Preventing Constipation

Constipation is a common problem among people of all ages. Often, those experiencing symptoms describe having hard or pebbly stools, having infrequent bowel movements or straining while trying to use the bathroom.  People may also complain of stomach pains, bloating, gas or being unable to have a full bowel movement.   These symptoms may vary with each individual.

Constipation can be caused by many different problems, but the most common reasons are a lack of fiber in your diet and not drinking enough water.  Certain medications or iron supplements can also contribute to constipation.

There are several things you can do to prevent constipation, one of which is making sure you are consuming enough fiber.  Eating enough fiber helps to soften your stool and helps your body to move waste through your digestive tract.  It is recommended that you eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber every day.

Fiber can be found in many vegetables; grains such as whole wheat, oatmeal, bran, brown rice; nuts; and fruits such as apples, cherries, peaches, and grapes.  Whole fruits are particularly helpful in preventing constipation because their sugars help to keep more water in the intestines which softens your stool. Prunes, raisins, and other dried fruits are often used to relieve constipation because they have high amounts of fiber and sugar. If you are diabetic, be careful when choosing the fruits you eat, as some are very rich in sugar.

Adopting other healthy habits can also reduce the occurrence of constipation. Exercise can help improve your bowel movements; moving your body promotes movement along your digestive system.  Using the bathroom around the same time every day is also beneficial and will help your body to develop a routine. Most people tend to go more frequently in the morning as the activity in their digestive tract peaks shortly after waking up. If you feel the need to have a bowel movement at other times throughout the day, it is best to go and not hold it in as this can also lead to constipation.

Laxatives (over-the-counter and prescription) are often used as a form of relief from constipation; however, it is important to keep in mind that the frequent use of laxatives is not recommended as your body may become dependent on them for bowel movements.

Just about everyone will have difficulty with going to the bathroom from time-to-time; however, if symptoms of constipation persist for more than three weeks, or if you are experiencing blood in your stools or stomach pain, you should see your physician.  There may be a more serious cause for your constipation.

Please do not hesitate to talk to your doctor if you are concerned about changes in your bowel movements.  To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942.

Dr. Wesley Cheng D.O. Family Medicine

 

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.

Employee Spotlight Shines on Tracey Kunj-Ramen

This month Jamaica Hospital Medical Center shines its employee spotlight on one of our newest employees, Tracey Kunj-Ramen, the Certified Child Life Specialist for Pediatrics. Tracey joined our staff two weeks ago but is very familiar with Jamaica Hospital. She had been a volunteer on 2 South since 2007 while she was still a student. Tracey also spent some time doing an internship at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Tracey was born in Guyana, and grew up in Queens where she spent most of her life living, and continues to reside. She attended elementary, middle and began high school at Thomas Edison H.S. before moving for a short while to Connecticut. After she completed high school, she graduated from Hunter College with a BA in Psychology and received a Master’s of Science in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University specializing in Child and Adolescent Development.

Tracey has two sons, ages five and two, who she loves spending time with. One of the things she and her husband enjoy doing is taking the boys on spontaneous road trips on the weekends. They enjoy discovering new places and having quality family time together. She also enjoys reading, dancing and eating Italian food whether at home or going out to her favorite restaurants.

Tracey enjoys working with the children who come to the hospital as patients. She understands how important it is to make not only the children feel comfortable and less anxious, but also how important it is to be reassuring to the parents. Tracey takes pride in her duties as a Child Life Specialist because she feels that people who have a positive experience at the hospital will feel confident about recommending their friends, family and neighbors.

We welcome Tracey to Jamaica Hospital and look forward to her contributions to our team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who provide care to our youngest 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.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids often referred to as piles, are swollen veins located in the lower part of your rectum or around the anus. They are very common; in fact, nearly three out of four adults will get hemorrhoids in their lifetime.

The causes of hemorrhoids vary, they can result from increased pressure on the veins due to pregnancy, straining during bowel movements, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet or being overweight.

Hemorrhoids are sometimes symptomless, so it is common for people to have them and be unaware. If symptoms do present, they may include:

  • Itching, pain or discomfort around the anus
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Painless bleeding during a bowel movement
  • Lumps near the anus

The symptoms of hemorrhoids are rarely severe; there are several remedies or over-the-counter medications you can try to get some relief.   Treatments you can try at home include:

  • Non-prescription creams or wipes
  • Ice packs
  • Sitz baths
  • Oral pain relievers
  • Sitting on cushions or other soft surfaces

If symptoms persist for more than one week or if you have bleeding of the rectum, make an appointment to see your doctor right away.  Your doctor can diagnose hemorrhoids by assessing your family history and conducting a physical exam.  If further medical treatment is required your doctor may recommend minimally invasive procedures such as rubber band ligation or sclerotherapy (injection) to shrink the hemorrhoids or coagulation to harden and shrivel the hemorrhoids.  If these procedures are unsuccessful, surgical procedures such as a hemorrhoidectomy or hemorrhoid stapling may be necessary.

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.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Team Offers Driving Safety Tips to Seniors

Everyone remembers the day they passed their road test and received their driver’s license. Getting a license opens up a world of options for drivers and provides them with a sense of independence that they didn’t have before.

If you received your license a long time ago, and are now a senior citizen driver, you may begin to notice certain limitations that could potentially impact your ability to operate a vehicle. While for some, driving at an advanced age may no longer be advised, most seniors can still enjoy the benefits of driving by taking a few extra precautions.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division is offering the following tips to senior drivers to help them avoid injury to themselves, other drivers or pedestrians while on the road.

  • Have Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly – Be aware of any ocular conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration that might affect your vision. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you wear them while driving. Similarly, if you require a hearing aid, make sure you don’t drive without one as it is an important device to help you hear car horns and emergency sirens.
  • Be Aware of Other Health Factors – Pain or stiffness in the joints can limit mobility and your ability to check mirrors or turn your head. Chronic fatigue can be a problem, especially during long drives, and certain chronic conditions such as diabetes or seizure disorders can affect your safety. Side effects from medications can also impact driving and should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist before driving.
  • Know Your Limitations – As you age, it’s important to acknowledge that certain motor functions might not be as sharp as they once were and should be taken into consideration while on the road. It is advised that seniors should increase their following distance, use their brakes earlier, try to anticipate situations before they occur, and try to avoid highly trafficked areas when possible.
  • Avoid Dangerous Driving Conditions – Controlling your car in inclement weather, such as rain or snow is more difficult and therefore should be avoided. Driving at night can also pose increased risks because reaction times are often affected during this time of day.  Lastly, driving during rush hour presents additional opportunities for accidents to occur because other drivers tend to be more aggressive and inpatient. Under these conditions.

Getting older doesn’t mean that you can no longer drive. By following these tips, you can continue to drive without feeling as if you are a danger to yourself or others.

If however, you feel concerned about your ability to drive, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your independence. There are many car fare services and public transportation options that can still get you where you want to go.

 

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.

Power Napping

It has been proven that taking a power nap during the day has many benefits. A nap can lower blood pressure and also reduce the level of stress.

Research has shown that the benefits of a midday power nap are determined by the length of the time a person spends napping. A nap that lasts 20 minutes will help alertness and will also increase motor function. Naps that last 30 to 60 minutes will improve decision-making skills, and a nap that lasts 60 to 90 minutes will improve the ability to solve creative problems. Most people will only be able to take a short nap. A person who naps longer than 20 or 30 minutes runs the risk of waking up and feeling groggy.

If your typical day starts at 7:00 AM and you go to bed for the night around 11:00 PM, then napping between 1:30 and 3:00 PM is when you will benefit from a power nap the most.

If you are having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, specialists at Jamaica Hospital’s Sleep Center can conduct sleep studies to help determine the causes of your sleep deprivation. To schedule an appointment for an evaluation, please call 718-206-5916

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.

Living With A Pacemaker

A pacemaker is a small electronic device that is implanted in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. It works by producing electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to beat at a normal rate.

Doctors may recommend pacemakers to patients diagnosed with heart arrhythmias (a condition which causes the heart to beat in an irregular rhythm) or patients living with symptoms resulting from bradycardia (slow heart rate).

If a pacemaker is needed to help treat either condition, minimally invasive surgery is required to implant the device.  After implantation, your doctor will discuss in detail, precautions to consider while wearing a pacemaker. You may be advised to:

  • Stay away from magnets or strong magnetic fields.
  • Make certain to take medications as recommended.
  • Keep cellphones at least six inches away from the device.
  • Do not linger in areas with walk-through anti-theft detectors.
  • Carry a pacemaker ID card.
  • Inform airport security agents that you are wearing the device, as your pacemaker can set off metal detectors. Hand-held scanners contain a magnet that may interfere with your device, remind the agent to avoid using the scanner near your pacemaker.
  • Avoid using arc welders and chainsaws.
  • Take special precautions to protect your device during certain medical procedures such as MRI scans or radiation therapy.

Most people living with pacemakers can continue their normal day-to-day physical activities.  Speak to your doctor about what level of physical activity is best for you.

Pacemakers require maintenance. Although the average battery life of your pacemaker is five to 15 years, your doctor may ask you to come in at least once a year to make sure your device is functioning properly.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department provides pacemaker implantation and evaluation services. To schedule an appointment with one of our highly-trained cardiologists, 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.

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.

Know Your Rights as a Patient

When you or someone you love is being treated at the hospital there are so many things to keep track of and it can all seem quite confusing and frustrating.  While your primary focus during this time is on your recovery, it is important to know that each and every hospital patient has a number of rights that they are entitled to.

These laws and regulations help ensure the quality and safety of your hospital care. They outline that patients have the right to participate in decisions about their care and to understand what they are being told about their treatment plan.

Patients are encouraged to ask their doctors, nurses and other healthcare professional as many questions as they need to in order to help them fully understand their situation every hospital stay is different.  This includes learning about why certain procedures are being ordered and why certain drugs ae being prescribed.

Other rights pertain to receiving proper written discharge information when leaving the hospital, while others protect patients with special needs including those who are hearing or vision impaired as well as those who don’t speak English as their primary language.

Jamaica Hospital wants all of our patients to have a pleasant and well-informed hospital experience during their stay.  The next time you are in the hospital, feel free to ask a member of the staff to review the Patient Bill of Rights with you, or go to the New York State Department of Health’s website to read your rights now.

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.