Learn The Facts About Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes a red, scaly rash topped with silvery scales, most often located on the elbows, knees, ankles, feet, and hands.  It affects millions of Americans and nearly one third of all people with this condition develop a condition called psoriatic arthritis, (or PsA)

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the joints as well as overproduction of skin cells. In addition to the psoriatic rash, the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis are not unlike those of other types of inflammatory arthritis, which include painful and swollen joints that are warm to the touch. Other symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

  • Swollen knees, ankles, feet and hands
  • Stiff Joints, which are typically worse in the morning
  • Back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Inflammation where a muscle connects to a bone, such as the Achilles tendon
  • Tiny ridges or dents called “pitting” in the nails.
  • Physical and mental exhaustion

PsA symptoms can range from mild to severe, with symptoms usually progressively worsening over time. Those with psoriasis as well as psoriatic arthritis may experience alternating periods of “flare-ups” followed by periods of remission.

If left untreated, inflammation associated with PsA can result in serious damage to joints and tissues. Those with PsA are also at a higher risk of developing other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetes, gout, and certain eye conditions.

Those most at risk of developing PsA are those who have psoriasis or have a family member living with the condition. It can develop at any age, but is most often occurs in adults between the ages of 30 and 50.

There is currently no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but with treatment, the symptoms can be controlled. Medications can often help manage psoriatic arthritis, but when they don’t, surgery might be an option.

Inform your doctor if you have psoriasis and begin to develop joint pain. To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care 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.

Employee Spotlight – Leona DesMoulin

Novembers Employee Spotlight shines on Leona DesMoulin, MHC, CASAC-T, Office Manager for the Department of Psychiatry and Addiction Services in the Administrative office.

During her 13 year tenure at Flushing Hospital, Leona has had the title of Office Manager in the hospital’s administrative office, the Reflections Chemical Dependence Clinic, and currently the Psychiatry Administrative office.

On any given day, Leona’s job description includes working with the Administrator, Chairman and Associate Chairman as well as other members of the department on multiple projects.  Her responsibilities include: keeping the administrative, clinical, regulatory, performance improvement, incident and risk management functions and processes up to date.

Leona is dedicated to her field and has received a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and is a Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor trainee.  She anticipates becoming more and more involved in the department’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Project.

Of all her titles, accomplishments, certifications and degrees, Leona DesMoulin’s favorite title is Mom. “I have one daughter who is currently a Registered Nurse in Orthopedics at the Hospital for Special Surgery.  My daughter is my pride and joy.”

When not at work Leona loves interior decorating, fashion designing, traveling, entertaining and church activities.

According to Leona, the most rewarding part of her job is, “Motivating others to flourish” and the most challenging part of her job is “bringing people at all levels of the organization together to form an effective and mutually reinforcing group for the benefit of each other and our patients.”  Overall, she says her experience working at Flushing Hospital is invaluable because she loves her job.

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’s Nurse of The Month

Our nurses are the pillars of our community. In addition to meeting the demands of being a caregiver, they wear several hats including that of an educator, nurturer,  and comforter.

Not only do nurses care for patients; they provide support to families and loved ones during difficult times.

Our nurses pour their hearts into all aspects of their job, and this is one of the many reasons why we celebrate their accomplishments.

Join us in congratulating Eric Fernandez, RN for receiving Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Nurse of the Month.

Meet Eric:

Q&A:

Q: How long have you been working for FHMC?
A:
I have been working at Flushing Hospital since 2007.

Q: On which unit do you currently work?
A: 
  2 West – Detox

Q: Why did you want to become a nurse?
A: 
I wanted to become a nurse because I love helping people. I want to see people do well and recover.

QWhat is the best part of your job?
A:
 The best part of my job is when patients come back to visit and say they have been clean and sober thanks to our help. Sometimes as nurses our smallest gestures can make a large impact on the lives of our patients. A smile or a few positive words of encouragement can make a difference. Compassion is everything. I am happy that I work on a team that shares this same philosophy.



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.

Do You Have a First Aid Kit ?

Medical emergencies can happen at any time and any place, for this reason every home, office and automobile should have a first aid kit on hand. It is important that the first aid kit is kept in a place that is easily accessible.  Everyone should be aware of where it is kept.

The American Red Cross recommends that a first aid kit contain the following items:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings ( 5X9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape ( 10 yards X 1 inch )
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin
  • 1 emergency blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier ( with one way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pairs of non-latex gloves
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
  • One 3 inch gauze roll
  • One 4 inch gauze roller
  • One 3 inch X 3 inch sterile gauze pads
  • 5 4inch X 4 inch sterile gauze pads
  • 1 oral thermometer ( non-mercury and non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • tweezers
  • Emergency first aid guide
  • Flashlight

In addition, the kit should contain emergency phone numbers for your health care providers and a small supply of medications when possible.

First aid kits can be purchased directly from the American Red Cross store and also online. Many pharmacies also carry first aid kits.

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

What Type Of Flu Vaccine Is Best For Seniors

With flu season upon us, it is recommended that everyone six months and older receive their annual influenza (flu) vaccine.  This is especially true for senior citizens as they are at a greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu. While there is no debate over whether or not seniors should get their flu shot, there is one about what type of vaccine they should receive.

Many providers are now recommending that patients over the age of 65 receive the vaccine Fluzone, a higher dose injectable vaccine formulated specially for seniors.  Like other flu vaccines, Fluzone is comprised of three different strains of the influenza virus that are most likely to cause the flu during the upcoming season.  However, Fluzone contains four times the amount of antigen (the inactivated virus that promotes a protective immune response) as a regular flu vaccine and produces a stronger immune response.

This high-dose vaccine was created specifically for seniors because their immune defenses are weakened due to their age. It is estimated that approximately 75% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 50% and 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.

The results of seniors who have taken high-dose vaccines are promising. Initial studies have indicated that 25% fewer cases of influenza occurred in adults 65 years or older who took the high-dose vaccine compared with those who took the standard-dose vaccine, but other studies also revealed that seniors who received the high-dose vaccine were more likely to develop side effects, such as a fever and soreness at the injection site, during the week after vaccination.

If you are over 65 years old and still haven’t received your flu vaccine this year, speak to your doctor about whether or not a high-dose vaccine is right for you.

If you would like to make 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.

Lazy Eye

Amblyopia or Lazy Eye as it’s commonly called is an eye condition that usually develops in children. 

Lazy eye is most commonly caused by an imbalance in the muscles that position the eyes.  The imbalance can cause the eyes to turn into the or away from the nose.  This action prevents the eyes from working together and may be the reason for a difference in vision.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some signs and symptoms of lazy eye are: 

  • An eye that wanders inward or outward
  • Eyes that appear to not work together
  • Poor depth perception
  • Squinting or shutting an eye
  • Head tilting
  • Abnormal results of vision screening tests

The Mayo Clinic also states that, “It’s important to start treatment for lazy eye as soon as possible in childhood, when the complicated connections between the eye and the brain are forming. The best results occur when treatment starts before age 7, although half of children between the ages of 7 and 17 respond to treatment”

To diagnose lazy eye, a standard eye exam such as a 20/20 eye chart screening is not a satisfactory. Diagnosis often times is made in younger children by using eye drops to dilate their eyes, using a lighted magnifying device to detect cataracts and assess their ability to stare at a moving object and follow it.  In older children, tests using symbols or letters can access their vision.

Treatment options depend on the cause of lazy eye and on how much the condition is affecting your child’s vision. Your doctor might recommend:

  • Corrective eyewear Glasses or contact lenses can correct problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism that result in lazy eye.
  • Eye patches -To stimulate and strengthen the weaker eye.
  • Bangerter filter -This special filter that is placed on the eyeglass lens of the stronger eye. Similar to the eye patch, the filter works to stimulate and strengthen the weaker eye.
  • Eye drops – A prescription eye drop the temporarily blurs vision in the stronger eye.  This encourages the use of the weaker eye and offers an alternative to the patch.
  • Surgery – If the lazy eyes continue to cross or wander apart with the appropriate glasses, your doctor might recommend surgical repair to straighten the eyes, in addition to other lazy eye treatments.

Activities such as drawing, doing puzzles or computer games can also show positive results, however the effectiveness has not been proven.

The proper treatments for lazy eye, usually improves vision within weeks to months. Treatment can last from six months to two years.

It is recommended that the condition be monitored for recurrence of lazy eye. If lazy eye recurs, treatment will need to start again.

If you would like to have your eyes, or the eyes of a loved one, examined, please call the Ambulatory Care Center at Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 718-670-5486 to schedule 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.

It’s GERD Awareness Week – Learn How to Avoid This Digestive Disorder

Perhaps there is no other day of the year associated with eating more than Thanksgiving. With so much attention being paid to food consumption, it is fitting that this week we also raise awareness about a health condition that affects the digestive system.

November 18-24, 2019 has been designated Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or GERD) Awareness Week. GERD, is a very common disorder that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows into the food pipe and irritates the lining.

After it is swallowed, food travels down the esophagus where it stimulates cells in the stomach to produce acid and pepsin (an enzyme), which aid the digestion process. A band of muscle at the lower part of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), acts as a barrier to prevent the back-flow. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus.

Chronic heartburn is the most frequently reported symptom of GERD. Acid regurgitation (refluxed acid into the mouth) is another common symptom. Other symptoms can include belching, difficulty or pain when swallowing, or waterbrash (sudden excess of saliva). GERD may also lead to chronic sore throat, laryngitis, throat clearing, chronic cough, and other oral complaints such as inflammation of the gums and erosion of the enamel of the teeth.

Dietary and lifestyle choices can contribute to GERD. Certain foods and beverages, including chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee, or alcohol may trigger reflux. Studies show that smoking can relax the LES and contribute to this condition. People who are obese are more prone to developing GERD symptoms.

Doctors recommend lifestyle and dietary changes for most people needing treatment for GERD. Along with lifestyle and diet changes, your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter remedies, or, in serious cases, prescribe medications designed to reduce acid in the stomach.

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 Your Pet Can Be A Distraction To You While You Drive

There are many known driving distractions that we are warned to avoid while on the road. These include: talking or texting on your mobile device, eating or drinking, attending to personal grooming, or adjusting our vehicle’s radio or navigation system. While it is important to be mindful of each of these potential distractions, there is another type of distraction that doesn’t get as much attention – driving with our pets.

Pets can be a distraction to drivers

Many people take their dogs or cats in the car with them when they run local errands; others bring them along for long road trips. During these excursions, our pets often have free reign of the vehicle, will place their head out the car window, and in some cases, even sit in the driver’s lap. These activities, while adorable, can pose great danger to not only the operator of the vehicle, but also the other passengers, fellow motorists, and even the pets themselves.

A recent study of individuals who frequently travel with their pets in the car revealed some very startling facts about their behaviors. The survey concluded that 64 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in a potentially distracting pet-related activity, and 29 percent admitted to actually being distracted by their pets. Some of the activities noted in the study included petting or playing with their pets, allowing them to stay in their lap, feeding them treats, and taking photos of them.  The same study determined 84 percent allowed their pets to ride in their vehicle while unrestrained.

To avoid these types of distractions while driving, motorists should consider purchasing a safety device for their dog or cat. There are two types of devices to choose from:

  • Pet seat belts – They are easy to use and work in tandem with your normal seat belt. Check to make sure the pet belt is the right size for your animal. One that’s too big or too small is counterproductive and can cause unnecessary injuries.
  • Pet carriers- Look for a sturdy carrier with ample ventilation and plenty of room for your pet to turn around and stretch out. Also, make sure you secure the carrier so that it stays safely in place if you suddenly brake or get into an accident.


Driving with your beloved pet in the car doesn’t need to be dangerous. Take some time to make sure you can safely restrain your pet to maximize safety for you and your lovable friend.

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.

Foods You Should Not Eat With Braces

Braces are effective in correcting orthodontic problems such as under bites or wide gaps. However, to receive these benefits you have to make certain sacrifices to protect your braces.

It is important that you avoid several foods that can damage components such as wires or get stuck in braces and increase your risk of tooth decay.
Some foods you should avoid while wearing braces are:

Some foods you may want to avoid while wearing braces are:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts 
  • Hard taco shells
  • Sticky and hard candy 
  • Gum 
  • Ice
  • Corn chips 
  • Pretzels 
  • Hard cookies or crackers
  • Sticky or hard chocolate 
  • Raw vegetables 
  • Croutons 
  • French/Italian bread
  • Hard fruit 
  • Hard rolls 
  • Thin crust pizza
  • Meat 
  • Burgers 
  • Corn on the cob

When in a situation where one or more of these foods may be your only food choice, it is suggested that you cut the item into small pieces that will fit directly into your mouth so that you won’t have to use your front teeth for tearing.

Some “braces friendly” food options are: 

  • Hull-less popcorn 
  • Yogurt 
  • Bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and other fruits without pits
  • Light crackers or cookies
  • Cheese 
  • Mashed potatoes, pasta, noodles
  • Peanut butter and jelly

Good nutrition while wearing braces is extremely important to having a healthy smile.  Eating right will help your teeth remain strong enough to support your braces and avoid any impediments that could cause your braces to be removed before the designated time. 

If you would like to have your teeth evaluated for braces or would like a dental check up, please contact the Department of Dental Services at Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 718-670-5521 to schedule and 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.

What Does Having Low Pressure Mean ?

Blood pressure is considered low when the top blood pressure reading is lower than 90 mm Hg (systolic) and the bottom number is lower than 60 mm Hg (diastolic).  Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80. The systolic pressure is the amount of pressure the heart is exerting when it is pumping blood and the diastolic pressure is the amount of pressure on the arteries when the heart is between beats.

Low blood pressure (hypotension) is often classified into categories based on causes and factors. These include:

Postural hypotension- a sudden drop in blood pressure that occurs when a person moves rapidly from a sitting or lying down position to a standing position.  It is often seen in people who are dehydrated, pregnant or on prolonged bed rest or who have large varicose veins, heart problems or certain neurologic disorders. Certain medications can lead to postural hypotension as well. These include diuretics (water pills), alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, medications for Parkinson’s disease, antidepressants and erectile dysfunction.

Postprandial hypotension -occurs after a person eats a large meal and affects mainly older people. Normally after a meal a person’s heart rate will increase and the blood vessels will constrict. In postprandial hypotension this doesn’t occur and a person may feel dizzy or feel faint.

Low blood pressure may also be due to faulty brain signals to the heart. Other causes of low blood pressure can occur when there is sepsis, during a heart attack, being anemic, having a slow heart rate, when there is heart failure, and in conditions such as parathyroid disease, hypoglycemia, and adrenal insufficiency.

Symptoms of low pressure can be indicative of underlying medical conditions and can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness

Diagnosing low blood pressure can be accomplished by taking a blood test to determine if there are metabolic causes, an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram, a stress test, or a tilt table test.

Treatment of low pressure is determined when the cause has been identified. It may include a change in diet, consuming more water, wearing compression stockings, or taking medication.

If you are experiencing symptoms of low pressure you should consult with your physician to make a diagnosis and find the cause. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician 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.