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

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

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

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

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

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

Men’s Health Awareness Month

Men face a heightened risk of certain medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, making certain medical screenings particularly important for identifying these conditions early and treating them effectively.

The types of screenings you require may change or become broader as you age and your health changes. Some of the most important screenings include:

Blood pressure screening: Even if you have no medical history of (or risk factors for) high or low blood pressure, you should receive a screening once every three to five years. However, if you do have a history of abnormal blood pressure, have an immediate family member with high blood pressure, or are Black, you should receive a screening once per year. Other risk factors that warrant an annual blood pressure screening include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney problems
  • Obesity

Cholesterol screening: If you have no known risk factors for coronary heart disease, men should receive a cholesterol screening every five years starting at the age of 45. Men who do have risk factors for coronary heart disease should receive them starting at the age of 20. If you have abnormally high cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disease, or kidney problems, you should be screened more frequently.

Diabetes screening: Men without any risk factors for diabetes should receive screenings every three years starting at the age of 35. However, these screenings should begin earlier or be conducted more frequently if you:

  • Have an immediate relative with diabetes
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have high blood pressure, prediabetes, or a medical history of heart disease

Cancer screenings: According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers accounted for approximately 43% of cancer diagnoses in men; additionally, the mortality rate of cancer is higher among men than women. Some of the most important cancer screenings men should receive include:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Melanoma

Physical exam: Regular general check-ups with your doctor are important, even for men who seem to be in perfect health. These visits can help you identify signs of underlying medical problems or risk factors for future issues.

You can receive all of these medical screenings 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.

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death among men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that 153,020 cases of colorectal cancer will appear in 2023.

Someone with this form of cancer may only begin to experience symptoms from stage two onward, with many cases only presenting symptoms in the third and fourth stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they typically include changes in bowel habits and stool consistency, bloody stool, chronic abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss.

The primary risk factor for colorectal cancer is age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend regular screening for this form of cancer starting at age 45. However, if you’re at higher-than-average risk for colorectal cancer, screening may need to begin at an earlier age.

Other risk factors include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Certain genetic syndromes such as Lynch syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco usage

Aside from improving lifestyle factors such as physical activity levels and nutrition, the best way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to keep up with regular diagnostic screening. Procedures for screening include:

Stool tests: These tests check for blood or changes to your DNA in your stool. The guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (FIT) which check for blood, are performed annually. The FIT-DNA test, which checks the DNA in your stool, is performed every three years.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This test checks for polyps and cancer inside the lower third of your rectum and is performed every five years or every 10 years if you receive a FIT annually.

Colonoscopy: A standard colonoscopy checks for polyps and cancer throughout the rectum and the entire colon, allowing your doctor to spot and even remove most of them. This is performed every 10 years for people with an average risk of colorectal cancer. Alternatively, a virtual colonoscopy, which produces images of the entire colon using X-rays, can be performed every 5 years.

You can receive a colorectal cancer screening from a gastroenterologist 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 to Prevent Dehydration During the Summer Heat

With the summer and warmer weather upon us causing more and more people to begin to participate in outdoor activities. Before you begin, make sure you drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • The rule that you need to drink eight glasses of water per day is a myth. The Institute of Medicine recommends women should receive 2.2 liters of fluid intake per day and men should get three liters. Keep in mind that fluid intake can come from beverages other than water.
  • While thirst is your body’s way of preventing dehydration, being thirsty doesn’t mean that you are dehydrated. Thirst is our brain’s way of telling us to drink more to avoid dehydration.
  • The color of your urine is a good, real-time indicator of dehydration, but the misconception is that urine should be clear. In truth, urine should be a pale-yellow color.
  • Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or tea will not dehydrate you if consumed in moderate amounts. Caffeine is considered a mild diuretic, the amount of water in it offsets the amount of fluid it will cause you to lose through increased urination.
  • Drinking isn’t the only way of increasing your water intake. It is estimated that we get up to 20% of our daily water intake from the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables contain the most, with cucumbers, celery, and watermelon having the highest concentration of water.
  • There is also such a thing as drinking too much water and becoming overhydrated. This can be very dangerous and can lead to a condition called hyponatremia. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue. To avoid this problem, do not drink to the point that you are full from water alone.

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.

Men’s Health Month

The month of June has been recognized as Men’s Health Month. The reason for this designation is to bring awareness of preventable health issues and to encourage early detection and treatment of diseases prevalent in men.

The leading causes of death among men are:
• Heart Disease
• Cancer
• Diabetes
• Lung Disease
• Injuries
• Stroke
• HIV/AIDS

Some of the reasons that men tend to have more serious chronic illnesses is because more men than women don’t have health insurance, men tend to have more physically demanding jobs with greater safety risks. Additionally  more men smoke than women and they also tend to  take greater risks with unsafe behavior.

Women tend to live five years longer than men and one of the reasons for this is that women usually take better care of their health. Men are often guilty of waiting until a disease has progressed to a more serious level before they seek help. There is an old adage that if a man is in a doctor’s waiting room, most likely a woman brought him there for an exam.

During the month of June, organizations across the country hold health awareness campaigns to educate men about various health issues that they may be at risk for and to encourage them to see a doctor regularly.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center has reopened many of its healthcare services. To learn about the safety measures the hospital has taken to protect your health, please visit https://jamaicahospital.org/to-our-patients/

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital, 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.

Oh My Aching Feet!

Corns and calluses are caused by pressure or friction on skin, which leads to the formation of thickened skin on the top or side of a toe. Complications from corns and calluses are rarely serious; however, if you are a diabetic they can lead to more serious issues.

Diabetics often have impaired sensitivity and may not be aware of the friction or presence of a corn or callous. Since they are unaware, the corn or callous can progress into ulcers or secondary infections without the person knowing.

In addition, diabetics don’t, usually, heal as quickly as non-diabetics and their infections can become life-threatening.

Indications that you may have a corn or callous:

  • Skin is thick and hardened.
  • Skin may be flaky and dry.
  • Hardened, thick skin areas are found feet or other areas that may be rubbed or pressed.
  • The affected areas can be painful and may bleed.

According to the National Institutes of Health, preventing friction by wearing proper fitting shoes and avoiding walking barefoot are often the only preventative measures you can take.

Regular examination of you feet can help you to identify any problems and, if you receive a foot injury, you should seek immediate medical attention.

If you have diabetes and are experiencing corns/calluses that are painful, red, warm, or there is drainage in the area, you should call your healthcare provider immediately to determine the cause.

To make an appointment with a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine at Jamaica Hospital Medical Centers Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7005 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.

Psoriatic Arthritis

According to the American College of Rheumatology, psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in some patients with psoriasis (is a chronic skin condition caused by an overactive immune system) and can affect the joints in the body.

It is a chronic disease that may present as mild with occasional flair ups or, in more severe cases, can cause joint damage in fingers and toes, as well as larger joints in the lower extremities, such as knees, back and sacroiliac joints in the pelvis.

The Mayo Clinic describes the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis as:

  • Swollen fingers and toesPsoriatic arthritis can cause a painful, sausage-like swelling of your fingers and toes. You may also develop swelling and deformities in your hands and feet before having significant joint symptoms.
  • Foot pain -Psoriatic arthritis can also cause pain at the points where tendons and ligaments attach to your bones — especially at the back of your heel (Achilles tendinitis) or in the sole of your foot (plantar fasciitis).
  • Lower back pain -Some people develop a condition called spondylitis as a result of psoriatic arthritis. Spondylitis mainly causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of your spine and in the joints between your spine and pelvis (sacroiliitis).

Psoriatic arthritis can go into remission.  When in remission, the symptoms may alternate causing them to subside for a time and then reappearing in the form of painful, swollen joints.

Many people with psoriatic arthritis may first think they have rheumatoid arthritis since both diseases have similar symptoms. The only difference is that psoriatic arthritis is prevalent in patients who have psoriasis of the skin as well.

When seeing your doctor to determine whether or not you may have psoriatic arthritis your doctor may examine your joints for swelling or tenderness, check your fingernails, hands, feet and toes for pitting, flaking or other abnormalities.

Psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed by X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), testing the rheumatoid factor (RF) antibody in your blood or a joint fluid test to see if you have uric acid crystals in your joint fluid.

Since there isn’t a cure for psoriatic arthritis, healthcare professionals are focused on controlling the symptoms and thwarting permanent damage to the joints.

Some medications prescribed to treat psoriatic arthritis include:

  • NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).
  • Disease-modifying ant rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) -These drugs can slow the progression of psoriatic arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage.
  • Immunosuppressants -These medications act to tame your immune system, which is out of control in psoriatic arthritis.
  • TNF-alpha inhibitors – Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is an inflammatory substance produced by your body. TNF-alpha inhibitors can help reduce pain, morning stiffness, and tender or swollen joints.

Other procedures that have been effective are steroid injections or joint replacement surgery.  Steroid injections reduce inflammation rapidly and joint replacement surgery replaces the severely damaged joint with an artificial prosthesis made of metal and/or plastic.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and would like to speak with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital, call 718-206-7001 to schedule an appointment with a Rheumatology specialist.

 

 

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.

Is The “Stress Hormone” Cortisol Causing You To Gain Weight?

Obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the world.  It can be a contributing factor in other diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, and dementia. Overeating is often cited as the only reason people are obese. In discussions about weight gain and obesity, many people seem to think that it is purely a function of willpower.

Since what we weigh is, normally, attributed to what we eat we must ask the question:

Is over-eating the only reason a person becomes overweight?

Human behavior is driven by various biological factors like genetics, hormones, stress and neural circuits.  Eating behavior, just like sleeping behavior, is driven by biological processes. Therefore, saying that behavior is a function of willpower is way too simplistic.

Studies have shown that when we are stressed or during tension filled times our body increases its production of the “stress hormone” Cortisol. The increase in Cortisol may be the culprit causing you to overeat.

According to increased levels of the stress hormone  cortisol causes higher insulin levels which then cause your blood sugar to drop making you crave sugary, fatty foods. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite.

Here are some additional factors thought to be the leading causes of weight gain, obesity and metabolic disease that have nothing to do with willpower:

  • Genetics – Obesity has a strong genetic component. Offspring’s of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than offspring’s of lean parents.
  • Insulin – Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage, among other things. One of the functions of insulin is to tell fat cells to store fat and to hold on to the fat they already carry.  When insulin levels elevate, energy is selectively stored in fat cells instead of being available for use.
  • Medications – Certain medications can cause weight gain as a side effect. Some examples include diabetes medication, antidepressants and antipsychotics. These medications don’t cause a “willpower deficiency,” they alter the function of the body and brain, making it selectively store fat instead of burning it.
  • Leptin –This hormone is produced by the fat cells and is supposed to send signals to the hypothalamus (the part of our brain that controls food intake) that we are full and need to stop eating. The problem for some is their leptin isn’t working as it should because the brain becomes resistant to it.  This is called leptin resistance and is believed to be a leading factor in the pathogenesis of obesity.
  • Thyroid Disease – Thyroid hormone regulates our metabolism. Too little hormone slows the metabolism and often causes weight gain.
  • Cushing syndromeOccurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol for a long time. Cushing syndrome, sometimes called hypercortisolism, may be caused by the use of oral corticosteroid medication. The condition can also occur when your body makes too much cortisol on its own.

A doctor can determine if any of these conditions or treatments is responsible for your obesity.  If you would like to see a physician, please contact the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center to schedule an appointment. 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.

Anemia in Older Adults

Anemia is a condition that occurs when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells (hemoglobin).  Hemoglobin is the part of the cell that that binds oxygen.  If your hemoglobin is low, the cells in your body will not receive enough oxygen.

Although anemia can happen at any age, this condition is extremely common in adults 60 years and older. In fact, it is estimated that about 10% of older adults living independent lives over the age of 65 have anemia.

Since anemia is usually caused by poor nutrition or other medical issues, such as receiving chemotherapy, vitamin deficiency, or internal bleeding, older adults are at greater risk of developing the condition.

Common symptoms of anemia are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Becoming paler (which is often first seen by checking inside the lower lids)
  • Lower blood pressure (especially if the anemia is caused by bleeding)

If you are experiencing some or all of the symptoms of anemia, your physician can perform a simple complete blood count (CBC) test to determine your overall health and detect a wide range of blood disorders including anemia.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center offers medical testing to diagnose testing.  If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, 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.

Benefits of Eating Fish Rich in Omega-3

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of non-fried fish per week.

Due to the omega-3 fatty acids in many types of seafood, the heart benefits of eating fish are numerous.  By consuming omega-3, you can reduce inflammation and help prevent heart rhythm abnormalities.  You may also improve the flexibility of your arteries and help lower your cholesterol.

According to Consumerreports.org, some of the key positive findings for eating fish are:

  • 50 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death in those who ate one fatty fish meal a week compared with a diet containing little or no seafood.
  • People who ate one serving of fish a week had a 14 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke (the type caused by a blood clot in the brain) than those who ate little or no fish.
  • Those who consumed seafood four or more times a week had a 22 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease overall vs. those who ate it less than once a month.

Some fish that are high in omega-3 are:

  • Atlantic Mackerel
  • Freshwater Coho Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Lake Trout
  • Albacore Tuna

Keep in mind that those with coronary artery disease or heart failure may not get enough omega-3 by diet alone. Most people can eat fish without being concerned, but pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children should be more careful.

 

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.