Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Announces Partnership with LegalHealth to Provide Legal Services to Our Patients

On a daily basis New Yorkers, especially low-income residents, face challenging financial and social issues. These factors can negatively impact their lives in many ways, most notably their physical and mental health. Lack of access to adequate housing, food, or safe and secure employment can impede their ability to seek and receive appropriate healthcare services for themselves and their families.  Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is working to remove these barriers by offering free legal services to its patients.

Every week an attorney from LegalHealth, a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group, comes to Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to provide legal counsel to hospital patients on issues relating to government benefits, housing, workplace conditions, and immigration and credit problems. LegalHealth also assists patients and families develop advanced planning directives, wills and legal matters affecting families.

It is well established that unmet social needs have a direct correlation with poor health.  Social factors, such as food insecurity have been closely linked to higher risk of chronic conditions. Studies show that those who lose their jobs are 83% more likely to develop stress-related health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Jamaica Hospital made the commitment to fund the LegalHealth clinic knowing that addressing these issues will ultimately improve the health of its patients and potentially reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions.  According to Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Family Medicine at Jamaica Hospital, “By understanding these social determinants that our patients encounter on a daily basis and providing a resource to have them addressed, Jamaica Hospital and LegalHealth can remove many of the obstacles that prevent our community from improving and maintaining healthier lives.”

LegalHealth is also providing ongoing training to Jamaica Hospital’s providers to equip them with the necessary tools to help them identify any social, financial or other problems patients are experiencing which can be addressed with legal support.

The Legal Health clinic opened at Jamaica Hospital in January 2019 and is on site weekly.

Patients who utilize LegalHealth services are assured of complete confidentiality and services are completely free to Jamaica Hospital patients.

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.

Oh My Aching Feet!

Corns and calluses are caused by pressure or friction on skin, which leads to the formation of thickened skin on the top or side of a toe. Complications from corns and calluses are rarely serious; however, if you are a diabetic they can lead to more serious issues.

Diabetics often have impaired sensitivity and may not be aware of the friction or presence of a corn or callous. Since they are unaware, the corn or callous can progress into ulcers or secondary infections without the person knowing.

In addition, diabetics don’t, usually, heal as quickly as non-diabetics and their infections can become life-threatening.

Indications that you may have a corn or callous:

  • Skin is thick and hardened.
  • Skin may be flaky and dry.
  • Hardened, thick skin areas are found feet or other areas that may be rubbed or pressed.
  • The affected areas can be painful and may bleed.

According to the National Institutes of Health, preventing friction by wearing proper fitting shoes and avoiding walking barefoot are often the only preventative measures you can take.

Regular examination of you feet can help you to identify any problems and, if you receive a foot injury, you should seek immediate medical attention.

If you have diabetes and are experiencing corns/calluses that are painful, red, warm, or there is drainage in the area, you should call your healthcare provider immediately to determine the cause.

To make an appointment with a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine at Jamaica Hospital Medical Centers Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7005 to schedule 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.

When is it Okay to Request a Second Opinion From Your Doctor?

Receiving news that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious or rare medical condition can be very overwhelming and scary. While it is important to listen to and follow your doctor’s instructions, it is also appropriate in these situations to seek the advice of other professionals and request a second opinion.

Unfortunately, less than half of the people diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening disease request a second opinion. The most frequent reasons individuals cited for not doing so include: feeling an urgency to seek treatment right away, lack of access to experts or centers of excellence, fear that their insurance carrier would not cover the cost, and concerns about offending their doctor.

In most cases, these reasons are unmerited; in reality, many conditions do not require immediate treatment and most physicians welcome a second opinion. In addition, many insurance providers allow for second opinions and can even help identify local experts that participate in your plan.

So, when is getting a second opinion a good idea? According to WebMD, the following circumstances are appropriate:

  • Where the treatment is very risky or toxic
  • Where the diagnosis is not clear, the treatment is experimental, or there is no established consensus or Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment
  • If you’re considering participating in a trial for a new drug
  • If you’re considering some new experimental approach or a procedure that involves using experimental instruments or devices.

In many cases, second opinions are very beneficial.  In fact, a recent study highlighted their potential value.  Researchers found  that as many as 88% of those who sought a second opinion for a complex medical condition had a new diagnosis that changed their treatment plan, and 21% received a completely different diagnosis.

If you would like to seek a second opinion, but are unsure of how to start the conversation with your doctor, try some of these tips.

  • Tell your doctor you want to be sure that you explore all your treatment options. This may include looking into several surgical and non-surgical interventions.
  • Let your doctor know that you always talk to more than one expert when you need to make an important decision, whether it’s a medical, financial, or personal decision.
  • Explain to your doctor that a second opinion would give you peace of mind that your diagnosis and treatment plan are the best option for you.

Even if a second opinion doesn’t change your diagnosis or treatment plan, you can feel satisfied that you made a well-informed decision.

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.

Hidden Illnesses

Ten percent of people living in the United States have a medical condition that can be characterized as an invisible or hidden disability.

Hidden disabilities may not be visible on the outside or immediately apparent; however, their symptoms can be physically and mentally limiting (impairing individuals from leading a normal life). These limitations are often the result of chronic hidden illnesses such as:

  • Lupus- A chronic autoimmune disease that can cause the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue. Symptoms include damage and swelling of the skin, joints, kidneys, heart and lungs.
  • Cystic fibrosis – A progressive and chronic genetic order that causes persistent lung infections. Symptoms include salty-tasting skin, frequent lung infections, shortness of breath, persistent coughing, greasy or bulky stool.
  • Chronic fatigue- A debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that does not go away with rest. Symptoms include chronic insomnia, frequent headaches, loss of concentration or memory, muscle pain or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Lyme disease – An inflammatory disease caused by bacteria that are transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick. Symptoms include rashes, severe headaches, inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
  • Fibromyalgia – A chronic pain disorder characterized by widespread pain in the muscles and bones.  Symptoms include severe pain, fatigue or difficulty concentrating.

Living with a hidden disability or hidden illness can be difficult because those diagnosed are often met with skepticism due to a lack of knowledge.  Another challenge that a person living with this type of illness or disability may encounter is social isolation.

There are a few things that can be done to overcome these challenges such as educating loved ones and others about your disability, inviting loved ones to your medical appointments or joining a support group.

 

 

 

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.

Psoriatic Arthritis

According to the American College of Rheumatology, psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in some patients with psoriasis (is a chronic skin condition caused by an overactive immune system) and can affect the joints in the body.

It is a chronic disease that may present as mild with occasional flair ups or, in more severe cases, can cause joint damage in fingers and toes, as well as larger joints in the lower extremities, such as knees, back and sacroiliac joints in the pelvis.

The Mayo Clinic describes the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis as:

  • Swollen fingers and toesPsoriatic arthritis can cause a painful, sausage-like swelling of your fingers and toes. You may also develop swelling and deformities in your hands and feet before having significant joint symptoms.
  • Foot pain -Psoriatic arthritis can also cause pain at the points where tendons and ligaments attach to your bones — especially at the back of your heel (Achilles tendinitis) or in the sole of your foot (plantar fasciitis).
  • Lower back pain -Some people develop a condition called spondylitis as a result of psoriatic arthritis. Spondylitis mainly causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of your spine and in the joints between your spine and pelvis (sacroiliitis).

Psoriatic arthritis can go into remission.  When in remission, the symptoms may alternate causing them to subside for a time and then reappearing in the form of painful, swollen joints.

Many people with psoriatic arthritis may first think they have rheumatoid arthritis since both diseases have similar symptoms. The only difference is that psoriatic arthritis is prevalent in patients who have psoriasis of the skin as well.

When seeing your doctor to determine whether or not you may have psoriatic arthritis your doctor may examine your joints for swelling or tenderness, check your fingernails, hands, feet and toes for pitting, flaking or other abnormalities.

Psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed by X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), testing the rheumatoid factor (RF) antibody in your blood or a joint fluid test to see if you have uric acid crystals in your joint fluid.

Since there isn’t a cure for psoriatic arthritis, healthcare professionals are focused on controlling the symptoms and thwarting permanent damage to the joints.

Some medications prescribed to treat psoriatic arthritis include:

  • NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
  • Disease-modifying ant rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) -These drugs can slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage.
  • Immunosuppressants -These medications act to tame your immune system, which is out of control in psoriatic arthritis.
  • TNF-alpha inhibitors – Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is an inflammatory substance produced by your body. TNF-alpha inhibitors can help reduce pain, morning stiffness, and tender or swollen joints.

Other procedures that have been effective are steroid injections or joint replacement surgery.  Steroid injections reduce inflammation rapidly and joint replacement surgery replaces the severely damaged joint with an artificial prosthesis made of metal and/or plastic.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and would like to speak with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital, call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment with a Rheumatology specialist.

 

 

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.

Adenovirus Infections

Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that can infect the lining of the eyes, respiratory tract, intestines, urinary tract and nervous system.  Infections often result in common illnesses such as bronchitis, pink eye, diarrhea, sore throat, bladder infections or pneumonia.

Adenoviruses are highly contagious and can be spread when someone who is infected sneezes or coughs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adenoviruses can also spread through close personal contact (touching or shaking hands) or by “touching surfaces with the adenoviruses on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.”  There have been cases in which adenoviruses have spread through stool or through water (for example swimming pools) but occurrences are uncommon.

The places in which adenoviruses are commonly found are daycare centers, summer camps, schools or other areas where large groups of children gather.

Anyone is at risk for contracting adenoviruses, but young children and individuals with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to infection than others.  Symptoms of infection depend on the type of illness a person develops. They may include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Loose stools
  • Pain
  • Chills
  • Burning during urination

It is highly advised that medical attention is sought if symptoms persist for an extended period of time, and immediately received if they are accompanied by trouble breathing, signs of dehydration or swelling around the eyes.

There is no specific treatment for adenovirus infections; however, the risk of transmission can be reduced by taking preventative measures such as hand washing, avoiding contact with your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, staying home when sick, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing and avoiding personal contact. The CDC also advises, that you “keep adequate levels of chlorine in swimming pools to prevent outbreaks of conjunctivitis caused by adenoviruses.”

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 Taking Zinc Beneficial for Treating a Cold ?

Using zinc is one of the many home remedies people take when they feel like they have a common cold. Those who use it believe that it helps to shorten the duration of the cold and even lessen its symptoms.

The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus. This virus enters the body through the nasal passageway and the throat and multiplies rapidly once it is there.
The theory behind taking zinc is that it helps to prevent the virus from multiplying once it is in the body, thereby potentially shortening the duration of the cold. It also plays an important role in the body’s ability to resist infection and to help tissue repair.

The best way to take zinc is in lozenge form. It is recommended that the lozenge contain 13 to 23 milligrams of zinc and no more than four be taken per day, and not for more than four or five days. Taking too much zinc can actually suppress the immune system and can cause an upset stomach and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. While zinc is also available as a throat spray, it has side effects such as loss of the ability to smell.

Increasing the daily intake of zinc may help to prevent a cold.  Some foods where zinc  is found include:
• Shellfish
• Beans
• Dairy products
• Red meat
• Nuts

It is important to note that drinking coffee, tea or taking certain medications can inhibit the absorption of zinc by the intestines.

It is a good idea to speak with your physician before taking it to make sure that is safe for you. If you would like to be seen by a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center you may call 718-206-7001 to schedule 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.

Is The “Stress Hormone” Cortisol Causing You To Gain Weight?

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.  It can be a contributing factor in other diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, and dementia. Overeating is often cited as the only reason people are obese. In discussions about weight gain and obesity, many people seem to think that it is purely a function of willpower.

Since what we weigh is, normally, attributed to what we eat we must ask the question:

Is over-eating the only reason a person becomes overweight?

Human behavior is driven by various biological factors like genetics, hormones, stress and neural circuits.  Eating behavior, just like sleeping behavior, is driven by biological processes. Therefore, saying that behavior is a function of willpower is way too simplistic.

Studies have shown that when we are stressed or during tension filled times our body increases its production of the “stress hormone” Cortisol. The increase in Cortisol may be the culprit causing you to overeat.

According to http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#,increased levels of the stress hormone  cortisol causes higher insulin levels which then cause your blood sugar to drop making you crave sugary, fatty foods. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite.

Here are some additional factors thought to be the leading causes of weight gain, obesity and metabolic disease that have nothing to do with willpower:

  • Genetics – Obesity has a strong genetic component. Offspring’s of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than offspring’s of lean parents.
  • Insulin – Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage, among other things. One of the functions of insulin is to tell fat cells to store fat and to hold on to the fat they already carry.  When insulin levels elevate, energy is selectively stored in fat cells instead of being available for use.
  • Medications – Certain medications can cause weight gain as a side effect. Some examples include diabetes medication, antidepressants and antipsychotics. These medications don’t cause a “willpower deficiency,” they alter the function of the body and brain, making it selectively store fat instead of burning it.
  • Leptin –This hormone is produced by the fat cells and is supposed to send signals to the hypothalamus (the part of our brain that controls food intake) that we are full and need to stop eating. The problem for some is their leptin isn’t working as it should because the brain becomes resistant to it.  This is called leptin resistance and is believed to be a leading factor in the pathogenesis of obesity.
  • Thyroid Disease – Thyroid hormone regulates our metabolism. Too little hormone slows the metabolism and often causes weight gain.
  • Cushing syndromeOccurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol for a long time. Cushing syndrome, sometimes called hypercortisolism, may be caused by the use of oral corticosteroid medication. The condition can also occur when your body makes too much cortisol on its own.

A doctor can determine if any of these conditions or treatments is responsible for your obesity.  If you would like to see a physician, please contact the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center to schedule an appointment. 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.

Is Having An Annual Physical Exam Important ?

It’s the beginning of a new year which is a perfect time to make a promise to take bettercare of yourself.  What better way to do this than by scheduling an appointment for a regular medical check-up. Even if you feel fine, it is a good idea to see your medical doctor to ensure that you don’t have any underlying health issues. The American Medical Association is now recommending that physical exams be performed once every five years for people between 18 and 40 years of age and every three years after the age of 40, as long as there are no chronic illnesses that require  more frequent check-ups.  After the age of 55, an annual exam is probably a good idea.

There are many reasons that having a physical exam is something that everyone should make time to do.  These include:

• Prevention of illnesses
• Monitoring the risk of chronic disease
• Identify illnesses that don’t have symptoms
• Monitoring your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and basic body chemistry
• Adjusting your lifestyle to best suit your rage
• Keeping an ongoing relationship with your physician

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician 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.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic bowel disease that affects the large intestine, or colon. People with UC experience inflammation of the colon, which is typically marked by swelling and irritation that eventually leads to the development of ulcers (open sores) that produce blood, pus, and mucus. There is currently no cure for UC so those with the disease usually have symptom flare-ups off and on for life.

Ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune mistakenly identifies food, good gut bacteria, and the cells that line your colon as intruders. When this happens, the white blood cells that usually protect us, attack the lining of our colon instead, which causes inflammation and ulcers.

While doctors don’t know definitively what causes UC, some believe that both genetics and environmental factors may play a role in the development of the disease for some. While other factors such as food and stress don’t cause UC, they can trigger a flare-up of symptoms.

The main symptom of u ulcerative colitis is bloody diarrhea. Other problems may include:

  • Crampy belly pain
  • Sudden urges to empty your colon right away
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your colon after you use the bathroom
  • Not being able to hold your stools in

Your doctor will use different tests to determine if you have UC or another type of gut disease. Tests typically include stool and blood samples, x-rays, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy where tubes containing cameras are used to view the inside of the colon and take a biopsy of its lining.

If UC is confirmed, your doctor will work with you to address your symptoms and prevent future flare-ups. This may include altering your diet and prescribing certain medications to reduce inflammation and stop your immune system from attacking your colon. In severe cases, a surgical procedure to remove your colon (colectomy) may be required.

If you are experiencing symptoms of colitis, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you do not have one, Jamaica Hospital has qualified physicians that can diagnose and help you manage this condition. To make an appointment, 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.