ADHD In Children

ADHD In Children Does your child find it hard to pay attention?  Does your child feel the need to move constantly during times when they shouldn’t?  Do they constantly interrupt others?

All children struggle at times to pay attention, listen, follow directions, sit still, or wait their turn. But for kids with ADHD, these challenges occur more frequently.

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors.

Kids with ADHD may have signs from one, two, or all three of these categories:

  • Inattentive: Kids who are inattentive (easily distracted) have trouble focusing their attention, concentrating, and staying on task. They may not listen well to directions, may miss important details, and may not finish what they start. They may seem absent-minded or forgetful and lose track of their things.
  • Hyperactive: Kids who are hyperactive are fidgety, restless, and easily bored. They may have trouble sitting still, or staying quiet when needed. They may rush through things and make careless mistakes. Without meaning to, they may act in ways that disrupt others.
  • Impulsive: Kids who are impulsive act too quickly before thinking. They often interrupt and find it hard to wait. They may do things without asking for permission, take things that aren’t theirs, or act in ways that are risky. They may have emotional reactions that seem too intense for a given situation.

It is important to keep in mind that some of these behaviors are normal in children who are very young. Displaying these signs does not always mean that a child has ADHD. However, parents are encouraged to consult their doctor, if they have concerns.

To diagnose ADHD, doctors start by assessing a child’s health, behavior, and activity. Your doctor might ask you to complete checklists about your child’s behavior and might ask you to give your child’s teacher a checklist as well.

After gathering this information, doctors diagnose ADHD if it’s clear that:

  • A child’s distractibility, hyperactivity, or impulsivity goes beyond what’s usual for their age.
  • The behaviors have been going on since the child was young.
  • Distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity affect the child at school and at home.
  • A health check shows that there are no other underlying medical problems.

If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, treatment may include:

  • Medication
  • Behavior therapy
  • Parent coaching
  • School support

Parents are encouraged to work with the child’s school to create a nurturing environment, focus on the child’s strengths and positive qualities and connect with others for support and awareness.

If you have further questions about ADHD or would like to schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718- 206-6942.

Dr. Khadiga Ahmed D.O.

 

 

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.

Smoking Cessation Medications and Therapies

Smoking Cessation Program in QueensSmoking damages almost every part of the body. Along with nicotine, cigarettes contain tar and carbon monoxide which are linked to an increased risk of dementia, gum disease, heart attacks, stroke, lung disease, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, erectile dysfunction, diabetes and infections- just to name a few.

Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps to reducing the risks of developing these conditions and achieving better health; however, doing so can be difficult.   Eighty percent of smokers who attempt to quit on their own smoke again within the first month. This is because the nicotine found in tobacco products is addicting.

When the smoke from a cigarette is inhaled, nicotine is carried into the lungs and within 10 seconds reaches the brain. In response, the brain releases dopamine, a substance that induces feelings of pleasure. However, the effects of nicotine disappear within a few minutes which make people feel the need to continually smoke throughout the day.

Additionally, smoking often becomes a habit that is linked to social situations or emotions. For example, smokers may need a cigarette after a meal, when drinking alcohol, with a cup of coffee, or when they feel irritated or frustrated. These types of associations can create a powerful urge to smoke.

When attempting to stop, smokers may experience withdrawal, which can lead to a depressed mood, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, feelings of hunger, and trouble sleeping. These negative feelings can further trigger intense cravings for a cigarette.

All of these factors can make it difficult for smokers to quit on their own. There are FDA approved smoking cessation treatments available that can make the process of quitting easier. They are:

  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as nicotine gum and patches. They relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms. NRT is effective and increases quit rates. The nicotine found in NRT is not addictive and does not cause cancer since it produces a lower level of nicotine in the blood than smoking a pack of cigarettes daily. Your doctor will recommend a single product or combination of products. The suggested dose is based on your smoking frequency and will be lowered typically over two to three months. However, some people may need to use products longer if there is a high risk of relapse.
  • Medications that block nicotine from binding to receptors in the brain thereby reducing its addictive quality. Common side effects of these medications are nausea, insomnia, and abnormal dreams which can be avoided by dose adjustments. The dose will be increased over 1 week and then taken for 11 weeks at a stable dosage.
  • Medications that help keep dopamine levels stable in the brain and alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Common side effects are insomnia, agitation, dry mouth, and headache. The dose may be adjusted to decrease side effects.  These types of medications should not be used if you have a seizure disorder.

Quitting smoking is a long and hard journey but the health benefits are enormous. Smokers have a life expectancy 10 years shorter than non-smokers, but quitting before age 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by 90%. Every attempt at quitting is a step in the right direction and your doctor can help develop a personalized smoking cessation plan.

To speak with a Family Medicine doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center about smoking cessation, please call (718) 206-6942.

Tasmia Ahmed MD, Family Medicine

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.

Ways To Prevent Heart Disease

Heart Health Queens

Cardiovascular disease is a general term that describes a wide range of conditions that affect your heart’s ability to function normally and pump blood to the rest of your body.

If your heart is not working properly, it can lead to serious complications such as heart attack or stroke.

There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing complications associated with cardiovascular disease. Some factors such as age or family history are non-modifiable, meaning they cannot be changed. However, there are others that are modifiable and can be changed to lower your risk of developing disease. Modifiable risk factors include tobacco use, lack of exercise, stress, a poor diet and medication adherence. Here are some tips on how you can reduce these risks and prevent heart disease:

1. Exercise Regularly – The American Heart Association recommends including 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, 5 days a week, in your routine. This will help to keep your heart muscle strong.
2. Eat Healthy – Make sure to eat lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid fatty foods and salt. One of the recommended diets to help prevent heart disease is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
3. Stop Smoking – Smoking can damage your blood vessels and raise your blood pressure which increases your chances of having a heart attack.
4. Reduce Your Stress – Stress can also raise your blood pressure and put a strain on your heart. One of the ways to reduce stress is practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. If you feel your stress is too much to handle on your own, talk to your primary care doctor or a mental health professional.
5. Properly Manage Other Medical Conditions – Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes put you at a much greater risk for heart disease. Make sure you take medications that your doctor prescribed to manage these conditions.

Making an appointment for an annual physical with your primary care doctor can also lower your risk. Annual visits can help your doctor detect the early signs of heart disease. Your doctor can talk to you about your risk factors and help you to begin living and maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle. You should see a doctor immediately if you begin to experience symptoms such as chest pain, fainting, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat. These are often indicators of serious heart-related problems that require urgent medical attention.

To speak with a Family Medicine doctor about heart disease, please call (718) 206-6942.

Nikki Joseph D.O.

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.

Concussion in Children: When To Worry

Concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury that children can receive as a result of falling off a bike while not wearing a helmet, bumping heads while playing sports or by other means of physical contact.

Concussions occur when a blow to the head or body causes the head to move back and forth with a lot of force.  This sudden change of direction may cause the brain to collide with the inside of the skull, and result in a minor injury to the brain.  These types of injuries to the brain can change the way nerves communicate and lead to concussion symptoms.

Symptoms of a concussion vary in severity and can include headaches, dizziness, problems with memory or concentration, nausea or blurry vision. Some symptoms may begin immediately, while others may appear days after the injury. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to up to four weeks; therefore, parents should keep a watchful eye.

If your child displays mild symptoms such as a headache or neck pain, you should consult a physician.  Your doctor may request a full neurological exam. If the concussion is determined to be mild, cognitive and physical rest for the first 24 hours and a gradual return to routine activities are usually recommended.

After 24 hours, your child may be able to complete simple tasks such as doing homework.  However, if symptoms develop while performing these tasks, allow them to stop and rest then try again in a few hours. Sports should be avoided until symptoms have completely resolved and your child has been reevaluated by their doctor. Screen time should also be avoided because activities such as playing video games or watching TV can make symptoms worse.

Mild concussions typically heal in a few days to a few weeks but if symptoms worsen or persist for more than four weeks,  your child needs to be taken to the emergency room for further evaluation to rule out more serious causes for their symptoms.

Please keep in mind that children should be taken to the ER immediately if they are displaying symptoms such as headaches that will not go away, seizures, loss of consciousness, persistent vomiting, excessive crying or slurred speech.  These symptoms are severe and require urgent medical care.

To avoid concussions, children should always wear seat belts in the car and helmets while riding bikes. Children who participate in sports should be encouraged to follow safe sports techniques.

To speak with a Family Medicine doctor about concussions, please call (718) 206-6942.

Dr. Navdeep Kaur; Family Medicine Physician

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.

Fall Prevention Tips

Falls are a common occurrence among the elderly population, with more than one in four older adults experiencing a fall each year.

It is estimated that almost half of all adults who fall do not tell their primary care provider, often due to embarrassment or the assumption that falls are expected with aging. Understanding who is most at risk for falls and how to avoid them can help prevent bruising, broken bones, head injuries or internal bleeding – all of which can be life-threatening.

The American Geriatrics Society and the American Academy of Family Physicians identify adults older than 65 years old, anyone with a history of falls, weak leg muscles, or concerns with vision, walking or balance to be at risk for falls.

To prevent falls, it is important to give careful consideration to the possible causes.

  • Medications may have side effects like dizziness or drowsiness, which may increase your risk of falls. It is recommended that patients review all their medications with their doctor during their routine visits.
  • To avoid feeling lightheaded or weak, doctors recommend getting up slowly after lying down or sitting after prolonged periods.
  • If you use a cane or walker, learn how to use it correctly and be sure to keep it within reach.
  • Falls commonly occur when trying to reach items on high shelves. It is recommended to move hard-to-reach items to lower shelves, use a step stool or ask for assistance.
  • Bathrooms are common places for falls.  Installing handrails and bath seats are recommended to minimize risk.

Falls may also be caused by tripping over items. To improve the safety of your environment, it is recommended to:

  • Remove obstacles that may be in the way of walking, which include small objects
  • Consider rearranging furniture to maximize visible floor space
  • Rugs should be removed or secured to the floor using double-sided tape or nonslip backing.
  • De-clutter cords or wires
  • Turn on lights in hallways or stairways, or use a night light

If you live alone, you may benefit from a personal emergency response system to immediately alert emergency responders of falls or injuries. Examples include medical alert bracelets and necklaces.

If a fall does occur, notify your doctor and seek an evaluation to review the cause of the fall and identify any injuries. Even if you were not hurt, it is important to report falls to prevent a recurrence.  To speak with a Family Medicine doctor about fall risks and prevention, please call (718) 206-6942.

Ambika Nath DO, Family Medicine

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.

Lead Poisoning Facts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that “at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.”

This raises concern because even low levels of lead in the blood have been directly associated with irreversible effects such as lower IQ and decreased ability to concentrate. Exposure to lead has also been shown to increase the risk of:

– Slowed growth and development

– Learning and behavioral problems

– Speech and hearing deficits

Children can become exposed to lead in several ways.  Lead is a naturally occurring element that was once widely used in the manufacturing of paint, gasoline, as well as some toys and jewelry.  Lead-based paint, used in homes and offices during the early and mid-20th century, is the most common source of exposure today. Old, chipping or cracking paint found in these homes can easily be eaten by children, and old paint can become dust and be inhaled.

As a safety precaution, any house built prior to 1978 should be inspected for the presence of lead paint as this can be a potential hazard to children and pregnant women.  Remove any old, chipping or cracking paint from your home and have it tested for lead if you are unsure if it was made prior to 1978. If it is found that lead is present, it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of a lead paint remediation expert.

There are other preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of lead exposure, they include:

  1. Avoid using herbal remedies whose sources are unknown (Greta, Azarcon, Ghasard, Ba-baw-san and Daw Tway are all remedies from around the world that have been shown to contain lead).
  2. Do not use cookware or other food storage containers that have not been shown to be lead-free.
  3. Visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website and remove any toys or toy jewelry from your household that has been recalled.
  4. Make sure to wash clothes and bodies thoroughly after any known exposure to lead or lead dust (i.e. renovating an old home, working with stained glass)

If you believe your home may contain dangerous lead paint, contact your state or local health department about testing the paint and dust in your home for the presence of lead. If you have further questions regarding the testing of blood lead levels and the possible effects of elevated blood lead levels, you can visit the CDC website (https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm) or schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.

To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942

Dr. Andrew Flowers, Family Medicine Physician

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.

E-Cigarettes And Vaping Q&A

According to the Center on Addiction, vaping has grown in popularity with the rise of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). Several studies indicate that particles found in the “vapor” produced by these devices contain toxic chemicals which have been linked to respiratory and heart disease, as well as cancer. Despite these findings, some still believe that vaping is far less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. In fact, the opposite is true. This Q&A addresses this and other misconceptions people may have about vaping.

Q: What are ENDS or vaping devices?

A: Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems are tobacco products that do not produce smoke. Some of the most commonly used terms used to describe these products are e-cigarettes, vapes and vaporizers. These devices are usually composed of a battery, heating element and a chamber which is often filled with liquid containing nicotine.  This liquid is heated by the device to release an aerosol often mistaken for water vapor. Vaping is inhaling and exhaling the aerosol produced.

Q: Are there negative effects associated with vaping?

A: The liquid found in vaping devices often contains nicotine which causes addiction and increases abuse potential.  Nicotine is toxic to the brain of developing fetuses. It also harms adolescent brain development.  The aerosol component of vaping devices has cancer-causing chemicals.  Cases of accidental poisoning by the liquids in devices are becoming more common. Defective products can cause explosions and fires.

Q: How do regular cigarettes compare to vaping devices?

A: Smoking a regular cigarette will produce smoke while delivering nicotine to the body.  The smoke is a harmful component that contains many toxic agents including but not limited to carbon monoxide and tar; both of which can cause cancer and other diseases.  E-cigarettes and other vaping devices contain fewer toxic chemicals when compared to regular cigarettes because there is no smoke.  However, they still contain significant levels of harmful substances such as nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, propylene glycol and other cancer-causing agents.

Q: Can e-cigarettes and other vaping devices be used to quit smoking?

A:   E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA to quit smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems that e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers (non-pregnant) as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products, but more studies are needed to prove this. Recent CDC studies also found that most adults using e-cigarettes don’t quit smoking, instead, are using both products.

Q: Is there a rising epidemic in the use of vaping device among youth?

In the USA there are several laws put in place to regulate the use of vaping devices. Despite these regulations, the use of vaping devices is increasing among youth. Reports from the CDC indicate that 4.3% of middle school students and 11.3% of high school students have tried vaping in the past month.  Vaping devices are produced in various models, including those that look like flash drives. This makes it easier for students to mask its presence. Lack of legislation to stop advertising of vaping products, availability of multiple appealing flavors, easy access are all factors that have contributed to increased use of vaping devices among youth.

Nicotine and other toxic substances, delivered in the form of traditional cigarettes or ENDS are harmful to your health. The best way to avoid these toxic chemicals derived from tobacco use is to stop smoking or vaping.

If you are currently a smoker and would like to quit, please schedule an appointment to see your doctor. There are many resources available to help control cravings and decrease use.

To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine Doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942.

Yogaalakshmi Sundararajan M.D. -Family Medicine Physician

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.

Intimate Partner Violence

October is domestic violence awareness month. Here’s what you should know about this public health issue:

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

Intimate partner violence (IPV) involves four types of aggressive behavior that harms someone in a close relationship. An intimate partner can be a current or former boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé or spouse. The violence can be as brief as one episode or it can continue on for years.

What are the four different forms of violence?

Physical Violence – this involves physical force used by a partner. Some examples include hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing, and the use of any weapons.

Sexual Violence – this involves forcing a partner to engage in any sexual act that is non-consensual. This can also include unwanted sexual messages or images via text message or social media.

Stalking – this involves watching, following, repetitive calling, incessant messaging or any form of unwanted and unsolicited attention from a current or past partner.

Psychological Aggression – this involves mental, emotional, or psychological harm caused by a partner who wishes to gain power and control over the other partner. Examples include threats, accusations, and coercion.

Who is affected?

The CDC reports that millions of Americans in heterosexual or same-sex relationships are affected by one or more forms of IPV every year.  1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 7 men report experiencing one or more forms of IPV in their lifetime.

What are the consequences of Intimate partner violence?

For the individual, IPV can cause physical injury, mental health issues (depression, PTSD), and chronic gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal issues. IPV can even result in death; the U.S. crime database reports that 1 in 6 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.

What can I do about it?

Encourage victims to speak up.  If you are a victim, talk to your doctor.  Your physician can help you to locate the resources needed to assist you.  Utilize resources such as safe havens or healthy relationship counseling that offer support to those affected by IPV.   For more information and to learn about services available, please visit CDC.gov/violenceprevention.

If you or someone you know suffers from intimate partner violence, tell your doctor immediately. To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine Doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942.

Sujal Singh D.O.

 

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.

Preventing Constipation

Constipation is a common problem among people of all ages. Often, those experiencing symptoms describe having hard or pebbly stools, having infrequent bowel movements or straining while trying to use the bathroom.  People may also complain of stomach pains, bloating, gas or being unable to have a full bowel movement.   These symptoms may vary with each individual.

Constipation can be caused by many different problems, but the most common reasons are a lack of fiber in your diet and not drinking enough water.  Certain medications or iron supplements can also contribute to constipation.

There are several things you can do to prevent constipation, one of which is making sure you are consuming enough fiber.  Eating enough fiber helps to soften your stool and helps your body to move waste through your digestive tract.  It is recommended that you eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber every day.

Fiber can be found in many vegetables; grains such as whole wheat, oatmeal, bran, brown rice; nuts; and fruits such as apples, cherries, peaches, and grapes.  Whole fruits are particularly helpful in preventing constipation because their sugars help to keep more water in the intestines which softens your stool. Prunes, raisins, and other dried fruits are often used to relieve constipation because they have high amounts of fiber and sugar. If you are diabetic, be careful when choosing the fruits you eat, as some are very rich in sugar.

Adopting other healthy habits can also reduce the occurrence of constipation. Exercise can help improve your bowel movements; moving your body promotes movement along your digestive system.  Using the bathroom around the same time every day is also beneficial and will help your body to develop a routine. Most people tend to go more frequently in the morning as the activity in their digestive tract peaks shortly after waking up. If you feel the need to have a bowel movement at other times throughout the day, it is best to go and not hold it in as this can also lead to constipation.

Laxatives (over-the-counter and prescription) are often used as a form of relief from constipation; however, it is important to keep in mind that the frequent use of laxatives is not recommended as your body may become dependent on them for bowel movements.

Just about everyone will have difficulty with going to the bathroom from time-to-time; however, if symptoms of constipation persist for more than three weeks, or if you are experiencing blood in your stools or stomach pain, you should see your physician.  There may be a more serious cause for your constipation.

Please do not hesitate to talk to your doctor if you are concerned about changes in your bowel movements.  To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942.

Dr. Wesley Cheng D.O. Family Medicine

 

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 Much Exercise Do We Need?

Physical activity is a vital component of healthy living. It is a well-known fact that being physically active reduces the risk of many chronic diseases and also improves quality of life.

Given the benefits, it is evident that it is important for everyone to keep fit and active. However, statistics show that most people living in the United States are not getting enough exercise. In fact, more than half do not meet the recommended guidelines for weekly physical activity.

According to the American Family Physician guidelines, each week, adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and at least two days of resistance training or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity in addition to a minimum of two days of resistance training.

Aerobic exercises work on endurance and utilize large muscle groups. Examples include walking, stationary biking, swimming or dancing. An example of moderate-intensity activity is briskly walking, while vigorous intensity activity includes jogging or running. Resistance or strength exercises involve the use of resistance bands or weights (machines or free) and can be performed while doing simple activities such as carrying groceries.

For optimal health benefits, physical activity should be performed at high intensity with greater frequency and longer duration, but any activity is preferred over doing nothing at all.

Beginning an exercise routine or increasing levels of physical activity can be intimidating. Setting goals that include specific activities and instructions can make this process easier. Doctors recommend starting slowly and gradually working up to a level that meets physical activity guidelines.

To avoid injury, be sure to stretch prior to exercising in order to increase flexibility and preserve joint motions. You should discontinue exercising and rest if you experience the following warning signs: feelings of lightheadedness, chest pain, palpitations, blurry vision, or being unable to catch your breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your exercise routine immediately and consult your doctor.

Remember to drink plenty of water while exercising, as this is essential in helping you to remain hydrated. It is also important that you make sure to eat healthily. Good nutrition combined with exercise can help you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risks of chronic illnesses.

You should speak with your physician before starting a new exercise regimen. Some activities may not be safe for people diagnosed with certain medical conditions. Your doctor can also share helpful resources to assist you in your journey of leading a healthier life.

To  schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine Doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942

Dr. Colleen Hautzinger, Family Medicine

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.