Can GERD Contribute to Your Asthma?

Most asthma sufferers are aware of the many potential sources for their condition, but they may not realize one very common disorder that can contribute to the development of asthma – GERD.

Heart attack

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Normally, this ring, which is called the lower esophageal sphincter, prevents acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus after food enters the stomach.

GERD occurs when the esophageal sphincter is weakened allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus. Heartburn, the most common symptom of GERD, feels like a burning sensation in the esophagus. Many people say it feels like food is coming back into the mouth, leaving a bitter taste.

Research has indicated that GERD can either lead to, or worsen asthma symptoms. In fact, it is estimated that over 75% of patients with hard-to-treat asthma also experience frequent heartburn from GERD.

While the relationship between GERD and asthma does exist, the exact link between the two is unknown. One possibility is that acid reflux irritates the airways and lungs, which affects breathing and makes people more sensitive to outside conditions such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and cold air. Another potential explanation is that a nerve is triggered in the airways when acid enters the esophagus, causing them to narrow in order to prevent acid from entering the lungs.

Doctors most often look at GERD as the cause of asthma when:

  • Asthma begins in adulthood
  • Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, after exercise, at night or after lying down
  • Asthma doesn’t respond to the standard asthma treatments

For many, treating GERD can help them relieve asthma treatments Thankfully, by simply adjusting lifestyle behaviors, GERD can be controlled. Tips to control GERD include:

  • Raise the head of your bed by six inches to allow gravity to help keep down the stomach’s contents
  • Eat meals at least three to four hours before lying down
  • Eat smaller meals with moderate portions of food
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit consumption of chocolate, peppermint, coffee, tea, colas, alcohol, tomatoes and citrus fruits or juices, all of which can contribute additional acid that can irritate the esophagus
  • Give up smoking, which relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter
  • Wear loose belts and clothing

In addition, your doctor can recommend over-the-counter treatments or prescribe medications to relieve GERD symptoms.

Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Clinic offers many specialty services to treat a variety of pulmonary and digestive disorders. To make an appointment, 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.

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.

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.

An Overview on The Hazards of Smoking

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of multiple diseases and premature deaths in the United States today.  It kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined. There are an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States annually that are attributed to tobacco use. It is the only legal consumer product that is lethal when used exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Smoking cigarettes affect many aspects of health. Tobacco smoke contains about 7000 chemicals, including low concentrations of such strong poisons as ammonia, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde.  It also contains 69 carcinogens – substances that are known to cause cancers in humans. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.
In the United States, illnesses caused by smoking cost more than 300 billion dollars per year in direct medical care and lost productivity. Smokers pay twice as much for life insurance and will die on average of 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. It costs tobacco companies approximately five cents to produce a pack of cigarettes.

Many lung conditions are either caused or aggravated by cigarette smoke. It irritates bronchial airways and stimulates mucous production leading eventually to decreased elasticity and functional failure. Patients suffering from COPD, asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema have a much higher risk of dying when repeatedly exposed to smoke.

Smokers are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages blood vessels making them stiff and narrow, obstructing blood flow which results in elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or chronic skin changes.

Pregnant women exposed to tobacco smoke have an increased risk of complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, and brain and lung damage to developing fetus. Sudden infant death syndrome is three times more likely if the mother smoked during pregnancy.

Smono smoking signking tobacco is an addiction similar to heroin and cocaine. It can be successfully treated but the majority of cases require three or more attempts. Quitting smoking offers a chance of feeling better and living longer.  Studies have shown that these five, common sense steps, provide the best chance for quitting smoking for good:

1. Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.

2. Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plans; search the internet for advice.

3.  Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke; exercise or go for a walk.

4. Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches or Zyban with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.

5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations- most people try to quit a few times before succeeding.

If you would like to learn more about quitting smoking, please call 718-670-5000

 

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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.

November is COPD Awareness Month

Senior woman with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with supplemental oxygen

Senior woman with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with supplemental oxygen

The month of November is recognized as COPD Awareness Month. The purpose of this designation is to bring awareness to the severity of this disease and show how many people are affected by it.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term used to describe different diseases that are related and that affect a person’s ability to breath. There are an estimated 15 million adults that have been diagnosed with the disease and approximately the same number who have the disease but who haven’t been formally diagnosed. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Some factors that contribute to developing COPD are smoking, inhaling second hand smoke, genetic factors, breathing in occupational dust and chemicals and spending long periods of time in areas with high amounts of air pollution.
Symptoms of COPD include:
Breathlessness
Chronic coughing
Wheezing
There is no cure for the disease. Presently treatment consists of alleviating some of the symptoms. 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.

World TB Day

TBMarch 24th has been designated globally as “World TB Day”. The event began in 1982 is sponsored by the World Health Organization and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and is intended to raise awareness that anyone can contract TB to make health professionals aware of the importance of testing people for the disease.
This date was chosen to celebrate  the discovery by Dr. Robert Koch of the Mycobacterium tuberculoisis (the bacteria that causes tuberculosis) in 1882. This important discovery was the beginning of the steps being taken to control and hopefully one day eradicate the disease. Unfortunately, TB is still one of the leading causes of death around the world.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial disease that affects mainly the lungs but can also affect the kidneys, brain and the spine.  Signs and symptoms may include:
• Coughing up blood
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Chills
• Night sweats
• Loss of appetite
• Pain with breathing
TB is spread by coming into contact with the airborne droplets  of the bacteria from an infected person. People most susceptible are those who have compromised immune systems and  include people undergoing chemotherapy, have diabetes, are very young or very old, and have HIV/AIDS. There are antibiotics that given to fight the disease but depending on the strain and their resistance to treatment, may require months or years of treatment.
A routine physical usually includes a TB skin test. If you would like to schedule a physical exam and a TB test with one of our physicians, 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.

Is High Blood Pressure Affecting your Kidneys?

hypertension-87650188

High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the United States after diabetes.

High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension, can damage blood vessels in the kidneys, reducing their ability to work properly. When the force of blood flow is high, blood vessels stretch so blood flows more easily. Eventually, this stretching scars and weakens blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the kidneys.

If the kidneys’ blood vessels are damaged, they may stop removing wastes and extra fluid from the body. Extra fluid in the blood vessels may then raise blood pressure even more, creating a dangerous cycle.

Most people with high blood pressure do not have symptoms. In rare cases, high blood pressure can cause headaches.

Kidney disease also does not have symptoms during its early stages. A person may have swelling called edema, which happens when the kidneys cannot get rid of extra fluid and salt. Edema can occur in the legs, feet, or ankles and less often in the hands or face.

Once kidney function decreases further, symptoms can include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness or feeling tired
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased or decreased urination
  • Generalized itching or numbness
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Darkened skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Following a healthy eating plan can help lower blood pressure.  Your health care provider may recommend a dietary approach that includes foods that are low in fat and cholesterol, dairy that is fat-free or low-fat, fish, poultry and nuts, as well as, consuming less read meat, sweets and added sugars.

If you are experiencing symptoms and would like to speak with a physician, please call Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5795.

 

 

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.

Natural Ways To Defy Aging

Fountain-of-Youthpic

As far back as 1513, when Ponce de Leon traveled to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth, people have been obsessed with retaining their youthful appearance. In modern times, whether young, middle-aged or older, individuals are still in search of ways to look younger.

Could the “fountain of youth” and the ability to maintain a youthful appearance have been within our grasp all along?

It is proven that people who have maintained a fit, healthy weight throughout their life will often have a younger looking physique, as well as less sagging in their skin.

Additional ways to maintain a younger appearance are:

  • Taking care of your teeth – A full set of teeth avoids the bone loss in the mouth and jaw structures, which can give the face a sunken appearance.
  • Color your greys away – Vibrant hair color, with a glossy texture and lots of volume can also make someone look younger.
  • Dump the frumpy frocks – Modern, stylish clothing, eyeglasses, jewelry and accessories can go a long way toward appearing younger.
  • Posture – How you stand, sit and carry yourself will not only affect how other people see you, but it also has an impact on how you look and feel as you get older.
  • Adjust your mindset – Research has found that our lifestyle habits such as exercise, nutrition, stress management and sleep will enhance the body’s ability to repair cellular damage that is inevitable as we get older.
  • Get your beauty sleep – Bags under the eyes and pallor to your skin can definitely make you look old and tired. A solid seven to eight hours of sleep per night is recommended.

If maintaining healthy skin is your concern, foods containing vitamins A, C, and E, polyphenols (antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties that protect and benefit the skin should be part of your daily diet)

Here are some examples of foods that provide these key nutrients:

  • Vitamin A – Sweet potatoes, broccoli, leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), red, yellow and orange produce (such as cantaloupe, carrots, bell peppers), and asparagus
  • Vitamin C – Red bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, pineapple, kiwifruit, oranges and cantaloupe
  • Vitamin E – Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, tomato products, and spinach
  • Polyphenols – Green tea, cocoa and dark chocolate

By maximizing your intake of the items listed above, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, and drinking plenty of purified water while minimizing your intake of sugars and highly processed foods, you  will be doing your best to keep your body functioning well as you 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 There a Link Between Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease?

bloatedstomachpic

It is not unusual for people with Type 1 diabetes to also have celiac disease. Type 1diabetes and celiac disease share several common traits. Both diseases are triggered by genetic and environmental factors and they increase the risk of developing associated autoimmune diseases.

Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes causes the body to produce insufficient amounts of insulin needed to break down glucose

Celiac disease, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a disease in which the body launches an immune reaction when a person consumes gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

Most patients with both diseases tend to develop asymptomatic celiac disease, but are unaware they are experiencing its symptoms.  This is because they are confusing symptoms with diabetes with those of asymptomatic celiac disease.

Symptoms may include, but are not limited to: Bloating

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Irritability
  • Depression

As a diabetic with celiac disease, you may think that your world has come to an end and you will not be able to eat anything since both diseases require adherence to a strict diet, but that’s not the case.  There are tips you can follow that will help you self-manage both diseases and maintain overall health:

  • Gluten-free foods – Health food stores and most main stream grocery stores now carry gluten-free products. Rice pasta can be used as a substitute for pasta.
  • Follow a whole-food meal plan – A gluten free dinner consisting of a serving of protein (broiled or baked), steamed vegetables, a small serving of brown rice, and a small piece of fruit for dessert can small piece of fruit for dessert.
  • Watch your blood sugar levels – A diagnosis of celiac disease necessitates what may be a dramatic change in your daily sources of carbohydrates. You may experience variations in your usual blood-sugar patterns, so you will want to be vigilant in testing.
  • Track your calories and carbs – Some gluten-free foods may be calorie and carbohydrate dense. You cannot assume that a sandwich made with gluten-free bread has the same amount of carbohydrates as one made with regular bread.
  • Check nutrition labels of processed foods – All food labels are required to state if the food contains wheat, but keep in mind that wheat-free doesn’t mean gluten-free.
  • Meet with a registered dietician – It can be complicated having two serious diseases that come with different dietary restrictions.

If you or someone you know has celiac disease and type 1 diabetes and would like to speak with a registered dietitian to help self-manage your disease, call Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

 

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.

Take a Break

takingabreakpic

Studies have shown that taking regular breaks during the work day can improve productivity and mental acuity, reduce fatigue, relieve joint or muscle pain, and increase overall alertness.

Chronic stress from over working can put a strain on your body and put you at risk for poor health. Taking a break can give your body the chance to turn off the stress so that you can recuperate and repair.

Research has shown that people on a break feel healthier, have less physical complaints and could have a reduction in cholesterol levels on their return.

Some other benefits of taking a break or vacation are:

  • Vitamin D – The Sun is rich in Vitamin D which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and keeping the immune systems and nervous system functioning normally.
  • Relaxing – Taking time to relax on a break from working has powerful benefits for adults. It can be as important as sleep.

Break time shrinks stress – Time away from work helps shrink stress and anxiety while boosting mental and physical health.

Keep in mind that regularly scheduled breaks should be approved by your supervisor.

 

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.