Five Steps to Lowering Blood Pressure

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, here are five lifestyle changes that you can make to help to lower it:
• Losing just ten pounds can have a significant effect on blood pressure.
• Partaking in regular physical exercise such walking, jogging, swimming and dancing are all good choices.
• Eating foods with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy is important.
• Drinking less coffee and tea will help lower blood pressure
• Quitting smoking will help to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure can cause significant health problems if left untreated. Consult with your physician about ways that you can keep yours under control. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

Want to Quit Smoking? We Can Help!

Smoking Cessation

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of multiple diseases and premature deaths in the USA today.  It kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined. There are an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States annually that are due to tobacco use. It is the only legal consumer product that is lethal when used exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Smoking cigarettes affects many aspects of health. Tobacco smoke contains about 7000 chemicals, including low concentrations of such strong poisons as ammonia, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde.  It also contains 69 carcinogens – substances that are known to cause cancers in humans. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.
In the United States, Illnesses caused by smoking cost more than 300 billion dollars per year in direct medical care and lost productivity. Smokers pay twice as much for life insurance and will die on average of 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. It costs tobacco companies approximately 5 cents to produce a pack of cigarettes.

Many lung conditions are either caused or aggravated by cigarette smoke. It irritates bronchial airways and stimulates mucous production leading eventually to decreased elasticity and functional failure. Patients suffering from COPD, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema have a much higher risk of dying when repeatedly exposed to smoke.
Smokers are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages blood vessels making them stiff and narrow, obstructing blood flow which results with elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or chronic skin changes.

Pregnant women exposed to tobacco smoke have increased risk of complications like miscarriage, premature birth, and brain and lung damage in developing baby. Sudden infant death syndrome is three times more likely if mother smoked during pregnancy.
Secondhand smoke is the smoke exhaled by smokers or given off by a burning cigarette or pipe. Inhaling secondhand smoke is as hazardous as smoking a cigarette. There is no safe level for secondhand smoke exposure established. People can inhale it at work, homes, cars or public spaces and have all the complications mentioned above.

Smoking tobacco is an addiction similar to heroin and cocaine. It can be successfully treated but the majority of cases require three or more attempts. Quitting smoking offers a chance of feeling better and living longer.  Studies have shown that five, common sense steps, provide the best chance for quitting smoking for good:

1. Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.

2. Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plans; search the internet for advice.

3.  Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke; exercise or go for a walk.

4. Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches or Zyban with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.

5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations- most people try to quit a few times before   succeeding.

If you would like to learn more about quitting smoking, please call 718-206-8494.

The Importance of an Annual Exam

Note of doctor appointment on calendar

A.  Yearly

B. Bi-Yearly

C. When I don’t feel good

D. I don’t do doctors

An annual exam is a good way of tracking your health progress.  Some of the benefits are:

  • Primary prevention
  • To identify risk factors for common chronic diseases
  • To detect disease that has no apparent symptoms (secondary prevention)
  • A way for the doctor to counsel people to promote healthy behavior
  • To update clinical data since your last check-up
  • To enhance the relationship betweenyou and your doctor

If you are interested in scheduling an exam, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  Call 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

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.

The White Coats are Coming!

At the doctor's office

Does the thought of having a physician take your blood pressure make you nervous? Anxiety over going to the doctor’s office can lead to an elevation in your blood pressure; a condition known as “white coat hypertension.”

White coat hypertension is a real condition that occurs when blood pressure readings at your doctor’s office are higher than they are in other settings, such as your home. The term white coat refers to the traditional white lab coat health care professionals wear in clinical settings.

The underlying cause of white coat hypertension is believed to be tension and stress associated with being examined by a physician. Not much attention was given to this condition since the blood pressure of patients returned to normal levels when taken in the home environment, where they feel more relaxed. Recent studies however have proven that people with white coat hypertension are twice as likely to develop true hypertension within a decade, compared to people with normal blood pressure levels.

How do you know if you have white coat hypertension and what should you do if you have it? The first step is for your doctor to have you monitor your blood pressure at home to see if it returns to normal levels. If it does, together, you and your doctor can decide whether to treat it or not. On one hand, if your blood pressure is normal during the rest of the day, taking blood pressure medications can lead to hypotension (low blood pressure). On the other hand, people with white coat hypertension might have elevated blood pressure during other stressful parts of the day. Many factors, such as age, family history, and the existence of other conditions will help the doctor make the right decision for you.

There are things that you can do to reduce your anxiety and stress before having your blood pressure checked by a health care professional. First, avoid drinking excessive amounts of water before checking your blood pressure because water can increase your reading. Also, do not participate in any physical activity before having your blood pressure taken. Excessive physical exertion will raise blood pressure. Lastly, avoid stressful situations and remain calm leading up to and during your visit to the doctor’s office.

If you think you have hypertension, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If you do not have a primary care physician, call Jamaica Hospital’s Family Care Center at 718-657-7093 to schedule an appointment.

Is This Job Killing Me?

Nervous businesswoman pulling her hair out

Some workplace stress is normal, but excessive stress can interfere with productivity and impact your physical and emotional health. If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, you can lose confidence, and become irritable or withdrawn.

Health issues that can be caused by excessive stress are:

  • Heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal problems

How you manage your stress is one way of avoiding the negative health impacts of a stressful lifestyle. By realizing that not being able to control everything in your work environment does not mean you are powerless, you can find ways to manage your workplace stress without rethinking career ambitions.

Some quick, office stress relievers are:

  • Take a short walk
  • Drink water
  • Stretch
  • Make a plan or to-do list
  • Unplug from email and social media
  • Breathe
  • Act rather than react
  • Ask for help

One of the best ways of coping with stress is to identify what your stress triggers are. Once you have identified them, you can find ways to resolve them.

If using these steps to relieve your feelings of being stressed is not helping, you may want to consult a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry. Call 718-206-7160 for an appointment.

Lamb Kebabs and Lima Bean Salad









National Lima Bean Respect Day is observed on April 20.  Lima beans are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.  Lima beans can increase energy levels by helping to restore iron.  They are delicious in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, by themselves or mixed with other vegetables.

In honor of National Lima Bean Respect Day, try this easy and delicious Lamb Kebabs and Lima Bean Salad recipe:


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3/2 pound boneless lamb top round steak or shoulder chop, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges (stem end left intact)
  • 1 pound frozen baby lima beans
  • 1 ounce Feta, crumbled (1/4cup)
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup torn fresh mint leaves


  1. Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for at least 15 minutes. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, make the vinaigrette: whisk together the oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Transfer half the vinaigrette to another medium brown, add the lamb and toss to coat.
  3. Heat broiler. Thread the lamb, lemon and onion onto the skewers and place on a broiler-proof baking sheet.  Broil 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  4. Add the beans and 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water and cook until the beans are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain well and add to the bowel with the remaining vinaigrette.  Add the Feta, olives and mint and toss to combine.  Serve with the kebabs


Serves:                 4

Total Time:         40 min

For this and other easy recipes visit –











According to the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention, the Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

Most recently, the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly in babies of mother’s who contracted the virus during pregnancy. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s brain with microcephaly does not develop properly during the pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, this results in a smaller sized head.

What we DO know:

  • Zika virus can be passed from pregnant women to their fetus during pregnancy or at delivery.
  • Pregnant women can be infected with the Zika virus through the bite of an infected mosquito
  • You can become infected by a male sex partner
  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas affected by Zika
  • Based on available evidence, the Zika virus infection in a woman who is not pregnant would not pose a risk for birth defects in future pregnancies after the virus has cleared from her blood.

What we DO NOT know:

  • How likely a pregnant woman who has been exposed to Zika will get the virus
  • How the virus will affect her pregnancy or how likely it is that Zika will pass to her fetus
  • If the infected fetus will develop other birth defects or when in the pregnancy the infection might cause harm to the fetus
  • If sexual transmission of Zika virus poses a different risk of birth defects that mosquito-borne transmission

If you must travel to Zika areas affected by Zika, speak with your healthcare provider about the risks of Zika Virus before you travel.  Learn how to protect yourself from mosquito bites and try to avoid regions where Zika is present.

If you have traveled to a region where Zika is present and are pregnant, talk to your health care provider about Zika symptoms. If you would like to speak with a physician, you can make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center, call 718-291-3276.

For more FAQ’s on Zika Virus you will find the following websites helpful –

Is Social Media Making Me Fat?

Have you ever wondered why when you see postings of food on social media that are pleasing to your eyes, you immediately begin to desire that food or think, “Gee, I’m hungry?

The human mind is divided into two parts, the conscious and subconscious mind.  The conscious mind works while we are awake, while the subconscious mind is always activated.  The subconscious mind regulates everything in our body, our character, our speech and receives and processes information. The food and beverage postings on social media speak directly to our conscious and subconscious mind.

According to researchers, 70 percent of household meals in America are influenced by digital media.  Pictures of food and beverages show up on news feeds 63 percent of the time.  One popular social media site noted that a widely used food hashtag marked photos of snacks and meals 54 million times on their site alone.

In addition to subliminally causing you to want to eat more food, studies have shown that people who spent two hours or more using a device with LED display, such as a smart phone or tablet, had a corresponding dip in melatonin levels.  Melatonin is the chemical that prepares your body for sleep. When we lose sleep, we can pack on extra pounds because there is a link between sleep loss and weight gain.  If you are awake for longer periods of time, you may be more inclined to reach for a late night snack or bag of chips.

Some steps you can take to curb your hunger and promote good health are:

  • Choose fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Prepare your meals at home and limit dining out and processed on-the-go meals.
  • Try to avoid being distracted by TV, work, driving or surfing on your computer, phone or tablet while eating.
  • Regulate your social media feed, especially if the pictures of food and beverages make your stomach moan.

Obesity is on the rise because many factors, but keep in mind that you are in control and can make healthy choices to live a healthy life. It’s better to eat with your stomach and not with your eyes.


What do you rely on most for maintaining a healthy heart?









1.   Exercise

2.  Balanced diet

3. Getting plenty of sleep

4.  Reducing stress

5.  All of the above

Answer – 5- All of the above

Although the American Heart Association recommends for overall cardiovascular health – at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes with a moderate to high intensity muscle strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional benefits, best results are gained when exercise is combined with a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest and reducing stress .