The Benefits Of Using A Primary Care Physician

Your primary care physician (or PCP) is typically your first point of contact when you needed non-emergency medical treatment. They are trained to treat most conditions and if they can’t provide care, they can help you find a specialist best suited to help you.

Unfortunately, fewer people today are utilizing the services of a PCP.  Studies have determined that the rate of American adults with a primary care doctor has steadily declined over the last decade. The most recent data suggests that one quarter of Americans currently do not have a primary care physician.

jamaica hospital primary care physician

There are multiple factors that can account for this trend. One reason is our ability to research and self-diagnose illness on the internet. Another factor is the recent proliferation of ‘urgent care centers” where individuals can seek convenient care. While both of these advents do have their benefits, neither should take the place of a primary care physician.

There are many benefits to having a primary care physician, including:

  • Familiarity – Simply put, your PCP knows you best. Through regular appointments, they will get to know you, understand the intricacies of your health, and develop a trust that will foster communication and allow them to provide more personalized care.
  • Comprehensive care– Your PCP is usually your first point of contact for care. They are familiar with your medical history and know what questions to ask to ensure that you receive appropriate care.
  • Prevention and management – Your PCP is not only responsible for treating you when you are sick. By conducting routine screenings, they can monitor for the existence of any potential chronic conditions or diseases and help you manage and treat them once detected.
  • Coordination – While a PCP is trained to manage most physical and mental health conditions, they also understand when specialty care is necessary.  They can provide referrals to experts and serve as a hub to ensure that information is appropriately shared between providers.

It has been found that those who have a PCP receive more preventative screenings and better management of chronic conditions. They also require fewer visits to the Emergency Department, are hospitalized less and generally live longer, healthier lives. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician at Jamaica Hospital’s Family Medicine Center, please call 718-206-6942.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Should You Speak to a Genetic Counselor Before Getting Pregnant?

Choosing to start a family can be a complex decision for many. You need to balance your desire to have a baby with an assortment of real-life concerns about raising one. For some, a real concern is the risk of passing on a genetic disorder to their child. If this is an issue for you, a genetic counselor can be helpful.

Genetic or “hereditary” conditions are diseases that run in families. If you or your partner has a parent or grandparent with one of these types of conditions, there is an increased chance that your baby is predisposed to developing it as well. 

couple meets with a genetic counselor at Jamaica Hospital

Genetic counselors are specialists that can help you understand the causes of genetic conditions, what types of screenings and diagnostic tests are available to you, and what your chances are of having a baby with a genetic condition. In addition, genetic counselors can help potential parents deal with how genetic conditions can affect your family emotionally.

Genetic counselors can help determine the likelihood of your baby developing a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Single gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease or hemophilia
  • Chromosomal abnormalities that can lead to conditions such as Down syndrome
  • Complex disorders such as heart defects, spina bifida, or cleft palate which can be caused by a combination of genetic predispositions and environmental factors

There are multiple factors that can increase a person’s risk of passing along a genetic disorder, including:

  • A family history of a genetic disorder
  • A prior child with a genetic disorder
  • One parent with a chromosomal abnormality
  • Advanced maternal age (35 or older)
  • Advanced paternal age (40 or older)
  • Multiple miscarriages or prior stillbirth

To help prepare for your appointment, a genetic counselor may ask you to collect the medical histories of you and your partner’s parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings, including a history of birth defects in your family. You may also be asked to provide a history of all other known medical conditions in your family, the age at which your family members were diagnosed and of any deaths resulting from these conditions.

If you are planning a pregnancy a genetic counselor can help you assess your risk-factors, review testing options, provide education and resources, and help you make informed decisions.

To make an appointment with a genetic counselor at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center, please call 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How to Spot and Prevent Frostbite

Frostbite is an injury caused to the skin and underlying tissues as a result of exposure to windy and cold- weather conditions.

Staying outside in extreme weather conditions for extended periods of time is the most common factor and risks increase when temperatures fall below 5°farenheit, or in conditions with above freezing temperatures and extreme wind chills. Additional factors may include:

  • Direct contact with ice, very cold liquids and freezing metals.
  • Wearing clothing that is not suitable to protect against cold weather.

Although frostbite mostly occurs on parts of the skin that are not properly covered, it is important to note that in extreme temperatures it can also develop on areas that are covered by clothing.

Our nose, fingers, cheeks, ears and toes are the parts of our bodies that are highly susceptible to frostbite. They are furthest away from our core and are first to decrease in blood flow in cold temperatures.

The symptoms of frostbite vary with severity and are categorized in three stages:

Frostnip:  This is a mild form of frostbite. Skin may turn pale or very red and feels cold.  The affected areas may also itch, burn, sting or feel tingly. Continued exposure may lead to a “pins and needles” feeling or numbness.

Superficial Frostbite:  Skin appears reddened or pale. Skin can become hard and look waxy or shiny.  At this stage, after the skin is thawed, blisters may form on the affected area. Skin may also appear blue or purple once rewarmed.

Severe (Deep) Frostbite:  Severe cases of frostbite affect all layers of the skin as well as the tissues that lie below.  Skin becomes very hard and cold to the touch. It may look blue and some instances black, as the tissue dies. The affected area may lose all sensation and joints or muscles may no longer work.

Some people are more at risk of developing frostbite than others, they include:

  • The elderly
  • Young children
  • Patients taking medication such as beta blockers that reduce blood flow to skin
  • Diabetics
  • People who use nicotine
  • People under the influence of alcohol
  • People with prior cold-related injuries

Frostbite is preventable. If you expect to spend time outdoors in cold weather, take care in protecting yourself. Dress appropriately and in layers.  When temperatures become extreme, stay inside as much as possible. It is also advised that you stay hydrated; dehydration increases your risk of frostbite. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking if you know you will be outside in the extreme cold.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

2 Garlic cloves minced

1 Onion diced

1 Butternut Squash peeled and diced into cubes (can use frozen pre-cut as well)

4 cups (32 ounces) Vegetable Broth

1-2 tsp. salt (optional)

1 tsp freshly grated Ginger (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
    1. Add cut up butternut squash and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until squash is softened.
    1. Carefully pour entire contents of pot into blender or use an immersion blender. Add salt and ginger.
    1. Carefully blend until smooth. Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley, chives, diced apples or pumpkin seeds.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Understanding How Diabetes Can Affect Your Digestion

Nausea and vomiting are two unpleasant feelings that most everyone has encountered at some point in their life, but for many diabetics, these are symptoms that they live with every day as a result of a condition known as diabetic gastroparesis.

Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a known complication of both the type 1 and type 2 forms of diabetes.  It occurs because high blood glucose levels associated with diabetes often leads to nerve damage throughout the body.  One such nerve is the vagus nerve. It controls the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine. When it is damaged, food cannot move as quickly through the digestive system because the stomach muscles aren’t working well or stop working completely.  When undigested food remains in the stomach for too long it can lead to a variety of problems such as bacterial overgrowth and the build-up of hardened, solid masses.

It is estimated at as many as 50% of all people living with diabetes develop some level of gastroparesis during their lifetime, but symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

The most common symptoms associated with diabetic gastroparesis include:

  • Nausea after eating
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Fullness after eating small amount of food
  • Bloating
  • Pain in the upper section of your stomach
  • Lack of appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Unexplained weight loss

Diabetic gastroparesis can affect lead to many complications including dehydration and malnutrition. It can also make it hard for someone with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels as well as maintain a healthy weight.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for gastroparesis, but there are some medications that have shown temporary relief. There are also some alternative food delivery methods available, such as feeding tubes and IV nutritional therapy for those with severe symptoms.

The best way to reduce the symptoms of diabetic gastroparesis involves adjusting your lifestyle through:

  • Maintaining a low fat / low fiber diet
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding alcohol and carbonated beverages
  • Eating small meals and chewing your food slowly
  • Taking walks after meals

It is also recommended that you talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking as they can also worsen gastroparesis symptoms.

If you would like to make an appointment with a diabetes specialist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Alternative Ways to Treat Chronic Pain

We all experience physical pain at some point in our lives. In many instances pain will subside after a few hours or days. However, when pain lasts for weeks or longer, it is considered chronic and may require some form of pain management therapy.

Chronic pain could be caused by many things, such as a medical condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia.  It could also be the result of ongoing medical treatments, such as cancer therapy or it could be caused by nerve damage sustained by an injury. Whatever the cause of your pain, it is important to know that there are many options available to treat it.

For many years opioids were prescribed to treat pain, but they can be very addictive and therefore not always the best option. It is important to understand the potential benefits and risks before you begin taking these types of medications and explore alternative forms of pain management.

Other, non-addictive types of medication available to treat symptoms of pain include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) – such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin
  • Acetaminophen – Tylenol

  • Antidepressants – can improve sleep and alleviate pain
  • Anti-seizure medications – effective in treating pain related to nerve damage or injury

  • Steroids – used to alleviate inflammation and pain

Medications however are not the only form of therapy to manage pain. Physical therapy and exercise, if done correctly and under the supervision of a professional can build tolerance and reduce pain. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy (TENS) is another type of therapy that uses electrical stimulation to diminish pain.  Other types of pain therapy can include acupuncture, massage, heat and cold therapy, meditation, as well as dietary modifications and nutritional supplements.

A doctor who specializes in pain management can help. They can identify the source of your pain and determine the best approach to manage it, both physically and emotionally.

If you are experiencing chronic pain and would like to see a pain management specialist, please call Jamaica Anesthesia Associates at 718-06-7246 or 718-206-PAIN.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Offers Weight Lifting Safety Tips

Lifting weights can offer many health benefits, including strengthening your muscles, burning excess fat, and improving your overall physical fitness. If however, it not done safely, weight lifting can result in serious injury or even death.

Before you begin to lift weights, you should speak with a qualified instructor or other trained professional to teach you the proper technique to avoid an injury. They can advise you on an appropriate starting point that should include what exercises are best suited for you as well as how much weight to start with, and at how often to lift. Many factors will play a role in determining your weight lifting regime including age, overall physical health, and the reason you want to lift weights.

Some weight lifting safety tips should include:

  • Take time to warm up and cool down before and after your workout by stretching your muscles
  • Avoid weight lifting alone. Using a partner to “spot” you will help you avoid injury
  • Understand the proper form when lifting weights, including keeping your back straight
  • Don’t exercise any set of muscles more than three times per week and never lift more weight than you can handle safely
  • Take a moment to understand how to operate the equipment and inspect it to make sure it is in good condition
  • Wear shoes with good traction to avoid slipping
  • Stop lifting weights if you feel faint or are experiencing any  type of pain

It is important to speak to your doctor if you are considering beginning a weight lifting program to make sure it is the best form of exercise for you. You should also consult with your doctor if you suspect you sustained an injury while lifting weights.

To make an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Your Pet Be A Distraction To You While You Drive?

There are many known driving distractions that we are warned to avoid while on the road. These include: talking or texting on your mobile device, eating or drinking, attending to personal grooming, or adjusting our vehicle’s radio or navigation system. While it is important to be mindful of each of these potential distractions, there is another type of distraction that doesn’t get as much attention – driving with our pets.

Many people take their dogs or cats in the car with them when they run local errands; others bring them along for long road trips. During these excursions, our pets often have free reign of the vehicle, will place their head out the car window, and in some cases, even sit in the driver’s lap. These activities, while adorable, can pose great danger to not only the operator of the vehicle, but also the other passengers, fellow motorists, and even the pets themselves.

A recent study of individuals who frequently travel with their pets in the car revealed some very startling facts about their behaviors. The survey concluded that 64 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in a potentially distracting pet-related activity, and 29 percent admitted to actually being distracted by their pets. Some of the activities noted in the study included petting or playing with their pets, allowing them to stay in their lap, feeding them treats, and taking photos of them.  The same study determined 84 percent allowed their pets to ride in their vehicle while unrestrained.

To avoid these types of distractions while driving, motorists should consider purchasing a safety device for their dog or cat. There are two types of devices to choose from:

  • Pet seat belts – They are easy to use and work in tandem with your normal seat belt. Check to make sure the pet belt is the right size for your animal. One that’s too big or too small is counterproductive and can cause unnecessary injuries.
  • Pet carriers- Look for a sturdy carrier with ample ventilation and plenty of room for your pet to turn around and stretch out. Also, make sure you secure the carrier so that it stays safely in place if you suddenly brake or get into an accident.


Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division warns that driving with your beloved pet in the car doesn’t need to be dangerous. Take some time to make sure you can safely restrain your pet to maximize safety for you and your lovable friend.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Offers Facts About Cold Sores

Cold sores are small fluid filled blisters, also known as fever blisters, that are develop on or near the mouth and the lips. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). Cold sores are highly contagious and are spread by coming in close contact with secretions from the blisters or sharing utensils or other personal hygiene items with an infected person. It is important to keep in mind that the virus can spread even when an infected person does not have a cold sore.

A cold sore usually develops in several stages during an outbreak. The stages of a cold sore are:

1 Tingling and itching near the mouth
2 Formation of a fluid filled blister
3 The blister breaks
4 Scab forms
5 Scab falls off and sore heals

Additional symptoms a person may experience during an outbreak include:

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

There are several factors that can cause a cold sore to develop or reoccur if a person has already had an outbreak in the past: These include:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Eating certain foods
  • Having a cold
  • Allergic reaction

The diagnosis of a cold sore can usually be made by visual inspection. It is also possible to do a blood test to see if the virus is present.

There are no cures for a cold sore but there are ways to treat the symptoms.  Antiviral medications are often prescribed and there re over the counter medications treatment available to purchase.

Speak to your physician if you think you have a cold sore and it doesn’t start to heal in two weeks. You can also schedule an appointmrnt with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

This October Jamaica Hospital Observes Health Literacy Month

You have just been diagnosed with a medical condition and your doctor provides you with detailed information about your condition, the cause and symptoms, as well as how to treat it. After leaving you realize that you didn’t quite understand everything that your doctor shared and you are confused about what to do next. This is a common occurrence that takes place between patients and healthcare professionals.

It has been well documented that many people face challenges when trying to comprehend the important health information being shared with them by their doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Failure to understand complex medical information could affect a patient’s health.

To address this issue, the month of October has been designated Health Literacy Month.  This global observation is intended to raise awareness about this issue and encourage individuals as well as organizations in the healthcare industry to promote the importance of creating ways to share health information in a way that is understandable to our patients.

This year’s Health Literacy Month theme is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” Jamaica Hospital is participating in this campaign by helping our patients and community improve their healthcare literacy by offering the following tips:

  • Ask questions – Then, make sure you get and understand the answers. If you don’t understand, ask the doctor or nurse for more information.
  • Repeat information back to your doctor or nurse – After your doctor or nurse gives you instructions, repeat them back in your own words.
  • Bring a pen and paper – Take the time to write instructions down so you can refer to them later.
  • Have another adult with you – This might be especially true when you expect to receive important information.
  • Ask for an interpreter – You have a right to an interpreter, at no cost to you. Tell your provider what language you prefer to communicate.

By following these tips, you can improve your health care literacy and improve your overall health.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.