How Does Anesthesia Work?

Doctor putting an oxygen mask on a patient under anesthesia at the hospital.Anesthesia is medicine used to manage pain during a wide range of medical procedures, including everything from tooth extractions and biopsies to appendectomies, cancer surgery, and childbirth. Anesthesia is an important part of these procedures; without it, many of them would be difficult or impossible to perform.

There are three main types of anesthesia: sedation, local, regional, and general. Sedation typically reduces pain throughout the body and makes you feel relaxed and drowsy. Local anesthesia affects a specific, small part of your body, such as a particular organ. Regional anesthesia affects a large part of your body, such as from the waist down. General anesthesia affects your entire body and renders you unconscious. Most types of anesthesia are injected or administered through an intravenous (IV) line, but general anesthesia may sometimes be administered through a breathing mask or tube.

The type of anesthesia you receive depends on the specific procedure you will be undergoing, as well as your medical history and circumstances. Certain people may face greater risks of medical complications than others from anesthesia, such as problems with brain function, malignant hyperthermia, breathing problems, and, in rare cases, death. Several factors can increase your risk of experiencing these complications, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Stroke
  • Lung conditions
  • Kidney conditions
  • Neurological disorders
  • Obesity
  • Allergies to anesthesia medication

The risks of anesthesia increase with the strength of its effects. Most of the severe side-effects associated with anesthesia occur in rare instances with general anesthesia. Sedation and local anesthesia, on the other hand, may rarely cause minor side-effects, such as itching at the site of injection. Regional anesthesia is also generally safe, but can sometimes cause headaches and may rarely cause nerve damage.

The best way to minimize any risks associated with anesthesia is to consult a licensed, board-certified anesthesiologist. If you’re receiving surgery, an anesthesiologist will typically meet with you ahead of time to discuss potential risks, and will also be present to monitor you throughout your procedure.

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 Being in Love Affect Your Body?

Heart-shaped candies.Love is no simple feeling; in fact, being in love with someone can cause a complex swirl of different emotions, like happiness, desire, and excitement, as well as some potentially negative feelings, such as anxiety and over-attachment. These emotions are linked to several chemicals and hormones produced by the body, which can result in a variety of mental and physical effects.

Many of the physical effects of love can be positive in the long term, including everything from a healthy sex drive to a decreased risk for several chronic diseases, reduced pain, and even an increased likelihood of a longer life span. However, there are some potentially negative effects, too, such as poorer judgement (making risky choices to satisfy or impress the person you love) and anxious over-attachment (agonizing over things such as what the other person is doing or how long it’s taking them to respond to you).

When you’re in love, it can make you feel euphoric, particularly when you receive affection from the person you’re in love with. This happens because of an increase in dopamine levels. Dopamine controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centers and is part of many of our body’s functions, such as learning, awareness, mood changes, sleep, arousal, and even movement. However, dopamine levels can also contribute to the development of an addiction to feelings of love, particularly in the “infatuation” stage when those feelings are strongest; this can potentially make it difficult to form a lasting relationship.

Aside from dopamine, hormones such as adrenaline and norepinephrine, which can make your palms sweat and cause your heart to race, are also shown to increase when you’re in love with someone. Additionally, when people develop a feeling of attachment to the person they’re in love with, it can trigger the development of hormones such as vasopressin and oxytocin, which create feelings of security and comfort.

A healthy, committed, long-lasting relationship will produce more good effects than bad ones over the long term, but an important part of maintaining such a relationship is noticing and taking proactive steps to manage negative thoughts or behaviors as they occur. One of the best ways to do this is with the help of a licensed psychiatrist. To schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Clinic, 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.

What is the Difference Between RSV and the Common Cold?

A woman sitting and coughing under a blanket.In the cold weather seasons, illnesses such as the common cold and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) often run rampant, infecting millions of people each year. Both share similar symptoms, which can make it difficult to tell them apart.

Because RSV and the common cold are also extremely common, it is very likely that the average person will develop one or both of them at some point in a given year. Additionally, RSV and the common cold are more likely to develop in:

  • Infants and young children
  • Adults over the age of 70
  • People with weakened or compromised immune systems
  • People who are frequently in spaces with many other people, such as a college dorm, gym, shared workspace, or public transportation

While it can be difficult to differentiate between the two, one important distinction to keep in mind is that, unlike RSV, which refers to a single type of viral illness, the term “common cold” can refer to any one of hundreds of different viruses, all of which cause similar symptoms. These symptoms occur in three stages, in which they begin to appear, worsen to their peak intensity, and finally start to improve. They typically include:

  • A sore throat (usually the first symptom to appear)
  • A runny nose
  • Frequent coughing
  • Aches throughout your body
  • In some cases, a fever

A person with RSV will also usually experience these same symptoms. However, someone who develops RSV is more likely to have a fever and may experience more wheezing than someone with a cold. It is also more likely to cause someone to lose their appetite.

It is important to note symptoms of both the common cold and RSV, as they can develop into more serious illnesses for certain groups of people. In the case of a cold, this is more likely to occur in people with weakened immune systems or a respiratory condition, such as asthma. For RSV, this risk is greater for infants, older adults, and people with heart and neuromuscular conditions.

Both RSV and the common cold usually don’t require much treatment aside from rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications to help reduce symptoms. However, if your symptoms are severe or last longer than 10 days and do not improve, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (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.

Wellness Wednesday: Tips for Supporting Your Physical Well-Being

A woman using equipment at a gym.With the first month of 2024 coming to an end, it’s a great time to check in on the progress you’ve made toward the goals you’ve set for the year. Whether you’re looking to get into better physical shape, reach a career milestone, or gain better control over any medical conditions you experience on a regular basis, wellness is an important part of moving toward your goals in a steady, efficient way. Make sure that you are:

  • Staying physically active (about 150 minutes of moderate exercise, including 2 days of strength training, each week)
  • Getting enough sleep (at least 7 hours per night)
  • Making some time each week for social connections with friends and loved ones
  • Eating enough food for your size
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting consumption of harmful substances such as alcohol
  • Making some time each week for leisurely activities that you enjoy
  • Practicing mindfulness and staying focused on the present moment
  • Keeping up with preventative medical screenings and addressing medical problems as they appear by visiting a doctor

For preventative visits and specialized treatment for medical problems, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (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.

When is a Cough Serious?

A man sitting on a couch coughing.Coughing is a normal reflex and often does not signify a serious underlying medical condition. However, a cough could be connected to a more significant health issue and should be evaluated by a doctor when it is:

  • Severe
  • Worsening over time
  • Occurring frequently over several days or weeks

A cough can be either “acute,” meaning that it lasts less than three weeks, or “chronic,” meaning that it lasts longer. Some causes of acute cough, such as the common cold or exposure to airborne irritants, are not necessarily causes for concern on their own, but others, such as pneumonia and influenza, are potentially life-threatening for some people, such as older adults, infants, and people with compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions.

In many cases, chronic coughing is also not indicative of a major, life-threatening health problem, such as when it is caused by mild allergies or asthma. However, it may be a cause for concern when it is severe, frequent, or accompanied by one or more other symptoms, including (but not limited to):

  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

These symptoms could indicate that a cough is associated with a serious underlying medical condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, or pulmonary embolism. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to get evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.

You can receive diagnostic care and specialized treatment for your cough at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, 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.

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.

Tips for Safe Holiday Driving

Motorists navigate a city street in white out conditions.Many people drive to visit loved ones during the holiday season, making it important for them to exercise caution on the road.

Several potential hazards, such as weather conditions and drunk, rushed, or inattentive drivers, can make travel during this part of the year more dangerous. Some ways that you can manage these hazards and make the roads safer for everyone include:

Having a designated driver: Alcohol consumption (sometimes in large amounts) is common at many holiday gatherings, so it’s essential that everyone who plans to return home by car have a designated driver. Ideally, this person should drink as little as possible during the gathering.  If they choose to drink, some rough estimates for how long they should wait before driving include:

  • 1 hour for each shot of liquor
  • 2 hours for each pint of beer
  • 3 hours for each glass of wine

Remember: if you or your designated driver are too drunk to drive and no one else is available to get you home, you can (and should) use a car service such as Uber to return safely.

Sticking to the speed limit: If you’re stressed about arriving at your destination on time, it can be easy to rush and start driving faster than you should be without realizing it. This increases your risk of getting into an accident and makes the road more dangerous for other drivers around you, as well as anyone traveling in the car with you. Pay attention to how fast you’re driving and stay close to the speed limit.

Check weather conditions before driving: The cold weather that occurs during the holiday season can cause a variety of problems with your car, including icy roads, poorer visibility (if it’s snowing), dying car batteries, and thicker oil that struggles to circulate throughout your car. While you can’t always avoid these issues, it’s still important to be aware of how likely they might be, allowing you to better prepare for (and more easily manage) them if they occur.

If you or any of your passengers are injured due to a car accident, make sure to call 911 right away. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center treats a high volume of motor vehicle collision injuries in New York City each day. To learn more, please call (718) 206-6000.

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 Can Mold Impact Your Health?

Mold growth is a common issue in many homes, and one that can cause a variety of medical problems. Many of the potential physical responses to mold exposure, such as a stuffy nose, sneezing, and red, itchy eyes, may occur more strongly in people who are allergic to mold or who have asthma. In some cases, severe reactions such as fever or shortness of breath can occur.

Mold is typically found in moist areas, such as parts of your home that have experienced flooding or leaks from your roof, windows, or pipes. It’s most likely to grow on wood-based products such as paper or cardboard, as well as some ceiling or floor tiles. Other materials that mold can grow on include:

  • Paint
  • Drywall
  • Carpet
  • Fabric
  • Insulation
  • Upholstery

You can often identify mold by its sight and smell. It often produces a musty odor and appears as one or more patches that are slimy, fuzzy, and/or discolored; these patches grow larger over time. Mold may also grow in places that are not easy to see, such as behind or under furniture, as well as inside pipes or walls. You can look for areas of your home where mold is most likely to grow by looking for signs of water stains or warping due to water damage.

If you notice signs of a mold problem in your home, make sure to identify the source of any water leakage and correct it, as well as discard any items with extensive mold growth or water damage that can’t be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Small areas of mold growth can be cleaned with soap and water, but for large-scale mold problems, it may be best to hire a licensed contractor to correct the issue.

If you are experiencing medical problems due to mold exposure, you can receive treatment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, 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.

Halloween 2023 Safety Tips

Halloween is a family-favorite holiday full of spooky fun and lots of candy.  However, it can also present many opportunities for injury as kids take to the streets in pursuit of trick-or-treat goodies.

Statistics show that roughly four times as many children between the ages of five and 14 are killed while walking on Halloween evening compared to other evenings of the year. Injuries due to falls and other accidents are also common among children on Halloween.

Parents can help minimize the risk of children getting injured on this holiday by following these safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Safety Council.

On Halloween, children should:

  • Go only to well-lit houses.
  • Remain on porches without actually entering a house.
  • Travel in small groups accompanied by an adult.
  • Use flexible, non-sharp plastic props for costume pieces such as knives and swords.
  • When walking through neighborhoods trick-or-treating, use flashlights, stay on sidewalks, and avoid crossing yards.
  • Cross at appropriately-designated crosswalks and do not cross between parked cars.
  • Be sure to stop at all corners and stay together in a group before crossing.
  • Wear clothing or costumes that are bright, reflective, and flame-retardant.
  • Consider using face paint instead of masks that can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Avoid wearing hats that will slide over children’s eyes.
  • Avoid wearing long, baggy, or loose costumes or oversized shoes that may cause kids to trip.
  • Be reminded to look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.

On Halloween, parents and adults should:

  • Supervise trick-or-treating for children under the age of 12.
  • Avoid giving choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys as treats to young children.
  • Ensure the safety of pedestrian trick-or-treaters.
  • Make sure children under the age of 10 are supervised as they cross the street.
  • Drive slowly.
  • Watch for children in the street and on medians.
  • Exit driveways and alleyways slowly and carefully.
  • Have children get out of cars on the side of the sidewalk, not the street.

Follow these tips to keep both your children and yourself safe this year. Have a happy and fun Halloween!

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.

Things to Consider Before Doing a Colon Cleanse

History shows that colon cleanses date back thousands of years to ancient Greece. The theory of performing colon cleansing is to help remove toxins from the body which may be accumulating in the colon and can’t be expelled on their own.

Some of the conditions people believe are helped by doing a colon cleanse are fatigue, weight gain, low energy, and headaches.

Some of the potential risks of doing a colon cleanse include:

  • Dehydration
  • Mineral imbalance
  • Bowel perforation
  • Infection
  • Kidney failure
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Bacterial imbalance

Some people should be extra cautious about having colon cleanses or might want to avoid them completely. These include people with the following conditions:

  • Diverticulitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Rectal tumors
  • Heart disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Tumors in the colon

Colon cleanses should only be done by a professional and only after consulting with a physician first. If you would like to make an appointment with a physician 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.