Belly Bloat

Belly bloat is a very common condition, and many are familiar with the feeling of discomfort that it brings.

Bloat typically occurs as a result of a buildup of gas in the abdomen caused by swallowing air or a disturbance in digestion. This may lead to symptoms such as:

  • Frequent burping or belching
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Abdominal rumbling
  • Pain
  • Swelling and hardness of the abdomen

One of the ways to avoid belly bloat is to reduce the amount of air you swallow. This may be achieved by:

  • Limiting consumption of carbonated beverages
  • Eating slowly
  • Avoiding foods that can cause gas
  • Avoiding dairy products if you are lactose intolerant
  • Avoiding or minimizing chewing gum

There are several solutions you can try to relieve symptoms or minimize the occurrence of bloating, they include:

  • Adding probiotics and fiber to your diet
  • Trying abdominal massages
  • Using over-the-counter gas medications
  • Drinking more water

In most cases bloating is not serious; however, if you experience symptoms for an extended period of time, you should see a doctor.   Seek immediate treatment if bloating is accompanied by symptoms such as bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting or weight loss.

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.

Skin Tags

Skin tags are small, benign growths of skin. They can develop anywhere on the body but typically occur in places where there is constant friction against the skin or areas of the body where skin folds.

Skin tags are very common.  According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “It is estimated that almost half of adults have at least one of these harmless growths.”

The exact cause for skin tags is unknown; however, it is believed that hormones, insulin resistance or genes may be contributing factors.

Some people are more likely to get skin tags than others.  Those who are at a higher risk include:

  • People with diabetes
  • Those who are overweight or obese
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with certain forms of the human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Those who have family members with skin tags

Skin tags are generally harmless and painless, but they may get caught in jewelry or clothing.  Some have them removed due to this issue or for cosmetic reasons.

Skin tags can be removed with the assistance of a doctor or with over-the-counter treatments. It is strongly advised that you see your doctor before attempting to remove them on your own.

If needed, your doctor may apply the following treatments to remove skin tags:

  • Cryosurgery (freezing)
  • Cauterization (burning)
  • Excision(cutting)
  • Ligation( interrupting blood supply)

These procedures should only be performed by a trained skin care specialist, such as a dermatologist. To schedule an appointment with a doctor 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.

Talking to Children About Sexual Abuse

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.   One of the most effective ways to prevent abuse from occurring is through education.

Sexual abuse is a sensitive but much-needed discussion that parents should have with their children.   Experts suggest that this discussion should begin with children at a young age as part of conversations about safety, and talks about sexual abuse should be ongoing throughout a child’s development.

Lessons about sexual abuse can be introduced by first teaching children about their bodies. Teach them the proper names for the parts of their bodies, and also inform them that some areas are private and should not be touched or looked at by others.  Other important lessons that should be included in your talks are:

  • Secrets are not okay- According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), “Perpetrators will often use secret-keeping to manipulate children.” Let your child know that they should not keep secrets and that they can speak to you about anything. Providing an environment of openness and patience will help them to feel secure.
  • Do not accept bribes- People who sexually abuse children sometimes use bribery to keep them from telling. Teach your child not to accept gifts from adults without your permission.
  • It is okay to say “no”- Teach your child it is okay to say no when touched in a way that makes them uncomfortable or if touched in private areas. Respect your child’s decision to say “no.” Do not force them to give hugs or sit in the laps of adults if they refuse to.

Although the topic of sexual abuse is often dreaded by parents, it must be done in order to protect children from harmful situations.  Parents should not risk abuse because of their own discomfort.

If you are uncomfortable about speaking about this topic, experts recommend reading books with your child to build a bridge of communication. Your pediatrician can also be a helpful resource, they may recommend child health professionals or organizations that can provide you with the support you need.

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.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Mental Health Clinic Queens Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is a common type of anxiety disorder that affects approximately 15 million adults living in the United States.  According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is characterized by “an intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.”

There is no exact known cause for social anxiety disorder; although, it is believed that genetics play a significant role.  Social phobia is also linked to having an overactive amygdala; the part of the brain that controls our response to fear.  Others factors believed to contribute to the disorder are a history of abuse or bullying.

The onset of social anxiety disorder typically begins in the early to mid –teens; however, it can also occur in young children and adults.

Those with social anxiety disorder often experience physical symptoms associated with fear or anxiety in social situations. These symptoms may include rapid heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension, sweating or nausea.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can profoundly affect an individual’s ability to live a normal life.  Those affected often avoid or have trouble with normal, day-to-day social situations such as making eye contact, entering rooms where there are people, using public restrooms, eating in front of people or going to work or school.

These behaviors are often indicative of a more serious problem that could be developing as a result of social anxiety disorder. If left unaddressed, social phobia can lead to low self-esteem, negative thoughts, depression, substance abuse or suicide.

The best approach to treating social anxiety disorder is to receive assistance from a mental health professional.  They will be able to assess your health to determine whether you have social anxiety disorder or other mental health conditions.  As part of your treatment, a mental health professional may recommend psychotherapy or medications.  They may also suggest implementing lifestyle changes such as exercising, learning stress reduction skills or participating in support groups.

To make an appointment or to speak with a health provider at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-670-5562.

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 Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month.  The observance was created by the Caregiver Action Network as an initiative to honor family caregivers across the United States.

This year’s theme, “Supercharge Your Caregiving” identifies the challenges family caregivers face, and how they can manage them.

Taking care of a loved one with a serious illness can be physically and mentally challenging.   Many family caregivers often experience sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, stress, anxiety or depression; all of which can take a toll on their health.

As a family caregiver, it is important to keep in mind that taking care of your own health is equally as important as caring for the health of loved ones.   You need to be at your best in order to take good care of others.

Here are a few tips to help you take care of yourself while caring for loved ones:

  • Recognize when you are stressed-Paying attention to early signs of stress can you help to identify stressors and put a plan into action to diminish or reduce their effects.
  • Make time for yourself- It is important to take breaks to avoid burnout and help you re-energize.
  • Take care of your health-Neglecting your health can lead to medical complications. It is important that you eat healthy, exercise and keep up with routine doctor visits.
  • Ask for help- Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming; feeling alone and overwhelmed can lead to depression or anxiety. It is important that you do not isolate yourself and seek the support of a group or individual that can help you navigate challenges.

Being a caregiver often requires a 24/7 commitment. While this level of dedication can be difficult, there are many resources available to alleviate some of the challenges.  The Caregiver Action Network provides helpful tools to help you overcome obstacles you may encounter. Please visit caregiveraction.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.

Household Products and Asthma

Keeping your home clean can minimize your exposure to various asthma triggers such as dust and mold.  However, some household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can induce asthma symptoms.

Certain cleaning products are known to release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air while they are being used.  VOCs are dangerous gases that can cause adverse reactions, and contribute to chronic respiratory problems.   According to the American Lung Association (ALA), “Cleaning supplies and household products containing VOCs and other toxic substances can include, but are not limited to: aerosol spray products, chlorine bleach, detergent and dishwashing liquid, rug and upholstery cleaners and oven cleaners.”

The ALA also warns people with asthma and other chronic respiratory health problems against the use of products that contain a mixture of bleach and ammonia.   This harmful combination is a known asthma trigger. In some cases, symptoms that result from the use of both products can lead to death.

One of the most effective ways to avoid using harmful household products is to carefully read their labels.  Purchase products that contain zero or reduced amounts of VOCs, irritants or fragrances.   The ALA recommends using milder products such as baking soda, vinegar, borax, or lemon juice to make alternative and safer cleaning solutions. If you must use a chemical product choose those that are certified green by reputable organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective masks and gloves.

It is also important to keep in mind that while you are cleaning to keep your area well ventilated. Do not use products in an enclosed area; open your windows and doors.  Proper ventilation reduces the effects that poor air quality can have on your health.

For additional information on safe ways to clean your home, visit the American Lung Association’s website at www.Lung.org

To schedule an appointment with a 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.

Aspirin Recommendations

Daily aspirin therapy is sometimes recommended for people who are at risk for heart attacks or diagnosed with certain heart diseases. While this form of therapy is effective, it may not be the right form of treatment for everyone.

Taking occasional doses of aspirin is typically safe; however, daily use can lead to serious side effects.  This is why it is highly advised that you speak with your doctor to determine if this approach is best for you. Serious side effects of aspirin can include:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • A stroke resulting from a burst blood vessel
  • Allergic reactions

Recommendations for daily aspirin use may vary from person-to-person. Your doctor may recommend this regimen if you have:

  • Coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis
  • Had a heart attack
  • Had a transient ischemic attack or stroke
  • Had bypass surgery or a stent placement procedure

Your doctor may not recommend daily aspirin therapy if you:

  • Have a bleeding or clotting disorder
  • Have bleeding stomach ulcers
  • Have an aspirin intolerance
  • Drink alcohol regularly
  • Are undergoing certain medical or dental procedures

If you are considering daily aspirin therapy, you must consult your physician before you begin.  You should inform your doctor about any health conditions or risks you may have that will increase the chances of complications.  Provide a list of medications that you are taking, as some may contribute to drug interactions and adverse effects.  Based on the current condition of your health, your doctor will advise you as to whether or not daily aspirin therapy is right for you.

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

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder that affects a child’s socialization and communication skills.

Boys are three to four times more likely to have AS than girls. Children diagnosed with the disorder are often considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the autism spectrum.   High functioning is the term used to refer to children on the spectrum who can read, speak, write or manage other life skills with very little assistance.

The causes of Asperger’s are unknown; however, experts are investigating possible factors such as genetics and abnormalities in the brain.

Signs and symptoms of Asperger’s typically appear first during early childhood and vary in severity, they may include:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Showing few emotions
  • Showing little or no empathy for others
  • Not understanding or missing social cues such as body language
  • Repeating the same movements or topic of conversation
  • Difficulty with having conversations
  • Frequently speaking to oneself
  • Possessing a remarkable ability in paying attention to detail
  • Displaying hypersensitivities to light, sounds and tastes
  • Having difficulty with change

Speak to your pediatrician if you notice these signs and symptoms in your child. Your doctor may refer you to a mental or developmental health professional that specializes in autism spectrum disorders.  This specialist will conduct a complete assessment and create a treatment plan that is best suited for your child’s needs.

To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician 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.

Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Your Prescription

Patients are encouraged to ask their physicians about their medications. It is important to be fully informed, as learning about your prescription can reduce the chances of an accident.

You can get learn about your medications by asking your health care provider the following questions:

  • Why is this medication being prescribed?
  • What is the name of the medication?
  • Is there a generic version?
  • How will this prescription treat my condition?
  • How long will I have to take this prescription?
  • How and when should I take this medication?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Are there any foods or drinks I should avoid?
  • Is it safe to take this medication along with other drugs or supplements?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • How do the benefits outweigh the risks?

In addition to asking your doctor questions about your medications, you can ask a pharmacist. They are an excellent source of information and can help you to understand your prescription.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s retail pharmacy provides prescription services to patients and those who live in its community.  If you have a medication question to ask after you have left your doctor’s appointment, please call 718-353-3160 or visit 146-01 45th Avenue, Flushing NY 11355.

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.

Could You Be Pregnant? 10 Signs You May Be

A common question many women ask after missing their period is, “could I be pregnant?”  There are early symptoms that you could look out for that may indicate pregnancy. These signs may show up a week or two after you have missed your period and can include:

  1. Mood swings
  2. Food aversions
  3. Frequent urination
  4. Spotting and cramping
  5. Constipation
  6. Changes in breasts that may involve swelling or tenderness
  7. Fatigue
  8. Headaches
  9. Back pain
  10. Darkening of nipples

Every woman’s body is unique; therefore, some may experience multiple symptoms or none at all during the early stages of their pregnancies.  If you believe you could be pregnant, it is advised that you see your doctor to confirm the pregnancy.   Once your pregnancy is confirmed, your doctor will discuss a prenatal care plan that is best for you and your baby’s health.

Prenatal care is vital because it improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy.  Women who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birthweight babies and are more at risk of having complications caused by pregnancy.

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.