Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa-often used interchangeably with anorexia, is an eating disorder and psychological condition characterized by having a distorted body image (believing one is much heavier than they are), and the intense fear of gaining weight or becoming obese.  

The exact cause for anorexia nervosa is unknown; however, there are several environmental, biological and psychological factors believed to contribute to its development.

Individuals with anorexia nervosa aim to maintain a low body weight that is abnormal for their height and age. This is typically achieved by practicing unhealthy weight loss habits such as:

  • Exercising excessively
  • Severely restricting the amount of food consumed
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Misusing, diuretics, laxatives or diet aides

The symptoms of anorexia nervosa can be physical, emotional or behavioral, and may vary from person to person.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Severe loss of muscle mass
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning hair or hair that breaks easily
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Infertility
  • Lanugo- soft, downy hair that covers the body

Emotional and behavioral symptoms may include:

  • An unhealthy preoccupation with food
  • Excessive concern about  being overweight
  • Adopting eating rituals such as chewing food and spitting it out
  • Lying about food intake
  • Avoiding eating in public
  • Repeated weighing or measuring of the body
  • Social withdrawal

Most individuals with anorexia nervosa hesitate to seek help because their desire to stay thin often outweighs their concerns for being healthy. However, anorexia nervosa can be life-threatening, so it is important that they receive the immediate care of physicians and mental health experts to help with overcoming this condition.

The diagnosis of anorexia nervosa generally includes physical exams, lab tests and psychological evaluations.  Treatment is often administered by a team of healthcare professionals who are experienced in dealing with eating disorders such as a primary care doctor, dietitian and psychologist.  A care plan may include medication, psychotherapy and nutrition education.

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.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a fairly common disorder, estimated to affect 75% of the world’s population. It is caused by a lack of an enzyme produced in the small intestine called lactase. This enzyme helps the body to break down the sugar (lactose) found in milk and milk products so that it can be properly absorbed into the blood.

There are three types of lactose intolerance:

Primary lactose intolerance – this is the most common form of the condition. In this type of intolerance, the body starts off life with the full ability to digest lactose found in milk but as the body ages, this capability diminishes.

Secondary lactose intolerance – this occurs when the body’s ability to digest lactose is altered either due to surgery or as a side effect of an illness (Celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth, and Crohn’s Disease).

Congenital lactose intolerance – is the condition where babies are born with a diminished capacity to digest lactose.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be very uncomfortable. They include:
• Gas
• Bloating
• Diarrhea
• Abdominal cramps
• Nausea

Diagnosing lactose intolerance can be performed a few different ways. There is a Lactose intolerance test that involves drinking a liquid with a high level of lactose in it. After two hours blood samples are taken to see if there is an increase in the level of sugar in the blood. If there isn’t a significant change, this indicates that the body didn’t digest the lactose sufficiently. A hydrogen breath test can be performed ro monitor the level of hydrogen produced if lactose is digested properly. The more hydrogen produced indicates the less digestion that took place. The third test is a stool acidity test which is primarily used in patients who are unable to undergo the first two tests and it measures the amount of acid in the stool.

There are several types of foods that people who are lactose intolerant should avoid:
• Milk
• Ice Cream
• Yogurt
• Butter

Additionally, some other types of food that may contain dairy are: bread, cake, custard, chocolate, candy, instant soups and some sauces.

One of the ways to avoid the symptoms of lactose intolerance is to remove dairy and dairy containing products from the diet. There is lactase containing supplements that can be taken that may help with the digestion of lactose and also taking probiotics may be beneficial.

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 Over- The- Counter Sleep Aids

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.   Experiencing either of these issues may happen on occasion or can become chronic -occurring more than three times a week, for at least three months. 

Whether problems getting adequate sleep occurs occasionally or is a nightly struggle, it can lead to complications such as fatigue or problems concentrating which prompts many to seek relief.  

There are a number of ways to get relief from the effects of insomnia, one of which includes taking over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids.

Over-the-counter sleep aids are widely available but should be used as a temporary solution (no longer than two weeks). Sleep experts advise against regular use because most OTC sleep aids rely on antihistamines to promote drowsiness. Others may also combine the pain reliever Acetaminophen or alcohol along with antihistamine as their primary active ingredients.

Long-term use of sleep aids containing these ingredients can lead to:

  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Feeling off balance
  • Constipation or urinary retention
  • Blurred vision
  • Dependency

It is important to keep in mind that OTC sleep aids are often not recommended for people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, severe liver disease, sleep apnea or close-angle glaucoma.

Sleep aids may be used to provide temporary relief for insomnia; however, they should not be used as a replacement for creating healthy sleeping habits or seeking proper treatment.

Healthy sleep habits include:

  • Avoiding excessive blue light from electronics or cellphones before going to sleep
  • Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day if possible
  • Keeping naps short ( 30 minutes or less)
  • Avoiding caffeine or nicotine
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly

If you are suffering from the effects of insomnia, speak with your doctor before taking a sleep aid.  Your doctor can inform you of possible drug interactions or medications that can affect underlying health conditions.  They may also recommend making an appointment with a sleep specialist who can properly diagnose your condition and offer treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or prescribed sleep-inducing medications. To schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist 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.

Ruptured Eardrum

The tympanic membrane or eardrum is a very important part of our ear.  This thin layer of tissue which divides the outer ear canal and middle ear helps to transmit sound vibrations. It also helps to protect the middle ear from foreign objects such as water or bacteria.

A rupture or tear of the eardrum can lead to serious complications such as hearing loss or infections of the middle ear.

There are a number of things that can cause our eardrums to rupture. They include:

  • Ear infections -When the middle ear is infected, this can result in fluid accumulating behind the eardrum.  Pressure from this buildup can cause the tympanic membrane to break.
  • Barotrauma- This occurs when there is a change in pressure. If the pressure inside the ear is drastically different from that outside the ear, this can lead to perforation. An example of this is when an airplane changes altitude causing air pressure in the cabin to rise or fall.
  • Direct trauma to the ear or side of the head- These injuries can be sustained from an ear slap or falling on the ear.
  • Acoustic trauma – A sudden, loud noise or blast such as an explosion can produce sound waves that are powerful enough to cause injury.
  • Foreign objects- Inserting objects such as a cotton swab or hairpin into the ear canal can puncture the eardrum.

Pain is the most common symptom of an eardrum rupture; however, you may also experience:

  • Ringing or buzzing in the ear
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Drainage of pus or fluid from the ear
  • Hearing loss

It is important that you see a doctor if any of these symptoms occur.   An Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor can determine if you have a ruptured eardrum by using an otoscope to conduct an inspection.  Additional testing can include, audiology exams, a tuning fork evaluation or tympanometry which measures the response of the eardrum to slight changes in air pressure.

According to Jamaica Hospital ENT specialist Dr. Sandra Ho, a ruptured eardrum can usually heal on its own. Depending on the reason for the perforation, painkillers and/or antibiotics may help during the healing process. However, if it does not heal in a few weeks, your ENT may recommend an eardrum patch. This procedure involves a doctor placing a medicated paper patch over the hole.  In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the perforated eardrum. This procedure is known as a tympanoplasty which involves taking tissue from another part of the body and grafting it onto the hole in the eardrum.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sandra Ho or other ENT specialists at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7110

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.

Suicide Prevention- Pay Attention to The Signs

Suicide prevention-467918329Over 1 million Americans attempt suicide each year. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Most people who committed suicide had treatable mental health disorders that went unnoticed.

Suicide can be prevented if the signs of mental health disorders are recognized and addressed immediately.

Here are a few warning signs of suicide we should not ignore:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Self-loathing
  • Changes in sleep patterns; which can either be excessive sleep or a deprivation of sleep
  • Irritability or anger
  • Talking about harming themselves
  • Loss of interest in daily activities or things they were once passionate about
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • A preoccupation with death
  • Getting their affairs in order in preparation for death
  • Verbalizing thoughts such as “ Everyone will be better without me”  or “I  have nothing  to live for”
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

If someone you know exhibits the following behaviors, do not dismiss them as a passing phase. These actions are a cry for help.

It is important to let your loved one know that you have recognized changes in their behavior, they are not alone and you are there to support them through this difficult time.  Speak openly about what they are feeling and ensure them they will not be judged because they feel suicidal.  Seek the help of a mental health professional immediately.  Insist on accompanying this person to their consultation or treatment. Continue to demonstrate your support during treatment by reminding them to take prescribed medications, keeping up with physician appointments and encouraging a positive lifestyle.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or demonstrating suicidal behaviors, get help immediately. Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK

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 of Poor Circulation You Should Not Ignore

The circulatory system consists of our heart, lungs and blood vessels; all of which are responsible for transporting blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout our bodies.

When our circulatory system is not functioning well, and blood flow has decreased, we may experience symptoms that include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Problems getting or keeping an erection
  • Memory loss or difficulty concentrating
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Varicose veins
  • Fatigue
  • Edema (the accumulation of fluid in certain parts of the body)

The symptoms of poor circulation should not be ignored as they are sometimes indicative of serious health problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Blood clots
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Hypertension

Ignoring symptoms and delaying care can be detrimental to your health. If you are experiencing symptoms that are associated with poor circulation, notify your healthcare provider immediately.  Your doctor can conduct a physical examination or order tests to determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

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.

Pink Eye Or Allergies?

Allergies of the eye and pink eye are both types of conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the outer membrane that covers the eyeball.

Many of the symptoms of pink eye and eye allergies are similar, and this can sometimes make it difficult to tell each condition apart.  However, it is important that we learn about the characteristics that make them distinct- especially now that pink eye is considered a warning sign of a COVID-19 infection.

The symptoms of eye allergies can include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling of the eyelid

Symptoms of bacterial or viral pink eye can include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itchiness
  • A  green or white discharge in one or both eyes, that can result in crusting at night
  • Soreness of the eyes

Although eye allergies and pink eye share common symptoms, the causes of each condition are different. Allergies are typically caused by a reaction to an allergen such as pollen while pink eye can be caused by bacteria or a virus.

An additional distinction between the two conditions is viral or bacterial pink eye is extremely contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected individual or exposure to a contaminated surface. Eye allergies on the other hand are non-infectious.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with either type of conjunctivitis, it is important that you consult your eye doctor.  Your physician will be able to examine your eyes or order tests to determine the reason for inflammation and provide the appropriate treatment.

To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5900.

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 Prevent Summer Dehydration

As summer temperatures heat up, our bodies may sweat more, and exposure to the dangers of the sun can increase. These factors can lead to dehydration, and put some at risk for developing serious health complications such as kidney stones, seizures, or heat stroke.

One of the best ways to avoid dehydration is drinking enough water.

In addition to drinking your daily recommended amount of water, there are a few tips you can follow to prevent dehydration. These include:

  1. Staying out of the sun as much as possible, especially during peak hours of sunlight (typically, between 10:00 am to 2:00 pm)
  2. Eating fruits and vegetables with a high concentration of water such as celery, cucumbers, and watermelon
  3. Drinking liquids before you begin to feel thirsty
  4. Avoiding or minimizing drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee or tea
  5. Avoiding or minimizing alcohol consumption

Dehydration should not be taken lightly, because not only is your body losing water, it is also losing electrolytes and minerals that help organs to function well. Therefore, it is important that you stay hydrated during the summer and avoid complications to your 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.

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing has become a popular topic during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There have been ongoing discussions as to whether or not this form of testing can provide answers to some questions we have about the disease.

Common questions asked about COVID-19 antibody testing include: “Can antibodies help detect past infections?” and “Does having antibodies reduce our risk of infection?”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the presence of antibodies (proteins produced by our body’s immune system to fight antigens such as viruses) can help to determine if you had a past infection of the virus that causes COVID-19.

A blood test, known as a serology test, is required to detect disease-specific antibodies.  Testing is typically recommended for individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 or those who suspect they had or were exposed to the virus but were asymptomatic.

Positive or negative results could mean several things for your health:

  • A positive antibody test result indicates that you may have had a COVID-19 infection in the past. However, results can also be false-positive, meaning you have developed antibodies but for a different kind of coronavirus such as the one that causes the common cold. It is very important to remember that a positive test does not guarantee immunity from the disease; so there is a possibility that you can become re-infected. Therefore you should continue to exercise the proper safety precautions to protect yourself and others around you.
  • If you test negative, this may mean that you have not had a prior COVID-19 infection. But it can also mean that you may currently have the virus and have not yet produced antibodies (If you have symptoms of the disease or believe you have been exposed, you can take a viral test to learn if you have the virus.)  For those who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 but tested negative, please keep in mind that it may take 1-3 weeks after infection to develop antibodies.

Although antibody testing is providing some answers about COVID-19, there is still a degree of uncertainty about the accuracy of the information we are obtaining.  COVID-19 is a novel disease, and ongoing studies are revealing new details about it each day.  Until we are more certain in our knowledge of the disease, the CDC recommends that we continue to practice social distancing and other safety measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

To learn more antibody testing please consult your physician or visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/serology-overview.html

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 On How To Prepare for a Telemedicine Appointment

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we conduct our day-to-day routines.  To prevent the spread of the disease, most of our activities are now done from home. In some instances, this includes seeing our doctors for medical appointments.

Telehealth or telemedicine appointments have become the norm for many who require consultations from their physicians during the pandemic.  These appointments connect patients and doctors by utilizing video conferencing technology.  Although these virtual visits may not take place physically in a doctor’s office, they are private.  Information and conversations shared between participants remain confidential. Many of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s doctors are now accepting appointments for virtual visits.

To prepare for your telemedicine appointment at Jamaica Hospital, please follow these helpful tips:

  • Sign up for Medisys MyChart. (This is preferred, however, if you do not have MyChart, we can still schedule a virtual visit through Zoom directly through zoom.us/join). 
  • Have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera enabled with visual and audio.
  • Download the Zoom video communications application.
  • Test your equipment before your scheduled virtual visit.
  • Close other running programs or unnecessary tabs to avoid delays or pauses in your connection.
  • Find a quiet space.
  • Adjust the lighting in your space. Utilize overhead lights if they are available and block sunlight from windows. ( This will prevent you from having too much background light)
  • Prepare to answer questions pertaining to your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle changes, or any aspect of your health.
  • Have a pen and paper ready to write down your doctor’s recommendations or information about your treatment plan.

It is important to note that while most virtual visits are like normal appointments, there may be limitations based on your condition.  Please contact your doctor’s office if you have questions about scheduling a virtual visit.

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.