Tips For Living With AFib

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common forms of heart arrhythmia.  It is estimated that up to six million people living in the United States are affected by this condition.

When a person has AFib their heartbeat is irregular. The upper chambers of the heart are out of sync with the lower chambers.  Irregularities in the rhythm of the heart can increase their risk for complications such as stroke or heart failure.

Living with AFib poses challenges that can affect several aspects of a person’s health.  However, there are lifestyle changes that can be applied to help improve quality of life.  Here are a few:

  • Diet- A heart-healthy diet is important for overall good health and offers many benefits to those living with AFib. Eat foods that are low in sodium and fat. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is recommended as these substances have been known to trigger AFib episodes.
  • Using medications as advised- There are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that can have adverse effects. Some OTC cold medications and nasal sprays may contain substances that aggravate AFib. Certain multivitamins and herbal remedies, when combined with prescription medications, can also result in adverse reactions. Therefore, it is highly recommended to speak with a physician before taking any drugs or supplements.
  • Exercise- Adopting an exercise routine that fits your life can help strengthen your heart and improve stamina. As a person living with AFib, it is advised that you speak with your doctor about your exercise regimen because participating in activities that are too rigorous may lead to complications. Exercise also promotes the production of feel-good hormones.
  • Keep stress levels low- High levels of stress or intense bouts of anger can cause heart rates to quicken- this is not good for AFib. Find ways to keep stress to a minimum. Participating in activities such as taking walks or yoga can help to alleviate stress and decrease depression or anxiety.

The key to improving your health while living with AFib involves incorporating these tips as well as communicating with your doctor.   He or she will recommend a care plan for you to follow.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

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

Suicide Prevention- Pay Attention to The Signs

Suicide prevention-467918329An estimated 1 million Americans attempt suicide each year. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Ninety percent of people who committed suicide had treatable mental health disorders that went unnoticed.   Suicides can be prevented if signs associated with the mental health disorder are recognized and addressed immediately.

There are several signs that may indicate that a person is suffering from a mental health issue and is contemplating suicide. If someone you know exhibits the following behaviors, do not dismiss them as a passing phase:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Self-loathing
  • Changes in sleep patterns; which can either be excessive sleep or a deprivation of sleep
  • Irritability or anger
  • Talking about harming themselves
  • Loss of interest in daily activities or things they were once passionate about
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • A preoccupation with death
  • Getting their affairs in order in preparation for death
  • Verbalizing thoughts such as “ Everyone will be better without me”  or “I  have nothing  to live for”
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

These actions are a cry for help. It is important to let your loved one know that you have recognized changes in their behavior, they are not alone and you are there to support them through this difficult time.  Speak openly about what they are feeling and ensure them they will not be judged because they feel suicidal.  Seek the help of a mental health professional immediately.  Insist on accompanying this person to their consultation or treatment. Continue to demonstrate your support during treatment by reminding them to take prescribed medications, keeping up with physician appointments and encouraging a positive lifestyle.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or demonstrating suicidal behaviors, get help immediately. Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK

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.

7 Ways to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

Very often we take bladder health for granted until a problem starts to develop. Bladder problems can lead to discomfort, difficulty urinating, frequency in urination and in some cases, mad dashes to the bathroom.

The good news is by taking an active role in your bladder health you can avoid infections and reduce the risk of developing several medical problems. Here are seven ways you can help improve your bladder’s health and help it to function properly.

  1. Don’t wait long to use the bathroom. Holding in urine can add pressure to the bladder and increase the risk of developing infections.
  2. Do not rush when emptying your bladder. Rushing may result in your bladder not emptying completely- this can lead to bladder infections.
  3. Avoid food or drinks that contain irritants. Certain food or drinks that contain ingredients such as caffeine, artificial sweeteners, acid, spices, excessive amounts of salt and alcohol can worsen bladder problems.
  4. Drink enough water throughout the day. Drinking your daily recommended amount of water can help flush out bacteria in the urinary tract and help prevent bladder infections.
  5. Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. Kegels are a good way for men and women to maintain bladder control.
  6. Avoid constipation by adding fiber to your diet. Constipation often results in a full rectum which adds pressure to the bladder.
  7. Urinate after having intercourse. Men and women should try to urinate after sexual intercourse. This helps to flush away bacteria that may have entered during sex.

If you are experiencing difficulty urinating or have questions about maintaining bladder health, please call Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 718-670-5588 to schedule an appointment with a urologist.

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.

Heart Disease and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve and sustain an erection firm enough for intercourse) may serve as an early warning sign of the development of more serious health issues, such as heart disease.   According to Harvard Health Publications, ‘erections “serve as a barometer for overall health,” and that erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of trouble in the heart or elsewhere.’

Studies have shown that if a man has erectile dysfunction (ED), he is at a greater risk of having heart disease.  Some experts suggest that men with ED who have no obvious cause such as trauma and no symptoms of heart problems should be proactive and receive an assessment to determine their risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease and erectile dysfunction share many risk factors including:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol intake
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Low testosterone
  • Obesity

If you are believed to be at risk for heart disease and have ED, your doctor may recommend applying lifestyle changes that may include drinking alcohol in moderation or none at all, quitting smoking, exercising and eating a balanced diet.  For those diagnosed with ED and heart disease your doctor may explore treatment options that include medication management to help regulate both health issues

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.

Flushing Hospital Supports World Breastfeeding Week

Each year, August first to seventh is designated World Breast Feeding Week to encourage breastfeeding around the world and improve the health of babies.

World Breastfeeding Week was created 25 years ago by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to promote the health benefits infants receive from being fed breastmilk exclusively for the first six months of life. The observation is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

Organizations including WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics have found that in addition to being an optimal source of nutrition, breastfeeding offers babies protection from bacteria and viruses that can lead to potential life threatening diseases.  Breastfeeding also benefits mothers; women who choose to breastfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer, diabetes and post-partum depression.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center promotes exclusive breastfeeding. Our hospital provides several social and clinical programs created to support pregnant and nursing mothers. Some our programs include breastfeeding education classes and breastfeeding support groups. We now offer a Mother’s Nursing Room on the ground floor of the main hospital lobby. This allows women more privacy to feed their babies or pump milk in a clean and spacious environment

For more information about the services we provide, please visit www.FlushingHospital.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.

Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

A person who is obese has far more weight than what is considered healthy for their body type. Obesity is a serious and at times life-threatening condition that can contribute to health problems such as diabetes, stroke, some cancers and heart disease.

In some cases losing weight can reduce the risk of developing these chronic health conditions.  According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases.”

Maintaining a proper diet and exercising regularly are lifestyle modifications that can help combat obesity; however, not everyone who applies these practices is able to lose weight on their own. If diet or exercise does not yield sufficient results and a patient’s weight continues to pose a risk for developing complications, their doctor may suggest weight loss surgery.

One of the procedures a physician may recommend is a sleeve gastrectomy.  This operation is often utilized for patients who are too heavy to safely undergo other types of weight loss surgery.

A sleeve gastrectomy requires the surgical removal of part of the stomach. This permanently reduces its size by approximately 25% (about the size of a banana).  The surgeon then creates a new tube-shaped stomach or “gastric sleeve.” With a smaller stomach, food intake is restricted and the patient will feel fuller more quickly. This procedure is irreversible and usually performed laparoscopically.

Most patients experience several health benefits after receiving a sleeve gastrectomy, some of which may include:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Controlled type 2 diabetes
  • Improved cholesterol
  • Lowered blood pressure

Each case is unique to the individual and it is important to keep in mind that all surgical procedures have their risks.  Please speak with your doctor about which weight loss surgeries may be best for you.

Overcoming obesity can be difficult. You may have tried several weight loss treatments or methods to lose weight, but were unsuccessful. Fortunately, bariatric surgery is an option that often yields results and success stories. Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers a unique and multidisciplinary program that involves a complete mind, body and wellness approach to weight loss surgery. For more information about the Bariatric Surgery Services at Flushing Hospital or procedures performed by our doctors, please call 718-670-8908.

 

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.

Breast Cancer Surgery

Surgery is a common and effective treatment used to fight breast cancer. Depending on the stage of the disease as well as other factors such as the location or size of the tumor, a doctor may recommend undergoing breast- conserving surgery or a mastectomy.

Breast-conserving surgery (also known as a lumpectomy) is the least invasive and is performed only when the cancer and a portion or margin of surrounding tissue need to be removed.

Mastectomies, which are more invasive, often require the removal of the entire breast. There are several types of mastectomies, however, the most commonly used procedures include:

  • Total or simple mastectomy- This procedure requires the removal of the entire breast with the exception of muscle tissue and underarm lymph nodes beneath the breast.
  • Skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomy- Removes all of the breast tissue but saves as much of the skin of the breast, nipple or areola as possible.
  • Modified radical mastectomy- The removal of the entire breast, overlying skin and underarm lymph nodes is required. This procedure is a modification of the more extensive radical mastectomy of which the entire breast, lymph nodes, nipples and chest wall muscle is removed. According to the American Cancer Society, this surgery is rarely done now because the modified technique has proven to be just as effective with fewer side effects.  Radical mastectomies may still be performed to remove large tumors that grow into the pectoral muscles.

If the option is available after breast cancer removal surgery, a woman can choose to undergo breast reconstruction surgery.  This operation is performed to rebuild the shape and appearance of the breast.

Some women may need to receive additional treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted therapy after surgery.   The course of treatment required varies from person to person.

 

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.

Stiff Neck

Whether it has occurred when first waking in the morning or developed after performing strenuous activities; most people have experienced a stiff neck at some point in their lives.

A stiff neck, typically characterized by limited mobility (commonly from side to side) and pain is often caused by muscle strain, inflammation of the joints or soft tissue sprain.

Examples of activities that may contribute to a stiff neck include:

  • Looking at smartphones or similar electronic devices for an extended period of time
  • Driving for a long period of time
  • Sleeping with the neck in an awkward position
  • Falling or sudden impact
  • Turning the head repeatedly from side to side during an activity
  • Experiencing prolonged periods of stress, which can lead to tension of neck muscles

The following self-care treatments can be applied for mild cases of a stiff neck:

  • Heat or cold therapy
  • Resting the neck by reducing activities that require frequent movement
  • Over-the-counter medications ( used as recommended or as advised by a physician)
  • Low impact exercises
  • Massages

On rare occasions, a stiff neck may be indicative of a more serious health condition. If a stiff neck is accompanied by the following symptoms, it is advised that medical attention is sought right away:

  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Coordination issues
  • Changes in mental state (confusion or mood swings)

It is also recommended that you see a doctor if milder symptoms of a stiff neck including pain and limited mobility do not improve after a week.

 

 

 

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 Hysterectomies

woman with doctor 486487591 (1)A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing a woman’s uterus.   It is a common operation, in fact, the CDC reports that an estimated 11.7 percent of women between the ages of 40-44 have had a hysterectomy and approximately 600,000 procedures are performed annually.

Hysterectomies are used to treat several health conditions, some of which include:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Gynecologic cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Adenomyosis

Hysterectomies can be performed utilizing several techniques.  Based on the course of treatment that is best for you, your surgeon may recommend one of the following options:

  • Abdominal hysterectomy
  • Laparoscopic-assisted abdominal hysterectomy
  • Vaginal hysterectomy
  • Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy
  • Robotic- assisted hysterectomy

Procedures may require the complete or partial removal of the uterus.  If a complete removal is required, a total hysterectomy may be performed. In the case where the uterus and surrounding structures such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries need to be removed, a radical hysterectomy is often recommended. Treatment involving the partial removal of the uterus may include a supracervical hysterectomy.

As with all surgical procedures there are risks to consider.  However some techniques can offer patients a reduced risk of complications such as pain and bleeding. Laparoscopic and robotic assisted hysterectomies may result in less pain, minimal bleeding, a lower risk in infection and shorter hospital stays.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has a full program to provide total health care to women. Our highly trained specialists utilize the latest techniques and equipment, such as ultrasonography, color Doppler, laser, laparoscopic and robotic surgery, in the diagnoses and treatment of female disorders. Robotic surgeons at Flushing Hospital are board certified or board approved and have performed countless procedures resulting in high rates of success.

 

 

Gynecological procedures performed robotically by Flushing Hospital’s team of surgeons include hysterectomy, ovarian cystectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, sacrocolpopexy, tubal reanastomosis, dermoid cystectomy and more.

For more information or to make an appointment please call, 718-670-8994

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.

Dark Chocolate and Other Home Remedies for Colds

chocolate-99508567Having a coughing fit?  A piece of dark chocolate may calm your cough. In research conducted by London’s Imperial College, it was found that theobromine, an alkaloid found in cocoa, suppresses coughs. According to WebMD, “Researchers say theobromine appears to calm coughs by suppressing the vagal nerve activity.” In other words, the ingredient helps to protect the nerve endings in your throat which triggers your urge to cough.

In addition to eating dark chocolate in moderation, here are a few more home remedies that can help to quiet your cough:

It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before trying these remedies, as each person’s case and medical condition is unique.

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.