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.

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.

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.

What is an Elimination Diet?

Foods that you’re allergic to can cause you to experience a variety of symptoms, including gas, bloating, nausea, or diarrhea. While these types of problems are rarely life-threatening allergic reactions, they can cause significant discomfort and disruption in your daily life. However, you may not know for certain which exact foods are causing these reactions. An elimination diet can help you identify them.

Elimination diets involve removing, then later re-adding, certain foods from your diet which are suspected to be the cause of allergic reactions. This diet is typically only maintained for a brief period of up to six weeks.

An elimination diet is typically divided into an “elimination” phase and a “reintroduction” phase. During the elimination phase, potential allergens are removed from your diet. These typically include foods such as:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Starchy foods
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Spices
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Sugary products
  • Certain fruits and vegetables

During the reintroduction phase, you once again start to eat each food group you’ve cut out of your diet. Each of these groups is individually re-introduced over the course of up to three days, providing adequate time to watch for potential symptoms.

Different versions of the elimination diet, such as the low-FODMAPs diet (which targets short-chain carbohydrates), only remove specific food groups. Alternatively, varieties such as the fasting elimination diet, which involves only drinking water for up to five days, may be more extreme than the standard version.

No matter which version of the elimination diet you plan to try, you should only do so under the supervision of a medical professional. The re-introduction of food allergens can potentially cause anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that causes airways to swell and restricts your breathing. Extreme varieties such as the fasting elimination diet can be especially dangerous to your health without the guidance of a doctor.

If you suspect you have a food allergy and plan to follow an elimination diet, schedule an appointment with a registered dietician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Outpatient Nutritional Services Department by calling (718) 206-7056.

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.

Safety Tips for Cold Weather Outdoor Exercise

Winter weather doesn’t mean the end of your outdoor exercise routine. If you plan to continue to run or bike after the mercury drops, consider following these tips so you can stay safe and warm while exercising in the cold.

Know the weather conditions before heading outdoors – In addition to the temperature, those heading outside to exercise need to understand how wind and precipitation can affect your health.  These factors, combined with the length of time spent outdoors need to be taken into consideration before beginning an outdoor exercise regime.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia –Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as your cheeks, nose and ears. It can also occur on hands and feet. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.

Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Hypothermia signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue.

Get out of the cold and seek emergency help right away if you experience symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia.

Dress in layers – Dressing too warmly is a big mistake when exercising in cold weather. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat — enough to make you feel like it’s much warmer than it really is. The best option is to dress in layers that can be removed as soon as you start to sweat and then put layers back on as needed.

Protect your head, hands, feet and ears – When it’s cold, blood flow is concentrated in your body’s core, leaving your head, hands and feet vulnerable. Ways to protect these parts of your body include wearing a thin pair of glove liners under a pair of heavier gloves, purchasing exercise shoes one size larger to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat to protect your head or headband to protect your ears.

Use proper safety gear – If it’s dark when you exercise outside, wear reflective clothing. If you ride a bike, both headlights and taillights are a good idea. Also choose footwear with enough traction to prevent falls, especially if it’s icy or snowy.

It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer — even more so if you’re exercising in the snow or at high altitudes. Wear a sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen. Protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with dark glasses or goggles.

Drink plenty of fluids – Don’t forget about hydration, as it’s just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty.

These tips can help you safely and enjoyably exercise in cold conditions. Closely monitor how your body feels during cold-weather exercise to help prevent injuries. While exercise is safe for almost everyone, even in cold weather, if you do have certain condition such as asthma or heart disease that could limit you ability, you should check with your doctor first.

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

Jamaica Hospital Offers Weight Lifting Safety Tips

Lifting weights can offer many health benefits, including strengthening your muscles, burning excess fat, and improving your overall physical fitness. If however, it not done safely, weight lifting can result in serious injury or even death.

Before you begin to lift weights, you should speak with a qualified instructor or other trained professional to teach you the proper technique to avoid an injury. They can advise you on an appropriate starting point that should include what exercises are best suited for you as well as how much weight to start with, and at how often to lift. Many factors will play a role in determining your weight lifting regime including age, overall physical health, and the reason you want to lift weights.

Some weight lifting safety tips should include:

  • Take time to warm up and cool down before and after your workout by stretching your muscles
  • Avoid weight lifting alone. Using a partner to “spot” you will help you avoid injury
  • Understand the proper form when lifting weights, including keeping your back straight
  • Don’t exercise any set of muscles more than three times per week and never lift more weight than you can handle safely
  • Take a moment to understand how to operate the equipment and inspect it to make sure it is in good condition
  • Wear shoes with good traction to avoid slipping
  • Stop lifting weights if you feel faint or are experiencing any  type of pain

It is important to speak to your doctor if you are considering beginning a weight lifting program to make sure it is the best form of exercise for you. You should also consult with your doctor if you suspect you sustained an injury while lifting weights.

To make an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care 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.

Can Your Pet Be A Distraction To You While You Drive?

There are many known driving distractions that we are warned to avoid while on the road. These include: talking or texting on your mobile device, eating or drinking, attending to personal grooming, or adjusting our vehicle’s radio or navigation system. While it is important to be mindful of each of these potential distractions, there is another type of distraction that doesn’t get as much attention – driving with our pets.

Many people take their dogs or cats in the car with them when they run local errands; others bring them along for long road trips. During these excursions, our pets often have free reign of the vehicle, will place their head out the car window, and in some cases, even sit in the driver’s lap. These activities, while adorable, can pose great danger to not only the operator of the vehicle, but also the other passengers, fellow motorists, and even the pets themselves.

A recent study of individuals who frequently travel with their pets in the car revealed some very startling facts about their behaviors. The survey concluded that 64 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in a potentially distracting pet-related activity, and 29 percent admitted to actually being distracted by their pets. Some of the activities noted in the study included petting or playing with their pets, allowing them to stay in their lap, feeding them treats, and taking photos of them.  The same study determined 84 percent allowed their pets to ride in their vehicle while unrestrained.

To avoid these types of distractions while driving, motorists should consider purchasing a safety device for their dog or cat. There are two types of devices to choose from:

  • Pet seat belts – They are easy to use and work in tandem with your normal seat belt. Check to make sure the pet belt is the right size for your animal. One that’s too big or too small is counterproductive and can cause unnecessary injuries.
  • Pet carriers- Look for a sturdy carrier with ample ventilation and plenty of room for your pet to turn around and stretch out. Also, make sure you secure the carrier so that it stays safely in place if you suddenly brake or get into an accident.


Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division warns that driving with your beloved pet in the car doesn’t need to be dangerous. Take some time to make sure you can safely restrain your pet to maximize safety for you and your lovable friend.

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 Popcorn Lung and Can Vaping Cause It?

“Popcorn lung” is the nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease that can damage the smallest airways in your lungs, resulting in coughing and shortness of breath.

popcorn lung, pulmonary medicine, Jamaica Hospital, vaping, e-cigarettes, lungs

The condition got its nickname because of the chemical diacetyl, a buttery flavored chemical that was commonly found in microwave popcorn.  After workers at the factories that produced microwave popcorn began to experience symptoms associated with bronchiolitis obliterans after inhaling diacetyl, manufacturers removed it from their products.

While diacetyl is no longer a threat from microwaved popcorn, many are now being exposed to it through e-cigarette vapor. Diacetyl is often added to “e-juice” liquid by some e-cigarette companies to complement flavorings such as vanilla, maple, coconut and more. In fact, recent studies have found that more than 75 percent of flavored e-cigarettes and refill liquids tested positive for diacetyl

So how does diacetyl cause popcorn lung? Your lungs are where your blood receives oxygen before carrying it to cells in the rest of your body through tiny air sacs called alveoli. Exposure to diacetyl can irritate or scar the alveoli, causing inflammation or narrowing, making it difficult for them to deliver oxygen to your blood.

The main symptoms of popcorn lung are a dry cough and shortness of breath. These show up between two weeks and two months after you’ve been around a toxic gas or had an illness. You’re especially likely to have them after exercising or heavy labor.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Flu-like illness with fever
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Eye, skin, mouth, or nose irritation, if caused by chemical exposure

Popcorn lung is often misdiagnosed as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. To diagnose popcorn lung, your doctor will order an X-ray, CT scan or a surgical lung biopsy. Your doctor may also want to measure your lung’s function by conducting a pulmonary function test.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for popcorn lung, but there are treatments to help alleviate the symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. Treatment options include prescription corticosteroids, cough suppressants, bronchodilators to open the airways or immunosuppressant therapy to decrease your body’s immune response. In severe cases oxygen supplementation may be needed. If left untreated, popcorn lung can be fatal in some cases.

The best way to prevent developing popcorn lung is to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals like diacetyl, found in e-cigarettes.

If you are experiencing symptoms of popcorn lung, make an appointment to see your doctor. To make an appointment with a Pulmonologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call our Ambulatory Care Department at 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.

Tips To Make Sure the Ice in Your Freezer is Clean

There is nothing more refreshing on a warm summer day than an ice-filled cold beverage, but before you host your next summer gathering, make sure that the ice you serve is clean and free of harmful bacteria.

While ice is rarely considered to be the source of trouble, there are good reasons to take a second look at how ice is dispensed in your own home.  You may think most bacteria wouldn’t survive the icy conditions of a freezer. But they can. Bacteria and viruses such as listeria, E-coli and salmonella can live in freezing temperatures, meaning they may be alive in your ice cubes. With proper precautions however, you can eliminate the risk of these contaminants existing in the ice you serve.

Here are some tips:

  • Change Your Filter – Most ice makers in freezers use a secondary water filter to stop particles from contaminating the ice. To keep your ice clean, change the freezer’s water filter as frequently as the manufacturer recommends, about every six months.
  • Regular Cleaning – Don’t forget to defrost and deep clean your freezer at least once a year. As a rule of thumb, if the ice buildup in your freezer is a quarter-inch or thicker, then it’s time to defrost and clean it.
  • Use Ice Regularly – The slight melting and refreezing of cubes can allow pathogens to take hold. To avoid this, remove the ice storage bin from the freezer and dump any clumps into the sink. Since inactivity causes ice clumps to form, the easiest solution is to use the ice maker more frequently.
  • Organize Your Freezer – Make sure frozen foods are properly sealed or double-wrapped and avoid having them come into direct contact with ice in trays or bins. Also label all food with a use-by date and remove all expired foods from your freezer.
  • Don’t Use Your Hands – While all of the above tips are useful, the fact is that the most common way to spread germs is by placing unwashed hands in an ice container. Instead of using your hands, use a designated scooper or other tool to handle ice.

It is important to note that while the existence of contaminants in your ice might be disturbing to learn, the health risks associated with it is fairly minimal to the average immune system and the transmission of viruses are rare. Those more at risk are pregnant women, children, and people with a compromised immune system.

Regardless, it is always a good idea to take the proper precautions to reduce your chances of getting yourself or your guests sick.

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

The Benefits of Couples Counseling

There are many changes that couples can go through during the course of their relationship.  In some instances, these changes can lead to undue stress, strain and conflict on their relationship.

During these times, couples may benefit from counseling.  Couples counseling can be effective in helping you and your partner heal, foster forgiveness and help you reconnect.

Some benefits from counseling are:

  • Learning how to communicate in a non-adversarial way
  • Understanding the importance of listening to your partner and how to process what your partner is saying
  • Learning how to get your point across with assertion and not aggression or anger
  • Finding a way to discuss your issues without fear of retaliation or hurting the feelings of your partner
  • Learning how to work through your issues in a safe environment
  • Getting your feelings out in the open and not letting them fester
  • Re-committing to work out your issues together without engaging in conflict
  • Developing a deeper understanding of your partner and what their needs are

By entering into counseling, you may find that you and your partner are willing to put in the work needed to get through a difficult time. If the opposite is realized, you will then feel less guilt when you make the decision to end the relationship knowing you have given it every chance.

If you and your partner would like to speak with a counselor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, call 718-206-5588 to schedule an appointment.

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