Flushing Hospital’s Hernia Center Offers Expert Care to Those in Need

Flushing Hospital Medical Center now offers a comprehensive center to diagnose and treat a variety of forms of hernias.

A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weak spot or an opening in the muscle or tissue that is supposed to hold it in place.  There are many different types of hernias, including inguinal, hiatal, umbilical, and incisional.

 

  • An inguinal hernia occurs when the intestines push through the lower abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal located in the groin. . This is the most common type of hernia and it is more common in man than women.
  • A hiatal hernia develops when part of the stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. This type of hernia almost always results in gastroesophageal reflux. Hiatal hernias are most common in adults 50 years or older.
  • Umbilical hernias present in children and babies under six months old. They occur when the child’s intestines bulge through their abdominal wall, near the belly button.  An umbilical hernia is the only type that can go away on its own as the babies muscles get stronger.
  • An incisional hernia can take place after abdominal surgery. During this time, the tissues and muscles are typically weak and the intestines may push through an incision scar.

Hernias can develop quickly or slowly build over a long period of time. There are many factors that can contribute to the onset of a hernia. One of the most common reasons is straining a muscle while lifting heavy weight. Other factors include: being pregnant, being constipated, sudden weight gain, or persistent coughing or sneezing.

The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge in the affected area. They are most identifiable through touch, especially when standing up, bending over, coughing, or crying (in babies). Other symptoms include pain in the affected area, weakness, or a burning sensation. Hiatal hernias will often result in acid reflux, chest pain, and possibly difficulty swallowing.

Your doctor can diagnose a hernia through a physical examination. Sometimes an x-ray or endoscopy is necessary. Treatment options for your hernia depend on the size and severity and can include lifestyle changes, medication or surgery.

Lifestyle changes can include altering your diet, exercising to increase muscle strength, avoiding lifting heavy objects and maintaining good posture.  Medications may be helpful in the treatment of a hiatal hernia. In most cases however, surgery may be required.

Hernia procedures can be done using open or laparoscopic techniques and Flushing Hospital’s new Hernia Center offers a wide variety of options for both methods. Our expert staff has a great deal of experience in this field with excellent outcomes. Many of the procedures can be performed with minimally invasive techniques, including the utilization of our da Vinci Robotic Surgery System.

For more information about Flushing Hospital’s Hernia Center, please call 718-670-3135.

 

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.

February is American Heart Month

Over 50 years ago President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the month of February to be American Heart Month in order to bring attention to one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This tradition has been carried on by every President since.
Each year over 800,000 lives are taken as a result of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.  Every 84 seconds someone in the United States dies from the disease and each year approximately 750,000 people experience a heart attack and of those, about 115,000 will not survive.
The American Heart Association recommends the following behavioral modifications to prevent heart disease:
• Avoid smoking
• Engage in some form of daily physical activity
• Follow a healthy diet
• Maintain a healthy body weight
• Control cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels
The death rate from heart disease has been improving slowly over the last decade due to advances in medications, better diagnostic capabilities, and better access to health care, but the statistics are still pretty alarming. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica 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.

Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has received a great deal of attention because it’s believed to help protect your cardiovascular system. The reason being is that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids.

Higher grades of dark chocolate are where you will find an abundance of flavonoids.

Some benefits to adding a moderate amount of dark chocolate to your diet are:

  • Nutrition – If the dark chocolate you are eating has a high cocoa content it will also have a sufficient amount of soluble fiber and will be rich with minerals.
  • Antioxidants – Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins to name a few.
  • Blood Flow and Hypertension – The bioactive compounds in cocoa have been known to improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but significant decrease in blood pressure.
  • Heart Disease – Eating dark chocolate has shown to be beneficial in improving several important risk factors for heart disease, reducing insulin resistance, increase high density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) and decreasing low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). These reductions could show decrease in cardiovascular disease.

Be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories.

There is currently no established serving size of dark chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. So, for now, it is recommended that a moderate portion of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week is sufficient while eating other flavonoid-rich foods (lettuce, almonds, strawberries, celery oranges, etc.).

Even though there is evidence that eating dark chocolate can provide health benefits, it doesn’t mean you should over indulge.  It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat.

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.

Pregnancy And The Flu

Due to changes that occur in the immune system during pregnancy, women are at a high risk for developing serious health complications caused by the flu.

A weakened immune system can leave many moms-to-be vulnerable to severe flu-related illnesses such as pneumonia which could lead to hospitalization.

Not only can the flu compromise a mother’s health but it can also negatively affect the health of an unborn baby. Pregnant women with the virus are more likely than others to deliver low-birth-weight babies. High fever resulting from the flu may also affect the development of the baby during the first trimester.

Doctors advise that women who become sick and display flu symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a high fever, persistent vomiting or sudden dizziness seek immediate medical attention.

It is highly recommended that expecting mothers receive the flu vaccination to prevent transmission of the virus and to reduce the severity of its complications.

For moms who may be concerned about the safety of the vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “Flu shots have been given to millions of pregnant women over many years with a good safety record. There is a lot of evidence that flu vaccines can be given safely during pregnancy.”

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.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition thought to be caused by an increase in the way the brain processes pain sensation throughout the musculoskeletal system of the body. The result is a chronic sensation of pain that is often debilitating and life changing. Women tend to be affected by fibromyalgia more than men but the reason for that is unclear. In some people, fibromyalgia appears after a trauma, a surgical procedure, an infection, or after a stressful event. There also may be some correlation to it running in families.
Scientists believe that there may be an overstimulation of the pain receptors that causes the symptoms.  Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
• Pain all over the body
• Fatigue
• Difficulty focusing
• Migraine headaches
• Anxiety
• Depression
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed through a physical exam and blood tests that examines thyroid function, red and white blood cell count, rheumatoid arthritis factor and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. If a person has pain for three months and no obvious medical reason for it, it might be reason to rule out fibromyalgia.
There is no one method of treating fibromyalgia that is completely effective.
• Treatment options include:
• Physical therapy
• Pain relievers
• Anti-depressants
• Getting adequate rest
• Acupuncture
• Regular exercise
If you have symptoms of fibromyalgia and would like to schedule an appointment with a 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.

Safety Tips For Shoveling Snow This Winter

Winter and snow go hand in hand and we are never more likely to get a heavy snowfall than in February, which is typically the snowiest month,. Anticipating the potential for a snowstorm this month, Flushing Hospital would like to provide you with some heart health tips before you go out to shovel snow.

By now, we have all heard about the risk of shoveling snow and suffering a heart attack, but is this true? The fact is shoveling snow (or to a less extent, even pushing a heavy snow blower) is considered a more strenuous activity than running full speed on a treadmill.  But why should pushing around some white flakes be more dangerous than any other form of exercise?

The biggest reason why heart attacks are so common while snow shoveling has as much to do with the weather as it does with the activity.  The cold temperature is a key contributor to the onset of a heart attack. Frozen temperatures can boost blood pressure, interrupt blood flow to the heart, and make blood more likely to clot.

Another factor to consider is who is doing the shoveling.  If you are a healthy and physically fit individual there is much less of a risk to suffer a heart attack, but unfortunately not everyone who attempts to shovel snow fits into that category. For those who do not exercise as frequently, (especially during the winter when we tend to be less active) or have a history of hypertension or heart disease need to follow the following tips before going out to shovel:

  • Avoid shoveling as soon as you wake up as this is when most heart attacks occur
  • Do not drink coffee, eat a heavy meal or smoke cigarettes immediately before or while shoveling
  • Warm up your muscles before you begin
  • Shovel many light loads instead of fewer heavy ones
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Know the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. If you experience a squeezing pain in your chest, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, pain radiating from your left shoulder and down your left arm, cold sweats, accompanied by fatigue and nausea, stop shoveling, go inside and call 911 immediately.
If you are at a high risk of suffering a heart attack, avoid shoveling snow completely. Try asking a family member, friend or neighborhood teen to help you out.

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.

Are Dental Sealants Effective?

Though tooth decay is a growing problem among children and young adults, preventative measures, such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments, can help keep your child smiling brightly.

Children and young adults are more prone to tooth decay for two main reasons: diet and poor oral hygiene. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth uses sugar (from foods or drinks) to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth. A diet consisting of frequent consumption of sugary drinks, candy, and gum greatly contributes to tooth decay. Additionally, inadequate flossing and failure to properly brush at least two times a day, for three minutes each, allows bacteria to grow.

Preventing Tooth Decay
Dental sealants are a great way to protect your teeth against the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. The procedure is simple and pain-free.

Fluoride can also help prevent tooth decay. Dentists apply a fluoride treatment, either a gel, foam, or varnish, directly to the teeth and let it set for approximately four minutes. In addition to an in-office treatment, fluoride can be found in several brands of toothpaste and even tap water.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call Flushing Hospital’s Department of Dentistry at 718-670-5521.

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.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition thought to be caused by an increase in the way the brain processes pain sensation throughout the musculoskeletal system of the body. The result is a chronic sensation of pain that is often debilitating and life changing. Women tend to be affected by fibromyalgia more than men but the reason for that is unclear. In some people, fibromyalgia appears after a trauma, a surgical procedure, an infection, or after a stressful event. There also may be some correlation to it running in families.
Scientists believe that there may be an overstimulation of the pain receptors that causes the symptoms.  Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
• Pain all over the body
• Fatigue
• Difficulty focusing
• Migraine headaches
• Anxiety
• Depression
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed through a physical exam and blood tests that examines thyroid function, red and white blood cell count, rheumatoid arthritis factor and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. If a person has pain for three months and no obvious medical reason for it, it might be reason to rule out fibromyalgia.
There is no one method of treating fibromyalgia that is completely effective.
• Treatment options include:
• Physical therapy
• Pain relievers
• Anti-depressants
• Getting adequate rest
• Acupuncture
• Regular exercise
If you have symptoms of fibromyalgia and would like to schedule an appointment with a 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.

How to Spot and Prevent Frostbite

Frostbite is an injury caused to the skin and underlying tissues as a result of exposure to windy and cold- weather conditions.

Staying outside in extreme weather conditions for extended periods of time is the most common factor and risks increase when temperatures fall below 5°farenheit, or in conditions with above freezing temperatures and extreme wind chills. Additional factors may include:

  • Direct contact with ice, very cold liquids and freezing metals.
  • Wearing clothing that is not suitable to protect against cold weather.

Although frostbite mostly occurs on parts of the skin that are not properly covered, it is important to note that in extreme temperatures it can also develop on areas that are covered by clothing.

Our nose, fingers, cheeks, ears and toes are the parts of our bodies that are highly susceptible to frostbite. They are furthest away from our core and are first to decrease in blood flow in cold temperatures.

The symptoms of frostbite vary with severity and are categorized in three stages:

Frostnip:  This is a mild form of frostbite. Skin may turn pale or very red and feels cold.  The affected areas may also itch, burn, sting or feel tingly. Continued exposure may lead to a “pins and needles” feeling or numbness.

Superficial Frostbite:  Skin appears reddened or pale. Skin can become hard and look waxy or shiny.  At this stage, after the skin is thawed, blisters may form on the affected area. Skin may also appear blue or purple once rewarmed.

Severe (Deep) Frostbite:  Severe cases of frostbite affect all layers of the skin as well as the tissues that lie below.  Skin becomes very hard and cold to the touch. It may look blue and some instances black, as the tissue dies. The affected area may lose all sensation and joints or muscles may no longer work.

Some people are more at risk of developing frostbite than others, they include:

  • The elderly
  • Young children
  • Patients taking medication such as beta blockers that reduce blood flow to skin
  • Diabetics
  • People who use nicotine
  • People under the influence of alcohol
  • People with prior cold-related injuries

Frostbite is preventable. If you expect to spend time outdoors in cold weather, take care in protecting yourself. Dress appropriately and in layers.  When temperatures become extreme, stay inside as much as possible. It is also advised that you stay hydrated; dehydration increases your risk of frostbite. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking if you know you will be outside in the extreme cold.

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.

How Can Wearing Gloves Get You Sick?

We wear gloves during this time of year to protect ourselves from the cold, wintery elements. These accessories are meant to serve as a layer of defense, but could they actually contribute to getting us sick during cold and flu season?

While outer garments like gloves serve a very important function in keeping us warm, they can also be the potential transmitter of harmful germs if they are not washed regularly. When you think about it, we use our gloves when we open doors, hold escalator rails, and ride the train, all of which are breeding grounds for viruses. After touching these things, we might use our glove covered hands to scratch our noses and cover our mouths. In a pinch, we might even use our gloves to wipe our nose when a tissue isn’t available.  These actions can take place every day for the duration of the winter, but ask yourself when was the last time you washed your gloves? The fact is gloves pick up everything bare hands do and very few people wash their gloves frequently enough.

It is estimated that certain viruses such as the flu can live on your gloves for two to three days, while stomach viruses, such as the rotavirus and norovirus can remain active for up to a month.

To avoid getting sick from your gloves, follow these simple tips:

  • Wash them at least once a week. Cotton products are easiest to clean by using a washing machine while wool products need to be hand washed. Leather gloves will require dry cleaning
  • Never use your mouth to pull off your gloves. The best way to remove your gloves is from back to front, similar to healthcare workers
  • If you are wearing your gloves in snowy or wet conditions, allow them to air dry rather than shoving them into your pockets or into the sleeve of your coat.
  • Avoid touching ATMs, elevator buttons, railings, or shopping carts with a gloved hand. It is much easier to sanitize your bare hand than it is to clean your gloves
  • Always wash your hands after removing your gloves to avoid contamination

Following these steps can reduce the chances of getting sick this winter.

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.