New York Cardiologist Explains the Meaning of Cholesterol Numbers

Understanding Your Cholesterol Numbers (post 2 of 3)

By Robert Pilchik, MD, Chief of Cardiology at Northern Westchester Hospital

First, a short review of cholesterol basics: The two types of cholesterol in your body – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – behave totally differently. Over time, excess LDL in your body, largely from fatty foods you eat, builds up in your artery walls as hard plaque, narrowing these vessels and restricting blood flow to your heart and brain. This condition, atherosclerosis, is THE leading cause of heart attack and stroke. By contrast, HDL acts as a vacuum, ridding the arterial walls of cholesterol and flushing it from the body. Continue reading

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Westchester Lactation Consultant on the Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding: A Small Moment with Far-Reaching Benefits

By Kim McKechnie, RN, IBCLC, Lactation Coordinator at Northern Westchester Hospital

mother breastfeeding babyWe know that in most cases “natural” is better, and breastfeeding is no exception. Breastfeeding your baby is the most healthful way to feed and nurture most newborns, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) backs this contention. The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, as well as continued breastfeeding for at least the first year as solid foods are introduced.

Breastfeeding your baby can also lead to broader benefits. Breastfed babies are sick less often than babies who are fed with formula because of the natural antibodies that are passed from a nursing mother to her baby. Breastfeeding protects babies from infections by contributing to their immune system resulting in lower occurrences of conditions such as ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. Continue reading

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Westchester Pain Expert on Chronic Pain Management

Counteracting Chronic Pain

Over the past decade, researchers have made quite a few discoveries about the origins of pain, and understanding its source may lead to better treatments in the future.

Often, there are also more options for tackling chronic pain than patients are ever made aware of and, however slowly, some new options have emerged as well.

One of those new options is a drug called Lyrica (pregabalin), significant because it targets nerve pain, a type of pain not usually relieved by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and other common treatments. Lyrica is FDA approved to treat fibromyalgia, diabetic nerve pain, spinal cord injury nerve pain and pain from a shingles attack. “It controls nerve pain and has a lower side effect profile than previous treatments,” said Giovanni Angelino, M.D., R.Ph, and pain management specialist at Northern Westchester Hospital. Continue reading

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Northern Westchester Hospital Dietician Discusses Low-Fiber Nutrition

Low-Fiber Nutrition Therapy

By Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

Can eating or avoiding certain foods make you feel better when you have diarrhea? By consuming the recommended foods below, you will be eating less fiber, fat, lactose, and sugars, which should help stop diarrhea and make you feel better.

1. Limit foods and beverages that contain sugar, lactose, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, and sorbitol.
2. Avoid beverages with caffeine.
3. Eat a small meal or snack every 3 or 4 hours.
4. Avoid spicy foods if they make symptoms worse.

Recommended Foods:
(NOTE: these recommendations are suitable for most people. However, if your symptoms get worse after eating a specific food, it is recommended to avoid that food until your symptoms resolve and you feel better)

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New York Dietician Helps Make Game Day Healthy

Healthy Party Tips for the Big Game

By Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN

The Big Game is just around the corner, which means a day full of football, friends, family, and lots of food. Most of us are guilty of overindulging on game day and it can be easy for this feeding frenzy to ruin your New Year’s resolutions.

Luckily, there are some easy strategies for maintaining the healthy new you. Here are five simple tips for avoiding the excess calories during Sunday night’s game and feel great when you wake up Monday morning.

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Northern Westchester Hospital Dietician Promotes Fiber

Focus on Your Fiber

January is National Fiber Focus month, making it the perfect time to start the New Year off right by adding more fiber into your diet. The daily recommended intake for fiber is 25 grams/day for women and 38 grams/day for men, but most Americans fail to meet this requirement and only consume about 15 grams daily. Increasing your fiber intake can help aid in digestion, weight management, lowering cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity.

There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water forming a gel; while insoluble fiber stays intact and moves rather quickly through your gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, because soluble fibers move through the gastrointestinal tract slower they help keep you feeling full longer. Insoluble fibers speed up the movement of food and waste aiding in digestion and laxation (bowel movement).

5 Ways to Increase Fiber:
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Pulmonary Medicine Expert Discusses Asthma and the Flu

Take Steps to Avoid the Flu, Especially if You Have Asthma

By Harlan Weinberg, MD Medical Director, Pulmonary Medicine & Critical Care Medicine, Northern Westchester Hospital

Patients who have a diagnosis of asthma, as well as other clinical conditions, such as COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes Mellitus, and Cancer, are all at increased risk of developing flu-related complications.

Asthma is a disorder of the lungs characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways. Acute influenza may lead to worsening of asthma/asthmatic exacerbation, pneumonia and ultimately, respiratory failure, for both children and adults.

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New York Cardiology Chief Explains How Your Cholesterol Level Affects Your Heart

Learning About Cholesterol Can Mean Living Longer

By Robert Pilchik, MD, Chief of Cardiology at Northern Westchester Hospital

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease – including heart attack and stroke — which will affect half of all men and one-third of all women. Understanding cholesterol and its role in heart disease, and taking simple steps to achieve safe levels, are vital investments in your heart’s health and your own longevity. It’s never too early, or too late, to take charge of this key aspect of your health. What’s important is to start today.

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New York Dermatologist on Common Winter Skin Problems

Simple Ways to Save Your Skin this Winter

by Athena G. Kaporis, MD, FAAD, Attending, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Northern Westchester Hospital

iStock_21778999_HiRezSurprise: most winter skin damage is caused not by cold, but by dryness. So if you do one thing, keep your skin moist. Here are the most common winter skin problems, remedies for them, and tips for avoiding damage to your skin as temps drop, winds howl, and indoor heat blasts.

Hand dermatitis shows up as cracked, chapped dry skin, and scaly raised plaques on the backs of hands, around cuticles and on fingers. People go outside without gloves, their hands get chafed (irritated), then they go inside and indoor heating continues drying them out. Remedies: Moisturize hands after washing, and if they’re very chapped, mix a little Vaseline with over-the-counter hydrocortisone, which reduces inflammation.

Most people, especially kids, lick our lips when we’re outside, trying to moisten them. In fact, we’re making them drier. And this can lead to chapped lips, or cheilitis. A good remedy is Aquaphor healing ointment, a combo of mineral oil and petroleum gel. It’s safe for kids, and can be applied as often as needed. If it feels too greasy, just use it at night. Like the lip guard you already use? Stick with it! The idea is simply to keep a barrier on the lips. And try not to lick them when outside!

Pruritus, or itchy skin, results from dryness. You come in from the cold, take a long hot shower, which actually dries out the skin, then indoor heating makes it worse. To treat, moisturize your whole body (I like Cetaphil, Aveeno and Eucerin products). After showering and towel-blotting, moisturize skin while it’s still a hint damp. Other remedies and preventative measures include humidifying your bathroom, avoiding wool, harsh drying soaps and soaps with added fragrance, closing the bathroom door while bathing to naturally humidify the air, and using warm – not hot – water, which is less drying.

Older folks are more likely to have seborrheic dermatitis, or “dandruff of the skin,” the familiar scaling of the scalp, eyebrows, nose and ears. Dryness worsens the condition. For the scalp, I advise alternating two anti-dandruff shampoos, so you’re using different treatments for the same problem. For skin areas, such as the eyebrows, I suggest an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

Take winter skin damage seriously. If it doesn’t get better, see a dermatologist.
Inflamed skin is more prone to irritation. So if you scratch it, it can get infected.

Drinking water in winter is very important for skin. When it’s dark outside and you crave that warm cup of coffee – be aware that it dehydrates you. Compensate by drinking more water. Be sure to load up on fruits and vegetables that hydrate, too. Their anti-oxidants help ward off skin damage and help maintain healthy skin.

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New York Spine Surgeon describes the O-Arm CAT Scanner

Meet the O-Arm:  New technology in the OR

By John Abrahams, MD, FAANS, Chief of Neurosurgery, Co-Director of Spine Surgery, Orthopedic and Spine Institute

Dr. John Abrahams Northern Westchester HospitalThe Orthopedic & Spine Institute of Northern Westchester Hospital recently brought new technology into the operating room – the O-Arm from Medtronic.

The O-Arm is an intra-operative CAT Scanner with Image Guidance used to make placement of spinal instrumentation more accurate and safer. 

Typically, the O-Arm would be mainly used for patients undergoing spine surgery that need instrumentation placed such as rods and screws.  During these procedures, patients are put to sleep with general anesthesia and prepped for surgery.  An incision is made over the surgical site and then the O-Arm is brought in to obtain a CAT Scan with three-dimensional imaging. Continue reading

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