Why Will My Newborn Get a PKU Screening?
By Martha Zavras, RN III, Northern Westchester Hospital
If you, a family member, or close friend is pregnant, it is important to know that your newborn will be screened for several serious medical conditions, as mandated by New York State. Among the conditions screened is PKU. What is this blood test for, and what do the results mean for your new baby and your family?
As a Nursery nurse, I often administer the PKU test to newborns, also explaining to parents why it must be given so early in life. PKU is the abbreviation for phenylketonuria, a metabolic disorder. In New York State, the PKU screen, which is a simple blood test, also screens for many other disorders, including thyroid problems and some types of anemia.
The Suicide Disease: Trigeminal Neuralgia
By Alain C.J. De Lotbinière, MD, CM, FACS, FRCSC; Medical Director of the Gamma Knife Center and Medical Director of the Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center, Northern Westchester Hospital
Imagine a stabbing pain in your jaw or cheek triggered by a mere touch or breath of wind, or a constant aching, burning sensation in your face that doesn’t respond to pain killers. This is what sufferers of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) experience, and it can be so incredibly painful that trigeminal neuralgia has also been called “the suicide disease.” For many sufferers, the pain worsens during the winter months.
TN typically hits people in their 50s or older and, for reasons that aren’t completely clear, more women suffer from TN than men. While the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke puts the incidence of new cases at about 14,000 a year, I think it’s very likely that this is an underestimate because so many people have trouble getting a proper diagnosis.
The pain is usually the result of pressure on the trigeminal nerve, which transmits sensations from the face to the brain. A nearby artery can enlarge, putting pressure on the nerve and wear away its protective sheath. This leads to intermittent or constant pain signaling to the brain, and the attacks can worsen over time.
To Get a Mammogram or Not To Get a Mammogram: Risk Status Should Play a Role
By Philip C. Bonanno, MD, FACS, Director of The Breast Program and Director of Integrated Cancer Care in the Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center at Northern Westchester Hospital
This news was hard to miss: A new study suggested that women who get annual mammograms are as likely to die from breast cancer as women who only get breast examinations from qualified doctors and nurses. If you find that news confusing, you’re not alone. Doctors, public health officials, and cancer specialists are all trying to figure out what the findings mean when it comes to detecting breast cancer and protecting women.
The study, published in the respected British Medical Journal, tracked more than 90,000 women for 25 years. The results found that death rates from breast cancer were identical in women who got mammograms and those who did not. Worse, in one in five cases, getting a mammogram often led to biopsies, radiation, and chemotherapy to treat cancers that actually posed no threat to the patient.
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
Breastfeeding: A Small Moment with Far-Reaching Benefits
By Kim McKechnie, RN, IBCLC, Lactation Coordinator at Northern Westchester Hospital
We 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
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
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.
(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)
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.
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:
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.