Author: Guest Contributor

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis

Whether or not you can believe it, cold and flu season are already in full swing; cold season typically peaks in January, while flu season not until February.  This year, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that this is the earliest start to flu season since 2003.  Other medical websites mapping cold and flu activity are showing moderate to severe activity in most states.  Unfortunately, some cold and flu illnesses can develop into more severe (not to mention prolonged) conditions including bronchitis, pneumonia or sinus/ear infections.  Bronchitis is of particular concern as it can develop into pneumonia or the increasingly common Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs.  Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic: acute bronchitis is more common, of shorter duration and often results from a cold (ninety percent of cases are viral in origin), while chronic bronchitis lasts at least 3 months and is often due to smoking. The symptoms of bronchitis may be similar to the flu: cough, fatigue, fever or chills, with some minor differences: chest discomfort and the production of mucus (which can vary in color).  If your cough lasts more than three weeks, produces discolored mucus or blood, or causes wheezing or shortness of breath, be sure to see your...

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Radiation For Prostate Cancer Has Proven Once Again That It Leads To More Complications Than Surgery

For men with prostate cancer, deciding whether to opt for radiation or surgical removal of the gland can be overwhelming. How does one decide with the risks such as the unpleasant side-effect of erectile dysfunction and incontinence? With prostate cancer the 2nd most common malignancy, second only to skin cancer. Unfortunately over 240,000 men are diagnosed with the disease every year, translating into 1 in every 6 men being affected by prostate cancer. Published Thursday in the Journal Lancet Oncology,” found men treated with radiotherapy had fewer minimally invasive urological procedures, compared to those who chose surgery. But over time, radiation group had a higher proportion of hospital admissions, rectal or anal procedures, related surgeries and secondary cancers.” Men need to take the time to do their research on how “radiation” really works and what side effects they will have to live with. There are two kinds of radiation, external beam and brachytherapy involving radioactive material inside the prostate. We as men have all the control in the world to decide what form of treatment is best for us. Do you just want a quick fix that will sometimes shows you upfront results from radiation, but will suffer from side effects in the long run or having robotic prostatectomy with minimal bleeding, 95 – 97% continence rate and an overall better quality of life. Put aside the temporary leakage...

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What Is Dementia and What Should You Know About It?

While often incorrectly considered a disease, dementia actually refers to a group of symptoms which negatively affect memory and social abilities, resulting in an interference with daily functioning.  Primarily, problems with memory and impaired judgment or language are the two major areas affected by dementia.  However, numerous other causes and symptoms of dementia exist, which can make diagnosis and treatment difficult or even impossible. In order to be considered as dementia, two or more of the following functions must be significantly impaired: memory, communication and language, ability to focus/pay attention, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception.  More often than not, these symptoms begin slowly and gradually worsen. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.  It is important to note that Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging.  Alzheimer’s worsens over time, with early symptoms including difficulty remembering names and events, apathy and depression, and later symptoms including impaired judgment, confusion, behavior changes and difficulty walking, speaking or swallowing.  Despite no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and the fact that treatments cannot stop the progression, treatments are available and can slow the progression to improve quality of life. Another common type of dementia is Parkinson’s disease.  Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects movement – it is often characterized by tremor, muscle stiffness, slow movements or...

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What are Kidney Stones and How Do They Affect Us?

Kidney stones are small, hard deposits, typically composed of mineral and acid salts that form inside your kidneys. As one might expect, because urine is a vehicle for waste excretion, it is comprised of numerous chemicals and wastes (including calcium, oxalate, urate, cysteine, xanthine and phosphate). When the urine is too concentrated, that is too little liquid and too much waste, crystals will begin to form. Over time, these crystals can join together and form a larger stone-like solid. There is no single cause for kidney stones and often, the cause is unknown. There are, however, different types of kidney stones, which can help pinpoint the origin. Calcium stones (in the form of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate), for example, are the most common form of kidney stone. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance in food, so anything that increases levels of this compound, can increase the risk of a kidney stone. Uric acid stones often form in people who do not consume enough fluids, eat high protein diets or have gout. Struvite stones often form as the result of a kidney infection. Treatment for kidney stones primarily depends on the size of the stone. If it is smaller than four millimeters in diameter, you have a good chance of passing it spontaneously. Consuming two to three quarts of water a day and using a pain reliever can help...

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Prevent Stroke: Non-Invasive Ways to Help

Each year in the United States, 785,000 people suffer a stroke.  Furthermore, it is the fourth leading cause of death and its consequences are among the top causes of disability in the U.S.  The good news is that there are preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of stroke, and most of them are simple lifestyle modifications. Control your diabetes.  People with diabetes are at an increased risk for stroke especially when compared to those without diabetes; in fact the risk of cardiovascular disease as a whole is 2.5 times higher in people with diabetes than those without.  Furthermore, according to the American Diabetes Association, 2 out of 3 people with diabetes die from a stroke or heart disease.  Keeping your diabetes in check, either via medication, diet or weight loss, is the first step in reducing your risk of stroke. Quit smoking.  Smokers have twice the risk for stroke compared to non-smokers because of the effects on the heart, blood and arteries; smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, resulting in the heart having to work harder and facilitating the formation of blood clots.  Smoking also facilitates the buildup in the walls of the arteries, which may block blood flow to the brain, directly resulting in a stroke.  Luckily, just by quitting smoking, you can greatly reduce your risk of stroke. Reduce your cholesterol...

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Dominican Republic Names First Robotic Surgery Unit in Recognition of World-Renowned Surgeon, David B. Samadi, MD

Dr. David Samadi Attended the Inauguration of the Samadi Robotic Institute at HOMS and Performed the First-Ever Robotic Prostate Surgery in the Dominican Republic This week, world-renowned robotic prostate surgeon, David B. Samadi, MD, joined President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic to inaugurate and unveil the first Samadi Robotic Surgical Institute at the Hospital Metropolitano de Santiago (HOMS), pioneering robotic surgery in the Dominican Republic. While there, Dr. Samadi was honored for his humanitarian efforts in prostate cancer, and performed the first-ever robotic prostate surgery in the Dominican Republic. “I am pleased to be part of the first robotic institute and medical advancement at the Hospital Metropolitano de Santiago (HOMS),” said Dr. Samadi, prostate cancer treatment expert and Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. “The new Institute and the acquisition of the Da Vinci Surgical System will bring tremendous life-saving opportunities to patients throughout the Caribbean.” The new Samadi Robotic Institute at HOMS is comprised of four state-of-the-art operating rooms to be led by surgeons Dr. Rafael Sánchez Español, Dr. Juan Felix Chaplain, Dr. José Alvarez Torres, and Dr. Hector Sanchez Navarro. The experienced laparoscopic surgeons traveled to the Da Vinci Surgical facilities in Houston, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona for training in the latest robotic surgery techniques. The Samadi Robotic Institute at HOMS will serve patients in need of urologic, gynecologic, head,...

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Healthy Dietary Fats: How They Affect Us?

It is a common misconception that dietary fat is bad for you and should be avoided at all costs.  In fact, fats are essential for numerous body functions, including cell membrane repair, body warmth, organ protection and energy; some vitamins, appropriately called fat-soluble vitamins, actually need fat to dissolve and be absorbed by your body.  What is important to remember about fats is that some are healthier for you than others – and the types of fats you choose to consume will directly impact your health. Firstly, let’s briefly touch on the unhealthy dietary fats: saturated fat and trans fat.  These fats are commonly found in animal food sources.  Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.  Trans fats are most often a result of food processing and are often referred to as synthetic or industrial.  Synthetic trans fats can increase LDL and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol), thus increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. “Now that we have that out of the way, let’s focus on healthy dietary fats: monounsaturated fat (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA).  MUFAs are found in many food sources, including oils.  PUFAs are most commonly found in plant-based foods, also including oils.  Research has shown that a diet rich in both MUFAs and PUFAs can improve...

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Blueberries: A Key Nutrient to a Healthier You

As spring reveals its vibrant blooms, reflecting these bright colors on our plates is a powerful step towards improved health.  The compound that pigments fruits and vegetables are called flavonoids. While these are essential to plants for pollination and protection against diseases, these same chemicals have been found to have many health benefits. In particular, flavonoids have been highlighted to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause tissue destruction. Free radicals are produced normally during metabolism and are actually used to kill viruses and bacteria by our own immune cells. While our body is equipped to handle small quantities of free radicals, environmental agents, such as, cigarette smoke, radiation and pollution are sources of additional free radicals. When the body natural defenses are exhausted, the unstable molecules become destructive. The damage accumulates with age and has been implicated in disease states ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer. Antioxidants, however, are capable of defusing the free radicals, transforming them into inert stable compounds, which are harmless. Recent research has focused on blueberries as a particularly concentrated source of flavonoids. With their deep, rich color it is no surprise that these small berries are packed with these pigmented molecules. Specifically, anthocyanin, the flavonoid which gives the fruit its blue hue, is a potent antioxidant. In fact, according to the...

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Is Your Testosterone Level Low?

Men with low levels of the male hormone testosterone have problems with erections, are weaker and more easily fatigued than men with normal levels of testosterone.  However, these symptoms are also part of the normal aging process.  So how do you know if your symptoms are due to low testosterone or are just related to getting older? A study that was published over the summer in the New England Journal of Medicine helped to answer this question.  The researchers studied over 3000 average men older than 40 to help determine which had low testosterone.  All men studied were given a questionnaire that asked about symptoms commonly related to low testosterone levels, and each had their testosterone checked. In Men: At the age of 35 men begin losing their testosterone about 1% every year, by the time you get to your 50’s you will start to have: Low libido Feeling tired Memory loss You don’t want to socialize Bringing all these issues to the attention of your doctor he/she might prescribe: Testosterone Gel Injections Patch However, prior to starting any testosterone therapy make sure you set an appointment to speak with your Urologist. The Urologist will test your PSA (prostate-specific antigen) to ensure you’re within normal levels, check your prostate size, and testosterone levels. Testosterone is typically checked early in the morning due to circadian rhythm which means, your testosterone...

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Cleanse Diets: Are They Worth It?

Around the new year, people are determined to get in shape and be healthier in general. This usually includes going to the gym more often, limiting your late night trips to the golden arches, and dieting. With so many people facing similar goals and challenges, diets have become almost an annual fad that we see in the early months of every year. In recent years, we’ve seen the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, and so on. One of the most recent diets that society seems to have taken a liking to is the “Master Cleanse” diet. While the Master Cleanse diet isn’t exactly new, it’s one of the diets that’s really gotten some momentum as of late. The Master Cleanse diet consists of no solid foods and a lot of juice. The bright side of sticking to this diet is that you will definitely lose weight, and you’ll probably lose it very quickly. As a detox diet, those in favor of the diet would argue that the Master Cleanse flushes all of the toxins out of your system. Our bodies are full of pollution from alcohol, caffeine, cigarette smoke, etc., and a detox is supposed to cleanse your body from all of those pollutants. Studies on this diet have proven to have interesting results, though. Keri Glassman, a registered dietician, went on a morning TV show and explained...

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