September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day – JHMC Wants You to Know the Facts About Suicide Prevention

Suicide affects millions; over 800,000 people take their lives each year, and the number of people who attempt suicide is twenty five times that amount. In addition to the lives lost, suicide also affects the many friends and family members devastated by the loss of their loved one.

Suicide is largely preventable though. Through education and awareness, we can get those people who are contemplating suicide the help they need.

Educational and Creative composition with the message Stop Suicide

One of the best tools in preventing suicide is to know the risk factors. Over 90% of people who attempt suicide live with depression or another mental disorder. Alcohol or substance abuse is often a contributing factor. Adverse factions to traumatic events or stress can also lead to someone wanting to take their own life.

Other risk factors for suicide include:

• Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
• Family history of suicide
• Family violence
• Physical or sexual abuse
• Keeping firearms in the home
• Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain
• Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others

Someone who is considering suicide usually displays certain behaviors. Loved ones should look for the following warning signs:

Always talking or thinking about death
Trouble sleeping and eating — that gets worse over time
Displaying reckless behavior that could result in death, such as driving fast or running red lights
Losing interest in things one used to care about
Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
Talking about suicide or killing one’s self
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

If someone you know appears to be contemplating suicide, take the issue seriously. Let the person know that you care and understand and are listening and attempt to get them immediate help from a health care professional.

If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Remove any weapons or drugs he or she could use. Accompany him or her to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

September 10 has been designated World Suicide Prevention Day. Many organizations from around the world have joined this cause. Jamaica Hospital’s supports their efforts and the hospital’s Department of Psychiatry offers many inpatient and outpatient services to help those in need.

Hospice Pet Therapy

Senior woman with her dog

There are many beneficial reasons why a beloved pet should be a part of a patient’s medical treatment program, especially during end of life care. When a pet visits a patient there is an increased amount of positive activity, conversation, and emotional connection.
Pets can:
• Provide unconditional love
• Reduce anxiety and stress
• Provide soothing companionship
• Reduce depression
• Lowers blood pressure

Most often dogs are the animal of choice used in pet therapy because of their loving, compassionate presence. They are also able to sense subtle human emotional and physical signs.  Cats are also frequently requested because they are also very calming and bond well with people. Pigs have been used also because they are highly intelligent animals and are also affectionate and calming. Other animals that have been used are birds, horses, and rabbits. Any animal that is going to be used in pet therapy must be house broken, nonaggressive, able to sit, stay and come on command, and be properly vaccinated.
A person who is under hospice care needs to know that they are surrounded at all times by things that make them feel safe and secure. Having a pet visit a hospice patient, whether it be the patient’s own or a specially trained therapy pet, can provide immeasurable benefits to both the patient and their loved ones.

Diabetes and Loss of Vision

Ophthalmology eyesight examination

Diabetic eye disease is comprised of a number of eye conditions one of which is diabetic retinopathy.

All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause vision loss or blindness, but diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetics and often goes undetected until vision loss occurs.

If you are a diabetic who has chronically high or uncontrolled blood sugar, you are at risk of damaging the tiny blood vessels in the retina which can lead to diabetic retinopathy.  The disease causes blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or bleed causing a distortion in vision.

The retina detects light and converts it to signals sent through the optic nerve to the brain.  Diabetic retinopathy can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or bleed, causing a distortion in vision.

Diabetic retinopathy may progress through four stages:

  1. Mild non-proliferative retinopathy. Small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina’s tiny blood vessels, called micro-aneurysms, occur at this earliest stage of the disease. These micro-aneurysms may leak fluid into the retina.
  2. Moderate non-proliferative retinopathy. As the disease progresses, blood vessels that nourish the retina may swell and distort. They may also lose their ability to transport blood.
  3. Severe non-proliferative retinopathy. Many more blood vessels are blocked, depriving blood supply to areas of the retina. These areas secrete growth factors that signal the retina to grow new blood vessels.
  4. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). At this advanced stage, growth factors secreted by the retina trigger the proliferation of new blood vessels, which grow along the inside surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel, the fluid that fills the eye. The new blood vessels are fragile, which makes them more likely to leak and bleed. Accompanying scar tissue can contract and cause retinal detachment—the pulling away of the retina from underlying tissue, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. Retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.

Some ways to delay diabetic retinopathy and vision loss are:

  • Controlling your diabetes – take medications as prescribed, maintaining a recommended level of physical activity and a healthy diet.
  • Eye Exam – because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.

Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.  To make an appointment at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology call, 718-206-5900.

How Does Cupping Therapy Benefit Your Health?

cupping 484372683Anyone who watched the Olympics this summer couldn’t help but notice the large, circular marks on the bodies of many of the competitors. These are the result of cupping therapy, a growing trend among athletes and celebrities.

While gaining a great deal of attention recently, the practice of cupping actually dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures where it is believed to help with pain, blood flow, and relaxation.

How does cupping work? First, it’s important to know that there are two different types of cupping.

Dry cupping is one type of therapy that involves a therapist placing special cups on the patient for a few minutes to create a suction sensation. The suction is created by placing a flammable substance inside the cups to start a fire. Once the fire inside the cup is extinguished, they are placed upside down on the patient’s skin. As the air inside the cups cools, it creates a vacuum which causes the skin under the cup to rise and redden as the blood vessels expand. The suction process takes approximately three minutes.

While dry cupping ends after this process is completed; a second form of cupping, known as wet cupping can take place if desired. During the wet cupping process, the therapist will make light cuts in the skin with a scalpel after the cups are removed, then reapply the cups to draw a small quantity of blood (and presumed toxins) out of the body. After the cups are removed the second time, ointments and bandages are applied to prevent infection.

Those who practice cupping as a form of therapy usually get anywhere from three to seven cups applied per session.

While there is very little research to prove the effectiveness of cupping, some studies have stated that it could be used to help with the management of pain and assist with conditions such as acne, herpes zoster and cervical spondylosis.

Cupping is considered safe is performed by a qualified therapist, but it can lead to mild discomfort and in some cases, it can cause burns, bruises, or skin infections. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor before you start cupping.