Patient Testimonial: Patient Isaac Velez Tells Jamaica Hospital Team, “You Saved My Life!”

“I can’t sing their praises enough. They saved my life.” This is what Isaac Velez said after his heart procedure was performed at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. Mr. Velez had been having pains in his chest while on his way to Columbia University where he works in maintenance and as a doorman. He had been experiencing pains on the left side of his chest for a while. There were times when the pain was so intense that he had to turn back around to go home. This is when Mr. Velez knew he had to do something.

Unfortunately, when he was having these pains he couldn’t see his primary care physician because they were unavailable. Mr. Velez decided to go to urgent care which gave him medication for the pain, but he was still in immense pain. The next option was to go to Jamaica Hospital which he admittedly had reservations about because of its past reputation but his wife insisted that they go anyway.

Thankfully, he came to Jamaica Hospital when he did. After an assessment, he was told that he was very close to having a stroke which could have cost him his life. Surgeons performed a procedure where they put three stents in the remaining vein from a previous CABG surgery because the other vein had collapsed. “It’s like night and day. It’s like when your car is misfiring and you change the spark plug”, he said describing how he feels after having the procedure. Mr. Velez now sees a cardiologist here at Jamaica Hospital. “They gave me such care. The cardiac nurses were amazing”, Mr. Velez said of his experience.

“Family is everything,” says Mr. Velez, which is why ensuring he got his heart problem taken care of was important. “I wanted to see my three grandkids grow up”, said Velez. He offers this advice for those who are hesitant to see a doctor for any pain or discomfort they may be feeling, “Don’t do what I did. Get to the hospital immediately. If you feel anything, go to the hospital.” Since the procedure, Mr. Velez says he is eating healthier and taking better care of himself. The experience has given him a new outlook on life. He says, “Slow down and enjoy what you have. You gotta enjoy life.”

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.

Extreme Heat Safety Tips

This week, we are expected to experience a highly dangerous heatwave across New York City and the rest of the Northeast and Midwest due to the presence of a heat dome. Starting Wednesday and into the weekend, temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s and could get as high as the mid to high-90s.

A heatwave is when temperatures rise above 90 degrees for at least three days. A heat dome is when a ridge of high pressure builds over an area and doesn’t move for up to a week or more.

Extreme heat causes two heat-related illnesses in that your body can’t control its temperature: heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness and fainting

Here are some ways to prevent symptoms of heat exhaustion: Move to a cool place, loosen clothing, use cold compresses, and sip cool (not cold) water.

Heatstroke or Sunstroke symptoms can include:

  • A fever of 104 degrees or more
  • Severe headache
  • Behavioral changes
  • Confusion
  • Hot, red skin
  • No sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat and loss of consciousness

Here are some ways to prevent heatstroke: Quickly move yourself or the individual to a cooler place, use cold compresses, and do not give them anything to drink.

Some overall tips for staying safe in extreme heat include:

  1. Stay hydrated- Drink extra fluids and don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
  2. Wear sunscreen- Apply properly and as recommended to prevent sunburn which can make you dehydrated and affect your ability to cool down.
  3. Limit your time outside- Shorten your exercise time and rest often in shady areas. Try to exercise in the early morning or evening when it is cooler.
  4. Monitor high-risk loved ones- Pay attention to the warning signs of certain illnesses or medical conditions. Extreme heat can be dangerous for everyone, especially for those with a history of:
  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

Others at risk due to extreme heat include the elderly, young children, those who work outdoors, people with disabilities, those who live alone, those without access to air conditioning, people who take certain medications, and pets.

  1. Check the car- Never leave children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open.

Usually, we would look to a cool summer night for relief from a hot summer day. Unfortunately, night temperatures aren’t dropping as they should.

Here are some things you can do before going to bed during the heatwave:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat light
  • Dress lightly
  • Look for chances to cool the bedroom
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Set time aside to relax
  • Shower in lukewarm or cool water
  • Find the coolest place to sleep
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule

Extreme heat is the deadliest weather-related hazard in the United States, so it is important to understand the risks of extreme heat and to make a heat emergency plan that works for you and your family.

If you are experiencing any heat-related symptoms, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department by calling (718) 206-7100.  If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 right away.

 

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.

Summer Heart Health Tips

The summer months come with many things. Warmer weather, beautiful flowers, longer days full of trips to the beach, and parties and barbecues. Warmer weather also brings extreme heat and added risk factors that can affect heart health.

As the body works harder to keep its core temperature to normal levels, a strain is placed on our organs, especially the heart. This can have hazardous effects on people with pre-existing cardiovascular problems and people with a healthy heart as well.

Being in extreme heat for too long can cause two serious heat-related illnesses in which your body can’t control its temperature: heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness and fainting

Here are some ways to prevent heat exhaustion: Move to a cool place, loosen clothing, use cold compresses, and sip cool (not cold) water.

Heatstroke or sunstroke symptoms include:

  • Fever of 104 degrees or more
  • Severe headache
  • Behavioral changes
  • Confusion
  • Hot, red skin
  • No sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat and loss of consciousness

Here are ways to prevent heatstroke: Quickly move the individual to a cooler place, use cold compresses, and do not give them anything to drink.

People at risk of being severely affected by extreme heat are those with a history of:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

There are many ways to take preventative measures to ensure you stay safe in warmer and sometimes extreme temperatures.

You can do this by:

  • Knowing the heat illness warning signs.
  • Seeing your doctor to know if you’re at risk of having heat-related heart problems.
  • Avoiding spending too much time outdoors during the hottest days of the summer
  • Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, especially during peak sun.
  • Wearing loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.
  • Staying cool in areas where there is air-conditioning or a fan. If either isn’t accessible, apply cold compresses (ice-pack or ice-water-filled bottle to your pulse points.
  • Hydrating by drinking plenty of water to help regulate your body temperature, and avoiding drinking too many alcoholic drinks because they can dehydrate you.
  • Eating water-rich foods like watermelon, cucumbers, salads, and cold soups.
  • Being smart about exercising. If it is too hot to work outside, do it indoors.

 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department by calling (718) 206-7100.  If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 right away.

 

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.

Heart Murmurs

A woman sitting on a couch holding her chest due to a heart murmur.While using a stethoscope to listen to your heart, your doctor may hear a ‘swishing’ or ‘whooshing’ sound instead of the ‘lub-dub’ sound that a normal heart makes. This slight change in the sound of your heart may mean you have a heart murmur. Often, heart murmurs can be identified at the time of birth; this is known as a congenital heart murmur. However, they can also develop later in life.

Heart murmurs are not always a sign of an underlying heart problem; these are known as “harmless” heart murmurs. However, in other cases, they may indicate conditions such as endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart) or valve calcification (a hardening or thickening of the valves in the heart).

If you have a harmless heart murmur, you won’t experience any additional symptoms, but if it is an abnormal heart murmur caused by an underlying medical condition, you could experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Skin that appears blue, especially on your fingertips and lips
  • Swelling or sudden weight gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough
  • Enlarged liver
  • Enlarged neck veins
  • Poor appetite and failure to grow normally (in infants)
  • Heavy sweating with minimal or no exertion
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Heart murmurs can be genetic; having blood relatives with a heart defect means that you have an increased likelihood of developing one. Additionally, medical conditions such as hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and pulmonary hypertension can increase your risk of a heart murmur. In adults, a heart murmur may improve once the underlying medical condition is addressed. In children, murmurs may go away on their own as the child matures.

If you believe you have a heart murmur or your primary care doctor has detected one, it’s important to follow up with a cardiologist to ensure that any serious underlying cause is treated as soon as possible. You can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department by calling (718) 206-7100.

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 Winter Weather Increase Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?

Woman standing outdoors in a grey winter outfit clutching her chest with both hands and grimacing in pain in a concept of a heart attack or cardiac problemIt’s important to be aware of the effects that cold, windy winter weather can have on your cardiovascular system. For some people, this weather can increase the risk of developing a serious medical problem; for others, particularly people who already have a cardiovascular condition, this weather can worsen the symptoms they experience and potentially lead to further complications. 

The heart plays a vital role in maintaining your internal body temperature. If this temperature can’t stay above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, you could experience hypothermia, leading to potential symptoms such as a lack of coordination, fatigue, and confusion. To avoid this, your heart may have to work harder to keep you warm. This stress on your heart is even greater if you’re performing a physical outdoor activity, such as shoveling snow or jogging. You may begin to experience symptoms such as chest pain or even a heart attack. 

There are certain steps you can take to protect yourself against these risks throughout the winter season. Some of these include:

  • Taking frequent breaks to rest while performing a physical activity
  • Wearing multiple warm layers (including at least one water-resistant outer layer)
  • Staying hydrated, particularly while performing a physical activity

If you have a heart condition, are at risk of developing one, or are experiencing symptoms, you should consult a cardiologist to explore the most effective precautions you can take to protect your health during the winter season. You can schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling (718) 206-7100.

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 are Heart Tumors?

Heart tumors are growths that develop in the heart. They can form in many different parts of the heart, such as the:

  • Endocardium (the tissue that lines the chambers of the heart)
  • Myocardium (the muscle tissue of the heart)
  • Pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart)
  • Heart valves (which control the flow of blood through the heart)

Most of the time, heart tumors develop due to cancer that has spread from other parts of the body. These are referred to as metastatic heart tumors. Certain types of cancer, such as lung, breast, kidney, or esophageal cancer, are more likely to lead to the growth of these tumors than others. Metastatic heart tumors occur most commonly in people who have melanoma, affecting up to approximately 65% of people with this type of cancer.

Only a small number of heart tumors are primary tumors, meaning that they first developed in the heart. The vast majority of primary heart tumors are not cancerous, but even these can pose serious health risks, such as blood flow problems, blood clots, or stroke.  Some examples of primary heart tumors include:

  • Myxoma (the most common benign primary heart tumor; it usually affects the left atrium)
  • Papillary fibroelastoma (benign tumor that usually develops in heart valves)
  • Lipoma (benign tumor that typically grows in the left ventricle, right atrium, or atrial septum)
  • Angiosarcoma (the most common cancerous primary heart tumor; this usually grows in the right atrium or pericardium)
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma (the most common cancerous primary heart tumor in children)

Heart tumors are typically diagnosed through imaging tests, such as an echocardiogram, cardiac MRI or CT scan, and/or a PET scan. Your doctor will most likely order these tests if you have cancer in another part of your body and have started to develop heart problems. Primary heart tumors are more difficult to diagnose than metastatic tumors, as their symptoms are similar to other conditions; they are typically discovered as incidental findings through diagnostic tests ordered for other medical problems.

If you have developed symptoms of a heart condition, you can receive high-quality care at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s award-winning Queens cardiology center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7100.

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 a Plant-Based Diet Can Help Your Heart Health

Plant-based diets, which prioritize foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains with only small, occasional servings of animal protein, are associated with a lower risk of heart disease at any age. However, not everyone may fully understand what a healthy, nutritious plant-based diet looks like.

A wide variety of foods can fall under the “plant-based” umbrella, with many options not necessarily providing significant benefits to your heart health. Some foods, such as white rice and white bread, are highly processed, meaning that you will not receive many of the necessary nutrients to promote better heart health from them. Other foods that are best avoided include those that are high in sugar, sodium, and extra additives.

A plant-based diet does not have to involve cutting out all meat. You can make beneficial changes for your heart health by keeping your overall meat consumption at a moderate level and by eating healthier types of meat. It is recommended that you stick to unprocessed red meat and poultry, as well as limit your meat portions to approximately three 3.5-ounce servings each week.

Fish can also be a healthy, beneficial element of a plant-based diet. Similarly, however, you should keep your intake at a moderate level, meaning that you should limit your fish consumption to two servings of approximately 3 ounces of fish per week. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel can be a particularly beneficial addition to your diet.

Remember that what you eat is not the only thing that matters when it comes to your heart health; you also need to monitor how much you eat and how physically active you are. Make sure to stay within the recommended number of calories for you to consume each day and to follow an exercise routine that incorporates strength and aerobic activities three days per week.

If you experience heart problems or may be at risk of heart disease, you can schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Cardiology Department by calling (718) 206-7100.

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.

Coping With Mental Health Challenges After A Heart Attack

Having a heart attack can be frightening; therefore, it is common for people to experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or depression after surviving this life-changing event.  In fact, the risk of depression is three times higher in heart attack survivors when compared to the general population; more than 25% of survivors experience anxiety after a heart attack, and 1 in 8 heart attack survivors experience symptoms of PTSD.

Mental health challenges often develop after a cardiac event because there is an uncertainty of things to come or a fear that it can happen again.

Feeling afraid, sad, confused, worried, stressed, or angry is expected in the days or weeks of having survived a heart attack.  However, it is important that these emotions are addressed with urgency and managed because they can affect recovery.  Untreated stress, anxiety, or depression can lead to physical symptoms such as increased heart rate or blood pressure that put a strain on the heart.

Being aware of these negative emotions and learning how to cope can improve mental health.  This can be achieved by identifying triggers and practicing stress or anxiety-reducing exercises such as:

  • Speaking to someone about how you feel
  • Socializing
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Challenging negative thoughts and thinking positively
  • Practicing deep breathing
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Spending time in nature
  • Exercising
  • Eating well
  • Getting enough sleep

In addition to practicing stress management exercises or other coping techniques, it is important to seek the assistance of a mental health provider to create a treatment plan to manage the symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, or depression.

To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional 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.

The Difference Between A Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Heart attack and cardiac arrest are terms that are often used interchangeably; however, the two are very different life-threatening emergencies.  A heart attack is best described as a circulation problem, while a cardiac arrest is described as an electrical problem.

A heart attack or myocardial infarction occurs when blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart is severely reduced or blocked.  This blockage can be caused by the buildup of cholesterol, fat deposits, or other substances in the coronary arteries. The decreased flow of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle can lead to severe damage or death. The most common symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, shoulder, or stomach
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness

Time is of the essence when treating a heart attack. Each minute that goes by can result in more damage to the heart.  Emergency treatment, which includes medications, surgery, or a combination of both, is needed to restore the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.

Cardiac arrest occurs when there is an electrical malfunction of the heart that causes it to stop pumping blood to other parts of the body. This can result in the loss of consciousness or death if not treated quickly.   The signs of a cardiac arrest are immediate and can include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Collapsing suddenly
  • Not breathing or gasping for air

Treatment for cardiac arrest should be immediate. Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR is performed, and a defibrillator shocks the heart to restore a normal rhythm within a few minutes.  Emergency treatment is needed to treat complications that may have resulted from cardiac arrest.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is recognized as a Primary Heart Attack Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association. This certification reflects the hospital’s commitment to providing a high standard of cardiac care to heart attack patients.

Jamaica Hospital’s Cardiology Department cardiology takes pride in providing patients with the very best in heart health care. Our experts provide a wide range of inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular services for those with known or suspected diseases of the heart and blood vessels. To schedule an appointment with our cardiologists, please call 718-206-7100.

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.

Pericarditis

There are several reasons why chest pain should never be ignored, pericarditis is one of them.

Pericarditis is the swelling and inflammation of the pericardium- the thin, saclike tissue that surrounds the heart. Pericarditis can affect people of all ages, but men ages 16 to 65 are more likely to develop it.

The causes of pericarditis can include:

  • An infection
  • A heart attack
  • Systemic inflammatory disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Certain medications
  • Health disorders such as AIDS, kidney failure, cancer, or tuberculosis

Sharp or stabbing chest pain is the most common symptom of pericarditis; however, other signs and symptoms may also occur.  They include:

  • Coughing
  • A low-grade fever
  • Abdominal or leg swelling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath

According to the American Heart Association, “Pericarditis can be acute, meaning it happens suddenly and typically doesn’t last long. Or the condition may be “chronic,” meaning that it develops over time and may take longer to treat. Both types of pericarditis can disrupt your heart’s normal function. In rare cases, pericarditis can have very serious consequences, possibly leading to abnormal heart rhythm and death.”

Pericarditis is usually mild and may clear up with rest or simple treatments.  Treatment in more severe cases can include medications or surgery.

If you are experiencing chest pains, it is important that you see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the risk of complications caused by pericarditis.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7100.

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.