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.

National School Backpack Safety Monthy

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September is National School Backpack Safety Month and Flushing Hospital Medical Center is sharing information on how you can help your child avoid the pain and injury that is associated with carrying heavy backpacks.  These simple tips can help protect your child from having chronic back pain throughout their lives.

Backpacks are essential back-to- school items for kids.  They come in different colors, sizes and shapes and most importantly they help children to carry their belongings.  Backpacks are preferred by many in comparison to shoulder bags because when worn correctly, they evenly distribute weight across the body.  However, if worn incorrectly they can cause back pain or injuries and eventually lead to poor posture.

To prevent problems associated with improper backpack use, parents should first purchase a backpack that has the following features:

  • Lightweight
  • Wide and padded straps
  • Multiple compartments
  • Padded back
  • Waist belt
  • Correct size (A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso).

Practicing these safety tips will further reduce the chance of back pain or injuries caused by backpacks:

  • When packing, heavier items should be placed to the back and center of the backpack. Lighter items should be in front. Sharp objects such as scissors or pencils should be kept away from your child’s back.  Utilizing different compartments can help in distributing weight.
  • Do not over pack. Doctors recommend that children should not carry backpacks that weigh more than 10-15% of their body weight.
  • Ensure that children use both straps. Using a single strap can cause muscle strain.
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack fits closely to your child’s back and sits two inches above the waist. This ensures comfort and proper weight distribution.
  • Encourage children to use their lockers or desks throughout the day to drop off heavy books.

The Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America recommends that parents should always look for warning signs that indicate backpacks may be too heavy. If your child struggles to put on and take off the backpack, they are complaining of numbness or tingling or if there are red strap marks on their shoulders -It may be time for you to lighten their load.

 

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.

National Food Safety Education Month

September is National Food Safety Education Month. Designating this observance provides an opportunity to raise awareness about steps you can take to prevent food poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food. Some people are more likely to get a foodborne illness (also called food poisoning) or to get seriously ill.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) would like to share information regarding food poisoning and prevention.

Some foods to avoid in an effort to prevent food poisoning are:

  • raw or undercooked meat and poultry
  • raw or undercooked fish and shellfish
  • canned fish and seafood
  • refrigerated smoked seafood in a cooked dish
  • unpasteurized dairy (milk and eggs)
  • raw or undercooked sprouts (alfalfa, bean, etc.)
  • unwashed fresh vegetables
  • soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk
  • processed cheeses

To learn more about ways to prevent food poisoning visit: www.cdc.gov/foodsafety

 

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

Are Air Fryers a Healthier Way to Prepare Your Food?

In a world focused on calorie consumption and step counting, there has been a lot of hullabaloo about Air fryers and the benefit they may have when preparing food.

Air fryers claim to help lower the fat content in foods we would normally steer clear because of their high fat content such as french fries, chicken fingers and egg rolls.

So, how does an air fryer work?

According to Healthline.com, an air fryer is a kitchen appliance used to prepare food. It works by circulating hot air that contains fine oil droplets around the food to produce a crunchy, crispy exterior.

Air fryers are publicized as a healthy alternative to deep fried foods because it does not completely submerging the food in oil,  it only utilizes one tablespoon of oil.

Some pros to air fryers are:

  • They significantly reduce overall calorie intake
  • They are time efficient in that they cook the item quicker
  • There is an easy clean up

The cons of air frying:

  • Consumers can be misled into thinking they can healthy and eat fried food everyday
  • Air frying produces high temperatures at a very fast rate making it more likely to burn your food
  • Air fryers are small and not conducive to feeding a large family

Flushing Hospital Medical Center is committed to bringing you healthy alternatives to your lifestyle. Although we are not endorsing air fryers, anything that lowers the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are worth having a healthy discussion about.

For more information on air fryers and their benefits, you can visit Healthline.com.

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.

Employee Spotlight – Melissa Melgar

This month the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Employee Spotlight shines on Melissa Melgar.

Melissa is a Flushing Hospital Medical Center employee for the past 12 years. She currently holds the title of Office Manager, Psychiatry Administration.

On any given day, Melissa assists with organizing on-call coverage for the Department of Psychiatry, credentialing newly assigned medical professionals and arranging Continuing Medical Education credits (CME).

Additionally, Melissa works with and prepares for the Joint Commission on HealthCare Organizations (JCAHO), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASAS) and Department of Health (DOH) prior to and during surveys.

Melissa’s greatest loves are her two children, Matthew age 4 and Maya, age 3.  She spends her free time site seeing, biking, dancing, taking road trips and adventures with her family and friends.

She is also a champion of charities such as Breast Cancer Walk, raising funds for Breast Cancer Research, advocating for heightened awareness for Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome and Ronald McDonald House.

Although her job can, at times, be challenging; Melissa feels that helping others, making a difference in another person’s life and seeing the gratitude in patient’s faces is what makes it all worthwhile.

Melissa Melgar strongly believes that everyone should be made to feel important.

 

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

Are there Benefits If You Drink Kombucha Tea?

The internet is all a buzz about the benefits of Kombucha Tea, but what is kombucha?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Although it’s sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom — it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds.

Some of the professed benefits of Kombucha are:

  • Gut health – the pro-biotics released in the fermentation process are similar to healthy bacteria that are found in the gut. Probiotic bacteria have been linked to helping diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Cancer risk – Some studies show that drinking kombucha may help reduce the risk of cancer.  It’s important to note that these studies were conducted on cells in a test tube.
  • Infection risk – Acetic acid found in vinegar is also found in kombucha after it ferments.
  • Mental Health – Since probiotics have been linked to treating depression and probiotics are evident in kombucha after fermentation, it may help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
  • Heart disease – Some studies have found that kombucha helps reduce levels of cholesterol that may cause heart disease.

The Mayo Clinic further reports that there have been adverse effects while using kombucha.  Some people complained of an upset stomach, infections and at times an allergic reaction. This may have been caused because contamination can occur if the tea is brewed in homes with a nonsterile preparation area.

They further state that since there isn’t enough evidence that kombucha tea delivers on its health claims, the safe approach may be to avoid kombucha tea until more definitive information is available.

 

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.

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.