The Stages of Alzheimer’s and How the Disease Progresses

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that destroys memory and other mental functions over time, eventually leading to the inability to carry out daily activities.

Progression of the disease can vary by the individual. The average life expectancy of a person diagnosed is eight to 10 years. However, depending on several factors, a person could live as long as twenty years or more after diagnosis.

As the disease gradually worsens, symptoms that are associated with the three main stages of Alzheimer’s will appear. It is important to note that these stages serve as a general guideline as symptoms may vary.  The three stages are:

Stage 1:  Mild, Early Stage – During this stage a person may function independently but may experience memory lapses and other difficulties in concentration such as problems coming up with correct names or words and staying organized.

Stage 2: Moderate, Middle Stage – Typically, this is the longest stage and can last many years. At this point symptoms become more noticeable, and the individual will require more care as they may not be able to successfully complete some routine activities on their own.  Symptoms may include moodiness or withdrawal, confusion about what day it is or location, difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements and increased risk of wandering.

Stage 3: Severe, Late Stage –This is the final stage of Alzheimer’s and individuals will need an extensive amount of help and care.  At this stage, a person loses many physical abilities such as eating, sitting or walking.   Other symptoms that can occur include having difficulty communicating, significant personality changes, lack of awareness of surroundings and becoming more susceptible to life- threatening infections such as pneumonia.

Recognizing the symptoms of  Alzheimer’s is important; as early detection of the disease can help individuals to receive the maximum benefits from available treatments, maintain their independence longer and better prepare for their care in the future.

During Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association and Flushing  Hospital Medical Center are raising awareness about the disease as it affects an estimated  5.7 million people  living in the United Sates.  Through education we hope to increase public knowledge of the disease, and its effects on individuals as well their caregivers.  To learn more about Alzheimer’s, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s website at www.alz.org

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.

Types and Stages Of Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are the two major types of lung cancer. About 80 to 85% of diagnosed cases of the disease are attributed to NSCLC and the remaining 10 to 15% to SCLC.

Once diagnosed, a doctor will try to determine how much cancer has spread; this process is known as staging.  Different stages of each disease describe how much cancer is in the body and can help doctors to decide on suitable treatment options.

The staging system most commonly used for NSCLC is the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system.  There are four stages which include:

Stage 1- Cancer is found only in the lungs and has not spread to lymph nodes.

Stage 2 – Cancer is found in the lungs and surrounding lymph nodes.

Stage 3- Cancer is found in the lungs, lymph nodes, and in the middle of the chest.

Stage 4- Cancer is found in the lungs, fluid in the area around the lungs, as well as other parts of the body and other organs.

The stages of SCLC are based on the results of biopsies, physical exams, imaging tests or any additional form of testing used to determine how far this type of cancer has advanced. Doctors typically use a two-stage system to help them to decide which form of treatment is best.  The stages of SCLC are:

Limited Stage- This is when cancer is found in only one side of the chest and in the lymph nodes above the collarbone – on the same side of the chest.

Extensive Stage- This describes when cancer has spread to lungs, the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Treatment for each type of lung cancer varies by stage.   Typical approaches for NSCLC may include surgery, radiation, immunotherapy or chemotherapy.  Radiation or chemotherapy are the most common types of treatment used for patients diagnosed with SCLC.

Pulmonary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases affecting the lungs. Pulmonary medicine is also sometimes called pulmonology.

The Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is dedicated to providing outstanding inpatient and outpatient care through the use of certified physicians and modern research.  A variety of conditions are treated and diagnosed in the Pulmonary Department including Lung Cancer, Emphysema, COPD and Asthma.

To schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist 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.

Breast Cancer Surgery

Surgery is a common and effective treatment used to fight breast cancer. Depending on the stage of the disease as well as other factors such as the location or size of the tumor, a doctor may recommend undergoing breast- conserving surgery or a mastectomy.

Breast-conserving surgery (also known as a lumpectomy) is the least invasive and is performed only when the cancer and a portion or margin of surrounding tissue need to be removed.

Mastectomies, which are more invasive, often require the removal of the entire breast. There are several types of mastectomies, however, the most commonly used procedures include:

  • Total or simple mastectomy- This procedure requires the removal of the entire breast with the exception of muscle tissue and underarm lymph nodes beneath the breast.
  • Skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomy- Removes all of the breast tissue but saves as much of the skin of the breast, nipple or areola as possible.
  • Modified radical mastectomy- The removal of the entire breast, overlying skin and underarm lymph nodes is required. This procedure is a modification of the more extensive radical mastectomy of which the entire breast, lymph nodes, nipples and chest wall muscle is removed. According to the American Cancer Society, this surgery is rarely done now because the modified technique has proven to be just as effective with fewer side effects.  Radical mastectomies may still be performed to remove large tumors that grow into the pectoral muscles.

If the option is available after breast cancer removal surgery, a woman can choose to undergo breast reconstruction surgery.  This operation is performed to rebuild the shape and appearance of the breast.

Some women may need to receive additional treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted therapy after surgery.   The course of treatment required varies from person to person.

 

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.

MediSys Launches A New Website

Recently the Medisys Health Network launched a website called “MedisysCares”.  This site highlights eight medical conditions that are commonly found in our community and include:
Breast Cancer
Cervical Cancer
Colon Cancer
Hepatitis B and C
Human Papilloma Virus
Lung Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Smoking Cessation

The objective of this website is to reduce the incidence of these diseases in our community by promoting healthy lifestyle choices and to encourage people with these health conditions to manage their healthcare through routine follow up and compliance.
The website can be found at http://www.medisyscares.org

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.

Who Should Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Doctor and senior patient pointing on computerMany people who have smoked tobacco for an extended period of time often wonder if they should get screened for lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, if you fall under the category of a “high-risk patient,” it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about receiving lung cancer screening.

Patients who are at a high risk of developing lung cancer are defined as those who:

One of the greatest benefits of screening is it can allow doctors to detect cancer in its early stages, when it is easier to treat and the chance for a cure is greater. In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, “screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) resulted in a 20% reduction in lung-cancer mortality,” in high-risk patients (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1301851)

The most recommended and effective tool utilized for lung cancer screening is low-dose computed tomography or low-dose CT scan. It is currently recognized as the only tool that is effective in reducing the risk of lung cancer-related deaths in high-risk patient populations. While effective, there are complications that could result from repeated screenings such as receiving false positive results.

In addition to receiving screenings one of the best things you can do for your lungs’ health as a smoker is to quit smoking.  It is never too late to quit.

If you believe you are a candidate for lung cancer screening, it is important to speak with your doctor about all the risks and benefits. To learn more about lung cancer, please visit www.medisyscares.org or https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer.html.

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.

Colorectal Cancer Risk factors and Prevention

colonoscopy-524701836Colorectal cancer is a disease that causes abnormal cells or tumors to develop in the colon or rectum.  It is the third most commonly diagnosed type of cancer found in men and women in the United States.

Although colorectal cancer causes the deaths of approximately 50,000 people each year; the rate of survival is improving due to education, early detection and treatment.

Learning the risk factors of colorectal cancer is essential as there are risk factors you can control and some you cannot. The risk factors you can control include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet – a diet rich in red meats and processed meats can increase your risk
  • Heavy alcohol consumption

These factors can be addressed by quitting smoking, exercising, eating a healthy and balanced diet and moderating your consumption of alcoholic beverages.

The factors that you cannot control that may contribute to colorectal cancer are:

  • Age- people over the  age of 50  have a higher risk in developing the disease
  • A family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • A personal history of colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Having an inherited gene defect  that can cause family cancer syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Gardner syndrome, Turcot syndrome or Lynch syndrome
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Having type 2 diabetes

Knowing your risk factors and taking appropriate actions can help you to reduce the probability of developing the disease.

Although it is not completely clear what causes colorectal cancer; it can be prevented by receiving regular screenings. With regular screenings, polyps or colon cancer can be found and treated early before advancing.

There are several testing methods your doctor may use to screen for colorectal cancer. Screening tests may include a colonoscopy or other testing methods such as fecal occult blood test,   flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography or double-contrast barium enema. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women should receive screenings beginning at the age of 50.

For a complete guide to the American Cancer Society’s recommendations for colorectal cancer early detection, please visit https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/early-detection/acs-recommendations.html

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.

Now That You’ve Quit Smoking –How Do You Resist Temptation?

smoking -462264231Congratulations, you have quit smoking.  You have accomplished a major milestone in your journey to achieving good health.  A challenge you may face after your Quit Day is remaining tobacco free by resisting the temptation to smoke again. Coping with tobacco cravings can be difficult; however, by applying the following tips you can decrease the urge to smoke:

  • Remove yourself from situations that may trigger the urge to smoke
  • Spend free time in environments where smoking is not allowed
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Create or join a support group
  • Think about how harmful tobacco is to your health
  • Think about the health benefits you will gain by remaining smoke free
  • Try nicotine replacements such as gum, patches or prescription medications
  • Do not have just one cigarette to satisfy a craving- one cigarette will make you want more
  • If you miss the feeling of having a cigarette in your mouth try a toothpick, a stick of gum, celery -anything besides a cigarette
  • Exercise
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Give yourself credit for each day you are tobacco free
  • Envision being tobacco free long-term

Quitting smoking and remaining smoke free can be difficult and requires a life-long commitment but the benefits to your health are immeasurable.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers a Freedom from Smoking Tobacco Cessation Program to help you overcome your addiction to tobacco and enjoy the benefits of better health in a fun and interactive environment. Receive personalized attention as well as the support from group members who are experiencing this journey with you. For more information, please call 718-206-8494.

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.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the flow of urine resulting in a person urinating when they don’t want to. The basic cause is due to loss of control of the urinary sphincter. This is a fairly common condition, occurring more frequently in women than in men. The American Urological Association estimates that one quarter to one third of people in the United States experience urinary incontinence.
Types of incontinence:
• Stress Incontinence – urine leaks when there is pressure put on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects
• Urge Incontinence – the urge to urinate can be very intense and can be caused by a severe infection or a chronic condition like diabetes or a neurological condition
• Overflow Incontinence – when the bladder doesn’t empty completely it can lead to dribbling
• Functional Incontinence – when there is a physical or mental condition that inhibits you from getting to the bathroom quickly enough. (This can be due to age or a physical disability)
• Mixed Incontinence – when there is more than one factor that leads to being unable to control the flow of urine
Diagnosing urinary incontinence can be done in different ways and depends on what the underlying cause is thought to be. In men this may include a prostate exam and in women this may involve checking the pelvic floor. A blood test may be performed to assess kidney function. Urinalysis may show if there are signs of infection.  It may be necessary to examine the bladder by performing a post void residual test to see if the bladder is emptying properly. A pelvic ultrasound can be used to see if there are obstructions in the ureters and bladder. A cystogram is an x-ray of the bladder. Another exam is a cystoscope whereby a tiny probe is placed into the urethra to see if there are abnormalities.
Treatment options for urinary incontinence depend on what is causing the problem. Options include muscle strengthening, delaying urination as a way of gaining control, going to the bathroom to urinate at set times to avoid a buildup of urine in the body. There are also medications that may be helpful in controlling an overactive bladder, and weakened sphincters.
If surgery is necessary, Flushing Hospital offers the latest in robotic surgical treatment options. If you are having symptoms of urinary incontinence and would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss these treatment options, please call 718-670-5486.

Senior man with bladder control problem

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.

Who Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C written on a page.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.

In addition to treatment, your doctor will also advise that you live a healthy life by maintaining

 

a balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, quitting recreational drug use, practicing safe sex and getting regular checkups.

 

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.

HPV Fast Facts

Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Every year there are 14 million new HPV infections. HPV also known as human papillomavirus is a virus that can cause certain cancers and diseases in both men and women. Unfortunately, because HPV often has no signs or symptoms, many people who have the virus are unaware.

HPV is transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. However HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems such as genital warts and cancer.

  • Genital warts- usually appear as a small bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.
  • Cervical cancer- usually does not have symptoms until it is quite advanced, very serious and hard to treat.

Some health effects caused by HPV can be prevented with vaccines. The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible. For more information about preventing and treating HPV please visit: http://www.hpv.com/what-is-hpv/

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.