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.

The Danger of Drinking Alcoholic Beverages in Hot Weather

Drinking alcoholic beverages in hot weather can have serious consequences.  During extreme heat, we sweat more and drinking alcohol can cause us to lose fluids because of an increase in urination. This combination can lead to dehydration.
Dehydration in hot weather can cause:
• Dizziness
• Muscle cramps
• Disorientation
• Fatigue
• Impaired judgement
• Heat stroke
The body’s temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus gland. Alcohol will cause a slowing down of the  hypothalamus, so if the body is already hot because of the heat, the effects of alcohol will make the body think it is even hotter.
If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages in the hot weather, drink them slowly, and have a glass of water at regular intervals to keep yourself hydrated. Be mindful of the fact that your judgement may be impaired so don’t lay out in the sun for too long, and definitely don’t  swim beyond your capabilities.
Be smart, drinking alcohol at any time of year can be dangerous if it is done in excess. Watch what you are doing and have a safe summer.

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.

Sunscreen and Skin Cancer Prevention

Many of us enjoy soaking up the sun in the summer, however, it is important that we do so safely and with discretion to prevent skin cancer.

One of the best ways to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays is to wear sunscreen.  Studies show that using sunscreen regularly reduces the incidence of melanoma (a form of skin cancer) by 50-73%.

Sunscreen works by preventing the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.   Your sunscreen’s ability to prevent radiation from damaging your skin is measured by its SPF (Sun Protecting Factor). It is highly advised that you use sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher, as this offers better protection.

The Skin Cancer Foundation also recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen which offers protection against UVA and UVB radiation. Too much exposure from either type of radiation has been linked to skin cancer.

Additional recommendations for proper sunscreen use include:

  • Applying sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure to ensure the product has enough time to properly bind to skin
  • Applying sunscreen generously and regularly
  • Checking product instructions for how often  sunscreen should be applied
  • Reapplying sunscreen after swimming or excessive sweating

It is important to keep in mind that protecting your skin from the sun does not only include wearing sunscreen. Remember to wear protective clothing or accessories such as broad-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts and limit the amount of time spent in the sun.

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 Health Benefits of Rosemary

Rosemary is a fragrant herb native to the Mediterranean region.  It has a warm, bitter taste and it provides a nice flavor and aroma to many foods. In addition, rosemary can be used in tea or as an essential oil or liquid extract.

Rosemary is not only known for its taste and smell; it is also renowned for the many health benefits it possesses. A good source of iron, calcium and vitamins A, C, and B-6, rosemary has been used for its medicinal purposes for centuries.

Some of the many potential health benefits of rosemary include:

  • Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.
  • Rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant and can help improve memory performance and quality. It is also known to boost alertness, intelligence, and focus.
  • The aroma of rosemary has been linked to improving mood, clearing the mind, and relieving stress in those with chronic anxiety or stress hormone imbalances.
  • The oil of rosemary has been known to promote hair growth prevent baldness, slow graying, and treat dandruff and dry scalp.
  • Rosemary is often used for digestion problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas, liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite.
  • Rosemary is specifically powerful against bacterial infections. It is linked to preventing staph infections.
  • The nutrients in rosemary help protect skin cells from damage often caused by the sun and free radicals.

Rosemary is safe when taken in low doses, but if consumed in very large doses if can lead to serious side effects, such as vomiting, spasms, or even pulmonary edema. Please consult with your doctor before incorporating rosemary into your diet.

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.

Pool Safety

The weather is warming up and people will be looking for ways to keep cool. One way that has always been popular during the warm summer months is swimming in a pool. Every year there are countless accidents and also fatalities at or near swimming pools. Many of which  could have been avoided had precautions been taken.
Safety Tips to follow:
• Never leave children unattended near a pool
• Only swim when there is a lifeguard present
• Every pool should have proper drain covers
• Pools should have alarms and proper fencing
• Keep the pool clean
• There should be no diving allowed in pools that are shallow
• Never swim alone
• There should be no horseplay in or near a pool
• Do not swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Do not swim in a thunderstorm
• It is a good idea to give children swimming lessons before the start of the summer
• Children who don’t know how to swim should be given flotation devices to wear
There are many organizations around the country that offer swimming lessons for children and adults of all ages. If you don’t know how to swim, look into getting some lessons before heading out to the pool. You will have a good time and you will also be a lot safer this summer.

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.

Proper Air Conditioner Maintenance is Important For Your Health

As the weather gets warmer, we look for relief from the heat. One of the best ways to cool down is by turning on our air conditioning units, but can our air conditioners be harmful to our health?

Air conditioners contain filters that are intended to block these particles from entering the air we breathe. This is why it is important to change your filters regularly.

If not properly maintained air conditioners can lead to or worsen existing health issues, such as several types of respiratory conditions. AC units can spread dust, mold spores, pollen, and other airborne particles throughout your home. This can have a detrimental effect on your respiratory system, which can result in discomfort and hay-fever -like symptoms, such as sneezing or a runny nose.

In addition, continued exposure to an improperly maintained air conditioning unit can irritate very sensitive mucous membranes and exacerbate pre-existing conditions, such as asthma.  Studies have even concluded that young children exposed to high amounts of mold in the air are more likely to develop asthma. One major source of mold exposure is through a poorly maintained air conditioning unit.

Every air conditioner is different so it’s important to read your manufacturer’s recommendations to determine how frequently you need to change your filters.

Another option is to not rely on your air conditioner so much. Open the windows and use fans to circulate the air in your home on cool evenings and on days that aren’t so hot.

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 Experiencing Tech Neck?

Our phones and tablets are so advanced and convenient; so much so that we now use them for practically everything. While this technology provides many benefits, our increased reliance on them is leading to a new health concern for some known as “Tech Neck.”

Browsing on tablet

Tech neck is a trending medical term that describes the condition associated with people who spend a lot of time on their phones or tablets. When we use these devices, we often hang our heads in a downward position. Whether we are holding them in our hands or resting them in our laps, the position of our heads while using these devices can place a great deal of strain on our head, neck, shoulders and back. In addition, this hunched position can lead to poor posture, muscle spasms, headaches and restricted range of motion to our head and neck area.

Doctors are reporting an increase in the number of patients who are experiencing head and neck pain as a result of overuse of their devices. This practice can affect anyone, but not surprisingly, the age group that has been impacted the most is teenagers and young adults as they spend the most time playing games on them.

To avoid developing head and neck issues from using these products, doctors recommend the following tips:

• Keep them at eye level to reduce hanging your head in a downward position.
• Shift positions while using your tablet to prevent neck and shoulder muscles from tensing up.
• Purchase a standing case and place your device on a flat surface instead of holding it.
• Never use a tablet or phone while lying in bed. Ergonomically, there is no way to do this without causing damage to your neck.
• Take breaks from using your tablet every 15 minutes.
• Most importantly, limit the use of time you spend on devices.

If you are experiencing prolonged head, neck, shoulder or back pain, please consult your physician about treatment options. If you do not have a doctor, please call Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486 to make 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.

Why It’s Important to Stretch After Exercising

Stretching is just as important to exercise as cardio and strength training. Stretching after you work out as well as on a regular basis, helps keep muscles flexible, strong and healthy. Without stretching muscles can become tight and weak.

There are other added benefits of stretching, not only does it support the health of your muscles but it promotes mobility in your joints as well.

Some experts recommend stretching after a workout because the body is more flexible, and there is increased circulation after exercise.   However, if you decide to stretch before your routine, warming up briefly by performing dynamic stretches is strongly suggested. Dynamic stretching involves movement; an example of this type of stretch is doing a lunge with a twist.

It is important to stretch safely. Keep stretches simple and slow. Do not bounce as this can cause small tears in muscles. If you are experiencing pain while stretching-stop- this means you have gone too far.  Lastly, do not forget to breathe.

To gain the most benefits from stretching it is best to do so at least two to three days a week. Before beginning a routine, it is advised that you speak with your doctor first, especially if you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness.

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 Dangers Associated With Excessive Gum Chewing?

Everyone chews gum! Last year alone, 1.74 trillion sticks of chewing gum were made and it is estimated that the average American chews nearly 300 pieces of gum every year.

There are many benefits for those who chew gum. It freshens up our breath and helps remove food particles that get stuck between our teeth. It helps reduce stress for some and helps fight off hunger cravings for others. Chewing gum also stimulates saliva production, which helps fight off nasty plaque and certain gums containing the sweetener xylitol have actually been reported to fight cavities. With all these benefits associated with chewing gum, is there any reason not to do it?

Actually, there can be. When we chew gum, we exercise our jaw muscles – and similar to any other muscle group in the body that gets overworked, constant and aggressive gum chewing can tire these muscles and cause painful spasms in our jaw, neck and head, which can lead to the development of a condition called temporomandibular dysfunction (or TMD).

TMD occurs when the temporomandibular joints, which are located on either side of our head, become misaligned due to physical stress or degeneration of cartilage in the jaw, which act as shock absorbers for us when we chew. Chewing gum is one of the most common ways to cause this type of damage.

TMD affects over ten million Americans. Those who develop TMD experience many painful symptoms such as discomfort while chewing, difficulty opening and closing their jaw, and popping or clicking sounds when they open their mouths. Earaches and headaches are also typically associated with the disorder.

In addition to contributing to the development of TMD, chronic gum chewing can tighten facial muscles, leading to long lasting headaches. In fact, a recent study concluded that gum chewing was linked to chronic migraines in young children and teens.

So, what do you do? Most dentists agree that moderate gum chewing isn’t a problem, but they do recommend taking a break from the habit if you are experiencing head, neck or jaw pain and allow your muscles to relax. Other ways to relieve pain include taking anti-inflammatory medications, applying a warm compress to the area in pain, and switching to a diet of softer foods. If pain persists, contact your dentist immediately.

If you are experiencing jaw pain that may be caused by TMD, see your dentist. If you do not have one, you can call Flushing Hospital’s Dental Center at 718-670-5521.

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.

Safety Tips For Shoveling Snow This Winter

Winter and snow go hand in hand and we are never more likely to get a heavy snowfall than in February, which is typically the snowiest month,. Anticipating the potential for a snowstorm this month, Flushing Hospital would like to provide you with some heart health tips before you go out to shovel snow.

By now, we have all heard about the risk of shoveling snow and suffering a heart attack, but is this true? The fact is shoveling snow (or to a less extent, even pushing a heavy snow blower) is considered a more strenuous activity than running full speed on a treadmill.  But why should pushing around some white flakes be more dangerous than any other form of exercise?

The biggest reason why heart attacks are so common while snow shoveling has as much to do with the weather as it does with the activity.  The cold temperature is a key contributor to the onset of a heart attack. Frozen temperatures can boost blood pressure, interrupt blood flow to the heart, and make blood more likely to clot.

Another factor to consider is who is doing the shoveling.  If you are a healthy and physically fit individual there is much less of a risk to suffer a heart attack, but unfortunately not everyone who attempts to shovel snow fits into that category. For those who do not exercise as frequently, (especially during the winter when we tend to be less active) or have a history of hypertension or heart disease need to follow the following tips before going out to shovel:

  • Avoid shoveling as soon as you wake up as this is when most heart attacks occur
  • Do not drink coffee, eat a heavy meal or smoke cigarettes immediately before or while shoveling
  • Warm up your muscles before you begin
  • Shovel many light loads instead of fewer heavy ones
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration

Know the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. If you experience a squeezing pain in your chest, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, pain radiating from your left shoulder and down your left arm, cold sweats, accompanied by fatigue and nausea, stop shoveling, go inside and call 911 immediately.
If you are at a high risk of suffering a heart attack, avoid shoveling snow completely. Try asking a family member, friend or neighborhood teen to help you out.

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.