November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Every year the month of November is recognized nationally as Diabetes Awareness Month. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million people have this disease, however, only 18.8 million have been diagnosed. An additional 79 million people in the United States are believed to have pre-diabetes.

Diabetes affects different race and ethnic groups more frequently than others. The prevalence of diabetes has been calculated to affect 7.1 % of Caucasians, 8.4% of Asian Americans, 12.6% of African Americans and 11.8 % of Hispanics. Diabetes is considered a chronic illness that leads to it being a cause of death, either directly or through a complication due to the disease. Some of the complications associated with diabetes are hypertension, blindness, heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, neuropathy, and amputations.

Diabetes is a chronic illness for which there is no known cure. It can, however, be treated successfully in many people, and very often these people lead long and healthy lives. Having a family history of diabetes can be a risk factor for developing the disease but not a guarantee that a person will definitely develop it. Other risk factors include obesity, poor diet, having diabetes during pregnancy, race and ethnicity, being over the age of 45, lack of exercise, and having high blood pressure.

Some of the symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, frequently feeling thirsty, blurry vision, fatigue, feeling hungry even after having just eaten a meal or a snack, wounds that are slow to heal, numbness or tingling in the extremities, and in some cases, weight loss.

The three most common forms of diabetes are Type 1 which indicates a lack of insulin production by the pancreas, Type 1 is most commonly associated with children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is when the body produces insulin but it is not utilized adequately by the body, also known as adult-onset diabetes and the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease. Gestational Diabetes occurs occasionally during pregnancy and then frequently resolves itself once the pregnancy is completed.

Diabetes is diagnosed through blood tests. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a physician will discuss treatment options that will work for that individual. Often this will include either an oral medication in cases that are less severe or insulin injections for more serious cases, combined with diet modification and possibly an exercise regime. It is extremely important to keep diabetes well controlled. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications that may be irreversible and can lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke and premature death.

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

Is Bariatric Surgery Right For You?

Obesity is a growing public health issue in our region.  According to NYC.gov, more than half of New Yorkers are overweight, and nearly a quarter qualify as obese.  The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reports that an estimated 23% of the population living in Queens is obese.

These rates are concerning because people who are obese are at an increased risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers.  However, the good news is the risks associated with many of these conditions can be significantly reduced by losing weight.

Diet and exercise are highly recommended methods of weight loss but they may not be enough to yield significant results for those who are obese.   Bariatric surgery offers an extremely effective weight loss solution for people who have tried and failed to lose weight by way of diet and exercise. Additionally, it has been shown to help improve several obesity-related health conditions.

The two most popular bariatric surgeries are the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass procedures. In the sleeve gastrectomy operation, a large portion of the stomach is removed and a smaller, new stomach in the shape of a tube or “sleeve” is created.  During bypass surgery, a new small stomach pouch is created, and a section of the small bowel is bypassed. These surgeries are usually done through small incisions either laparoscopically or using the da Vinci surgical robot, ensuring a minimally invasive approach. Both surgeries offer excellent long-term results and positive outcomes in most patients.

With this is in mind, it is important to understand that bariatric surgery is a major operation, no matter which procedure is chosen.  Bariatric surgery is not an easy way out. It is an important decision to be made under strict physician supervision and with the support of loved ones.  The process is immersive and takes approximately 4-5 months of supervised dieting and being seen by multiple specialties for approval.

Although bariatric surgery is considered safe, it is very important that patients understand the risks of surgery. As with most major surgical procedures, the risks can include bleeding or other complications.

For those who would like to explore non-surgical weight loss procedures, there are options such as the FDA-approved Obalon Balloon System. This involves three air filled balloons inserted via a swallowed capsule. The patient is given no anesthesia and most people return to work the same day. The balloons stay in for six months after which they are removed via endoscopy. The procedure is generally very well tolerated with some side effects such as nausea and cramping. Studies have shown weight loss to continue beyond removal and many patients lose a significant amount of weight.

When deciding which procedure is best for you, it is recommended that you receive an expert consultation with a surgeon. Your physician can assess your health which can lead to the decision on which surgery is suitable for your needs.

To ensure the highest quality care and maximize your chances of a successful weight loss procedure, it is recommended that you receive treatment at a “Bariatric Center of Excellence”, such as Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Flushing Hospital is the only Center of Excellence in Queens. The process to reach this designation is arduous and ensures that the center and the surgeons are of the highest quality and preparedness. Surgical outcomes are measured very strictly and the capability of both the surgeons and the center must be of the highest caliber when compared nationally.

To make an appointment, please call 718-408-6977.

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.

Stuttering

Stuttering, sometimes called stammering or dysfluency is a disruption in the normal patterns of speech. It can take many forms, such as:

Message on chalkboard

• Repeating a sound or a syllable, especially at the beginning of the word, such as “li- li- like.”
• Prolongation of a sound such as “ssssss”
• Complete stoppage of speech or the omission of a sound.
• Repeated interruption of speech with sounds such as “uh” or “um.”

Stuttering can begin at any age, but it’s most common among children who are learning to form words into sentences. Boys are more likely than girls to stutter.

Approximately one out of every 20 children will develop stuttering that lasts for more than six months, but this does not necessarily mean that stuttering is going to be a lifelong problem. Knowing what to look for and responding appropriately to your child’s stuttering will go a long way toward preventing it from becoming a more long-term or even permanent condition.

Why does stuttering begin? At one time many people thought that stuttering was the result of either physical or emotional trauma. While there are rare instances of stuttering following traumatic events, this is not the typical factor when determining why stuttering begins. Instead, experts point to other factors that contribute to stuttering:

• Family History – According to research, 60% of all stutterers have someone in the family who also stutters.
• Child Development. – Children who have other language and speech problems are more likely to stutter than children who don’t.
• Neurophysiology – Which part of the brain processes language can contribute in identifying why some children stutter
• Family Dynamics – Some children’s stuttering has been attributed to high family expectations and a fast-paced lifestyle.

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your child’s stuttering. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist known as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who can evaluate your child and determine whether or not there is a risk of a long-term problem. In most cases, treatment primarily focuses on training and working with the parents to develop techniques to help the child cope with and get beyond his or her stuttering.

Parents of children who stutter can also help by creating a relaxing atmosphere at home that encourages speech, even if a stutter is present. Some tips include:

• Create opportunities for talking that are relaxed, fun, and enjoyable.
• When conversing with your child, try to create an environment with limiting distractions, such as the presence of television.
• Don’t be critical of your child’s speech or insist on precise or correct speech. Don’t correct his speech, or complete his sentences.
• Don’t put pressure on your child to verbally interact with others when stuttering becomes a problem.
• Listen attentively to what your child is saying, maintaining normal eye contact without displaying signs of impatience or frustration.
• Model a slow, relaxed way of speaking to help your child slow down his own speech.
• Don’t be afraid to talk with your child about stuttering and answer questions. Explain that disruptions in speech are common.

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.

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.