Pulmonary Medicine

Two doctors having a discussion about an x-ray of a human lung

The specialty of Pulmonary Medicine concentrates on the respiratory system which includes the lungs, the upper airways, the thoracic cavity and the chest wall. Doctors that work with the pulmonary system are called pulmonologists. Some of the illnesses that they treat include asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) emphysema, lung cancer, and occupational lung diseases.
Flushing Hospital’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine offers a wide range of services to help diagnose and treat patients with lung disease.
Some of the diagnostic testing performed in the Pulmonary Function Lab includes:
• Spirometry
• Lung Volumes (nitrogen washout or body plethysmography)
• Diffusing capacity
• Arterial Blood Gas Testing
• Pulmonary Stress Test
• Six-minute Walk Test
• Sputum Induction
• Cold Air Exchange
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

Artificial Sweetners

Sweetener

Anyone who has ever tried to watch their weight, protect their teeth, or has been told that they have diabetes, has probably tried something made with an artificial sweetener. The concept of using sugar substitutes has been around for a very long time.  A researcher at Johns Hopkins University accidently discovered a product that would be developed into what we now know as saccharin in 1879. The use of artificial sweeteners as part of our daily lives became more prevalent in the mid 20th century.

There are six sugar substitutes that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in foods and beverages. These are aspartame, sucralose, stevia, neotame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium. These products are very sweet and therefore only very small quantities need to be added to food and beverages to make them taste good.  For as long as these products made with artificial sweeteners have been available there has been controversy over any harmful side effects that they may pose. So far the FDA has not been able to substantiate any claims of harmful effects from their use.

As people in the United States have become more health conscious, the use of products made with artificial sweeteners has increased.  More and more products are being produced each year that are labeled “Sugar Free”, “Diet”, “Low-Cal”, “Light”, or “Artificially Sweetened”. People are naturally attracted to foods that taste sweet. It has been stated that the taste of sugar may even be addictive. While limiting the intake of sugar may be seen as a good trend, people seem to be consuming more of the artificially sweetened products which may not be beneficial in the long term. Over indulgence in products that are made with these artificial sweeteners can still cause weight gain.

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 Save Your Vision Month

Ophthalmologist examining a woman's eyes with a slit lamp

The month of March has been designated as “National Save Your Vision Month” by the American Optometric Association as a way to promote good eye health. This year, the campaign wants to bring attention to eye problems that can occur at work. More people are using electronic devices for both work and for pleasure than ever before and this can lead to eye problems for some people. This year the campaign wants to bring attention to eye problems that can occur at work.
People who use computers all the time, especially at work, should be aware of developing dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain. This is because the eyes are focused for long periods of time on an object that is at a fixed distance rather than seeing objects that are moving or at varying distances which allow the muscles of the eyes to constantly move. Also, people who use computer screens for long periods of time don’t blink as frequently and this can lead to dry eyes. To alleviate some of these problems it is important to take a break from time to time and look out a window or at least look around the room.
Some tips for good eye health include keeping the computer monitor about twenty inches from your eyes, keeping the top of the screen tilted a little below eye level, the screen should be kept clean to avoid anything that can blur the images. It is also important to eat a healthy diet which will keep the eyes well nourished.
Regular eye exams can detect problems before they become serious. Correcting faulty vision early this can prevent the problem from becoming serious later on. If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

Pneumonia

Examining chest x-ray

Examining chest x-ray

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can be caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi. It is characterized by the air sacs in the lungs becoming inflamed and filling up with fluid or pus.  Pneumonia can vary in severity from very mild to life threatening and it is most serious in infants, young children, people who are older than 65 and people who have weakened immune systems. There are two ways it can affect the lungs: Lobar pneumonia is when only one lobe is affected and bronchial pneumonia is when both lungs are affected.
Since pneumonia affects the lungs, it can severely limit the ability of oxygen to reach the blood stream, affecting other organs’ ability to function properly.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia include:
• Difficulty breathing that causes chest pain
• Fatigue
• Cough with phlegm
• Fever, chills, sweating
• Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
• Rapid heartbeat
• Confusion
Risk factors for pneumonia include:
• Cigarette smoking
• Chronic lung disease (COPD, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis)
• Diabetes
• Cerebral Palsy
• Immunosuppression
• After surgery
There are a few ways to proactively prevent pneumonia. Anyone can develop pneumonia but those who are at high risk can ask their physician about getting a pneumonia vaccine. Practicing good hygiene and washing your hands frequently with soap and water and also using a hand sanitizer can be useful. It is also important to keep the body healthy by getting enough rest, proper nutrition, and exercise.
Pneumonia is diagnosed through a physical exam which will include listening to the lungs with a stethoscope and also may include a chest x-ray. Additional testing may include a blood test to check the white blood cell count, a sputum test, pulse oximetry or a bronchoscopy.
The treatment of simple pneumonia depends on the agent that is causing it. Many cases can be treated with antibiotics, cough medicine and fever reducer/pain reliever. More complex cases may require hospitalization and IV antibiotics. If you are having difficulty breathing it is important to get checked by a physician to diagnose the reason why. To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

Staph Infection on the Skin

Red pimple

Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) is a group of bacteria that can cause many diseases. It is commonly found on the skin in most people and it usually doesn’t cause infection until it enters the body through breaks in the skin or with food. These infections can range from being mild (not requiring any treatment) to very severe.
When staph infections develop on the skin, they can take on many different forms depending on the severity. The wound may be superficial (boils, abscess, furuncle) or deep (cellulitis). Usually these skin lesions are red, swollen and tender to the touch. There may also be pus that drains from the infection site. Severe infections which have entered the blood stream cause sepsis and manifest with high fever, chills, low blood pressure, and eventually shock.
Staph infections tend to be contagious when there is direct skin to skin contact with an infected wound.  They can also be transmitted with shared razors, gloves, socks, needles, and bandages. Prevention of staph infections can be achieved with frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with open wounds, and thorough cleansing of scrapes and cuts as soon as they occur.
People who are at higher risk for developing staph infections include:
• Diabetics
• Newborns
• Patients with cancer, lung disease, and vascular disease
• Intravenous drug users
• People with weakened immune systems
Treatment for staph infections depends on the severity. If it is a minor skin lesion, cleaning it with soap and water regularly may be sufficient whereas other wounds may require topical antibiotic ointments. More severe wounds will require surgical intervention and oral or intravenous antibiotics to control further spreading and eventually resolve the infection.
Minor skin rashes in children can be treated by a pediatrician and for adults by an internist or family medicine doctor.  More severe wounds and wounds that are difficult to heal may require the specialized care offered in the wound care clinic. To schedule an appointment with the appropriate physician, please call 718-670-5486.

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 Could Wrist Pain be Telling You ?

Wrist pain

Wrist pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is characterized by numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand caused by pressure exerted on a major nerve and tendons in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist through which passes the median nerve and these tendons.  It usually starts gradually with numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers that at first may appear to come and go and then as it progressively worsens, remains constant. Four out of the five fingers will eventually be affected, the little finger is exempt. It generally affects women more frequently than men.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
• Tingling or numbness of the thumb, index finger and middle fingers
• Weakness of the hand with difficulty holding on to objects
Compression of the median nerve can be caused by a few different factors. Some people have naturally occurring smaller carpal tunnels which can lead to increased likely hood of damage. Any damage to that area of the wrist can cause a problem. A previous wrist fracture or anything that may cause swelling in that area can lead to the problem developing. In addition, there are certain health related issues such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and arthritis which can be associated with this condition.
Temporary relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be addressed  by:
• taking quick breaks from repetitive activities of the hand
• rotate your wrists and stretch your palms and fingers
• avoid sleeping on your hands and wrists
• ultrasound therapy which makes the area of the wrist warm and more flexible

Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome really depends on what the cause is and how severe it has become.  If symptoms appear, never wait too long before seeking treatment options as this can lead to permanent damage. Some simple remedies include stopping any activity that may be compressing the nerve, putting ice on the wrist for 10 – 15 minutes once or twice an hour, taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, and wearing a night splint to take the pressure off of the nerve. Some cases can be helped with injections of corticosteroids. When the condition is really severe, surgical intervention may be required.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and would like to be treated by a orthopedic physician at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

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 to Know About Bacterial Skin Disorders

Red pimple

Red pimple

Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) is a group of bacteria that can cause many diseases. It is commonly found on the skin in most people and it usually doesn’t cause infection until it enters the body through breaks in the skin or with food. These infections can range from being mild (not requiring any treatment) to very severe.
When staph infections develop on the skin, they can take on many different forms depending on the severity. The wound may be superficial (boils, abscess, furuncle) or deep (cellulitis). Usually these skin lesions are red, swollen and tender to the touch. There may also be pus that drains from the infection site. Severe infections which have entered the blood stream cause sepsis and manifest with high fever, chills, low blood pressure, and eventually shock.
Staph infections tend to be contagious when there is direct skin to skin contact with an infected wound.  They can also be transmitted with shared razors, gloves, socks, needles, and bandages. Prevention of staph infections can be achieved with frequent hand washing, avoiding contact with open wounds, and thorough cleansing of scrapes and cuts as soon as they occur.
People who are at higher risk for developing staph infections include:
• Diabetics
• Newborns
• Patients with cancer, lung disease, and vascular disease
• Intravenous drug users
• People with weakened immune systems
Treatment for staph infections depends on the severity. If it is a minor skin lesion, cleaning it with soap and water regularly may be sufficient whereas other wounds may require topical antibiotic ointments. More severe wounds will require surgical intervention and oral or intravenous antibiotics to control further spreading and eventually resolve the infection.
Minor skin rashes in children can be treated by a pediatrician and for adults by an internist or family medicine doctor.  More severe wounds and wounds that are difficult to heal may require the specialized care offered in the wound care clinic. To schedule an appointment with the appropriate physician, please call 718-670-5486.

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.

History of Eyeglasses

Over 60 percent of the adult population in the United States today wears eyeglasses. Modern day eyeglasses have their roots that date back more than 1000 years. In the middle ages Monks were known to use reading stones that were glass spheres, sometimes filled with water,  that were placed on top of objects in order to magnify them. The first documented use of eyeglasses was attributed to being developed in Italy.  In the 13th century Venetian glass blowers made the first solid glass lenses that were held by frames and that were a primitive version of modern day wearable eyeglasses.
In the 17th century eyeglasses started to be made that could correct vision. Glasses could be made with either concave lenses, for nearsightedness, or convex lenses for farsightedness. Benjamin Franklin invented bifocal lenses in 1784. Glass was the material used in the production of eyeglasses for centuries until the latter part of the 20th century when plastic became widely used in eyeglasses as it was lighter and safer than glass. Now many eyeglasses are being made from polycarbonate which is lighter still and more resilient to scratches.

To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486

Antique eyeglasses

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.

Emergency Preparedness Kit

Emergency Survival Preparedness Kit

When disaster hits there is often very little time to prepare. By taking the time to gather a few items in advance for yourself and your loved ones, you will be able to get through the first few days until help arrives.

An Emergency Preparedness Kit should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day, a minimum of a three day supply
  • Nonperishable food and easy to prepare items, three day supply per person
  • Battery powered radio
  • Battery powered flashlight
  • Cell Phone and chargers
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes
  • Garbage bags
  • Diapers and formula for people with babies
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Insurance documents
  • List of important contact names and numbers
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a water proof container
  • Three day supply of pet food
  • Personal  hygiene items
  • Paper and pencil
  • Paper cups, plates, utensils, paper towels
  • Towels, blankets, sleeping bags, pillows
  • Rain gear
  • Gloves

By keeping these items in a safe, easy to access place in your home, they will serve you well in case of an unforeseen emergency. For further information regarding Emergency Preparedness, there is information available on the following websites:

http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90354

http://www.redcrossstore.org

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 experience 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.
If surgery is necessary, Flushing Hospital offers the latest in robotic surgical treatment options. If you are having symptoms of urinary incontinence and would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss these treatment options, please call 718-670-5486.

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.