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pillsScarsdale residents participated in the nationwide Prescription Drug Take Back Day this spring, turning in more than 118 pounds of unused, unwanted and expired medication at the drive-thru site coordinated by the Scarsdale Drug and Alcohol Task for and Scarsdale Police Department.

“We know having unused prescriptions in the medicine cabinets at homes is a risk, which is why Drug Take Back Days and our ongoing collection efforts are so important,” said Wendy Gendel, Chairperson of Scarsdale DATF. “We greatly appreciate the support of the Scarsdale Police Department in this event and all the Scarsdale residents who contributed to this successful collection day – it will make a difference in our prevention work.”

Data shows misused prescription drugs were most often obtained through family and friends with unused prescriptions. Medications that are not properly stored can pose a risk to the health of children and pets who might accidentally ingest them. Flushing medications, or tossing them in the trash, can also endanger our waterways and wildlife.

The Take Back Day was organized in partnership with the Scarsdale Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This event provides a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications, while educating about the potential for medication misuse, accidental ingestion and overdose. All collected medications were securely transported and incinerated.
If you missed Take Back Day, a disposal unit is available 24/7 to the community year-round at the Scarsdale Police Department. If you would like more information about safe medication disposal, or on how to become involved with the Scarsdale Drug and Alcohol Task Force, please visit www.ScarsdaleDATF.org or contact Lisa Tomeny at DATFScarsdale@gmail.com.

listentoyourheartNearly everyone has experienced heart palpitations, a feeling that your heat is racing, thumping, or skipping a beat. In many cases, palpitations are scary but harmless. However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore them completely. Knowing what to look for and when to seek treatment can help you prevent potentially deadly health issues.

Listen to What Your Heart is Telling You

Palpitations can appear from out of nowhere and disappear just as suddenly. They are triggered by a wide range of factors such as stress, physical activity, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, low blood sugar, or hormonal changes during pregnancy.
“Heart palpitations may indicate an overactive thyroid or serious problems such as heart disease, or arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rate caused by your heart beating too fast, too slow, or irregularly,” says Dr. Daniel Wang, a board certified Cardiologist and the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at White Plains Hospital. “Certain heart arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, are associated with an increased risk of blood clots. If a clot breaks loose, it can travel from your heart to your brain, causing a stroke.”

Some of the most common types of arrhythmia include:WhitePlainsHospitalSponsorBanner

Tachycardia. Tachycardia is defined as a rapid heart rate over 100 beats per minute that can either start in the heart's lower chambers (ventricles) or upper chambers (atria). A normal heart beats approximately 60 to 100 times per minute in adults.

The symptoms: You feel dizzy or lightheaded, pressure or tightness in your chest, have a rapid pulse rate or experience shortness of breath.

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). This is a common condition that causes the upper chambers of the heart to shudder at an irregular pace, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood out to the rest of your body. As your blood flow slows down, your risk of forming dangerous clots increases. In fact, a person with AFib has five times the risk of having a stroke. [

The symptoms: A flutter or quiver in your chest when your heart beats. Your heart might beat faster than usual, pound, or race. This feeling often lasts for a few minutes.

Ventricular tachycardia (VT). This condition can stop the heart from beating and cause cardiac arrest. “VT occurs in the ventricles when they unable to pump sufficient blood out of your heart to the body and brain due to an extremely rapid heartbeat,” comments Dr. Wang. “It is a serious condition that can be potentially fatal if it’s not immediately treated. Typically, it requires defibrillation, which delivers an electrical shock to the heart and restores normal heart rhythm.”

The symptoms: Rapid heartbeat chest pain, palpations, shortness of breath, and/or fatigue.

Wang Daniel copy“Depending on the arrhythmia for many people with mild symptoms, relaxation exercises, stress management and dietary and lifestyle modifications can help manage recurrences of palpitations,” says Dr. Wang. “Other treatment for arrhythmia may include installing a pacemaker, or catheter ablation, a procedure that nullifies the affected area. But recording an electrocardiogram (ECG) at the time the symptoms are occurring is key to making a diagnosis.”
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Dr. Daniel Wang is a board-certified Cardiologist and the Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at White Plains Hospital. To make an appointment, please call 914-849-2690.

pesticidesAssemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) announced the passage of her legislation which bans the use of pesticides at children’s day and overnight camps. It is the first bill in the country banning pesticides at camps.

New York State enacted anti-pesticide laws for public and non-public schools in 2011 as part of the New York State Child Safe Playing Fields Act. This bill expands the existing law to protect children from these toxic chemicals at camps.

According to a 2016 report by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “Children are at greatest risk from exposure to hazardous pesticides because of their developing systems, smaller size, and faster metabolisms.” In addition, children are more likely to come into direct contact with pesticides when at play, especially while running, sitting, and playing on treated lawns and fields; they are also at risk due to hand-to-mouth behaviors.

As the American Academy of Pediatrics reported in 2012, "childhood exposure to pesticides is associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive functions and behavioral problems." The National Academy of Sciences has also reported that 39% of all neurobehavioral disorders in children are caused by toxic exposures in the environment and that another 25% are caused by interactions between environmental factors and genetics.

Current procedures with respect to pesticides do not always protect children from exposure. Warning labels on pesticides give time limits for keeping children off the grass but may fail to reflect a wide variation in the half-life of ingredients, which depend on weather and soil conditions. Once these chemicals come indoors on shoes or through windows, they may remain active for years. At camps in particular, children may walk on grass with bare feet and then enter swimming pools and other water bodies, where the chemicals may then be ingested.

This bill ensures that children can play in a safe and chemical-free environment, while taking into consideration AmyPaulinNY State Assemblywoman Amy Paulinemergency situations, in which the use of pesticides is determined as necessary by the applicable authority for public safety reasons. In addition, because the bill only prohibits the application of pesticides to playgrounds, and athletic or playing fields, camps will still be able to apply pesticides in other areas of a camp where it might be necessary to prevent or eliminate insects or rodents, such as kitchens and the outside perimeter of cabins.

“For the last decade New York has prohibited the use of toxic pesticides on school and daycare playing fields,” said Paulin. “It’s time to extend the same protections for children to playing fields at overnight and day camps.”

This legislation is sponsored in the New York State Senate by Senator Samra Brouk.

GolfOne of the greatest golfers of all time, Tiger Woods, struggled with back pain that was so severe he would drop to the ground in visible pain. When he finally opted for spinal-fusion surgery, it revived his career. You may not play like Tiger Woods, but if your back is suffering as much as your golf game, then it’s time to investigate better options than trying to play through pain.

Cause and Effect
An estimated 36% amateur golfers, and more than 63% of serious golfers play with some form of backWPH Banner discomfort, the result of spending four or more hours bent over and repeating the same motion hundreds of times. “Golf is considered a low-impact sport, yet players can suffer injuries, most notably in their lower back,” notes Dr. Andrew Casden, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery and Spine Surgery at White Plains Hospital. “Changing your swing may not help, in fact it may worsen matters. Continuing to play with lingering back pain can lead to other more serious injuries.”

Common causes of lower back pain include muscle strains, athritis, bone fractures and herniated discs, which if left untreated can lead to severe issues, including nerve damage. “Herniated discs can occur in the lower back when making the bending, or twisting movements associated with a golf swing,” says Dr. Casden. “Symptoms of a herniated disk vary, but they can include back pain, numbness or tingling, and weakness. They can sometimes cause radiating pain to the buttocks, legs, and feet.”


Tips to Stay on Course

One of the most overlooked causes of back pain is the way players lift and carry their clubs. By yanking their golf bags over their shoulder, players can injure themselves before they set foot on the course. To avoid injury, keep your back straight and use the strength of your legs to lift and carry the golf bag using both straps to help divide the weight of the bag evenly across your back.
Other back saving tips that can keep you in the game include:
     
Dr Andrew CasdenWarming up before playing.
This increases the blood flow to your muscles and makes your muscles less susceptible to tears It also improves your flexibility and increases your range of motion when you swing. “Cooling down after a game before jumping into your next activity is equally important as the warm up,” says Dr. Casden. “It allows you to clear out the lactic acid that’s built up in your system while you’ve been playing. Lactic acid build-up can result in muscular pain and fatigue.”

     

Exercising.
Add exercises that stretch and strengthen your back, such as yoga.

     
Treatment and rest. To help relieve pain and swelling, Dr. Casden recommends applying ice, followed by heat a few hours later and rest. If cleared for use by your doctor, anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Aleve may help.


Whether you swing a club like Tiger Woods or hit the ball in the woods, golfing is a great way to get outdoors and exercise. Remember, a little knowledge and preparation can help keep you in the game.
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Dr. Andrew Casden is Chief of Orthopedic Surgery and Spine Surgery at White Plains Hospital and sees patients at his office in Harrison. To make an appointment, please call 914-946-1010.

Menopause

Hot flashes, night sweats, unexplained fatigue. Most women recognize these as signs of menopause, but they might be surprised to learn that these ailments could also be signs of heart disease – the Number 1 killer of women.

“It’s important to understand that menopause doesn’t cause heart disease, but the risk certainly increases around this stage of life,” notes Dr. Shalini Bobra, a cardiologist with White Plains Hospital. “To further complicate matters, some common symptoms of a heart problem could mimic what we tend to think of as menopausal symptoms.”

Before menopause, the risk of heart disease is low in women. The reason? Estrogen is a friend to blood vessels, keeping them flexible and adaptable to blood flow. When estrogen levels decline as a result of menopause, the blood vessels lose some of that resilience, upping the risk of arteriosclerosis, a clogging of the blood vessels. In fact, an overall increase in heart attacks among women is seen about 10 years after menopause.

Know the Risks at Any AgeWhitePlainsHospitalSponsorBanner
Women have their own unique set of conditions that predispose them to heart problems. Otherwise healthy women who sit too much, maybe as a result of being locked in during the pandemic, may be at greater risk of a heart attack. One study showed that having an autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc) doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, due to chronic inflammation. Also, those who are dealing with ongoing states stress or depression – leading to elevated stress-hormones that can increase blood pressure – are also at risk for heart disease. 

Get a Symptom Check
If you’re around the age of menopause (average age around 51), and have been noticing the following signs, take pause and consider consulting with a Cardiologist or Internal Medicine specialist:

Fatigue. It’s natural to feel more tired as you age, and it’s a common menopausal complaint. But if simple activities like carrying the laundry upstairs or walking out to the mailbox that were once a breeze are now suddenly difficult, this could be a warning sign.

BobraDr. Shalini BobraSweating. Three-quarters of all women experience hot flashes during menopause. It’s worth mentioning to your physician if these sweats are associated with shortness of breath or chest pain, especially when you haven’t been exerting yourself or there doesn’t seem to be any real cause.

Chest Pain. While chest pain alone isn’t necessarily a menopause symptom, it’s worth mentioning that it is the most commonly ignored symptom by women who suffered a heart attack and then reflected back on what they experienced beforehand, according to a 2012 study by the University of Barcelona. Chest pain isn’t always the “grip your chest”; it could be just simple discomfort, pressure, or feeling that something isn’t right. 

“The good news is that despite this long list of risk factors, eighty percent of cardiac events can be prevented–with small, simple daily changes,” says Dr. Bobra. “The first and foremost change would be to quit smoking. I tell my patients another simple step is to just move 30 minutes a day. Also, adopting a Mediterranean style diet focusing on greens and grains, legumes, and lots of fiber has proven to benefit the heart.”

Dr. Shalini Bobra is a cardiologist with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates, seeing patients at 99 Business Park Drive in Armonk. To make an appointment, call 914-849-7900.

 

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