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.

Signs of Low Potassium

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people living in the United States are not consuming enough potassium. In fact, it is estimated that less than 2% of people meet the daily nutritional requirement, which is 3,500–4,700 mg each day for adults.

This is concerning because potassium is essential in helping our bodies to function properly.   Our bodies need potassium to control the electrical activity of the heart, build protein, regulate water balance as well as acid-based balance in blood and tissue, maintain healthy nerve function and regulate blood pressure.

A diet rich in potassium is linked to several health benefits such as:

  • Reducing the risk of stroke
  • Preventing osteoporosis
  • Preventing kidney stones
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases

When our bodies have significantly low amounts of potassium, we may experience several tell-tale signs which include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Problems with digestion
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tingling and numbness, typically in the arms, legs, hands, and feet
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mood changes or mental fatigue

Eating foods that are rich in potassium is one of the best ways to improve intake.  Some foods that are an excellent source of this important mineral are:

  • Bananas
  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
  • Beets
  • White beans
  • Potatoes ( white and sweet potatoes)
  • Oranges
  • Avocados
  • Yogurt
  • Salmon

Low potassium levels may be the result of a deficiency in your diet or a more serious, underlying medical condition.  Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing signs that may indicate that you are deficient.  Your doctor may request a blood test to determine if your levels are low and the cause.

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.

Food Allergies: What Parents Should Know

Food Allergies According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated 4%–6% of children in the United States.”

The most common foods known to cause allergies in children include eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, fish and shellfish.  If a child is severely allergic to any of these foods, they should avoid them at all costs.  Exposure or consumption can lead to a serious reaction known as anaphylaxis, which can result in death.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis usually occur within minutes and may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Throat tightening or the feeling of the throat closing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Swollen tongue
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

In the event a child is experiencing anaphylaxis, do not wait to see if symptoms will go away.  Treatment must be administered immediately.  If the child carries an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen), use this right away to begin emergency care.

Doctors strongly recommend that the Epipen is administered exactly as instructed. According to www.epipen.com , when administering the medication to a young child, one should:

  • Remove the Auto-Injector from the clear carrier tube.
  • Flip open the yellow cap of your EpiPen® or the green cap of your EpiPen Jr® carrier tube.
  • Tip and slide the auto-injector out of the carrier tube.
  • Hold the auto-injector in your fist with the orange tip pointing downward. Blue to the sky, orange to the thigh®.
  • With your other hand, remove the blue safety release by pulling straight up without bending or twisting it.
  • Hold the leg firmly in place while administering an injection.
  • Place the orange tip against the middle of the outer thigh (upper leg) at a right angle (perpendicular) to the thigh.
  • Swing and push the auto-injector firmly until it “clicks.” The click signals that the injection has started.
  • Hold firmly in place for 3 seconds (count slowly 1, 2, 3).
  • Remove the auto-injector from the thigh. The orange tip will extend to cover the needle. If the needle is still visible, do not attempt to reuse it.
  • Massage the injection area for 10 seconds.

For complete instructions on how to properly use the Epipen, please visit https://www.epipen.com/-/media/files/epipen/howtouseepipenautoinjector.pdf or www.epipen.com

If the child does not carry an EpiPen, and is experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis, get emergency help immediately. Every second counts.

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 Causes Night Sweats?

A common concern shared by patients with their doctor is night sweats.  This is the occurrence of excessive sweating at night while sleeping.

If you are experiencing night sweats while sleeping in a warm room, wearing too much clothing to bed or sleeping with too many blankets, the cause for excessive perspiration is most likely the result of your sleep environment.

However, if neither applies and you are experiencing night sweats frequently, there is a chance that this may be caused by an underlying medical issue.

There are several conditions that are known to cause night sweats, some of these are:

  • Hormone disorders
  • Cancers
  • Stroke
  • Infections
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Menopause
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Idiopathic hyperhidrosis
  • Thyroid diseases

Certain medications are also known to cause night sweats. You should speak with your doctor if night sweats:

  • Occur on a regular basis
  • Are accompanied by symptoms such as fever or pain
  • Occur after menopausal symptoms have subsided after several months
  • Interrupts your sleep

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.

Can you get the flu in the summer?

FluAlthough it is possible to get the flu during the summer, it is highly unlikely that you will.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that while influenza viruses circulate year-round, they are most common during fall and winter months.   These viruses survive better in colder and drier climates. Therefore the chances that you will get the flu in the summer, which consists of hot and humid conditions, are greatly reduced.

Flu-like symptoms that occur during the summer are most likely caused by other illnesses. Some illnesses that present very similar symptoms to the flu include:

  • The common cold – symptoms include sore throat, coughing, sneezing and congestion
  • Pneumonia-symptoms include fever, headaches, chills and coughing
  • Gastroenteritis- symptoms include body  aches, pain, fever, headaches  along with diarrhea and abdominal cramps
  • Bronchitis- symptoms include fatigue, coughing, fever, chills and shortness of breath

Getting the flu during the summer is unusual but possible.  If you suspect that you have the flu or are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, it is advised that you see your doctor.  He or she will conduct an examination and order tests to determine all possible causes for your symptoms as well as appropriate treatment methods.

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.

Age and Conception

Getting Pregnant, Ob/ Gyn, Gynecologist Age is a factor that affects a woman’s chances of conceiving.  Women become less fertile as they grow older because they have fewer eggs.  The quality of a woman’s eggs also declines with age.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), fertility in women can begin to decrease at the age of 32 and they can become more at risk of developing complications after the age of 35.

Although becoming pregnant after the age of 35 may have its challenges, there are things a woman can do to help increase her chances of having a baby including:

  • Receiving preconception care from her gynecologist
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Losing weight if overweight or obese
  • Avoiding chemicals or substances in the home or workplace that can be harmful to pregnancy
  • Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Taking supplements that contain folic acid
  • Exercising regularly

If you are over the age of 35, you should not be discouraged from trying to conceive. Advancements in gynecological care and fertility treatments are making it possible for many women to have a baby after that age.   However, it is important that you speak with your doctor about your risks and challenges you may encounter.

To schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call  718-206-6808.

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 CoQ10 and what are its Heart Health Benefits?

Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is naturally produced by our bodies to aid cells in growing and functioning properly.

As we age our bodies produce less of it and those diagnosed with heart disease are often found to have inadequate amounts. Although we can obtain CoQ10 from foods such as fish, whole grains and meat, it isn’t enough to significantly increase levels in our bodies.

Supplements are sometimes recommended to make up for a lack of CoQ10.  Studies show they may be beneficial in slightly reducing blood pressure and improving symptoms of heart failure.

Although taking CoQ10 supplements is generally safe, findings are mixed and as with any supplement, there are side effects, as well as drug interactions with certain medications.   It is highly advised that you speak with your doctor before taking CoQ10.

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.

Common Summer Illnesses

Typically when we think of seasonal illnesses, we think of conditions such as allergies, the cold and flu as they relate to winter, spring and fall months. However, it is important for us to remember certain illnesses are more likely to occur during the summer than at other times of the year.

Although the summer provides us with lots of sunshine and opportunities to enjoy recreational activities, warmer temperatures and elements of our environment can increase our risk of exposure to factors that affect our health.

Hot weather provides the perfect climate for bacteria to grow that causes food poisoning. Therefore, we have to be especially careful during summer months to make sure our food is stored and prepared correctly to avoid illness.

A favorite summer past time for many is swimming; however, the bodies of water in which we swim can serve as the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that causes recreational water illnesses (RWI) and can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea.  We also have to be mindful of properly draining or drying our ears after swimming, as this can encourage bacteria to grow, potentially leading to an infection known as swimmer’s ear.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that peaks during the summer months when we are more exposed to ticks in wooded or grassy areas.   Therefore it is important to take the proper precautions to prevent tick bites while we are participating in outdoor activities such as hiking.

Coxsackie is a common summer virus that mostly affects children. The hand, foot and mouth disease is spread from person-to-person by saliva, blister fluid, feces and mucus.  Outbreaks peak in the summer; however, you can control the spread of the virus by frequently washing hands and cleaning surfaces that children touch most often.

Summer heat and places of recreation can provide the perfect environment for illness-causing bacteria and viruses to flourish.  Remember while soaking up the sunshine or lying by the lake to take the proper steps to reduce your chances of getting sick.

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.

Signs of an Iron Deficiency

Iron is essential to our health. This mineral is an important component of hemoglobin which is the substance in our red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs and transports it to every cell in our bodies.

Iron deficiency anemia is the term used to describe having insufficient amounts of iron in our bodies.  If we don’t have enough iron, we are incapable of making adequate amounts of healthy, oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Iron is also needed to promote the health of our skin, hair and nails.  A deficiency can result in skin problems as well as brittle nails and hair loss.

Symptoms of a deficiency tend to appear and intensify with severity.  People with low to moderate anemia may not experience symptoms but as the body becomes more deficient they may experience:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • A sore tongue
  • Frequent infections
  • Pale skin
  • Pica( Craving non-nutritive substances such as dirt and chalk)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is advised that you see a doctor as soon as possible.  Your doctor will order tests to determine if you are iron deficient and investigate underlying causes.  If there is an underlying cause for your deficiency such as an iron-absorption problem, he or she will treat it accordingly.   Your doctor may also recommend taking supplements or adding foods that are rich in iron such as spinach to your diet.

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.

When Should You Go to The ER For High Blood Pressure?

Complications caused by hypertension (high blood pressure), is one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits.  Elevated blood pressure levels can cause substantial damage to our bodies and lead to conditions that can become life-threatening.

Knowing when to seek immediate emergency care can help you avoid delays in getting medical attention, and decrease your risk of developing severe complications caused by extremely high blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association, when blood pressure levels increase severely and reach measurements of 180/110 or greater, you should seek immediate medical attention.

There are other warning signs coupled with high blood pressure that indicate you are having a hypertensive crisis and require emergency care. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe headaches accompanied by blurred vision and confusion
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe anxiety

The cause of a severe spike in your blood pressure and these symptoms could be the result of missing your blood pressure medications, a stroke, a heart attack, kidney failure or an artery rupture.

A hypertensive crisis can lead to complications or damages to your body such as fluid in the lungs, memory loss, vision damage, and damage to vital organs.  This is why it is important that you go to your nearest hospital emergency room and receive the treatment needed to lower your blood pressure.  Damage to your organs will be assessed and your doctors will immediately address complications.

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.