Dr. Amy Chai MD, Internist

Dr. Amy Chai MD

Internist

714 Chase Parkway 6 Waterbury CT, 06708

About

Dr. Amy Chai is an internist practicing in Waterbury, CT. Dr. Chai specializes in the medical treatment of adults. Internists can act as a primary physician or a consultant to a primary physician. They manage both common and rare diseases. Dr. Chai provides comprehensive care and manages treatment with surgeons as well. Internists establish long-term relationships with their patients and incorporate disease prevention and mental health care into their practice. Dr. Chai has specialized training in obesity management and opioid addiction treatment.

Education and Training

The Johns Hopkins University Biology 1985

University of Alabama School of Medicine 1989

Provider Details

FemaleEnglish
Dr. Amy Chai MD
Dr. Amy Chai MD's Expert Contributions
  • What happens when a diabetic eats sugar?

    Most foods have sugar in them. Carrots, potato, bread, apples, pasta, lentils, well, everything except plain meat has sugar in it. Diabetics need to be particularly in tune to the TYPE of sugar in the food. Some sugars are hard to digest, like fiber found in whole grains like oatmeal. Some sugars are easy to digest, like white rice and table sugar. You cannot live without sugar, but you can live without processed foods. Processed foods take all the fiber and complex sugars out (carbohydrates) and replace them with refined sugars (white flour, white rice, sweets, etc.). If you were just diagnosed with diabetes at 45 years old, chances are good that you have "type 2" diabetes. When you eat carbohydrates, glucose goes into your blood. If you eat natural carbohydrates like plain oatmeal, the glucose goes up slowly and does not cause a big sugar spike or insulin spike. If you eat processed carbohydrates like desserts or sweetened beverages or fruit juice, the glucose will rise very fast and high into the blood. This causes the insulin to spike, and the blood sugar to rise. It is a very short explanation of a very long subject. You might want to google "low glycemic index foods" and "the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for more information. READ MORE

  • Can head trauma permanently affect a child's development?

    We do know that concussions and closed head injuries can have long-term repercussions, especially repeated head injuries of the sort that often occur in certain types of sports. But if the baby checked out fine and did not have a concussion or other serious injury, I would not worry. Kids will often get the "goose egg" injury from a bump on the head and have no long lasting effects. Permanent problems from head trauma depend on the severity and the location of the injury, which should not be surprising. However, if you feel that the baby is not making developmental milestones, I would certainly have her checked out by a pediatrician. READ MORE

  • Can covid-19 cause urinary incontinence?

    The sudden onset of urinary incontinence is concerning and should warrant a call to your doctor right away. However, urinary incontinence has not been associated with covid-19 in any of the symptom notifications put out by our health department. Of course, severe coughing can sometimes cause incontinence, and cough is definitely a covid-19 symptom. So if you have developed sudden incontinence, call your physician. READ MORE

  • How do you treat pus in the ear?

    Typically, pus anywhere will require antibiotic treatment. If pus is DRAINING from the ear, it can mean a ruptured eardrum or a foreign body in the ear. Of course, this means he should get this evaluated by his doctor. READ MORE

  • What causes an enlarged testicle?

    If your testicular area is enlarging, you will need to get an examination by your doctor. It could be anything from a hernia to a testicular cancer. READ MORE

  • Can Ayurveda cure adenomyosis uterus with multiple myomas?

    That would be unlikely. I would follow up with your gynecologist. READ MORE

  • What causes uncontrollable eye blinking?

    I assume you mean a rapid, unintentional twitch of the eyelid? That is called, blepharospasm. It is a localized muscle dystonia that could be due to fatigue, on the computer too long, or just plain short out of the part of the brain that switches muscle off n on. You can treat it with botox if it does not simply go away after a bit of rest. READ MORE

  • How long does IBS last?

    IBS is a chronic condition that can be managed. It is not a “harmful” condition, although symptoms can be hard to deal with. Depression can cause this type of functional illness. IBS is associated with a childhood history of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. This does not mean that this is the cause in your son, but it does mean that a good therapist will help and will also help to prevent him from “catastrophizing” his symptoms, and will help bring up anything your child might not be sharing with you. In short, IBS is not a serious illness and you should not condition your son to fear it. He may have lifelong symptoms, but they are treatable. He needs a mental health therapist to help him deal with symptoms and to determine if there is an underlying depression, anxiety, or abuse history. READ MORE

  • Is it normal to have a cough for 3 weeks?

    It is not unusual for viral infections such as bronchitis to last 3 weeks. However, by that time it should be mostly improved. If he is not improved, he should be evaluated. READ MORE

  • How do you treat hypnic headaches?

    I would simply like to make sure you have been evaluated by a neurologist. As a primary care doctor, I would hesitate to make this diagnosis without being sure other causes were ruled out. Caffeine is actually a common treatment for this type of headache, also indocun or lithium might be used. But I suggest getting your treatment from the diagnosing physician. READ MORE

  • How is a torn tendon diagnosed?

    Tendons attach muscles to bones. A "strain" is a pulled or torn tendon. Ligaments attach bones to other bones. A "sprain" is a pulled or torn ligament. Tendons (and ligaments) are not calcified like bones are, so of course you cannot see them on an X-ray, unless the tear is so bad that it pulled off a piece of bone along with it. So, how can you tell if they are torn? Well, often we can tell if a tendon is torn "all the way through" by the physical exam. The muscle will be balled up and it won't work at all because it is pulled off of the bone. Often, if there is a partial tear of a tendon, it is hard to tell how bad it is. Normally, we just rest, ice, and do physical therapy. Most of the time it will heal up in a few weeks. If it doesn't, then it might be time to look at it with an MRI. If the tendon is really obviously torn on exam, or if it pulled a bone chip off on X-ray, then we would go ahead and send the patient to orthopedics or get an MRI right away. So, it depends on how severe the tear is, what muscle is involved, and whether or not it is likely to heal on its own versus getting sent to orthopedics. The MRI part is mostly if we are thinking about surgery in this case. READ MORE

  • What is the best treatment for neck pain?

    Before you can discover the correct treatment for your neck pain, it is important to know the cause of the pain. It can be any number of diagnoses, including a strain, spondylosis, pinched nerve, muscle spasm, or even infection. You will need to be evaluated by your doctor to find answers. Often, physical therapy is a starting point for common causes of neck pain. READ MORE

  • When should I go to the ER for back pain?

    This is a great question. Of course, you should be calling your primary care doctor to see if you can get in right away. However, if you are anything like most men your age, you don't HAVE a primary care doctor. Maybe you called around and the next "new patient visit" is next spring. So you are left to wonder about the seriousness of your back pain. In this case, it is an appropriate first step to go to the ER. They can "check you out" to make sure you do not have any genuinely serious problems. If there is a serious problem, they can send you to the right specialist. If there is NOT a serious problem (most likely scenario) they will refer you to a new primary doctor who can get you on the road to recovery. READ MORE

  • Can Hashimoto's thyroiditis be cured?

    Hashimotos thyroiditis is so common that it is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, a condition that pretty much everyone has. Most people don’t bother to diagnose it or “name” it, they just treat it. It is never “cured” but it is super easy to treat. It only requires periodic blood testing, and typically some med adjustment. Don’t believe all the fake news about thyroid madness that you see on the internet. Just get regular follow up with your endocrinologist or PCP. READ MORE

  • How do you know you have sickle cell anemia?

    A blood test is required to diagnose sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell trait is more likely if you are an adult and were never diagnosed with SCD. Sickle disease requires one SCD gene from each parent. However, the typically asymptomatic SC trait requires one normal gene from one parent and one SCD gene from the other parent. Either condition is easily diagnosed with a blood test. Your doctor can order it for you. READ MORE

  • Can a blood test detect lung problems?

    No, blood tests are not typically used in general practice to detect lung problems. When you visit your doctor, they will typically check your finger for oxygen level, and that is a good place to start. If you have lung problems, the first test is of course the chest X-ray. It may also be important to check PFTs (pulmonary function tests). These tests can test for problems such as asthma and COPD. If you are worried about lung cancer, a "low dose screening chest CT scan" is the way to go. If you have a 30-year history of smoking (1 pack per day for 30 years, or 2 packs per day for 15 years), you will qualify for a lung cancer screening CT scan. READ MORE

  • What problems can constipation lead to?

    Constipation is more commonly a symptom of an underlying problem rather than a cause. If you have abnormal bowel habits or a change in your bowel habits, you should see your doctor. That being said, I have seen constipation lead to hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, and even colonic perforation and sepsis. Exercise, drinking plenty of water, and a high fiber diet is good to maintain regularity. But again, changes in bowel habits can be a sign of an underlying problem and should be checked by your doctor. READ MORE

  • How long is too long to be constipated?

    First, you should ask yourself if you are under a lot of stress, if you recently "started" or "stopped" a regular food or vitamin (such as coffee, or iron are examples), if you are exercising the way you normally do, if you recently changed your diet, and if you are drinking enough fluids. Changes in these lifestyle type of factors are common causes of temporary constipation. If you return to healthy habits and continue to have "new and unusual bowel changes" you should go to the doctor. If you have started a new medicine such as a pain medication, this could also cause constipation (opiates are the worst culprit). The number of times you go to the bathroom in a week is a personal thing because people are different. READ MORE

  • Which antibiotic is best for a lung infection?

    It depends on what is causing your infection. It could be as simple as azithromycin. It could be a multi drug regimen! It might require IV medicines. Different clinical factors point to different types of infections that respond to different antibiotics (assuming it is bacterial!) If you are getting worse or no improvement on your current medication, a trip to the ER is indicated. READ MORE

  • Can drinking more water cure a UTI?

    Here is a useful article about UTIs in males (see link below). It is uncommon for males to get UTIs, especially young males. Perhaps a visit to the urologist would be a good idea. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320872.php READ MORE

  • Do you need physical therapy after a spinal fusion?

    Most orthopedic surgeries involve post operative physical therapy. I am disappointed that you are scheduled for surgery and yet have not discussed the process with your surgeon. This is not your fault, but please call your surgeon to discuss your surgery and recovery plans. This should be thoroughly explained by your surgeon prior to surgery. READ MORE

  • How painful is a ruptured eardrum?

    The ear is a very sensitive area. If you are concerned about a possible ruptured eardrum, please bring your daughter to a pediatrician or walk in clinic for a diagnosis and possible treatment of infection. Do not put any drops or Q-tips into the ear. Keep the ear dry. Use a shower cap if needed. If there is an infection causing the rupture, it should be treated appropriately. It should be okay to take the usual over-the-counter pain medications or a bit of a low setting heating pad to the area as needed (do not use while sleeping). READ MORE

  • What is the best medication for nerve pain?

    The first medication that is typically tried for nerve pain is gabapentin. So that is probably considered the best. READ MORE

  • What does it mean if you have a low blood count?

    "Low blood count" most commonly refers to a condition called, "anemia." Anemia occurs when the body does not have enough red blood cells. The red blood cells are the ones that carry the oxygen to the body, and if they are "low" it might cause fatigue, pale skin, or even shortness of breath. Anemia is often caused by low iron or blood loss. In young women, it is often caused by a poor diet (not enough iron) or heavy menstrual bleeding. She should follow up with her doctor to evaluate the cause of her anemia and get proper treatment. READ MORE

  • How painful is gastric bypass surgery?

    Surgery is not painful, of course. The painful part is the recovery. You will surely be very sore after the surgery, and you will probably not feel well for some time as you adjust to eating again. It is no more painful than any other surgery, but recovering with the dietary restrictions might be a challenge. Most people seem to do fine with it, for the most part. Best of luck. It is normal to be scared. Make sure you ask the surgeon about the "percentages" of surgical complications, and what to expect from your procedure. Communication is vital. READ MORE

  • What causes leg tingling?

    There are many causes of "neuropathy" which is a sensation of pins and needles, tingling, or numbness that you might feel. Neuropathy is common in the legs. There are many causes. Some common causes include diabetes (high blood sugar), problems with your thyroid gland, a low level of vitamin B12 (particularly if you are vegan), and pressure on nerves that is occurring somewhere in the body. Of course there are many other causes, however, these are some of the more common causes. It is important to get checked, and get some blood tests done. Best of luck! READ MORE

  • How can I improve my prostate health?

    With regards to your cancer risk, there are some things you can change and some things you can't. You can't change your genetic risk, or your age, or your race. Family history of cancer, getting older, and African American race all contribute to your prostate risk. However, some things you can do. You can avoid smoking, obesity, and a bad diet. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Avoid a high fat diet, and avoid processed meat products. Keep a healthy weight. There are no supplements proven to help, so you can save your money. Talk to your doctor about screening for prostate cancer and to get information about your personal risk profile. READ MORE

  • How long does a breast biopsy take?

    The duration of the breast biopsy depends on the type of biopsy. Breast biopsy ranges from a fine needle aspiration (Just sticking a needle into the lump, sometimes with ultrasound guidance) all the way to "lumpectomy" (cutting out the entire suspicious area). The fine needle biopsy takes a minute or two after prepping and numbing the area. So, total around 10-15 minutes. The lumpectomy may need "general anesthesia" where they put you to sleep. So it would end up being longer, around 30-45 minutes by the time you get put to sleep, the lump removed, and waking up again. Breast biopsies are very easy and quick. Usually they don't take much time. The worst part of a breast biopsy is just waiting for the result. Hope that yours is benign. Most breast biopsies are benign, only about one in five is cancerous. READ MORE

  • Is a chest x-ray safe for pregnant women?

    We typically don't order the X-ray unless we suspect pneumonia. I am guessing your doctor is concerned about possible pneumonia. We typically limit both X-rays and antibiotics (and most other medications) in pregnant women due to concerns about possible toxicities to the baby. To answer your question, an X-ray is a question of "risk" versus "benefit." It is not risk free, but it might be necessary. You need to ask your doctor if you are not sure. Typically, if a chest X-ray is necessary during pregnancy, they do use a lead shield to protect the baby. It is always mandatory to let X-ray technicians know that you are pregnant. READ MORE

  • How long is the recovery time for a knee replacement?

    Short term recovery is 6-12 weeks (as far as restrictions are concerned) but further exercise is typically important for the longer term. But I am a PCP, not an orthopedic surgeon. I am accustomed to answering questions about surgeries and procedures (about which I have no special expertise) because communication sometimes isn’t happening with specialists. Please bring a written list of specific questions, and don’t let your surgeon out of the room until communication has occurred. Best of luck. READ MORE

  • What can I do to live a normal life with diabetes?

    Given that approximately 8% of the US population has been diagnosed with diabetes, it would appear to me that you will definitely be leaving a “normal life” despite your new diagnosis. Just look around you and you will see nearly one in every 10 person with diabetes. Assuming that you are a type two diabetic, the real question I would ask is “how do I put this disease into remission?” Drugs like metformin and hard core dietary changes can put the disease into remission. Bariateic surgery can do it, too. If you are newly diagnosed, hitting this disease very hard upfront will have very long lasting positive affects for your future. READ MORE

  • Is a colonoscopy safe?

    Colonoscopy is generally quite safe and well tolerated. Most people over 50 have had one. Risks of the procedure include bleeding and perforation. Your risk of this depends on many factors, such as if you use blood thinner medications and if the doctor needs to cut out pre-cancerous polyps during the procedure. So if you have polyps, the risk is higher. But then again, failure to remove the polyps could lead to colon cancer. You pick your risks. Complications are rare of course. Then again, you assume risk simply by getting in the car to drive to your procedure! READ MORE

  • What could be the cause of ear pain?

    There are many causes of ear pain. One common cause is “eustachian tube dysfunction” where the pressure does not equalize properly. This is often due to allergies and congestion. Another common cause is infection. Infection can be “swimmers ear” or it can be a middle ear infection. Sometimes, “ear pain” is actually referred pain from the throat. I have also seen ear pain from a cockroach wedged inside the ear canal! (But uncomfortable blockages are usually just wax.) So as you can see, it is difficult to tell what the cause is without looking inside the ear. Every potential cause has a different treatment. READ MORE

  • How many people are affected by hemophilia?

    The prevalence of hemophilia in US males is around one in 10,000. It is a genetic disease, so really the prevalence depends on the population. Why not look online for a support group? It is often very useful to chat with others with similar issues. You can get advice and share experiences. READ MORE

  • How can I increase my chances on getting my wife pregnant?

    Go to the pharmacy and get an ovulation prediction kit. One example of a brand is "Clear Plan Easy" and I am sure there are other brands available. Follow the instructions on the box. There is a limited "window" of fertile time during the month, it is during ovulation. You can tell when she is ovulating by reading the instructions on the box. Plan to have sex daily as soon as the ovulation phase begins. And of course if your wife is trying to conceive, she should be taking vitamins with FOLATE in them, usually the prenatals have the folate in them. Many women do not get enough folate in the diet. Good luck and God bless. READ MORE

  • Why does my leg hurt so much?

    Sounds a lot like you might have a nerve from the lower back that is pinched or inflamed. Chances are good your doctor would do an exam and start with a plain X-ray and some physical therapy. As a general rule, I suggest getting checked when musculoskeletal symptoms persist or start getting worse. Sounds like you are at that point. READ MORE

  • What is an endoscopy?

    Most of the time, people use the word "endoscopy" to refer to an upper endoscopy, which is putting a flexible tube down into the stomach. The endoscope is thin and flexible, with fiber optics that allow a good view of the "insides" of the stomach, etc. It is completely painless. Most of the time, you will not recall the procedure because of the sedative that they use. They might use this type of procedure to check for ulcers and other problems with the gastrointestinal tract. It is very common and it is not a big deal. READ MORE

  • Experiencing painful urination with slight blood discharge?

    You need to go to get checked. Most likely it is an infection. But you can’t tell without getting evaluated. Most likely it will clear up with some antibiotic, if you don’t have a doctor try an urgent care. READ MORE

  • Does low iron cause dizziness?

    Typically low iron causes anemia. Anemia can cause dizziness. If there is no anemia, it should be checked for alternative causes. READ MORE

  • Does gluten make me sick?

    If you have been feeling sick for just one week, and have been eating gluten normally your whole life without a problem, it makes gluten sensitivity unlikely. If you are feeling unwell after eating, there are a number of possible causes. If you are not better, get evaluated. READ MORE

  • Do I have sleep apnea?

    Waking up gasping at night (or hearing yourself snort and waking up) are common signs of sleep apnea. Other common symptoms include snoring, waking up unrefreshed and head-achey, feeling very tired during the day, and tending to doze. Risk factors include male sex, obesity, a thick neck, high blood pressure, and getting older. I suggest getting a sleep study to get a diagnosis! If you smoke, have asthma, drink alcohol, or use medications that cause sedation you might want to stop or take care of those issues. Also consider elevating your head during sleep such as trying to sleep in the recliner while you wait for your doctor’s appointment. READ MORE

  • Are cold sores treatable?

    Yes. There are antiviral medications that can be taken immediately at the first symptom to reduce the duration. Ask her doctor about it. These are prescription drugs. Typically they are for age 12 and up. If your daughter is younger than that, ask her pediatrician. READ MORE

  • Why do I have blisters?

    There are some uncommon autoimmune diseases that cause blistering. If you have unprovoked blistering, it would be a good idea to check with the dermatologist. READ MORE

  • What are the treatment options for kidney infection?

    If you have a kidney infection, the way to treat it is with antibiotics. Often, it is important to have a urine culture done. The culture can tell you what "breed" of bacteria is causing the infection; that can be very useful because then it is possible to determine which antibiotic will work. Sometimes, there are bacteria that are "resistant" to some antibiotics and your doctor might need to change antibiotics based on the culture result. A bladder infection is different from a kidney infection, and that is a topic that is a little more complicated. If you have recurrent infections in the urinary tract, you should see a urologist. READ MORE

  • Why are my kidneys hurting?

    Well, if your flanks (back area where the kidneys are located) are hurting, that does not necessarily mean the pain is coming from your kidneys. There are certainly other causes of pain in this location. Of course, kidney stones and kidney infections are common causes of pain from the kidneys, although typically it is only on one side at a time. You need to be evaluated by your primary care doctor. If that doctor does not have an answer for you, simply ask for a referral. READ MORE

  • What would cause blood in urine?

    Visible blood in the urine is something you must not ignore. You will need a cystoscopy (a small scope passed into the bladder) to evaluate this problem. The multiple possibilities range from kidney stones to cancer, but it should definitely prompt an evaluation. Likelihood of a specific diagnosis depends on age, gender, smoking status, and accompanying symptoms. READ MORE

  • How can I strengthen my heart?

    It is hard to answer that question without knowing "why" your heart is weak. Did you have a heart attack and now your heart is not pumping as hard? Did you have a virus infection that made your heart muscle weaker? The answer to these questions would be important to determining a good plan of action for you. There is something called "cardiac rehab" which is like "physical therapy" for heart patients; it helps build heart strength. Your doctor would need to make a referral to cardiac rehab for you if you would benefit from it. I would start by asking your doctor to clarify EXACTLY what he/she meant using the following questions: 1- What exactly do you mean when you say my heart is "weak"? 2- Why is my heart weak? 3- Is it safe for me to exercise? 4- Would cardiac rehab help me? 5- What should I do to improve my health? 6- Can I strengthen my heart? Write down both the questions and your doctor's answers, do not rely on your memory. READ MORE

  • Can people with atrial fibrillation get laser vein removal?

    People with afib get surgery of all types. However, it is important to get a preoperative evaluation. Often, people with afib take blood thinners, and special instructions will be needed. The surgeon will be able to explain the bleeding risks and the doctor who prescribes blood thinners (often the cardiologist) will need to give an opinion regarding how to manage medications before the procedure. READ MORE

  • Too many diabetes prescriptions?

    It is not extreme to take multiple medications for diabetes. All of the medications you mention work in different ways to lower blood sugar. The newer medications are so much safer and better than what we used to have "back in the day." Many diabetics are on multiple medications, and they are not using insulin as soon they used to. This is great to prevent weight gain and avoid low blood sugars. Typically, we start with metformin, and then add on other (often non-insulin) treatments in combination until the A1C goal is reached (I am assuming they must have stopped the metformin). It is not uncommon to require a handful of these meds to get to goal. Of course, diet and exercise is still the cornerstone of good diabetes care! A great way to improve communication and ask questions that you are curious about is to go together to appointments and write down your concerns. READ MORE

  • Can acid reflux cause heart palpitations?

    Palpitations are common and can be caused by many things. However, they are a symptom that is separate from reflux and should be evaluated separately. READ MORE

  • How do you treat nerve pain?

    If nerve pain is recent, I recommend getting it evaluated ASAP. Time is important for best results. Often nerve pain in the hand is related to compression in the wrist. Sometimes physical therapy will cure it, sometimes surgery is needed. In any case, start with your PCP to get the ball rolling for a diagnosis and treatment plan. READ MORE

  • Is reactive airway disease contagious?

    Reactive airway disease is another way of saying, "asthma." Typically, wheezing is called "reactive airway disease" when it is not constant and it is triggered by certain exposures. Reactive airways "close down" when they get irritated by a virus, cold air, exercise, or inhaled irritants. This causes a characteristic "wheezing" sound and some coughing or trouble catching the breath. It is not contagious. It is very common. It is typically treated with inhaled medications. For people who have mild reactive airway disease, they may only need to take an inhaler when they catch a cold. Sometimes it helps to avoid things that trigger wheezing, such as wearing a scarf when the air temperature is very low. READ MORE

  • Infertility and overdoses?

    No, those meds do not cause infertility. However, I assume you already called 911 to be treated for the overdose? If not, call 911 right now. READ MORE

  • Does Modafinil help fibromyalgia fatigue?

    Modafinil is not FDA approved for fibromyalgia related fatigue. There are three drugs that are FDA approved for fibromyalgia. This drugs are pregabalin (lyrica), duloxetine (cymbalta), and milnacipran (savella). READ MORE

  • What causes sudden shortness of breath?

    Diseases of the heart and diseases of the lung are the most common causes of acute shortness of breath. Such diseases may include asthma, blood clots, and heart defects. There are of course many potential causes, some minor and some more serious. Of course it is not possible to find a diagnosis without appropriate examination and testing. She should be evaluated by a physician. READ MORE

  • Can a hernia problem be fixed without a surgery?

    A hernia cannot be "fixed" (repaired) without surgery. In some cases, if the hernia is not causing any symptoms, there may be the option to simply watch and wait--delaying surgery to see if symptoms develop over time. (Typically, symptoms will develop even if the hernia is not causing any symptoms when it is diagnosed). It is always appropriate to see a surgeon if your doctor discovers a hernia. The surgeon will explain all of your options. READ MORE

  • Do I need to go to the doctor when there is blood in my urine?

    Yes. READ MORE

  • What is stomach atrophy?

    It sounds like you must mean “atrophic gastritis” and you can look up this term online. It is related to inflammation of the stomach to where the stomach doesn’t absorb certain things as well and gets a little bit Fibrotic (like scarred). Sometimes it is caused by your own body’s immune system and sometimes it is caused by infection with a bacteria called H pylori. READ MORE

  • Is lupus cancer or not?

    Lupus is NOT CANCER. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. "Auto" means "self." Auto immunity is an immune reaction against yourself. Lupus is where your body makes antibodies (the same antibodies that fight off infections) against itself. As you can imagine, it is not a great idea for the body's immune system to attack itself. This can cause problems ranging from MILD (such as a rash) to SEVERE (such as kidney failure). Some people with lupus do not have too many problems and they do fine with the medications that are used to calm down the body's natural immune response. HOWEVER, some people with lupus seem to have constant problems and flare-ups. So, the disease can be either mild or serious. It is typically treated by a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists treat a lot of immune type of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. So, to answer your question, NO, lupus is NOT cancer at all. READ MORE

  • Help, I'm struggling with ceoliac disease.

    Am I understanding correctly? You were purchasing your food at the pharmacy? If so, that might explain why you are struggling with your food choices. There are so many delicious gluten-free options available, I will list a few of the most popular brands for you if you do not like preparing your own gluten-free foods. There is Amy's Kitchen, Bob's Red Mill, Udi's, Schar, and Glutino, to name a few. For beers, we like Omission brand. To prepare your own gluten free recipes, simply purchase gluten free flour and prepare your own muffins, pancakes, scones, or cookies. There are many recipes online that you can discover. Of course, creating Asian dishes with steamed rice or rice noodles is my personal favorite way to eat gluten-free. Also, baked potato is gluten free and healthy instead of bread. I would definitely NEVER purchase food from a pharmacy! There are so many good gluten-free choices at the normal grocery store or online. Good luck! READ MORE

  • How are you cleared for surgery in a blood clot risk assessment?

    “If you are doing unnecessary surgery, you better do it damn well.” The plastics people are extremely risk averse because their surgeries are a cash business, not a life saving necessity. That being said, you may have other risk factors for blood clots. I am sure you are not taking standard oral contraceptives (because they are contraindicated in migraine) and it is unlikely you are a smoker. Those are two major risk factors for blood clot. Other risk factors are obesity and venous insufficiency in the legs. You do not have a personal or family history of clotting disorder, so those would be the things I would look for if I were doing a pre op exam. I assume you do not have any other major health problems like afib or kidney disease. Yes, it is true that migraine WITH AURA increases your risk of a blood clot to about double compared to a woman your age without migraine with aura. However, It is a low number, and doubling a low number is still a low number. And that is for clots “in general” I am not aware of percent risk that is specific to “perioperative risk” related to migraine. So generally, I would simply make the surgeon aware of that and suggest careful management and suggest proactive preventive measures. However, it is not me doing your procedure. If the surgeon wishes to cover his bases with a hematology consult, it is reasonable to ask for one. In any case, you are at higher risk of blood clot, but so are a lot of people who get surgeries. I am pretty sure the hematologist would agree that you do have increased risk. The hematologist can also check for Factor V Leiden, which might also confer risk, not sure of the exact number. I would ask the surgeon what the standard clotting risk is for his particular surgery, then double it. There is not a cut and dried predictive risk calculation for you that I am aware of. Maybe the hematologist could do a better estimate. But ultimately, you will need to choose the level of risk that you personally feel comfortable with. People with migraines, a fib, cancer, smoking, obesity, etc do get surgeries all the time. I personally have migraine with aura and have been under the knife a few times. There is always risk, sometimes it is hard to quantify. READ MORE

  • Is fish oil good for heart health?

    Prescription “fish oils” can be beneficial if you have elevated triglycerides. The most important thing for you to do is to have your lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) checked. You should also have your blood pressure checked regularly, and get a physical exam with a baseline EKG. It would be helpful to know WHY other family members had heart problems. Was it due to an abnormal rhythm? Was it due to a structural defect? Was it due to high cholesterol? These thing can be familial. One example is “long QT syndrome” which can cause sudden death due to abnormal rhythm. Of course it would be useless to threat that with “fish oil” since fish oil primarily is prescribed for high triglycerides, not abnormal heart rhythms. I do not routinely recommend fish oil, though having a diet with a couple of servings of a fatty fish each week would be good. I suggest avoiding smoking (or any drugs including marijuana which increases heart attacks) eating a lower carb diet with fish and whole grains, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and go to your doctor to be evaluated for your personal risk profile. READ MORE

  • Are snoring and sleep apnea the same thing?

    It is possible to have snoring without having sleep apnea. Snoring is vibration in the back of your throat due to air moving past. Sleep apnea is when there are actually episodes of 1-APNEA (when breathing stops completely, typically due to throat tissues blocking the airway completely) and/or 2-HYPOPNEA (where the throat is closing off enough for the oxygen level to drop during your sleep). Sleep apnea is usually caused due to the throat tissues blocking the airway. Loud snoring is usually the first clue that the throat is getting blocked off during sleep. Other symptoms include a "snort" that wakes you up, headaches in the morning, and feeling tired during the day. Most people with sleep apnea do not realize that they have sleep apnea. Usually, a family member notices the snoring and "snorting" or "gagging" episodes during sleep. ALSO, it is possible to have "central" sleep apnea, where the brain simply forgets to breathe while you are sleeping. Any sort of sleep apnea is dangerous and can cause serious health problems. The only way to know whether loud snoring is due to sleep apnea is to get it checked with a sleep study. They do have sleep study monitors that you can take home and "wear" overnight in your own bed if there is a low chance that you have apnea. This is much simpler than getting the study where you have to sleep overnight at the facility. READ MORE

  • Why do I have bad pain?

    If you have abdominal pain and bleeding you certainly ought to be seen right away. It would be reasonable to go directly to the emergency department. READ MORE

  • What symptoms should I look out for to have my thryroid checked?

    Low thyroid can cause many symptoms, such as weight gain, constipation, dry skin, and cold intolerance. It is worth checking your thyroid function if you gain weight. However, there are many causes of weight gain, including chronic stress, shift work, inadequate sleep, and certain medications. Many doctors are poorly educated about weight management, it is not as simple as calories. It is likely that most people have several reasons for weight gain. Discuss this with your doctor. READ MORE

  • Pulled a muscle in my groin. What should I do for pain?

    You need to first be certain that you do indeed have a groin pull. A visit to an urgent care will help if you are unsure. Other causes of pain in the groin include problems such as hernias and problems with the hip joint. A typical groin pull is helped by over the counter pain remedies such as ibuprofen (assuming there is no medical reason not to take such medications) physical therapy, and gentle range of motion stretches. Of course rest and avoiding strenuous activity will help it heal faster. READ MORE

  • What else can I do to see a specialist ASAP?

    I think that there is a good chance that repletion of your iron stores with iron infusion will resolve or at least improve your fatigue and restless legs. This is a chronic problem and if your hemoglobin is normal, it is not likely that waiting until next month will cause physical harm, though I do suggest calling your PCP to see if the appointment can be bumped up. I think it is also important to consider why you might have problems with low iron stores. Have you been checked for celiac disease (gluten intolerance)? Another potential cause of poor iron absorption is chronic use of proton pump inhibitors (your acid medication). It might be reasonable to try to treat GERD with strict diet and a wedge pillow instead of chronic use of high doses of omeprazole. Also, make sure to disclose all supplements used. Some can be toxic, especially in higher doses. It is completely possible that your sleep study showing REM sleep disorder could be related to restless legs and caused by iron deficiency. In this case, klonopin might be tapered off. Benzodiazepines can worsen GERD and can have a lethal withdrawal syndrome, including seizures if you take them long term or at high doses or both. Celiac disease can also cause GERD and seizures. Interestingly, common viral infections such as chicken pox can actually trigger immune responses that cause celiac (gluten intolerance). So, you might be right about that detail. So the common denominator here is potentially celiac disease and/or omeprazole. I do strongly suggest finding a good gastroenterologist. These are simply my random thoughts and are not meant to constitute medical advice. READ MORE

  • Is Xanax addictive?

    You are correct. Xanax is not the first choice drug to use for sleep or anxiety, unless it is for a very limited time frame or for only occasional use. Sometimes I will prescribe a "few" xanax for people who have a lot of anxiety, so that they can have a sense of control and know that if they "really" have a need, they can use one. I will also use this technique for short term high stress events, such as a death in the family. The other disorder for which benzos are appropriate is panic disorder. Panic disorder is not the same thing as anxiety disorder. So drugs like xanax are fine in limited amounts for limited times. They are too addictive to use for long term anxiety or insomnia. For anxiety, it is often appropriate to use a combination of "antidepressant" medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. (sertraline or duloxetine are commonly used) There are a number of phone apps that help with anxiety, such as B2R (developed for the VA) and Pacifica. Combining appropriate treatments for anxiety with good sleep hygiene would be my initial approach to treating the insomnia caused by anxiety. Best of luck READ MORE

  • Can weight loss help me get rid of my diabetes?

    It is possible to put type 2 diabetes "in remission" with weight loss. In fact, there was a trial in the UK that showed that this is indeed possible. However, to be realistic, it is also important to note that most people who lose 5-10% of their body weight do regain it rather quickly. This is not due to a lack of willpower, rather it is due to the body's reaction to the weight loss. The body tries to protect a "biological set point" of weight, and has many dirty tricks in store for you (such as pumping out hunger hormones) when you lose weight. Often times, people need to remain on weight loss drugs long term to maintain the lower weight. It is a conundrum. You must think in terms of resetting your body's weight set point. I encourage you to exercise as much as possible, and to limit carbs as much as possible. Also, I would suggest avoiding "weight gaining" diabetic medications such as sulfonureas (like glyburide) and insulins. The newer medications such as ozempic might be a good choice for weight loss. I would also stay on the metformin. If you are able to simply use diet and exercise, that would be wonderful, though you would be in the minority of people who are actually able to do that. Best of luck. READ MORE

  • How can one clear out a stuffed ear?

    Cleaning ears with Qtips is not a good idea. In fact, cleaning your ears with a cotton swab may CAUSE the impaction (hardening and sticking) of earwax in the ear canal. The first recommendation I have is to avoid using the cotton swab. If your wax remains impacted, then using an over-the-counter ear drop for wax removal would be the next step. If that fails, you should go to your primary care doctor to get the "waterpik" treatment. Typically, we use a gentle pulse of water to flush out the ear wax. Once the wax is removed, simply use a washcloth as normal, but avoid cotton swabs. READ MORE

  • Who is at risk of getting COPD?

    Everyone who smokes is at risk for developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. The more cigarettes that you smoke over time, the greater the likelihood of developing COPD. Air pollution, second hand smoke, and exposure to other airborne particles such as cooking smoke can also cause COPD. You are correct to be concerned about a family history of COPD. Some people have genetic factors that place them at greater risk of developing COPD. So if family members have COPD, there is a good chance that you are more susceptible to the damage caused by smoke. It is also likely that if your parents smoked, you have had a lot of exposure to "second hand" smoke as a child. Less commonly, there is a genetic abnormality called alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency that, when present, can cause lung and liver disease even without exposure to toxins. To prevent yourself from developing COPD, or to prevent your existing COPD from getting worse, it is critically important to stop smoking. Chantix is a medication that has shown a lot of efficacy for smoking cessation. Other options include a medication called bupropion (Wellbutrin) and nicotine replacement patches and gum. Of course, "cold turkey" is also a good way to go. The physical addiction to nicotine goes away after only two weeks of withdrawal. You might be grouchy for a couple of weeks, though. After the first two weeks, keeping away from cigarettes usually means finding another activity to do with your hands or your mouth, such as chewing gum or using a fidget spinner. It is also important to get support from family and friends so they can keep you on the right track. Good luck, you can do it. READ MORE

  • Why do my feet swell up by evening?

    Foot swelling is called, "dependent edema" in medical language. Edema is the buildup of fluid in body tissues. Fluid often builds up in the feet and legs because gravity causes fluid to flow to the lowest point in the body. That is why elevating the feet and legs (above the level of the heart if possible) will make edema better, and standing up will make it worse. Typically, leg swelling is least bothersome in the morning. This is because the feet are the same level as the rest of the body while you are asleep in bed, allowing the fluid to spread equally in the body. Then, after being awake and walking around all day, gravity causes the fluid to pool in the lowest body part, your feet. To relieve the discomfort of edema, you can elevate your legs and wear compression stockings. However, when you have edema you should never simply ignore it. Even though foot swelling is common and is often caused by a minor problem, edema can also be a symptom of a serious problem with the kidney, the liver, or the heart. Your doctor will need to do some blood tests, a urine test, and a physical exam if you have a new problem with edema. It is important to get checked out to make sure that you do not have a medical problem causing the swelling. READ MORE

  • Can natural foods help in improving my platelet count?

    There are two main causes for dropping platelet count: 1-The bone marrow is not making enough platelets; or 2-The body is destroying platelets too fast. Low platelets is a serious problem and should be evaluated by your doctor. Your doctor might look for some causes of decreased bone marrow production, such as low vitamin B12, folate, and iron, or bone marrow diseases such as myelodysplasia or aplastic anemia. Your doctor might look for some causes of platelet destruction such as viral illnesses, spleen disorders, autoimmune problems, or blood clotting disorders. There is no natural food or food supplement that helps platelets. The only thing that helps platelets is to diagnose the cause and treat the cause. Please see your doctor to evaluate this. READ MORE

  • Is it safe to take the c1 pill with blood pressure medication?

    By C1, I assume that you mean "clonazepam" or some other street benzo. I am going to assume that you are calling it c1 because you purchased it from a "friend" and it was not prescribed to you. Your doctor has no idea what a c1 is because that is not what we call it. Your doctor also doesn't know what a zbar or a blue football is. The only reason I know is because I run a methadone clinic. I absolutely would NEVER take medication that was purchased from the internet or a friend. NEVER. The reason is the People's Republic of China. They are great counterfeiters. However, they don't care about you. They will put God knows what and press it into a pill and sell it. You could die. It could be laced with a synthetic fentanyl product. People have dropped from counterfeit pills. You have no idea what is in that pill. Your doctor can tell you if the medication that he/she prescribed has an interaction with your blood pressure pills. If the doctor who prescribed the medications are different doctors, you should inform the primary care doctor of your new medication, and ask your pharmacist to check for any drug interactions. It is great that you are being proactive and checking prior to starting a new drug, that is very smart! READ MORE

  • I am unable to eat well these days. Could it be related to my liver condition?

    The medical term for loss of appetite is called, "anorexia." It is very common to suffer from anorexia when you have hepatitis. If the anorexia is simply due to the hepatitis, it should improve as the illness resolves. However, it is not a good idea to "assume" that you know the cause of any given medical symptom. It is important to bring up your loss of appetite with your doctor, so you can work together to develop a strategy to determine the cause and treatment. Your doctor might want to order additional tests. READ MORE

  • Does dengue virus spread from one person to another?

    Dengue virus is transmitted from person to person INDIRECTLY through a "vector." The vector is a mosquito. There are two types of mosquito species that can transmit dengue, both of them are of the genus Aedes. The mosquito lands on an infected person and then the mosquito becomes infected. About a week later, the infected mosquito is able to transmit the virus into the next human that it bites. Dengue was originally a monkey disease, but it began infecting humans a couple hundred years ago, and the mosquito species traveled around the world on cargo ships. Now these Aedes mosquito species are very common in many parts of the world. The disease is most common in hot and rainy places or places with a rainy season that tends to allow lots of mosquito breeding to take place. Even though these mosquito species are common in the southern US, dengue is super rare to almost non-existent in our country due to the fact that there are not that many people outside in large groups getting tons of mosquito bites. Almost all of the dengue cases in the US have been immigrants or travelers. You cannot "catch" dengue from a dengue patient. Even if a mosquito bit the dengue patient, it would take around a week for the mosquito to be infectious. Chances are that you are not going to get bitten by that mosquito, at least not in the US. There are four different types of dengue virus, and you will not get immune if you get one type and then get exposed to a different type. This means that you can get dengue four different times. Dengue is a potentially deadly disease. You don't want to get dengue. I suggest wearing DEET (bug spray) when you travel to subtropical or tropical areas. You can get the moist DEET wipes and put them in your luggage, the single application kind. This is because on an airplane, you can't bring the aerosol. Also, don't expect to purchase DEET in other countries. I was in China in the mountains and they sold cheap perfume to ward off the mosquito swarms. It did NOT WORK as you can imagine. Anything that gets rid of mosquito populations will work. There is a new vaccine against dengue that is out. Also, new vaccines against mosquito saliva might protect against a broad spectrum of mosquito virus diseases. Ultimately, the answer is going to be VACCINES. Got to love vaccines. I do. READ MORE

  • What tests are available to me to confirm possible hearing loss?

    The proper specialist to evaluate your hearing is ENT audiology. The ear, nose, and throat specialist examines the ears and the audiologist performs hearing tests. Your primary physician can provide you with a referral if necessary. READ MORE

  • What supplements should I have to recover from jaundice?

    When your liver has been injured, the proper response is to allow the organ to rest instead of making it work harder. The liver has a difficult job when it has to metabolize foreign substances. My advice would be to avoid all supplements that are not specifically prescribed for you, because many of them can damage the recovering liver cells. Avoid all alcohol, avoid all tylenol, avoid all dietary supplements, especially those used for weight loss, body building, immune support, depression, and sexual health. The incidence of liver failure has been rising lately due to people randomly taking supplements. Liver damage is the number one reason that prescription drugs get pulled from the market, but supplements do not share the same sort of oversight. I would suggest eating healthy whole grains, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed, high sugar, high fat foods. You can continue to have your coffee because studies show that a cup of joe is good for your liver. Eat lean proteins and avoid greasy and fried items. Take any vitamins suggested by your doctor but avoid the rest. Get well soon! READ MORE

  • Why is my daughter's skin getting burnt?

    I suggest investing in stylish SPF style rash guards for both boys and girls to wear in the water. Coupled with a wide brimmed hat and a cute beach tent or umbrella, your child can remain outdoors for longer without suffering burns. Also consider taking a shaded lunch break at mid day, while the sun is strongest. Many websites specialize in sun protective clothing and accessories. Have fun and be safe! READ MORE

Dr. Amy Chai MD's Practice location

Franklin Medical Group

714 Chase Parkway 6 -
Waterbury, CT 06708
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New patients: 203-755-4577

144 BLUE HILLS RD -
NORTH HAVEN, CT 06473
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New patients: 203-891-7689

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