Heart Health: Things You Should Know

Every year, more than 1.2 million Americans die from heart attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of those deaths occur outside the hospital—a figure suggesting many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs.

“Chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes is a primary heart attack symptom,” says Dr. Subrahmanya Bhat  of Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department. “Shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, lightheadedness, and upper body discomfort are also red flags and an indication to immediately call 911. Just a few wasted minutes can stand between life or death.”

There are several factors that can put you at risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, being overweight, having diabetes, and being over 55 years old for men and 65 years old for women.

Despite having these risk factors, it is possible to protect yourself against the biggest heart health conditions. Dr. Bhat encourages individuals to maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, manage stress, and quit smoking. In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, other ways to manage heart disease is medication.

Flushing Hospital offers a non-invasive Cardiology Lab, as well as other services for heart diseases, such as arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, and cardiomyopathy.�
Our non-invasive Cardiology Laboratory performs the following tests:

• Electrocardiograms, which allow the electrical activity of the heart to be examined
• Echocardiograms, which use sound waves to take pictures of the heart to assess how it is working
• Stress tests, both chemical and exercise, with and without imaging modalities to assess the blood flow to the heart and the function of the heart with exercise
• Holter monitors
• Event recorders
• Tilt table testing
• Nuclear wall motion studies
• Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

Non-invasive treatment of coronary artery disease is available for patients who are not candidates for angioplasty, stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery, but who have continued chest pain or angina.

To speak with a cardiologist about your heart health or to obtain more information about the cardiology services offered at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5489.

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.

Heart Health: Things You Should Know

Every year, more than 1.2 million Americans die from heart attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of those deaths occur outside the hospital—a figure suggesting many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs.

“Chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes is a primary heart attack symptom,” says Dr. Robert Mendelson, Director of Cardiology at Jamaica Hospital.  “Shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, lightheadedness, and upper body discomfort are also red flags and an indication to immediately call 911. Just a few wasted minutes can stand between life or death.”

There are several factors that can put you at risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, having high cholesterol, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, having diabetes, and being over 55 years old for men and 65 years old for women.

Despite having these risk factors, it is possible to protect yourself against the biggest heart health conditions. Dr. Mendelson encourages individuals to maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, manage stress, and quit smoking. In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, other ways to manage heart disease include medication and invasive procedures, such as pacemakers and stents.

Jamaica Hospital Treats Heart Attacks and a Wide Variety of Heart Diseases
Jamaica Hospital offers comprehensive cardiac care, including swift interventions for heart attack and services for heart diseases such as arrhythmias, coronary heart disease, and cardiomyopathies.

Our cardiac catheterization laboratory performs diagnostic cardiac catheterizations to identify blockages in the arteries bringing blood to the heart.  It performs angioplasty and stent implantation to open the arteries that are found to be blocked.  Blockages in the arteries in the legs are also diagnosed and treated with stents.

Our noninvasive Cardiology laboratory performs the following tests:
• Electrocardiograms, which allow the electrical activity of the heart to be examined
• Echocardiograms, which use sound waves to take pictures of the heart to assess how it is working
• Stress tests, both chemical and exercise, with and without imaging, to assess the blood  flow to the heart and the function of the heart with exercise
• Holter monitors
• Event recorders
• Tilt table testing
• Nuclear wall motion studies
• Signal-averaging electrocardiography
• Pacemaker and automatic implantable defibrillator evaluation
• Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

We also offer an arrhythmia service, where abnormal heart rhythms can be diagnosed and treated using invasive electrophysiologic testing.  Medical treatment of coronary artery disease is available for patients who are not candidates for angioplasty, stenting, or coronary artery bypass surgery, but who have continued chest pain or angina.
To speak with a cardiologist about your heart health or to obtain more information about the cardiology services offered at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7100.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Traumatic Brain Injury Mostly Associated with Cycling

There has been a great deal of attention recently given to brain injuries and sports, specifically the relationship between the cumulative effects of concussions and contact sports, such as football. Surprisingly however, many non-contact sports and recreational activities have a high incidence of brain injuries, with cycling having the highest rate by far.

According to recent statistics reported by the American Association of Neuro Surgeons, there were over 446,000 sports related brain injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in 2009.  Of those, over 85,000 were associated with cycling, nearly doubling the next highest rated activity, which was football, with close to 47,000 reported head injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury is defined as a blow or jolt to the head, or a penetrating injury that disrupts normal function of the brain. Concussions are the most common form of head injury. Concussions are defined as trauma-induced transient loss of mental functioning lasting less than 24 hours and may or may not be accompanied by a loss of consciousness. They are usually categorized into one of three grades:

  • Grade I – Post-Traumatic Amnesia: less than 30 minutes without loss of consciousness
  • Grade II – Post-Traumatic Amnesia: 30 minutes – 24 hours with loss of consciousness lasting less than 5 minutes
  • Grade III – Post-Traumatic Amnesia for over 24 hours with loss of consciousness lasting more than 5 minutes

Symptoms of a concussion include headaches/pressure in the head, confusion, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech and fatigue.  Some other symptoms can be immediate or have a delayed onset of hours or even days, including memory problems, irritability or depression, sensitivity to light, and disorders of taste and smell. According to Dr. Vazquez-Casals, “if you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.  A physician can assess your attention, memory, coordination and other abilities and order the appropriate imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI, to determine the severity of your injury.”

Dr. Gonzalo Vazquez-Casals, Neuro-Psychologist at Jamaica Hospital has experience treating cyclists who have suffered head-injuries, both in the Hospital’s TBI Unit as well as those recovering on an out patient basis. Head injuries as a result from cycling accidents can range from mild to severe, but regardless of the severity, all head injuries should be taken seriously. If not dealt with appropriately, even the most minor injury can have long-term effects.

Doctors recommend getting plenty of rest and avoiding any physical or mentally demanding activities that place unnecessary stress on the brain.  This includes any kind of exercise, driving a car, operating machinery or using a computer.  According to Dr. Vazquez-Casals, “not pushing yourself and getting proper rest after sustaining a concussion is the most important step to a complete recovery. If you are cyclist who has suffered a concussion or brain injury, don’t get back on a bicycle until you are cleared to do so by a doctor or you put yourself at risk for further, more serious injuries.”

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.

Finding Springtime Allergy Relief

If you are one of the millions of Americans who experience springtime allergies, control your seasonal symptoms with this allergy sufferer’s survival guide.

Allergies occur when your immune system tries to defend your body against substances that are harmless to others, causing itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and a stuffy or runny nose. About 50 million Americans suffer from year-round allergies to mold, dust, and pets. However, seasonal allergies are the most common cause. Typically, in early Spring, symptoms are most likely caused by pollen from trees while in late spring they are likely due to grass pollens.

“There is no cure for allergies, but proper treatment can help keep your allergy symptoms from getting worse,” said Stephen Rand, MD, allergist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.  “If you suffer from seasonal allergies, your doctor can help you control symptoms so you will feel better.”

He added: “The simplest remedy may be just to avoid what is triggering your allergy symptoms, but if this is too difficult, try an over-the counter antihistamine.  If you know you suffer from allergies in the springtime, start taking medication just before the season begins.”

Allergies vs Cold

Since allergy symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, it can sometimes be hard to tell the two apart. “If the condition lasts for more than two weeks, seems to be triggered by a certain substance (an allergen), or returns every season, then it’s probably an allergy instead of a cold. Symptoms that include significant itchiness are also most likely allergy related,” says Dr. Rand.

Finding Relief

If an over-the-counter remedy doesn’t help, an allergist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can offer a variety of treatment options to considerably minimize your allergy symptoms.

“You don’t have to be a victim of the season,” says Dr. Rand. “Often, when over-the counter solutions don’t work, a nasal spray or prescription medication can lessen allergy symptoms.”

Dr. Rand says, “If more complex treatment is needed, your physician may recommend allergy shots – which are effective about 80 percent of the time. The bottom line is that even if you do suffer from seasonal allergies, you don’t have to dread the spring.”

To schedule an appointment with an allergist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-6742.

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.