What Does a Low Level of Testosterone Signify ?

Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by the testicles. It affects sexual development, appearance, muscle strength, and sperm production. As men age, the level of testosterone circulating in the blood tends to decrease. The decrease is usually gradual after the age of 30.

Besides age, there are also medical conditions that can lead to low testosterone levels. Examples of these conditions are Klinefelter syndrome, Noonan syndrome, damage to the testicles, Infection, or obesity. Cancer treatments including radiation or chemotherapy can also cause this effect. Some medications such as antidepressants and narcotics can also lower testosterone levels.

A low level of testosterone can cause:
• Diminished sex drive
• Erectile dysfunction
• Low semen count
• Hair loss • Fatigue
• Decrease in muscle mass
• Changes in memory
• Depression

A diagnosis for low testosterone can be made after evaluating the results of a blood test.

Treatment for low testosterone can be accomplished with Testosterone Therapy which can be administered in various ways:
• Transdermal
• Injection
• Oral
• Intranasal
• Pellets under the skin

There can be side effects of testosterone therapy such as redness at site of injection or where the patch is located, abnormal raising of blood hemoglobin levels, enlarged breasts, an enlarged prostate, or an altered sperm count.

Speak to your physician if you think you might be experiencing decreased testosterone levels. You can schedule an appointment with a doctor 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.

What Does it Mean to Have an Enlarged Heart ?

An enlarged heart, also known by its medical terminology as cardiomegaly, enlarges because of damage to the heart muscle. The main cause of an enlarged heart is when the walls of the ventricles become thin and stretched beyond their normal size. This is known as dilated cardiomyopathy. It can also be due to a thickening of the ventricles. This is known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

There are several factors that can lead to an enlarged heart.  These include:

  • Pregnancy
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Fluid around the heart
  • Excessive iron in the body
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • HIV
  • Alcohol or cocaine use
  • Abnormal heart valve
  • Viral infection of the heart
  • Genetics
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

If a person experiences shortness of breath, an abnormal heart rhythm or edema these could be signs of an enlarged heart and be a reason for your doctor to conduct further tests. The diagnosis of an enlarged heart can be made by x-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test, CT scan or an MRI.

Treatment  for an enlarged heart may include taking medications that are prescribed once the cause of the condition has been determined.  It is also possible that treatment may require heart valve surgery, coronary bypass surgery, and a heart transplant. 

Lifestyle changes can also help people who have enlarged hearts. It is important to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, limit salt intake, control diabetes, and get a moderate amount of exercise.

Having an enlarged heart isn’t something that a person would be able to diagnose on their own. Speak to your physician if you have reason to be concerned. 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.

October is SIDS Awareness Month

The month of October is designated as National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. The purpose of this observation is to bring attention to this leading cause of death in children under the age of one.

SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby that occurs during sleep. The cause is not completely known, however, it is thought to be related to a defect in the part of the brain that controls breathing.

Some of the risk factors for SIDS include:

  • A low birth weight
  • Having a recent respiratory infection
  • Having a brain defect that controls breathing
  • Gender ( boys are at higher risk than girls)
  • Living in an environment with second hand smoke
  • Having a family history of SIDS
  • Having a mother who smokes or drinks alcohol during pregnancy

How a baby sleeps can also be a factor. The risk of SIDS may increase if a baby sleeps in a bed with another person, if a baby sleeps on their stomach, or if a baby sleeps on a mattress that is too soft.

There are a few ways to prevent SIDS from occurring. These include having the baby sleep on its back, keeping the room where a baby sleeps from getting too hot, keeping the crib as empty as possible, and having the baby sleep in the same room as an adult if possible. It is also thought that breast feeding for the first six months may help to prevent SIDS.

If you are pregnant, it is important to receive good prenatal care. Speak to your doctor about classes that you can take to learn how to properly care for your infant. You can also call Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 718-670-5000 and ask to speak to a maternity specialist.

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.

Foods That Are Good For Your Kidneys

The kidneys are two bean shaped organs in the body that help to filter waste products from the blood. They also help to regulate blood pressure.

People who have kidney disease should follow a diet that prevents the kidneys from losing their ability to function properly. It is important to maintain a diet low in sodium. This usually means less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Eating fresh foods is usually a healthier option due to a lower sodium content.  Eat small portions of protein, 2 to 3 ounces, is a good amount.

Protein can come from fish, skinless chicken, lean meat, eggs, or dairy. Avoiding alcohol is also important. Heart healthy meals are a good choice. Avoid deep fried foods. Broiled or baked is a better option. Eat foods lower in phosphorous include vegetables, bread, pasta, rice, corn, and foods low in potassium apples, carrots, green beans, white bread, apple, grape, cranberries. It is also important to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.

Things to avoid when you have kidney disease are:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Excess Protein
  • Fast food

There a certain foods that help to keep the kidneys functioning well. These include:

  • Cauliflower
  • Blueberries
  • Sea Bass
  • Red Grapes
  • Garlic
  • Buckwheat
  • Olive Oil
  • Cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Arugula
  • Macademia nuts
  • Radish
  • Turnips
  • Pineapple
  • Shiitake mushrooms

Speak to your physician if you are having kidney problems about the best choice of foods for you. 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.

An Abdominal Burning Sensation Could be a Stomach Ulcer

A stomach ulcer, sometimes referred to as a gastric ulcer, occurs when the acids in the stomach slowly eat away at the lining of the stomach resulting in sores. They can be very painful in some cases, and at other times some people will have no symptoms at all.

There are two main causes of stomach ulcers. One is taking too many pain relievers over a long period of time. This slowly destroys the mucosa lining found in the stomach. The other main cause of a stomach ulcer is caused by a bacteria called Heliobacter pylori ( H. pylori) . This bacteria increases the amount of acid in the stomach which eats away at the stomach lining. Other causes of stomach ulcers are smoking, alcoholic beverages, stress, and spicy food.

Symptoms of a stomach ulcer include:

  • Burping
  • Feeling bloated
  • Nausea
  • Blood in stool
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in appetite

Having an empty stomach may increase the symptoms.

A stomach ulcer may be accompanied by complications. These can include internal bleeding and infection.

Diagnosing a stomach ulcer is done by taking a thorough medical history and then drawing blood, breathing into a special device, and stool samples.

Treating a stomach ulcer depends on what is causing it. If it is a pain medication issue, then you may have to cut back or reduce the dosage. If it is H. pylori related an antibiotic may be prescribed and then medication to reduce the production of excess stomach acids. Some people get relief by taking antacids or medications that protect the lining of the stomach. Reducing stress may help the symptoms as can eating a healthy diet full of fruits, nuts, and whole grains, eating aged cheese, yogurt, and taking probiotics.

If you are experiencing pain in your abdomen, speak to your physician about possible causes. You can also schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist 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.

Why is a Vitamin K Deficiency Dangerous ?

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is responsible for the production of the components needed for blood clotting. It also may play a role in bone production. Without sufficient vitamin K we would potentially bleed too much.

There are two types of vitamin K: K1 which comes from leafy greens,  spinach, asparagus, broccoli, green beans and some other vegetables and K2 which comes from meats, cheeses, and eggs.

People who are at risk of vitamin K deficiency include those :

  • Taking certain antibiotics
  • Taking blood thinners including Coumadin
  • Having poor absorption by the intestines due to celiac disease
  • Having a diet poor in vitamin K
  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol frequently

Vitamin K does not transfer well with breast milk and for this reason many infants are given an injection of vitamin K at birth to help them get the necessary amount that the body requires.

To determine if a person has an adequate amount in the body, a prothrombin test is performed to check blood clotting time.

If you are experiencing blood clotting issues, you should speak to your physician about the possible causes. 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.

What is Athlete’s Foot ?

Athlete’s Foot, also called tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the foot. This It is a type of fungus that thrives in an environment that is warm, dark, and moist, similar to the inside of a shoe. It is commonly seen in athletes who walk barefoot in locker rooms but it can affect anyone. Even though it isn’t a serious disease, it can be quite uncomfortable and can be difficult to cure.

Athlete’s foot is spread by coming into direct contact with someone who already has it (wearing shoes or socks of an infected person), or indirectly (by walking on surfaces in a locker room, around a pool, or in a shower where someone with the infection has been).

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • Blisters on the feet that itch
  • Burning, itching, and stinging in the areas between the toes or on the soles of the feet
  • Discolored toe nails
  • Raw skin on the bottom of the feet
  • Peeling skin on the bottom of the feet
  • Having bad foot odor

Prevention of athlete’s foot is very important, especially if using public locker rooms or showers. Some of the methods of prevention include:

  • Wearing water slippers in public showers and locker rooms
  • Never walking barefoot
  • Never wearing someone else’s shoes, socks, or towels
  • Changing socks frequently especially if you sweat a lot
  • Using antifungal powder every day
  • Washing your feet with soap and water every day and drying them well, especially between the toes
  • Disinfecting the inside of your shoes with disinfectant wipes
  • Never wearing shoes that are damp on the inside

Athlete’s foot is diagnosed by taking a skin scraping form the infected area and placing it in a solution of potassium hydroxide. It is then examined under a microscope. If the sample is positive the normal cells will have dissolved and the infected cells will remain.

Treatment of athlete’s foot requires medication which can either be a topical over the counter medication or a stronger topical agent that will be prescribed by a physician. Sometimes an oral medication may be necessary if the infection is very serious.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of athlete’s foot you should seek medical care right away. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a foot 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.

Do You Ever Have Sweaty Palms ?

Having your palms sweat as a nervous response to a stressful situation is something that most people have experienced at some point in their lives, but for some, sweaty palms (or palmar hyperhidrosis), is a chronic condition that can cause great embarrassment and interfere with their day to day existence.

Palmer hyperhidrosis affects approximately 1 and 3 percent of Americans, but researchers believe that this number is low because many are unaware that it is a medical condition and never report it to their doctor.

This condition is part of a family of disorders called primary focal hyperhidrosis, which can affect other parts of the body including the armpits, scalp and feet. These conditions are usually not caused by an underlying medical issue and are unlike secondary hyperhidrosis, which is characterized by excessive sweating that isn’t isolated to one area of the body and is usually the result of another medical problem.

While the exact cause of palmer hyperhidrosis is still unknown, many believe there is a genetic predisposition as many who have it also report a family history of the condition.

There are many treatment options for palmer hyperhidrosis, including:

  • Topical aluminum chloride – One of the most common treatments for palmer hyperhidrosis. This solution is applied to the palms nightly until the condition improves and then used as needed.
  • Botox injections – This has proven to be an effective treatment for many forms of localized sweating, including the palms. The treatment is FDA approved, but it can result in temporary weakness in the hands.
  • Iontophoresis – A treatment that involves placing your hands in a shallow bath of water that contains a mild electrical current. This medical device can cost over $500 and may not be covered by all insurers.
  • Medications – Oral prescriptions called anticholinergics are sometimes prescribed if other treatment options aren’t successful, but these medications sometimes cause uncomfortable side effects.
  • Surgery – If all other measures fail, there are procedures where a surgeon can go into the chest and clip the nerves that are responsible for producing sweat. This can be a permanent solution, but only used in extreme cases.

Speak to your doctor about what type of treatment option is best for you. If you would like 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.

Is it Possible to Get the Flu in the Summer ?

Most people associate flu season with the late fall and winter months but it is also possible to get the flu during the summer. While the colder weather can help the flu virus to flourish, it is important to remember that it is not the temperature that causes the flu. The virus is spread by coming in to contact with someone who already has it.

Summer flu symptoms are the same as they would be during any other time of the year and can include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

People who are at high risk for developing complications from the flu include:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • People over the age of 65
  • People who have a weakened immune system
  • Children under the age of two
  • People who have diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease

Ways to avoid the flu include practicing good hand-washing hygiene, eating healthy, getting enough rest, and avoiding people who are ill.

If you think that you are experiencing flu-like symptoms you should see your medical provider to get diagnosed and start treatment. 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.

Common Causes of Swollen Feet

For many people who spend long hours standing every day, experiencing swollen feet is a pretty routine occurrence. The swelling is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the skin and typically will resolve once the feet are elevated.

The symptoms of swelling are dependent on the underlying cause is. Swelling can be mild puffiness with no discomfort to very severe with changes in skin texture, color, and with a lot of pain. In very severe cases, swelling can lead to ulcerations, infections, and ultimately death if not treated in a timely manner.

Some of the medical issues of swollen feet can be due to:

  • Injury
  • Pregnancy
  • Congestive heart  failure
  • Lymphedema
  • Blood Clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Infections
  • Medications such as steroids, antidepressants, and calcium channel blockers
  • Venous insufficiency

Diagnosing swollen feet usually starts with a visual inspection and then by pressing into the skin with a finger to see if it leads to an indentation.

In some cases preventing swollen feet can be done by wearing support stockings, proper exercise, eating a healthy diet low in salt, and avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol.

Treating swollen feet is dependent on the cause and can include:

  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Wrapping the limb with an elastic bandage
  • Elevating the foot above the level of the heart when possible

If you are experiencing swollen feet, consult your doctor who will find out what is causing the problem. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, you can 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.