January is Thyroid Awareness Month

The thyroid gland serves many functions. It regulates our rate of metabolism, growth and development, and our body temperature. So when it isn’t working properly it can have a major impact on our health.

ThinkstockPhotos-505568323According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), thyroid disease is a more common disorder than diabetes or heart disease. It affects as many as 30 million Americans, more than half of whom remain undiagnosed. To raise awareness about the thyroid gland and symptoms of thyroid disease, January has been designated Thyroid Awareness Month.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck.. Although small in size, the gland plays a large role by producing thyroid hormone which influences the function of many of the body’s most important organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. When the thyroid gland is not producing the right amount of hormone (either too much or too little), problems can start to arise.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones. This can result in a range of symptoms that include unexplained fatigue, weight gain, depression, forgetfulness, feeling cold, hair loss, or low sex drive. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is a condition when the body produces an abundance of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include rapid heart rate, heat intolerance and unexplained weight loss and anxiety. For both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, medication can be prescribed to regulate hormone levels.

A more serious concern involving the thyroid gland is thyroid cancer, which can develop independent of the above thyroid disease. According to the AACE, about 60,000 cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed annually in the U.S. In most cases, thyroid cancer has a good prognosis and high survival rates—especially when diagnosed in its early stages.
Through attention raised by Thyroid Awareness Month, more and more primary care physicians are screening for thyroid disease, which has greatly helped those who would have otherwise had their condition go undiagnosed.

Jamaica Hospital is proud to help raise awareness for thyroid disease and encourages everyone experiencing symptoms to ask their doctor to do an evaluation. If you do not have a doctor, call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to make an appointment at 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.

YIKES! Did I Really Do That?

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Whether you’ve accidently tripped over a child underfoot or walked into a doorway with your infant’s head in the lead, you’ve caused a child an accidental injury.

When you accidentally hurt your child, you may feel intense shame, even panic and a sense of self-loathing or blame.  Even when your head clears, you may feel like you are a terrible parent.

These feelings are confusing.  You may ask yourself, “How could I have done that?”  The truth is, children and accidents are synonymous; even the preventable ones.

It is hard to see your child in pain and even harder to know that it is your fault. Your mind will replay the event in your head many times while you are slowly accepting what happened.

In most cases, the child is not badly hurt and you can find comfort in realizing that while accidents happen, most of them are not serious and your child is not quite as fragile as you think.

As you tell the story of what happened to your child, you will realize that most people understand and, in fact, it has happened to the best of parents.  At this point, you will find it easier to forgive yourself.  Still, you and your child suffered a trauma and it will take time for both of you to heal.

Some reactions to trauma are:

  • Feeling numb or disconnected
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Sadness or depression

During this time, you should be kind to yourself and keep in mind that you will not always feel this way. After the guilt lessens, you should experience acceptance.

If you are having difficulty coping and the reactions have become prolonged symptoms, you may be experiencing a response to trauma called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  If the negative feelings persist, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help from a physician, counselor, clergy member, friend and family member.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment with a physician or licensed professional, 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 Pre-Diabetes?

docpicAre you one of the estimated 54 million people in this country who have pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a silent health condition that has no symptoms and is almost always present before you develop type 2 diabetes.

It is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If you haven’t visited your doctor, a good way to see if you are at increased risk for pre-diabetes is to take the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Diabetes risk test by visiting www.diabetes.org/risk.

Among those who should be screened for pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older or those under age 45 who are overweight and who have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Habitually physically inactive
  • Have previously been identified as having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are members of certain ethnic groups (including Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Native American)
  • Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Have elevated blood pressure
  • Have elevated cholesterol
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a history of vascular disease

That said, if you have pre-diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by a sustained modest weight loss and increased moderate-physical activity, such as walking 30 minutes a day.

Through weight loss and increased physical activity, a dietitian may direct you on how to make food choices that cut down on the amount of fat and carbohydrates by:

  • Eating more foods that are broiled and fewer foods that are fried
  • Decrease the amount of butter you use in cooking
  • Eat more fish and chicken
  • Eat more meatless meals
  • Re-Orient your meals to reflect more vegetables and fruit

If you have symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision, you may have crossed from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.

It’s best to consult a physician if you’re concerned about pre-diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment, 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.

Instrument Sterilization

200470463-001Instruments that come in contact with the body during all surgical procedures and many non-surgical procedures must be free of all microbial elements. This is to ensure that the risk of infection is kept to a minimum.
Throughout history different methods were adopted using materials that were available at that time. In 3000 BC the Egyptians used pitch and tar as antiseptics. In later years the fumes from burning sulfur were found to cleanse objects of infectious material.
In 1680 a French physicist, Denis Papin invented a pressure cooker that would trap boiling water, convert it into steam, and was found to cleanse objects by cooking them. This device was further improved upon during the next two hundred years and it became possible to additionally sterilize linens, dressings, gowns using steam. Two major contributions to the art of sterilization came in the 1860’s when the French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur wrote extensively on how germs cause disease and the English physician, Joseph Lister, developed a technique that used carbolic acid as a spray to disinfect instruments. During the late 1800’s steam sterilization became much more widespread. Surgical instruments were also being made out of materials that were better able to withstand high levels of heat. This allowed them to be processed at higher temperatures and  were being made with smooth surfaces which allowed for more thorough cleaning.
During the 1900’s various improvements were introduced. This included sterilization with steam,  irradiation, with glutaraldehyde. More recently, sterilization of instruments can be achieved using high temperature / high pressure, ultraviolet light, and the  most commonly used chemical for sterilization is ethylene oxide.  It can be used on almost all instruments, both metal and non-metal.
The importance of cleanliness when it involves objects that come in contact with the body cannot be stressed enough. It was recognized in ancient times and improvements are still evolving today for the safety of 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.

Rare But True:Hyperthymesia

This rare condition also known as highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) causes people to remember just about everything that has occurred in their life. This includes every conversation and emotion ever experienced as well as every person encountered, regardless of how insignificant or minute.

The cause of Hyperthymesia is still unknown but some researchers believe that it is genetic while others think it may be molecular.

There are only 61 people worldwide who have been identified as having hyperthymesia, one of which is actress Marilu Henner, best known for her work on the show Taxi. Watch this TV interview where she speaks about her experience living with the disorder and recalls everything she did on January 17th 1974.

 

 

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.

Vitiligo: Causes, Myths, and Facts

Vitiligo2Vitiligo (vit-uh-lie-go) also called ‘leucoderma’ is a condition in which there is a development of milky-white patches on the skin. Anyone can get this skin disorder. Millions of people of all races and ethnicities worldwide have Vitiligo. It occurs in 0.5-2% of the general population. Some well-known cases of vitiligo have occurred in celebrities such as Michael Jackson, supermodel Winnie Harlow, and comedian Steve Martin.

So what causes vitiligo? Vitiligo is usually seen on the skin but other areas such as the scalp, lips and genitals can also be affected. Patches of hair can turn white. It develops because color producing cells in our skin called melanocytes, die.

Scientists have not completely understood why these cells die. Multiple factors such as genetics, a weak immune system which attacks its own cells, and increased free radical-induced damage (oxidative stress) may be the cause. Those whose parents have vitiligo and associated autoimmune diseases are more likely to get it as compared to the general population, although in most cases there is no family history of the condition. Certain factors such as skin injury and severe sunburn can cause development of new patches in a predisposed individual as well.

There are several myths associated with the spread of vitiligo but the fact is that vitiligo is not contagious. People also think that it is caused by eating white foods and drinking too much milk which is also false. Certain prescribed medications can stop the spread of new vitiligo spots but is not guaranteed, as new spots may appear but recover as treatment proceeds. Although vitiligo is not life-threatening it is life-changing. Those afflicted with vitiligo and their families face social stigmatisation leading to low self-esteem, anxiety, embarrassment, anger and even serious depression.

The Division of Dermatology at Jamaica Hospital offers several services, including adult and pediatric dermatology, dermatologic and skin cancer surgery, and cosmetic dermatology. For an appointment, 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.

Tips for Safe Driving in the Snow and Ice

Severe weather and snow can prove treacherous for drivers during the winter months. Every year there is an average of 500,000 motor vehicles accidents due to snowy and icy weather. Over 150,000 injuries and nearly 2,000 fatalities are reported annually from driving in these conditions. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Trauma Division wants all motorists to have a basic understanding of how to practice proper safety while driving in wintry conditions.

503373275 (1)The best tip to avoid getting into an accident during inclement weather is to avoid driving and stay home. To elude getting caught in a storm, be sure to watch weather reports for both your location as well as your destination in an effort to delay or reschedule unnecessary long trips. If however you must venture out, take the appropriate precautions and make sure you are properly prepared.

Many safety precautions can be made before you even start your car. These tips include:

• Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
• Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a licensed mechanic.
• Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also make sure your exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow or ice
• Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
• Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
• Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
• Pack the necessary safety items such as cellular telephone, extra blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle in case you get stuck for an extended period of time
Once you are in your vehicle and on the road, it is important to be extra cautious and follow these basic instructions for driving in a winter storm:
• Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight.
• Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, and turning all take longer on wet surfaces than on dry pavement.
• Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface.
• Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
• Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of effort it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling.
• When going uphill, avoid applying your brakes or attempting to accelerate. Attempting to accelerate after braking places extra pressure on your tires and will cause your wheels to spin in place.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division treats an increased amount of motorists during winter storms. It is our goal to have you avoid unnecessary accidents by practicing safe driving this winter.

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.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma 493332472Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that mainly affects people who are middle aged or older, but it can affect anyone at any age. There are more than three million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Typically the disease starts to develop suddenly, often without symptoms,  and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost before some people even notice a problem. It usually starts with loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma  is caused by damage to the optic nerve so that the  brain isn’t able to receive images from the eyes. There are two types of Glaucoma, Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma where pressure inside the eye increases on its own and damages the optic nerve and Secondary Glaucoma where another disease causes the pressure in the eye to increase and that results in optic nerve damage. Both types will eventually lead to blindness.
Early detection of Glaucoma can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Regular eye exams are very important. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718- 206-5900.

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.

7 things should know about the Zika Virus

Zika -480292112Recently the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued a travel warning for people visiting countries that have reported cases of the Zika virus.  While the organization has issued a travel warning for all; they are stressing that pregnant women should take special precautions because the virus is suspected to cause birth defects.  Here is a list of some of those precautions as well as general information about the virus:

1: The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus. It is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. It may also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her child during birth- this mode of transmission is being researched.

2: The symptoms of the disease include:

  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Conjunctivitis

3: Symptoms typically appear after two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

4: Countries included in the list of destinations where the Zika virus is ongoing include:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Martinique
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Puerto Rico
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela

5: Using insect repellant is one of the ways you can protect yourself from contracting the virus while traveling to these countries. For other tips to prevent bug bites, please visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites

6: If you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, the CDC recommends that  you should consider postponing your trip to countries where the virus is ongoing. If this is not possible please take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.

7: Currently there is no vaccination to prevent the virus.

For more information about the Zika Virus, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

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.

Motivational Monday

 

 

 

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day here is a reminder to stay encouraged in your goals!

MLK2

 

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.