Kidney Stones

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Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) are lumps of crystal made from substances found in urine. They typically build up along the inner surfaces of the kidney.  The size of a kidney stone can range from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball.  It is estimated, one in every twenty people will develop them at some point in their life.

Stones form when there is a decrease in the amount of urine produced, causing it to become highly concentrated and therefore allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.  There are four major types of stones, they include:

  • Calcium stones
  • Uric acid stones
  • Struvite stones
  • Cystine stones

While dehydration is a major contributor to the formation of kidney stones, some people are more prone to developing them than others. People with certain medical conditions such as gout or digestive diseases, those with a family history of kidney stones, as well as people who are obese or consume a diet rich in protein, sodium and sugar are more susceptible.

Kidney stones often go undetected until they become loose and travel along the urinary tract.  When they move around the kidney or pass through the ureter, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Pain during urination
  • Pain along your side or back, below the ribs
  • Urine that is pink, red or brown in color
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or groin
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urination or urge to urinate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cloudy or abnormal smelling urine
  • Fever and chills

If these symptoms present themselves and persist it is advised that you see a doctor immediately.  Your doctor may perform a series of tests that may include blood or urine tests, analysis of passed stones or abdominal x-rays to assess your condition. Depending on severity, treatment may include increasing your intake of water, pain medication or surgery.

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.

Gallstones

Have you ever experienced sudden abdominal pain and wondered if it might be gallstones?

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Gallstones form in the gall bladder, located just under the liver, and may cause no signs or symptoms. However, if a gallstone lodges in a bile duct, it could cause a blockage. Gallstone pain may last several minutes to a few hours and symptoms may include:

  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen
  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone
  • Back pain between your shoulder blades
  • Pain in your right shoulder

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. Seek immediate care if you are experiencing:

  • Abdominal pain so intense that you can’t sit still or find a comfortable position
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
  • High fever with chills

Laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder, called a cholecystectomy, is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States and is the treatment of choice for gallstones that cause moderate to severe pain. Symptoms usually do not return after the gallbladder has been removed. In a small number of cases, surgery may be done to prevent complications of gallstones.

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.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based, learning disability that affects approximately 15% of the population living in the United States.  It is the most common learning disability in the country.

People who are dyslexic find it difficult to read because they are unable to properly identify speech sounds and learn how they relate to letters and words.  They often have difficulty with writing, math and comprehension as well.

Dyslexia is a lifelong disability that cannot be cured. However, an individual can overcome its many challenges when early intervention and specialized education approaches are applied.

The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown; however, the condition tends to run in families.  In addition to genetics, there are other factors attributed to dyslexia; they include:

  • Premature birth or a low birth weight
  • Exposure to substances such as nicotine, alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy

Symptoms and signs of dyslexia vary with each individual. They may experience the following:

  • Difficulty forming words correctly –they may reverse the sound in words or confuse words that sound alike
  • Late speech
  • Difficulty remembering or naming  colors , letters and numbers
  • Reading well below average
  • Difficulty playing rhyming games or learning rhyming songs
  • Problems with math or spelling
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Disinterest in books
  • Difficulty remembering details
  • Trouble understanding puns and idioms
  • Difficulty telling right from left
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of time

A significant number of children with dyslexia go undiagnosed because symptoms are not recognized. Many children who are undiagnosed, struggle in school and grow up to be adults who are unaware that they have dyslexia; therefore, it is very important for parents to note warning signs and seek assistance from a specialist.  In most cases, a diagnosis of dyslexia is determined by a licensed educational psychologist after completing a series of evaluations.

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.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the flow of urine resulting in a person urinating when they don’t want to. The basic cause is due to loss of control of the urinary sphincter. This is a fairly common condition, occurring more frequently in women than in men.

The American Urological Association estimates that one quarter to one-third of people in the United States experiences urinary incontinence.

Types of incontinence:
• Stress Incontinence – urine leaks when there is pressure put on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects
• Urge Incontinence – the urge to urinate can be very intense and can be caused by a severe infection or a chronic condition like diabetes or a neurological condition
• Overflow Incontinence – when the bladder doesn’t empty completely it can lead to dribbling
• Functional Incontinence – when there is a physical or mental condition that inhibits you from getting to the bathroom quickly enough. (This can be due to age or a physical disability)
• Mixed Incontinence – when there is more than one factor that leads to being unable to control the flow of urine

Diagnosing urinary incontinence can be done in different ways and depends on what the underlying cause is thought to be. In men, this may include a prostate exam and in women, this may involve checking the pelvic floor. A blood test may be performed to assess kidney function. Urinalysis may show if there are signs of infection.  It may be necessary to examine the bladder by performing a post-void residual test to see if the bladder is emptying properly. A pelvic ultrasound can be used to see if there are obstructions in the ureters and bladder. A cystogram is an x-ray of the bladder. Another exam is a cystoscope whereby a tiny probe is placed into the urethra to see if there are abnormalities.

Treatment options for urinary incontinence depend on what is causing the problem. Options include muscle strengthening, delaying urination as a way of gaining control, going to the bathroom to urinate at set times to avoid a buildup of urine in the body. There are also medications that may be helpful in controlling an overactive bladder and weakened sphincters.

Senior man with bladder control problem

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.

Bursitis

According to the Mayo Clinic, Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed. The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip.

Although Bursitis typically affects the shoulder, elbow and hip, it can also affect your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.

Some symptoms of Bursitis are:

  • Achy or stiff joints
  • Pain when the joint is moved or touched
  • Redness and swelling in the affected area

The treatment of Bursitis usually includes resting the inflamed joint and guarding it from further trauma.  Bursitis pain can last for a few weeks and is prone to recurrent flare-ups.

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.

Adult Acne

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some adults continue to get acne well into their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. There is even a possibility that you can get acne for the first time as an adult.

As an adult, acne can be frustrating because the remedies you used as a teen are rendered useless or can even make your acne worse. But, how do we determine whether the marks on our skin are acne or merely a blemish?

Blemishes, or pimples, can show up on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders because these areas have the greatest number of oil glands. The marks come and go with little or no treatment. Acne, on the other hand, has a long-term effect, requires treatment and if left untreated, may leave dark spots and permanent scars on the skin.

Women who are menopausal are more likely than men of a similar age, to get what dermatologists call “adult-onset acne.”

Some other reasons for developing adult acne are:
◾Stress
◾Family history
◾Excessive use of hair and skincare products
◾Medication side effects
◾Undiagnosed medical conditions
◾Excessive consumption of carbohydrates
◾Excessive consumption of dairy

There are many do it yourself remedies, but if nothing clears your adult acne, you should see a dermatologist. With proper treatment and a great deal of patience, it can be controlled.

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.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a form of mental illness that is marked by extreme shifts in a person’s mood. Those with bipolar disorder experience periods of being overly happy to feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness.

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression.  The word “manic” describes the times when someone feels overly excited and confident, while the word “depressive” describes the times when the person feels very sad or depressed. Most people with bipolar disorder spend more time with depressive symptoms than manic ones.

During their “highs” people with bipolar disorder are often restless, act impulsive, speak in a rapid fashion, have an increased sex drive, and are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Conversely, during “the lows” those with bipolar disorder have trouble concentrating, experience changes in their appetite, require an abundance of sleep or experience insomnia, have difficulty making decisions, and experience thoughts of death or suicide.

In bipolar disorder the dramatic episodes of high and low moods do not follow a set pattern. Someone may feel the same mood state (depressed or manic) several times before switching to the opposite mood. These episodes can happen over a period of weeks, months, and sometimes even years. In between these periods, those with bipolar disorder can feel completely normal.

Signs of bipolar disorder typically first become evident during adolescence or young adulthood, but in rare cases the onset can take place during childhood. It is equally prevalent in men and women and can run in families. There is no single known cause for bipolar disease, but changes in genes, brain development and stress are all considered factors.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder is done by a trained mental health professional during an evaluation that will consist of a question and answer period. After ruling out that bipolar symptoms are not due to another cause, a doctor can outline a treatment plan that takes into account the severity, frequency, and length of symptoms.

The good news is there is treatment for bipolar disorder, but it is a long-term and on-going process that requires regular therapy and usually medication management. Medications prescribed are intended to stabilize the patient’s mood and avoid them from experiencing extreme highs and lows.

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.

Learn The Facts About Epilepsy

Epilepsy also referred to as a “seizure disorder,” is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. Those with this neurological disorder experience abnormal brain activity, which results in unpredictable and unprovoked seizures as well as other unusual behaviors, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.

Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, seizures can affect any process the brain coordinates. Seizure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Temporary confusion
  • A staring spell
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety or déjà vu

A person with epilepsy may experience different symptoms than others with the same disorder. In most cases however, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.

While epilepsy has no identifiable cause, about half the cases can be traced to a variety of different factors, including:

  • Family history
  • Head trauma
  • Stroke
  • Infectious diseases, such as meningitis encephalitis, or AIDS
  • Developmental disorders, including autism

Medications or surgery can control seizures for the majority of people with epilepsy. Some people require lifelong treatment to control seizures, but for others, the seizures eventually go away. Some children with epilepsy may outgrow the condition with age.

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.

Getting Help for Mental Health Issues is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

Mental illness affects millions of Americans, yet not surprisingly, many of those who need help do not receive it. There are many reasons why – it could be due to limited availability of services, or a strong distrust of others, or those who are mentally ill might have such a sense of hopelessness that they do not seek care.

While all of these are factors as to why someone doesn’t seek support, perhaps the biggest single reason is a sense of fear and shame associated with admitting help is needed. This sense of shame is very common and it is only reinforced by society, which has attached stigmas to mental illness. The beliefs the public has about mental illness leads those who need help to avoid it so they are not labeled as “crazy” and have their condition negatively affect their personal relationships and career goals.

Getting society to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness is the key to having more individuals come forward, but unfortunately, negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common. These stigmas can lead to obvious and direct discrimination, such as someone making a negative remark about mental illness or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding an individual because they assume they could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to mental illness.

Those with mental illness should never be ashamed of their condition and here are some reasons why:

  • According to the World Health Organization, one out of four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
  • Shame is pretty much guaranteed to make things worse. Feelings of shame are proven to have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health
  • Mental illness is no one’s fault. No one asks to have a mental illness and it is definitely not a choice we make.
  • We’re not ashamed when our bodies get sick, so why should we be ashamed when our minds aren’t in top form.
  • There is no normal – our minds are complex things and no single brain is the same
  • Our mental health doesn’t define us. Don’t let your mental illness become who you are, it is just one aspect of you.

It’s time to speak out against the stigmas associated with mental illness and reframe the way we see it. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center advises anyone who feels they need help to get it.  Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief and help you in life.

To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health 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.

Our Post-COVID Care Center Is Now Open

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, most health authorities were operating under the belief that the virus, while extremely dangerous for some, was a short-term illness. Most young, healthy individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus were told to expect to sustain a variety of symptoms that could last anywhere from two to six weeks.

Now, however, doctors are seeing a growing number of patients who are enduring lingering symptoms for an extended period of time. These patients are now being referred to as “Long Haulers.”

For long haulers, symptoms of the virus can drag on for multiple months. Some of the most common lingering symptoms include fatigue, muscle and body pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and headaches. In addition to these physical symptoms, many long haulers are also reporting a variety of cognitive deficits, such as difficulty concentrating or focusing (commonly referred to as mental fog). Other patients may also experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

With nearly a quarter of a million reported cases of COVID-19 in New York City over the past six months, many of the City’s residents are still experiencing the long-term effects of the virus. To help these patients, the MediSys Health Network (comprised of Jamaica and Flushing Hospital Medical Center, the Trump Pavilion for Nursing and Rehabilitation, and a network of community-based MediSys ambulatory care centers) has opened a Post-COVID Care Center in Hollis Tudors, Queens.

At this center, long haulers, as well as others experiencing post-COVID symptoms can receive specialized care from a multi-disciplinary group of qualified physicians. “We were compelled to help those in our community who are still dealing with the effects of the virus” stated Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Ambulatory Care and Family Medicine, who added “Queens was considered the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in March and April. During that time we treated thousands of patients. While the situation in our community has greatly improved recently, we know that there is still work to be done, including continuing to treat patients living with long-term symptoms.”

The MediSys Health Network’s Post-COVID Care Center provides patients with personalized, comprehensive care, coordinated by a primary care physician, who will work with other on-site specialists, including pulmonologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists, all dedicated to helping our patients better manage their condition.

For more information about our services, or to make an appointment at our Post-COVID Care center, please call  718-736-8204.

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.