I Am So Stressed! Should I Have a Cigarette?

quit smoking -480601895Is smoking a cigarette when you are stressed, depressed or irritable a proven way to relieve those emotions or improve your mood? 

The answer is, no. The relief you get from smoking comes from the act of taking the “time out” necessary to smoke a cigarette. It does not have to do with the chemical actions of nicotine in your brain.

If you finish your cigarette and return to your stressful situation, the feeling of tension will come back. Therefore, the act of smoking is only a temporary solution for handling stress.

 A proven way to control stress, tension or depression in your life is to identify what brings on those emotions and learning how to change the way you react to the events and situations in your life. 

If you have been using smoking as a way to reduce stress, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center can help you kick the habit. Enroll, today, for our smoking cessation classes. For more information or to register, call: 718-206-8494.

 

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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Castor Oil

Castor oil has always been portrayed in old movies and TV shows as something to be avoided at all costs because of its unpleasant taste and smell. However, it does have many beneficial properties when taken orally or when it is applied to the skin. The benefits of castor oil come from its high quantity of unsaturated fatty acids, which are derived from the castor seed.
Castor Oil is probably best known as a laxative. It also is used as an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, and can be used to induce labor. It has been used to treat yeast infections, migraines, acne, menstrual cramps, and hair loss.
It is recommended that you speak with your physician first before using castor oil.Castor Oil

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep.

ThinkstockPhotos-149405368Being overweight, over 40, or having a history of sleep apnea in your family are all factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition. Men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women. Other health factors that can lead to sleep apnea include: reflux, GERD, sinus issues, allergies, or a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:

• High blood pressure
• Stroke
• Heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and heart attack
• Diabetes

Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, restless sleep, frequently waking up while you are sleeping (sometimes with a choking sensation), and waking up with a sore throat. Those who suffer from sleep apnea also feel tired and lack energy while they are awake, experience mood changes, have lapses in concentration, and are forgetful. These waking symptoms can result in decreased productivity at work or school and can lead to potentially dangerous situations, especially while driving.

If sleep apnea is suspected, your doctor may recommend a sleep apnea study called a polysomnogram, which is a test administered by a qualified sleep specialist in a designated sleep center. While at the sleep center, you are assigned a private room where special equipment is used to monitor you. This equipment transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. Special technicians determine if you have sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is diagnosed, you may be asked to do further sleep testing in order to determine the best treatment option.

The most common form of treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This is a treatment in which a mask is worn over the nose and/or mouth while you sleep. The mask is connected to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air into the nose. This air flow helps keep the airways open so that breathing is regular. Another treatment option is the utilization of dental devices designed to help keep the airway open. Some might benefit from surgery if their sleep apnea is caused by a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, or a small lower jaw with an overbite.

There are things that people with sleep apnea can do to improve their condition including losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills, and quit smoking. Other things that can potentially help are changing sleep positions to improve breathing and avoid sleeping on your back.

If you think you have sleep apnea, speak with your doctor about a sleep apnea test. Jamaica Hospital recently opened a state-of-the-art sleep center for those in need. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-5916.

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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Cardiomyopathy

ThinkstockPhotos-452128839Cardiomyopathy is a disease which causes the heart muscle to become enlarged, thickened or rigid.  The cause of cardiomyopathy is often unknown; however, many believe genetics or previous and chronic heart disorders are contributing factors. Cardiomyopathy is not specific to any age group but it is more prevalent among adults.

This condition may lead to weakening of the heart, which makes it incapable of pumping sufficient blood throughout the body and maintaining a normal electrical rhythm.

The inability of the heart to function properly can potentially cause heart valve problems, heart failure and arrhythmias. Additional complications that can also occur include fluid build-up of the lungs, ankles, feet, legs and abdomen.

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can vary. In the early stages of the disease, there may not be any symptoms but as the condition advances, they begin to appear. Some symptoms may include:

  • Breathlessness with exertion or even at rest.
  • Coughs.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irregular heartbeats which are rapid, pounding or fluttering.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting.

Cardiomyopathy cannot be reversed or cured; it can be controlled with lifestyle changes and treated with medications such as diuretics, surgically implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. As a last resort heart transplant surgery may be recommended.

It is advised that you see your doctor if you have one or more of the symptoms associated with cardiomyopathy.  You can contact Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Cardiology at 718-206-7100 for an appointment and evaluation.

 

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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6 Home Remedies for Constipation

OliveOil 178561098 (1)We have all experienced constipation at some point in our lives. The experience can be painful and uncomfortable. Constipation is a condition of the digestive system that occurs when bowel movements are less frequent than normal (two or fewer in a week) and is difficult to pass. There are several causes for constipation some of which are:  not enough fiber in the diet, eating large amounts of dairy products, medication and the most common culprit-insufficient fluid intake.

There are several home remedies that you can try to get relief from constipation, they include:

  • Drinking Epsom salts with water- This mixture is excellent for constipation because the salt softens the stool and the magnesium helps in contracting the muscles in the bowels.
  • Taking a tablespoon of olive oil- Olive oil is known to stimulate the digestive system and can help in moving waste through the colon.
  • Eating fiber- Adding natural fibers from fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet can help in softening stool and making it bulkier.
  • Drinking Aloe Vera juice- Aloe Vera juice can be used to soothe the discomfort that can be caused by constipation.
  • Consuming prunes or prune juice- Prunes work as a natural laxative and is a common cure. This fruit is rich in fiber and contains sorbitol, which soften stools.
  • Drinking lots of water or fluids- consuming fluids help in softening the stool, making it easier to pass.

Following these simple home remedies can help relieve constipation and decrease irregularity. If your constipation persists for three weeks or more or you have spotted blood in your stool, please see your doctor immediately. Constipation that is left untreated for too long can lead to health complications such a hemorrhoids or rectal prolapse.

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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The Importance of Wound Care as a Diabetic

Cuts and scrapes may not seem like a big deal for most people but for diabetics, healing can often become complicated due to their immune systems becoming compromised. For diabetics, careful monitoring of healing wounds is important to prevent bigger health issues down the line.

If you’re a diabetic, try these helpful tips to prevent a small problem from becoming more complicated:

  • Should you get aThinkstockPhotos-486206293 (1) cut, treat it immediately. Cleanse the affected area with soap and water daily. Dry the area well after washing, and apply an antibiotic ointment to keep the site germ-free. Skin injuries generally heal within two weeks, but cuts may take up to three weeks to heal in people with diabetes. Anything beyond that is excessive, and you should have your physician look at it again.
  • Keep pressure off the wound. “Make sure you’re not stepping directly on your wound,” says Dr. Andrew Rubin, Podiatrist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. “A podiatrist can help you fabricate a pad so you’re not stepping on it. Pressure can increase the time it takes to heal,” he added.
  • Be aware of the signs of an infection. Symptoms can include pain, redness, or warmth at the site of the infection. Drainage is another sign of an infection. Don’t ignore any of these signs. Get treatment promptly.

Remember that even a small scrape can become serious if you don’t take proper care of it. Left untreated, wounds can lead to an amputation in the most serious of cases. Taking good care of yourself is an important step toward preventing wounds.

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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 Medical Items You Should Bring On Vacation

Vacation76731467 (3)With spring recess only days away many people are planning vacations and getaways.  Here are a few suggested medical or protective items you should bring along to help keep your family and loved ones safe :

 

  1. Medical thermometers.
  2. Band Aids and bandages.
  3. Antihistamines; such as Benadryl.
  4. Antiseptic pain relieving sprays.
  5. Painkillers
  6. Tweezers
  7. Eye wash solutions.
  8. Alcohol pads.
  9. Antibiotic ointments.
  10. Digestive aids such as antacids or diarrhea medication.
  11. Prescriptions in their original and labeled bottles.
  12. If you have a chronic health condition it is recommended that you bring a letter from you doctor describing your condition and treatment.
  13. Antifungal creams.
  14. Cough and fever medicine.

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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Helping Your Children Cope With Loss

Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult for most adults, so imagine how hard the process must be for children. How do we explain death and help them get through it?

ThinkstockPhotos-454209227How much a child understands about death and how they grieve depends on a number of factors including their age, stage of development, life experiences, temperament and personality. While recognizing that an individualized approach to helping children with the grieving process, here is some general information about how children of different ages process death.

• Young children, ages 5-6 years old have a hard time comprehending death. They only understand the world in literal terms. Try to keep explanations very simple and avoid euphemisms, such as the deceased loved one “went away” or “is sleeping” as it might confuse or scare them.

• After age six and up until approximately age ten, kids begin to grasp the finality of death, even if they don’t realize it’s natural for every living thing to die at some point. They also might not understand why death occurs and may think that they have some control over it. At this age, it is best to provide children with accurate and honest explanations.

• As children become teenagers, they begin to understand that all life ultimately comes to an end and there is no avoiding it. At this point they begin to have questions about their own mortality and vulnerability. The best thing to do as a parent is to encourage them to grieve and express their feelings.

Regardless of how old they are, there are a few suggestions that all parents should follow when trying to help a child deal with loss. Experts urge parents to be honest and encourage questions, even if they don’t have all the answers. Create an atmosphere of comfort and openness and send a message that there is no right or wrong way to feel. If you have spiritual beliefs, it is okay to share them with your child as well.

The choice of whether or not to have your child attend a funeral or memorial service is a personal one. If you do allow them to attend, explain beforehand what they will encounter. Share information on religious customs that might be practiced at a service as well. Many parents worry about exposing their children to their own emotional grief, but permitting them to see you in pain shows them that crying is a natural reaction to pain and loss.

While most children do not grieve in the same manner as adults, it is important for parents to watch for signs that a child needs help coping with loss. If your child’s behavior changes radically, seek help. Doctors, guidance counselors, and mental health professionals can all provide assistance. You can also research books and websites for additional tips to help your child manage their grief.

Jamaica Hospital offers a comprehensive Palliative Care Service that assists patients and their families, including children, by providing psychological support and bereavement counseling. For more information, please call 718-206-6919.

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

coronary arteryCoronary artery disease is the process where blood vessels within the heart have diminished flow of blood passing through them.  The disease happens when plaque develops in the blood vessels of the heart. Plaque is composed mainly of cholesterol. If you are a male over the age of 45 or a female over the age of 55 you may be at higher risk.  Heredity also plays a role in coronary artery disease.
Symptoms of coronary artery disease:
• Chest pain
• Feeling tired
• Heart palpitations
• Abnormal EKG
• Shortness of breath
Conservative treatment of coronary artery disease includes taking medications to help the flow of blood throughout the heart and the rest of the body. Taking a baby aspirin every day can also help in some cases. Diet and lifestyle changes are also recommended.
A surgical procedure, known as coronary artery bypass graft surgery ( CABG )  involves taking a vein from another part of the body, usually the leg but can also be from the chest or wrist, and bypassing the blocked portion of the coronary artery. One or more coronary arteries may have to be bypassed and is frequently referred to as double bypass, triple bypass or quadruple bypass to indicate that number.
In some cases  there are no symptoms of coronary artery disease. It is very important to have an annual physical exam with an EKG. If any abnormalities are detected on an EKG or if the patient has symptoms, further testing, stress test, echocardiography, and coronary angiography, will be needed to determine the severity of the disease.  Jamaica Hospital offers full diagnostic capabilities of coronary artery disease. To make an appointment with a cardiologist please call 718-206-6742.

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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Why Do People Eat Dirt, Chalk or Other Non -food Items?

chalk57283778Why are some people addicted to eating substances that are not food? The answer is that they may have an eating disorder known as pica.  A common characteristic of the disorder is the consistent consumption of non-nutritive substances for at least one month.

There are several reasons why a person may be demonstrating behaviors associated with pica- it could be a chemical imbalance, a nutritional deficiency such as an iron deficiency or an obsessive compulsive disorder.

Pica-related behaviors should be addressed immediately because of the risk of complications that can occur. Individuals could expose themselves to serious infections and medical conditions such as parasitic infestations, ulcers, intestinal obstructions and tooth abrasions.

Symptoms and complications that are commonly linked with pica can include:

  • Eating sand or soil, this potentially leads to gastric pain and bleeding.
  • Consuming clay, which may cause constipation.
  • Ingesting paint, could put a person at risk  for contracting lead poisoning
  • Eating metal objects, this could lead to bowel perforation.

Some people are more likely than others to be subject to this eating disorder.  These individuals may include:

  • Pregnant women (Pica is most common in women with their first pregnancy; they may crave items such as ice or chalk).
  • 10 to 32 percent of children between the ages of one to six.
  • Adults with OCD or schizophrenia.
  • People who are malnourished.
  • Individuals who are mentally or developmentally disabled.

There are several approaches that can be exercised in the treatment of pica. Treatment depends on the diagnosis.  A physician may run blood tests to determine if the reason for the disorder may be a result of a nutritional deficiency. If this is the case, nutrients that are lacking are supplemented.  Another approach may be therapy to address mental health or environmental health issues. It is recommended that a resolution be sought immediately because if left untreated pica can persist for years and may cause irreversible damage.

The content in this newsletter is intended to be informational only. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page.

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