Autism Acceptance Month

Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by a range of conditions that can significantly impair behavioral, communication and social skills.

Autism -624530410There are three different types of autism spectrum disorders; they include Classic Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Each condition differs by the severity of symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) children or adults with ASD may display the following symptoms:

  • Having delays in speech and language skills
  • Not responding to their name by 12 months
  • Avoiding eye contact or wanting to be alone
  • Having difficulty understanding the feelings of others
  • Displaying unusual reactions to the way things look, feel, sound or smell
  • Repeating actions over and over
  • Not looking at objects when other people point to them
  • Repeating words or phrases in place of normal language
  • Preferring not to be cuddled or cuddling only when desired
  • Having trouble adapting to changes in daily activities
  • Displaying behaviors such as flapping hands, spinning in circles or rocking the body

The most obvious symptoms of ASD typically emerge between two to three years of age. However, in some cases, they can be identified earlier.

There are no definitive causes of ASD but it has been discovered that there are several factors that can make a child more likely to have the disorder.  The CDC asserts the following findings:

  • Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop ASD.
  • Children who have a sibling with ASD are at a higher risk of also having ASD.
  • ASD tends to occur more often in people who have certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis.
  • There is some evidence that the critical period for developing ASD occurs before, during, and immediately after birth.
  • Children born to older parents are at greater risk for having ASD.

Diagnosing ASD can be difficult as assessments are primarily based on behavior and development. There are two stages of diagnosis, the developmental screening and the comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.

Currently, there is no cure for ASD but research shows that early intervention services and treatment can improve development in children.

April is National Autism Acceptance Month, during this time, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center hopes to promote autism awareness and acceptance through education.  The hospital proudly supports the nationwide goal of building a greater understanding and acceptance of ASD.

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.

Birth Defects

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Birth defects are defined as conditions that are present when a baby is born and can affect nearly every part of the body.  Conditions such as cleft lip can be easily diagnosed.  Other conditions such as deafness or heart defects may only be discovered after diagnostic testing.

The largest number of birth defects occurs during the first three months of gestation. In the U.S. approximately 120,000 babies are born with birth defects each year.

The 10 most common birth defects in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are:

  • Down syndrome
  • Cleft lip (with or without cleft palate)
  • Atrioventricular septal defect (hole in the heart)
  • Absence or malformation of the rectum and/or large intestine
  • Gastroschisis (hole in the abdominal wall)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (a combination of heart defects)
  • Spina bifida without anencephaly
  • Reduction deformity, upper limbs
  • Reversal of the heart’s two main arteries

Although birth defects can’t always be prevented, there are plenty of steps pregnant women can take to help reduce the risk.

The womenshealth.gov website offers these suggestions:

  • Make regular visits to your doctor throughout pregnancy
  • Get 400mcg of folic acid each day through diet or supplements
  • Don’t smoke, use illegal drugs or drink alcohol while you are pregnant
  • Always check with your doctor before taking any medication
  • Get all vaccinations recommended by your doctor
  • If you have diabetes, keep it under control
  • Stick to a healthy weight

You may also request a pre-pregnancy or early pregnancy screening test in order to spot potential or real birth defects.  The types of tests include a carrier test to see if you or your partner carries potentially harmful genes, as well as screening and diagnostic tests that can determine risks for and detect genetic disorders.

If you are pregnant, or planning to be, and want to discuss your options with one of our doctors, the Women’s Health Center at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is centrally located and has convenient hours; to make an appointment call 718-291-3276.

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.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
In February 2000, President Clinton dedicated March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States today. It is estimated that 140,000 people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year and about 50,000 die from the disease.

The good news is that the disease is highly preventable by getting a regular screening. The reason that the screenings are so important is because if precancerous polyps are found early, they can be removed and treatment can be started early.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
• Family history
• Precancerous polyps
• Smoking
• People over the age of 50
•  People who have diets high in red meat and processed meat.

It is important to be checked regularly as people get older. For many people who don’t have a family history of colorectal cancer or experience symptoms of the disease, screenings can be started at age 50. If however there is a family history or symptoms exist, screenings should start by age 40 without symptoms or earlier if there are.
Screening for colorectal cancer can be done in several ways.  Some of the more common methods include:
• Checking the stool for occult blood by either a high sensitivity guaiac fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test
• CT colonoscopy
• Colonoscopy
• Sigmoidoscopy

If there is blood present in the stool, or you are experiencing unexplained abdominal pain or weight loss you should consult with your physician immediately.

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 Toothache Day

National Toothache Day occurs each year on February 9th. In honor of this observation, we are sharing a few remedies to get temporary relief from a minor toothache.

Here are a few:

  • Saltwater rinse- Saltwater is a natural antibacterial agent.  Mix 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt into a glass of warm water and use it as a mouthwash-do not swallow. This may help to reduce inflammation.
  • Hydrogen peroxide rinse- Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water and use it as a mouthwash- do not swallow.  This can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. A hydrogen peroxide rinse is not suitable for children because there is a risk that may swallow the solution.
  • Peppermint tea bags- According to WebMD, “A cooled peppermint tea bag may soothe your aching tooth and gums.”

Please keep in mind that these are short-term solutions. It is recommended that you see a dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause of your toothache and get the proper treatment.

To schedule an appointment with a dentist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6980.

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.

Cervical Health Awareness Month- The Importance of Regular Cervical Screenings

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January has been designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition and the American Social Health Association.  This initiative helps raise awareness and encourages women to receive regular screenings for cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer which is one of the most common cancers found in women.  However early detection can lessen the severity of both diseases and prevent the development of abnormal or cancerous cells.

It is recommended that women receive regular screenings to check the health of their cervixes. The frequency of screenings varies by age. The following guideline is as recommended by The American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/health-care-professionals/american-cancer-society-prevention-early-detection-guidelines/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html

In addition to receiving screenings, it is strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that women and men receive HPV vaccinations to stop the spread of the virus.

Please speak with your doctor as soon as possible about steps you can take to maintain your cervical health and remember, prevention is better than cure.

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.

Information About Breast Cancer

All cancers gets their name from the part of the body where the abnormal cells begin to develop. Breast cancer occurs when cells become abnormal and divide without order in the breast tissue of women, and in rare cases, men.

While it is not known what causes breast cancer, certain risk factors have been linked to the disease. A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of getting a particular type of cancer. Some risk factors can be controlled (e.g., smoking) and others (e.g.,age, family history) cannot be changed. Being a woman is the main risk factor for breast cancer however, other factors such as environmental exposure and diet can also play a part.

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump in the breast that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges.

Some other signs or symptoms of breast cancer include:

•              swelling of a part of the breast

•              skin irritation or dimpling of the skin on the breast

•              nipple pain or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin

•              a nipple discharge that is other than breast milk

•              a lump in the underarm area

At this time, there is no known way to prevent breast cancer. However, some preventative measures such as reducing controllable risk factors and implementing early detection methods can increase your survival rate in the event of a cancer diagnoses. Reducing your incidence of risk where possible and following guidelines for self-examination and early detection are the best course of preventative action. Early detection improves the likelihood of successful treatment and saves thousands of lives each year. Each month, it is advised that women perform breast self-exams. Early detection screening exams often find cancers before they start to cause symptoms, while they are small and still confined to the breast. Between the ages of 20 and 39, women should have a clinical breast exam every year if they are in a high-risk group or every three years if they are not. From the age of 40, women should have a mammogram screening every year.

If breast cancer is suspected in a patient, a biopsy of the cells from the breast is performed, removing cells so that they can be examined. Cancer treatment includes surgical procedures such as lumpectomy, mastectomy, and non-surgical therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. If you have been given a cancer diagnosis, don’t be afraid to seek the second opinion of a breast cancer specialist for more information and treatment options.

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.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

The month of September has been designated as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to bring attention to this very common form of cancer that affects so many men. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men and is the second leading cancer related cause of death in men. Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing it are:

  •  Older age (more than 65% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65)
  • Race (African-American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men)
  • Family history (having a father or brother with prostate cancer)
  • Obesity

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids during ejaculation. It sits just below the bladder and is normally about the side of a walnut.

Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms. When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss.

When screening is done there are two tests that are available. The available tests are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  To perform a digital rectal exam your doctor uses a gloved finger, inserted a few inches into your rectum, to check your prostate gland.  A prostate-specific antigen test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood.  Many men who have prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA, however PSA can also be elevated for less serious causes such as prostate enlargement or infection.

Further testing is needed to diagnose cancer. Additional tests that your doctor may recommend to diagnose cancer include an ultrasound of the prostate and a biopsy of the prostate.  A biopsy is when a small piece of the prostate is removed to look for abnormal cells.

Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many factors including your age, your overall health and the growth and spread of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Some men who have slow growing tumors may not need treatment right away and some may never need treatment.  Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body making treatment difficult.  Common treatment options include watchful waiting or expectant management (regular testing and checkups to assess for new signs or symptoms), radiation therapy (high-energy x-rays used to kill cancer cells), chemotherapy, surgery (having the prostate gland removed) and hormone therapy.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital to discuss a prostate cancer screening, 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 Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month – an observance that coincides with the return of children to the classroom. This convergence of events leads many parents to ask one question, “how can I ensure that my child receives a nutritious diet now that they are back in school?”

Obesity rates among children have tripled over the past three decades. It’s now estimated that  approximately 18% of children living in the United States are classified as obese. It is also estimated that children who are obese are ten times more likely to become obese as adults than other children. Since most children consume half of their daily caloric intake while in school, concentrating on providing them with a healthy and balanced diet while they are there is essential in the battle against obesity.

For many parents, the decision of whether to pack lunch from home or buy lunch from school is a difficult one. Some parents question the nutritional value of school lunches. Parents who have this concern should know that in recent years, schools have implemented new standards for the nutritional value of meals to align with U.S. dietary guidelines. Processed lunches that used to be high in fat, sugar, and sodium have been replaced with meals that meet or exceed national standards. School meals now also feature a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low or fat-free milk.

For those who still opt to pack their child’s lunch, they can improve their child’s diet and reduce their chances of becoming obese by following some simple tips:

  • Choose whole wheat breads instead of white bread when making sandwiches
  • Use fresh fruits instead of canned or processed alternatives
  • Fill a sandwich bag with something other than a sandwich. There are many other food options for your kids to snack on, such as carrots, nuts, granola, or raisins.
  • Initiate a salad day. Prepare the basics the night before and have your child choose some toppings including sliced chicken or turkey or low-fat cheese.
  • Introduce wraps as an option to a boring old sandwich. Give it extra flavor by coating with a low-fat spread and fill it with lettuce and protein.  You can cut the wrap into pinwheel slices for fun.
  • Invest in a thermos and fill it up with mac and cheese or your child’s favorite soup, stew or pasta.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water instead of sugary juice boxes or soda. Sugary drinks are considered one of the leading causes of childhood obesity.

Whether your child buys or packs lunch, it’s important to stay involved. Talk to them about what food choices they made and discuss the many benefits eating a healthy diet has on both their mind and body.

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 Warns Against Using Fireworks This July 4th Holiday

With July 4th holiday approaching, Jamaica Hospital  Medical Center wants everyone to know the potential dangers associated with fireworks so you can avoid injuring yourself or others.

Fireworks are ILLEGAL in New York State, and are extremely dangerous when they are not being used by a professional. They burn at extremely high temperatures and can rapidly burn through clothing and skin.  Items such as sparklers are mistakenly thought to be safe, but they are actually quite dangerous too.

In states where it is legal to purchase and operate fireworks, please be sure to follow the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under the close supervision of an adult
  • Never light fireworks indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks in case of fire

This year, have a safe Fourth of July and leave the firework displays to the trained professionals. If you have questions about fireworks displays and safety, you can visit The National Council on Firework Safety webpage at http://www.fireworksafety.org.  Take the test and learn just how much you know about fireworks safety.

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.