Cholesterol

High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and other complications, but there’s help available to safeguard your health. For comprehensive cholesterol management, see Nneka Edokpayi, MD, at one of her Rapha Health and Wellness offices in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas. Book your consultation by phone, ask for a home visit, or use the easy online scheduler.

 

High Cholesterol Q & A

What is cholesterol?

Your liver naturally produces a waxy substance called cholesterol that your body needs to generate new cells. Certain foods like eggs and cheese have cholesterol, too, so you can get it through your diet as well.

While it’s necessary to have some cholesterol, too much makes you susceptible to cardiovascular disease.  

What are the different types of cholesterol?

Cholesterol attaches to protein as it travels through your bloodstream. Together, the protein and cholesterol are called lipoproteins. Depending on its characteristics, a lipoprotein can be:

  • LDL, or low-density lipoprotein: also called bad cholesterol, transports cholesterol through your body and sticks to vessel walls
  • HDL, or high-density lipoprotein: also called good cholesterol because it recycles sweeps away excess cholesterol and returns it to your liver.

Exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a healthy diet help you influence your good cholesterol.

Why is high cholesterol dangerous?

If you have high cholesterol, fat can accumulate in your blood vessels. Over time, the fat builds up and makes it difficult or impossible for blood to flow easily. 

Pieces of the fatty deposits can detach from the walls of your veins and form deadly blood clots that trigger a heart attack or stroke.

What are the risk factors for high cholesterol?

Research shows that there are several key factors that put you at higher risk for high cholesterol: 

  • Family history
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor diet
  • Medication

Unfortunately, high cholesterol has no symptoms. It’s important to get regular checkups with Dr. Edokpayi, so she can run blood tests and monitor your cholesterol levels. This is something she and her team do as a matter of course with each patient.

What are my options for treating high cholesterol?

Dr. Edokpayi customizes a treatment plan according to the cause of your high cholesterol. If you’ve inherited the problem, she’ll likely treat you with medication. 

If, however, your high cholesterol is associated with lifestyle factors, she writes a plan to help you adjust your diet, exercise more, lower your stress levels, and get more sleep. She keeps a close watch on your cholesterol levels as you work through the treatment program and adjusts the plan when necessary. 

For your cholesterol screening, call Rapha Health and Wellness or go online today.

Weight Loss

Are you struggling to lose weight and keep it off? At the Rapha Health and Wellness offices of Nneka Edokpayi, MD, in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, you have access to programs and support to help you fight obesity and get to a healthy weight. Call to set up a consultation or use the online scheduler to book now.

 

Weight Loss Q & A

How do I know if I’m overweight?

Dr. Edokpayi uses the body mass index (BMI), which factors your height and weight. To gauge where you stand, the numbers break down like this:

  • Under 18.5: Underweight
  • 18.5-24.9: Normal weight
  • 25-29.9: Overweight
  • Over 30: Obese

While these numbers are a good place to start to decide if you’re too heavy, Dr. Edokpayi also considers your muscle mass and bone structure as she assesses your weight.

 What problems are associated with carrying too much weight?

Carrying extra weight puts a strain on your body and increases your chance for a number of detrimental health conditions, such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease

In addition, excess pounds are a common cause of joint and chronic pain. 

What treatment options help with weight loss?

At her Rapha Health and Wellness offices in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, Dr. Edokpayi helps overweight men and women get healthy with a customized physician-directed weight-loss program. As a functional medicine doctor, she’s passionate about finding the root cause of your condition.  

She believes most health conditions begin in the gut and focuses her first efforts on healing and restoring your gut flora. Other methods she uses to help you get the extra weight off are:

  • Clean diet
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Behavioral planning
  • Accountability
  • Prescription medications
  • Home visits
  • Metabolism boosters
  • Relapse prevention

Dr. Edokpayi combines protocols and methods to tailor a program that suits your goals and needs. She goes over the plan with you in your home or at one of her offices, so you’ll know what to expect.

How many weight-loss appointments do I need?

It depends on how much weight you have to lose and the details of your individual plan. Everyone starting a weight-loss plan with Dr. Edokpayi begins with a comprehensive consultation at one of the offices in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas. 

Once you begin your program, she may have you return for follow-up meetings on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. 

For help losing weight and hope for a healthy future, call Nneka Edokpayi, MD, at Rapha Health and Wellness or use the online booking tool.

Hypertension

In recent years, the number of Americans with hypertension skyrocketed beyond 100 million. If you have hypertension, trust the skill and care you’ll get from Nneka Edokpayi, MD, at one of her Rapha Health and Wellness offices in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas. For screenings, education, and a partner for your health, call the office or use the online scheduling feature.

 

Hypertension Q & A

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It means the force of your blood coursing through your veins is constantly too much. Over time, this intense pressure creates complications and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. 

How do I know if I have hypertension?

A simple blood pressure test at Dr. Edokpayi’s office tells you if you have high blood pressure. You receive your reading as one number over the other. 

The first number is the systolic and measures the pressure of your arteries when they contract. The second number is diastolic and assesses the artery pressure between each heartbeat.

Blood pressure guidelines are:

  • Normal: less than 120/80
  • Elevated: 120-129/less than 80
  • Stage 1: 130-139 or 80-89
  • Stage 2: 140 or more/90 or more
  • Hypertension crisis:180 or more/120 or more

If your blood pressure readings are high, Dr. Edokpayi intervenes to help you bring the numbers into safe levels.

What are the dangers of hypertension?

The constant excess pressure on your blood vessels can lead to a number of detrimental health problems, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disorders
  • Aneurysm
  • Vision loss
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Dementia

Additionally, men and women with hypertension frequently suffer from sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction or low libido.

What causes hypertension?

An underlying condition may be the culprit for your hypertension. Dr. Edokpayi is relentless in her pursuit of root causes and focuses her practice on treating you holistically, not just your symptoms. 

Some common causes she’s discovered include:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Inactivity
  • Poor diet
  • Kidney disorders
  • Tobacco use

Aging and family history also play a role in hypertension.

What is the treatment for hypertension?

Dr. Edokpayi works with you to build a lifestyle plan to help you manage your high blood pressure with as few prescriptions as possible. Regular exercise and a healthy diet go a long way to lower your blood pressure, so she includes these in everyone’s plan. 

Depending on your unique needs, your treatment options may also include:

  • Alpha blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Receptor blockers

Dr. Edokpayi works with you to get control of your high blood pressure. She comes to your home or meets with you in one of the Rapha Health and Wellness offices. Call to schedule or book online.

Fatigue

If your quality of life is affected by fatigue, there’s hope for you. Nneka Edokpayi, MD, and her Rapha Health and Wellness teams in Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, can tailor a plan for you to balance your hormones and restore your energy. To learn more about how to beat fatigue, call for a consultation or use the online scheduling feature.

 

Fatigue Q & A

What is chronic fatigue?

If you can’t explain why you always feel so tired and worn down, and it’s not related to physical or mental exertion, you may have a medical condition called chronic fatigue. It’s not relieved by sleep or rest and isn’t related to underlying medical conditions. 

With chronic fatigue, your productivity plummets and you can’t take on too many activities or multitask well.

What causes chronic fatigue?

No one knows for sure what causes fatigue, but some studies point to an initial infection setting the illness in motion. For instance, the percentage of people who develop symptoms that match fatigue also had Epstein-Barr Virus, Coxiella burnetti, rubella, bornavirus, or Ross River virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also note immune system changes and stress as possible causes for chronic fatigue and other studies outline the following as probable risk factors:

  • Exposure to toxins
  • Food allergies
  • Trauma

As with many illnesses and conditions, family history plays an important role in the possibility that you might also suffer from fatigue.

What symptoms are associated with fatigue?

Fatigue has a range of systems, including:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Muscles weakness or aches
  • Cognition problems
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Joint pain
  • Visual problems
  • Lack of restorative sleep
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes

To diagnose you with fatigue, Dr. Edokpayi meets with you to conduct a physical exam and ask you a series of questions about how you’re feeling. She takes into account your family history, recent activities, job, and physical demands. 

Because the symptoms can mimic so many other conditions and tests can appear normal, it’s often difficult to make a diagnosis of fatigue.

What is the treatment for fatigue?

Dr. Edokpayi uses a multi-system approach to help you find relief from fatigue. Depending on the severity of your condition, she may try one or several of the following treatments:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Acupuncture
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) oil

Dr. Edokpayi often uses a medication called sermorelin, a human growth hormone-releasing hormone to help you defend against fatigue.

Restore your energy and beat fatigue. Call Nneka Edokpayi, MD, at Rapha Health and Wellness to schedule an appointment or use the online scheduling feature.

Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 million Americans have diabetes and nearly 85 million more have prediabetes. In Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, Nneka Edokpayi, MD, of Rapha Health and Wellness offers comprehensive testing and individualized treatments for adults with diabetes. Call to book an appointment or use the online scheduling feature.

 

Diabetes Q & A

What is diabetes?

Your body uses glucose, or blood sugar, as a source of energy.  To keep your blood sugar levels stable, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. When you eat something that turns to sugar in your body, insulin shuttles excess sugar out of your bloodstream.

If your body fails to respond to insulin, make enough of it, or produce it at all, blood sugar levels surge and can lead to diabetes. 

What are the signs or symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes has some telltale symptoms, such as:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst and hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness in your toes, feet, fingers, or hands
  • Extreme fatigue

You may also notice that you’re prone to fall ill frequently or you can’t clear an infection. These, too, are signs of diabetes.

What causes diabetes?

Depending on whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the causes vary. Type 1 is genetic while the causes of Type 2 are largely associated with lifestyle factors, such as:

  • Excess weight
  • Lack of exercise or activity
  • Poor diet

Other factors like age, race, genetics, and certain medical conditions increase your risk as well.

What is insulin resistance?

When the liver, fat, and muscle cells can’t properly sweep away extra sugar in your blood, you develop insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more and more insulin to meet the need, but eventually can’t keep up with the constant demand.

In addition to an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, insulin resistance can be triggered by polycystic ovary syndrome, certain medications, hypertension, hormonal disorders, or sleep apnea.

What is the treatment for diabetes?

In addition to lifestyle counseling and nutritional coaching, Dr. Edokpayi works with you to minimize your risk factors and help reverse and manage your diabetes with:

  • Exercise
  • Customized diet
  • Stress-management programs
  • Smoking cessation
  • Insulin pumps or injections
  • Oral medications

Your team at Rapha Health and Wellness consistently monitors your blood sugar to help you stay proactive and head off any problems before they progress.  For a health partner who cares about your diabetes and helps you manage all aspects of it, call to book a consultation or use the online scheduler.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Specialist

Both men and women can experience a barrage of unpleasant symptoms when their hormones are out of whack. In Houston and Sugar Land, Texas, Nneka Edokpayi, MD, of Rapha Health and Wellness helps you get rid of the brain fog, weight gain, moodiness, and low libido that fluctuating hormones can cause. If your testosterone levels have plummeted or you’re beginning menopause, call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Edokpayi or book online.

 

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Q & A

What is a hormone imbalance?

Your hormones help operate many of your body’s daily functions. For them to work properly, your hormones must be synchronized and work well together. If you’re depleted in a hormone or have too much of one, you have a hormone imbalance.

What problems does a hormone imbalance cause?

Hormone levels may shift, decline, or become unbalanced over time, so you may experience:

  • Heavy periods
  • Excess hair growth
  • Sleep problems
  • Infertility
  • Low libido
  • Vaginal dryness

Many men and women with hormone imbalance struggle with memory problems, brain fog, and lack of mental clarity.

What is a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?

Bioidentical hormone replacement is a natural way to replace hormones that you’re lacking and bring others back into alignment. Women in menopause are optimal candidates, but men can benefit from testosterone therapy as well. 

Bioidentical hormones are made from plant chemicals that are structurally identical to your own natural hormones. Your body can’t tell them apart. 

Bioidentical hormones are packaged in gels, creams, pellets, patches, pills, and sprays. Dr. Edokpayi helps you choose the method that best addresses your symptoms and condition.

How does bioidentical hormone replacement therapy benefit men?

For men, Dr. Edokpayi recommends a testosterone supplement to help boost their energy, get better erections, and increase lean muscle mass. She understands that these can be sensitive topics and offers confidential counseling.

What are the benefits of taking bioidentical hormones?

Natural hormones quickly relieve many of the troubling symptoms you’re experiencing with your hormone imbalance. Some of the most noticeable improvements are:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved cognition
  • Better sex drive
  • Stable moods
  • Reduced bloating
  • Minimal hair loss or excessive hair growth

People who take bioidentical hormones report that they sleep much sounder and feel rejuvenated from their sleep. This is vital for overall health and an important benefit of hormone replacement therapy.

It’s likely that Dr. Edokpayi will combine your hormone replacement therapy with other holistic measures to craft an overall improvement plan that helps you feel, look, and perform your best.

If you have symptoms of hormone imbalance, turn to Nneka Edokpayi, MD, of Rapha Health and Wellness for solutions and comprehensive care. Call the office or use the online scheduling option.

Allergies

With more than 50 million affected Americans, allergies are one of the top 10 causes of chronic illness in the United States. If you suffer from seasonal or food allergies, turn to the caring team at one of the offices of Nneka Edokpayi, MD, of Rapha Health and Wellness in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas. You can book online, call to make an appointment, or request a home visit.

 

Allergies Q & A

What are allergies?

An allergy is your immune system’s unhealthy reaction to a substance that may not cause problems for other people. The substance that triggers the reaction is called an allergen. Your body perceives it as an invader and mounts a defense against it, setting off a cascade of mild to severe symptoms, including:

  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Respiratory symptoms

In severe cases, some men, women, and children have a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

What are some common allergens?

Some of the most common allergens that trigger your allergic reaction are:

  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Latex
  • Dust

A variety of foods causes allergic reactions. Some of the most well-known are peanuts, soy, dairy, tree nuts, and shellfish

What is immunotherapy?

Dr. Edokpayi of Rapha Health and Wellness uses immunotherapy to fortify your immune system and help you better tolerate allergens. Through allergy vaccinations or liquid drops, you’re slowly exposed to your trigger until your body builds up resistance and tolerance.

What is the treatment for allergies?

Dr. Edokpayi evaluates your symptoms, asks a series of questions, performs a physical exam, and conducts skin and blood testing to get to the bottom of what’s causing your allergies. Once she detects your key allergens, she writes a treatment plan that may include:

  • Decongestants
  • Nasal sprays
  • Food avoidance
  • Dietician support
  • Antihistamines
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mast cell stabilizers
  • Steroids

Anaphylaxis is often treated with epinephrine. Many people with severe allergies carry an epinephrine-filled auto-injector called an EpiPen® to use in the event of an emergency. 

What happens if I don’t treat my allergies?

If your allergies are left untreated, they may worsen over time and cause other complications, including:

  • Sinus infection
  • Severe earache
  • Asthma attack
  • Rash
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Shock
  • Trouble breathing
  • Distraction
  • Lethargy
  • Skin infection
  • Lung disease
  • Anaphylaxis

If avoiding food and environmental triggers isn’t helping your allergies or lessening their severity, come to one of Dr. Edokpayi’s Rapha Health and Wellness clinics in Houston or Sugar Land, Texas, for a thorough evaluation. You can request a personal home visit, schedule an appointment online, or call for an appointment at your convenience.