Gallstones

Have you ever experienced sudden abdominal pain and wondered if it might be gallstones?

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Gallstones form in the gall bladder, located just under the liver, and may cause no signs or symptoms. However, if a gallstone lodges in a bile duct, it could cause a blockage. Gallstone pain may last several minutes to a few hours and symptoms may include:

  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen
  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone
  • Back pain between your shoulder blades
  • Pain in your right shoulder

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. Seek immediate care if you are experiencing:

  • Abdominal pain so intense that you can’t sit still or find a comfortable position
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
  • High fever with chills

Laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder, called a cholecystectomy, is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States and is the treatment of choice for gallstones that cause moderate to severe pain. Symptoms usually do not return after the gallbladder has been removed. In a small number of cases, surgery may be done to prevent complications of gallstones.

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.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based, learning disability that affects approximately 15% of the population living in the United States.  It is the most common learning disability in the country.

People who are dyslexic find it difficult to read because they are unable to properly identify speech sounds and learn how they relate to letters and words.  They often have difficulty with writing, math and comprehension as well.

Dyslexia is a lifelong disability that cannot be cured. However, an individual can overcome its many challenges when early intervention and specialized education approaches are applied.

The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown; however, the condition tends to run in families.  In addition to genetics, there are other factors attributed to dyslexia; they include:

  • Premature birth or a low birth weight
  • Exposure to substances such as nicotine, alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy

Symptoms and signs of dyslexia vary with each individual. They may experience the following:

  • Difficulty forming words correctly –they may reverse the sound in words or confuse words that sound alike
  • Late speech
  • Difficulty remembering or naming  colors , letters and numbers
  • Reading well below average
  • Difficulty playing rhyming games or learning rhyming songs
  • Problems with math or spelling
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Disinterest in books
  • Difficulty remembering details
  • Trouble understanding puns and idioms
  • Difficulty telling right from left
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of time

A significant number of children with dyslexia go undiagnosed because symptoms are not recognized. Many children who are undiagnosed, struggle in school and grow up to be adults who are unaware that they have dyslexia; therefore, it is very important for parents to note warning signs and seek assistance from a specialist.  In most cases, a diagnosis of dyslexia is determined by a licensed educational psychologist after completing a series of evaluations.

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.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the flow of urine resulting in a person urinating when they don’t want to. The basic cause is due to loss of control of the urinary sphincter. This is a fairly common condition, occurring more frequently in women than in men.

The American Urological Association estimates that one quarter to one-third of people in the United States experiences urinary incontinence.

Types of incontinence:
• Stress Incontinence – urine leaks when there is pressure put on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects
• Urge Incontinence – the urge to urinate can be very intense and can be caused by a severe infection or a chronic condition like diabetes or a neurological condition
• Overflow Incontinence – when the bladder doesn’t empty completely it can lead to dribbling
• Functional Incontinence – when there is a physical or mental condition that inhibits you from getting to the bathroom quickly enough. (This can be due to age or a physical disability)
• Mixed Incontinence – when there is more than one factor that leads to being unable to control the flow of urine

Diagnosing urinary incontinence can be done in different ways and depends on what the underlying cause is thought to be. In men, this may include a prostate exam and in women, this may involve checking the pelvic floor. A blood test may be performed to assess kidney function. Urinalysis may show if there are signs of infection.  It may be necessary to examine the bladder by performing a post-void residual test to see if the bladder is emptying properly. A pelvic ultrasound can be used to see if there are obstructions in the ureters and bladder. A cystogram is an x-ray of the bladder. Another exam is a cystoscope whereby a tiny probe is placed into the urethra to see if there are abnormalities.

Treatment options for urinary incontinence depend on what is causing the problem. Options include muscle strengthening, delaying urination as a way of gaining control, going to the bathroom to urinate at set times to avoid a buildup of urine in the body. There are also medications that may be helpful in controlling an overactive bladder and weakened sphincters.

Senior man with bladder control problem

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.

Bursitis

According to the Mayo Clinic, Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed. The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip.

Although Bursitis typically affects the shoulder, elbow and hip, it can also affect your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.

Some symptoms of Bursitis are:

  • Achy or stiff joints
  • Pain when the joint is moved or touched
  • Redness and swelling in the affected area

The treatment of Bursitis usually includes resting the inflamed joint and guarding it from further trauma.  Bursitis pain can last for a few weeks and is prone to recurrent flare-ups.

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.

Adult Acne

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some adults continue to get acne well into their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. There is even a possibility that you can get acne for the first time as an adult.

As an adult, acne can be frustrating because the remedies you used as a teen are rendered useless or can even make your acne worse. But, how do we determine whether the marks on our skin are acne or merely a blemish?

Blemishes, or pimples, can show up on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders because these areas have the greatest number of oil glands. The marks come and go with little or no treatment. Acne, on the other hand, has a long-term effect, requires treatment and if left untreated, may leave dark spots and permanent scars on the skin.

Women who are menopausal are more likely than men of a similar age, to get what dermatologists call “adult-onset acne.”

Some other reasons for developing adult acne are:
◾Stress
◾Family history
◾Excessive use of hair and skincare products
◾Medication side effects
◾Undiagnosed medical conditions
◾Excessive consumption of carbohydrates
◾Excessive consumption of dairy

There are many do it yourself remedies, but if nothing clears your adult acne, you should see a dermatologist. With proper treatment and a great deal of patience, it can be controlled.

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.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a form of mental illness that is marked by extreme shifts in a person’s mood. Those with bipolar disorder experience periods of being overly happy to feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness.

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression.  The word “manic” describes the times when someone feels overly excited and confident, while the word “depressive” describes the times when the person feels very sad or depressed. Most people with bipolar disorder spend more time with depressive symptoms than manic ones.

During their “highs” people with bipolar disorder are often restless, act impulsive, speak in a rapid fashion, have an increased sex drive, and are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Conversely, during “the lows” those with bipolar disorder have trouble concentrating, experience changes in their appetite, require an abundance of sleep or experience insomnia, have difficulty making decisions, and experience thoughts of death or suicide.

In bipolar disorder the dramatic episodes of high and low moods do not follow a set pattern. Someone may feel the same mood state (depressed or manic) several times before switching to the opposite mood. These episodes can happen over a period of weeks, months, and sometimes even years. In between these periods, those with bipolar disorder can feel completely normal.

Signs of bipolar disorder typically first become evident during adolescence or young adulthood, but in rare cases the onset can take place during childhood. It is equally prevalent in men and women and can run in families. There is no single known cause for bipolar disease, but changes in genes, brain development and stress are all considered factors.

Diagnosing bipolar disorder is done by a trained mental health professional during an evaluation that will consist of a question and answer period. After ruling out that bipolar symptoms are not due to another cause, a doctor can outline a treatment plan that takes into account the severity, frequency, and length of symptoms.

The good news is there is treatment for bipolar disorder, but it is a long-term and on-going process that requires regular therapy and usually medication management. Medications prescribed are intended to stabilize the patient’s mood and avoid them from experiencing extreme highs and lows.

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.

Learn The Facts About Epilepsy

Epilepsy also referred to as a “seizure disorder,” is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. Those with this neurological disorder experience abnormal brain activity, which results in unpredictable and unprovoked seizures as well as other unusual behaviors, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.

Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, seizures can affect any process the brain coordinates. Seizure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Temporary confusion
  • A staring spell
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety or déjà vu

A person with epilepsy may experience different symptoms than others with the same disorder. In most cases however, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.

While epilepsy has no identifiable cause, about half the cases can be traced to a variety of different factors, including:

  • Family history
  • Head trauma
  • Stroke
  • Infectious diseases, such as meningitis encephalitis, or AIDS
  • Developmental disorders, including autism

Medications or surgery can control seizures for the majority of people with epilepsy. Some people require lifelong treatment to control seizures, but for others, the seizures eventually go away. Some children with epilepsy may outgrow the condition with age.

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 My Pain From Osteoarthritis Or A Similar Condition ?

Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease that typically affects parts of the body where joints are weight bearing such as the knees, hips, spine, hands or feet. It is caused by the wearing down of cartilage which is the tissue that cushions the bones where they meet each other to form a joint. Over time, the loss of cartilage will lead to bone rubbing against bone which causes them to erode and become painful with motion.

Osteoarthritis is sometimes mistaken for similar diseases that also cause joint pain. Some of these diseases include:

  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Lyme disease
                   

A characteristic that distinguishes osteoarthritis from these diseases is the way that joint pain presents itself. For those suffering from osteoarthritis, pain usually occurs as a result of exertion of the joints, and typically occur during or after movement. The diseases that present with some of the same characteristics, movement within a joint is not usually reason for the pain to occur.

Diagnosing osteoarthritis is done by performing lab tests to check for indicators in the blood and also by performing x-rays to check for distinctive patterns of bone and joint involvement.

If you are experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis such as joint pain or limited mobility, you can make an appointment with a specialist known as a rheumatologist who can make a diagnosis. Treatment of the disease may include medications, therapy or surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center please call 718-206-6742.

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.

Learn The Facts About TMJ Syndrome

The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, it can lead to a localized pain disorder called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

The main symptom of TMJ syndrome is pain or stiffness in the jaw joint and in the surrounding areas. Other symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Ear pain or ringing of the ears (tinnitus)
  • Shoulder or neck pain
  • Popping or clicking sound coming from the jaw
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Blurred vision, dizziness or vertigo

The exact cause for developing TMJ syndrome is difficult to determine. There are many factors that can contribute to this condition. In some cases, pain may be the result of a jaw injury or another medical condition such as arthritis. In other cases, it can be caused by correctable action such as poor posture or excessive gum chewing. In many cases, TMJ syndrome is the result of habitually clenching or grinding of the teeth.  Stress and anxiety can also play a role in the onset of the condition.

TMJ syndrome can occur on one side of the jaw or both. It is usually a temporary condition and in most cases symptoms can be relieved with self–care and home remedies. Taking anti-inflammatory medications and applying ice or cold compresses to the jaw are suggested ways to relieve pain. Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum while pain is present is also recommended.  Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques and self-massage or stretching techniques have proven effective to reduce pain associated with TMJ syndrome. If these practices are not effective, your dentist can have you fitted for a dental splint or mouth guard to maintain proper alignment of the teeth and prevent grinding. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the condition.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated, you can speak to your doctor or dentist about treating the condition.

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 Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne respiratory disease which can spread rapidly when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. It mainly affects the lungs, but other organs such as the kidneys, spine, or brain are sometimes involved.

TB impacts all ages, races, income levels, and both genders. Most TB cases in the U.S. are brought in from foreign countries, but those at risk include people who live or work with others who have TB, including healthcare workers, the homeless, and those in group settings like nursing homes. Those with impaired immune systems like Intravenous drug users, the elderly, and HIV patients are also at risk. For someone with diabetes, the risk of contracting TB is 2-3x more likely.  However, repeated exposure to the germs is usually necessary before a person will become infected.

TB is diagnosed with a TB skin test. Additional tests to determine if a person has TB disease include X-rays and sputum tests.

Stages of TB are:

Exposure — contact or exposure to another person who is thought to have or does have TB. The exposed person will have a negative skin test, a normal chest X-ray, and no signs or symptoms of the disease.

Latent TB infection – diagnosed TB bacteria infection, but no symptoms of the disease. TB organisms can remain dormant in the body throughout life in 90 percent of people who are infected.  This person would have a positive skin test, but a normal chest X-ray.

TB disease — signs and symptoms of an active infection determined by a positive skin test and a positive chest X-ray.

The symptoms of TB may resemble other lung conditions or medical problems. If you would like to make an appointment for a TB skin test, please contact the Ambulatory Care Center at Jamaica Hospital Hospital Medical Center 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.