Optimize Your Bedroom for A Good Night’s Sleep

One of the keys to achieving a good night’s rest is creating an environment that supports quality sleep.

There are a few factors to consider when cultivating that space. They include lighting, sound, tidiness, color, and temperature.

Here are a few ways you can optimize these elements to create a sleep-friendly bedroom:

  • Turn off all lights- This includes television lights, as well as lights from computers and phones. Exposure to light during sleep can throw off the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
  • Keep it quiet- Remove or turn off electronics and any other items that contribute to background noise. The only noise believed to help you sleep is white noise.
  • Clear clutter- Research shows that sleeping in a cluttered room can affect sleep and lead to anxiety or stress.
  • Choose paint colors that are conducive to sleep- Colors such as lavender, blue, silver and green are known to be calming. Whereas, colors such as purple and red are believed to be stimulating.
  • Sleep in cool temperatures- According to the Sleep Foundation, “The best bedroom temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). This may vary by a few degrees from person to person, but most doctors recommend keeping the thermostat set between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius) for the most comfortable sleep.”

Following these recommendations can help you achieve quality sleep.  Sleep specialists also recommend sticking to a sleep schedule, avoiding heavy meals a few hours before bedtime, and exercising at least three hours before bed as habits you can apply to improve sleep health.

If you are having problems falling and staying asleep, please consult a sleep specialist.  To schedule an appointment with the Jamaica Hospital Sleep Center, call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression In Teens

It is estimated that one in five teenagers will experience depression during their adolescent years.  However, many teens do not receive the help they need because the signs of depression are often confused with typical teenage behaviors.

It may not always be easy to tell the difference between depression and teenage mood swings, but here are a few warning signs and symptoms parents can look out for:

  • Unusual and frequent irritability
  • Loss of interest in regular activities
  • Excessive phone and internet use
  • Sadness for no apparent reason
  • Angry outbursts
  • Reckless behavior
  • Violent behavior
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained aches and pains such as headaches and stomach aches
  • Sudden changes in sleep
  • Sudden changes in eating habits
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Problems at school
  • Negative self-talk
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Talks of self-harm or suicide

If you think a teen might be depressed, start a conversation.  Speak about concerning behaviors in a non-judgmental, loving, and supportive way.   Acknowledge their feelings, do not minimize what is being said and resist the urge to be critical.

Initially, a teenager may be resistant to these conversations but gentle persistence from an adult is advised.

Untreated depression can lead to serious problems; therefore, it is important that you seek professional help as soon as possible. A mental health professional can create a treatment plan based on an evaluation.  Treatment depends on the severity of depression and may include therapy or medications.

To speak with a mental health specialist 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.

Helpful Spring Cleaning Tips

Studies show that an unclean and cluttered environment can negatively impact our physical and mental health.

Particles such as dust, dander, mildew, or mold in the home can trigger allergies and affect respiratory health.

A cluttered space can make some people feel mentally overwhelmed and can contribute to depression. Clutter has also been shown to affect sleep. In a study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it was found that people sleeping in cluttered environments were more likely to develop sleep disorders.  Lastly, clutter can increase the risk of falls and injury.

A thorough spring cleaning and decluttering of the home can greatly improve environmental and air quality and help reduce the risk of illness or injury.

Here are a few helpful tips to make spring cleaning easier and our homes more conducive to better health:

  • Always remember to read the labels of cleaning products before using them. Certain chemicals such as ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, and formaldehyde can trigger allergies
  • Clean blinds with a duster or damp microfiber cloth (dampened cloths will attract more dust)
  • Clean windows with a glass cleaner
  • Wipe down walls, door frames, and baseboards. These areas are notorious for collecting dust but are often ignored
  • Use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter vacuum, to clean carpets, fabric shades, and drapes, also pay attention to fabric couches and mattresses
  • Organize clutter by sorting items into four categories: donate, store, dispose and keep
  • Clean wooden furniture by using a duster or microfiber cloth
  • Mop hard-surface floors with a microfiber mop
  • Wash bedding as recommended by the manufacturer. Don’t forget to also wash bedding accessories such as pillows, throw pillow covers and stuffed animals
  • Thoroughly clean bathrooms to avoid a buildup of mold and mildew. A cleaning solution of three parts water and one parts bleach is often recommended for cleaning mold and mildew
  • Clean kitchen cabinets and drawers with cabinet cleaner and degreaser
  • Clean air conditioning and heating filters
  • Don’t ignore hard-to-reach places such as ceiling fans and light fixtures. These can be cleaned by using a duster with an extendable handle

Spring cleaning can offer great benefits. For many, this includes achieving a sense of accomplishment and having a home that is tidy and free from clutter. The most important benefit however is, that spring cleaning helps to minimize exposure to allergens and other environmental hazards that can be harmful to our health.

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.

Signs That A Headache Is More Than A Headache

Headaches are very common. They can be caused by a variety of reasons including eye or neck strain,  stress, strong smells, bright lights, infections, or high blood pressure.

Typically, headaches are not indicative of a life-threatening emergency.  However, there are times when our bodies are trying to alert us to a problem requiring urgent medical attention.

Here are a few warning signs:

  • A sudden or very intense headache
  • Changes in headache patterns
  • Headaches following head injury
  • Headaches that begin to occur regularly in those over the age of 50
  • Headaches accompanied by speech and vision changes
  • Headaches accompanied by a stiff neck and fever
  • Headaches accompanied by redness and pain in the eyes
  • Headaches accompanied by changes in behavior
  • Headaches with nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches that interrupt sleep
  • Headaches that begin after sneezing, coughing or straining the body
  • Headaches that worsen with movement
  • Headaches that prevent normal day-to-day activities
  • Headaches persisting for more than 24 hours

These tell-tale symptoms should not be ignored as they are often associated with serious health conditions such as brain tumors, stroke, hemorrhaging, concussions, meningitis, or hypertensive crisis. See a doctor right away for immediate medical intervention as timely treatment can prevent further complications.

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 and Urge Incontinence

Urinary incontinence or the loss of bladder control is a common disorder.  The American Urological Association estimates that, “A quarter to a third of men and women in the U.S. suffer from urinary incontinence.”

Although urinary incontinence affects men and women, it is more prevalent in women as a result of pregnancy, menopause and childbirth.

There are different types of urinary incontinence including stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, functional incontinence, mixed incontinence and urge incontinence. The two most common are urge and stress incontinence.

Urge incontinence, also known as overactive bladder, is characterized by loss of urine that is associated with an intense or sudden urge to urinate that cannot be delayed.   This may result from:

  • Bladder infections
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain or nerve problems
  • Bladder stones
  • Enlarged prostate

Stress incontinence occurs when activities such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, standing up, or exercising causes urine to leak.  This can be caused by:

  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Nerve injury
  • Being overweight
  • Pelvic or prostate surgery

Urinary incontinence requires medical attention; unfortunately, a significant number of people who experience symptoms do not seek treatment. Untreated bladder incontinence can lead to skin problems and infections. It can also affect an individual’s mental health and overall quality of life in the long run.

Urinary incontinence is often indicative of an underlying medical problem. Therefore, If you are experiencing symptoms, it is advised that you see a doctor as soon as possible.  Your physician can begin treatment early.  Treatment may involve medications, physical therapy, bulking agents (to help close the bladder opening), or surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a urologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, 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.

Bacterial VS Viral Infection: What’s the Difference?

When pathogens (microorganisms) such as bacteria or viruses enter our bodies and multiply, they can cause harmful infections.

Infections resulting from viruses are called viral infections, and those caused by bacteria, bacterial infections. Both are invisible to the naked eye, can be contagious and cause similar symptoms such as inflammation, fever, coughing or vomiting.

Although viral and bacterial infections share similarities, there are primary differences between the two.

Bacteria are living, single-celled organisms that can reproduce on their own. They can survive in different environments inside and outside the human body. Most species are harmless and some are even beneficial for our health. However, a very small percent can cause illnesses such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, or in more severe cases cholera or tuberculosis.  Doctors can treat most bacterial infections with antibiotics.  Unfortunately, some strains have become resistant to these medications.

Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and are not considered to be living organisms.  They consist of a core of genetic code, a coat of protein and fat lipids to protect them. Viruses cannot reproduce on their own and require living hosts such as people or animals to survive. Unlike bacteria where only a small percent is harmful to our health, most viruses cause illness and disease. Viral conditions include measles, chickenpox, HIV, polio, and COVID-19.  Antibiotics are inefficient in treating these illnesses. Treatment for viral infections focuses on alleviating symptoms. Doctors may also prescribe antiviral medications to help the body fight infection.

Bacteria and viruses are all around us; therefore, there will always be a risk for infection and transmission. However, we can prevent this from occurring by practicing proper hand hygiene, disinfecting surfaces, staying home when sick and getting vaccinated, when possible.

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 Popular Skincare Products

Hyaluronic acid, retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are all common ingredients found in many popular skincare products.  Before purchasing any goods that include these ingredients, it’s important for consumers to understand what they are a buying and applying to their skin.

Here is a guide to some of the most common skincare ingredients to help you choose what’s best for you:

  • Hyaluronic Acid- is found naturally in our bodies, most commonly in the eyes, skin and in joint fluid. This substance helps with retaining water needed to keep joints and tissues well lubricated.   As we age, the production of hyaluronic acid decreases, resulting in our skin losing hydration, volume, and firmness.  Hyaluronic acid is added to skin care products to increase hydration, help skin feel more supple, and improve its texture.
  • Retinol- is a derivative of vitamin A. Products containing up to 2% retinol can be purchased over the counter, anything above this number may require a prescription.  Using retinol provides several benefits such as promoting cell turnover, reducing inflammation, treating acne, preventing the breakdown of collagen, and improving the appearance of skin texture and tone.
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)- are natural acids found in foods. There are several types of AHAs used in skincare products, these include glycolic acid (from sugar cane), tartaric acid (from grapes), citric acid (from citrus fruits), hydroxycaprylic acid (from animals), and lactic acid (from lactose or tomato juice). AHAs can help promote skin firmness, remove dead skin cells, improve the appearance of wrinkles and treat dry skin.

Reading the label on skincare products is very important. Pay attention to the ingredients and know their positive or negative effects. If you are unsure about how these ingredients may affect your skin, you should consult a dermatologist.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, 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.

Melatonin Sleep Aids: Risks and Benefits

The use of melatonin sleep aids has grown in popularity.  Although taking these supplements for short-term use and in accordance with a doctor’s guidance is generally safe- misusing them can lead to harmful health effects.

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies to help regulate our sleep-wake cycles.  However, some people may choose to take lab-made melatonin as supplements because their bodies do not produce enough of the hormone, or they are having difficulty falling asleep or staying awake.

When taken safely, melatonin can offer multiple health benefits.  Research suggests that melatonin supplements may help provide relief from several sleep problems such as insomnia, jet lag or shift work sleep disorder.

Melatonin supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); therefore, there is not much information available on safe or best dosages.  This is why it is highly advised to consult a physician before using melatonin due to the risk of developing potential side effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Mild tremors
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Low blood pressure

Certain medications are known to interact with melatonin and pose health complications.  Interactions can occur with the following types of drugs:

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Contraceptive drugs
  • Epilepsy medications
  • Diabetes medications

Before taking melatonin as a sleep aid, please speak with your doctor. If you are experiencing problems sleeping such as insomnia or other disorders, a sleep specialist can help you to explore the best treatments for your health.  To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, call 718-206-5916.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Is Type 2 Diabetes Treated?

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood glucose or blood sugar levels are abnormally high. It is the most common type of diabetes affecting approximately 29 million people living in the United States.

Type 2 diabetes impairs cells in the body from properly using insulin-a hormone produced by the pancreas that aids in regulating blood glucose levels. This impairment can lead to other serious health problems such as vision loss, kidney, or heart disease.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes may take years to present. It is common for individuals to have the disease and not know that they have it.  Symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, as well as slow-healing wounds.

There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes; however, the disease can be managed successfully with medications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “…your doctor may prescribe insulin, other injectable medications, or oral diabetes medicines to help manage your blood sugar and avoid complications.”

Lifestyle habits such as eating a healthy diet, exercising, and consistently monitoring blood glucose levels are also beneficial in managing your diabetes.

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. Philip Cruz Shares His “Jamaica Journey”

Thousands of people work at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and each has their own unique story to tell about their career paths. The following is one of them.

The Jamaica Journey of Dr. Philip Cruz began the day he was born. “I was born at Jamaica Hospital and spent my early childhood years living in South Ozone Park. This is one of the many reasons why I have such a strong connection with my patients and the community,” explained Dr. Cruz.

Growing up, Dr. Cruz had a love for the sciences and research. His parents encouraged him to pursue a profession that would allow him to utilize both interests. This led to a successful career in stem cell research.

However, as time went on, Dr. Cruz realized that laboratory research was not his true calling. He decided to follow his intuition and enrolled in medical school in 1997 at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, which is now the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine.

After graduating medical school, Dr. Cruz did his residency training at the Family Medicine Residency Program at Jamaica Hospital in 2001. Upon the completion of his residency in 2004, he decided to further his medical training.

Over the next year, Dr. Cruz completed a fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the University of Massachusetts. “Many people don’t know this about me but I was a varsity athlete in my undergraduate years at the University of Pittsburgh. I have always had a desire to enhance my knowledge of sports medicine, and use this information to further help my patients and educate our residents and students,” said Cruz.

At the end of his training in Massachusetts, Dr. Cruz returned to Jamaica Hospital in 2005 as a faculty attending. He spent several years working in the Family Medicine and Emergency Departments.

Today, Dr. Cruz serves as the Director of Osteopathic Education in the Department of Family Medicine . In this role, he is responsible for teaching medical students and supporting residents throughout their career journeys. In addition to teaching, Dr. Cruz continues to see patients regularly. He is known by his colleagues and patients for his kindness and having a service-minded heart.

“My journey at Jamaica Hospital has been positive. I like what I do, where I do it, and the people that I do it with. There is a strong feeling of family and support here,” stated Dr. Cruz. “My colleagues and I also share similar principles and goals. We aim to meet our patients where they are, foster meaningful relationships and provide them with quality healthcare.”

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.