National Bike Month – Stay Safe and Fit

National Bike Month begins on May 14th and culminates with Ride to Work Day on May 18, 2018.

Communities nationwide will participate in this week-long recognition good health and bring attention to the need of lessening toxic emissions that motor vehicles are having on our environment.

According to Bicycling Magazine, more than half of all Americans live less than 5 – 10 miles from work. By utilizing the extensive miles of bike lanes to and from your work destination, you could probable arrive at your destination in less than an hour.

Riding a bicycle to work can be a fun and effective way to get fit.  Cycling is beneficial for the cardiovascular system because it increases oxygen intake and stimulates the heart. Studies show that riding can increase energy levels by 20 percent and in one hour burn up to 488 calories when pedaling at 12 to 14 miles per hour.

Although a bicycle is an excellent fitness tool, it is also considered a vehicle.  Therefore, the rules of the road must be obeyed and a bicycle should be operated safely to prevent injuries and accidents. Statistics show that bicyclists face higher risks in crash-related injuries and deaths than drivers in a motor vehicle.

Follow these basic riding tips to ensure your safety and reduce the risks:

  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic and do not weave in between other vehicles.
  • Obey traffic laws and signals.
  • Do not listen to music or speak on cell phones while riding.
  • Wear a proper fitting helmet.
  • Never pass another vehicle on the right.
  • Always keep your hands on the brakes.
  • Stay aware of dangerous road hazards such as potholes and broken glass.
  • Use hand signals to show motorist where you are going.

So suit up, remember to wear your helmet and cycle your way to health and a cleaner environment!

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.

Alzheimer’s or Aging Naturally?

As you age, you may experience what is jokingly referred to as a “senior moment” when trying to remember why you entered a room or where you left your keys.  These moments are fairly common, but how do you know if your forgetfulness is the result of natural aging or Alzheimer’s?

Almost 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss without having any medical condition associated with it.  This process is known as Age-Associated Memory Impairment.  This condition is considered to be part of the natural aging process.

According to Alz.org, (Alzheimer’s Association) many things change as we age.  Our bodies and brain’s slow down and we are less physically and mentally flexible.  We may take more time to process information and experience some memory loss causing us to be forgetful of people places and things as we age.

Some signs of a naturally aging mind are:

  • Experiencing some memory loss, but being able to provide considerable detail when explaining the episode
  • Maintaining memory for important events, appointments and conversations
  • Occasional difficulty in finding words
  • Normal performance on mental status exams

Independent living and being able to conduct day to day activities and maintain interpersonal skills is also a reminder that you are aging naturally. As you age, it is beneficial to keep your mind sharp by remaining active, exercising, playing games that challenge your mind to think such as crossword puzzles or chess.

Conversely, Alzheimer’s disease is also associated with memory loss. This disease can affect people who are advanced in age or who are younger than the age of 65.  When early on-set occurs, the disease is referred to as either younger-onset or early onset Alzheimer’s.  Forgetfulness due to Alzheimer’s is not a part of the natural aging process.

Some symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s are:

  • Personality or mood changes
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Misplacing items on a regular basis
  • Withdrawing from social situations
  • Difficulty finding the right words for specific items
  • Difficulty finishing a sentence
  • Losing tract of locations, dates or times
  • Asking for the same information again and again
  • Difficulty learning new things

If you are experiencing symptoms or displaying signs of the disease on an ongoing basis, it is recommended that you consult a physician who specializes in treating Alzheimer’s.   In order to diagnose the disease, the physician may complete a comprehensive medical evaluation which can include cognitive tests, brain imaging, neurological and medical exams.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease can maximize the benefits received from treatment and may help you to maintain your independence longer.  Therefore, it is highly advised that you seek the assistance of a specialist 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.

Borderline Personality Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), borderline personality disorder is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, perceptions of self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.

People with borderline personality disorder may also experience:

  • Mood swings
  • Uncertainty about how they see themselves and their role in the world
  • Quickly changing their interests and values
  • Viewing things in extremes
  • Having intense and unstable relationships
  • Impulsive or dangerous behaviors
  • Self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Recurring thoughts or threats of suicide
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Issues controlling anger
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Feeling cutoff from themselves and others

While the cause of borderline personality disorder isn’t clear, researchers believe that genetics, brain function, the environment, as well as cultural and social factors may increase the likelihood of developing the disorder.

That being said, being in an “at risk” group does not mean that you will develop the disorder.  Likewise, you may not fall into any of the groups but that doesn’t preclude you from developing the disorder.

There are numerous recommended treatments for borderline personality disorder including, but not limited to psychotherapy, medications, as well as group, peer and family support groups.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting the traits of having a borderline personality disorder and would like to speak to a licensed mental health professional, please call Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Mental Health at 718-206-7160 to schedule an appointment

For more information on borderline personality disorder visit, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml

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 It The Winter Blues or Something More?

Understandably, the winter season can make you feel glum. It is the coldest time of year and the hours of sunlight are much shorter.  These factors can contribute to a dip in your mood or a lack of energy which you may attribute to the ‘winter blues.’

According to the National Institutes of Health ((NIH),   the winter blues is “fairly common and it’s more mild than serious. It usually clears up on its own in a fairly short amount of time.” However, if feelings such as sadness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed and lethargy persist, they may be signs of a more serious condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that is related to the changes of the seasons. While the exact cause of SAD is unknown, it has been found that factors such as the reduction in sunlight during the winter and reduced levels of serotonin (the brain chemical that affects mood) are contributors.

Some people are more at risk for SAD than others; women, people who live far from the equator, people between the ages of 15 and 55 and those with a family history of seasonal affective disorder have a higher chance of occurrence.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may appear in late fall, early winter and subside during the spring or summer; they can include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day and nearly every day
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Craving more carbohydrates than usual
  • Gaining weight
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling apathetic towards things that were once enjoyable

If these symptoms make it difficult to function normally in your life, it is highly advised that you seek the help of a trained mental health practitioner.

Diagnosing SAD can be difficult due to similarities shared with other forms of depression and mental health conditions. However, to help rule out possible underlying health problems, your doctor will conduct a thorough evaluation which generally includes lab tests, physical examinations and psychological assessments to determine a conclusion.

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder may include a combination of light therapy, medication and counseling.

To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

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 For Dealing with Holiday Stress

During the holiday season, many of us struggle to complete an extensive list of tasks in what often feels like very little time.   We run rampant decorating our homes, attending social gatherings, shopping for loved ones, volunteering, traveling or cooking.  These activities are often added to our already busy schedules, which can make us feel overwhelmed.

Contrary to what we may think, these activities which should make us feel happy can actually increase our stress levels.

Although there are various factors such as unrealistic expectations or financial strain that contribute to holiday stress, finding ways to avoid stressors or minimize their effects is very important. If stress is not managed well, it can have a significantly negative impact on our health.

Dr. Madhu Rajanna; Director of  the Mental Health Clinic and Assistant Director of the Psychiatry Residency program at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers  five tips to help you cope with holiday stress and maintain good mental health:

  1. Set realistic goals– Unrealistic goals often equal added pressure and expectations that cannot be met. If these goals are not met, they can lead to negative feelings such as inadequacy or hopelessness.
  2. Know when to take a moment for yourself (Take a break) – We are often pulled in multiple directions during this time of the year. Know when to take a breather to decompress and clear your mind.
  3. Communicate- The added pressures of the holidays are clearly overwhelming and one of the ways that people sometimes deal with this is to isolate themselves. This is not recommended; instead, reach out to loved ones or a trained mental health professional to communicate how you feel.
  4. Do not neglect healthy habits– Taking good care of your health can help combat holiday stress. Moderating your food intake, fitting in a few minutes of exercise and getting adequate amounts of sleep can be profoundly beneficial for your health.   Additionally, maintaining a healthy daily routine can help take your mind off holiday demands.
  5. Ask for help- We live in a time where multitasking has become the norm but if you begin to feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Soliciting the help of friends or family can alleviate some of the holiday pressure. The holidays can also trigger depression; if you are experiencing symptoms of depression ask for help from loved ones or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

Dr. Madhu Rajanna- Director of the Mental Health Clinic and Assistant Director of the Psychiatry Residency program

The holiday season can be overwhelming; however, by applying Dr. Rajanna’s helpful tips you can take the steps needed to minimize stress and make this time of year more enjoyable.  If you find that you continue to experience elevated levels of stress or symptoms of depression, it is recommended that you seek the help of mental health professional immediately.

To schedule an appointment with the Mental Health Clinic at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

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.

Obesity: Lifestyle or Genetics?

“How does she eat so much and not gain any weight?”

It’s a question that has left many puzzled and quite frustrated. The conversation about weight, however, is a longstanding one. Today, especially, weight gain and weight loss remain relevant discussions, as the United States faces an obesity epidemic.

Though several health initiatives to help fight obesity have been implemented over the past few years, it is important to first understand what factors contribute to obesity. According to a National Institutes of Health funded study conducted by UCLA, not only does behavior and environment affect obesity, but genetic factors can also play a significant role in causing obesity.

How our genes actually influence obesity varies. As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), genes give the body instruction for responding to changes in its environment. Some research has linked genes to metabolism, pointing out that genetics affects how one’s body responds to high-fat diets. Genes can either cause an increased tendency to store fat or a diminished capacity to use dietary fats as fuel. Other research has suggested that genes influence behaviors, such as overeating and being sedentary.

The conversation about obesity can now change since research has shown that body weight is hereditary and that genetic disposition affects weight. In all efforts to fight obesity, living environments where high calorie foods are prevalent and physical activity is limited should be looked at more closely.

We understand that the road to healthier choices isn’t easy to travel, especially alone. Here at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center our outpatient registered Dietitians assist patients to grow their knowledge about nutrition, wellness and healthy eating. To schedule an appointment the outpatient nutrition services department can be reached directly at 718-206-7056.

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.

TALK YOURSELF POSITIVE

With all the running around we do and the stress we deal with each and every day, try to take a moment to center your mind and bring wellness to your entire being.  Try reciting these and other positive affirmations to help start your day in a positive way.

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.

Spring Gardening Tips for the Beginner

Senior Woman Gardening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring has sprung and so has our desire to commune with the “great outdoors!”  Flowers are blooming everywhere and you may want to put your green thumb to the test by starting your own garden.

Below are some simple gardening tips from Realsimple.com –

  • Know your geographic area
  • Test your soil
  • Start with “easy” plants
  • Put together a plan
  • Keep a journal
  • Set a Calendar
  • Remember when to water and when not to

Since gardening should be a stress relieving process, don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t see results right away. With proper care and maintenance, your garden will grow.

For these and other great, simple gardening tips visit – https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/gardening/outdoor/gardening-101

 

 

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 Stress Awareness Month

Afro American couple doing yoga

In 1992, the month of April was designated as Stress Awareness Month.  During this time, health professionals join together to increase the public’s awareness about what causes stress and what can help cure the growing stress epidemic.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is participating by reaching out to our social media community and sharing some helpful techniques that can assist you in managing your daily stress, such as:

  • Meditation – is helpful to the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress
  • Breathing Deeply – triggers our parasympathetic nervous system, neutralizes stress and elicits a calming feeling
  • Exercise – all forms of exercise can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain releasing feel-good chemicals giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress
  • Eating Healthy – choosing a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fiber may reduce the chance that stress can boost the body’s natural defense system

Prolonged, excesive periods of stress is unhealthy for any individual. A change of mindset can bring about a healthier lifestyle.  That positive change can help you manage stress and bring far-reaching improvement to your health and well being.

For more information and to find out ways you can make a difference visit – http://stressawarenessmonth.com/

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.

Tips to Keep Teen Stress in Check

Teacher helping a trouble teenager

As you may imagine, school-related stress is rated the most common source of stress for American teens. This was discovered through The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America report. The Stress in American report found that American teens report stress levels higher than what they believe is healthy (5.8 on a 10-point scale, healthy level rated 3.9). Although teens reported significant stress, they appear to be poor judges of the impact stress can have on their health and mental health.

According to the APA Stress in America report, forty-two percent of teens indicated not doing anything to cope with their stress or not knowing what to do to manage it. Here are suggested tips from the APA on how to manage stress:

  1. Engage in physical activity.
  2. Do things that make you happy.
  3. Talk to someone.
  4. Get some sleep.

Parents would be surprised by the amount of stress and anxiety teens are dealing with involving social media. Teens are losing sleep worrying about tests, projects that are due, teams going to competitions, friendship dramas, and break ups. Parents can identity signs of stress and help their teen find a way to cope:

  • Help your teen monitor their schedule and activities.
  • Help teach your teen to identify the “stress signs.” These may include stomach pains, chest tightness, fast heartbeat, obsessive thoughts about being ready for things, and the inability to enjoy their day-to-day activities.
  • Practice what you preach. Parents should also limit their commitments and have more opportunities to talk with their children on a regular basis about school, friends and peer pressure.

 

If your teenager admits to being stressed, use the above tips to help manage stress. Jamaica Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic offers special child and adolescent services. For more info, or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-5575.

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.