September is Healthy Aging Month

Healthy Aging Month is an annual observation created to bring awareness to the fact that there is an increase in the number of people who are 45 and older living in the United States.

There are over 76 million people, once considered to be part of the Baby-Boom generation, in the U.S. today who are over the age of 50. In addition to that, people who belong to the Generation-X started to turn 50 in the year 2015.

This segment of the population needs to be mindful of the importance of their social, mental, physical and financial well-being.

Tips for staying healthy after the age of 50 include:

  • Keeping active
  • If you smoke – quitting now
  • Remaining socially engaged
  • Staying positive
  • Finding things to do that make you smile
  • Getting  regular medical check-ups
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising  regularly
  • Seeking help for mental health issues

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss your medical concerns, 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.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month

World Alzheimer’s Month began in 2012 to recognize worldwide efforts to bring attention to this disease. As more and more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease it is increasingly important for the signs and symptoms of the disease to be recognized. Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are:

  • Forgetting familiar locations
  • Not recognizing family members and friends
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty with routine tasks
  • Forgetting where things were placed
  • Exhibiting poor judgment
  • Changes in personality
  • Asking to have things repeated several times

As the population ages, the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will increase as well. There is no known definitive cause of Alzheimer’s , but some risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, ethnicity and genetics. While it is associated with people mainly over the age of 65, it can affect people at an earlier age.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital for yourself or a person you know of who has signs of being forgetful, 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.

September is National Prostate Awareness Month

The month of September has been designated as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to bring attention to this very common form of cancer that affects so many men. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men and is the second leading cancer related cause of death in men. Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing  it are:

• Older age (more than 65% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65)
• Race (African-American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men)
• Family history (having a father or brother with prostate cancer)
• Obesity

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids during ejaculation.  It sits just below the bladder and is normally about the side of a walnut.

Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms.  When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss.

When screening is done there are two tests that are available.  The available tests are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  To perform a digital rectal exam your doctor uses a gloved finger, inserted a few inches into your rectum, to check your prostate gland.  A prostate-specific antigen test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood.  Many men who have prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA, however PSA can also be elevated for less serious causes such as prostate enlargement or infection. Further testing is needed to diagnose cancer.  Additional tests that your doctor may recommend to diagnose cancer include an ultrasound of the prostate and a biopsy of the prostate.  A biopsy is when a small piece of the prostate is removed to look for abnormal cells.

Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many factors including your age, your overall health and the growth and spread of the cancer when it is diagnosed.  Some men who have slow growing tumors may not need treatment right away and some may never need treatment.  Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body making treatment difficult.  Common treatment options include watchful waiting or expectant management (regular testing and checkups to assess for new signs or symptoms), radiation therapy (high-energy x-rays used to kill cancer cells), chemotherapy, surgery (having the prostate gland removed) and hormone therapy.
To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss a prostate cancer screening, 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.

The History of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are so commonly worn today that people don’t give them a second thought. Did you know that the concept for contact lenses goes all the way back to Leonardo DaVinci who described them back in 1508. Many scientists experimented with different materials over the next few centuries with only a little success. It was in the late 1800’s that German scientists devised a prototype of a contact lens made from a thin piece of glass that covered the entire eye.

In the early 1900’s it became possible to make a mold of the entire eye and this helped to make lenses that fit better.  By the 1950’s plastics were being developed that could be made thinner and with a better fit for the eye and they were replacing glass as the material of choice for contact lenses.  In 1960 the company Bausch and Lomb developed a technique to cast hydrogel, a plastic material that could be molded and shaped when wet, which allowed for the production of lenses that were able to be mass produced and of extremely high quality.

Today lenses are much more comfortable than the lenses made 20 years ago. They can be worn for long periods of time and they allow the eye to breathe which earlier versions couldn’t do.

If you would like to make an appointment with our ophthalmology department 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.

Mononucleosis – the “Kissing Disease”

Mononucleosis is a condition caused by the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). It is called the  “Kissing Disease” because it is spread through the saliva from one person to another. It can also be spread when drinking from the same glass or bottle as someone who is infected.  The virus  can also be transmitted through sexual contact or through a blood transfusion.  Mononucleosis  can remain in the body long after the symptoms have disappeared. Some people have the disease without even being aware.

 

 

 

Symptoms of mononucleosis can include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness

The spread of mononucleosis can be prevented by staying away from people who are infected and by not sharing drinking glasses, silverware, toothbrushes, and not having sexual relations with them.

There is no medication to treat mononucleosis. It usually clears up by itself over time. The symptoms can be relieved by getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, taking pain medication, and gargling with warm salt water It is important to avoid strenuous activities while the symptoms are present and ease slowly back to your normal routine once you start to feel better.

If you would like 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.

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

 

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. It is a condition that is characterized by raised, red scaly patches. It is  often found on the scalp, knees and elbows, but can show up on other parts of the body as well of people who have the disease. The exact cause is not known but there is a correlation between genetics and also the body’s immune system. Psoriasis is a condition where the skin cells multiply at a faster rate than normal cells. This causes a buildup up skin lesions and the area of the body also feels warmer because it contains more blood vessels.

Psoriasis is not contagious so it does not get passed by coming in to contact with a person who has it. It is a condition that affects men and women equally and it can develop at any age, most commonly between the ages of 15 and 35.

Common signs of psoriasis include:
• red patches of skin with thick silvery scales
• cracked and dry skin that may bleed
• stiff joints that may be swollen
• itching, burning and soreness
• nails that are pitted, thick and ridged

There are certain risk factors for developing psoriasis.  This includes stress, smoking, obesity, alcoholism, skin infections, a vitamin D deficiency, and a family history. Psoriasis is diagnosed by examining the skin and making a diagnosis. A dermatologist will be able to determine if it is psoriasis by the amount of thickness and redness it has. There are different types of psoriasis and they are classified by how they show up on the skin.

There are three ways that treatment for psoriasis can be approached. They can be used by themselves or together, depending on the severity. Topical creams and ointments that contain corticosteroids are usually the most commonly prescribed medications for mild to moderate conditions. Light therapy that is either natural or artificial ultraviolet light  can be used and it is directed at the area of the body that is affected. In severe cases, medications that are either injected or taken orally may be required. There are also alternative treatments that are being used and this includes Aloe vera which comes from a plant and   omega-3 fatty acids that comes from fish oils.

Depending on the severity of the disease, it may have an impact on a person’s quality of life. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Flushing Hospital Hospital for any type of skin condition, 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.

Urticaria (hives) is a skin condition caused usually by an allergic reaction or in some cases, unknown reasons.  Hives can appear on any part of the body and appear when a substance within the body called histamine is released from cells called mast cells. This causes fluid to leak from blood vessels, causing a reaction on the surface of the skin.

Hives can be as small as a pencil point or appear as big welts and are usually red, itchy and have varying shapes.  They usually last a few hours but can last a day or so, and if there is constant exposure to what is causing the condition, they will last much longer. The condition can be acute, lasting just a few weeks, to chronic which can go on for months.

The allergic reaction may be a result of exposure to certain allergens, chemicals in some food, insect bites, heat, cold and being out in sunlight. Certain medications can also be responsible for causing hives, most notably nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), aspirin, codeine, and morphine.

Hives usually resolve on their own in a few hours or days. One way to try to control the symptoms of hives is to avoid what is causing it, if it can be determined. Often times a physician will recommend taking an antihistamine. It is always suggested to see a physician if the condition becomes very uncomfortable or doesn’t resolve in a few days. If you would like 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.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the backbone (spine ). In the majority of cases,  the cause of this curvature is unknown. However,  there are cases where the curvature is due to a person having muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Other causes of scoliosis include birth defects, heredity, and spinal injuries. Not all abnormal spinal curvatures are considered scoliosis. A non-structural deformity can be due to one leg being longer than the other. In general, girls have a higher risk of developing scoliosis than boys do.

Many cases of scoliosis are considered to be mild and other than the spine having an abnormal sideways curvature, there is little impact on the body’s ability to function properly. In bad cases, the curvature of the spine may be so severe that it affects the chest cavity and causes problems with lung function and being able to breathe normally. It may also affect the heart’s ability to function properly.

Symptoms of scoliosis:
• Hips that are uneven
• Uneven shoulders
• Uneven waist
• Back pain
• One shoulder blade that protrudes more than the other

In severe cases the ribs on one side of the body may protrude more than the other side
In order to diagnose scoliosis a physician will perform a physical exam that includes visualizing the patient’s posture, taking a family history, performing a neurological exam checking for muscle weakness, numbness, and abnormal reflexes. A series of x-rays will also be taken to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of scoliosis is determined by the severity of the abnormal spinal curvature, the age of the patient, the location of the curvature, and whether or not the curvature is “C” shaped or a “double S “. In many cases no treatment will be required, only careful monitoring to see if the condition worsens over time. In cases that are moderate, a brace may be prescribed to prevent the worsening of the condition. Severe cases of scoliosis may require surgical intervention. This procedure involves fusion of two or more vertebrae and the use of either rods, plates and screws to hold the spine in place.

If you think that your child may have an abnormal curvature of the spine, speak with your pediatrician about an evaluation. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician 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.

What is a Dental Abscess ?

A dental abscess is an infection caused when harmful bacteria gain entry to the  central pulp area of a tooth.  This can happen when the tooth has a cavity or when trauma to a tooth has occurred and leaves an opening.  An abscess usually leads to inflammation and the development of pus. Many people describe the pain caused by a tooth abscess as one of the worst things they have ever encountered. While the pain from a tooth abscess may come on suddenly, the infection may have been developing over a long period of time.
The symptoms of a tooth abscess are:
• Sensitivity to hot and cold
• Swelling of the jaw
• Fever
• Bad breath
• Painful chewing
• Swollen lymph nodes at the jaw or neck
• Bitter taste in the mouth
Tooth decay is caused by poor dental hygiene and probably a diet filled with sugary junk food. These will cause the tooth or teeth to disintegrate over time. Trauma can be caused by either being struck in the mouth by a hard object, or biting over time on hard substances like nuts and candy. Either method can allow harmful bacteria to get into the pulp deep within the tooth. This will lead to swelling and pus to develop.
A dentist will assess the tooth with an x-ray. Depending on the extent of the abscess, they will prescribe an antibiotic to fight the infection and possibly a pain medication to help soothe the discomfort. In some cases a tooth can be saved. This may involve a root canal procedure to clean out the pulp and the root,  but when the abscess has destroyed a large portion of the tooth, it may have to be extracted.
There are a few ways to prevent tooth abscesses. A healthy diet that is low on refined foods and sugar helps.  Brushing and flossing are very important for maintaining proper oral hygiene. It is also very important to not bite down on hard objects like rock candy, nuts, and stale bread and cookies.
If you are experiencing any kind of tooth pain, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. This will prevent the problem from getting worse, will get you relief quickly, and can prevent the abscess from becoming a life threatening infection.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dentist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5522.

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.

Sunglasses – Strength and Protection

At this time of year we spend more time outdoor and for that reason it is important to protect our eyes from the potentially harmful rays of the sun.

One of the ways we can do this is by wearing the right sunglasses. Don’t be fooled by the price tag when purchasing sunglasses. Just because sunglasses are expensive doesn’t always mean that they are the best at blocking the UV rays. Always check the label first.

For sunglasses to be completely effective they should:
• Block out as close to 100% of the UVA and UVB  rays as possible
• Block out 75 to 90 percent of the visible light
• Have gray lenses for proper color recognition

If we are exposed to too much UV rays, over time, it can cause cataracts and can also harm the cornea and the retina. Short term exposure to UV radiation can cause photokeratitis, an inflammation of the cornea. It is temporary in the short term but can have serious consequences long term.

It is also important that sunglasses fit properly. They shouldn’t be worn so close that they touch the eyelids yet not too far off that they let sun get in around them.

A good rule to follow is if you are wearing sunscreen you should also be wearing sunglasses.

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.