Are Antibiotics Necessary for the Common Cold?

The common cold is a viral infection that affects the nose and throat with associated sneezing, headaches, and cough. The rhinovirus is the most common type of virus that causes colds; however, there are more than 200 viruses that may cause the common cold. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses and are used to treat bacterial infections.

One of the largest misconceptions is that the color of the mucus suggests a bacterial infection. A patient can have yellow or green mucus and still have the common cold. The most important sign that would indicate a bacterial infection is present is the duration of symptoms. The American Academy of Otolaryngology guidelines for acute sinusitis require the presence of symptoms for greater than 7 to 10 days before being considered a bacterial infection. In addition, symptoms of the common cold may last for up to two weeks with cough and post nasal drip being the last symptoms to go away. Read more

Five Reasons We All Experience Back Pain

Experts estimate that as many as 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. While the pain can be debilitating, most are able heal by themselves however, many have to turn to alternative options for treatment.

The foundation of all treatments of back pain is physical therapy yet, depending on the particular cause of back pain, there are additional treatments available. Below are five common causes of back pain and Pain Management treatments to help improve the pain. Read more

The Most Common Inherited Heart Disease: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common inherited heart disease; it causes thickening of the heart muscle without a clinical cause to explain the extent of thickening observed.

HCM causes symptoms of dyspnea or shortness of breath, chest pain, exercise intolerance, syncope or fainting, and uncommonly, sudden cardiac death (SCD). It affects individuals of all ages but most commonly presents after age 30. Many patients with HCM have a relatively benign course and can have normal life expectancy, and symptoms can be managed with first-line pharmacologic agents like beta blockers or verapamil. However, a quarter of patients will experience in their course either severe disabling symptoms or SCD. Read more

How to Increase Your Good Cholesterol, and Lower the Bad

We, as physicians, always tell our patients that the goal is to lower their LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise their HDL (good cholesterol).

Why is HDL considered the good cholesterol, and why is it so important?

The cardioprotective effects of HDL are strongly suggested by the consistent inverse relationship between HDL levels and the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).

When HDL is high, the risk of CAD is lessened. For example, when one eats a fatty meal, the food is broken down resulting in LDL depositing in the coronary arteries (the pipes that feed the heart). Over time, plaque builds up and the risk of heart attack increases. Read more

A Slippery Slope: The Most Common Injuries for Skiing and Snowboarding

The holidays are over, but many of us here in the Northeast, or out in the West, are just beginning to hit the slopes. Whether you are a traditional skier, or a “shredder” snowboarder like me, safety is always of the utmost concern. While these two sports tend to be leisurely for many, the possibility of serious and debilitating musculoskeletal injuries should be recognized and prevented as best as possible. Read more

Helping More Patients Survive Heart Attacks

Everyone needs to remember when it comes to heart attack, time is muscle. If you are feeling chest pain, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.

Our heart teams at Mount Sinai know that improving heart attack patient survival is all about teamwork and timing. The team includes the dispatchers, paramedics, FDNY, hospital teams, emergency room staff, and interventional cardiologists who are working together to reduce wait times in emergency rooms and speed communication to get a patient to the catheterization laboratory as fast as possible to open a blocked heart artery. The goal timing is for less than 90 minutes. Read more

Attention Statin Patients: Are You Experiencing Muscle Aches, Weakness, Decreased Exercise Capacity, “Brain Fog”, Impaired Clarity, or Memory Loss?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have statin intolerance.

What are statins?

Statins are a class of cholesterol lowering medication therapies that have been extensively evaluated in controlled clinical trial studies. These medications have been consistently shown to reduce the risk of a first cardiovascular event including heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. Also, the drugs can reduce recurrent (two or more) cardiovascular events in people with a prior heart attack, or other acute coronary syndromes that result from a reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle, or stroke. In addition, studies show statins have helped reduce the total amount of deaths worldwide overall from cardiovascular diseases. Read more

Nutrition Trends – Separating Fact and Fiction

The nutrition world is constantly buzzing with new trends and the latest and greatest “it” diet or food–many of which aren’t backed by sound nutritional evidence. Separating the trends from the facts is a big part of my job as a registered dietitian. Here are a few thoughts on some of the latest newsmakers and trends of 2015:

Gut health.

Research continues to point to an increasingly important role the gut plays in our overall well-being. Probiotics have been shown to help relieve gastrointestinal symptoms (think bloating, constipation and diarrhea), environmental allergic reactions and may even reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. From fermented foods and drinks (kimchi or kombucha, anyone?) to our favorite yogurt standbys, keeping our intestines happy should be a priority this year. Read more