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An Introduction to Panic Disorder


Alexander Salerno pic
Alexander Salerno

Since 2001, Dr. Alexander Salerno has lead Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues, including anxiety and panic disorders.

In the United States, approximately 6 million individuals have panic disorder. These individuals experience regular intense panic attacks, a fear response that usually arises out of proportion to the presenting situation. The attack incorporates a broad range of emotional and physical symptoms, including dizziness and the feeling that one’s life is at risk. Many people with panic attacks also report shortness of breath, dizziness, and trembling as well as chest pain and heart palpitations, the combination of which can make patients feel as though they are experiencing medical emergencies.

Repeated experiences of such attacks can severely interfere with an individual’s quality of life. Individuals with panic disorder often begin to avoid situations and places where attacks have occurred, and this avoidance frequently escalates to the level at which the person becomes agoraphobic. Timely diagnosis can help the patient to avoid the condition’s escalation to this level, though the universality of many panic disorder symptoms can make panic disorder a difficult diagnosis to reach. Once identified, however, the condition often responds to a combination of medication and psychotherapy.


Lack of Sleep Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Disease pic
Alzheimer’s Disease

As the second-generation head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno works to improve health outcomes for patients of all ages. Dr. Alexander Salerno stands out as founder of the Community Health Outreach Program (CHOP), formerly known as the Senior Health Outreach Program (SHOP), which brings integrated medical and behavioral care to patients in urban neighborhoods.

According to researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, insufficient sleep may significantly contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease has been evident for some time, as many individuals with the illness struggle with sleep disorders as well. Past speculation suggested that the disease caused damage in the areas of the brain that regulate sleep, but researchers have found that the actual cause may instead lie in the ability of sleep to optimize brain functions.

In 2009, a study at Washington University in St. Louis revealed that beta-amyloid plaques, which build up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, grow more rapidly in mice who are deprived of sleep. Researchers went on expand on these findings and analyze why sleep deprivation correlates with plaque buildup. They found that in deep sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid circulates through the brain and clears out toxins, including those that form plaques. The hope is to test this hypothesis in human trials and determine whether there is a causal link between a lack of deep sleep and the premature buildup of Alzheimer’s disease-inducing amyloid plaques.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Younger Patients

Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer

As a second-generation lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates, Dr. Alexander Salerno strives to improve health outcomes in at-risk communities. Dr. Alexander Salerno also pursues this goal in his role as head of the Urban Healthcare Initiative Program (UHIP), which distributes educational materials on topics such as breast cancer risk.

For women under the age of 50, breast cancer is becoming an increasingly serious risk. Diagnosis rates are increasing among women between the ages of 25 and 39, while diagnoses of women under 50 have reached record levels. Genetic predisposition plays a contributing role for many women, particularly those whose close family members developed breast cancer at a young age. Personal history, including radiation therapy to the chest or a history of breast health issues, may also contribute to a young woman’s increased risk.

Some experts also attribute this shift in age of diagnosis to historic differences in hormonal levels. Studies have shown that birth control use may potentially increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer, and observations suggest that other hormone use could have a similar effect. Toxins in the environment and nutritional deficiencies could be similarly risky, particularly if a young woman has experienced exposure to high levels of parabens or cigarette smoke.

Signs of Memory Loss in Aging Adults

Memory Loss pic
Memory Loss

Dr. Alexander Salerno, the lead physician of Salerno Medical Associates, has dedicated much of his career to providing elderly individuals with integrated care. With his experience assisting the elderly, Dr. Alexander Salerno also founded the Community Health Outreach Program—formerly known as the Senior Health Outreach Program—which offers mental health care and other medical services to the elderly.

Although the occasional memory lapse can frustrate and even worry the older adult, such events are not typically cause for concern. Even if an individual forgets the name of an acquaintance or the purpose of an errand, he or she is likely to retain the ability to function as normal and to make rational decisions. For some elders, however, memory loss becomes intrusive enough that daily functioning and quality of life suffers.

Older individuals with serious memory loss may forget how to perform simple, daily self-care tasks, such as bathing or dressing. They may become lost in places they know well, lose the ability to follow directions, or repeat a question having just heard the answer. Planning and problem-solving skills may suffer, even in familiar situations, and orientation to time and place may decrease. Individuals with such issues may wish to consult a qualified physician, who can assess the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and similar conditions.

An Introduction to Hospice

Hospice pic

As second-generation head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno offers integrated care to a diverse patient population. Dr. Alexander Salerno also stands out as founder of the Community Healthcare Outreach Program, formerly known as the Senior Health Outreach Program, and is dedicated to improving access to services within under-resourced communities.

Unlike traditional medical care, which offers treatment in the hopes of extending life expectancy or facilitating a cure, hospice care focuses solely on quality of life and comfort. It is intended for patients whose medical condition is considered terminal, and as such it offers pain and symptom management as well as occupational, physical, and other supplemental therapies. Hospice addresses the needs of the entire family, not only the patient, and as such also provides caregiver support and grief counseling.

Hospice can be considered an option when the patient’s life expectancy is six months or fewer. However, if the patient does exceed this prognosis, care continues as long as it is relevant and therapeutic. The patient may receive care at his or her home or at a medical, nursing care, or specialized hospice facility, depending on availability and individual patient needs. Patients with terminal illnesses and their families can discuss the details of hospice with a doctor or other professional.

An Introduction to the Shingles Vaccine

Shingles Vaccine pic
Shingles Vaccine

Dr. Alexander Salerno, head physician at Salerno Medical Associates, works to improve overall health outcomes in underserved populations in East Orange, New Jersey. To that end, Dr. Alexander Salerno leads the Community Healthcare Outreach Program (CHOP), which brings integrated care to elderly patients and those with mental health challenges.

Caused by a virus known as varicella zoster, shingles causes a painful blistering rash that typically presents on one side of the patient’s body. The rash lingers for up to three weeks, though some patients experience lingering severe pain for months or years after the disease clears. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) and can be so severe as to cause anxiety, depression, and other disruptions to daily life.

Fortunately, the shingles vaccine has proven effective at reducing the risk of varicella zoster infection by up to 70 percent. Effectiveness is highest for patients in their 50s, although those in their 60s may still enjoy a prevention rate of as much as 55 percent. The vaccine’s effectiveness against PHN is similar at approximately 59 to 67 percent.

The vaccine consists of weakened varicella zoster virus, which prompts the production of antibodies when introduced into the patient’s system. Approved for use in the United States since 2006, it has earned the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control for all individuals over age 60.

Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder pic
Panic Disorder

As the head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno offers integrated multidisciplinary care to a diverse patient population. Dr. Alexander Salerno also oversees the practice’s Community Healthcare Outreach Program (CHOP), which provides behavioral and medical care to older individuals in need.

Although many people experience worry and even panic on an occasional basis, some find that these feelings become so chronic that they interfere with everyday life. These individuals experience panic attacks that arise not only out of proportion to the current situation, but also with such intense fear that they prompt physical symptoms. Individuals with panic disorder often report feeling chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or heart palpitations. They may shake, feel like they are choking, or experience a sense of unreality.

The intense somatic nature of these symptoms often makes people with panic disorder feel as though they are experiencing a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or a stroke. They may become so afraid of an attack recurrence that they begin to avoid certain situations and may begin to feel isolated. Fortunately, many people who experience panic disorder can find relief in the form of medication or psychotherapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy.