Visiting the Mall Can Improve Your Health!

We all know that regular physical activity is important to our overall health, especially for seniors.

Did you know walking is a great way for older adults to remain active?

Seniors who commit to taking a brisk walk each day may be at a lower risk of:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast and colon cancers
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

With the onset of colder months upon us, how can older adults continue their walking routine and remain active?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that in the colder months, you can utilize indoor malls for your brisk walk.  Malls can be pedestrian friendly, they are climate-controlled, are well lit, have benches for resting, fountains for hydrating, restrooms, as well as security guards and cameras for safety.

For more information on mall walking programs and for other walking resources visit the CDC’s Mall Walking: A program Resource Guide at – https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/mallwalking-guide.pdf

So get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes, hit the mall and improve your health!

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 Holiday Stress Affects Sleep

There are countless things we need to get done during the holidays. In our minds, we are constantly checking off items on our lists and thinking about future tasks to tackle.  Often our stress levels increase as a result of trying to juggle it all.

Elevated stress levels can have a negative effect on our health, specifically our quality of sleep. Stress causes many people to lose hours of much-needed rest, as they lie in bed worrying. Lack of sleep, in the short term, can affect concentration, mood, and increases the risk of serious accidents and injury. Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Getting a good night’s sleep can reduce the effects of stress. Here are a few tips to help you manage holiday stress and get some rest:

  • Eat a healthy diet- During the holidays we tend to indulge in foods that are unhealthy. Foods that are rich in fat and sugar can make us feel lethargic and make our bodies less capable of combatting stress. Additionally, what you eat during the day can affect how you sleep at night. High- fat and high-sugar meals can lead to indigestion and a night of tossing and turning.
  • Delegate responsibilities- Sometimes our holiday to-do lists are overwhelming. Ask friends and family to help you by taking some of your responsibilities off your plate.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques- Practicing techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help you to relax and improve sleep.
  • Exercise- All forms of exercise help the brain to release feel-good hormones such as endorphins which can help combat stress.  Studies have shown that exercise also improves sleep.

The holidays are a busy time of year; however, it is highly advised that you carve out time to get adequate sleep.  Getting your daily recommended amount of sleep not only helps you to reduce stress but also benefits your overall health.  If a lack of sleep is affecting your health, you should speak with your doctor. To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital, please call, 718-206-5916.

 

 

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.

Jet Lag and Sleep

jet lag Jet lag can profoundly affect sleep and alertness.  This sleep disorder occurs when your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythms), which tells you when to sleep, becomes imbalanced after traveling to different time zones.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, when a person travels to a new time zone their “circadian rhythms are slow to adjust and remain on their original biological schedule for several days. This results in our bodies telling us it is time to sleep, when it’s actually the middle of the afternoon, or it makes us want to stay awake when it is late at night.”

Jet lag can lead to daytime fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, mood changes, a general unwell feeling, headaches, mild depression, insomnia and difficulty staying alert and concentrating.   These symptoms generally appear within a day or two of travel and can worsen the longer you travel and the more time zones you cross.

There are several ways to combat or minimize the effects of jet lag.  Here are a few you can try:

  • Avoid alcohol the day before your flight and during your flight.
  • Get plenty of rest before you fly.
  • Avoid caffeine or other caffeinated beverages before or while traveling.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Wear sunglasses during your flight.
  • Move around the plane on long flights.
  • Adapt immediately to the schedule of your destination. While it may be tempting to sleep during the day after your arrival, it is advised that you stay up and active and expose your body to sunlight.
  • Avoid heavy meals upon arrival to your destination.

Symptoms of jet lag are mostly temporary and typically last a few days; however, if you are a frequent flyer they may become more severe. You can speak with your doctor or a sleep specialist who may recommend treatments such as light therapy, melatonin supplements or prescription medication.

To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718- 206-5916.

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.

Dr’s Tips- Snoring and Solutions

dr-mayank-shukla fb graphicHere is a wake-up call for snorers; did you know that snoring affects approximately 90 million adults living in the United States?  “Although snoring is common and many of us have learned to live with it, the truth is snoring is not normal and should not be ignored,” states Dr. Mayank Shukla; sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Snoring occurs when air flow through the nose or mouth is physically obstructed while sleeping. This can be the result of several factors including nasal congestion, excessive throat and nasal tissue, sleep deprivation or a tongue muscle that has become too relaxed during sleep.

Snoring on occasion does not raise cause for great concern.  People who snore occasionally could try the following solutions recommended by Dr. Shukla to help them or their loved ones to get a restful night’s sleep:

  • Avoid sleeping on your back
  • Use a humidifier if the air in your room is dry
  • Adjust your pillows to keep your head elevated
  • Open nasal passages by using steam , nasal strips or salt water rinse
  • Reduce consumption of alcohol or other sedatives
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get your recommended amount of sleep

However, if you are a frequent snorer, these solutions may not benefit you as there may be serious health conditions such as stroke, heart disease or hypertension connected to your chronic snoring.  Dr. Shukla suggests that you consult your physician as soon as possible if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Frequent waking from sleep
  • Chronic headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gasping for air or choking while snoring

These symptoms are commonly associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a disorder which causes a person to stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep. OSA can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke and in severe cases, death. A sleep study may be required to diagnose OSA.

There are several treatments your doctor may recommend; the most common is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.  Additional methods of treatment may include medication, oral appliances, surgery, or lifestyle adjustments such as losing weight or quitting smoking.

Jamaica Hospital’s state- of-the-art Sleep Center provides several testing options to diagnose and treat sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. Our staff consists of highly skilled, board-certified sleep specialists and respiratory therapists. We also boast an impressive 2:1 technician patient ratio, which provides our patients with the optimal attention they need during their sleep study. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mayank Shuklah or other sleep specialists at Jamaica Hospital, please call, 718-206-5916.

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.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a chronic illness that is of unknown origin. It typically leaves the patient feeling extremely tired, it may get worse with mental or physical activity, and usually does not improve with rest. There are a few theories as to what causes the condition but none have been proven. Some physicians believe it may be caused by a viral infection or possibly caused by stress.
There are eight signs and symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
• Fatigue
• Loss of memory or concentration
• Sore throat
• Muscle pain that is unexplained
• Enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits
• Joint pain without swelling or redness
• Headaches
• Sleep that does not refresh the body
• Extreme exhaustion that lasts more than 24 hours
Some factors that may contribute to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are:
• Age – Usually affects people in their 40’s and 50’s
• Gender – Affects women more often than men
• Stress – People under a lot of stress may develop the condition more frequently
• Depression
• Lifestyle restrictions – owing to physical disability or being home bound.
It is important to have a thorough check up to make certain that there are no other chronic health issues that may be causing symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. There is no cure for the condition and treatment options are geared towards the improvement of the symptoms. In some cases antidepressants may be used and sleeping pills which may aid in getting some rest. If you would like to make an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss unexplained fatigue, please call 718-206-6742.ThinkstockPhotos-499259104

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.

Is Social Media Making Me Fat?

Have you ever wondered why when you see postings of food on social media that are pleasing to your eyes, you immediately begin to desire that food or think, “Gee, I’m hungry?

The human mind is divided into two parts, the conscious and subconscious mind.  The conscious mind works while we are awake, while the subconscious mind is always activated.  The subconscious mind regulates everything in our body, our character, our speech and receives and processes information. The food and beverage postings on social media speak directly to our conscious and subconscious mind.

According to researchers, 70 percent of household meals in America are influenced by digital media.  Pictures of food and beverages show up on news feeds 63 percent of the time.  One popular social media site noted that a widely used food hashtag marked photos of snacks and meals 54 million times on their site alone.

In addition to subliminally causing you to want to eat more food, studies have shown that people who spent two hours or more using a device with LED display, such as a smart phone or tablet, had a corresponding dip in melatonin levels.  Melatonin is the chemical that prepares your body for sleep. When we lose sleep, we can pack on extra pounds because there is a link between sleep loss and weight gain.  If you are awake for longer periods of time, you may be more inclined to reach for a late night snack or bag of chips.

Some steps you can take to curb your hunger and promote good health are:

  • Choose fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Prepare your meals at home and limit dining out and processed on-the-go meals.
  • Try to avoid being distracted by TV, work, driving or surfing on your computer, phone or tablet while eating.
  • Regulate your social media feed, especially if the pictures of food and beverages make your stomach moan.

Obesity is on the rise because many factors, but keep in mind that you are in control and can make healthy choices to live a healthy life. It’s better to eat with your stomach and not with your eyes.

 

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.

Rare but True: Sleeping Beauty or Kleine Levin Syndrome

sleeping -493503106Kleine Levin Syndrome (KLS) or Sleeping Beauty Syndrome is a rare neurological condition characterized by recurring periods of excess sleep.  It is estimated that 1000 people worldwide are diagnosed with the disorder.  Adolescent boys are primarily affected but a small percentage of adults and small children (male and female) are also known to suffer from this condition.

KLS symptoms occur in episodes that can last for days, weeks or months.  During each episode, an individual can sleep from 12 to 20 hours a day- only waking to eat and use the bathroom. A person can experience anywhere from two to 12 episodes per year.   Symptoms that occur during wakefulness include:

  • Mood changes
  • Hyper sexuality
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Child-like behavior
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Excessive eating
  • Hypersensitivity to noise and light

These symptoms prevent individuals from leading a normal life. Most are bed ridden and unable to attend work or school. The frequency of KLS episodes tend to decrease with age, there is a possibility that they can recur later in life.

The cause of KLS is unknown but it is believed that it may be the result of a malfunction of the hypothalamus and thalamus (the parts of the brain that regulates sleep, body temperature, sex drive and appetite).

There is no cure for KLS but treatment is available to alleviate symptoms.  Doctors may prescribe stimulants to reduce excessive sleepiness.

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.

5 Natural Sleep Aids

sleep-480568337The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults should receive between seven to eight hours of sleep each day.  However, the National Sleep Council reports that a staggering 48% of people living in the United States do not get enough sleep.  Additionally, one- third of our population states that they lay awake a few nights out of each week because they are unable to fall asleep.

These statistics clearly indicate that many of us are having problems falling asleep and getting adequate rest.  Without enough sleep, our bodies will not function properly. Sleep is needed to restore parts of the body such as the blood vessels and the heart. It is also needed to promote proper brain function and maintain a healthy balance in hormones.

Trying these natural sleep aids can help you combat sleeplessness and get the rest needed to revitalize your body:

  • Tart cherries or cherry juice-Tart cherries such as Montmorency cherries contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential in producing the hormones serotonin and melatonin. Increased levels of these hormones in the body can create the urge to sleep.
  • Valerian– Is a natural supplement that is commonly used to ease insomnia. Some studies suggest that it helps people fall asleep faster and improves the quality of sleep.
  • Hops– Hops are not only known for making beer, this herb is also known for promoting relaxation. Hops are typically boiled and steeped to make a tea.  Drinking this a few minutes before bed is said to help in achieving a restful night’s sleep.
  • Chamomile– This herb is usually ingested in the form of a tea. It contains several compounds such as apigenin and coumarin that are found to have a calming effect on the body.
  • Melatonin – Melatonin is naturally produced by the body but some people increase their levels by taking supplements. It can be used to help people with disruptive sleep cycles. Physicians recommend that you adhere to taking low dosages (speak to a doctor about which dose is right for you.) This is because taking too much melatonin can cause adverse reactions such as dizziness, headaches and hallucinations.

It is highly recommended that you consult a physician before trying these sleep aids. Although natural, there is the possibility that they can cause side effects.  Be certain to inform the doctor of all medications that you are taking, as mixing medications with certain herbs can be hazardous to your health.

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 “Annual” Is Your Annual Physical?

HypertesionThinkstockPhotos-477722758A.  Yearly

B. Bi-Yearly

C. When I don’t feel good

D. I don’t do doctors

 

An annual exam is a good way of tracking your health progress.  Some of the benefits are:

  • Primary prevention
  • To identify risk factors for common chronic diseases
  • To detect disease that has no apparent symptoms (secondary prevention)
  • A way for the doctor to counsel people to promote healthy behavior
  • To update clinical data since your last check-up
  • To enhance the relationship betweenyou and your doctor

If you are interested in scheduling an exam, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  Call 718-206-7001 for 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.

Rare but True – Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a rare, but real condition, but it doesn’t involve the Mad Hatter or the Cheshire Cat.

ThinkstockPhotos-466154054 (1)Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS) is a neurological condition where the sufferer has temporary episodes of a distorted perception of their own size and the size of things around them. People with this condition visualize themselves as big as giants or as small as insects. The objects around them also appear abnormally large or small. For instance, someone with AIWS will perceive a teacup either as big as a car or as small as a thimble.

This hallucination-like state typically lasts anywhere from five to 30 minutes. People with AIWS also may experience an impaired sense of space, with objects suddenly seeming very close or far away. In some cases, the sense of touch and sound may also be distorted.

The syndrome references the adventures from the famous novel by Lewis Carroll, where the title character Alice experiences strange events in Wonderland. Many believe that the Carroll himself suffered from this disease and was the inspiration for the story.
The cause of the condition is unknown, although the episodes have been closely associated with the onset of migraine headaches or epilepsy. AIWS can affect anyone, but it is most common in children and young adults. Episodes stop for most over time, but those who experience symptoms are recommended to see a doctor immediately.

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.