How Does Sleep Affect Your Immune System?

Hispanic girl lying on her mother's lap

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system, but how? Studies show that people that don’t get quality sleep or enough hours of sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus like the flu. The recovery time from a cold is also prolonged as a result of not getting enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation may decrease production of the amount of infection-fighting antibodies and cells that strengthen the immune system. Essentially our bodies need sleep to fight infectious diseases and recover faster from common cold viruses.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

It’s very common to be told to get some rest when fighting off a cold or infection. Now we know why. As we move through cold and flu season, the key to staying healthy might just be getting a good night’s sleep.

However sleep does not always come easy to everyone. If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble with their sleep patterns, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Sleep Center is available to treat you. This state-of-the-art Sleep Center is a 4-bed unit that features comfortable, homelike rooms with sound proof walls for total privacy. For more information please call, 718-206-5916.

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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.

Finding Time For Fitness

Work, career, health, family signpost

Many people find themselves wishing there were more hours in a day to get more accomplished especially when their day is already crowded. So how do you find time for fitness in between an already demanding schedule? Here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Turn your commute into a workout. During months with warmer weather you can take a bike to work instead of the train or bus. If biking isn’t your thing try getting off a few stops before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way to work. For those who need to drive, try parking further away from your usual spot and walk the rest of the way.
  2. Take the stairs instead. For daily transit commuters it’s always tempting to take escalator but taking the stairs instead will get your blood going in the morning. While at work try the stairs instead of the elevator especially if you spend most of your time sitting down at work.
  3. Set an earlier alarm. Carve some time out of your morning to go to the gym or go for a run before work.
  4. Lunch break workout. Some jobs have gyms on site or close enough in the area for you to replace lunch with a workout.
  5. Take the kids with you. For parents with younger children who can’t keep up on a bike or scooter ride there are jogging strollers available to make multitasking easier. This way you can save a few bucks on a babysitter and stay in shape.

You can probably think of a few more hacks to blend your work schedule with working out but these are great starters.

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.

Asthma and Flu Season

Young woman using throat spray

Asthma is a lung disease that is caused by chronic inflammation of the airways, which can result in an asthma attack. During an attack, people experience symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Many things can trigger an asthma attack and one of the most common is the flu.

With flu season upon us, what impact can the flu have on those with asthma? According to the CDC, though people with asthma are not more likely to get the flu, an infection can be more serious for people with asthma, even if their asthma is mild or their symptoms are well-controlled by medication. An influenza infection can trigger asthma attacks and a worsening of asthma symptoms. It also can lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases. In fact, adults and children with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with the flu than people who do not have asthma. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with the flu and one of the more common medical conditions among hospitalized adults.

If you have asthma, it is recommended that you get an annual influenza vaccine. Flu shots are generally recommended for people six months and older regardless of whether or not they have asthma. The flu shot has a long established safety record in people with asthma. In addition to getting the flu vaccine, proper hand-hygiene is strongly advised in order to prevent the spread of the flu.

If you do get sick with flu symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately to see if antiviral medications are an option for you. If prescribed, anti-viral drugs should be administered with 48 hours after the on-set of symptoms and can help minimize the effects of the flu. For people with asthma, this can help by reducing the risk of influenza from progressing into pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.

If you have asthma, and would like to receive a flu shot, please call Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment or visit our website at www.jamaicahospital.org to find our closest MediSys Family Care Center to your home.

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.

Sickle Cell Awareness for Expecting Mothers

pregnancy health September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Sickle cell disease (also called SCD) is a condition in which the red blood cells in your body are shaped like a sickle (like the letter C). This can result in interruption of blood flow, and prevent oxygen from reaching tissue and organs. When this occurs, painful events can occur with an associated risk of muscle, bone and organ damage.

A careful history should be taken from all pregnant women seeking to identify risk factors for genetic disorders. A simple blood test either before conception or during pregnancy can determine whether either parent carries a sickle cell trait. During pregnancy, SCD poses problems to both mother and fetus.

With regular prenatal care, most women with SCD can have a healthy pregnancy. However, if you have SCD, you’re more likely than other women to have health complications that can affect your pregnancy. These complications include pain episodes, infection and vision problems. During pregnancy, SCD may become more severe, and pain episodes may happen more often. Pain episodes usually happen in the organs and joints. They can last a few hours to a few days, but some last for weeks.

As a pregnant woman with sickle cell disease certain risk factors may increase:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Having a baby with low birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces)

If you have SCD and you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, talk to your health care provider about the medicines you are taking. Your provider may change your medicine to one that is safe for your baby during pregnancy.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital 

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 Plans To Expand and Renovate Hospice Care Unit

Doctor On Home Visit Discussing Health Of Senior Male Patient

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has announced plans to completely renovate and expand its hospice care unit.

The hospital has provided inpatient hospice care services since 2010 and in that time has provided compassionate, comfort care to countless patients facing end of life. Their multidisciplinary team of specially trained hospice professionals offers extensive medical, social and spiritual services. “As a community-based hospital we have made a commitment to provide the highest quality hospice care services to all those who need it,” stated Jamaica Hospital President and CEO; Bruce J. Flanz.

The organization’s commitment to the community was the inspiration to conceptualize what will be the newly developed Ferrara Family Center for Hospice Care.  The unit’s redesign will provide patients and loved ones with a home-like environment that promotes privacy and serenity. The new unit will offer many upgrades and amenities including family meeting rooms as well as a relaxing lounge that offers families a space to gather, decompress or reflect.

“Every detail from the lighting to the tranquil artwork will be carefully considered to offer our patients and families a sense of peace” said Chairman of Family Medicine and Palliative Care, Dr. Alan Roth.  He continued, “As hospice professionals, we understand how important a comfortable environment is during what can be a difficult time.”

To achieve their goal of completing the new Ferrara Family Center for Hospice Care, Jamaica Hospital has embarked on a $1,000,000 capital fundraising campaign.  Numerous supporters of the hospital have already made generous contributions through naming opportunities and by purchasing memorial plaques.

The plans for renovating the hospice unit at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center have been enthusiastically received. Hospital leadership, staff and supporters are excited about the future of The Ferrara Family Center for Hospice Care, which is set to begin construction this fall.

For information about contributing to our hospice unit, please call the Development Department at 718-206-8613.

For more hospital events, highlights, health and  fitness tips, visit us on Facebook.com/JamaicaHospital and follow us on Twitter @JamaicaHospital !

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

What Expecting Mothers Don’t Expect

pregnancy healthAs wonderful and exciting as pregnancy is, it comes with a lot of anxiety and curiosity due to changes your body undergoes on the journey to motherhood. Some of these changes aren’t the most comfortable or fun and some are totally unexpected. Here’s a list of three unexpected changes some women go through when expecting.

  1. Forgetfulness. Short-term memory loss caused by pregnancy , also called “pregnancy brain,” may cause you to forget appointments, what you just walked into the store for, where you left your purse, whether you turned off the stove — and, maybe, your phone number. A fun fact: for reasons unknown, some research has shown that women pregnant with girls are, on average, more forgetful than those carrying boys. Forgetfulness is completely normal, and thile it’sfrustrating it is only temporary.
  2. Snoring. Even if you’ve never done it before in your life snoring is fairly common during pregnancy, affecting about one in three pregnant women. The most likely culprits of your new sleep habit are nasal congestion caused by surging pregnancy hormones, that cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, and excess weight gain, which results in extra tissue around your head and neck – both of which are common pregnancy symptoms. Usually snoring is just an annoyance but sometimes can be the result of more serious issues like gestational diabetes, sleep apnea, or preeclampsia. It is very important to share your snoring concerns with your doctor if you have been snoring more than usual.
  3. Discolored Skin. Most women expect to start glowing in their second trimester but some women find that they get spotty or dry, itchy skin, that they get skin tags and also brown patches of skin. Some women also find they get a dark line down their belly – called the linea nigra. You can also get redness on the palms of your hand and the soles of your feet.

There are all sorts of changes that happen to your body during pregnancy. Pregnancy books and prenatal classes tell you about the obvious ones but there are also all sorts of weird changes that happen to your body that no one talks about. Keep in mind that all women don’t go through the same changes during pregnancy. If any of your symptoms are alarming and too uncomfortable make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Jamaica Hospital now offers a new, group model for prenatal care called Centering Pregnancy, that offers expectant moms the opportunity to share experiences and learn from other women who are in the same stages of pregnancy as they are. For more information about our Centering Program, please call 718-206-6866.

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 “Eyes” Have It! Treating Pinkeye

Closeup of chronic conjunctivitis with a red iris.

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, affects children of all ages and at any time of the year.  Symptoms include redness and swelling of the mucous membrane that line the lid and surface of the eye and discharge. Pinkeye can be caused by many things including, but not limited to, an infection, dry eyes from lack of tears or over exposure to wind and sun, chemicals, allergies and smoke.

Pinkeye is very common, is usually not serious, can be viral or bacterial, is highly contagious and can spread very easily. Therefore, preventing its spread is important.

There are home remedies for Pinkeye that will help reduce your pain and keep your eye free of drainage prior to seeing your doctor.

Some home remedies that have proven effective are – removing your contacts from infected eyes, applying cold or warm compresses to your eye (whichever feels best) to soothe any discomfort and reduce redness.

When treating your Pinkeye at home, remember to wipe your eye from the inside toward the outside and do not rub drainage back and forth between eyes. After wiping your eye, be sure to wash your hands to prevent pinkeye from spreading.

Symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days, but some cases can last for up to 3 weeks.

If symptoms persist and you would like to make an appointment to see one of our doctors, please call the Department of Ophthalmology at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-206-5900 for an appointment.

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.

Psoriasis Awareness Month

Psoriasis on elbow

Psoriasis is a chronic, noncontagious, genetic disease that appears on the skin in red, scaly patches that itch, crack and bleed. This is the most common autoimmune disease in the country, affecting approximately 7.5 million Americans. It is a long-lasting disease of the immune system with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown but there are symptoms to look for:

  • Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
  • Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Itching, burning or soreness
  • Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
  • Swollen and stiff joints

When your body has plaque psoriasis, your immune system is overactive, triggering skin inflammation and causing skin cells to be produced faster than normal. New skin cells are pushed to the skin’s surface in three to four days instead of the usual 28 to 30. So while new skin cells are being produced rapidly, the old skin cells are pushed to the surface, forming the thick, red, itchy, flaky patches known as plaques.

The exact cause of psoriasis isn’t fully understood, but scientists believe psoriasis is the result of several factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and the immune system.

If you have psoriasis, it’s possible that someone in your family may have had it too. One out of three people with psoriasis also have a relative with the disease. Environmental triggers vary from person to person, causing the disease to become active.

If you suspect that you may have psoriasis, see your doctor for an examination. Also, talk to your doctor if your psoriasis:

  • Progresses beyond the nuisance stage, causing you discomfort and pain
  • Makes performing routine tasks difficult
  • Causes you concern about the appearance of your skin
  • Leads to joint problems, such as pain, swelling or inability to perform daily tasks

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. Although the skin condition is not contagious, awareness about it is. People commonly think of psoriasis as just a “skin condition” but there is more to understand about it. Researchers and doctors have not yet discovered a specific cause of psoriasis but the National Psoriasis Foundation has grown to be the world’s largest nonprofit patient advocacy organization serving people with psoriasis. Learn more about the NPF and its investment in cutting-edge research at www.psoriasis.org/research.

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 of Joining a Support Group- Quit Smoking Today

Meeting Of Support Group

It is no secret that smoking can have a number of adverse effects on the health of a smoker and those they smoke near.  The journey to quitting smoking has evolved from quitting cold turkey, to smoking patches, nicotine gum and today, electronic cigarettes. A more interactive way to stop smoking is by joining a support group.

There are several benefits associated with support groups that will keep you motivated and focused on your goal. Smoking cessation support groups help you to identify the mental, physical, and social aspects of smoking. Participants are six times more likely to be smoke-free one year later than those who quit on their own. Also, statistics have shown that up to 60% of smokers have quit by the end of the program.

The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Jamaica Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”.

Jamaica Hospital’s Medical Home Department has partnered with the American Lung Association to bring you Freedom from Smoking, a comprehensive and successful group-based smoking cessation program. Here you will participate in a series of sessions that prepare you for your quit day, provide lifestyle change tips, manage your stress, and help you stay tobacco-free for good.

Recently Jamaica hospital was recognized for its commitment to patient health and initiating comprehensive systems for identifying tobacco-using patients and linking them with smoking cessation resources. Additionally, the hospital earned the Gold Star Recognition from the New York City Department of Health’s- NYC Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign for its excellence in developing inpatient and outpatient tobacco cessation systems.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has partnered with the American Lung Association to offer Freedom from Smoking, a comprehensive and successful group-based smoking cessation program.

Support group classes at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center are forming. For more information or to register, please call 718-206-8494.

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

How Does Caffeine Effect Your Blood Pressure?

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient At Home

Are you one of many people who can’t function without having their morning coffee first? If so, there are a few effects that caffeine can have on hypertension. The java jolt of a caffeine fix may cause a jump in blood pressure — a particular problem in people who already have high blood pressure.

Caffeine can cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. It is not clear what causes this spike in blood pressure. Some researchers believe that caffeine could block a hormone that helps keep your arteries wide enough for steady blood flow.

Some people who constantly drink caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than those who don’t drink any. Others who regularly drink caffeinated beverages develop a tolerance to caffeine. As a result, caffeine doesn’t have a long–term effect on their blood pressure. Research has shown that caffeine has a stronger blood pressure increasing effect in men who are older than 70 or who are overweight.

To see if caffeine might be raising your blood pressure, check your blood pressure within 30 to 120 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. If you plan to cut back on caffeine, eliminate it slowly over several days to avoid withdrawal headaches.

If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor whether you should limit or stop drinking caffeinated beverages. Keep in mind that the amount of caffeine in coffee and other beverages varies by brand. Also, avoid caffeine right before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure, such as exercise, weightlifting or hard physical labor.

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.