Flushing Hospital Wants Everyone to Learn How to Better Avoid Slips and Falls

June is Safety Awareness Month and Flushing Hospital Medical Center wants everyone to focus on preventing injuries and making safety a priority.

Whether at home or in the workplace, one of the most common types of avoidable injuries are slips and falls. Millions of people are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries every year and falls are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in the United States.

Most fall-related injuries take place when ladders are involved. With the warm weather upon us, more and more people are working on outdoor projects where slips and falls are likely.

To avoid these types of injuries, Flushing Hospital’s Safety Department offers the following tips:

  • Scan the work area for potential hazards before starting any work
  • Make sure you have level ground to set up your equipment
  • If working outside, check the weather forecast; never work in inclement weather
  • Use the correct tool for the job, and use them as intended
  • Ensure stepladders have a locking device to hold the front and back open
  • Always keep two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on the ladder
  • Place the ladder on a solid surface and never lean it against an unstable surface
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes and don’t stand higher than the third rung from the top
  • Don’t lean or reach while on a ladder, and have someone support the bottom
  • Never use old or damaged equipment; check thoroughly before use

 

By following these simple tips, you can minimize your chances of suffering a fall-related injury and enjoy your 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 is it Important to Have a Psychological Evaluation Prior to Weight-Loss Surgery?

An important component of the pre and post-surgical care for all patients considering having bariatric surgery is speaking with a psychologist.

While some might find this surprising or unnecessary, it is actually a routine part of the surgical process for patients to meet with a psychologist. In fact, psychologists, like dieticians and other specialists are considered a vital part of the bariatric team.

While it is important to identify the reasons why a psychological evaluation is important,  it is equally as important is to dispel any false information as to why one is needed. An evaluation is not performed to determine if a patient has a mental illness. People with obesity are considered as psychologically “normal” as those with lower body mass indexes and they do not fit any specific psychological profile. Therefore, the psychologist’s main purpose is not to search for any underlying problems that might have caused a patient to become affected by obesity.

Instead, the purpose of a psychological evaluation is to put potential patients in the best environment needed to succeed. This can be done by identifying their strengths, such as a strong motivation to exercise as their weight is coming off. Other things a psychologist can learn from a patient include getting a complete understanding of the effects of surgery will have on them as well as if they have a supportive team at home. Conversely, a psychologist can also identify areas where a patient might need additional support after surgery. This may include issues such as depression or mood swings, lack of family support or triggers for past emotional eating.

The psychologist’s purpose is never to “fail” people and exclude them from surgery. In fact, studies have shown that a very small number (perhaps four percent) of individuals are found to be poor candidates based on their psychological evaluation results.
A typical evaluation includes psychological testing, such as personality tests and other questionnaires. This paperwork is often completed before meeting with the psychologist. A patient will also have a face-to-face interview with a psychologist. In some cases, he or she may request a family member accompany a patient to determine the level of support they are receiving at home. Subjects such as past and present eating habits, as well as activity levels are usually discussed during this meeting and patients are encouraged to share what is motivating them to have surgery and share their concerns.

Flushing Hospital’s Bariatric Surgical Center has recently been recognized as a Center of Excellence, which means it provides the highest level of care to our patients, before, during and after surgery. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-8908.

 

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 Your Teenager Develop Hypertension?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a disease that most don’t begin to think about until they are well into their adult life, but more and more teenagers and younger children are now developing high blood pressure.

It was once believed that high blood pressure in teens was largely related to an underlying problem with the heart or kidneys. Research has shown that this is not the case and that teens today are developing hypertension in approximately the same proportions as adults.

One of the biggest reasons is the rise of childhood obesity. Teens in the United States now weigh more and exercise less than in past generations. Smoking cigarettes, as well as alcohol and drug use can also be contributing factors. As a result, rates of high blood pressure among this group have a grown at a rapidly increasing rate.

While these factors certainly can’t be ignored, they are not the only reasons why a teenager can develop high blood pressure. The teenage years are synonymous with puberty. The sudden bodily changes that take place during this time in a young adult’s life can also play a role. Hormone changes and rapid growth spurts can cause transient increases in blood pressure levels. As a result, even if a child isn’t overweight or inactive, they could still post high levels. Being obese or inactive can only add to the problem.

Another issue is understanding the definition of hypertension in teenagers. While determining hypertension in adults is fairly easy as there are set numerical values used as markers, diagnosing the disease in teens is more complicated. To determine hypertension in teens, doctors look at five key factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height
  • Systolic reading (the upper value which represents the pressure when heart contracts)
  • Diastolic reading (the lower value which represents the pressure when the heart relaxes)

These values are then compared to other boys or girls to determine where the teen falls with a certain percentile. The system is a complicated one but takes into account factors that better characterize a teen’s blood pressure. As a result, blood pressure readings that may seem high when looked at on an isolated basis may end up being perfectly normal when adjusted for the child’s height, age, and gender.

Because teenagers with hypertension tend to suffer more cardiovascular events later in life, early intervention is vital to lowering the blood pressure and sustaining long-term control.

Treating hypertension in teenagers will typically focus on lifestyle interventions before medications are considered.  Suggested changes include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining an ideal body mass index (BMI)
  • Exercising regularly
  • Quitting cigarettes
  • Limiting drug and alcohol use

It’s important that your teenager have an annual physical examination performed so a doctor can check their blood pressure. If your teen does not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many qualified physicians. To make an appointment, 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.

Flushing Hospital Warns That Getting Help for Mental Health Issues is Nothing to be Ashamed About

Mental illness affects millions of Americans, yet not surprisingly, many of those who need help do not receive it. There are many reasons why – it could be due to limited availability of services, or a strong distrust of others, or those who are mentally ill might have such a sense of hopelessness that they do not seek care.

While all of these are factors as to why someone doesn’t seek support, perhaps the biggest single reason is a sense of fear and shame associated with admitting help is needed. This sense of shame is very common and it is only reinforced by society, which has attached stigmas to mental illness. The beliefs the public has about mental illness leads those who need help to avoid it so they are not labeled as “crazy” and have their condition negatively affect their personal relationships and career goals.

Getting society to overcome the stigmas associated with mental illness is the key to having more individuals come forward, but unfortunately negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are common. These stigmas can lead to obvious and direct discrimination, such as someone making a negative remark about mental illness or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding an individual because they assume they could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to mental illness.

Those with mental illness should never be ashamed of their condition and here are some reasons why:

  • According to the World Health Organization, one out of four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their lives.
  • Shame is pretty much guaranteed to make things worse. Feelings of shame are proven to have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health
  • Mental illness is no one’s fault. No one asks to have a mental illness and it is definitely not a choice we make.
  • We’re not ashamed when our bodies get sick, so why should we be ashamed when our minds aren’t in top form.
  • There is no normal – our minds are complex things and no single brain is the same
  • Our mental health doesn’t define us. Don’t let your mental illness become who you are, it is just one aspect of you.

It’s time to speak out against the stigmas associated with mental illness and reframe the way we see it. Getting help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength.

Flushing Hospital advises anyone who feels they need help to get it.  Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief and help you in life.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Center, please call 718-670-5522.

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.

Did You Know – One out of Every 200 People are Born with an Extra Rib?

Each adult has 206 bones, 24 of which are ribs (12 on each side), but approximately one out of every 200 people have an extra rib. This rib is referred to as the cervical rib.

A cervical rib is present at birth and it forms above the first rib, growing at the base of the neck, just above the collarbone. You can have a cervical rib on the right, left, or both sides. It may be a fully-formed bony rib or a thin strand of tissue fibers that in some cases doesn’t even show up on an x-ray.

Thankfully, in most cases cervical ribs do not cause any problems for those born with them, but if it presses on nearby nerves and blood vessels it can cause neck pain, numbness in the arm and other symptoms, which collectively is known as thoracic outlet syndrome.

If you are the proud owner of a cervical rib and are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor about surgical options to treat the condition. If you do not have a doctor, Flushing Hospital’s Department of Surgery can help. To make an appointment, please call 718-670-3135.

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.

Is There an Underlying Cause for Your Hypertension?

Over 75 million or one out of every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, or hypertension.  For most, hypertension is the result of either genetic or lifestyle factors such as obesity or smoking, but for approximately 10% of Americans, hypertension is caused by the existence of another disease.

When hypertension is the result of another medical condition it is referred to as secondary hypertension. Secondary hypertension can be caused by a variety of conditions that affect any number of different systems and organs. Some of the most common causes for secondary hypertension include:

  • Kidney disease -Secondary hypertension can be related to damaged kidneys or to an abnormal narrowing of one or both renal arteries.
  • Coarctation of the aorta.With this congenital defect, the body’s main artery (aorta) is narrowed (coarctation). This forces the heart to pump harder to get blood through the aorta and to the rest of your body. This in turn, raises blood pressure — particularly in your arms.
  • Adrenal disease – The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce several hormones that help regulate blood pressure. Sometimes, one or both adrenal glands make and secrete an excess of these hormones.
  • Hyperparathyroidism – The parathyroid glands regulate levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body. If the glands secrete too much parathyroid hormone, the amount of calcium in your blood rises — which triggers a rise in blood pressure.
  • Pregnancy –  Pregnancy can make existing high blood pressure worse, or may cause high blood pressure to develop (pregnancy-induced hypertension or preeclampsia).

Like primary hypertension, secondary hypertension usually has no specific signs or symptoms, even when your blood pressure has reached dangerously high levels.  Secondary hypertension can also worsen an underlying medical condition and lead to other serious complications, such as heart attack or stroke, if left untreated.

In most cases, once an underlying medical condition causing hypertension is identified and appropriate treatment is provided, your blood pressure will return to normal.

If you have a condition that can cause secondary hypertension, it is important to see your doctor and have your blood pressure checked regularly.

If you have hypertension and believe there is an underlying cause, schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you do not have one, please call Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5486 to schedule 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.

Today is World TB Day – Learn the Facts About Tuberculosis

March 24th has been designated TBglobally as “World TB Day”. The event began in 1982 is sponsored by the World Health Organization and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and is intended to raise awareness that anyone can contract TB to make health professionals aware of the importance of testing people for the disease.

This date was chosen to celebrate  the discovery by Dr. Robert Koch of the Mycobacterium tuberculoisis (the bacteria that causes tuberculosis) in 1882. This important discovery was the beginning of the steps being taken to control and hopefully one day eradicate the disease. Unfortunately, TB is still one of the leading causes of death around the world.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial disease that affects mainly the lungs but can also affect the kidneys, brain and the spine.  Signs and symptoms may include:
• Coughing up blood
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Chills
• Night sweats
• Loss of appetite
• Pain with breathing

TB is spread by coming into contact with the airborne droplets  of the bacteria from an infected person. People most susceptible are those who have compromised immune systems and  include people undergoing chemotherapy, have diabetes, are very young or very old, and have HIV/AIDS. There are antibiotics that given to fight the disease but depending on the strain and their resistance to treatment, may require months or years of treatment.

A routine physical usually includes a TB skin test. If you would like to schedule a physical exam and a TB test with one of our physicians, 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 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.