Now That We’re Part of Northwell Health, You Can Access The Amazing Pediatric Specialists of Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

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At Our Partners Northwell Health and Cohen Children’s Medical Center, A Lot More Is Going On Than Great Medicine

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

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Baby-Led Weaning: A New Approach To Helping Your Baby Transition To Solid Food

Have you heard of baby-led weaning? While this method of introducing babies to solid foods is just starting to become popular here in the U.S., it is much more widespread in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The thinking behind this approach is that if babies regulate their own intake of foods, they learn to read their own hunger cues and know when they’re full. This, in turn, may lead to less obesity, less pickiness/food aversion and a healthier outlook on eating in the future. Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group, has written a very informative blog on the subject.

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The Best Part About Our Partnership With Northwell Health? You’re Now Linked To An Incredible Network of Specialists To Help You Raise Your Baby.

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

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Committed To Healthy Eating? So Are We, Along With Our Partners Northwell Health And Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children.

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How You Can Reduce The Risk Of Sudden Cardiac Death In Your Young Athlete

If you have a young athlete who plays competitive sports, it’s extremely important that you and your child review this checklist before they begin any sports season. Even though it is extremely rare, sudden cardiac death is a frequent cause of sports-related death in young athletes. By conducting a thorough exam and screening, your pediatrician can help lessen the risks and hopefully prevent this potentially fatal event. Continue reading

Does My Child Have Celiac Disease?

Does your child regularly get a stomach ache after eating bread, pasta, or pizza? Does he/she often have diarrhea, joint pain or prolonged fatigue? If your child is a girl, did her period start really late? All of these are symptoms that might point to celiac disease. To get the facts, check out this blog by Natasha Mendez, MD, Pediatric Gastroenterologist with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group. Continue reading

Are You At Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including several patients whom I see regularly in my practice. Somewhat different from “regular” arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system, which normally attacks foreign agents like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates chronic inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints to thicken, resulting in noticeable swelling and sometimes excruciating pain in and around the joints.

Although we don’t know exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis, many experts feel that a person with RA could be genetically predisposed to react to a triggering event (such as an infection) that starts the chronic inflammation. If you’re worried that you might be susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis, this blog explains what might put you at risk, and also lists a number of treatment options you should know about.

How does rheumatoid arthritis affect your body?

If the chronic inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis goes unchecked, it can damage the body’s cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, as well as the bones themselves. Over time, people with rheumatoid arthritis can actually lose cartilage. Their joints can then become loose, unstable, painful, lose their mobility and become deformed. This kind of joint damage cannot be reversed.

The joints most commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis are in the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. Unfortunately, if one knee or hand is affected, usually the other one is too. RA can also damage the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood and nerves. Because it can affect whole systems of the body, such as the cardiovascular or respiratory system, RA is called a systemic, or entire body, disease.

Who is most commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis?

  • Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men.
  • In women, RA most commonly begins between ages 30 and 60.
  • RA tends to improve with pregnancy but it may get worse after the baby is born.
  • In men, RA tends to occur later in life.
  • Having a family member with RA increases the odds of having RA. However, the majority of people with RA have no family history of the disease.

Symptoms to look out for that might indicate you’re developing RA

  • Joint pain, tenderness, swelling or stiffness for six weeks or longer
  • Morning stiffness for 30 minutes or longer
  • More than one joint is affected
  • Small joints (wrists, certain joints of the hands and feet) are affected
  • The same joints on both sides of the body are affected
  • Misshapen finger joints.
  • Along with pain, many people experience fatigue, loss of appetite and a low-grade fever
  • The knee joint becomes tender, warm and swollen. Although knee osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness, joint pain from RA of the knee is more severe.

7 signs that you may be at high risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis

  1. Three or more affected joints
  2. High baseline level of systemic inflammation. Simple blood tests for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or “sed rate”) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP) measure body-wide inflammation.
  3. Evidence of bone erosion on X-rays.
  4. Immune system proteins in your blood, such as rheumatoid factor (RF) or anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) antibodies.
  5. Difficulty climbing stairs, dressing and performing other activities of daily living.
  6. Rheumatoid nodules (lumps of tissue) under the skin on the elbows and fingers.
  7. One or more conditions related to RA. Having one or more of these arthritis-related conditions signals rheumatoid arthritis:
  • vasculitis (blood vessel inflammation)
  • Felty’s syndrome (enlarged spleen and very low white blood cell count)
  • Sjögren’s syndrome (poor function of the glands that produce tears and saliva)

Recommended treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

For my patients with rheumatoid arthritis, I first evaluate the severity of their condition. Based on my findings, I then create a detailed treatment plan, including:

  • Medications (some for pain and others to slow or stop the disease)
  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Splints and special arthritis aids to take pressure off of painful joints
  • Managing stress
  • Avoiding foods that trigger inflammation
  • Eating foods that curb inflammation, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flax oil
  • Regular medical checkups
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery if joints are severely damaged, sometimes including joint replacement surgery

To learn more

An excellent resource for finding out more about rheumatoid arthritis, and arthritis in general, is The Arthritis Foundation.

Concerned that you’re at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis? Come see us.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis or are worried that you may be developing it, and would like advice and guidance about managing this chronic disease, please make an appointment with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners to see one of our rheumatologists. We’ll examine you, evaluate your condition and symptoms, and together, decide on the best course of treatment going forward. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

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By Sharon Karp, MD, a Rheumatologist with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

Summer’s Over, Fall Is Here. Why Do I Still Have Allergies?

Most people think that spring and summer are the worst seasons for allergies, but fall is not far behind, bringing with it these unpleasant and annoying symptoms:

  • Watery, itchy, irritated eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Rashes or hives
  • Itchy throat
  • In severe cases, trouble breathing or anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction)

Why are fall allergies so bad?

James Pollowitz, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI

If you have seasonal allergies, your immune system is trying to fight off a substance that you’re sensitive to. It does this by releasing histamine, which leads to the symptoms listed above. In the fall, several factors contribute to an increase in irritants that are around in the spring in summer, including:

  1. Weeds grow by leaps and bounds once the fall rainy season hits

Plants produce pollens and the ones spread by wind are the ones that cause allergies. More weeds—especially ragweed—means more pollen, a major cause of fall allergies. Other weed pollens that are particularly active in the fall include lambs quarters.

  1. Molds are another significant fall allergen

Once fall foliage starts to decay, it becomes a breeding ground for mold. In addition, molds grow well in low light and in areas of high moisture, conditions that often occur in the fall. Inhaling mold spores can aggravate asthma and bring on coughing, wheezing and other upper respiratory symptoms in people with mold allergies.

  1. You’re indoors more in the fall

Once fall begins, most people are back to school or work. They’re also indoors more as the days get shorter and cooler, increasing their exposure to indoor allergens such as pets (especially dogs and cats) and dust mites. Also, respiratory infections usually increase during this season, which can trigger asthma attacks and sinus and ear infections.

  1. Outside allergans get brought inside

Most people don’t realize it but when they come inside, they bring irritants into their house with them on their hair, skin and clothing. To counteract this, follow these tips:

  • Brush or wipe down pets after outdoor walks to cut down on the pollen they bring into the house with them.
  • Leave your shoes outside so they can’t track in mold and pollen.
  • Close the windows, especially on windy or high pollen count days.

Several options for treating your fall allergies

  1. Avoid or eliminate irritants that trigger your allergies. To reduce the allergans that trigger allergic reactions, cover your pillows and mattresses in allergy-proof encasements, get rid of mold in your home, repair water leaks and clean up damp areas, and remove pets or restrict them to certain areas in your house.
  2. OTC steroid nasal sprays, antihistamines and decongestants reduce inflammation in your nose, relieve stuffiness, and help stop sneezing, sniffling, and itching.
  3. Prescription medications (such as inhaled steroids) help control and prevent allergy symptoms.
  4. Immunotherapy (allergy shots or oral tablets or drops) are also very beneficial.

Even with fall allergies, you can still enjoy the fall

By carefully controlling the things that can trigger an allergic reaction, you can still enjoy this gorgeous time of year and not let allergies keep you being outdoors.

To learn more, check out these two important websites

Do you suffer from fall allergies? Come see us.

If you have fall allergies, or any other health issue that’s bothering you or someone in your family, please make an appointment with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners to see one of our physicians in the division of Allergy/Asthma. We’ll examine you, evaluate your condition and symptoms, and together, decide on the best course of treatment going forward to help you feel better soon. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

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By James Pollowitz, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, an Allergy and Asthma specialist with Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

Because We’re Now Affiliated With Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Your Child Is In the Best Possible Hands.

Now that Westchester Health is part of Northwell Health and its physician organization, Northwell Health Physician Partners, we have greatly expanded our services to bring you and your family the best possible care. Best of all, this new relationship means that you now have access to the outstanding resources of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, the New York metropolitan area’s only hospital exclusively for children. Continue reading