Learn More About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition that affects the nervous system and movement.

The disease occurs when nerve cells (or neurons) in the brain gradually break down or die. These neurons produce a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. When dopamine levels decrease, it leads to abnormal activity in the brain.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person with early signs often going unnoticed before they begin to progress.  Symptoms often start on one side of the body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can include:

  • Tremors. Shaking that begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers.  Your hand may tremor when it’s at rest.
  • Slowed movement. Over time, Parkinson’s disease may make simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. Your steps may become shorter or you may drag your feet.
  • Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can be painful and limit your range of motion.
  • Impaired posture and balance. Your posture may become stooped, or you may have difficulty balancing.
  • Loss of automatic movements. You may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
  • Speech changes. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking.  Speech may also become monotone.
  • Writing changes. It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.

Parkinson’s disease can also lead to other complications, including difficulty remembering or concentrating, emotional changes and depression, difficulty chewing and swallowing, sleep disorders and fatigue, constipation, and bladder control issues.

The most common risk factors for Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Age. People usually develop the disease around age 60 or older.
  • Heredity. Having a close relative with Parkinson’s increases the chances that you’ll develop the disease.
  • Gender. Men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than are women.
  • Exposure to toxins. Ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides may slightly increase your risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Because the cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, proven ways to prevent the disease also remain a mystery. Some research has shown that regular aerobic exercise might reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

While there is still no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are treatments that can slow down the progression and alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Most treatments involve the use of medications that increase the production of dopamine in the brain. Unfortunately, the effects of these drugs usually wear off over time. There are also surgical options designed to stimulate brain function. This type of procedure has led to dramatic improvements in many patients with Parkinson’s disease.

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms or Parkinson’s disease, see your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, you can make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling 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.

Flushing Hospital Receives Prestigious Baby-Friendly Designation

Flushing Hospital is pleased to announce it has received the official designation of a Baby-Friendly USA® Hospital.

As a Baby- Friendly® institution, the hospital upholds the strict breastfeeding requirements and guidelines set in place by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

To receive Baby-Friendly® status, institutions must successfully implement the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” which include providing appropriate education to enable families to make informed decisions about infant feeding, encouraging mothers to hold their babies skin-to-skin immediately following birth, and offering expert lactation support throughout and beyond the hospital stay. Baby-Friendly®  practices are designed to optimize mother-baby bonding and to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the first few days of a new baby’s life.

Flushing Hospital has successfully fulfilled the requirements for Baby-Friendly® designation by implementing several breastfeeding initiatives within the hospital and in the communities it serves.

“We serve a diverse population of patients at Flushing Hospital with representation of many different ethnicities and cultures. We are proud to provide breastfeeding education in several languages at public libraries and offer classes and support groups at our facility, free of charge,” states Maria D. Smilios, Director of Nursing.

“Our goal is to educate expectant mothers on how breastfeeding is a key nutritional value for their newborns, and how it fortifies bonding between the new mom and baby,” shares Jimena Grimaldi, Lactation Consultant.

Flushing Hospital’s goals are in line with Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding objectives put in place by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services- to increase the number of infants that have ever breastfed to 81% and increase the number of infants breastfeeding at six months of age to 60.6%.

Scientific evidence demonstrates the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of infants.  It has been found that babies who are fed breastmilk exclusively during the first six months of life are less likely to develop respiratory diseases such as asthma and have reduced risks of ear infections, obesity, diabetes, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

“Each year, Flushing Hospital delivers approximately 3,000 babies, and we strongly support the philosophy that every child has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, beginning with providing mothers with the resources needed on how to supply their babies with the best nutrition possible,” explains Smilios.

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.

New Changes for MediSys MyChart

For many years, Flushing Hospital Medical Center has offered our patients the opportunity to better manage their healthcare and interact with their providers, through the MyChart patient portal.

Access to MyChart accounts has always required a patient’s physician to provide them with a special access code. Now, thanks to our partnership with Experian, our patients can create their very own MyChart account without needing an access code. For patients to create an account, they simply click the link to the MediSys MyChart website: https://mychart.medisys.org and click on the “sign up now” tab.

The new Experian verification process is much easier and will give patients quicker access to their chart, allowing them to take any number of actions, including:

  • Reviewing their medications, immunizations, allergies, and medical history
  • Reviewing test results online
  • Reviewing health education topics and discharge instructions
  • Requesting prescription refills online
  • Interacting with your provider via email
  • Requesting an appointment
  • Linking to family medical records

We hope that this new method of creating an account will encourage more patients to sign-up. By offering our patients easier access to their records, we feel they will become better educated and empowered to take a more active role in their health and the health of their family, which we feel will lead to a healthier patient population.

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 Receives Patient Safety Award and Ranks in Top 10% in Nation for Patient Safety

If you are sick and need to go to the hospital, it is important to know that if admitted, your hospital is dedicated to safety, and has a proven track record of preventing further illness and injury to its patients.

Healthgrades, a trusted provider of information to millions of health care consumers across the United States, recently recognized the best-performing hospitals in the country and Flushing Hospital Medical Center received the Patient Safety Excellence Award, an accolade that recognizes hospitals that lead in the prevention of patient safety events.

This prestigious honor highlights the hospital’s performance in safeguarding patients from serious, potentially preventable complications during their hospital stay.   Flushing Hospital, part of the MediSys Health Network ranked in the top 10% in the nation for patient safety.

To determine which hospitals receive the Patient Safety Excellence Award, Healthgrades reviews the results of 14 key patient safety indicators submitted by hospitals to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Some of the safety measures surveyed include pressure ulcers, catheter-related bloodstream infections, and postoperative sepsis rates.

Flushing is one of two hospitals in Queens and one of only four in New York City to receive this honor. The hospital attributes their vastly improved safety rates to robust quality improvement policies and programs that were initiated over a decade ago and that are still being followed and improved upon every day.

According to MediSys Health Network President, Bruce J. Flanz, “Patient Safety is one of the top priorities at Flushing Hospital. We are proud to be in a position to provide our patients with a safe and trusted environment to receive high-quality care. I would like to thank the many members of our staff who are committed to this effort.”

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.

10 Interesting Facts About The Human Heart

Ours hearts are essential to our survival. They are part of our circulatory system and they are responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout our body, but how much do we really know about our heart?

Here are 10 interesting facts about the human heart that you may not have known:

  • The average heart is the size of an adult fist.
  • Your heart will beat about 115,000 times each day.
  • The beating sound your heart makes is caused by the opening and closing of its valves.
  • Each day, your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood.
  • If you were to stretch out your blood vessel system, it would extend over 60,000 miles.
  • The human heart weighs less than one pound, but a man’s heart is typically two ounces heavier than a woman’s.
  • A woman’s heart beats slightly faster than a man’s.
  • There is such a thing as a broken heart. Symptoms are similar to a heart attack but the cause is usually stress and not heart disease.
  • Laughing is good for your heart. It reduces stress and gives a boost to your immune system.

While these facts are meant to be light and fun, the most important thing to understand is how important it is to maintain proper heart health. By eating right and exercising, you can remain heart healthy.

To speak with a doctor at Flushing Hospital about your heart health, 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.

Know The Facts About Osteoporosis

May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month and  Flushing Hospital wants to help raise awareness about this condition.

Woman in her 40s undergoing scan at bone densitometer machine

Osteoporosis, meaning “porous bones,” is defined as a condition, in which bones become weak and brittle, making individuals more susceptible to fractures. Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone tissue doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone tissue.

Osteoporosis affects men and women, but older women who are past menopause are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.

Your chances of developing osteoporosis partly depends on how much bone mass you accumulate in your youth, when you are at you peak bone building mass age. During this period in your life, you can build-up a bone mass reserve that can be used later in life when you are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include:
• Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
• Loss of height over time
• A stooped posture
• A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected

There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis – some are controllable, but others are not. Some of the factors are:

• Gender – Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
• Age – The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
• Race – You’re at the greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.
• Family history – Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk.
• Body frame size – Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
• Hormone levels – Osteoporosis is more common in people who have too much or too little of certain hormones in their bodies.
• Dietary factors – Those with a lower calcium intake or have a history of eating disorders are at an increased risk
• Medications – Long term use of oral or injectable steroids can interfere with the bone rebuilding process
• Lifestyle – Excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use can contribute to the weakening of bones.

A bone density test can be performed to measure the proportion of mineral in your bones. During this painless test, you lie on a padded table as a scanner passes over your body. In most cases, only a few bones are checked — usually in the hip, wrist and spine.

Hormone therapy or medications can be administered to treat osteoporosis, but there are side effects. Please consult your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital has qualified physicians at our Ambulatory Care Center. 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.

Flushing Hospital and NYSS Offer Patients a New, Groundbreaking Weight Loss Treatment

Flushing Hospital Medical Center in conjunction with the New York Surgical Specialists (NYSS) group are proud to announce that they now offer a safe and effective, non-surgical alternative for individuals who struggle with obesity and have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight through conventional diet and exercise.

Weight loss specialists, Sanjeev Rajpal MD, Darshak Shah MD and Noman Khan MD are all excited that Flushing is one of the only hospitals in the area to offer our patients the revolutionary, Obalon weight loss system. Obalon is the first and only non-surgical, and completely non-invasive weight loss treatment option approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Patients who participate in the Obalon treatment swallow a small, coated capsule connected to a thin tube. Once the capsule is digested, it naturally dissolves and a small, lightweight gastric balloon unfolds. This balloon is then filled with medical gases via the tube before it is removed. This process is repeated two more times over a six month period. Each procedure only takes 10 minutes, requires no sedation and can be performed in the doctor’s office.

Once expanded, each to the size of a small orange, the three balloons work to facilitate weight loss by taking up space within the stomach, enabling patients to become fuller while eating less.

After six months the balloons are removed endoscopically while the patient is under light, conscious sedation.

Throughout the entire three-stage, six-month process, patients will receive nutritional and exercise support from Flushing Hospital’s weight loss team.

The Obalon Weight Loss System offers many benefits to those patients, who do not qualify for or are seeking an alternative to bariatric surgery, including:

 

  • Obalon is clinically proven to be twice as effective as diet and exercise alone
  • There are minimal risks or side effects
  • No sedation is required and the entire procedure only takes 10 minutes
  • Obalon is affordable as compared to other surgical weight loss options, but it is not currently covered by most insurance providers
  • Patients can resume their normal daily lifestyle immediately
  • The procedure is completely reversible

Not everyone is a candidate for the Obalon weight loss system. To qualify, patients must be:

  • At least 22 years old
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30-40
  • Have not had any form of weight loss surgery
  • Are actively attempting to lose weight through diet and exercise
  • Are committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle during and after treatment

To learn more information about the Obalon weight loss system, or to make an appointment with one of our highly qualified physicians, please call 718-408-6977 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.

Flushing Hospital Recognized As a Bariatric Center of Excellence

Patients seeking surgical treatment for severe obesity and its related conditions now have a high-quality choice for receiving treatment at a nationally accredited program that meets the highest standards for patient safety and quality of care, close to home.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) announced its Bariatric Surgical Center has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).  There are only 16 centers that have achieved this accreditation in New York City.

According to Sanjeev Rajpal MD, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Director at Flushing Hospital, “To earn the prestigious designation, the hospital met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity.”  As part of its commitment to quality assurance, Flushing Hospital participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.

The Flushing Hospital Bariatric Surgical Center opened in 2014 and has performed over 200 bariatric [weight loss surgery] procedures with outstanding outcomes.   The center upholds the MBSAQIP standards by offering patients a high quality, multidisciplinary program that includes surgical and non- surgical interventions aimed to improve long-term, weight loss success.

In the United States, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.

Flushing Hospital offers a variety of weight-loss surgery procedures, based on the specific needs of their patients.  Surgical options including Gastric Bypass, Lap Band, Sleeve Gastrectomy and Gastric Revisions are performed by a highly trained team of surgeons, led by Rajpal, using minimally invasive techniques and in some cases, the aid of the highly advanced da Vinci Robotic Surgical Platform.

The multidisciplinary team at Flushing Hospital’s Bariatric Surgical Center also provides many compassionately delivered services to help patients succeed in every step of their weight loss surgery. The Center offers close physician monitoring, pre and post-surgical psychological evaluations, personalized diet and nutritional counseling as well as ongoing education and support groups.

For more information about the Bariatric Surgery Services at Flushing Hospital or procedures performed by our doctors, please call 718-670-8908

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

Winter Skin

Winter can be a particularly harsh season for our skin. During this time of year, temperatures are cold and we spend more time indoors where heating systems tend to deplete the water content in the air.  Low humidity in our environment contributes to dry skin.

Dry skin commonly appears as being rough and flaky patches, which can show up anywhere on the body but mostly on the arms and legs. In severe cases, your skin can develop creases and cracks when it is extremely dry.

Drying of the skin typically occurs when the outer layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, becomes compromised. The stratum corneum which is composed of dead skin cells and natural oils; acts as a protective layer that prevents water from evaporating from the surface. When water evaporates, outer skin cells become flaky and will cause cracks and fissures.

There are steps you can take to retain moisture and prevent dry skin. Here are a few:
• Bathe in warm water, never hot
• Use mild soaps that contain moisturizing creams
• Pat the skin dry with soft towels
• Use a moisturizer several times a day on exposed areas of the body.
• Drink a lot of water
• Apply sunscreen to prevent drying out from the sun’s rays
• Wear gloves
• Avoid wearing wet articles of clothes outdoors.
• Have a humidifier in the home

If you would like to speak with a doctor about your winter skin care, please call 718-670-5486 to schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

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

Tips to Navigate the Holiday Season And Keeping Your Waistline Intact

Getting through the holidays without putting on extra pounds can be a real challenge. There are many opportunities to go overboard. However, just because the temptations are greater, doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to the traps of holiday weight gain

Here are some tips to help you navigate the holiday season while keeping your waistline intact:

  • Control portions.Research has shown that the more food we’re served, the more we will eat even if we don’t particularly like what we’re eating. Try to minimize the size of your portions, especially with calorie-heavy foods like gravy, eggnog, and desserts.
  • Keep moving. Exercise has proven to be important for weight loss.  Exercise is also essential in helping you cope with stress and increases your level of energy, giving you a boost when trying to tackle that long holiday “to-do” list. Even if you don’t have time to get to the gym, try to squeeze in 10-minute intervals of activity throughout the day.
  • Weigh in regularly.Checking the scale at least once a week is a true test for maintenance. Remember to do this first thing in the morning, in your nightclothes, and after emptying your bladder.
  • Have a healthy breakfast.Numerous studies confirm that those who have breakfast eat fewer calories throughout the day. Eating breakfast also powers up the brain and boosts metabolism.
  • Put it on a plate.It’s hard to keep track of how much food you’re eating when you nibble without using a plate. Serving meals and snacks on a plate will help you avoid munching and consuming extra calories.
  • If you don’t love it, don’t eat it. Trying new foods is always exciting but why waste calories if you don’t love what you are eating? One bite is usually enough to tell whether you love it or not. If something is not for you, just leave it on your plate and use the extra calories for something you love.
  • Take a few bites. A piece of pecan pie or glass of eggnog can set you back by more than 400 calories. To avoid gaining weight, enjoy just a few bites or sips of these rich treats.
  • Savor every bite.Sit down, relax, and take your time to experience the flavors, textures, and aroma of each food. Eating slowly will help you enjoy the meal and will give your brain time to signal to your stomach that you’re

By following these tips you can enjoy all the delicious joys that are associated with the holiday seasons and not suffer the usual consequences.

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.