Learn the Facts About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer, or mouth cancer refers to a group of cancers that can develop anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, tonsils, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, salivary glands, sinuses and throat.

Oral cancer usually appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away and it can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, over 51,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2018.

The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

 

 

  • Swelling or thickening of the skin or lining of the mouth
  •  Development of lumps or bumps on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • Sores that bleed or do not heal
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Numbness or loss of feeling of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat or change in voice
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together

According to the American Cancer Society, men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women. Cigarette smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers. Those who use chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips. In addition, oral cancers are about six times more common in those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol. People who have a family history of cancer, have a weakened immune system or who have the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) are also at a greater risk of developing certain types of oral cancers.

To avoid developing oral cancer, it is recommended that you stop, or do not start using any form of tobacco, whether it is smoked or chewed, drink alcohol only in moderation, chose a healthy diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants, perform self-examinations of your month once a month, and see your dentist regularly.

As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening. This includes feeling for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.

If diagnosed with oral cancer, treatment options include surgery to remove the cancerous growth, followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Make an appointment with your dentist immediately if you have any persistent signs and symptoms of oral cancer. If you do not have a dentist, make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Dental Center by calling 718-206-6980.

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.

Learn the Facts About Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening condition for those living with diabetes. It occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough sugar (glucose) due to a lack of insulin.

Under normal conditions, insulin serves to help glucose enter the cells that make up our muscles and tissues and provide them with the energy they need.  However, when the body can’t produce enough insulin, glucose remains in the bloodstream and fatty acids called ketones begin to build-up. These ketones can eventually spill over into the urine, leading to DKA.

If you have diabetes or you’re at risk of developing diabetes, learn the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — and know when to seek emergency care. DKA signs and symptoms can develop quickly and can include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Flushed, hot, or dry skin
  • Loss of appetite or abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath

Diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to many health complications including low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) levels, low potassium (hypokalemia) levels, and swelling in the brain (cerebral edema). If left untreated, the risks can become much greater. Diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to loss of consciousness and even fatality.

There are many different reasons for DKA to occur. One of the most common causes is the existence of a severe infection or other illness, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection. These types of infections can cause the body to produce high levels of hormones that counter the effects of insulin.

Another common cause of DKA for people who are insulin dependent is either missed or inappropriate insulin therapy, which can leave the body with not enough insulin. Other contributing factors for the onset of DKA include extreme dehydration, trauma, heart attack, or alcohol or drug abuse.

The best way to prevent DKA is to commit yourself to managing your diabetes by living a healthy lifestyle and regularly monitoring your blood glucose and ketone levels.  If you find that your levels are not what they should be, act quickly and consult with your doctor about adjusting your dosage or seek emergency care.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital, 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.

Jamaica Hospital Introduces Robotic Pet Therapy to Provide Comfort to Patients

Being hospitalized can be a difficult situation for many. In addition to dealing with being sick or injured, patients struggle with feelings of depression, stress and loneliness. To help them cope with these emotions, Jamaica Hospital has recently implemented an innovative pilot program that is receiving very encouraging feedback.

Under the guidance of Dr. Sharon Wexler, PhD, RN, nurse researcher at Jamaica Hospital, a study is being conducted at the hospital to determine the benefits of robotic pets on hospitalized older adults (65 and older). These patients were selected because they are among the group most likely to demonstrate feelings of depression or loneliness during hospitalization.

According to the robotic pet program, patients receive a free, lifelike, battery-powered cat or dog with an audible heart beat to care for and play with. These pets interact with the patients by purring or barking, snuggling, turning their heads, opening and closing their eyes, wagging their tails, moving their paws, and showing their bellies. The pets, which come with a collar, identification tag, and grooming brush, cost approximately $100 and are single patient use only, so patients get to take them home with them once they are discharged.

Some may ask why use robotic pet therapy when actual pet therapy is available?  The answer is Jamaica Hospital, like many other hospitals across the country does recognize and utilize live pet therapy for our patients. While pet therapy has been widely proven to improve the spirits of patients and potentially improve clinical outcomes, there are some limitations to this service. Unfortunately, traditional pet therapy services are not available 24 hours a day. In addition, some patients may have a fear of animals or be allergic to them. By introducing robotic pet therapy in addition to traditional pet therapy as an intervention, Jamaica Hospital now offers our patients a technologically advanced and effective additional service to boost their outlook and recovery process.

Prior to using realistic looking robotic pets, the hospital had older patients care for an avatar virtual service animal by using a tablet computer. The results were extremely positive as these patients exhibited increased cognition levels and reported fewer feelings of loneliness and depression, making the decision to continue with the robotic pet service an easy one.

While robotic pet therapy has been utilized at many extended care facilities, Jamaica is the first hospital to explore the potential of this service in an acute care setting. The hospital has already enrolled dozens of patients into this program, which began only a couple of months ago, and early indications are very promising, with patients expressing very positive feedback about their experience.  The hospital looks forward to the continuation and expansion of this program in the future.

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.

What is a Peptic Ulcer and How do they Develop?

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in certain parts of your digestive tract.  They occur when the protective layer of mucus that lines those areas erodes due to the buildup of acids.  If left untreated, these ulcers can lead to internal bleeding and other complications.

There are two types of peptic ulcer disease that are classified based on where they develop. When an ulcer forms on the stomach lining, it is referred to as a gastric ulcer.  A duodenal ulcer is the name for an ulcer that appears at the top end of the small intestine.  You can have ulcers at any age, but your chances of having one increases with age.

Peptic ulcers generally develop for two reasons:

  • Bacteria – One common type of bacteria, known as Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) is a main cause for peptic ulcers. While as many as 50% of us carry this type of bacteria, most people infected with H. pylori do not get ulcers. For some however, it can raise the amount of acid produced, break down the protective mucus layer, and irritate the digestive tract.
  • Pain Relievers – Another cause for ulcers is prolonged use of pain relievers, such aspirin or medications that contain ibuprofen or naproxen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications block your body from making a chemical that help protect the inner walls of your stomach and small intestine from stomach acid.

Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are also contributing factors in the development of ulcers. It is a common misnomer is that stress and spicy foods can a lead to this condition.  The fact is that while they are not factors in the formation of ulcers, they can make an existing condition worse.

Some people can have a peptic ulcer and not experience any symptoms. However, if symptoms are present, the most common is a burning pain or discomfort between the naval and breastbone. The pain can last for a few minutes or a few hours, and may come and go for many days or weeks.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Bloated feeling
  • Burping
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of appetite or weight loss
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea
  • Bloody or dark stool
  • Vomiting

See a doctor if you experience any of these severe symptoms or if your pain does not go away with over the counter antacids. Your physician can diagnose a peptic ulcer by conducting an endoscopy. During this test, a thin, flexible tube is inserted down your throat and into your stomach and small intestine. The tube has a camera at the end to check the lining for ulcers.

Once confirmed, your doctor can prescribe certain medications designed to help protect the lining of the stomach or small intestine so the ulcer can heal.

To schedule an appointment with a Gastroenterologist at Jamaica Hospital, 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.

Know the Facts About the Measles

The measles virus has received a great deal of attention recently in New York City due to an infected tourist potentially exposing many residents in the five boroughs.

As the closest hospital to John F. Kennedy International Airport, where millions of foreign travelers fly in and out of each year and because we serve one the most ethnically diverse populations in the nation, Jamaica Hospital wants to provide our community with some very important information about the measles virus.

While vaccination programs have largely eliminated the measles in the United States, it is still common in other parts of the world with over 90,000 reported deaths attributed to the disease worldwide each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In fact, most U.S. cases of the measles result from an unvaccinated international traveler exposing U.S. residents to the virus.

The measles virus is highly contagious and is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.  Fever is typically the first symptom, followed by cough, runny nose and red eyes. Soon after, those infected will develop a rash of tiny red spots. The rash starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Symptoms usually present ten to 14 days after exposure. Those with the disease can develop even more serious complications, and it is especially dangerous for young children.

The best way to prevent becoming infected is to get the MMR vaccine, which prevents against measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC recommends children receive two doses, the first between 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at four to six years old. Teens and adults should also be up-to-date with their MMR vaccination.

The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective. The recommended two doses have proven to be 97% effective in preventing the measles virus.  While the MMR vaccine is recommended for everyone, it is especially important for those individuals who travel internationally or are exposed to travelers from foreign countries .

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with the measles, seek medical attention immediately, but call your doctor or local hospital before arrival to prevent infecting others.

To learn more about the MMR vaccine, or to schedule an appointment to become vaccinated 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.

Regulating Your Child’s Screen Time

More and more parents are reporting not seeing their child’s face enough as they are constantly hidden behind various electronic devices.  This is a concern that previous generations of parents did not have to deal with, leaving today’s mothers and fathers wondering how to regulate their child’s screen time activity.

First off, it’s important to note that not all forms of electronic media are created equal. There are many educational games, apps and videos that children can play and watch that support and benefit their development. Many experts actually suggest that it is not the quantity, but the quality of a child’s screen time that should be taken into consideration.

That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics has offered guidelines for childhood screen usage. They discourage children younger than 18-24 months of age from participating in electronic media use, except for video chatting.  If parents wish to introduce digital media games or apps at these ages, they should make sure that it is done in a supervised setting and that the content is educational and interactive.  Parents of children from two to five years of age should limit their child’s screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming.  As children grow, the content and amount of media they are exposed to is harder to determine and is not a “one size fits all” model. Parents should customize parameters based on the maturity level and social skills of their children.

It is also recommended that parents understand that they need to remain involved in their child’s online habits and enforce certain rules to ensure that screen time doesn’t affect other aspects of their lives. Parents are encouraged to carve out time for unplugged and unstructured play and create tech-free zone and times.  In addition digital media should be off limits at dinner time and while children are doing their homework. Another tip is for parents to limit their own screen time to set a good example for their children.

When making decisions about screen time, parents should be aware of the following issues that can result from too much screen time, including:

  • Obesity
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Behavioral problems
  • Lack of social skills
  • Violent behavior

It is also recommended that parents understand that they need remain involved in their child’s online habits and enforce certain rules to ensure that screen time doesn’t affect other aspects of their lives. Parents are encouraged to carve out time for unplugged and unstructured play and create tech-free zone and times.  In addition digital media should be off limits at dinner time and while children are doing their homework. Another tip is for parents to limit their own screen time to set a good example for their children.

Managing a child’s use of electronic devices will be an ongoing challenge for today’s parents. By staying active and engaged in their screen habits, you can avoid them falling into the traps associated with digital media and ensure they develop a well-rounded childhood experience.

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.

Do You See “Floating” Spots in Your Field of Vision?

Have you ever experienced small specs or thin lines in your field of vision? Those spots, lines, or other shapes you see before your eyes are commonly referred to as “floaters.”  In almost all cases floaters, while annoying, are no cause for concern and should not interfere with your sight.

Floaters earn their name by moving around in your eye. They tend to dart away when you try to focus on them. They usually come and go over time and appear most often when you look at something bright.

The onset of floaters usually occurs in individuals 50 years and older and once you get them, they usually don’t go away. Most people who experience floaters state that they notice them less over time.

Floaters come in many different shapes, such as:

  • Black or gray dots
  • Squiggly lines
  • Threadlike strands, which can be knobby and almost see-through
  • Cobwebs
  • Rings

Most floaters are small flecks of a protein called collagen that are part of a gel-like substance in the back of your eye called the vitreous. As we age, these protein fibers that make up the vitreous shrink down and clump together, forming a shadow on our retina – or a floater.

Floaters are more common in those who are nearsighted or have had cataract surgery. It’s rare, but floaters can also result from:

  • Eye Disease
  • Eye injury
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Eye tumors

Most people ignore floaters and learn to live with them. Only in rare cases do they get bad enough to require treatment. The best way to temporarily remove floaters from your field of vision is to circulate the fluid in your eyes by shifting your eyeballs up and down.

If however you have so many floaters that your vision is compromised your doctor may suggest surgery called a vitrectomy. During this procedure, the vitreous is removed and replaced with a salt solution.

If you only have a few eye floaters that don’t change over time, don’t sweat it, but go to the doctor immediately if you notice:

  • A sudden increase in the number of floaters
  • Flashes of light
  • A loss of side vision
  • Changes that come on quickly and get worse over time
  • Floaters after eye surgery or eye trauma
  • Eye pain

The risk is low, but these symptoms may indicate a tear or a more serious break in your retina. You should treat a possible retinal break or detachment as an emergency. Treatment may save your sight.

To speak to an eye specialist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ophthalmology Center, 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.

Congenitial Heart Defect Awareness Week – Know The Facts About CHD

Every year, February 7th to the 14th is designated as Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) Awareness week. This annual week of recognition was created to raise awareness about CHD and to empower all patients and families affected by this condition.

Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth. These defects can involve:

  • The interior walls of the heart
  • The valves inside the heart
  • The arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart or the body

Congenital heart defects are the most common form of birth defect. They affect eight out of every 1,000 newborns. Each year, more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with this condition.

There are many different forms of defects that can range from minor with no symptoms to complex with life-threatening symptoms. Minor defects often do not require any treatment or are easily fixed. However, those babies born with complex congenital heart defects require special medical care soon after birth.

Unfortunately, doctors often do not know why congenital heart defects occur. Heredity may play a role in cases. Children who have genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, are often more likely to have congenital heart defects. In fact, half of all babies who have Down syndrome have congenital heart defects. Smoking during pregnancy also has been linked to several congenital heart defects.

Even though many children born with congenital heart defects do not require treatment, some do. Doctors can treat children with CHD with either catheter procedures or surgery. Thankfully, through advances in medicine, thee diagnosis and treatment of complex heart defects has greatly improved over the past few decades. As a result, almost all children who have complex heart defects survive to adulthood and can live active, productive lives.

Through continued education and support, we hope to conquer CHD.

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.

Follow These Tips to Avoid Getting the Flu at Your Super Bowl Party

The Super Bowl is this weekend and so many Americans look forward to celebrating this national event by watching the game with their friends and family. With flu season at its peak throughout the U.S, attending a gathering to watch the big game can be risky if you are not careful. Whether you are the host or a guest at a party this weekend, be sure to follow these tips to minimize catching the flu or any other virus this Sunday.

  • Avoid others if you are sick – The best way to avoid contracting or spreading the flu is to avoid others if you are feeling symptoms. If you are invited to a party but you or someone in your house is not feeling well, stay home. If you are hosting and experiencing flu-like symptoms, cancel the party.
  • Practice appropriate hygiene – If you are at a party and suddenly develop symptoms, make sure you cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. Avoid using your hands when covering up. Instead use your upper sleeve. Also discard all tissues immediately after using them.
  • Exercise proper hand hygiene – Super Bowl parties offer many opportunities for you to shake hands or exchange high-fives with other party- goers. Expressing excitement is great, but when doing so, be sure to wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading germs. If you are hosting, it might be a good idea to have plenty of hand sanitizers available.
  • Be smart about how food and drinks are served – Most big game celebrations are sure to offer two things; plenty of food and drink. Be smart about how they are served by ensuring that there are appropriate utensils at the party, such as tongs to grab wings and scoopers to avoid hands in the chip bowls. Additionally, avoid sharing beverages. One idea to avoid mistakenly grabbing the wrong drink is to mark all plastic cups with the names of your guests with a magic marker.

By following these tips, you can enjoy all the fun that Super Bowl Sunday brings and reduce your chances of suffering with a cold or flu immediately after.

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.

Teaching Your Children to Embrace Diversity

Our children are being introduced to so many more people than any other generation before them. Whether through school, outside activities, or on some form of electronic media, they have the opportunity to learn a great deal about people who come from diverse backgrounds, including those from different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and family dynamics. So, how can we, as parents make sure they are accepting of the differences in others?

Here are some tips parents can follow when trying to teach their children about diversity:

  • Set a good example – It might sound obvious but our children learn just as much from watching what we do as listening to what we say. As parents, we must recognize and address our own short-comings when it comes to accepting diversity if we want to teach our children correctly. Our actions cannot contradict the lessons we are trying to teach and we must lead by example if we do not want our children judge others based on stereotypes.
  • Get out of your comfort zone – While we all agree technology can make the world a much smaller place, the fact is most of us still spend our daily lives living in communities where the majority of our neighbors look like us and share the same values and traditions. Unfortunately, raising our children in a homogeneous environment is not conducive to truly teaching them about accepting diversity because they don’t get the opportunity to experience those who are “different.” Parents must make a deliberate effort to leave our familiar surroundings and experience and appreciate diversity.
  • Listen to what your child is saying – As much we would like to think we are the only influences in our children’s lives, we are not. They see and hear things from other adults, other children and other sources. Other influences can lead to the formation of inaccurate perceptions and beliefs. Take notice if your child is using hurtful or stereotypical language and take time to explain why something is inappropriate. Also encourage your children to ask questions. You can help provide explanations to things that might otherwise be confusing to them.
  • Don’t ignore differences – Many parents mistakenly want their children to be “difference blind.” This can only make the situation worse. There are many differences among us that should be embraced including how someone speaks, what they wear or eat, how their name is pronounced, or if they have two moms. These differences are bound to ignite curiosity and could lead to questions. Instead of ignoring diversity, teach your child to accept what makes us all unique and that our differences are only part of who we are, but they do not define us.

By following these tips, you can raise your children to be more accepting of others, which will go a long way in their development into adulthood.

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.