How Smoking Affects Your Voice

Smoking has many negative effects on your health, one of which is causing long-term damage to your vocal cords.  According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, or NIDCD, “Smoking is a form of vocal cord abuse.”

Frequent damage to the vocal cords can result in changes in the way your voice works and sounds. In some instances, damages may lead to the loss of your voice or chronic laryngitis.

Smoking also leads to more serious illnesses such as cancer which can develop on your larynx or voice box.  Laryngeal cancer can spread to other parts of the body such as the back of the tongue and your lungs.   Smokers are more at risk of premature death caused by laryngeal cancer than non-smokers.

Symptoms of this form of cancer include:

  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Constant coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Trouble breathing

There are several treatments available, one of which is surgically removing the larynx.   After surgery, you will not be able to speak or breathe in the usual way. Instead, breathing will be made possible by way of a permanent hole in your neck (stoma).  Speech may be aided by using an artificial larynx.

Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make for your health.  Smokers are at greater risk of developing illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. However, quitting can reduce your risk and put you on a path to better health.

The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Flushing Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”. Flushing Hospital’s Medical Home Department has partnered with the American Lung Association to bring you Freedom from Smoking, a comprehensive and successful group-based smoking cessation program. Classes are forming. For more information or to register, call: 718 206 8494

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.

Why Are Comprehensive Eye Exams Important?

Many people decide to see an eye doctor when they have experienced a change in their vision. However, it is advised that whether or not there has been a change in your sight, you should make checking your eyes a priority.

Comprehensive examinations can help doctors to not only detect existing and potential eye problems but can also provide signs of other health complications that may be developing in your body.

Routine exams can identify signs of eye problems that develop silently as well as serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and brain tumors.

How often you receive a complete eye exam depends on several factors including, age, family history, if you wear glasses or contacts and if you are at risk for developing eye disease. Most eye experts agree that you should have your eyes examined every one or two years.

During your visit, your doctor may perform the following tests or procedures to help determine the current status of your health:

  • Visual Acuity Tests- to measure the sharpness of your vision.
  • Cover Test- to check how well your eyes work together.
  • Slit Lamp Exam- to examine the structures of your eye. Several eye diseases and health conditions can be detected during a slit lamp exam such as diabetic retinopathy, corneal ulcers, macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Glaucoma Test- to measure the pressure of your eyes and identify signs of glaucoma.
  • Pupil Dilation- to obtain a better view when looking inside your eyes. This allows the doctor to perform a thorough examination which is crucial for people who are at risk for developing eye disease.

Getting your eyes checked as recommended is highly important for your vision and overall health.  Your doctor can identify and create a successful care plan for many diseases while in their early stages.

The Division of Ophthalmology at Flushing Hospital offers a full range of comprehensive medical, diagnostic, and surgical services. From annual eye examinations to surgical procedures, our board certified and fellowship trained ophthalmologists are dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of eye disorders and ophthalmic conditions. To schedule an exam, 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.

Winter Pregnancy Tips

Winter presents several factors that can make being pregnant challenging.  Extremely cold temperatures and other severe weather conditions can put expectant mothers at risk for injuries. The cold-weather season is also the peak time of year for illnesses such as the flu to develop.

It is very important for pregnant women to follow proper safety and preventative measures to remain healthy and reduce the chances of an accident.  Here are a few:

  1. Dress appropriately– Pregnant women have an altered center of gravity. Wearing heels or other impractical footwear is not recommended, especially in icy or slippery conditions. Consider shoes that are flat and are designed with safety features such as rubber and slip-resistant bottoms. It is also important to wear warm clothing, dress in layers if necessary.
  2. Take measures to prevent the flu– According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza (flu) activity increases during October and November and peaks between December and February. During these months, the CDC recommends that moms-to-be receive the flu shot and practice preventative actions such as washing their hands to keep the flu at bay.
  3. Exercise safely- When temperatures are frigid and there is snow or ice on the ground, exercising indoors is best. Activities such as mall walking or joining a class at the gym are both suggested options for those experiencing cabin fever.
  4. Stay hydrated- Dry temperatures indoors and outdoors causes our bodies to lose water and moisture in the winter. Expectant moms should be mindful of their water intake and try to stay hydrated, as severe dehydration can lead to preterm labor.
  5. Eat a healthy diet- It is important to eat balanced meals. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables each day can help to boost the immune system.

Following these tips can help pregnant women to stay safe and healthy during the winter season. However, it is recommended that expectant mothers speak to their doctors to learn about all the ways they can reduce their risk of injuries and prevent winter-related illnesses from developing. To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-8992.

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.

Tips for Dealing With Holiday Stress

During the holiday season, many of us struggle to complete an extensive list of tasks in what often feels like very little time.   We run rampant decorating our homes, attending social gatherings, shopping for loved ones, volunteering, traveling or cooking.  These activities are often added to our already busy schedules, which can make us feel overwhelmed.

Contrary to what we may think, these activities which should make us feel happy can actually increase our stress levels.

Although there are various factors such as unrealistic expectations or financial strain that contribute to holiday stress, finding ways to avoid stressors or minimize their effects is very important. If stress is not managed well, it can have a significantly negative impact on our health.

Here are five tips to help you cope with holiday stress and maintain your  mental health:

  1. Set realistic goals– Unrealistic goals often equal added pressure and expectations that cannot be met. If these goals are not met, they can lead to negative feelings such as inadequacy or hopelessness.
  2. Know when to take a moment for yourself (Take a break) – We are often pulled in multiple directions during this time of the year. Know when to take a breather to decompress and clear your mind.
  3. Communicate- The added pressures of the holidays are clearly overwhelming and one of the ways that people sometimes deal with this is to isolate themselves. This is not recommended; instead, reach out to loved ones or a trained mental health professional to communicate how you feel.
  4. Do not neglect healthy habits– Taking good care of your health can help combat holiday stress. Moderating your food intake, fitting in a few minutes of exercise and getting adequate amounts of sleep can be profoundly beneficial for your health.   Additionally, maintaining a healthy daily routine can help take your mind off holiday demands.
  5. Ask for help- We live in a time where multitasking has become the norm but if you begin to feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Soliciting the help of friends or family can alleviate some of the holiday pressure. The holidays can also trigger depression; if you are experiencing symptoms of depression ask for help from loved ones or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

The holiday season can be overwhelming; however, by applying these helpful tips you can take the steps needed to minimize stress and make this time of year more enjoyable.  If you find that you continue to experience elevated levels of stress or symptoms of depression, it is recommended that you seek the help of mental health professional immediately.

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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.

Moderating Kids’ Sugar Consumption During the Holidays

Eating holiday treats such as sugar cookies, cakes or pies is one of the reasons children look forward to this time of year. In the spirit of generosity and good cheer, we may allow them to indulge more than usual. However, it is important to remember these types of foods are laden with large amounts of sugar and we should continue to moderate the amounts that children consume.

The American Heart Association recommends, “Preschoolers with a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories shouldn’t consume any more than 170 calories, or about 4 teaspoons, of added sugar a day. Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons a day.  As your child grows into his pre-teen and teen years, and his caloric range increases to 1,800 to 2,000 a day, the maximum amount of added sugar included in his daily diet should be 5 to 8 teaspoons.”

Many holiday desserts contain more than the daily recommended amounts of sugar in each serving.  For instance, there can be as much as three teaspoons of sugar in a medium slice of carrot cake (1/12 of 16 oz. cake).

Too much sugar can negatively affect children’s health. Excessive amounts have been shown to weaken their immune systems, promote tooth decay and increase the risk of obesity which further leads to more complicated health conditions such as diabetes.

There are several steps you can take to moderate your child’s sugar consumption, here are a few:

  • Allow treats only on special occasions
  • Read labels
  • Swap sugary snacks for healthier options
  • When baking, opt for recipes that include sugar substitutes or reduced amounts of sugar
  • Inform friends and family members that you are limiting your child’s sugar consumption to ensure they respect your wishes
  • Educate your children on how having too much sugar can be harmful to their health

Although moderating sugar consumption may come with challenges; however, parents are strongly urged to be persistent in their efforts. Speak with your pediatrician about ways you can curb sugar cravings and establish a healthy diet for your child.

To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, 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.

Can Breastfeeding Help Moms Lose Weight?

According to La Leche League International, when combined with maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, breastfeeding can help most moms to lose weight after childbirth.

The body requires energy to create breast milk.  On average, most women who choose to breastfeed burn an additional 300-500 calories each day than those who do not.   When compared to certain physical activities such as thirty-minute aerobic workouts, breastfeeding can burn a comparable amount of calories.

Although breastfeeding can help mothers to shed pounds, eating well-balanced meals and including physical activities in your daily routine is also strongly encouraged for healthy weight loss.

Experts at La Leche League remind women to set realistic goals as losing weight will occur gradually over time. It may take most women six to nine months, in some instances longer, to shed pounds gained during pregnancy.

The organization further advises mothers to consult with their doctor before beginning a diet or weight loss regimen. Depending on the circumstance, most doctors would recommend that new moms wait six weeks after delivery to begin a diet or weight loss routine. This time is needed to help the body to establish a good supply of milk.

Your doctor can help you to create a healthy weight loss plan that is compatible with your lifestyle and current state of health.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, 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.

Exercise and Aging

It is never too late to begin a regular fitness routine.  In fact; the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging promotes exercise and physical activity as an important factor in healthy aging.

 

Older adults are encouraged to incorporate the following four main types of exercise into their routine:

  1. Strength Exercise
  2. Endurance Exercise
  3. Balance Exercise
  4. Flexibility Exercise

Each type of exercise offers several benefits when performed on an ongoing basis. These benefits can be achieved by doing a variety of physical activities.

  • Strength Exercise- Helps to build muscle and makes them stronger. Stronger muscles can make it possible for older adults to remain independent longer. These benefits may be achieved by participating in activities such as lifting weights or resistance training.
  • Endurance Exercise-Helps to promote a healthy heart rate and improve breathing. This type of exercise focuses on overall fitness as well as keeping the cardiovascular and respiratory systems healthy. Activities such as aerobics, swimming, walking, dancing or jogging are considered endurance exercises.
  • Balance Exercise-Helps to reduce falls, a problem that is common in older adults. This type of exercise focuses on building lower body strength. Activities such as Tai Chi, walking heel to toe and standing on one foot are considered balance exercises.
  • Flexibility Exercise-Helps to stretch muscles, promotes freedom of movement and in some instances improves balance. Examples of flexibility exercises include yoga, Pilates, bending to touch your toes or stretching your arms across your chest.

Before beginning a fitness routine, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor first.  You can work with him or her to create a routine that is compatible with your lifestyle and health. To receive more information about exercise and aging, please visit the National Institute on Aging website https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/

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.

Early Onset Alzheimer’s

Many people associate Alzheimer’s disease with older adults that are advanced in age. However, the disease can also affect people who are younger than the age of 65.  When this happens, the disease is referred to as younger-onset or early onset Alzheimer’s.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s has been found to mostly affect people in their forties and fifties.   Currently, experts are unsure why some people get the disease at an earlier age than others.  Research does point to genetics as a contributing factor in some cases.

The symptoms and signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s may differ with each person and can include:

  • Personality or mood changes
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Misplacing items on a regular basis
  • Frequently withdrawing from social situations
  • Difficulty finding the right words for specific items
  • Difficulty finishing a sentence
  • Losing track of locations, dates or times
  • Asking for the same information again and again
  • Difficulty learning new things

If you are experiencing symptoms or displaying signs of the disease on an ongoing basis, it is recommended that you consult a physician who specializes in treating Alzheimer’s.   In order to diagnose the disease, the physician may complete a comprehensive medical evaluation which can include cognitive tests, brain imaging, neurological and medical exams.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease can maximize the benefits received from treatment and may help you to maintain your independence longer.  Therefore, it is highly advised that you seek the assistance of a specialist 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.

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.

October is SIDS Awareness Month

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is defined as the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under the age of one. It is the leading cause of death in babies in the United States. Most cases of SIDS occur while infants are asleep; this is why it is also referred to as “crib death”.

Despite many years of research, the cause of SIDS is still unknown; some experts theorize that the cause may be the result of defects in the part of a child’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.

Although the cause of SIDS is undetermined, research does indicate that factors that include a combination of factors in physical and sleep environments can make infants more vulnerable.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parents and caregivers can take the following actions to help reduce the risk of an occurrence:

  • Make sure babies sleep on their backs (Babies should not sleep on their stomachs or sides)
  • Avoid placing soft materials such as quilts or comforters in cribs or wherever babies are placed to sleep
  • Place babies to sleep on a firm surface( Infants should not be placed on soft surfaces such as waterbeds or sofas)
  • Breastfeed for as long as possible- especially within the first six months of a baby’s life
  • Adults should avoid sharing beds with babies
  • Use cribs that conform to the safety standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Abstain from drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs during pregnancy and after  giving birth
  • Monitor the temperature in a baby’s  sleep space to ensure they are not too warm

The CDC reports that due to education, incidents of SIDS have declined.  Flushing Hospital Medical Center is raising awareness during SIDS Awareness Month, which is observed in October, by educating the community about ways to reduce risks.

Although there has been a declination in the number of infant deaths attributed to SIDS, It is important to keep in mind that SIDS remains the leading cause of death in babies and parents should always take measures to provide a safe sleep environment for their child.

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.