What is a Peptic Ulcer and How do they Develop?

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in certain parts of your digestive tract.  They occur when the protective layer of mucus that lines those areas erodes due to the buildup of acids.  If left untreated, these ulcers can lead to internal bleeding and other complications.

There are two types of peptic ulcer disease that are classified based on where they develop. When an ulcer forms on the stomach lining, it is referred to as a gastric ulcer.  A duodenal ulcer is the name for an ulcer that appears at the top end of the small intestine.  You can have ulcers at any age, but your chances of having one increases with age.

Peptic ulcers generally develop for two reasons:

  • Bacteria – One common type of bacteria, known as Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) is a main cause for peptic ulcers. While as many as 50% of us carry this type of bacteria, most people infected with H. pylori do not get ulcers. For some however, it can raise the amount of acid produced, break down the protective mucus layer, and irritate the digestive tract.
  • Pain Relievers – Another cause for ulcers is prolonged use of pain relievers, such aspirin or medications that contain ibuprofen or naproxen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications block your body from making a chemical that help protect the inner walls of your stomach and small intestine from stomach acid.

Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are also contributing factors in the development of ulcers. It is a common misnomer is that stress and spicy foods can a lead to this condition.  The fact is that while they are not factors in the formation of ulcers, they can make an existing condition worse.

Some people can have a peptic ulcer and not experience any symptoms. However, if symptoms are present, the most common is a burning pain or discomfort between the naval and breastbone. The pain can last for a few minutes or a few hours, and may come and go for many days or weeks.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Bloated feeling
  • Burping
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of appetite or weight loss
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea
  • Bloody or dark stool
  • Vomiting

See a doctor if you experience any of these severe symptoms or if your pain does not go away with over the counter antacids. Your physician can diagnose a peptic ulcer by conducting an endoscopy. During this test, a thin, flexible tube is inserted down your throat and into your stomach and small intestine. The tube has a camera at the end to check the lining for ulcers.

Once confirmed, your doctor can prescribe certain medications designed to help protect the lining of the stomach or small intestine so the ulcer can heal.

To schedule an appointment with a Gastroenterologist at Jamaica Hospital, 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.

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.

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.

Stress Baking

Hands kneading a dough.

During the holiday season people are merrier, cheerier and a lot more stressed!  Holiday shopping, expenses and the enhanced workload that comes along with the season could easily cause a person to become burnt out.

There are many “how to’s” available on relieving stress during the holiday season and traditional occupational therapies have been suggested for years to relieve many symptoms of holiday stress and anxiety, but have you ever heard about the stress relieving method of “stress baking?”

It is a proven fact that physical activities can help improve your health, which in turn can combat the holiday blues.  Experts have suggested that baking can helped lift seasonal depression, as it is a way of channeling all the negative energy into creating something positive.

The cold winter weather prohibits several outdoor, stress relieving activities, making baking a great option to immerse yourself into a new hobby.

According to both mental health and culinary experts, baking could very well be helpful in relieving symptoms of anxiety.  For instance, kneading a batch of dough for 10 or 15 minutes may take away a great deal of the frustration and negativity you may be feeling.

There are so many recipe sites online and in books to help you get started.  So try your hand at baking , it is a great way to  relieve stress and let’s not forget, you get to taste the yummy home baked goods!

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 This Job Killing Me?

Nervous businesswoman pulling her hair out

Some workplace stress is normal, but excessive stress can interfere with productivity and impact your physical and emotional health. If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, you can lose confidence, and become irritable or withdrawn.

Health issues that can be caused by excessive stress are:

  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal problems

How you manage your stress is one way of avoiding the negative health impacts of a stressful lifestyle. By realizing that not being able to control everything in your work environment does not mean you are powerless, you can find ways to manage your workplace stress without rethinking career ambitions.

Some quick, office stress relievers are:

  • Take a short walk
  • Drink water
  • Stretch
  • Make a plan or to-do list
  • Unplug from email and social media
  • Breathe
  • Act rather than react
  • Ask for help

One of the best ways of coping with stress is to identify what your stress triggers are. Once you have identified them, you can find ways to resolve them.

If using these steps to relieve your feelings of being stressed is not helping, you may want to consult a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry. Call 718-206-7160 for 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.

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling_RivalrySibling rivalry is defined as a type of competition or animosity among siblings, whether blood related or not.

The sibling bond can be complicated since they generally spend more time together during childhood than they do with their parents. Sibling rivalry can be particularly intense when the children are very close in age and of the same gender.

Although bickering between siblings can drive parents crazy, sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up.  Parents must create an equal balance of when to step in and play referee and when to let their kids work out their problems themselves.

Below are some of the common reasons for sibling rivalry:

  • Attention – Children are always vying for their parents’ attention. These days, parents are busier than ever and their attention on work or a new baby may cause less of a focus on each child.  Children may act out and misbehave to get attention.
  • Sharing – With limited resources, siblings may have to share at least some of their possessions. Game systems, iPad’s or electronic items can be hard to share and require children to compartmentalize their time on each item.
  • Personality Differences – Some children are headstrong while others can be quieter and more introverted. Differences in temperament can lead to clashes.
  • Fairness issues – Children are always demanding fairness and equality and fighting for what they perceive are their natural born rights. A younger sibling might complain that her older sister gets to go to a concert and she has to stay home, while the older sister whines that she has to baby-sit her little sister instead of going out with her friends.

Your responsibility as a parent is to help your kids to learn to manage the feelings that come along with sibling rivalry. So, how can you stop the bickering? As a parent, you may have to indulge each child once in a while.  Make the effort to spend “just us” time with your children and speak to them about tolerance and the benefits of being part of a family.  Each child has their own unique strong points. Identify how those positive characteristics could cause them to become a role model to the other siblings.

Be sure not to confuse bullying with normal sibling rivalry.  If one of your children bullies his/her siblings and has to be the boss and control the others to the point of getting physical, you will have to determine the difference, especially if there is aggression over and above the bickering.

In most instances of sibling rivalry, approach all situations with a level head and a firm stance on a standard of respect that is expected in your home.  Live the model you would like them to emulate.

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?

droppedchild

 

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.

How Stress Affects Your Digestive System

Our brain and gut are mostomach pain -178554755re in sync than you may realize.  For instance, the very thought of food can cause the stomach to produce digestive juices or the thought of giving a big presentation may cause constipation or uncontrollable bowels.The brain and gut are in constant communication. This direct relationship causes our gastrointestinal system to be sensitive to emotions and reactions such as stress.

When we are stressed, our brain sends signals for chemicals such as adrenaline, serotonin (a hormone that affects mood and is found in the digestive system) as well as the stress hormone cortisol to be released.  These hormones can cause adverse reactions.

Stress negatively affects our digestive system in many ways. It can cause a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, cramping, an imbalance in gut bacteria and inflammation.  These symptoms can further develop into gastro intestinal (GI) disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

There are several things you can do to reduce stress and improve gut health. Practicing stress-management techniques such as exercising regularly, avoiding stressors, socializing, getting sufficient sleep or relaxing can greatly minimize your levels of stress.

In addition to practicing stress reduction techniques, you can support your digestive health by drinking less alcoholic beverages or consuming less sugar- as too much sugar can cause an imbalance in the ratio of good and bad bacteria in the stomach. Increasing your intake of foods that promote digestive health such as those rich in probiotics or foods that aid the body in producing digestive enzymes is also helpful.

The gut is often referred to as “the second brain” of the body. If you are experiencing consistent complications of the digestive system, your body is probably trying to tell you that there may be a bigger problem. Make an appointment with a gastroenterologist who specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal, liver, and pancreatic disorders to examine your symptoms.

Jamaica Hospital’s Division of Gastroenterology consists of board-certified gastroenterologists who provide high quality and expert care to patients who suffer from such conditions in both inpatient and outpatient settings. To schedule an appointment, please call 718 206 6742 or 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.

Doctors Say You Need to Relax

Relax178982704 (1)For many, dealing with excessive stress has become a way of life.  We often hear the words “just relax,” but sometimes we find it difficult to take that advice and de-stress due to every day hassles.

When you are stressed the body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline- which causes the fight or flight reaction. This can speed up the normal function of several organs, including the heart.  The fight or flight reaction is appropriate when we face immediate threats but can be damaging if prolonged; as our bodies are only designed to deal with the effects of stress for short intervals.

Extended periods of stress can take its toll on our health in many ways. Long-term stress is known to negatively affect several systems of the body, including:

  • The nervous system- High levels of cortisol and adrenaline can impair the nervous system, which regulates heart rates, the excretion of waste, breathing rates and the dilation and constriction of blood vessels.
  • The immune system- Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, which increases the risk of infections, infectious diseases, skin problems such as eczema and can slow down wound healing rates.
  • The digestive system- Excessive levels of stress can stimulate the muscles of the intestines and cause diarrhea or constipation. It can also lead to indigestion or nausea and increase the risk of ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • The endocrine system- Stress hormones can cause the liver to increase blood sugar levels. This is particularly dangerous for diabetics.

It is important to reduce excessive and prolonged periods of stress, because it can wreak havoc on our health.   We can decrease or manage stress by learning to take a moment to relax, exercising and eating healthy.

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.