu season—and our Brandon, FL, primary care physicians Drs. Joel & Elizabeth Biggers want their flupatients to know the importance and benefits of getting their families vaccinated against the flu. Just because you got a flu shot last year doesn’t mean that it will be effective this year.

Here are some of the benefits of getting the annual flu vaccine,

Prevent Illness

This is the most obvious and probably one of the most important benefits of getting the flu shot this year. The flu season last year was the worst one in decades, killing around 80,000 people and causing a large number of hospitalizations, according to the CDC. Therefore, it’s important that anyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine before the end of October to ensure that their body is ready and able to fully protect against this potentially dangerous infection.

Prevent Health Complications

Those dealing with other chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease have to be particularly careful, as they can be more susceptible to serious complications as a result of the flu. A simple flu vaccine can protect your body and also provide peace of mind.

Save Money and Prevent Invasive Treatments

Last year’s flu season was no joke and we have no idea what this flu season might bring, but why wait to find out? A simple vaccine only takes a couple of minutes and is far less invasive than hospitalizations and certain treatments that you might need if you develop complications from or a serious bout of the flu (not to mention that it’s far less expensive).

Protect Others in Your Community

Babies, young children and those with certain health problems may not be able to vaccinate. Therefore, the best way to protect these individuals from the flu is for healthy individuals to get vaccinated. The more people get vaccinated the less risk there will be for those who can’t get vaccinated to catch the flu.

Remember that it takes two weeks for your body to develop immunity to the flu after getting vaccinated so the sooner you vaccinate yourself and your loved ones the better. Call Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, today to schedule flu shots for the whole family.

October 01, 2019
Tags: Heart Disease  

Know the warning signs that could spell heart trouble.

According to the CDC, approximately 1 in every 4 deaths is associated with heart disease each year in the US alone. This makes heart heart-diseasedisease the leading cause of death in both men and women. Knowing the signs and symptoms that something might be wrong is important so that you know when to turn to our Brandon, FL, primary care physicians, Drs. Joel and Elizabeth Biggers, for a checkup.


Chest Pain

This is probably the most obvious and common symptom that something is wrong, and yet, some people don’t even realize that their chest pain may actually be an emergency situation. If you don’t feel well and you are experiencing chest pain, you need to call 911 or have someone drive you to your nearest ER right away. If you are having a heart attack, you may experience chest tightness or heaviness that feels as if someone is sitting on your chest. You may also find it difficult to breathe.

Chest pain that appears during physical activity or movement may be associated with angina. Of course, chest pain isn’t always heart-related, but it’s best to rule out a heart attack or other heart problems first if you are experiencing chest pain.


Sudden Aches and Pains

When the heart doesn’t get enough blood it needs to work harder. This doesn’t always mean that the pain will develop in the chest. Sometimes you may experience pain in the shoulder, arms, back or stomach. If you notice any pain that comes on during activity but goes away with rest, this could be a sign of heart disease.


Swollen Feet and Ankles

While swelling can occur for a number of reasons such as standing/sitting for long periods of time or being overweight, the type of swelling associated with heart disease is more severe. If you have heart disease, swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet is surprisingly common. Severe swelling should be checked out right away by one of our doctors.


Heart Palpitations

A palpitation refers to a rapid or irregular heartbeat. While palpitations can sometimes be harmless or be induced by stress, dehydration, or caffeine intake, some palpitations point to heart problems. When you experience a palpitation it’s important to write down everything you know about it including when it occurs, if something has triggered it, and how it feels. Giving this information to our doctors can be very helpful in providing an accurate diagnosis.


Concerned? Call Us

Protect your heart health by visiting your Brandon, FL, doctor at least once a year for a physical. Call Biggers Family Medicine today at (813) 655-4646 if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or if it’s time for your annual checkup.

October 01, 2019
Category: Family Medicine
Tags: Anxiety  

Here’s what to expect when you address your anxiety with our Brandon, FL, physicians.

Despite anxiety disorder being one of the most common mental illnesses in the US today, it isn’t always an easy topic to discuss. While Doctorseveryone will feel bouts of anxiety at times, when these symptoms are persistent or severe in effect, then they can really take a toll on one's wellbeing. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Here at Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, our primary care physicians, Drs. Joel and Elizabeth Biggers, are here to help you get your anxiety under control.


Don’t Be Afraid

Is the thought of talking about your anxiety with your doctor making you feel...well, anxious? This isn’t something to be worried about. At Biggers Family Medicine, our goal is to make sure that every patient feels welcomed and comfortable when walking through our office. From offering a safe environment to having doctors and a medical team that are warm, understanding, and knowledgeable, we pride ourselves on offering quality and individualized care to patients living in and around the Brandon, FL, area.

Some people worry that the only option for treating anxiety is medication and, as a result, often don’t bring up their concerns. Accordingly, it’s important to know that medication isn’t the only way to manage your anxiety—there are a variety of lifestyle changes that you are able to try first and alternative treatment options that you can turn to in order to alleviate your anxiety. When you come into our office, we will ask you questions about your family/personal medical history, any illnesses or health problems that you might have, and your history of anxiety to figure out the best methods for treating your anxiety.


How We Can Help You

It is important to communicate with us about the ways in which you would like to treat your anxiety. For instance, if you would like to avoid medication, there are a variety of natural approaches to try instead. Our doctors can offer advice on everything from meditation and better sleep habits to proper nutrition and breathing exercises, all of which can improve your anxiety. We can create a lifestyle adjustment plan that can help you see results.

If your anxiety is severe or if lifestyle changes aren’t offering much relief, then your doctor may recommend an anti-anxiety medication. Medication isn’t a quick fix, and it’s important that you also find a therapist that you can openly talk to about your issues with anxiety. Therapy has helped many patients figure out what’s causing their anxiety and to provide helpful strategies and techniques for combating these symptoms both before and when they do arise. We are happy to provide you with therapist referrals if needed!


Contact Us

You don’t have to struggle with anxiety—call Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, today at (813) 655-4646 to seek treatment.

August 05, 2019
Tags: Arthritis  

Do you have pain in the joints of your knees, fingers, toes, back, or neck? If so, you may have arthritis. While it is indeed true that arthritis Arthritisis more likely to be a problem as you grow older, it is still possible to develop it at a relatively young age if you've had a significant joint injury. Fortunately, your St. Brandon, FL, primary care physicians, Drs. Joel and Elizabeth Biggers of Biggers Family Medicine, can help you manage your painful arthritis symptoms. Read on to learn more!


Common arthritis symptoms

Arthritis affects the joints, destroying the bone-cushioning cartilage within them and, in some cases, eventually damaging the bones themselves. While you've probably heard of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis, those aren't the only forms of the disease—in fact, there are more than 100 types of arthritis!

If you have arthritis, you may experience:

  • Joint Pain and Stiffness: Are your joints painful and stiff when you first wake up or after a period of inactivity? Arthritis may be to blame, especially if the pain worsens at the end of the day.
  • Decreased Range of Motion: Movement of your joints may be restricted due to the disease.
  • Swelling and Other Symptoms: Depending on the type of arthritis you have, the skin over the joint may swell, turn red, and feel warm to the touch.
  • Bone Spurs: Bone spurs can form over arthritic joints.
  • Cracking: You may hear cracking sounds when you bend or move the joint.


How you can ease arthritis symptoms

If you have arthritis, it's important to:

  • Keep Moving: Although moving may sound like a bad idea when your joints hurt, moving actually reduces stiffness and pain.
  • Stretch and Strengthen: Whether you go to physical therapy or perform stretching exercises on your own, exercises improve flexibility and range of motion. It's also important to strengthen the muscles that support your joints.
  • Visit Your Brandon Doctor: Your doctor can prescribe medications that not only reduce pain but also decrease inflammation. The drugs prescribed vary depending on the type of arthritis you have and the severity of the disease. When arthritis is severe, surgery may be helpful.


Need relief? Contact us

Ease your arthritis pain with a visit to your primary care physician. Call Drs. Joel and Elizabeth Biggers of Biggers Family Medicine at (813) 655-4646 to schedule an appointment.

This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.