Spring Forward with Ease
By Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, Director, Center for Sleep Medicine, Northern Westchester Hospital
The hour time change will affect some people more than others due to difficulty adjusting their circadian rhythm. By altering the clock our internal clock becomes out of sync or mismatched with our current day-night cycle. Here are a few tips that might help you ‘spring ahead’ with ease: Continue reading
By Dr. Lewis Kass, Pediatric Sleep Specialist, Northern Westchester Hospital
Children’s busy schedules may have more of an impact on their sleep than daylight saving time.
In today’s world the one hour time change is the smallest of the issues that affect our children’s ability to get to sleep. Most school-age children are so over scheduled that they come home exhausted. From school to swim or basketball or soccer practice to piano lessons to homework then ending the day with television or video games or tablet time, a child’s day should’ve ended long before a bedtime that is frequently later than it should be.
National Snack Food Month
by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital
Yes, you read this title correctly. There is a National Snack Food Month, and it’s in February. Snack foods tend to get a bad rep with stereotypical offerings like chips, cookies and soda on frequent advertisements. The good news is that snacking can fit into a healthy diet and lifestyle – just be sure to keep these few tips in mind:
- Calorie Control – you don’t want to overdo it and have your snack turn into a meal. Portion your snacks out and keep them between 150-225 calories.
- Snack Wisely – Choose nutritious food choices (see our examples below) and don’t snack mindlessly. When your mind is preoccupied, you eat more; so sit down and focus on your meal and hunger/fullness feelings. Continue reading
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)