What is Popcorn Lung and Can Vaping Cause It?

“Popcorn lung” is the nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease that can damage the smallest airways in your lungs, resulting in coughing and shortness of breath.

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The condition got its nickname because of the chemical diacetyl, a buttery flavored chemical that was commonly found in microwave popcorn.  After workers at the factories that produced microwave popcorn began to experience symptoms associated with bronchiolitis obliterans after inhaling diacetyl, manufacturers removed it from their products.

While diacetyl is no longer a threat from microwaved popcorn, many are now being exposed to it through e-cigarette vapor. Diacetyl is often added to “e-juice” liquid by some e-cigarette companies to complement flavorings such as vanilla, maple, coconut and more. In fact, recent studies have found that more than 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes and refill liquids tested positive for diacetyl

So how does diacetyl cause popcorn lung? Your lungs are where your blood receives oxygen before carrying it to cells in the rest of your body through tiny air sacs called alveoli. Exposure to diacetyl can irritate or scar the alveoli, causing inflammation or narrowing, making it difficult for them to deliver oxygen to your blood.

The main symptoms of popcorn lung are a dry cough and shortness of breath. These show up between two weeks and two months after you’ve been around a toxic gas or had an illness. You’re especially likely to have them after exercising or heavy labor.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Flu-like illness with fever
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Eye, skin, mouth, or nose irritation, if caused by chemical exposure

Popcorn lung is often misdiagnosed as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. To diagnose popcorn lung, your doctor will order an X-ray, CT scan or a surgical lung biopsy. Your doctor may also want to measure your lung’s function by conducting a pulmonary function test.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for popcorn lung, but there are treatments to help alleviate the symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. Treatment options include prescription corticosteroids, cough suppressants, bronchodilators to open the airways or immunosuppressant therapy to decrease your body’s immune response. In severe cases oxygen supplementation may be needed. If left untreated, popcorn lung can be fatal in some cases.

The best way to prevent developing popcorn lung is to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals like diacetyl, found in e-cigarettes.

If you are experiencing symptoms of popcorn lung, make an appointment to see your doctor. To make an appointment with a Pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call our Ambulatory Care Department 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.

Difficulty Swallowing Food? Learn the Facts About Dysphagia

 

Swallowing is a function of our body that we do every day and give very little thought as to how it is achieved. We consider it to be a simple accomplishment, but in fact, it is very complex and involves the coordination of the brain, nerves, and muscles in mouth, pharynx and esophagus.

Jamaica Hospital's Division of Gastroenterology can help diagnose and treat people with swallowing disorders

For some however, swallowing can become difficult or even impossible. This may be due to a range of diseases, commonly referred to as dysphagia. This category of health conditions can become a serious problem that requires medical attention.

There are generally two different types of dysphagia.

  • Esophageal dysphagia – This refers to the sensation of food getting stuck in the base of your throat or chest after you’ve started to swallow. This type of dysphagia can be caused by a number of issues, including a narrowing of the esophagus due to tumors or scarring, poorly coordinated contractions or spasms in the esophagus, or the lower esophageal muscle not allowing food to enter the stomach.
  • Oropharyngeal dysphagia – This focuses on swallowing issues that involve the process of moving food from the mouth to the throat when you begin to swallow. Causes for this type of dysphagia are often related to neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or Parkinson’s disease. It can also occur after sudden neurological damage from a stroke or spinal cord injury.

Swallowing problems can occur at any age, but they are more common in older adults. Symptoms include:

  • Having pain while swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Being hoarse
  • Regurgitating food
  • Having frequent heartburn
  • Having food or stomach acid back up into your throat
  • Losing weight without explanation
  • Coughing or gagging when swallowing

In addition to the constant risk of choking, dysphagia can also introduce bacteria into the lungs when food enters the airway, leading to aspiration pneumonia. Other complications from dysphagia include malnutrition, weight loss and dehydration.

Treatment for dysphagia depends on the underlying cause. On some occasions the condition can be managed easily while complex swallowing problems may require treatment by a specialist.

Those with swallowing problems can do many things to manage their condition, including sitting upright or standing while eating and for 15 minutes after eating, cutting up food into small pieces, eating slowly, and drinking plenty of fluids while eating.

To make an an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital’s Division of Gastroenterology, 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.

Tips To Make Sure the Ice in Your Freezer is Clean

There is nothing more refreshing on a warm summer day than an ice-filled cold beverage, but before you host your next summer gathering, make sure that the ice you serve is clean and free of harmful bacteria.

While ice is rarely considered to be the source of trouble, there are good reasons to take a second look at how ice is dispensed in your own home.  You may think most bacteria wouldn’t survive the icy conditions of a freezer. But they can. Bacteria and viruses such as listeria, E-coli and salmonella can live in freezing temperatures, meaning they may be alive in your ice cubes. With proper precautions however, you can eliminate the risk of these contaminants existing in the ice you serve.

Here are some tips:

  • Change Your Filter – Most ice makers in freezers use a secondary water filter to stop particles from contaminating the ice. To keep your ice clean, change the freezer’s water filter as frequently as the manufacturer recommends, about every six months.
  • Regular Cleaning – Don’t forget to defrost and deep clean your freezer at least once a year. As a rule of thumb, if the ice buildup in your freezer is a quarter-inch or thicker, then it’s time to defrost and clean it.
  • Use Ice Regularly – The slight melting and refreezing of cubes can allow pathogens to take hold. To avoid this, remove the ice storage bin from the freezer and dump any clumps into the sink. Since inactivity causes ice clumps to form, the easiest solution is to use the ice maker more frequently.
  • Organize Your Freezer – Make sure frozen foods are properly sealed or double-wrapped and avoid having them come into direct contact with ice in trays or bins. Also label all food with a use-by date and remove all expired foods from your freezer.
  • Don’t Use Your Hands – While all of the above tips are useful, the fact is that the most common way to spread germs is by placing unwashed hands in an ice container. Instead of using your hands, use a designated scooper or other tool to handle ice.

It is important to note that while the existence of contaminants in your ice might be disturbing to learn, the health risks associated with it is fairly minimal to the average immune system and the transmission of viruses are rare. Those more at risk are pregnant women, children, and people with a compromised immune system.

Regardless, it is always a good idea to take the proper precautions to reduce your chances of getting yourself or your guests sick.

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 Recognizes National Don’t Fry Day

The Friday before Memorial Day is designated National Don’t Fry Day – a day to raise awareness about sun safety and encourage everyone to take the necessary steps to protect their skin from cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the nation, with almost 5.5 million cases diagnosed in Americans each year – more than breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers combined.  In fact, one out of every five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some time in their lives.

Jamaica Hospital and the American Cancer Society would like to share the following tips to avoid frying in the sun this summer:

  • Seek shade during the peak time of day – the sun is at its strongest between 10:00am – 2:00 pm
  • Dress properly – Wear sun-protective clothing as well as UV blocking sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats
  • Use sunscreen – It is recommended that you apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 every 2 hours
  • Avoid tanning devices – These give-off UVA rays just like the sun.

By following these tips, you and your family can enjoy the sun, while protecting yourself from the harm that it can cause

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.

The Importance of Being Honest With Your Doctor

One of the most important factors in the physician / patient relationship is honesty. Doctors expect their patients to be truthful so they can provide appropriate care, but a 2018 study has revealed that as many as 80% of all patients lie or withhold information from their providers.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), identified many reasons for patients not fully disclosing information to their doctors. The most cited reason was that they did not want to be judged or lectured about their behaviors. This was followed by the lack of desire to hear how bad the behavior was for their health, as well as simply being embarrassed about their health choices.  Other responses included not wanting information in their medical record, not wanting to take up their doctor’s time, and wanting their healthcare provider to like them.

The failure to provide accurate information however is not always the patient’s fault as some reasons relate to poor physician communication. Several patients revealed that they do not always fully understand their doctor’s questions.  Another reason why some patients admitted to not being truthful was to avoid disagreeing with their provider about their recommended treatment plan.

The topics that patients most commonly fail to be 100% honest with their doctor about include their diet, lack of exercise, sexual activity, medication management, and adherence to their treatment plan. The study revealed that some of the patients who were most dishonest to their provider were those in poor health.

This can be a potentially serious problem as patients withholding information from their doctors can prevent them from receiving the right care and can be dangerous to their overall health. According to researchers from this study, “Patients who aren’t forthright with their health information face unpleasant and sometimes life-threatening side effects from regimens their doctors give them.”

While much of the responsibility to be more forthcoming lies with the patient, those in the healthcare industry acknowledge that they can also help the situation. Knowing that there is a high-likelihood that patients might avoid disclosing important information, physicians need to make every attempt to be less judgmental and make every attempt to put their patients at ease.

By building a trusting and honest relationship, doctors and patients can work together so that the best care is provided.

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.

The Benefits (And Some Warnings) About Using The Internet To Manage Your Health

The internet is a wonderful tool for us to gather information. One of the subjects that many use the internet for is to learn more about their health. Using online searches to increase your understanding about a potential or existing medical condition can be beneficial, but doctors do have warnings about how and when to utilize this technology.

There is no doubt that the internet has changed the physician – patient dynamic. It is estimated that over 90 percent of adults in the United States have access to the internet and approximately 75 percent of them have used it to conduct a search about a health condition within the last year.

For the most part, online searches are being done by patients before they see their doctor to determine if a visit is even necessary.  Some patients are armed with a plethora of knowledge when they arrive for their appointment, and they are asking their physician to confirm rather than diagnose a condition.  In other instances, many patients are using the internet to discuss medication and treatment options with their doctor as well as referrals for specialists.

But how are these internet searches affecting the doctor-patient relationship? If used correctly, doctors usually welcome and embrace their patient’s increased knowledge about their condition. They believe that an educated and engaged patient is better equipped to better manage their condition and make the correct lifestyle choices to improve their health. Most physicians also believe that if their patients come to them having already picked up some information online, they will get more out of the visit based on their increased knowledge of their condition. Lastly, many doctors use the internet as a valuable tool to reinforce what they are advising to those patients who may be otherwise skeptical of a diagnosis or treatment option.

Even with all of its advantages, doctors do warn that using the internet as a medical resource does have its pitfalls. Physicians want patients to understand that health information on the internet is endless and not all of it is accurate.  Relying on incorrect information can cause patients to either worry needlessly over a false self-diagnosis, or worse, fail to seek treatment after incorrectly believing that they do not need medical attention.

The information found on the internet is intended to be supplemental, and not replace seeing your physician. The best recommendation to incorporate information obtained online is to bring it with you to your appointment and review it with your doctor. By collaborating with your provider you can build a better relationship that can ultimately lead to better health outcomes.

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 Offers Tips To Manage Your Children’s Vaccinations During World Immunization Week

It is World Immunization Week; an observance led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise public awareness about how immunizations can save lives. During this week-long event, efforts are made to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against a variety of preventable diseases.

Immunizations prevent illness, disability and death from many diseases, including:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumonia
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus diarrhea
  • Tetanus

Despite all their benefits, there is still an estimated 18.7 million infants worldwide still missing out on basic vaccines.

One of the best ways for parents to keep track of their children’s immunization history and make sure they are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations is by setting up an electronic medical record (EMR), like MyChart, which is available for free to all Jamaica Hospital patients.

In addition to allowing parents to access to their children’s records, including their immunization history, MyChart also gives patients the ability to:

  • Review test results online
  • Review health education topics
  • Access discharge instructions
  • Request prescription refills online
  • Interact with your provider via email
  • Request an appointment

To create an account is easy. All a patient needs to do is go to the Jamaica Hospital website and click the link to MediSys MyChart: https://mychart.medisys.org and click on the “sign up now” tab.

World Immunization Week is an opportunity for Jamaica Hospital to remind parents of the importance of maintaining their children’s vaccinations and how MyChart can help them do that. My making it easy to access their immunization history, parents can make sure their children are properly protected.

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.

The MediSys Health Network Recognizes The Accomplishments Dr. Sabiha Raoof During Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month.  In recognition of this special observance, the MediSys Health Network would like to honor a woman who is very important to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Sabiha Raoof.

Dr. Raoof began her career at MediSys as an attending physician in 1997 after completing her radiology fellowship training. According to Dr. Raoof, “I was young and full of energy, but I was also a mother of two young children, and that aspect of my life has always been very important to me. Working for MediSys allowed me to maintain a balance between my professional goals and my role as a mother.  I never had to compromise my priorities and that gave me the opportunity to grow and thrive professionally. “

After working for a few years as an attending physician, Dr. Raoof was appointed as the Chairperson of Radiology at Jamaica Hospital in 2000 and then at Flushing Hospital in 2001.  Dr. Raoof added “I am so happy that I was given the opportunity to build the department and I am so proud of what we have been able to achieve together.” Under her guidance, the Radiology Departments at both hospitals have earned the Diagnostic Centers of Excellence designation from the American College of Radiology.

Through the years, Dr. Raoof has taken on many additional roles in the healthcare industry that has brought a great deal of positive visibility to the network.  She currently serves as the Vice Chair for the American College of Radiology’s Quality Experience Committee and is a member of their Commission on Clinical Decision Support. She has also been working with CMS for the last four years, initially serving as a national faculty member for the Transforming Clinical Practices Initiative and now serves as one of the Clinical Champions for the Quality Payment Program.

Providing the highest quality care to our patients has always been a major focus for Dr. Raoof, so when she was appointed as the Chief Medical Officer for MediSys in 2017, her main goal was to use the position to improve the quality of care throughout the organization and to do so in a patient and family centered approach to keep patient safety in focus. AS CMO, she has been the driving force behind many initiatives designed to improve the patient experience.

 While Dr. Raoof appreciates the opportunities she has been given in the MediSys Health Network, she realizes that many other women are not as fortunate. “Even today, we have under-representation of female physicians in leadership positions in the healthcare industry. I feel lucky to work for this organization and I commend our administration for being so forward thinking and allowing the most qualified people to progress to leadership roles throughout the organization without any bias against gender, culture, religion or ethnicity.”

Women’s History Month is very important to Dr. Raoof. It not only allows her to thank the many women in her personal and professional life who have supported and been an inspiration to her, but it also serves as an opportunity for her to encourage her female colleagues to step up and be willing to lead.  According to Dr. Raoof, “Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the tireless half of our population. Women are our future leaders, innovators, and peace-makers. This is a month to celebrate our progress in the face of historic challenge and to dream of our future. “

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 Medical Center Announces Partnership with LegalHealth to Provide Legal Services to Our Patients

On a daily basis New Yorkers, especially low-income residents, face challenging financial and social issues. These factors can negatively impact their lives in many ways, most notably their physical and mental health. Lack of access to adequate housing, food, or safe and secure employment can impede their ability to seek and receive appropriate healthcare services for themselves and their families.  Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is working to remove these barriers by offering free legal services to its patients.

Every week an attorney from LegalHealth, a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group, comes to Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to provide legal counsel to hospital patients on issues relating to government benefits, housing, workplace conditions, and immigration and credit problems. LegalHealth also assists patients and families develop advanced planning directives, wills and legal matters affecting families.

It is well established that unmet social needs have a direct correlation with poor health.  Social factors, such as food insecurity have been closely linked to higher risk of chronic conditions. Studies show that those who lose their jobs are 83% more likely to develop stress-related health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

Jamaica Hospital made the commitment to fund the LegalHealth clinic knowing that addressing these issues will ultimately improve the health of its patients and potentially reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions.  According to Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Family Medicine at Jamaica Hospital, “By understanding these social determinants that our patients encounter on a daily basis and providing a resource to have them addressed, Jamaica Hospital and LegalHealth can remove many of the obstacles that prevent our community from improving and maintaining healthier lives.”

LegalHealth is also providing ongoing training to Jamaica Hospital’s providers to equip them with the necessary tools to help them identify any social, financial or other problems patients are experiencing which can be addressed with legal support.

The Legal Health clinic opened at Jamaica Hospital in January 2019 and is on site weekly.

Patients who utilize LegalHealth services are assured of complete confidentiality and services are completely free to Jamaica Hospital 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.

March is National Nutrition Month

March has been designated as National Nutrition Month –  an annual nutrition, education and information campaign that focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  In honor of this special observance, Jamaica Hospital would like to share with our community the important role our Registered Dieticians (RDs) play in helping our patients meet their nutritional goals.

What is a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian is a trained nutrition professional who has met the strict educational and experiential standards set forth by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

They  can be employed in a variety of areas including hospitals, outpatient clinics, corporate wellness programs, food service operations, universities, research, or private practice, just to name a few.

RDs advise and counsel others on food and nutrition. They explain nutrition issues to their patients, develop meal plans for them and measure the effects of those plans.

To become an RD, you must:

  • Complete a Bachelor’s degree with coursework approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Complete a 1200 hour dietetic internship which is an accredited, supervised practice program at a health care facility, community program or a food service corporation
  • Pass a national registration exam
  • Complete continuing professional education credits.

At Jamaica Hospital, dietitians are available for the following services: nutrition assessment, diet instruction, recommendations for enteral and parenteral support, staff in-service, food and drug interactions, and nutrition counseling in the outpatient setting.

Jamaica Hospital would like to thank our Registered Dieticians for the very important job they do every day. Their hard work help our patients and community live a much healthier lifestyle.

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.