PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that occurs in women of reproductive age. It affects 1 in every 10 women living in the United States.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown; however, several factors are believed to contribute to the disorder. Factors that may play a role in the development of PCOS are genetics, low-grade inflammation or producing excessive amounts of androgens (male hormones) or insulin.

Those affected by PCOS often develop hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems, which can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Acne
  • Hirsutism ( Excessive hair on the face or in areas where only men normally have hair)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Thinning hair (Male pattern baldness)
  • Skin tags
  • Darkening of skin (Especially in areas such as the groin, underneath the breast and neck creases)

PCOS is linked to other health problems.  Women diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome are at risk of complications such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage or premature birth
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Depression and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea

There is no single test used to diagnose PCOS.  Your doctor may take into consideration your medical history and recommend blood tests, pelvic examinations or ultrasounds to rule out other causes for symptoms.

Treatment for PCOS is focused on managing complications.  Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medication or cosmetic procedures to improve symptoms.

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

Mistakes That Can Affect Your Blood Pressure Reading

Measuring your blood pressure at home is a very important part of properly managing hypertension.  Therefore taking accurate measurements is crucial.

To ensure accuracy, there are several things you should and should not do while measuring, as they can affect your reading.  Here are a few:

  • Always use the bathroom before measuring- Having a full bladder can add points to your reading.
  • Remain quiet- Talking while checking your blood pressure can cause deviations in measurements.
  • While seated make sure your back is supported and both your feet are placed flat on the ground-Measuring blood pressure in a posture where your back or feet are not supported can affect readings.
  • Keep your arm leveled with your heart- If your arm is not on the same level as your heart while getting a reading, you run the risk of getting measurements that are higher than your actual blood pressure level. Always make certain your arm is supported, you can rest it on a chair arm, table or desk to receive the best positioning.
  • Do not place the blood pressure cuff over clothing – Studies show that doing so can have an impact on systolic blood pressure. Your cuff should be placed on your bare arm during measurements.
  • Do not eat or drink anything 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure- Consuming food or drinking beverages within that time can result in a reading that may be inaccurate and high.

Improperly measuring your blood pressure can have serious consequences.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “A reading that underestimates your blood pressure might give you a false sense of security about your health. But a reading that overestimates your blood pressure might lead to treatment you don’t really need.”

In addition to following best practices for an accurate blood pressure reading, it is important that you keep track of your numbers. You can use a notebook, app or chart to do so.  If you are concerned about changes in your blood pressure readings, contact your doctor right away.

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

Don’t Ignore The Signs of A Ministroke

Ministroke also known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) occurs when there is a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain.

The symptoms of a ministroke are sometimes ignored because they typically last only for a few minutes (in some instances up to 24 hours), and may mimic symptoms of migraines, low blood sugar or seizures.

Although the symptoms of a ministroke generally do not cause permanent damage, they must not be dismissed. One in three people who have a ministroke are at risk of having a major stroke within a year; therefore, it is important to pay attention to the warning signs.  Signs and symptoms of TIA include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, legs or arms (especially on one side of the body)
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden headache
  • Slurred speech or difficulty understanding others

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention. Prompt treatment can reduce your risk of having a major stroke.

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.

Pregnancy Myths

Ob/Gyn queens, gynecologist queens Learning that you are pregnant can be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life.  After receiving the great news, you are likely to go on a quest for information that will help you to have a healthy pregnancy.

During your search for information, you may encounter a lot of helpful facts and just as many myths. To help you to separate fact from fiction, here are a few common myths debunked:

  • You cannot dye your hair- There is no data that supports the harmful effects of dying your hair during pregnancy.
  • You are eating for two- Most women will only need to consume 200 extra calories each day during their pregnancy. There is no need to consume an excessive amount of calories.
  • You should not exercise- Exercise is encouraged throughout your pregnancy. However, as your pregnancy advances, some types of exercise can be harmful. Consult with your doctor to determine a workout routine that is safe for your health.
  • You can drink a little while pregnant – No amount of alcohol consumption is safe during pregnancy. It is best to completely avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • You should avoid vaccinations- It is highly recommended that you receive the vaccinations needed to keep you and your developing baby healthy. One vaccination that is highly recommended is the whooping cough vaccine; it protects your baby from developing pertussis.

If you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy, your Ob/Gyn is a great source of information.   Your doctor can advise you about exercise, diet, medications and other factors of your health. To schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn 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.

Why STD Rates Are Rising

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates in the United States continue to rise at a pace that concerns health officials. Data gathered from 2013 to 2017 indicate that STD rates have increased greatly over the four year period.

In the United States, nearly 2.3 million cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis were diagnosed in 2017. Studies show that these numbers have surpassed previous records set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases.  CDC reports show that from 2013 to 2017, gonorrhea diagnoses increased by 67%; primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses increased by 76% and chlamydia 22%.

Health officials are most concerned about these sharp increases because chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea are all diseases that were once nearly eliminated or widely controlled but now have resurged.

Several factors have contributed to the resurgence of these diseases.  There has been a rise in risky sexual practices such as sex without condoms.  Studies show this may be the result of a reduced fear of getting pregnant and less fear of the risks associated with unprotected sex.  Other factors believed to be contributors to the escalation of STD rates include:

  • The rise of certain dating apps which have made casual sexual encounters more readily available and anonymous.
  • STDs spreading in populations that were not traditionally affected. The CDC reports that more and more women are being diagnosed with syphilis and some have passed the disease on to their babies. The agency states that in 2016, “there was a 36 percent increase in rates of syphilis among women and a 28 percent increase in syphilis among newborns.”
  • A lack of education and resources to combat these new challenges. According to the CDC, there isn’t enough funding available for STD clinics or programs to provide effective prevention education and healthcare.

There is still a stigma attached to STDs and people may be reluctant to speak to their doctor about screening and treatment.  However, it is important to keep in mind that your doctor is professionally trained to assist you or provide treatment.  If you are sexually active and believe you may be at risk of exposure to STDs, it is important that you get screened regularly.  Leaving certain STDs untreated can lead to complications such as infertility, stillbirth in infants, an increased risk of HIV infection, pelvic inflammatory disease and certain cancers.

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.

Running Do’s and Don’ts

It is no secret that exercise does wonders for your health.  Running, in particular, offers many benefits, and is known to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, it was found that” five to 10 minutes a day of low-intensity running is enough to extend life by several years.” Similar studies have also indicated that running can help reduce the risks associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Given the benefits, your doctor may recommend that you include running as part of your exercise regimen. If you decide to run, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to prevent injury and optimize your workout. Here are some running dos and don’ts:

The Do’s:

  • Keep your head up -This will keep your body in alignment and prevent injuries
  • Stretch and warm up-This reduces muscle tightness and increases your range of motion
  • Start slowly -Starting off too fast can lead to overexertion which may result in side aches
  • Schedule rest days –Allow your body days to recover and reduce the risk of exhaustion
  • Remain hydrated- Drinking enough water will prevent dehydration

The Don’ts:

  • Do not run in shoes that are worn or not intended for running- Shoes that are worn or not designed for running may lack support and lead to injuries
  • If running outdoors, do not run with headphones – It is important to be aware of your surroundings and avoid hazards
  • Do not eat big meals before running-Eating too much can slow you down
  • Do not ignore injuries- It is important that you rest if you are injured, not doing so can lead to complications

The most important thing to consider before starting your running routine is to speak with your doctor. Experts recommend that you receive a full medical checkup if you are over the age of 40, have preexisting medical conditions, are obese or have a family history of heart disease.  Your doctor will be able to assess your health and determine if running is best for you.

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.

Gout

Gout is a common form of arthritis that is characterized by attacks of pain, swelling, stiffness, redness or tenderness in the joints. These attacks or flares typically affect one joint at a time. They can occur suddenly and return over time.

Gout is caused by an accumulation of urate crystals in the joint.  Urate crystals form when there are high levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines; substances that are found naturally in our bodies and in foods such as steak, seafood and organ meats.  Alcoholic beverages and drinks sweetened with fructose (fruit sugar) are known to promote higher levels of uric acid in the body.

Some people are more likely to develop gout than others. Factors that increase your risk include:

  • Being obese; If you are overweight your body produces more uric acid and your kidneys may not be able to properly eliminate excessive amounts
  • Having a diet that is rich in purines, this includes seafood, red meat, organ meat, or beverages sweetened with fructose
  • Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Having certain health conditions such as  hypertension, diabetes,  heart and kidney disease
  • Using certain medications such as diuretics or low-dose aspirin

Men are more at risk of developing gout than women; this is because women tend to produce lower levels of uric acid. Men are also more likely to develop gout at an earlier age than women.   In men, symptoms may occur as early as the age of 30, and in women after menopause.

There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk for gout or prevent future attacks, they include:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Limiting your intake of seafood and meat
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

If you are experiencing symptoms of gout, or believe that you may be at risk, make an appointment to see a physician. Your doctor may order a series of test or assess your current state of health to receive a diagnosis or to determine if you are at risk.

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 Pregnant Women Should Know About the Whooping Cough Vaccine

Whooping cough or pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system.   It is spread person-to-person by coughing, sneezing, or sharing the same breathing space as someone who is infected.

Complications of pertussis can lead to serious illnesses or death in babies.  Infants under the age of one are at the greatest risk because their immune systems are not fully developed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “About half of babies younger than 1 year who get the disease need care in the hospital.”   Complications of whooping cough may vary by individual and can result in:

  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Apnea (slowed or stopped breathing)

The best way to protect babies from whooping cough is for pregnant women to get the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP) shot.   The CDC recommends that, “women get the whooping cough vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy.”   By receiving the vaccine during this time, mothers can pass on protective antibodies to their babies before birth.   This will offer protection to babies during their first few months of life before they are able to get vaccinated.

If safety is a concern, the CDC advises that getting the vaccine is very safe for mothers and babies.  Severe side effects are extremely rare. The most common side effects women may experience include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Pain, redness or swelling of the area the vaccine was given
  • Body aches
  • Headaches

If you are pregnant, speak with your Ob/Gyn about getting the DTaP vaccination, as well as other vaccinations needed to protect your baby.   To schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn at Jamaica Hospital Medical 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.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids often referred to as piles, are swollen veins located in the lower part of your rectum or around the anus. They are very common; in fact, nearly three out of four adults will get hemorrhoids in their lifetime.

The causes of hemorrhoids vary, they can result from increased pressure on the veins due to pregnancy, straining during bowel movements, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet or being overweight.

Hemorrhoids are sometimes symptomless, so it is common for people to have them and be unaware. If symptoms do present, they may include:

  • Itching, pain or discomfort around the anus
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Painless bleeding during a bowel movement
  • Lumps near the anus

The symptoms of hemorrhoids are rarely severe; there are several remedies or over-the-counter medications you can try to get some relief.   Treatments you can try at home include:

  • Non-prescription creams or wipes
  • Ice packs
  • Sitz baths
  • Oral pain relievers
  • Sitting on cushions or other soft surfaces

If symptoms persist for more than one week or if you have bleeding of the rectum, make an appointment to see your doctor right away.  Your doctor can diagnose hemorrhoids by assessing your family history and conducting a physical exam.  If further medical treatment is required your doctor may recommend minimally invasive procedures such as rubber band ligation or sclerotherapy (injection) to shrink the hemorrhoids or coagulation to harden and shrivel the hemorrhoids.  If these procedures are unsuccessful, surgical procedures such as a hemorrhoidectomy or hemorrhoid stapling may be necessary.

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.

Living With A Pacemaker

A pacemaker is a small electronic device that is implanted in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. It works by producing electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to beat at a normal rate.

Doctors may recommend pacemakers to patients diagnosed with heart arrhythmias (a condition which causes the heart to beat in an irregular rhythm) or patients living with symptoms resulting from bradycardia (slow heart rate).

If a pacemaker is needed to help treat either condition, minimally invasive surgery is required to implant the device.  After implantation, your doctor will discuss in detail, precautions to consider while wearing a pacemaker. You may be advised to:

  • Stay away from magnets or strong magnetic fields.
  • Make certain to take medications as recommended.
  • Keep cellphones at least six inches away from the device.
  • Do not linger in areas with walk-through anti-theft detectors.
  • Carry a pacemaker ID card.
  • Inform airport security agents that you are wearing the device, as your pacemaker can set off metal detectors. Hand-held scanners contain a magnet that may interfere with your device, remind the agent to avoid using the scanner near your pacemaker.
  • Avoid using arc welders and chainsaws.
  • Take special precautions to protect your device during certain medical procedures such as MRI scans or radiation therapy.

Most people living with pacemakers can continue their normal day-to-day physical activities.  Speak to your doctor about what level of physical activity is best for you.

Pacemakers require maintenance. Although the average battery life of your pacemaker is five to 15 years, your doctor may ask you to come in at least once a year to make sure your device is functioning properly.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department provides pacemaker implantation and evaluation services. To schedule an appointment with one of our highly-trained cardiologists, please call (718) 206-7100.

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.