Seasonal Affective Disorder – An Introduction

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dr. Alexander Salerno, the second-generation lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, upholds a personal and professional dedication to caring for underserved members of the community. Dr. Alexander Salerno strives to ensure that all patients have access to primary care for medical and mental health issues, including seasonal affective disorder.

As its name suggests, seasonal affective disorder causes mood disturbances that correlate with the cycle of the yearly seasons. Most people with the condition experience symptoms during the fall and winter months, when periods of daylight are shorter, though some clients report that they experience depressive symptoms in the summer months instead. Regardless of time of onset, patients typically present with the expected signs of clinical depression, such as feelings of hopelessness and a lack of interest in their usual activities.

Because diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder is based solely on patient self-reports, physicians must be careful to rule out similar-seeming illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and underactive thyroid before confirming a diagnosis. Patients who do receive a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder often find relief with light therapy, in which they sit near a lightbox that emits a particular fluorescent light that mimics natural sunlight. Medication may also be helpful to certain patients in managing depressive symptoms, while psychotherapy can provide additional resources for redirecting negative thoughts and developing adaptive coping skills.


Shingles – A Viral Infection with a Recommended Vaccine

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Dr. Alexander Salerno is the lead physician with Salerno Medical Associates and strives to meet the health care needs of patients in New Jersey’s underserved urban neighborhoods. Dr. Alexander Salerno emphasizes patient education and offers a diversity of resources on issues ranging from identifying breast cancer to the safety of shingles vaccines.

Also known as herpes zoster, the viral infection shingles has symptoms that include painful blisters and skin rashes, typically on one side of the torso. The varicella zoster virus is also the cause of chicken pox, a common childhood disease. After chicken pox clears up, it stays dormant in the nerve tissues and can be reactivated when the immune system weakens, either because of age, disease, or stress.

Reactivated, the virus spreads along the skin’s nerve fibers and can linger as chronic pain for months or years, even after rashes subside. For this reason, shingles vaccine is recommended for adults past the age of 50. The vaccine is made up of attenuated varicella virus cells, which cause the body to produce antibodies that fight the infection and future shingles incidences. While not a cure-all, the vaccine does decrease the risk of contracting shingles by 70 percent.

HPV Vaccine Reduces Cervical Cancer and Other Cancer Risks

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HPV Vaccine

Practicing medicine in northern New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno provides community care to residents of urban neighborhoods. Dr. Alexander Salerno founded the Urban Healthcare Initiative Program, which offers vulnerable members of the community with health care information. He particularly advocates the administration of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to both teenage girls and boys to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and cervical and other cancers.

HPV causes sexually transmitted disease, such as genital warts, as well as vaginal cancer, anal cancer, cervical cancer, and certain forms of oral cancer. The majority of adults contract HPV at some point in their lives, and many times it goes away on its own without symptoms. However, the danger of HPV leading to cancer makes regular pap smear tests and vaccinations advisable.

With many HPV strains in existence, the HPV vaccine is effective against the four main HPV types, which together account for some 70 percent of cervical cancers. The vaccine is effective and safe; the only downside is that it does not help those who already have the infection.

An Overview of Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dr. Alexander Salerno leads a health-care practice in East Orange, New Jersey. There, Dr. Alexander Salerno sees patients with a variety of conditions, including mood disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder, also referred to as seasonal depression, occurs when a person experiences negative changes in mood at a certain period of the year, most commonly in the fall and winter months. While the exact cause of seasonal affective disorder is not known, many scientists believe it may be associated with the lower levels of sunlight a person typically is exposed to during the darker months of the year. This may have an effect on serotonin levels, and therefore a person’s overall mood. A person’s hormones also may play a role.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder often gradually increase in their severity before they begin to improve, typically in the spring. These symptoms include feeling lethargic, having trouble focusing, and wanting to withdraw from others. The person might experience weight changes and have sleeping difficulties as well. If you feel depressed or have a low mood at certain times of the year, talk to your doctor about seasonal depression. Your doctor may recommend treatment, which might include sunlight exposure, medication, or counseling.

Older Individuals and Problems with Dizziness

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Older Individuals and Dizziness

Dr. Alexander Salerno, who practices in New Jersey, has received recognition for excellence in patient care. Over the years, Dr. Alexander Salerno has worked with patients of a wide range of ages, including elderly individuals who are experiencing problems with their balance.

Many people experience dizziness and balancing issues as they age. This can pose a serious problem by making it more difficult for a person to live alone or navigate his or her living space safely. Inner ear problems, such as an infection, can cause a person to experience dizziness, or vertigo. However, in many cases, the cause of the dizziness is a general decrease in the body’s functioning that occurs with age. For instance, the number of nerve endings within the ear declines, and blood flow to the area tends to decrease. As result, a person might experience more difficulty staying upright and balancing, particularly while walking on ground that is uneven or in areas that are not lit well.

To prevent a potentially serious accident from occurring, older individuals and their family members should take steps to safeguard the home. These steps may include installing sturdy railings along hallways or handholds in the bathroom. Upgrading the lighting to ensure that the person can see well and removing walking obstacles are other good ideas that can help prevent an accident and provide improved peace of mind.

Blood Pressure and Health

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Blood Pressure

Based in East Orange, New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno is the lead physician of a multi-generational office that provides underserved communities with an integrated approach to health care. Dr. Alexander Salerno founded the Senior Healthcare Outreach Program (SHOP), which provides house calls to older residents in the area. Through SHOP, he offers general medical examinations for seniors, including blood pressure evaluations.

Blood pressure is a gauge of one’s overall circulatory system. Patients with high blood pressure have an increased risk of stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. They also have a higher chance of damage to the arteries, which may lead to a heart attack. Blood pressure generally increases with age, particularly after middle age. A normal blood pressure range is 120/80.

Among older adults, the risk factors for high blood pressure are similar to those in the general population. Individuals at highest risk are those with obesity, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes.

Behavioral Health and Well Being

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Behavioral Health

Dr. Alexander Salerno serves as the lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates, LLP. Possessing nearly 15 years of experience in internal medicine, Dr. Alexander Salerno and the team at the New Jersey-based practice provide patients with integrated care that aims to improve the health of their body and mind.

While many people think of good health as primarily related to their physical well-being, behavioral health can play a major role in bodily function. Mental health conditions such as depression can take a physical toll on patients that may manifest itself through body aches, extreme fatigue, sleep deprivation, and eating disorders.

Additionally, untreated depression can make people more susceptible to unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse and increase their risk of developing heart disease. Depression may also lead to a weakened immune system, forgetfulness, and headaches. Studies suggest that nearly 7 percent of adults in the United States are living with depression.