Treating a “Twisted Neck”

Tummy time is an important and highly encouraged activity for infants. It strengthens the neck, upper back, and shoulder muscles and allows babies to enjoy their surroundings in a new way.  According to physical therapists at Flushing Hospital, tummy time is also very crucial in the development of newborns and infants with torticollis.

Torticollis, also known as “twisted neck”, is a condition in which the head is tilted toward one side and the chin is elevated and turned toward the opposite side. It is commonly present at birth or can take up to three months to develop. Torticollis is believed to be a result of cramping in the uterus or abnormal positioning of the fetus.

“We don’t know exactly why some infants develop torticollis and others don’t,” explained Flushing Hospital Physical Therapist Dakshesh Sanghavi. “However, we do know that tightness of the neck muscle due to stiffness makes it difficult for a baby to turn their neck.”

Though infants with torticollis can reach their developmental milestones like most babies, when participating in activities that involve turning their neck, babies with torticollis might:

  • tilt their head in one direction more than the other side.
  • prefer looking at you over one shoulder instead of turning to follow you with his or her eyes.
  • have difficulty breastfeeding on one side or prefers one breast only.
  • work hard to turn toward you and becomes frustrated when unable to turn his or her head.
  • develop a flat head or a small neck lump (similar to a knot in a tense muscle).

“Torticollis appears to be a very painful condition, but it usually is not,” said Mr. Sanghavi. “Although babies may have some pain when being stretched, the consequences of not treating the condition are much more serious.”

If torticollis is left untreated, babies and infants can develop scoliosis and/or impaired visual tracking. These problems can lead to developmental delays.

How to Treat Torticollis

The most effective treatment for babies diagnosed with torticollis is physical therapy. Physical therapy is aimed at helping babies and infants develop a full range of motion in their neck, arms, and shoulders, and increasing the strength of muscles surrounding their head and neck so that they can reach developmental milestones, such as rolling and crawling.

Physical therapy can range from simple neck stretching exercises to more intensive treatment. Mr. Sanghavi recommends that parents continually encourage their baby to turn their head in both directions. He recommends the following exercises:

  • Encourage tummy time several times throughout the day for 10 to 15 minutes per session. When doing so, position the baby’s head away from you so that they have to turn to face you.
  • Offer the bottle or breast in a way that encourages your baby to turn away from their favored side.
  • Put your baby to sleep on his/her back and position him/her in a way that he/she will actively turn toward the opposite side. This will enable the tightened muscles to be stretched toward the opposite side.
  • Draw your baby’s attention with toys and sounds to make him or her turn in both directions.

If you suspect your infant may have torticollis and you would like to schedule an appointment with a Flushing Hospital pediatrician, please call 718-670-5515.

 

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 Dangers of Energy Drinks

Whether used for a midday boost, an all-night study aid, enhance athletic performance, or recreational consumption with alcohol, “energy drinks” or “energy shots” pose serious risks to its many users and is increasingly a source of concern being raised in the public arena.

Hospitals across the United States are reporting increased numbers of emergency room visits linked to the consumption of energy drinks. In 2009, over 113,000 people were taken to hospitals due to complications from energy drinks, ten times the number reported in 2005, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to Dr. Robert Crupi, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Flushing Hospital, “one of the biggest risks associated with these products is their potential effect on the heart. With products containing 35 mg of caffeine per ounce, energy drinks can possess nearly three times the caffeine content found in a cup of coffee. The consequences of ingesting such large amounts of caffeine include elevated blood pressure, accelerated heart rate and abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).” In addition, energy drinks are loaded with sugar and taurine, an amino acid, also know to boost heart rate.

Even though most agree that consuming energy drinks in moderation is unlikely to pose a medical risk in healthy individuals, medical professionals do urge individuals with existing heart disease to avoid energy drinks. Persons with a history of hypertension or heart arrhythmia are also warned to stay away from these beverages.

It is also recommended that individuals not combine energy drinks with alcohol.  Mixing caffeine (a stimulant) with alcohol (a depressant) can make it more difficult for individuals to gauge their level of impairment. Believing the caffeine has sobered them up, those who mix alcohol and energy drinks may experience “wide awake impairment,” a feeling of increased alertness associated with both impaired judgment and reflexes.

The marketing of energy drinks has sparked some controversy. They have been promoted to provide a quick boost of energy to athletes looking to increase their performance. Dr. Crupi adds “The problem with this idea is, exercise already increases heart rate and blood pressure. Adding a boost of caffeine only puts unnecessary strain on the heart.  In addition, caffeine is a known diuretic, causing athletes to lose water when they should be trying to stay hydrated”.

What many do not realize is that energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, and therefore, are not regulated by the FDA in the same manner as soda or other drinks that contain caffeine. In fact, the manufacturers of these products often do not disclose the amount of caffeine they contain. Many lawmakers are now calling for increased regulations for the energy drink industry, including improved labeling disclosures.

Dr. Crupi provides this tip to individuals looking for an alternative to energy drinks, “If you eat healthy, exercise daily and sleep between seven and eight hours every night, you will naturally have more energy.”

 

 

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.

Say Goodbye to Varicose Veins

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately half of Americans age 50 and older have varicose veins.  These veins appear to bulge from the skin and are dark purple or blue in color. They are most commonly located in the legs and are caused by the pooling of blood in enlarged veins.

“Veins in a person’s legs pump blood from the legs back up to the heart and should only allow blood to flow in one direction,” says Alan Zeitlin, MD, Vascular Surgeon for Flushing Hospital. “When a person’s veins become weak and allow blood to flow away from the heart, blood pools and the veins in that area become stretched or enlarged, thereby, creating a varicose vein.”

While varicose veins are very common among both men and women, there are several factors that can increase a person’s risk of being affected. This includes:

  • Heredity
  • Hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
  • Increasing age
  • Obesity
  • Sun exposure

The Dangers of Varicose Veins
Not only can varicose veins cause discomfort and embarrassment for the men and women who have them, but they can also sometimes lead to more serious health conditions. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to:

  • Blood Clots- Blood clots are extremely dangerous, as they may dislodge from the vein and travel to the lungs or heart, preventing either from functioning properly.
  • Sores and Ulcers- Varicose veins may lead to sores and ulcers of the skin because of long-term buildup of fluid.

Varicose veins may also cause ongoing swelling, rashes, and pain, and can increase a person’s chances of infection.

Seeking Medical Attention
Varicose veins may signal a higher risk for circulatory problems. If you have varicose veins that cause pain, swelling, itching, tiredness, or numbness in the legs, you should seek medical attention. Flushing Hospital offers a variety of options to treat varicose veins.

“Treatment methods of the past were often quite invasive, “Dr. Zeitlin says. “Today, however, most procedures are minimally invasive and allow patients a quick recovery.”

Treatment options available at Flushing Hospital include:

  • Sclerotherapy: A solution is injected to seal off the area in which blood is pooling.
  • Laser treatment: Without the use of needles or incisions, strong bursts of light are delivered precisely onto varicose veins to make them fade and eventually disappear.
  • Endovenous Radiofrequency: A catheter is inserted into the vein and radiofrequency or laser energy seals the vein wall.  This approach is used in treating deeper varicose veins.
  • Surgical litigation and stripping: Varicose veins are removed entirely.

If you have varicose veins and would like to schedule a consultation with a vascular surgeon at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-544-0442.

 

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.

Knowing When Memory Loss Means More

Occasionally misplacing keys or forgetting to keep an appointment can happen to anyone. Forgetfulness is a common complaint in older adults. While memory loss can be a part of the aging process, it is important to understand what is normal and when to be concerned.

Normal Memory Loss vs. Dementia
Memory loss is an expected part of the aging process. In fact, it is natural for older adults to become easily distracted. Failing to remember details of a conversation or where things were left, occasionally forgetting an appointment, and not being able to retrieve thoughts that are “on the tip of your tongue” are not early warning signs of dementia but natural occurrences typically experienced by most individuals as they get older. However, if symptoms are frequent and are a cause of concern for family members, you should make an appointment with a physician.

Dementia is an impairment of thinking and memory that interferes with a person’s ability to do things that he or she was able to do before. There are different forms of dementia that can affect a person as they age. The most commonly known forms are vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Vascular dementia is a decline in thinking skills caused by conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain, therefore, depriving brain cells of oxygen and nutrients. Risk factors for vascular dementia are the same as risk factors for heart disease. These factors include age, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. Many of these vascular factors can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition of the brain, which causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect ones work and social life. Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease can include:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in solving problems
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Decreased or poor judgment or changes in mood and personality

Medication can also have an effect on your memory. Maintain a list of your medications, as it may be helpful to explain temporary memory lapses. Medication such as sleeping pills, antihistamines, blood pressure, arthritis medication can have an effect on memory since they are processed more slowly in older adults.

Preventing Memory Loss
“There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or reversing the effects of dementia, but there are ways of keeping your mind sharp as you age,” says Dr. Peter Barra, Medical Director and Geriatric specialist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Dr. Barra suggests the following to help reduce your risks of age related dementia:

  • Keep the mind busy by reading books, completing puzzles and socializing.
  • Don’t smoke and keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar within recommended limits.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet along with exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.

For a consultation or for more information on the geriatric services at Flushing Hospital, please contact 718-670-5454.

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.

Addiction: Is It Affecting You and Your Family?

Addiction is a condition that affects not just individuals, but all those who are close to them. If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with substance abuse, we urge you to reach out to us for treatment,” says Joseph P. Cannavo, MD, Director of Addiction Services at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Addiction Services provides comprehensive assessment and treatment of chemical dependency through its Chemical Dependency Unit (CDU) and Reflections Outpatient Program. Both programs are staffed by a multidisciplinary team of professionals that includes psychiatrists, internists, credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselors, clinical social workers and nurses.

The holistic approach uses an abstinence-based program and encourages participation in 12 step programs, self help groups, and other sources of sober support. The programs focus on treating addiction and the impact it has on patients, their loved ones, and the community.

The CDU is a 30-bed unit that provides medically managed detoxification for alcohol and chemical dependency in a safe and therapeutic environment.  The goal of this unit is to stabilize patients going through withdrawal from alcohol and drugs, along with the various medical and psychiatric conditions that often come along with addiction.

The Reflections Outpatient Program provides a level of treatment that focuses on the maintenance of sobriety. Modalities such as guided relaxation and reflection are used in conjunction with abstinence and 12 step based approaches, along with traditional group, individual and family counseling.

For more information about the Chemical Dependency unit, please call 718-670-5540. For more information on the Reflections Outpatient Unit please call 718-670-5078.

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.

Finding Springtime Allergy Relief

If you are one of the millions of Americans who experience springtime allergies, control your seasonal symptoms with this allergy sufferer’s survival guide.

Allergies occur when your immune system tries to defend your body against substances that are harmless to others, causing itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and a stuffy or runny nose. About 50 million Americans suffer from year-round allergies to mold, dust, and pets. However, seasonal allergies are the most common cause. Typically, in early Spring, symptoms are most likely caused by pollen from trees while in late spring they are probably due to grass pollens.

“There is no cure for allergies, but proper treatment can help keep your allergy symptoms from getting worse,” says Stanley Fine, MD, allergist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.  “If you suffer from seasonal allergies, your doctor can help you control symptoms so you will feel better,” Dr. Fine says. “The simplest remedy may be just to avoid what is triggering your allergy symptoms, but if this is too difficult, try an over-the counter antihistamine.  If you know you suffer from allergies in the springtime, start taking the medication just before the season begins.”

Allergies vs Cold

Since allergy symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, it can sometimes be hard to tell the two apart. “If the condition lasts for more than two weeks, seems to be triggered by a certain substance (an allergen), or returns every season, then it’s probably an allergy instead of a cold. Symptoms that include significant itchiness are also most likely allergy related,” says Dr. Fine.

Finding Relief

If an over-the-counter remedy doesn’t help, an allergist at Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center can offer a variety of treatment options to considerably minimize your allergy symptoms.

“You don’t have to be a victim of the season,” says Dr. Fine. “Often, when over-the counter solutions don’t work, a nasal spray or prescription medication can lessen allergy symptoms.”

Dr. Fine adds: “If more complex treatment is needed, your physician may recommend allergy shots – which are effective about 80 percent of the time. The bottom line is that even if you do suffer from seasonal allergies, you don’t have to dread the spring.”

To schedule an appointment with an allergist 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.

The Healing Power of Honey

If you are one of the approximately 5 million Americans living with a non-healing or chronic wound, the Wound Care Center at Flushing Hospital Medical Center can help. Combining advanced diagnostic and surgical options with the expertise of a staff of nurses, podiatrists, and general, cosmetic, and vascular surgeons, the Center offers patients effective care when traditional measures fall short.

“Research has demonstrated that centers dedicated to wound care deliver better results for patients due to their staffs’ range of expertise and interdisciplinary approach to care,” says Frances Pugliese, Director of the Wound Care Center at Flushing Hospital. “Our patient success rate stands at 91 percent, which is well above the national average.”

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Wound Care Center is a leader in treating patients who need post-surgical care. Specifically, the Center treats patients with wounds caused by diabetes, weak circulation, trauma, vascular disease, and immobility. The facility offers personalized, individualized patient assessments and utilizes a variety of treatment options, including MediHoney, the first honey-based medical product cleared for wound care by the FDA.

For thousands of years, honey has been used around the world as a natural wound-healer. Today, thanks to scientific research and the backing of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the healing power of honey is regaining popularity and is available at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

HOW DOES HONEY HEAL WOUNDS?
Honey is a great treatment option mostly because of its germ killing or antibacterial properties. However, honey works differently from most other antibiotics, which usually attack the cell wall of bacteria or shut down its internal functions. Instead, honey draws moisture out of bacteria and dehydrates it.

MediHoney is used on:

  • First and second-degree burns
  • Diabetic foot sores (ulcers)
  • Leg ulcers
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Traumatic and surgical wounds

Most medical honeys currently on the market come from various honeys found in New Zealand and Australia, such as Manuka honey. In addition to being antibiotic and fluid absorbing, these honeys help dissolve dead tissue and prevent odor. Keep in mind that honey as a cure for wounds is not for everyone, especially for people with sever bee allergies.

To find out more about honey dressings or other treatments at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Wound Care Center, please call 718-670-4542.

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.

Low-Dose CT Scans Offered at Flushing Hospital…High Quality, Less Radiation

CT scans are widely used across the medical field to perform diagnostic exams, and for many patients, the risk of radiation exposure is concerning. To address this concern, Flushing Hospital is now utilizing a low-dose CT scanner.

Flushing Hospital’s brand new, state-of-the-art Siemen’s CT scanners boast quick scans and use high-definition technology to produce precise images, using 30%-40% less radiation.

“This technology is pivotal, in that we can minimize the risk of radiation exposure without compromising the quality of the images produced,” said Dr. Sabiha Raoof, Chairperson of the Department of Radiology. “With the increase in the volume of CT scans that are ordered by our physicians, this is a significant medical solution.”

CT scanners are a specialized technology that provide detailed pictures of muscles, organs and tissues and are a vital diagnostic tool. The clarity of these images help lead to accurate diagnoses, while lower doses of radiation improves patient safety.

“Comparatively, low-dose CT scans are just as effective as the traditional scanners we’ve used in the past,” said Dr. Raoof. “They yield important benefits and will be used throughout our facility.”

CT scans are commonly used to diagnose muscle and bone disorders, determine the location of tumors and infections, guide procedures, such as surgery and radiation therapies, identify diseases and conditions, such as cancer and heart disease, and detect internal bleeding and injuries.

What Happens During a CT Scan

Obtaining a CT scan requires lying on a table that moves slowly through a large imaging machine. In order to produce clearer pictures, some patients may be required to swallow a dye or have it injected into their veins.

Patients are advised against wearing jewelry, eyeglasses, hairpins, or any other objects that could affect the quality of images.

If your physician requested that you have a CT scan performed and you would like to schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5453.

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.

Be a Quitter and Stop Smoking

Year after year, one of the most frequently heard New Year’s resolutions is the one to “Quit Smoking”.  It is a hard one to fulfill and unfortunately, has a high rate of failure. Finding the right resources, however, can increase one’s success. Flushing Hospital, in partnership with the Queens Quits Initiative, is dedicated to helping people who currently smoke take the necessary steps to help them succeed at quitting.

The Queens Quits Initiative suggests the following steps to making this resolution work:

  • Switch to a brand of cigarettes that you would never smoke
  • Set a quit date within two weeks from today
  • Exercise!! It will help combat stress and possible weight gain
  • Try stop-smoking medications such as NRT, Chantix or Zyban
  • Keep your hands occupied with a pen, bottle of water or even a straw
  • Stay away from cigarette smoke
  • Stay away from alcohol, if you drink and smoke together
  • Remove all cigarettes from your home, car, office and anywhere else you spend time
  • Tell your friends and family that you are quitting
  • Read motivational stories about how others quit smoking on nysmokefree.com
  • Don’t quit trying to QUIT! Most people have over seven quit attempts before they quit for good
  • Call the NYS Smokers Quitline (1-866-NY-QUITS) for free counseling and educational material

Speak to your physician for suggestions or call Flushing Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center at 718-670-5795 to make an appointment with a Pulmonary specialist. These physicians, through a thorough exam and pulmonary testing, can determine which treatment option is best suited for each patient. Let us try to help you fulfill your wish to quit smoking this year.

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.

Battling the Winter Blues

It is estimated that as many as half a million people in the United States experience winter-onset depression, a type of depression associated with cold-weather months. With a physician’s help, however, winter-onset depression is a treatable condition.

Winter-onset depression is the most common form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression associated with changing seasons. The cause of the condition is unclear but it may be related to changes in an individual’s circadian rhythm that result from reduced exposure to sunlight in winter.

Winter-related SAD typically lasts from late fall or early winter to the beginning of summer. SAD usually appears in people ages 20 or older and is more common in women. SAD is more likely to occur as a person ages, and individuals living in northern regions are more vulnerable to winter-onset SAD.

Every person’s experience with inter-onset SAD is different, but common symptoms include:

  • Change in appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Low energy level and fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Lack of interest in favorite activities

Winter-onset SAD is fairly predictable, as symptoms tend to occur at the same time each year.

“Many people with winter-onset SAD may benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, who can assess their symptoms and formulate a treatment plan,” says Dr. Seeth Vivek, Chairman of Psychiatry at Flushing Hospital. “Possible treatments include medication, behavior therapy, and light therapy.”

Light therapy acts a substitute for the limited sunlight during the winter months. Patients receiving this treatment sit in front of a light box or wear a light visor for 30 minutes per day, and if the therapy proves effective, they continue until spring.

When it comes to preventing winter-onset SAD, it is important to stay active. Search for activities to do around the house and guard against isolation by scheduling get-togethers with friends.

For more information about winter depression or to make an appointment to speak with a member of Flushing Hospital’s Psychiatry Department, please call 718-670-5316.

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.