What happens when your kidneys don’t work?

Your kidneys play a vital role in keeping your body functioning. But what happens when your kidneys are not working the way they should?  

Join us at 7 pm on Thursday, Sept. 26 for “Understanding Kidney Disease,” a free health education lecture at Old Saybrook Medical Center, 633 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook. YNHH nephrologist Randy Luciano, MD will talk about diseases that can lead to kidney problems, including acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease with options of dialysis and transplant. Parking is free. Seating is limited. Register online or call 888-700-6543.

Symptoms may differ from person to person, but the most common symptoms of kidney disease include:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Itchiness all over the body
  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Puffiness around eyes, swelling of hands and feet
  • Skin may darken
  • Muscle cramps or pain in small of back just below the ribs (not aggravated by movement)
  • High blood pressure

Yale New Haven Hospital offers a complete range of consultative, diagnostic and treatment services for patients with kidney diseases, including chronic, advanced renal insufficiency, end-stage renal disease, renal transplantation and hypertension. Our Renal Failure Program provides treatments aimed at avoiding dialysis and restoring healthy kidney function.  

We also provide evaluation and care for other kidney disorders such as glomerulonephritis, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetic nephropathy (deterioration of the kidneys), polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and renal osteodystrophy.

If you have kidney disease and need a dialysis center, visit our website for locations

The risks of going gluten-free

Elimination diets – eating plans that eliminate certain foods from your diet for a period of time – are gaining in popularity for a variety of medical conditions such as obesity, asthma and irritable bowel syndrome. Eliminating specific foods, however, may carry long-term consequences – especially among children. Join us at 7 pm on Thursday, Sept. 12 for “Life with No Gluten. Is it Really Worth It?,” a free health education event at Old Saybrook Medical Center, 633 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook. YNHH gastroenterologist Arik Alper, MD, will discuss the consequences of eliminating specific foods from your diet and provide guidelines and recommendations for eating plans.  

Parking is free. Seating is limited. Register online or call 888-700-6543.

The truth about vaping and your teen

Connecticut teens are turning to nicotine in numbers not seen in decades. The fact that nearly all of them favor vaping devices over traditional cigarettes has health officials raising the alarm. What impact does vaping have on our teenagers?

“There is no other way to say it…these devices [e-cigarettes and vape pens] are dangerous,” said Kevin Twohig, MD, a pulmonologist with Northeast Medical Group who is based in North Haven. 

The increasing numbers and questions about the negative impact vaping has on the human body has led U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams to officially declare e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States.

The University of Michigan conducted a national survey in late 2017 that found 11 percent of high school seniors and 3.5 percent of eighth-graders admitted to vaping with nicotine in a one-month period. A Yale University study found that one in four Connecticut high-school students reported having tried an e-cigarette. A common theme found among the survey respondents is that teens think vaping is harmless.

Vaping involves the inhaling of a vapor created by a device that heats a liquid. The liquid in question goes by many names and is sold by several brands, but they all contain a combination of nicotine, glycerol and flavoring chemicals. An article in The New England Journal of Medicine contends that the nicotine found in vaping liquids is far more potent than that in loose-leaf tobacco.

While vaping device manufacturers claim their products are a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes and can help smokers quit tobacco, health officials caution that the opposite may be true. 

“The health risks of these devices are unknown at this time,” Dr. Twohig said. “Nobody is saying, definitively, that vaping is safe for cigarette cessation. The data does not support that. Users think they’re a ‘safe alternative’ to smoking, but nicotine is nicotine. It is a drug and it is incredibly addictive. These devices allow users to consume more nicotine, in more potent doses, which is exceptionally dangerous.”

With more than 70 percent of the market under its belt, Juul has emerged as the corporate face of vaping in the U.S. The company has come under fire recently with reports that it specifically markets its products to children. These allegations stem from Juul’s flavors like mango and bubblegum, which some argue are child-friendly. 

Nicotine, while highly addictive, produces a stimulant effect causing the user’s breathing to become more rapid and shallow while increasing heart rate and blood pressure. A single Juul pod contains 59mg/ml of nicotine, which is the same as an entire pack of traditional cigarettes. 

“It can be hard for teachers and parents to stay ahead of the curve because the devices are emerging incredibly fast,” Dr. Twohig said. “Juul hasn’t been around very long, and it looks just like a flash drive. Kids bring them to school and puff on them when the teacher isn’t looking. If the teacher doesn’t know that the device inserted into a laptop is a Juul being charged via the USB port, then they don’t protest because they don’t know.”

Dr. Twohig urges parents to have frank discussions with their children and present truthful information about vaping and why it is harmful. “Education and more education is the key,” he said. “Look to the American Lung Association, the CDC and the University of Michigan study. Those are all great sources of information that you can use when discussing this. It’s important to have these discussions because vaping is a real threat to public health.”

Sickle Cell Walkathon kicks off on Sept. 28

Yale New Haven Hospital will sponsor a team in the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America Southern Connecticut Walk on Saturday, Sept. 28, beginning at 9 am at East Rock Park, Cold Spring and Orange Streets in New Haven. Check in starts at 8 am and on-site registration is available from 7 - 8:15 am. Register to walk, volunteer or make a pledge or email James Flaherty for more information. 

Hit the trail with YNHH doctors

Walk and chat with local doctors as part of Yale New Haven Health’s Get Healthy Walk ‘N Talk with a Doc. Walks are each Saturday in September from 9 - 10:30 am at the Farmington Canal Greenway Trail in New Haven. Walks begin at the entrance on the corner of Shelton Avenue and Starr Street and last approximately one hour. Parking is available at New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church, 280 Starr St., New Haven Please arrive by 8:45 am on each walk day. For more information, email Andy Orefice or call 203-688-5671. 

To learn more about Get Healthy CT, a coalition dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles by removing the barriers to healthy eating and physical activity, visit the website

Tell us what you think! 

Want to learn more about a particular health topic or service? Questions about classes and events at YNHH? We want to hear from you! Tell us what you like about Advancing Care or send suggestions for improvement or changes. Send an email and let us know how we can better serve your health needs.

Referrals for physicians and surgeons

YNHH provides free information about and referrals to more than 2,600 affiliated physicians 24 hours a day. Call 888-700-6543 or visit our Find a Doctor feature on the hospital website for information on physician specialties, office hours and locations as well as insurance plans accepted. YNHH physicians represent more than 70 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties, including internal medicine/family practice, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics and psychiatry.

Need blood work? We’re in your neighborhood

When your physician orders blood work or you need to schedule a blood test, Yale New Haven Health makes it easy with blood draw stations conveniently located in your community. No appointment is necessary and all major insurance plans are accepted.

Please note: A requisition form is required. Our blood draw stations honor requisitions from other labs.

Find a location that's convenient on this list of blood draw locations on our website.

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Make a lasting impact at YNHH

Help support the mission of Yale New Haven Hospital with a donation! Your contributions support vital programs, services and facilities within the hospital and help keep Yale New Haven at the forefront of innovative treatment. When you make a gift to YNHH, you are part of the advanced medicine and compassionate commitment that touch so many lives in our community.

Billing questions?

Yale New Haven Hospital offers financial counseling to patients and families. Spanish-speaking counselors are available. Additionally, evening sessions are scheduled once a month — the next two are Monday, Sept. 16 and Monday, Oct. 21 from 5 - 7 pm. To make an appointment with a financial counselor, call 203-688-2046.