Are Pediatric Vitamins Necessary for My Child

One of the most important jobs for every parent is to make sure they give their children a healthy start in life. A big part of that includes making sure they receive their daily recommended vitamin intake. Many automatically assume this includes providing them with a chewable or gummy vitamin each day, but is this really necessary?

The answer is not necessarily. Most experts agree that children should get their vitamins from a healthy diet that includes dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt; fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables; proteins, such as meat, chicken, fish, and eggs; and a variety of whole grains.

However, given the busy lifestyles of most families, providing well-balanced meals isn’t always a realistic option. In these instances, because children may not be getting their vitamins through their daily diet, supplements should be considered . Other potential reasons to supplement your child’s diet with vitamins include:

  • If your child is a fussy eater
  • If your child has a delay in his or her physical development
  • If your child is living with a chronic medical condition such as asthma
  • If your child has digestive problems or food allergies
  • If you are raising your child as a vegetarian or vegan
  • If your child eats a lot of fast food or processed food or drinks a lot of soda

If you believe that vitamins are necessary for your child’s development, it is important to make sure they are receiving the right ones. The following vitamins are considered most critical for growing children.

  • Vitamin A– Promotes normal growth and development; tissue and bone repair; and healthy skin, eyes, and immune responses.
  • Vitamin B – The family of B Vitamins, including B2, B3, B6 and B12 aid metabolism and energy production. They also promote bone and tooth formation and development of healthy muscles and connective tissue.
  • Calcium – Essential for helping build strong bones as a child grows.
  • Iron – Builds muscle and is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a risk in adolescence, especially for girls once they begin to menstruate.

If you do give vitamins to your children, follow these safety tips:

  • Put vitamins away, well out of reach of children, so they don’t treat them like candy.
  • Be sure not to exceed the daily recommended dosage as too many vitamins can be dangerous
  • If your child is taking any medication, be sure to ask your child’s doctor about any drug interactions with certain vitamins or minerals.
  • Try a chewable vitamin if your child won’t take a pill or liquid supplement.
  • Consider waiting until a child reaches age 4 to start giving a multivitamin supplement, unless your child’s doctor suggests otherwise.

There are many over-the-counter pediatric vitamins on the market today. Before you make a decision on which to buy for your child, consult with your pediatrician. They can advise you on what makes the most sense for your child.

To make an appointment at xx Hospital’s Pediatric 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.

Fascinating Facts About Our Liver

The human liver is a very vital organ. It is so important that we cannot survive if it stops functioning for one single day. Unfortunately, it is also one of the least thought about organs. Given its importance, let’s take some time to learn more about the liver and give it the attention it deserves. Here are some fascinating facts about the liver:

  1. Largest glandular organ – Our liver is the largest glandular organ of the human body and the second largest organ besides our skin.
  2. Multifunctional – Our liver simultaneously performs over 200 important functions for the body. Some of these important functions include supplying glucose to the brain, combating infections, and storing nutrients.
  3. It contains fat – 10% of our liver is made up of fat. If the fat content in the liver goes above 10% it is considered a “fatty liver” and makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  4. It stocks iron – Our liver stores important vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat and stocks them up for when we need them later.
  5. Detoxifier – Our liver detoxifies the harmful things we take in like alcohol and drugs. Without the liver the body cannot process these items.
  6. Creator of blood – The liver creates the blood that circulates in our bodies. In fact, the liver starts producing blood before we are born. Without the liver there would be no blood and no life.
  7. It regenerates – Our liver has the amazing ability to regenerate itself, making liver transplant possible. When people donate half their liver, the remaining part of the liver regenerates the section that was removed.

As you can see, our livers are extremely important organs and serve many vital functions. In other words, our livers are no chop- liver.

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 Bariatric Surgery Right For You?

Obesity is a growing public health issue in our region.  According to NYC.gov, more than half of New Yorkers are overweight, and nearly a quarter qualify as obese.  The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reports that an estimated 23% of the population living in Queens is obese.

These rates are concerning  because people who are obese are at an increased risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers.  However, the good news is the risks associated with many of these conditions can be significantly reduced by losing weight.

Diet and exercise are highly recommended methods of weight loss but they may not be enough to yield significant results for those who are obese.   Bariatric surgery offers an extremely effective weight loss solution for people who have tried and failed to lose weight by way of diet and exercise. Additionally, it has been shown to help improve several obesity-related health conditions.

The two most popular bariatric surgeries are the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass procedures. In the sleeve gastrectomy operation a large portion of the stomach is removed and a smaller, new stomach in the shape of a tube or “sleeve” is created.  During bypass surgery, a new small stomach pouch is created, and a section of the small bowel is bypassed. These surgeries are usually done through small incisions either laparoscopically or using the da Vinci surgical robot, ensuring a minimally invasive approach. Both surgeries offer excellent long term results and positive outcomes in most patients.

With this is in mind, it is important to understand that bariatric surgery is a major operation, no matter which procedure is chosen.  Bariatric surgery is not an easy way out. It is an important decision to be made under strict physician supervision and with the support of loved ones.  The process is immersive and takes approximately 4-5 months of supervised dieting and being seen by multiple specialties for approval.

Although bariatric surgery is considered safe, it is very important that patients understand the risks of surgery. As with most major surgical procedures, the risks can include bleeding or other complications.

For those who would like to explore non-surgical weight loss procedures, there are options such as the FDA-approved Obalon Balloon System. This involves three air filled balloons inserted via a swallowed capsule. The patient is given no anesthesia and most people return to work the same day. The balloons stay in for six months after which they are removed via endoscopy. The procedure is generally very well tolerated with some side effects such as nausea and cramping. Studies have shown weight loss to continue beyond removal and many patients lose significant amount of weight.

When deciding which procedure is best for you, it is recommended that you receive an expert consultation with a surgeon. Your physician can assess your health which can lead to the decision on which surgery is suitable for your needs.

To ensure the highest quality care and maximize your chances of a successful weight loss procedure, it is recommended that you receive treatment at a “Bariatric Center of Excellence”, such as Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Flushing Hospital is the only Center of Excellence in Queens. The process to reach this designation is arduous and ensures that the center and the surgeons are of the highest quality and preparedness. Surgical outcomes are measured very strictly and the capability of both the surgeons and the center must be of the highest caliber when compared nationally.

To make an appointment, please call 718-408-6977.

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.

What is a Goiter ?

A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland which is a butterfly shaped gland that is found at the base of the neck. It is responsible for producing hormones that control metabolism that regulate the amount of calcium in the blood.

There are a few reasons a goiter may develop. The main cause of a goiter is a lack of iodine in the diet. That is why certain foods are supplemented with iodine, such as iodized salt which is commonly used. Other causes are Grave’s disease which occurs when the thyroid produces too much of its T3 and T4 hormone or an underproduction of the same hormones, known as Hashimoto’s disease.

An enlarged thyroid gland can also be caused by thyroid cancer, pregnancy, menopause, exposure to radiation, aging, and being female. Eating large amounts  of certain foods such as soybeans, rutabagas, cabbage, peaches, peanuts and spinach can also cause a goiter to form.

A goiter may or may not cause symptoms, but when it does present as:

  • Swelling at the base of the neck
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Problems breathing
  • Tightness in the throat

Diagnosing a problem with the thyroid gland can be done with an ultrasound, a blood test to check hormone levels, an antibody test, a biopsy and a thyroid scan using radioactive isotopes are injected into the blood to see if they are taken up by the gland.

Depending on its cause, a goiter may be treated with iodine supplements, medication, or may require a surgical procedure.

If you suspect that you may be having an issue with your thyroid, you should see your physician as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical 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.

Itchy Ears – What is the Cause and How do You Treat Them?

If you ever experienced a sudden itch inside your ear and asked an elder member of your family why, they may have told you it means that someone is talking about you.

With all due respect to those spreaders of old wives tales, there is probably a more credible medical reason why our ears itch on occasion. The hard part is figuring out which of the many possible conditions or habits is causing this reaction.

Identifying the culprit can lead to appropriate treatment. Here are some potential causes:

  • Psoriasis Pain or itching on the skin on or around your ear might be an indication of psoriasis, a relatively common skin condition. If this is the case, you might notice a buildup of rough, dry, red patches or scales in the external area of your ear that can itch or hurt. There are a variety of treatment options including topical medications or steroids.
  • Skin allergiesThe skin inside your ears can itch because of an allergic reaction to something that is applied in or near your ear. A new hair product may be the culprit and earrings that contain nickel have also been known to cause an allergic reaction. Be mindful whenever introducing anything new to your skin and stop using it if you believe it is the cause.
  • Food allergies – Similar to reactions from skin contact, some might have an allergic reaction to something they ate, causing their ears to itch. Certain fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts are the most common sources of food allergies. A doctor can test for the source of a food allergy, determine the severity and prescribe the appropriate medication.
  • Infections– Itchy ears can sometimes be a sign of an ear infection. Bacteria and viruses cause them, usually when you have a cold or the flu. One kind of infection, swimmer’s ear, can happen when water stays in your ear after you swim. To stop the itch, you’ll need to treat the infection, possibly with ear drops or antibiotics.
  • Improper cleaningPlacing cotton swabs into your ears can inflame your ear canal and leave you itching. Pins, paper clips, matchsticks, and your fingers can also scratch the skin inside your ears, making it easy for bacteria to enter and cause an infection. Excessive ear wax build-up can also cause your ears to itch. Your doctor can remove excessive wax using special instruments.

Regardless of the reason you are experiencing an itching sensation in your ear, it is important to be mindful of any changes in your diet or environment and share that information with your doctor so he or she can prescribe the correct course of treatment.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’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.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is located in the shoulder and is made up of a group of muscles and tendons that serve to keep the upper arm bone firmly attached into the shoulder socket.

Injuries to the rotator cuff are typically associated with repetitive movement that requires overhead motion of the shoulder. People who are susceptible to rotator cuff injuries are baseball pitchers, painters, tennis players, construction workers and seniors. There also may be a family history factor that can make a person susceptible to this type of injury.

Rotator cuff injuries can be divided into three categories. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder caused by overuse. Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid filled sacs that are located between the bone and the tendons. Strains and tears of the rotator cuff are caused by an overstretching of the tendons that attach the muscles to the bone.

Signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:

  • A dull ache in the shoulder
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected side
  • Arm weakness
  • Difficulty reaching behind the back
  • A popping sound when moving the shoulder
  • Limited range of shoulder motion

One way to prevent a rotator cuff injury is to do stretching exercises every day to keep the muscles and tendons in good condition.

Diagnosing a rotator cuff injury involves a thorough history and physical exam ,an x-ray to see if there is a bone problem or either an ultrasound or MRI.

Failure to treat a rotator cuff injury could eventually lead to loss of mobility in the shoulder and degeneration of the shoulder joint. Treatment of a rotator cuff injury depends on the severity and nature of the problem. Short term use of an over the counter anti-inflammatory may help the symptoms.  If the problem  is caused by repetitive movement over a period of time, physical therapy which includes either applying heat or ice to the area and strengthening exercises may be one way to help the symptoms. A cortisone injection to the area will help to reduce the inflammation and usually that will help reduce the discomfort too.  However, if  there is a  tear of a tendon, surgery may be required.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with an orthopedist at Flushing Hospital Medical 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.

Learn the Facts About Addison’s Disease

Just above each of our kidneys lie our adrenal glands. These glands are part of our endocrine system and are responsible for producing the hormones Cortisol and Aldosterone which help us to convert food into energy, maintain our immune system, and regulate our potassium and blood pressure levels.

When the adrenal glands become damaged they can affect our ability to generate a sufficient amount of these hormones, which could lead to a rare auto-immune disorder called Addison’s disease. This condition affects one in 100,000 people and can occur in all age groups and  both sexes.

While damage to your adrenal glands is the cause of over 70% of the diagnosed cases of Addison’s disease, long lasting infections, such as tuberculosis, HIV, or fungal infections can also lead to its onset. Addison’s disease may also develop after cancer cells spread from other parts of the body to the adrenal glands.

Addison’s disease symptoms usually develop slowly, often over several months, and may include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite
  • Darkening of your skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Low blood pressure, even fainting
  • Salt craving
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle or joint pains
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Body hair loss or sexual dysfunction in women

Because symptoms of Addison’s disease progress slowly, they may go unrecognized until a physically stressful event, such as another illness, surgery, or an accident, worsens symptoms quickly. When this happens, it’s called an Addisonian crisis. For one in four people with Addison’s disease, this is the first time they realize they are ill. An Addisonian crisis is considered a medical emergency because it can be fatal.

While damage to your adrenal glands is the cause of over 70% of the diagnosed cases of Addison’s disease, long lasting infections, such as tuberculosis, HIV, or fungal infections can also lead to its onset. Addison’s disease may also develop after cancer cells spread from other parts of the body to the adrenal glands.

While Addison’s disease can be life threatening if not treated, those with it can live normal lives if they comply with a treatment plan that includes strict medication management.

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.

Bone and Joint Action Week Begins Today Learn More About the Many Different Types of Bone and Joint Disorders

Beginning on October 12th and ending on October 20th, the world recognizes  Bone and Joint Action Week, a global, multidisciplinary initiative promoting the care of persons with bone and joint disorders.  This initiative focuses on improving quality of life and advancing the understanding and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions through research, prevention, and education.

Bone and joint conditions are the most common causes of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people. Over half of Americans suffer from some form of a musculoskeletal condition, such as back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis, spinal deformity, and childhood conditions. One in three people require medical care for these conditions.

Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life and the prevalence of these conditions is predicted to increase greatly due to increasing life expectancy and changes in risk factors.

To help raise awareness on the many different types of bone and joint disorders, this week-long event highlights five of the most common types of bone and joint disorders and provides a specific recognition day for each. The week includes the following recognition days:

  • October 12 – World Arthritis Day
  • October 16 – World Spine Day
  • October 17 – World Trauma Day
  • October 19 – World Pediatric Bone and Joint (PB&J) Day
  • October 20 – World Osteoporosis Day

Flushing Hospital supports this effort to raise awareness about bone and joint diseases. For more information about Bone and Joint Action Week, visit the US Bone and Joint Initiative at https://www.usbji.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.

Baby-Led Weaning is a New Way of Feeding Your Baby – Learn More About it

Every parent remembers when they first introduced their baby to solid foods. This momentous occasion of spoon-feeding them pureed food is considered a major milestone for babies and their parents.

Today however, more and more parents are opting to skip the applesauce and mashed sweet potatoes and instead are adopting a new feeding technique called “baby-led weaning” ( or BLW)  for their babies. This alternative approach to feeding, first introduced in the UK a decade ago, involves introducing solid chunks of foods much earlier on by placing them on the baby’s high chair and letting them grasp the food and feed themselves directly. As the name implies, feeding time is led by the baby as they determine the pace and the amount of food they consume; basically, baby-led weaning puts the baby in charge.

While children all develop at different paces, advocates of baby-led weaning agree that this method of eating shouldn’t be introduced until the baby is ready. Cues to begin BLW include making sure that your baby can sit up straight unassisted, have good neck strength and be able move food to the back of their mouth with up and down jaw movements. Most babies develop these skills by the sixth month, but some babies may not fully develop them until they are nine months old.

Proponents of BLW believe that it holds many benefits, including enhancing baby’s hand-eye coordination and other fine motor skills, including using their thumb and index finger to grasp their food. They also feel that it will produce healthier eaters than spoon-fed babies because BLW eaters get to choose how much they eat as opposed to traditional feeding methods, which sometimes results in force feeding.  Other advantages that BLW supporters claim to be true is that it creates a more enjoyable feeding experience for babies and less stress on their parents.

Detractors of baby-led weaning feeders point out that these babies are generally underweight as compared to spoon-fed babies because they simply do not ingest that much when they are first introduced to this way of eating due to difficulties grabbing food.  BLW babies also tend to be iron-deficient because they aren’t consuming the iron-fortified cereals that spoon–fed babies typically eat. Lastly, a big concern for many parents is the increased choking hazards associated with BLW, and while the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t have opinion of BLW, they do state that babies are ready for solid food once they are ready to sit up on their own and bring their hand to their mouth.

If you are considering baby led weaning for your child, here are a few tips:

  • Continue breast feeding and / or formula feeding as this will continue to be your baby’s biggest source of nutrition until they are 12 months old.
  • Begin BLW feedings with softer foods, such as ripe fruits, cooked egg yolks, and shredded meats, poultry and fish.
  • Avoid foods that can pose as choking hazards, such as nuts, grapes, popcorn, or foods cut into coin shapes, like hot dogs.
  • Do not leave your child unattended during BLW feeding times. Continue to supervise and socialize with them while they eat and to have them eat when the rest of the family does.
  • Don’t panic if your baby gags as it is a safe a natural reflex. Instead of overreacting, prepare for a choking event by familiarizing yourself with the infant-specific Heimlich maneuver.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time to pinpoint potential food allergies. A recommended length of time is three to four days between foods.
  • The goal of BLW is to let your baby explore eating at their own pace. This may include the smashing, smearing, or dropping of food, so prepare for a mess.

Before you decide to adopt BLW to your child, it is a good idea to discuss with your child’s pediatrician as it may not be a good idea for all babies, especially those babies with known developmental delays or neurological issues.

To make an appointment with a pediatrician at Flushing Hospital’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.

Astigmatism

The eyeball is supposed to be perfectly round, but when it isn’t, it is called astigmatism. The condition is due to an improper curvature of the cornea, which is the front of the eye, or the lens, which is found inside the eye. When either or both of these structures isn’t correctly shaped, light passing through the eye onto the cornea at the back of the eye, will not produce a sharp image.

Astigmatism is a fairly common disorder. Many people are born with it, but it can also be caused by an injury to the eye, an eye disease, or after eye surgery. A thorough eye exam performed by an eye doctor will be able to diagnose if it is present and how severe it is.

Symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent squinting

Astigmatism is treated by prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor 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.