March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Problem gambling is a serious issue that affects millions of people in the United States. An estimated two million people can be classified as having a gambling addiction and an additional four to six million people can be said to have a problem with gambling. Uncontrolled gambling can ruin families, finances, and careers.

The National Council on Problem Gambling began a campaign 16 years ago in order to raise awareness and to suggest ways that these people can be helped. There are three main goals of this campaign:

  • Increase public awareness of problem gambling
  • Increase awareness of the resources to aid with problem gambling
  • Encourage medical providers to screen for gambling problems

Some of the criteria for defining problem gambling include:

  • Patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage family or work
  • Preoccupation with gambling and the need to bet money
  • Restlessness or becoming irritable when attempting to quit
  • Continuing to chase the big payoff

Compulsive gambling can be described as having the same effect on certain people as using drugs or alcohol. They build up a tolerance to it and are always in need of more in order to satisfy their urges.

A person who feels that they have a gambling issue should contact their physician to see about getting help. You can also go to the website of Gamblers Anonymous http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/ for referrals in your community.

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 Feeding Benefits

The benefits of breastfeeding are many.  Breast milk contains the proper nutrients that include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins minerals and water to get your baby off to a good a start in life. It is a known fact that breast milk also helps to boost a baby’s immune system and it is easier to digest than formula.
A woman who is considering breastfeeding her baby has to take certain precautions to protect both her-self and the infant. This includes:
• Drinking plenty of fluids (juice, water, and milk)
• Not  smoking
• Taking medications only if they are approved by your doctor
• Getting  plenty of rest
• Eating a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, whole grains)
• Avoiding alcoholic drinks
Breastfeeding may or may not be easy at first but once you get comfortable, it is not difficult. With help from a lactation consultant, a new mom can start feeding a few minutes after birth. However, it may take a few tries which isn’t unusual. Breastfeeding is typically recommended for the first six months of a baby’s life, but that is a personal preference.
If you would like to discuss breastfeeding with a lactation consultant at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5702.

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

The Medicinal Benefits of Cinnamon

Most people think of cinnamon as a spice that adds flavor to food and beverages. What many people don’t know however is that for thousands of years people have been using cinnamon for medicinal purposes.

Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of cinnamon trees. The bark is then crushed into a powder which we can use as a flavoring or for medicinal purposes.

Some of the known medicinal benefits of cinnamon are:
• Acts as an anti-inflammatory
• Lowers blood sugar
• Acts as an anti-oxidant
• Acts as an anti-microbial
• Helps manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s
• Helps manage symptoms of Parkinson’s
• Thought to have anti-carcinogenic properties
• Helps manage polycystic ovarian syndrome
• Help manage dry eye and conjunctivitis
• Can be used as an insect repellant

Though cinnamon usually has no side effects, too much can irritate the mouth and the lips. Some people may also be allergic to it. As with anything, speak to you your physician before using cinnamon to treat any medical condition.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with 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.

National Organ Donor Day

There are currently over 120,000 people in the United States who are awaiting an organ donation that could potentially save their lives.

It all started in 1998 when the Saturn company joined together with the United Auto Workers and supported by the U.S. Department of Health to recognize the need. Every year February 14th is a day designated as National Organ Donor Day that serves to make the public aware of the importance of how an organ donation can save a life for someone else.

There are different types of donations:
• Organs
• Tissue
• Marrow
• Platelets
• Blood

Flushing Hospital Medical Center supports organ donation. To find out how you can register to become an organ donor, go to www.liveonny.org  for more information.

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 can using a humidifier affect your health ?

A humidifier works by adding moisture to the air, especially in cold weather when the air indoors tends to be dry. One of the benefits of having a humidifier is that when used properly they can lessen the risk of colds and flu germs. This is due to the fact that viruses tend to spread more easily in air that is dry, which is more common in cold weather.

Other benefits of having a humidifier include relieving:
• dry skin
• dry throat
• chapped lips
• irritation of the nasal passages
• nose bleeds
• headaches
• sinus problems

The proper room humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent. This is important because too much humidity can cause respiratory problems, mold and mildew to grow, and allow the growth of dust mites.

There are risks of using a humidifier if not used properly. Burns can occur if a person comes in contact with the steam. If the water tank isn’t cleaned properly, bacteria can grow and spread throughout the home.

Speak to your doctor about using a humidifier in your home. You can also schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-670-5486 if you would like to discuss ways to keep healthy during the winter months.

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.

Walking Pneumonia

Walking pneumonia  is a very mild case of pneumonia, with very mild symptoms not much different than a common cold..  It is caused by the Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria, and most commonly seen during the late summer, though it can occur at any time of the year. People who are most susceptible are young children and adults under the age of 40. Also people living in close quarters such as dormitories, military barracks and nursing homes are at higher risk

Walking pneumonia is considered to be contagious and is typically spread by coughing and sneezing. A person who has it can be contagious for as many as 10 days.

The symptoms of walking pneumonia include:
• Chest pain when taking deep breaths
• Coughing
• Fatigue
• Headache
• Sore throat

There are a few things a person can do to help lower their chances of getting walking pneumonia. Frequently washing your hands with soap and water is always a good idea as is eating a balanced diet, and getting sufficient sleep every night. It is important to dress appropriately for inclement weather which can make you more susceptible to lowered resistance and to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and ask others around you to do the same. Not smoking will also help.

Treating walking pneumonia requires drinking lots of fluids and getting as much rest as possible. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if they feel it is necessary. Most people start to feel better after four or five days but there are some people who have a cough that can last for weeks.

If you are experiencing symptoms of walking pneumonia, you should see your physician for appropriate treatment options. If you would like 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.

Things to Consider When Taking Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives, also called birth control pills, are one of the most popular forms of birth control used today. These oral contraceptives work by inhibiting ovulation and are considered to be safe when used properly.
Some studies have shown that the risks of breast cancer and cervical cancer might be increased when taking oral contraceptives. This is due to the fact that the female hormones estrogen and progesterone which are used to make the oral contraceptives, when found in higher levels in the body, are linked to the increased risk of cancer occurring. Conversely, the higher levels of these hormones may lower the risks for endometrial, ovarian and colorectal cancer.
Other complications from taking oral contraceptives while rare, may also include blood clots, stroke, heart attacks, and liver tumors.
There are some situations where the oral contraceptives shouldn’t be used. These include:
• Women who smoke
• Have a history of breast cancer
• Experience uncontrolled high blood pressure
• Have liver disease or uncontrolled diabetes
Oral contraceptives are prescribed by a physician. It is important that a full medical history be taken and a physical examination be performed prior to starting to take them. If you are considering taking an oral contraceptive and would like to discuss this with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 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.

The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the herpes zoster virus. This is the virus that causes chicken pox.  Everyone is susceptible, but people who had chicken pox as a child are more susceptible. It is estimated that one million people each year in the United States will have an outbreak of shingles.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the people who are most at risk for getting shingles and should get the vaccine are:
• Those who are fifty years of age or older
• People who either had chickenpox as a child or don’t know if they had it
• People who already had shingles in the past
• Anyone who had the shingles vaccine Zostavax previously

Currently there are two vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent shingles. They are Zostavax, which is a weakened version of the live virus, and Shingrix which is a laboratory manufactured version of the viral DNA.  The CDC recommends Shingrix as the preferred vaccine.

Anyone who is pregnant or breast feeding, is currently experiencing  a shingles outbreak, or who tests negative for the varicella zoster virus should not get the vaccine. Additionally, people should not be given the Zostavax vaccine if they are allergic to gelatin, Neomycin, or any ingredients in the vaccine, have compromised immune systems such as HIV, are taking steroids , have had an organ transplant, are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, or have cancer affecting the lymphatic system or the bone marrow.

Speak with your physician if you are interested in receiving the shingles vaccine. You can schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 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.

Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter

Winter can be a particularly harsh season for our skin. Not only is the cold temperature to blame but also the dry air which affects the skin.  A major reason skin becomes dry is because of the low humidity in the environment. Another reason is because we spend more time indoors where heating systems tend to warm the air and deplete the water content in the environment.

Dry skin most commonly appears as being rough and flaky patches on the arms and legs which are typically the areas exposed to the air. In more severe cases, the skin will develop creases and cracks when it is extremely dry. The feet and hands frequently show deep fissures and cracks during the winter months because the skin tends to be thinner and there is less protection from micro trauma.

The outer layer of the skin is called the stratum corneum. It is composed of dead skin cells and natural oils that act as a protective layer, preventing water from evaporating from the surface. When the outer layer becomes compromised, water begins to evaporate, outer skin cells become flaky and will cause cracks and fissures.

Steps we can take to prevent dry skin:

• Bathe in warm water, never hot
• Use mild soaps that contain moisturizing creams
• Pat the skin dry with soft towels
• Use a moisturizer several times a day on exposed areas of the body.
• Drink a lot of water
• Apply sunscreen to prevent drying out from the sun’s rays
• Wear gloves
• Avoid wearing wet articles of clothes outdoors.
• Have a humidifier in the home

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center to discuss dry skin and how best to treat it, 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.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a fairly common disorder, estimated to affect 75% of the world’s population. It is caused by a lack of an enzyme produced in the small intestine called lactase. This enzyme helps the body to break down the sugar (lactose) found in milk and milk products so that it can be properly absorbed into the blood.

There are three types of lactose intolerance:

Primary lactose intolerance – this is the most common form of the condition. In this type of intolerance the body starts off life with the full ability to digest lactose found in milk but as the  body ages, this capability diminishes.

Secondary lactose intolerance – this occurs when the body’s ability to digest lactose is altered either due to surgery or as a side effect of an illness (Celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth, and Crohn’s Disease).

Congenital lactose intolerance – is the condition where babies are born with a diminished capacity to digest lactose.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be very uncomfortable. They include:
• Gas
• Bloating
• Diarrhea
• Abdominal cramps
• Nausea

Diagnosing lactose intolerance can be performed a few different ways. There is a Lactose intolerance test that involves drinking a liquid with a high level of lactose in it. After two hours blood samples are taken to see if there is an increase in the level of sugar in the blood. If there isn’t a significant change, this indicates that the body didn’t digest the lactose sufficiently. A hydrogen breath test can be performed ro monitor the level of hydrogen produced if lactose is digested properly. The more hydrogen produced indicates the less digestion that took place. The third test is a stool acidity test which is primarily used in patients who are unable to undergo the first two tests and it measures the amount of acid in the stool.

There are several types of foods that people who are lactose intolerant should avoid:
• Milk
• Ice Cream
• Yogurt
• Butter

Additionally, some other types of food that may contain dairy are: bread, cake, custard, chocolate, candy, instant soups and some sauces.

One of the ways to avoid the symptoms of lactose intolerance is to remove dairy and dairy containing products from the diet. There are lactase containing supplements that can be taken that may help with the digestion of lactose and also taking probiotics may be beneficial.

If you experience any of the symptoms of lactose intolerance and would like 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.