Black Maternal Health Week

A pregnant Black mother looks down at her stomach.Black Maternal Health Week is observed from April 11th to 17th; it is focused on raising awareness about inequities in health outcomes among Black mothers throughout the United States. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among high-income nations. While this crisis affects all mothers, Black mothers are disproportionately likely to die due to pregnancy complications.

Several factors contribute to Black mothers’ increased mortality rate, including:

  • Limited access to high-quality medical care due to geographic factors and the potentially high cost of needed treatments
  • Organizational structures and policies that provide inadequate support for Black mothers
  • A lack of sufficient data and understanding on the part of organizations and providers regarding the health needs and circumstances of individual Black mothers and their children

At Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Black maternal health is important to us, and we have initiated and continually improved upon several programs designed to create a more equitable care environment for mothers at our hospital. For example, our CenteringPregnancy program offers pre-natal care in a group setting facilitated by doctors, nurses, and midwives, where expectant mothers with similar due dates can share experiences, receive support, and learn effective ways of staying healthy throughout pregnancy.

In addition to CenteringPregnancy, our hospital also offers access to midwife care and support from doulas, who help to ensure that mothers receive the guidance and support they need throughout their care. We also adhere to the Respectful Care at Birth initiative, a New York City Department of Health program focused on:

  • Providing easy-to-understand information about pregnancy, childbirth, and the care you will receive
  • Providing a sanitary, supportive environment in which to receive the care you need and give birth to your child
  • Supporting the ability and authority of mothers to make informed decisions about their care
  • Reinforcing the expectation that patients of all races and backgrounds will be treated with dignity and respect throughout their care
  • Ensuring that mothers have the support they need in terms of information, care, and having family members (or other people of their choosing) present during their care

No matter your race or background, you can always expect to receive comprehensive, high-quality maternal care at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (718) 291-3276.

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.

Nebulizers: What You Should Know

A woman using a nebulizer.Over 34 million people throughout the United States live with a chronic lung disease such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Any type of lung disease can have a significant detrimental impact on your quality of life without effective treatment to manage it. One of these treatments is the usage of nebulizers, which turn liquid medicine into a mist that can be easily inhaled.

While they function in a similar way, nebulizers are not the same thing as inhalers. An inhaler delivers medication more quickly, is often smaller and more portable, often costs less, and usually causes fewer side effects. However, they are not as easy to use properly as nebulizers, which allow you to breathe normally to get the dose of medicine you need.

You may need a nebulizer if you plan to take certain types of medication, such as bronchodilators (which relax your airway muscles) or corticosteroids (which prevent airway inflammation). Nebulizers can also be used with some antibiotics (if you have a bacterial lung infection) or medications that loosen mucus in your lungs.

Before using your nebulizer, it’s important to make sure you’re setting it up correctly. You should:

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up and using your nebulizer, which should be included
  • Wash your hands
  • Fill the medicine cup and close it tightly
  • Make sure the hose is connected to the air compressor, mouthpiece, and medicine cup
  • Plug in and turn on the nebulizer

While using the nebulizer, you should:

  • Keep your lips firmly around the mouthpiece
  • Breathe through your mouth until the medicine cup is empty (this can take up to 20 minutes)

It’s also important to make sure you’re keeping your nebulizer sanitary for future use. Each time you finish using it, you should:

  • Turn off and unplug the machine
  • Wash the mouthpiece and medicine cup under warm, running water
  • Air dry the nebulizer and run air through it for at least 20 seconds to ensure all parts of it are dry
  • Remove all detachable parts (such as the mouthpiece and medicine cup) and store the nebulizer in a covered place until the next time you use it
  • Change the machine’s filter as needed (see the instructions that came with your nebulizer)

If you experience symptoms of asthma or another type of lung disease, you can receive high-quality treatment from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7126.

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 Cancer Control Month

National Cancer Control Month, which is recognized during the month of April.April is National Cancer Control Month. During this time each year, organizations throughout the United States recognize the burden experienced by people with cancer. Each year, cancer directly impacts millions of individuals, families, and communities, and even the country as a whole. The overall goal of Cancer Control Month is to reduce this impact by:

Preventing as many cancer deaths as possible: Up to 50% of all cancer deaths are preventable through early diagnosis and treatment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Prevention is one of the most effective methods possible of controlling rates of cancer and cancer deaths. Standard cancer prevention strategies involve:

  • Raising awareness of signs, symptoms, and diagnostic testing procedures
  • Reducing exposure to known cancer risk factors
  • Promoting healthy lifestyle habits that reduce cancer risk

Detecting cancer as early as possible: Early detection of cancer is one of the most important factors for successful treatment, making this an important goal of Cancer Control Month. Cancer prevention strategies, such as patient education regarding risk factors and warning signs, are crucial for encouraging people to visit their healthcare provider for diagnostic testing as soon as possible.

Improving cancer treatments: Many modern cancer treatments are effective when it comes to improving survival rates and quality of life among patients, but further improvements, as well as more research into treatment-resistant forms of cancer, can help prevent an even greater number of cancer deaths.

You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by avoiding certain factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common risk factors for preventable forms of cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as from the sun or a tanning bed
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

If you have noticed potential signs of cancer and require a diagnostic screening or treatment, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Oncology Department. To schedule 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.

Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A man holding his wrist in front of his laptop due to pain from carpal tunnel syndrome.Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition affecting the hand; it causes symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness, all of which can interfere significantly with work activities, chores at home, and other aspects of your day-to-day functions.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve (which runs through the forearm to the hand through the wrist). A wide range of risk factors can cause this pressure to occur, including:

  • Injuries to the wrist
  • Nerve-damaging or inflammatory conditions
  • Obesity
  • Fluid retention
  • Work that involves repetitive flexing of the wrist

If you have developed (or are starting to develop) carpal tunnel syndrome, effective treatments are available to help you reduce discomfort and remain functional throughout your daily activities. Some of these treatments include:

Making adjustments to your work environment: If workplace factors are contributing to your carpal tunnel syndrome, certain adjustments may help to reduce the impact of symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. It is recommended that you maintain good posture, keep your wrists relaxed and straight as often as you can, and take frequent, brief breaks to rest and stretch your hands. It may also help to change certain tools you use, such as your computer mouse, which may be contributing to the problem.

Wrist splints: You may find it helpful to start wearing a splint while sleeping. A splint holds your wrist still, reducing symptoms during the night. Using a splint at night may also improve your symptoms to a lesser extent throughout the following day.

Corticosteroids: Your doctor may inject a corticosteroid into your wrist to provide relief from your symptoms. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the wrist, which relieves pressure on the median nerve.

Surgery: If your symptoms are severe or unresponsive to other treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, which involves cutting the ligament that’s placing pressure on the median nerve.

Non-surgical treatments may be more effective if the condition is caught early. You can receive a diagnosis and treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome with an orthopedist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6923.

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 Should You Do During a Panic Attack?

A woman putting her hand to her chest as she experiences a panic attack.When a panic attack strikes, it can be difficult to think clearly. Panic attacks can occur suddenly and without warning, causing a feeling of intense fear as well as symptoms that may resemble other medical emergencies, such as heart attacks. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat
  • Hot flashes and sweating
  • Numbness or tingling

While they are not necessarily dangerous to your physical health on their own, panic attacks can have a detrimental effect on your mental health, especially if they become worse or more frequent over time. If you experience one, there are certain steps you should take to get through it and improve your ability to prevent future attacks:

When in doubt, go to the emergency room: The symptoms of panic attacks are similar enough to other serious medical conditions that it may be very difficult for you to distinguish between them in the moment. The safest option is to call 911 and get to the emergency room immediately. If no signs of a heart attack or other medical emergency are found during your visit, it’s more likely that what you experienced was a panic attack.

Get a friend or family member’s help: During a panic attack, you may find it difficult to calm down or communicate clearly, so it’s important to have a friend or family member with you who can help. This person should be able to get you anything you might need while experiencing the panic attack, such as water or a quiet space to yourself, and help you communicate with any healthcare providers who treat you.

Practice deep breathing exercises: Many people hyperventilate during a panic attack, meaning that they breathe too rapidly; this can cause symptoms to worsen and increase the sense of fear that occurs during an attack. Slower, deeper, rhythmic breathing can help reduce these symptoms and make them easier to cope with.

If you experience a panic attack, it’s important to visit a psychiatrist as soon as possible to receive treatment that can reduce the severity and frequency of future attacks. You can schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Clinic by calling (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 Endometriosis Awareness Month

A woman holding her stomach due to pain from endometriosis.March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a condition that affects the lining of the uterus (also known as the endometrium); it currently affects an estimated 176 million women around the globe. Some of the symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain during pelvic examinations
  • Severe pain during menstruation
  • Pain during urination or a bowel movement
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infertility

Symptoms of endometriosis tend to appear during reproductive years, between the ages of 12 and 60. The highest number of cases are diagnosed between the ages of 25 to 35; however, some women with endometriosis remain undiagnosed because they do not have symptoms. Additionally, this disorder can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions.

Endometriosis causes the inner lining of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus. This most commonly affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments that support the uterus, and the areas between the rectum and the vagina. Rarely, endometriosis can also occur in the lungs, thighs, arms, and other parts of the body that are more distant from reproductive organs.

When endometrial tissue spreads, it develops into growths called implants. These clumps of tissue are affected by the menstrual cycle as though they were inside of the uterus, regardless of their actual location. Each month, they build up, break down, and shed. However, endometrial tissue cannot be discharged from the body if it is not inside the uterus; as a result, these implants cause inflammation, swelling, internal bleeding, and the formation of scar tissue.

Doctors do not yet know what causes endometriosis, but certain risk factors have been identified that may make you more likely to develop it. These include:

  • An immediate family member with endometriosis
  • An abnormal uterus
  • Menstruation that begins before the age of 11
  • Shorter menstrual periods, lasting less than 27 days on average
  • Heavy menstruation that lasts for more than one week

If you experience symptoms of endometriosis, your doctor can perform a variety of tests, such as pelvic examinations, laparoscopy, and imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to accurately diagnose it. While there is no cure for endometriosis, your doctor can work with you to develop an effective treatment that may incorporate options such as medication, surgery, or alternative therapies.

You can schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center to receive high-quality treatment for endometriosis. To learn more, please call (718) 291-3276.

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 Does Anesthesia Work?

Doctor putting an oxygen mask on a patient under anesthesia at the hospital.Anesthesia is medicine used to manage pain during a wide range of medical procedures, including everything from tooth extractions and biopsies to appendectomies, cancer surgery, and childbirth. Anesthesia is an important part of these procedures; without it, many of them would be difficult or impossible to perform.

There are three main types of anesthesia: sedation, local, regional, and general. Sedation typically reduces pain throughout the body and makes you feel relaxed and drowsy. Local anesthesia affects a specific, small part of your body, such as a particular organ. Regional anesthesia affects a large part of your body, such as from the waist down. General anesthesia affects your entire body and renders you unconscious. Most types of anesthesia are injected or administered through an intravenous (IV) line, but general anesthesia may sometimes be administered through a breathing mask or tube.

The type of anesthesia you receive depends on the specific procedure you will be undergoing, as well as your medical history and circumstances. Certain people may face greater risks of medical complications than others from anesthesia, such as problems with brain function, malignant hyperthermia, breathing problems, and, in rare cases, death. Several factors can increase your risk of experiencing these complications, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Stroke
  • Lung conditions
  • Kidney conditions
  • Neurological disorders
  • Obesity
  • Allergies to anesthesia medication

The risks of anesthesia increase with the strength of its effects. Most of the severe side-effects associated with anesthesia occur in rare instances with general anesthesia. Sedation and local anesthesia, on the other hand, may rarely cause minor side-effects, such as itching at the site of injection. Regional anesthesia is also generally safe, but can sometimes cause headaches and may rarely cause nerve damage.

The best way to minimize any risks associated with anesthesia is to consult a licensed, board-certified anesthesiologist. If you’re receiving surgery, an anesthesiologist will typically meet with you ahead of time to discuss potential risks, and will also be present to monitor you throughout your procedure.

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 Does Being in Love Affect Your Body?

Heart-shaped candies.Love is no simple feeling; in fact, being in love with someone can cause a complex swirl of different emotions, like happiness, desire, and excitement, as well as some potentially negative feelings, such as anxiety and over-attachment. These emotions are linked to several chemicals and hormones produced by the body, which can result in a variety of mental and physical effects.

Many of the physical effects of love can be positive in the long term, including everything from a healthy sex drive to a decreased risk for several chronic diseases, reduced pain, and even an increased likelihood of a longer life span. However, there are some potentially negative effects, too, such as poorer judgement (making risky choices to satisfy or impress the person you love) and anxious over-attachment (agonizing over things such as what the other person is doing or how long it’s taking them to respond to you).

When you’re in love, it can make you feel euphoric, particularly when you receive affection from the person you’re in love with. This happens because of an increase in dopamine levels. Dopamine controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centers and is part of many of our body’s functions, such as learning, awareness, mood changes, sleep, arousal, and even movement. However, dopamine levels can also contribute to the development of an addiction to feelings of love, particularly in the “infatuation” stage when those feelings are strongest; this can potentially make it difficult to form a lasting relationship.

Aside from dopamine, hormones such as adrenaline and norepinephrine, which can make your palms sweat and cause your heart to race, are also shown to increase when you’re in love with someone. Additionally, when people develop a feeling of attachment to the person they’re in love with, it can trigger the development of hormones such as vasopressin and oxytocin, which create feelings of security and comfort.

A healthy, committed, long-lasting relationship will produce more good effects than bad ones over the long term, but an important part of maintaining such a relationship is noticing and taking proactive steps to manage negative thoughts or behaviors as they occur. One of the best ways to do this is with the help of a licensed psychiatrist. To schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Clinic, 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.

Recognizing the Signs of Online Gambling Addiction

A man holding his face in his hands in distress while using a computer for online gambling.When you’re virtually betting on a football game or playing casino games like poker or roulette through a website or an app, there are plenty of opportunities and platforms available today for online gambling. However, with such an increase in options for gambling virtually, there is also an increased risk of developing a gambling addiction, so it’s important to be able to identify the signs of this kind of addiction in yourself as they appear.

A gambling addiction, also known as gambling disorder, involves a compulsion to repeatedly gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve a desired level of excitement, even when this behavior is causing financial harm to yourself and your family. Gambling can be as addictive (and, potentially, as destructive) as alcohol or drugs; in fact, the American Psychiatric Association places gambling disorder in the same classification level as these substance use disorders.

Gambling disorder develops gradually, so you may not immediately recognize signs of this problem when they begin to appear. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a doctor may diagnose a person with gambling disorder if they recognize four or more of the following symptoms:

  • Compulsion to gamble with increasing amounts money for excitement
  • Restlessness or irritability while trying to reduce gambling
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to limit time spent gambling
  • Frequent thoughts about gambling
  • Gambling as a result of distress
  • Often attempting to win back gambling losses
  • Hiding gambling activity
  • Risking relationships, employment, or educational opportunities to continue gambling
  • Relying on other people for help with financial problems while gambling

For people who gamble virtually, the risks of developing an addiction are significantly higher than someone who only does it in a physical location, as opportunities to continue gambling are always available and accessible. Some steps you can take to prevent or treat gambling disorder in this situation include:

  • Reaching out for mental and emotional support from trusted people or support groups
  • Distracting yourself with different activities
  • Thinking about what will happen when you gamble, particularly in terms of damage to relationships and opportunities
  • If necessary, deleting gambling-related apps from your device
  • Getting help from a licensed psychiatrist

If you need professional help coping with gambling disorder, you can schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic by calling (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.

What is the Difference Between RSV and the Common Cold?

A woman sitting and coughing under a blanket.In the cold weather seasons, illnesses such as the common cold and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) often run rampant, infecting millions of people each year. Both share similar symptoms, which can make it difficult to tell them apart.

Because RSV and the common cold are also extremely common, it is very likely that the average person will develop one or both of them at some point in a given year. Additionally, RSV and the common cold are more likely to develop in:

  • Infants and young children
  • Adults over the age of 70
  • People with weakened or compromised immune systems
  • People who are frequently in spaces with many other people, such as a college dorm, gym, shared workspace, or public transportation

While it can be difficult to differentiate between the two, one important distinction to keep in mind is that, unlike RSV, which refers to a single type of viral illness, the term “common cold” can refer to any one of hundreds of different viruses, all of which cause similar symptoms. These symptoms occur in three stages, in which they begin to appear, worsen to their peak intensity, and finally start to improve. They typically include:

  • A sore throat (usually the first symptom to appear)
  • A runny nose
  • Frequent coughing
  • Aches throughout your body
  • In some cases, a fever

A person with RSV will also usually experience these same symptoms. However, someone who develops RSV is more likely to have a fever and may experience more wheezing than someone with a cold. It is also more likely to cause someone to lose their appetite.

It is important to note symptoms of both the common cold and RSV, as they can develop into more serious illnesses for certain groups of people. In the case of a cold, this is more likely to occur in people with weakened immune systems or a respiratory condition, such as asthma. For RSV, this risk is greater for infants, older adults, and people with heart and neuromuscular conditions.

Both RSV and the common cold usually don’t require much treatment aside from rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications to help reduce symptoms. However, if your symptoms are severe or last longer than 10 days and do not improve, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (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.