Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October is Breast Cancer Awareness

Women should always be mindful of the dangers of breast cancer, ways to identify it and what to do if they suspect or are diagnosed with cancer.  This disease isn’t something that should be limited to one month, but rather should be a way of life. There are a number of things women can do to protect themselves.

Women ages 20 and older should perform monthly breast self-exams monthly. Regular mammograms are key in early detection and the fight against breast cancer. A mammogram is a diagnostic tool, that can detect breast cancer in its initial stages, before a lump can be felt. Finding breast cancer early gives women the greatest chance of survival and the best treatment options.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) offers a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, which is an interactive tool designed by scientists at the NCI and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).  It helps estimate a woman's risk of developing invasive breast cancer

Be aware of possible risk factors that can contribute to your risk of breast cancer. The following are offered by the NCI:
  • Age
  • Age at the start of menstruation
  • Number of first-degree relatives (mother, sisters, daughters) with breast cancer
  • Number of previous breast biopsies (whether positive or negative)
  • At least one breast biopsy with atypical hyperplasia

CHS hospitals across Long Island offer comprehensive breast health services in a welcoming and supportive environment. Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer. To learn more, call 1-855-CHS-4500 or visit to find a doctor.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Living Better With Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is also known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes and is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes the sugar needed to fuel your body. With Type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly; this is called insulin resistance.

When glucose builds up in the blood, it can cause issues. Your cells may be starved for energy, and over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

Some people with Type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and exercise. But, eventually, your doctor may need to prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. In some cases the disease can progress over time—even if you don’t need medications at first, you may need them later.

Obesity can be a risk factor for developing the disease, but weight loss can help to improve Type 2 diabetes in those who are overweight or obese.

Common symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can include fatigue, extreme thirst, frequent or increased urination, blurred vision excessive hunger and sores or cuts that won’t heal. If you are experiencing these symptoms regularly, your doctor may want to test for the disease.

Early recognition of diabetes by your health care provider is crucial in avoiding complications.  Routine diabetes screenings usually begin at the age of 45. Measuring your A1C involves a simple blood test that provides information regarding levels of blood glucose or blood sugar over three months. The higher the A1C, the greater your risk of diabetes. If you have a fasting blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or greater on two occasions, then you have diabetes. Also, if your doctor gives you an oral glucose tolerance test and at two-hours, your blood glucose is 200 mg/dl or greater, you have diabetes.

Watch #CHS's Executive Vice President & System Chief Medical Officer Patrick O'Shaughnessy, DO discuss discuss Type 2 Diabetes:

For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel where you can view more of Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What Do You Know About Concussions?

A concussion is a common, but serious brain injury. It can be caused by a hard hit to the body or a blow to the head—especially when playing a high-impact sport—that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can then cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Important signs to observe include appearing to be dazed or stunned, loss of awareness and being confused, memory loss, slow to answer questions and behavior or personality changes. Symptoms can include headache, feeling off-balance, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light, sleep disturbances and vision issues. In some cases a loved one or a friend may be having a concussion and not know it.

Wearing the correct athletic safety gear during sports can help reduce your risk of getting a concussion. Helmets and other gear should fit properly and be worn appropriately.

It is always essential to rest after any concussion. This allows your brain to heal. Once your health care provider has granted permission to return to sports or exercise it should be gradual.

Catholic Health Services’s St. Charles and Good Samaritan hospitals both have the ThinkSMART!™ Concussion Management Programs. This includes concussion education, baseline testing and concussion treatment services for student athletes and individuals who have sustained, or are at risk of concussion, a common but serious traumatic brain injury.

To date, approximately 30,000 students have received neurocognitive baseline testing through this program. The ThinkSmart!™ team of clinicians from St. Charles and Good Samaritan includes emergency medicine physicians, neurologists, physical medicine/rehabilitation physicians, orthopedic physicians, neuropsychologists, nurses and physical therapists who work with student athletes and their families.

Watch #CHS's Executive Vice President & System Chief Medical Officer Patrick O'Shaughnessy, DO discuss discuss the importance of staying safe on the field:

For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel where you can view more of Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Managing Stress Health

We all experience stress; being able to recognize and manage symptoms can dramatically improve your overall health.  Elevated stress levels affect your body, mood and your behavioral health. 

Some common symptoms:
Physical: Stress can cause headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach or sleep problems. 

Psychological: There may be increased anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, a feeling of being overwhelmed, irritable, angry, sad or depressed.

How to manage symptoms:
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Seek professional counseling if needed
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, getting a massage, or learning to meditate
  • Take time for hobbies you enjoy, such as reading a book, listening to music, or volunteering
Don't allow stress to damage your health or quality of life. Be proactive. Start practicing stress management today. 

View CHS's Executive Vice President & System Chief Medical Officer Patrick O'Shaughnessy, DO, discuss the importance of managing stress:

For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel where you can view Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Importance of a Wellness Visit

Even if you are feeling healthy, visiting your physician at least once a year is an important way to maintain your well-being. These visits might also help prevent a future illness. It is really something everyone should do.

Scheduling this routine visit is simple, and many patients have health insurance plans that cover the cost.  It gives both you and your doctor the opportunity to discuss your health history and any concerns you may have regarding your health.  Most importantly, your doctor may determine what, if any, health issues could be a concern in the future and how to prevent them.

Be sure to bring a list of your current medications and go over this with your doctor to ensure they are up-to-date.  Your doctor may also want to discuss your immunization records and any additional immunizations that are available that could be to your benefit. 

Visit your physician at least once a year and use that visit to share any and all health concerns. In the end, one visit may result in saving you money, time, and your health. If you need a physician, please visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Listen to CHS's Executive Vice President & System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick O'Shaughnessy discuss the importance of an annual wellness here:

For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel where you can view more of Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Stay Protected Against Ticks this Summer

Prior to heading outdoors to garden, hike or camp, protect you and your family. Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected tick. According to the CDC, in the United States there are about 300,000 infections annually. If you work or spend a lot of time in wooded or grassy areas, you could be bitten by an infected tick.

Educate yourself and know where to expect ticks. Ticks that cause Lyme disease are called blacklegged ticks and they live in moist and humid environments, predominantly in and near wooded or grassy areas.

Here are some tips from the CDC to help repel ticks on skin and clothing:
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
  • Always follow product instructions.
  • Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
  • Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

To choose the right repellent for you visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website

Don’t ignore the signs of Lyme disease which can begin 3-30 days after a tick bite. Symptoms include: fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes and of the people who get Lyme disease, 70 to 80% develop a rash, called an erythema migrans.

“Be proactive and check your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks, even in your own yard,” CHS’s System Chief Medical Officer Patrick O’Shaughnessy, DO, recommends. “Seek medical attention if you observe any symptoms.”

Make sure to check your body and your child’s body for ticks, including: under the arms, ears, belly button, leg and back of the knees, head and body hair, torso. If any are found on clothing, put the clothing in the dryer. Also, don’t forget to check pets, because they can bring ticks into the house.

For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel to view all of Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions.

If you need a physician, please visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Combatting Celiac

If you have a wheat allergy, celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, eating foods that contain gluten—a type of protein found in wheat, rye and barley—can be harmful to your body and your health.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which eating gluten prompts your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine. This cam harm your body, making it harder to absorb certain nutrients and can lead to long-term health problems. Symptoms can include stomach pain, diarrhea, weight loss, chronic fatigue and neurological problems. The only known treatment for celiac disease is to avoid gluten because even tiny amounts can cause intestinal damage.

Listen to CHS's Executive Vice President & System Chief Medical Officer Dr. O'Shaughnessy explain what you need to know about gluten and its effect on your body:

For more health information, go to CHS’s YouTube channel to view all of Dr. O’s Health Tips & Solutions.

If you need a physician, please visit or call 1-855-CHS-4500.