WHAT IS TMJ SYNDROME?

The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, it can lead to a localized pain disorder called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

The main symptom of TMJ syndrome is pain or stiffness in the jaw joint and in the surrounding areas. Other symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Ear pain or ringing of the ears (tinnitus)
  • Shoulder or neck pain
  • Popping or clicking sound coming from the jaw
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Blurred vision, dizziness or vertigo

The exact cause for developing TMJ syndrome is difficult to determine. There are many factors that can contribute to this condition. In some cases, pain may be the result of a jaw injury or another medical condition such as arthritis. In other cases, it can be caused by correctable action such as poor posture or excessive gum chewing. In many cases, TMJ syndrome is the result of habitually clenching or grinding of the teeth.  Stress and anxiety can also play a role in the onset of the condition.

TMJ syndrome can occur on one side of the jaw or both. It is usually a temporary condition and in most cases symptoms can be relieved with self–care and home remedies. Taking anti-inflammatory medications and applying ice or cold compresses to the jaw are suggested ways to relieve pain. Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum while pain is present is also recommended.  Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques and self-massage or stretching techniques have proven effective to reduce pain associated with TMJ syndrome. If these practices are not effective, your dentist can have you fitted for a dental splint or mouth guard to maintain proper alignment of the teeth and prevent grinding. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the condition.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated, you can speak to your doctor or dentist about treating the condition.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Dental Department, please call 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.

Can Anxiety Cause Hypertension ?

While we all experience anxious feelings from time to time, there are some people who are clinically diagnosed with anxiety disease. One would think that prolonged anxiety could lead to an elevated blood pressure, but is there a link between the two?  Anxiety causes the body to release stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol and these hormones cause the heart to beat faster and also constrict the blood vessels. This will lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. When blood pressure is elevated on a regular basis, and for prolonged periods of time, it can lead to damage of the blood vessels, kidneys and heart.
Anxiety can also lead a person to have unhealthy habits as a way of coping.  Smoking, drinking alcohol and a poor diet are examples of some of these bad habits and these can all contribute to elevated blood pressure. Certain medications that are used to control anxiety, such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, can also cause the elevation of pressure levels.

A few of the ways to treat anxiety is by learning what causes a person to be anxious and avoid those situations. This may require a change in lifestyle, eating habits, and learning how to relax.

If you find that you feel anxious frequently and would like to speak to a physician 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.

Meet Dr. Hita Sharma, Director of Palliative Care

Meet Hita Sharma, MD, ABPHM, and Director of Palliative Care at Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) as well as faculty supervisor and Director of the Internal Medicine Program.

Dr. Sharma joined the FHMC team in 2000 and became the Director of the Palliative Care Program in 2003.  Palliative care is a specialized type of medical care that can be provided in conjunction medicinal treatment for people with terminal illness.  It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress to the patient and family members caused by a terminal illness.

When asked what the best part of her job is Dr. Sharma replies with a look of satisfaction, “It is a wonderful feeling to help a person who is nearing the end of their life.  When you are a part of making that person and their family feel comfortable it gives you a personal sense of gratification.  In palliative care, you are treating more than their disease or sense of loss with medication; you are treating their emotional strength during the hardest time in their lives.”

A typical day for Dr. Sharma begins with making rounds in the Emergency Department and then on the floors with residents. She refers to her students as her “children.”  “I teach them as I taught my own children to treat people with compassion.”  Dr. Sharma has two sons, one is a Resident in Urology and the other is an Economic Honors student at Northwestern University.

Some end of life (EOL) illnesses that may cause you to seek palliative care are:

  • Metastatic Cancer
  • (EOL) Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
  • (EOL) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Renal Disease
  • Advanced Alzheimer’s
  • Debilitating Parkinson’s
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

People who are receiving this type of care are treated for:

  • Depression
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety

All of which may cause distress to the patient.

“Being able to be there to empathize with my patients and help them come to terms with some of the difficult decisions they have to make is really why I chose this specialty.  I get the chance to Enright their lives and they certainly enrich mine.”

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

Flushing Hospital Offers Tips For Successful Aging

September is Successful Aging Month and Flushing Hospital Medical Center recommends creating and following a longevity program for those who want to live a long and healthy life.  Your longevity program should incorporate the following components:

 

  • Eating a healthy diet is considered the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. By following a balanced diet and eating within your recommended calorie allowance, you can take an important first step in your successful aging plan.
  • Dedication to a daily exercise plan is another foundation of a healthy lifestyle. The US Center for Disease Control recommends daily moderate to intense exercise as part of a longevity program.
  • Pursuing mental challenges is another key when developing a longevity program. You can keep your mind sharp through reading, crossword puzzles, or games like chess or checkers. Mastering any new skill is also beneficial.
  • Staying social is also important. Being involved with other people who depend on you and who you depend on goes a long way in living longer. Interacting with people in different age groups throughout your life cycle will help you feel and be younger.
  • Finding meaning in your life is another important factor in living a long a healthy life. Do something that permits you to see yourself as being part of something larger than simply yourself and you will be filled with greater peace.

Following these tips are easier said than done. Believing in yourself, having self-control against negative impulse and outlining a vision for your future are all necessary for success. Flushing Hospital suggests practicing these tips just a few minutes a day and adding just a few more minutes a day every two weeks you will find that you have become a master of successful aging.

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 Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s Awareness month was started in 2012 in order to raise awareness about the disease and to link families affected by it with resources to help. There is great emphasis placed on early detection and early intervention when dementia is detected.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. It mainly affects the part of the brain that is responsible for memory, and is responsible for almost 75 percent of the cases diagnosed of dementia. While most commonly seen in people who are over 65, it can be found in people who are younger.
Commonly seen symptoms include:
• Forgetting of names, places, and recent events
• Confusion
• Personality changes
• Mood swings
• Loss of inhibition
• Wandering from home
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s at the present time though some medications are available that may slow down its progression. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital who may be able to assist you or someone you know, 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.

Tips For Living With AFib

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common forms of heart arrhythmia.  It is estimated that up to six million people living in the United States are affected by this condition.

When a person has AFib their heartbeat is irregular. The upper chambers of the heart are out of sync with the lower chambers.  Irregularities in the rhythm of the heart can increase their risk for complications such as stroke or heart failure.

Living with AFib poses challenges that can affect several aspects of a person’s health.  However, there are lifestyle changes that can be applied to help improve quality of life.  Here are a few:

  • Diet- A heart-healthy diet is important for overall good health and offers many benefits to those living with AFib. Eat foods that are low in sodium and fat. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is recommended as these substances have been known to trigger AFib episodes.
  • Using medications as advised- There are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that can have adverse effects. Some OTC cold medications and nasal sprays may contain substances that aggravate AFib. Certain multivitamins and herbal remedies, when combined with prescription medications, can also result in adverse reactions. Therefore, it is highly recommended to speak with a physician before taking any drugs or supplements.
  • Exercise- Adopting an exercise routine that fits your life can help strengthen your heart and improve stamina. As a person living with AFib, it is advised that you speak with your doctor about your exercise regimen because participating in activities that are too rigorous may lead to complications. Exercise also promotes the production of feel-good hormones.
  • Keep stress levels low- High levels of stress or intense bouts of anger can cause heart rates to quicken- this is not good for AFib. Find ways to keep stress to a minimum. Participating in activities such as taking walks or yoga can help to alleviate stress and decrease depression or anxiety.

The key to improving your health while living with AFib involves incorporating these tips as well as communicating with your doctor.   He or she will recommend a care plan for you to follow.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

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.

How Often Do You Floss Your Teeth ?

Using Dental Floss

How frequently do you floss your teeth ?
• Once a day
• Once a week
• Once a month
• Never

The American Dental Association recommends that we floss our teeth once a day. It doesn’t make a difference at what time of day, the important thing is to do it whenever it is convenient for your schedule.
Flossing helps to remove a build up between the teeth called plaque which can lead to gum disease and cavities if not properly removed.
Speak to your dentist about what type of flossing material is best for you.

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 Awareness Day

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.

Suicide Prevention- Pay Attention to The Signs

Suicide prevention-467918329An estimated 1 million Americans attempt suicide each year. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Ninety percent of people who committed suicide had treatable mental health disorders that went unnoticed.   Suicides can be prevented if signs associated with the mental health disorder are recognized and addressed immediately.

There are several signs that may indicate that a person is suffering from a mental health issue and is contemplating suicide. If someone you know exhibits the following behaviors, do not dismiss them as a passing phase:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Self-loathing
  • Changes in sleep patterns; which can either be excessive sleep or a deprivation of sleep
  • Irritability or anger
  • Talking about harming themselves
  • Loss of interest in daily activities or things they were once passionate about
  • Reckless behavior
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • A preoccupation with death
  • Getting their affairs in order in preparation for death
  • Verbalizing thoughts such as “ Everyone will be better without me”  or “I  have nothing  to live for”
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

These actions are a cry for help. It is important to let your loved one know that you have recognized changes in their behavior, they are not alone and you are there to support them through this difficult time.  Speak openly about what they are feeling and ensure them they will not be judged because they feel suicidal.  Seek the help of a mental health professional immediately.  Insist on accompanying this person to their consultation or treatment. Continue to demonstrate your support during treatment by reminding them to take prescribed medications, keeping up with physician appointments and encouraging a positive lifestyle.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or demonstrating suicidal behaviors, get help immediately. Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK

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.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian cancer is one of the most serious cancers affecting women. In the United States, an estimated 22,000 women will be diagnosed every year with this disease and approximately 14,250 will die because of it.  This type of cancer usually affects women who are in their fifties and sixties, and who typically have a family history of the disease. When the disease is detected early, the five-year survival rate is approximately 92%.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

• Bloating
• Nausea, indigestion, gas, and constipation
• Abdominal and pelvic pain
• Fatigue
• Backaches
• Frequent Urination with urgency

When a physician suspects ovarian cancer, they will perform certain tests to confirm the diagnosis. The exam will include a blood test for the CA-125 genetic marker, an examination of the abdomen to see if there is tenderness, a pelvic exam, ultrasound, and a biopsy.

There are four main stages of ovarian cancer:

. Stage I – completely confined to one or both ovaries.
. Stage II – Found in one or both ovaries with spread to other pelvic organs (bladder, colon, rectum, uterus).
. Stage III – Cancer is found in one or both ovaries and has spread to the lining of the abdomen and/or the lymph nodes.
. Stage IV – Most advanced stage of the disease with spread to additional organs such as liver and lung.

Treatment options for ovarian cancer include chemotherapy, surgical removal of the affected organ(s), hormone therapy, and radiation. The type of treatment will be determined by the type of ovarian cancer, the age of the patient, and the stage of the disease.

Remember that early detection is important and just may save your life. All women should see their OB/Gyn once a year for a pelvic exam. If you would like to make an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center, 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.