National Back Pack Safety Month

September is National School Backpack Safety Month and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is sharing information on how you can help your child avoid the pain and injury that is associated with carrying heavy backpacks.  These simple tips can help protect your child from having chronic back pain throughout their lives.

Backpacks are essential back-to- school items for kids.  They come in different colors, sizes and shapes and most importantly they help children to carry their belongings.  Backpacks are preferred by many in comparison to shoulder bags because when worn correctly, they evenly distribute weight across the body.  However, if worn incorrectly they can cause back pain or injuries and eventually lead to poor posture.

To prevent problems associated with improper backpack use, parents should first purchase a backpack that has the following features:

  • Lightweight
  • Wide and padded straps
  • Multiple compartments
  • Padded back
  • Waist belt
  • Correct size (A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso).

Practicing these safety tips will further reduce the chance of back pain or injuries caused by backpacks:

  • When packing, heavier items should be placed to the back and center of the backpack. Lighter items should be in front. Sharp objects such as scissors or pencils should be kept away from your child’s back.  Utilizing different compartments can help in distributing weight.
  • Do not over pack. Doctors recommend that children should not carry backpacks that weigh more than 10-15% of their body weight.
  • Ensure that children use both straps. Using a single strap can cause muscle strain.
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack fits closely to your child’s back and sits two inches above the waist. This ensures comfort and proper weight distribution.
  • Encourage children to use their lockers or desks throughout the day to drop off heavy books.

The Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America recommends that parents should always look for warning signs that indicate backpacks may be too heavy. If your child struggles to put on and take off the backpack, they are complaining of numbness or tingling or if there are red strap marks on their shoulders -It may be time for you to lighten their load.

 

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.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

 

The month of September has been designated as National Prostate Cancer Awareness

Month to bring attention to this very common form of cancer that affects so many men. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men and is the second leading cancer related cause of death in men. Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing it are:

  •  Older age (more than 65% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65)
  • Race (African-American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men)
  • Family history (having a father or brother with prostate cancer)
  • Obesity

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids during ejaculation. It sits just below the bladder and is normally about the side of a walnut.

Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms. When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss.

When screening is done there are two tests that are available. The available tests are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  To perform a digital rectal exam your doctor uses a gloved finger, inserted a few inches into your rectum, to check your prostate gland.  A prostate-specific antigen test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood.  Many men who have prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA, however PSA can also be elevated for less serious causes such as prostate enlargement or infection.

Further testing is needed to diagnose cancer. Additional tests that your doctor may recommend to diagnose cancer include an ultrasound of the prostate and a biopsy of the prostate.  A biopsy is when a small piece of the prostate is removed to look for abnormal cells.

Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many factors including your age, your overall health and the growth and spread of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Some men who have slow growing tumors may not need treatment right away and some may never need treatment.  Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body making treatment difficult.  Common treatment options include watchful waiting or expectant management (regular testing and checkups to assess for new signs or symptoms), radiation therapy (high-energy x-rays used to kill cancer cells), chemotherapy, surgery (having the prostate gland removed) and hormone therapy.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss a prostate cancer screening, 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.

National Suicide Prevention Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

September is National Traumatic Brain Injury Month

September is recognized as National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. The main purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries and how to recognize, prevent, and treat it one if it occurs.

The most common type of head injury is called a concussion, which is known as a mild traumatic brain injury. These can happen to anyone, at any age that has experienced a blow to the head. Signs and symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of consciousness

In most cases, people will recover from a concussion in a week to ten days, with adults usually recovering faster than children. While many times traumatic brain injuries can’t be prevented because they are due to an accident, there are a few things a person can do to protect themselves:

  • Anyone who participates in a sport that has physical contact should wear proper head gear
  • When riding in a car everyone should wear a seat belt
  • Helmets should always be worn when riding a bicycle
  • People who are prone to falling should walk with the assistance of a cane, a walker or have someone with them for assistance.

If you or someone you know experiences a head trauma, it is advised that they to be seen immediately by a physician or be taken to the nearest emergency room.

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.

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

September has been designated National Sickle Cell Awareness Month to bring attention to this genetic disease that affects an estimated 100,000 Americans.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited form of anemia – a condition in which red blood cells are unable to carry oxygen throughout the body. For most, red blood cells are round and can move easily through blood vessels, but the red blood cells in people with sickle cell disease are crescent, or half-moon shaped. These irregular shaped cells can get stuck in blood vessels, which can slow or block the flow of oxygen to certain parts of the body.

In addition to being irregular in shape, sickle cells are fragile and break apart easily. Normal red blood cells live an average of four months before they die and need to be replaced. Sickle-shaped cells however only live an average of 20 days. The result of this shortage of blood cells is a loss of energy and general sense of fatigue.
Other symptoms of sickle cell disease include:

• Hand-Foot Syndrome – Often the first sign of sickle cell disease. It is caused by a lack of blood flow to the hands and feet

• Episodes of Pain – Referred to as a “crisis”, these episodes of pain occur when blood flow is blocked to the chest, abdomen, and joints. The frequency and duration of the episodes vary from person to person, but in severe cases, they can result in hospitalization.

• Frequent Infections and Fever– Sickle Cell can cause damage to the spleen, an organ that fights infection, making those with sickle cell at greater risk of developing an infection and an accompanying fever.

• Changes in Skin – People with sickle cell disease can develop a yellow tint to their skin or the whites of their eyes. Skin and nail beds can often become pale.

• Delayed growth – By not receiving enough oxygen rich red blood cells, those with sickle cell disease may also not get the necessary nutrients essential for growth.

The risk of inheriting sickle cell disease is a genetic one. For a baby to be born with it, both parents must carry the sickle cell gene. Doctors can diagnose sickle cell disease before a child is born. Couples who are at risk for passing on this disease to their children may want to talk with a genetic counselor about prenatal testing. The sickle cell gene is more common in families that come from Africa, India, Carribbean islands, and Central and South America.

To determine if you have sickle cell disease, your doctor can order a test to check for hemoglobin S, the defective form of hemoglobin that underlies sickle cell anemia. Further tests can confirm the existence of one gene (carrying the sickle cell trait) or two genes (sickle cell anemia). For those who have sickle cell anemia, treatment is aimed at treating the symptoms and avoiding crisis. Regular check-ups to monitor your red blood cell count are important. Medications are available to reduce pain and prevent complications can be prescribed, and blood transfusions, supplemental oxygen and even bone marrow transplants may also be necessary.

Jamaica Hospital serves a culturally rich and diverse population. Many members of our community are from the parts of the world most often affected by sickle cell disease. In recognition of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Jamaica Hospital’s encourages anyone living with sickle cell disease to carefully manage their condition. The hospital also recommends all potential parents to be tested for the sickle cell trait.

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.

Today is National HIV Testing Day

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. There are 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States, and one in seven are unaware they have the virus.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, along with other health organizations is working together to raise awareness about the importance of getting tested and early HIV diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends “that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.”

We are encouraging people to know their status. There are now more ways than ever to get tested.

Jamaica Hospital’s clinics offer HIV testing to the community. For a list of our clinics and contact information, please visit https://jamaicahospital.org/clinical-services/ambulatory-care/

If a patient tests positive we also provide HIV counseling and treatment. We offer integrated clinical care, social and educational services in a comfortable and caring environment.

To receive more information about National HIV Testing Day and to learn more about the virus, please visit, https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/awareness/testingday.html

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.

The Facts About Male Infertility

Infertility is a diagnosis given to couples who have been unsuccessful at conceiving after a year of trying. Infertility affects approximately 15% of all couples and within this group male infertility issues contribute to 30% of all cases.

During Men’s Health Month, Jamaica Hospital wants to provide information about male infertility and offer treatment options for those trying to conceive.

 

The most common cause of male infertility is a varicocele, which is an enlargement of the veins within the scrotum that holds the testicles. Varicoceles are a common cause of low sperm production and decreased sperm quality.

Other causes include:

  • Age
  • A blockage in your reproductive system
  • Undescended testicles
  • Sperm that are abnormally shaped or that don’t move correctly
  • Hormone problems
  • Certain health conditions, such as cancer
  • An infection or sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Erectile dysfunction.

Sometimes the cause of male infertility is unknown. In these cases, it may be the result of genetics, lifestyle, or environmental factors.

A doctor can help find the cause of infertility. Your doctor will do an exam and review your medical history. A semen analysis will determine sperm count and quality. Another test your doctor may perform is a check of your hormone levels.

While you cannot always prevent male infertility, there are factors that can affect this condition that should be avoided. These include:

  • smoking
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • emotional stress
  • obesity
  • Frequent hot tub use or wearing tight fitting underwear.

More than half of male infertility cases can be corrected. Treatment options depend on the root cause. Medicine can improve hormone levels or erectile dysfunction. Surgery can help correct physical problems, such as a varicocele. It also can repair blockages or other damage. Surgery is often minor and done as an outpatient procedure.

In cases where infertility cannot be cured, your doctor may suggest a form of assisted reproductive therapy, such as:

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI). A man’s sperm is collected and inserted into the woman’s uterus. This procedure is done at the time of ovulation.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF). This technique is more complex. A man’s sperm and a woman’s egg are fertilized in the lab. Then it is implanted back in the woman’s uterus.

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.

National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

According to the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP), June is recognized by the federal government as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.

More than 38 million people in the United States experience migraines or some type of tension headache with 2 -3 million of them experiencing chronic migraines.

The exact causes of migraines are unknown.  People with migraine or tension headaches may have a tendency to be affected by certain triggers such as fatigue, bright lights, weather changes and hypertension.

Some symptoms of migraine or tension headaches are:

  • Throbbing pain, numbness, weakness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vertigo
  • Mood changes
  • Neck pain
  • Vision changes

Treatment for migraine or tension headaches depends on the how often or how severe the headache is, the level of disability your headache may cause and contributing medical conditions you may have.

Over the counter medications such as anti-nausea or Ibuprofen may help with more minor episodes, but if you are experiencing multiple headaches per month lasting more than 12 hours, over the counter medications aren’t helping and your migraine symptoms include numbness or weakness, it is best to consult your physician.

If you are experiencing painful migraine or tension headaches, the Ambulatory Care Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has convenient hours and days of operation.  To schedule an appointment, call 718-206-7001.

To learn more about migraines and tension headaches visit – https://migraine.com/migraine-statistics/

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.

World No Tobacco Day

Since 1987 the World Health Organization has recognized May 31st as a day to bring awareness around the world of the harmful effects of tobacco. This year the focus is on tobacco and cardiovascular diseases.
The risks of using tobacco are well documented, however many people around the world are not fully aware of the dangers.  There is a very strong link between tobacco use and heart disease, circulatory problems and stroke.
Coronary vascular diseases are one of the world’s leading causes of death.  Tobacco use is the second leading cause of these types of diseases, hypertension being the leading cause. With all of the knowledge we have about the harmful effects of tobacco use, there are still some who have not received the message and as a result, more than 7 million people die each year from the effects of tobacco.
A few of the initiatives that the World Health Organization is trying to implement to inform people about tobacco’s harmful effects are:
• Increase public knowledge of the risks of smoking and second hand smoke
• Encourage healthcare providers to speak to their patients about the hazards of tobacco
• Encourage governmental  support for educational programs
• Seek ways to promote smoke free zones in buildings and public spaces
• Increase taxes on tobacco products
• Make it more difficult to purchase tobacco products
• Ban tobacco advertising
If you use tobacco products and would like to quit, speak to your provider. Jamaica Hospital offers a tobacco cessation program  to help you. Please call 718-206-8494 to learn more.

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.

Hurricane Season is Just Around the Corner – Are You Prepared?

Warmer temperatures are coming and we are all looking forward to them. While we typically associate the summer weather as a wonderful time to spend some time at the beach or with the family at a cookout, the summer months can bring with them some very dangerous weather conditions, namely hurricanes.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic region officially begins on June 1.  Defined by their torrential rain and heavy winds, hurricanes have the ability to cause massive devastation.  On average, 12 hurricanes make landfall the United States each year, and with so many major storms hitting different parts of the country in recent years, including Super Storm Sandy, which ravaged the New York area in 2012,  it is very important to be prepared for the next potential storm.

With a long history of providing relief to those devastated by hurricanes, including sending personnel to assist the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Maria, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is experienced and knowledgeable about how to properly prepare for such an event and would like to share the following tips with our community:

  • Stay informed by making sure you receive emergency notifications. There are many downloadable apps that can provide you with important information.
  • Know your community’s evacuation plan in advance and identify the appropriate evacuation routes and potential safe shelters.
  • Create an emergency notification plan for your family. This will help you contact one another and get back together if you are apart when a storm arrives.
  • Prepare a “go bag” in the event you need to evacuate in a hurry. Contents of a go bag should include a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies and medications as well as critical documents.
  • If you do not need to evacuate but there is a potential for prolonged power outages, make sure to have three to five days of water and non-perishable food items on hand for each member of your family.
  • Prepare your home by reinforcing all exterior doors and windows, securing or bringing in any loose objects outside your home, cutting down any damaged tree limbs, and repairing damaged gutters to prevent leaks.
  • While sometimes flooding is unavoidable, do your best to protect valuables by placing them in secure containers or relocating them to higher elevations.
  • If you have purchased a generator, be sure to use it correctly. Remember to keep them outdoors, keep them at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and try to protect them from moisture.

By being prepared and following these tips, you can help keep your home and your loved ones safe from disaster.

For more information, please visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

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.