National Birth Defects Prevention Month

breastfeeding -484679202January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.  It is a time for raising awareness of how frequently birth defects can occur and what can be done to help prevent them.

Birth defects are defined as conditions that are present when a baby is born and can affect nearly every part of the body.  Conditions such as cleft lip can be easily diagnosed.  Other conditions such as deafness or heart defects may only be discovered after diagnostic testing.

The largest number of birth defects occurs during the first three months of gestation. In the U.S. approximately 120,000 babies are born with birth defects each year.

The 10 most common birth defects in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:

  • Down syndrome
  • Cleft lip (with or without cleft palate)
  • Atrioventricular septal defect (hole in the heart)
  • Absence of malformation of the rectum and/or large intestine
  • Gastroschisis (hole in the abdominal wall)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (a combination of heart defects)
  • Spina bifida without anencephaly
  • Reduction deformity, upper limbs
  • Reversal of the heart’s two main arteries

Although birth defects can’t always be prevented, there are plenty of steps pregnant women can take to help reduce the risk.

The womenshealth.gov website offers these suggestions:

  • Make regular visits to your doctor throughout pregnancy
  • Get 400mcg of folic acid each day through diet or supplements
  • Don’t smoke, use illegal drugs or drink alcohol while you are pregnant
  • Always check with your doctor before taking any medication
  • Get all vaccinations recommended by your doctor
  • If you have diabetes, keep it under control
  • Stick to a healthy weight

You may also request a pre-pregnancy or early pregnancy screening test in order to spot potential or real birth defects.  The types of tests include a carrier test to see if you or your partner carries potentially harmful genes, as well as screening and diagnostic tests that can determine risks for and detect genetic disorders.

If you are pregnant, or planning to be, and want to discuss your options with one of our doctors, the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is centrally located and has convenient hours; to make an appointment 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.

Poll Question- How Long Should A Cold Last?

Colds are a nuisance and we often wish we could get rid of them the moment they begin.  People hope their colds will last only for a few days and will go away, but colds are expected to last longer than many think. How long do you think a cold should last?

cold -179694319A: 3 to 5 Days

B: 5 to 7 Days

C: 7 to 14 Days

The answer is C. A cold is expected to last between one to two weeks. It is recommended that you see your physician if your cold lasts any longer. This could be a sign of a more serious issue such as a sinus infection.

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.

Healthy and Pregnant Over 35

pregnantpicJanuary is Birth Defects Awareness Month and with more and more women waiting to have families well into their late 30’s and beyond we felt this is a topic worth revisiting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five women now wait until they’re 35 or older to have their first child. There may be some risks involved with a pregnancy conceived later in life, but a healthy lifestyle, along with regular visits to your Ob-Gyn can create a healthy pregnancy.

Oftentimes, women worry more about the risks of pregnancy at a later age than conception itself. While a woman’s fertility does decrease after the age of 30, certain risk factors associated with pregnancy do increase including:
• Higher risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure
• Greater risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome
• Miscarriages and still birth
• Low birth weight

A pregnancy should be happy and welcomed news and planning should be no different. Increased risk factors and statistics should not be discouraging news. Often, statistics do not account for life style choices or pre-existing conditions. Here are a few tips to help you take the necessary steps toward a healthy pregnancy later in life:
• Schedule an appointment with your Ob-Gyn for a visit. Be very honest with your practitioner about any existing health conditions.
• Your Doctor may recommend additional testing such as genetic testing and counseling or sonograms.
• Begin taking pre-natal vitamin. Since folic-acid is important for prevention of birth defects, taking folic acid can add an important level of protection for older women.
• Exercise regularly; eat a well-balanced diet to maintain your weight. Gaining the appropriate amount of weight lessens the chance of your baby growing slowly and reduces the risk of preterm birth.
• Avoid smoking and drinking.

If you are interested in pre-pregnancy and fertility counseling, contact Jamaica Hospital Women’s Health Center at 718-291-3276 to make an appointment.

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.

Bed Bug Prevention for Kids

Growing up you may remember hearing “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” as a sweet, night time rhyme. But recent reports of bed bugs in hotels, movie theaters and even the cleanest of homes have people on high alert. While kids are out of school for winter break they may have traveled with a few critters before returning to class.

Bed bugs are flat, reddish-brown insects about the size of an apple seed. They come out at night to feed on blood which means biting you up in your sleep. After feeding bed bugs tend to hide in clothing in your luggage which moves them to another location, causing them to spread. Since you are more likely to encounter bed bugs while traveling than in your home, here are some prevention tips:

  1. Do a bed bug check of every room before settling in. Small spots of blood on the sheets or mattresses usually reveal bed bug trails.
  2. Keep luggage zipped up and off of the floors and beds by using the luggage racks provided.
  3. Keep clothing in a tied or sealed bag and wash immediately after returning.
  4. If purchasing used clothing wash your items immediately before use or storage.
  5. Keep your home uncluttered so bed bugs won’t have anywhere to hide.

If you think you have a bed bug problem notify your local pest management provider immediately, or tell your property manager if you are renting so they can begin to create a customized treatment for your bed bugs. Bed bugs can multiply quickly, so early detection is critical to help prevent an even larger infestation.

Bedbugs

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 smoking affects nutrition

Smoking plays a large role in the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients. The nicotine in cigarettes is a potent chemical that negatively affects the systems of the body and how they function. One of the functions that nicotine affects is the body’s ability to maintain the proper level of nutrients.
Vitamin and mineral absorption is also diminished by nicotine, and is more likely to be drained from stores within the body. Vitamin C which the body needs to prevent organ damage is depleted when nicotine is present. People who smoke also tend to have a higher incidence of osteoporosis because less vitamin D absorption leads to less calcium available to strengthen bones.
Nicotine suppresses a person’s appetite by interacting with the brain and central nervous system. One of the ways it occurs is by altering the way we detect flavor.
Quitting smoking will help to restore the body to a better nutritional status. Until a person is able to stop smoking completely, it is a good idea to add fruits and vegetables to the diet. This will help the body by making more minerals and vitamins available to be absorbed. Jamaica Hospital offers a program to help people who are interested in quitting. To learn more, please call 718-206-8494.

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.

Meditation Does A Body Good

worrypicGeneralized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by Webmd.com as an excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry.

An estimated 6.8 million people in the United States are afflicted with GAD. They cannot stop worrying about issues such as health, money, family, work or school.  Their degree of worry is typically out of proportion for the situation and daily life may become a constant state of worry, fear or dread.

There are various prescription medications designed to help people with GAD manage their anxiety, but some holistic and traditional experts say that practice of meditation can also help those with the disorder.  Being in a meditative state is said to quiet an overactive mind, one of the traits of anxiety.

Meditation is a state of deep physical relaxation combined with acute mental alertness.  It is likened to taking a nap, but you don’t fall asleep.  Meditative practices can include silent, repetitive praying or chanting.  Other techniques involve sitting and focusing on something that will hold your attention for five to 30 minutes.  By progressively relaxing your body’s muscles with a word, calming music or an image, you will naturally cause your breathing to become slower and deeper as you relax.

People with anxiety may shy away from meditation feeling that they are too restless to sit still.  The good news is being able to center yourself through meditation is a skill that anyone can learn, once they have the intention and the experience of what it feels like.

Besides reducing anxiety, meditation is known to also help:

  • Decrease respiratory rate, heart rate and elevated blood pressure
  • Relieve muscle tension
  • Causes stress hormones in the blood to drop
  • Boost immunity
  • Offer a more restful sleep

If you have a family history of anxiety, prolonged bouts with anxiety or have acute anxiety (panic attacks); you will likely need to see a physician for suggested treatment.  Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To schedule an appointment, call 718-206-7071.

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.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that mainly affects people who are middle aged or older, but it can affect anyone at any age. There are more than three million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Typically the disease starts to develop suddenly, often without symptoms, and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much aGlaucoma 493332472s 40 percent of vision can be lost before some people even notice a problem. It usually starts with loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve so that the brain isn’t able to receive images from the eyes. There are two types of Glaucoma, Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma where pressure inside the eye increases on its own and damages the optic nerve and Secondary Glaucoma where another disease causes the pressure in the eye to increase and that results in optic nerve damage. Both types will eventually lead to blindness.
Early detection of Glaucoma can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Regular eye exams are very important. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718- 206-5900.

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.

Cervical Health Awareness Month- The Importance of Regular Cervical Screenings

January has been designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition and the American Social Health Association.  This initiative helps raise awareness and encourages women to receive regular screenings for cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer which is one of the most common cancers found in women.  However early detection can lessen the severity of both diseases and prevent the development of abnormal or cancerous cells.

It is recommended that women receive regular screenings to check the health of their cervixes. The frequency of screenings varies by age and the following guideline is recommended by The American Cancer Society:

  • All women should begin cervical cancer testing (screening) at age 21. Women aged 21 to 29, should have a Pap test every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used for screening in this age group (it may be used as a part of follow-up for an abnormal Pap test).
  • Beginning at age 30, the preferred way to screen is with a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years. This is called co-testing and should continue until age 65.
  • Another reasonable option for women 30 to 65 is to get tested every 3 years with just the Pap test.
  • Women who are at high risk of cervical cancer because of a suppressed immune system (for example from HIV infection, organ transplant, or long-term steroid use) or because they were exposed to DES in utero may need to be screened more often. They should follow the recommendations of their health care team.
  • Women over 65 years of age who have had regular screening in the previous 10 years should stop cervical cancer screening as long as they haven’t had any serious pre-cancers.
  • Women who have had a total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) should stop screening (such as Pap tests and HPV tests), unless the hysterectomy was done as a treatment for cervical pre-cancer (or cancer). Women who have had a hysterectomy without removal of the cervix (called a supra-cervical hysterectomy) should continue cervical cancer screening according to the guidelines above.
  • Women of any age should NOT be screened every year by any screening method.
  • Women who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow these guidelines

In addition to receiving screenings, it is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that women and men receive HPV vaccinations to stop the spread of the virus.

Please speak with your doctor as soon as possible about steps you can take to maintain your cervical health and remember, prevention is better than cure.

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.

Baby Not Latching? Maybe Baby is Tongue-Tied

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One of the most intimate moments shared between mother and baby is during breastfeeding. If the infant does not latch on to the mother’s breast she may feel rejected, bewildered and frustrated. Before becoming distressed a mother should look into reasons why the baby is refusing to breastfeed; one of which could be a condition called ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue-tie.

Tongue-Tie is a congenital condition which restricts the tongue’s range of motion. It is caused by an abnormally thick and short lingual frenulum. The frenulum is the membrane which connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  The degree of severity in tongue-tie varies from mild cases, where the lingual frenulum loosens over time or severe cases of complete ankyloglossia where the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth.  This can affect feeding.

Breastfeeding requires the baby to place the tongue over the lower gum while sucking. If the infant‘s range of motion is limited and is unable to place the tongue in the right position, this will interfere with the ability to get milk. Poor breastfeeding can lead to poor nutrition.

A consultation with a lactation specialist or physician to explore all causes for breast-feeding refusal is usually the first step in evaluating the baby. If it is determined that the infant does have severe tongue-tie and the ability to feed is compromised, a simple and quick surgery may be suggested.

The surgical procedure most commonly recommended is called a frenotomy; which can be done with or without anesthesia. During the procedure a physician will examine the frenulum, then use sterile scissors to snip it free. A frenotomy can also be done by laser. The physician may also recommend a frenectomy which is a surgical revision of the frenulum.

After surgery the infant’s tongue movement should improve greatly and in most cases breastfeeding can commence immediately.

To obtain more information about breastfeeding or to schedule a consultation with a lactation specialist at Jamaica Hospital, 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.

We’re Spilling The Beans!

beandippicKidney, lima, soy and cannelloni are just a few of the different kinds of beans that are celebrated on National Bean Day.

January 6th, of every year, recognizes the bean vegetable in all sizes, shapes and colors.

To honor of these miniature marvels, try this delicious three bean dip courtesy of…http://allrecipes.com/recipe/45134/three-bean-dip/

 

Three Bean Dip  Ingredients:

1 Can refried beans

1 packet taco seasoning

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

2 small tomatoes chopped

3 bunches green onions chopped

1 cubanella pepper chaopped

1 (15 ounce) can black beans rinsed and drained

1 (15.5. ounce) can navy beans rinsed and drained

Directions:

Spread the refried beans in a layer in the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the taco seasoning mix and cream cheese. Spread the mixture over the refried beans. In a separate bowl, toss together the tomatoes, green onions, cubanella pepper, black beans and navy beans. Spread over the layer of cream cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving to blend the flavors.

 

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.