Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has received a great deal of attention because it’s believed to help protect your cardiovascular system. The reason being is that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids.

Higher grades of dark chocolate are where you will find an abundance of flavonoids.

Some benefits to adding a moderate amount of dark chocolate to your diet are:

  • Nutrition – If the dark chocolate you are eating has a high cocoa content it will also have a sufficient amount of soluble fiber and will be rich with minerals.
  • Antioxidants – Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins to name a few.
  • Blood Flow and Hypertension – The bioactive compounds in cocoa have been known to improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but significant decrease in blood pressure.
  • Heart Disease – Eating dark chocolate has shown to be beneficial in improving several important risk factors for heart disease, reducing insulin resistance, increase high density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) and decreasing low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol). These reductions could show decrease in cardiovascular disease.

Be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories.

There is currently no established serving size of dark chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. So, for now, it is recommended that a moderate portion of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week is sufficient while eating other flavonoid-rich foods (lettuce, almonds, strawberries, celery oranges, etc.).

Even though there is evidence that eating dark chocolate can provide health benefits, it doesn’t mean you should over indulge.  It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat.

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 Weather Exercising Tips

Winter weather doesn’t mean the end of your outdoor exercise routine. If you plan to continue to run or bike after the mercury drops, consider following these tips so you can stay safe and warm while exercising in the cold.

Know the weather conditions before heading outdoors – In addition to the temperature, those heading outside to exercise need to understand how wind and precipitation can affect your health.  These factors, combined with the length of time spent outdoors need to be taken into consideration before beginning an outdoor exercise regime.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia –Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as your cheeks, nose and ears. It can also occur on hands and feet. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.

Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Hypothermia signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue.

Get out of the cold and seek emergency help right away if you experience symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia.

Dress in layers – Dressing too warmly is a big mistake when exercising in cold weather. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat — enough to make you feel like it’s much warmer than it really is. The best option is to dress in layers that can be removed as soon as you start to sweat and then put layers back on as needed.

Protect your head, hands, feet and ears – When it’s cold, blood flow is concentrated in your body’s core, leaving your head, hands and feet vulnerable. Ways to protect these parts of your body include wearing a thin pair of glove liners under a pair of heavier gloves, purchasing exercise shoes one size larger to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat to protect your head or headband to protect your ears.

Use proper safety gear – If it’s dark when you exercise outside, wear reflective clothing. If you ride a bike, both headlights and taillights are a good idea. Also choose footwear with enough traction to prevent falls, especially if it’s icy or snowy.

It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer — even more so if you’re exercising in the snow or at high altitudes. Wear a sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen. Protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with dark glasses or goggles.

Drink plenty of fluids – Don’t forget about hydration, as it’s just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty.

These tips can help you safely and enjoyably exercise in cold conditions. Closely monitor how your body feels during cold-weather exercise to help prevent injuries. While exercise is safe for almost everyone, even in cold weather, if you do have certain condition such as asthma or heart disease that could limit you ability, you should check with your doctor first.

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.

Keeping Your Immune System Strong During Cold and Flu Season

Our immune system protects our bodies from illness and infection. While having a strong immune system is important all year long, there are times of the year that its effectiveness is tested more than other.

body defense

With cold a flu season upon us, Flushing Hospital wants to offer some day-to-day lifestyle tips to avoid weakening your immune system and keep you healthy.

STRESS
Prolonged periods of intense stress can affect the immune system. Stress causes the brain to boost the production of hormones that weaken the function of the infection-fighting T cells. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, try to adopt stress-relieving activities to boost your immune system.

POOR SLEEP
Poor sleep is strongly associated with a weak immune system as it reduces the number of killer cells needed to fight germs. Recent research has suggested that the amount of flu-fighting antibodies produced was cut in half in those who were sleep deprived.

ALCOHOL
Excessive intake of alcohol may reduce the immune system’s response to invading pathogens because alcohol contains ingredients that impair lung functionality, making us more prone to viral or bacterial infections.

POOR DIET
Excessive consumption of refined sugars and highly processed food containing pesticides, chemical additives and preservatives can weaken the immune system. In addition, obesity can lead to a weakened immune system as it affects the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies and prevent inflammation.

By adopting some healthy lifestyle practices and avoiding certain others, we can give our bodies the best chance of staving of illness this cold and flu season.

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.

Great American Smokeout

On November 16, 2017, the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team joined with the American Cancer Society and participated in The Great American Smokeout. The Smoking Cessation Team hosted an informational table in the hospital’s lobby.

The Great American Smokeout is designed for you to have a chance for you to make a plan to quit smoking.  Did you know that by quitting for even one day, you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and can reduce your risk of getting Cancer? Well, you can!

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of multiple diseases and premature deaths in the USA today.  It kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fire and AIDS combined. There are an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States annually that are due to tobacco use. It is the only legal consumer product that is lethal when used exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.

Smoking cigarettes affects many aspects of health. Tobacco smoke contains about 7000 chemicals, including low concentrations of such strong poisons as ammonia, cyanide, arsenic and formaldehyde.  It also contains 69 carcinogens – substances that are known to cause cancers in humans. Direct association has been established between smoking and cancers of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, stomach, pancreas, cervix, bladder, kidney and blood.
In the United States, Illnesses caused by smoking cost more than 300 billion dollars per year in direct medical care and lost productivity. Smokers pay twice as much for life insurance and will die on average of 13-14 years earlier than non-smokers. It costs tobacco companies approximately 5 cents to produce a pack of cigarettes.

Many lung conditions are either caused or aggravated by cigarette smoke. It irritates bronchial airways and stimulates mucous production leading eventually to decreased elasticity and functional failure. Patients suffering from COPD, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema have a much higher risk of dying when repeatedly exposed to smoke.
Smokers are also at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Smoking damages blood vessels making them stiff and narrow, obstructing blood flow which results with elevated blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or chronic skin changes.

Pregnant women exposed to tobacco smoke have increased risk of complications like miscarriage, premature birth, and brain and lung damage in developing baby. Sudden infant death syndrome is three times more likely if mother smoked during pregnancy.
Secondhand smoke is the smoke exhaled by smokers or given off by a burning cigarette or pipe. Inhaling secondhand smoke is as hazardous as smoking a cigarette. There is no safe level for secondhand smoke exposure established. People can inhale it at work, homes, cars or public spaces and have all the complications mentioned above.

Smoking tobacco is an addiction similar to heroin and cocaine. It can be successfully treated but the majority of cases require three or more attempts. Quitting smoking offers a chance of feeling better and living longer.  Studies have shown that five, common sense steps, provide the best chance for quitting smoking for good:

  1. Get ready: set a quit date and throw out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home.
  2. Get support: tell your family, friends and doctor about quitting plans; search the internet for advice.
  3. Learn new behaviors: distract yourself from the urge to smoke; exercise or go for a walk.
  4. Get medication: combining medication like nicotine patches or Zyban with behavioral adaptation and family support quadruples your chances of success.
  5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations– most people try to quit a few times before   succeeding.

If you would like to learn more about quitting smoking call the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Smoking Cessation Team at 718-670-3146.

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 Yoga Month

September is National Yoga Month.  It is a national observance designed to help educate people about the benefits of yoga and to inspire them to live a healthy lifestyle.

Developed in India thousands of years ago, Yoga is a form of exercise that has gained popularity tremendously over the past 50 years.

Yoga teaches increased flexibility by learning how to stretch your muscles. This can help a person improve mobility, feel less tired and improve their posture.

• Some of the other benefits of yoga are:

• Improved immunity

• Ease migraines

• Improve sexual performance

• Better sleep

• Improve eating habits

Yoga can help you to feel calmer and more relaxed. This is because some forms of yoga teach techniques that focus on breathing.

It has also been shown to lower blood pressure and to lower the heart rate. This can greatly help people who have been diagnosed with heart disease and who either have had a stroke or at risk of having a stroke.

It usually takes a few weeks to start seeing the benefits of yoga. When looking for yoga classes, find an instructor who has proper training and who is certified to teach the class. It can be practiced by just about anyone, and it isn’t just for people who are in good physical condition.

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.

Can Healthy Eating Promote Successful Wound Healing?

The nutritional status of a patient plays a large role in their body’s ability undergo wound healing. It requires a higher than normal level of energy and nutrients if it is going to be successful. The body requires an additional 35 calories per kilogram of body weight to help a chronic wound to heal. This will include eating a well-balanced diet that includes protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

A balanced diet should include 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. A kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds. Keeping hydrated is also very important, eight glasses of water per day should be the minimum and more if the person sweats profusely, has a wound that is draining, or if vomiting and or diarrhea are present. Meals should include meats, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, seeds, yogurt and dried beans. In some people who have difficulty obtaining proper caloric intake from their daily meals, high protein and high calorie shakes can be used as supplements. Two amino acids, found in foods having protein and that have been identified as having potential to help wound healing are arginine and glutamine.


People with diabetes often have difficulty with wound healing, and this is due to poor circulation, nerve damage which leads to the constant breakdown of healthy tissue components needed to heal, and a higher than normal level of sugar in the blood which can lead to higher rates of infection and causes fluids to be drained from the body. It is therefore very important for a person with diabetes to keep tight control of their disease.
Wound healing also requires additional levels of vitamins and minerals, however care must be taken too not take in more that the daily recommended amounts because this can have a negative effect on the body.


It is important to consult with a physician about how to eat successfully when trying to heal a wound and also a nutritionist who specializes in wound care.
If you have a chronic or non-healing wound, you may be a candidate for Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s outpatient Wound Care Center. To schedule an appointment or speak with a clinician, please call 718-670-4542

 

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.

Heart Disease and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve and sustain an erection firm enough for intercourse) may serve as an early warning sign of the development of more serious health issues, such as heart disease.   According to Harvard Health Publications, ‘erections “serve as a barometer for overall health,” and that erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of trouble in the heart or elsewhere.’

Studies have shown that if a man has erectile dysfunction (ED), he is at a greater risk of having heart disease.  Some experts suggest that men with ED who have no obvious cause such as trauma and no symptoms of heart problems should be proactive and receive an assessment to determine their risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease and erectile dysfunction share many risk factors including:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol intake
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Low testosterone
  • Obesity

If you are believed to be at risk for heart disease and have ED, your doctor may recommend applying lifestyle changes that may include drinking alcohol in moderation or none at all, quitting smoking, exercising and eating a balanced diet.  For those diagnosed with ED and heart disease your doctor may explore treatment options that include medication management to help regulate both health issues

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.

Prostate Cancer

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 is an abnormal growth of cells within the prostate gland.  Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American men.  The majority of men who reach the age of 80 are found to have prostate cancer however most of types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may not contribute to any serious harm.  Some types of prostate cancers are more aggressive and can spread to other parts of the body.

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.

Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing prostate cancer 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) and obesity.

There is an ongoing debate among physicians and medical groups about screening for prostate cancer.  Currently many organizations including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommend against routine screening for prostate cancer.  Having a discussion with your doctor about prostate cancer screening can help you decide if you should consider undergoing prostate cancer screening based on your unique health history and preferences.

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. Flushing Hospital also offers robotic surgery and physicians specially trained in its use, as an option for the treatment of prostate cancer.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss prostate cancer screenings and treatment options, 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.

Are you at Risk for Hep C?

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a disease that infects and causes damage to the liver. It is caused by the hepatitis C virus and is spread from person to person through contact with blood. Over time, this disease can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and ultimately, liver failure.

Although hepatitis C is the most common reason for liver transplants in the United States, many people do not know they have the disease until they are donating blood or are diagnosed with liver damage.  The symptoms of HCV can take years to present and may include:

  • Joint pain
  • Sore muscles
  • Dark urine
  • Stomach pain
  • Yellowing of the eyes (jaundice) and skin
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Clay-colored bowel movements

Learning the risk factors of hepatitis C and receiving treatment promptly can reduce the severity of symptoms. Talk to your doctor about getting tested if the following pertains to you:

  • You were born between 1945 and 1965
  • You are infected with HIV
  • You received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July, 1992
  • You are having or have had unprotected sex with multiple partners
  • You are a current or former drug injection user and have shared needles
  • You work in an environment where you are exposed to blood through a needle stick
  • You have liver disease or have received abnormal liver test results
  • You were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987
  • Your mother had hepatitis C when she gave birth to you

If diagnosed with hepatitis C, consider seeing a specialist who is trained and experienced in treating patients with your condition. There are several therapies and medications that your doctor may recommend.  A complete list of approved medications and treatments for HCV can be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website.

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.

Can Practicing Yoga Help Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Practicing yoga can give your overall health an added boost.  Studies have found that it is also helpful in fighting hypertension when combined with other methods of management such as a healthy diet, medication and aerobic exercise.  Research indicates that on average patients who incorporated yoga into their care management routine saw a notable reduction in their systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number).

It is believed that yoga is an effective complementary treatment for hypertension because it increases and strengthens the body’s ability to take in oxygen.  Additionally it can help improve resiliency to stress; a trigger in elevating blood pressure levels.

If you decide to include yoga as a part of your care, it is important to know that not all yoga poses are created equal in high blood pressure management. There are some poses that are helpful and there are others that can be harmful.

Yoga poses that can be beneficial are:

  • Bridge pose
  • Posterior stretch pose
  • Savasana pose
  • Child pose

Yoga poses that should be avoided or modified include:

  • Bow pose
  • Camel pose
  • Feathered peacock pose
  • Balasana pose

It is important that you speak with your physician before trying yoga.  Your physician will assess your health and advise if you are physically capable.  If your doctor has given you the green light, inform your yoga instructor about your hypertension.  This information will help in the prevention of injuries or the exacerbation of your medical condition.

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.