Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center
Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care while serving the communities of southwest Las Vegas.

How does hepatitis testing work?

Viral hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. The infection can cause symptoms like jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea. Your doctor may recommend that you be tested for hepatitis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, however, you may be a good candidate for hepatitis screening. A doctor at Southern Hills Hospital can offer personalized recommendations for you based on your health history and risk factors.

Getting blood drawn
Hepatitis is detected with a blood test. This lab test checks for the presence of antibodies that your body will produce if you’ve been exposed to a hepatitis virus. For most people, getting blood drawn is a routine procedure.

However, some people have trouble handling needles. If you’re nervous about getting blood drawn, tell your provider. He or she can take steps to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for you, such as by:

  • Using a smaller needle
  • Using a skin numbing medication
  • Talking you through the blood draw
  • Reminding you to breathe naturally

Determining if you should get screened
Not everyone needs to get screened for hepatitis. Your doctor will determine if a blood test is a good idea for you, based on your health history, risk factors and lifestyle issues.

Age can also play a role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all adults born from 1945 through 1965 get tested at least once for hepatitis C. This is true regardless of their individual risk factors.

Additionally, your doctor may recommend a hepatitis screening if any of the following apply to you.

  • Have previous or current injected drug use
  • Have an HIV infection
  • Are pregnant
  • Were born in or have traveled to certain areas of the world
  • Did not receive hepatitis vaccines
  • Are a man who has had sex with other men

Children born to mothers who were diagnosed with hepatitis should also get screened.

Southern Hills Hospital provides comprehensive and specialty medical services with a “patients first” philosophy. No matter what health challenges life brings your way, we’re here to help. Call our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 if you’d like more information about our services.

Protecting older adults from extreme heat

Older adults and their caregivers need to be particularly vigilant when the summer heat strikes Las Vegas. Seniors tend to be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses because their bodies can’t regulate temperature as well. Seniors are also more likely to take medications and have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to heat stresses. Here at Southern Hills Hospital, we’re deeply concerned about the health of our elderly neighbors in Las Vegas. Please don’t hesitate to seek emergency care if you’re concerned about heat-related illnesses.

Checking on the elderly during the summer
Family members, friends and caretakers of elderly individuals should check on them every day when the weather is hot. During very hot weather, seniors should be checked on at least twice daily.

During each check-in, the friend or caregiver should consider whether the temperature in the home is moderate and whether the individual is drinking enough water. They should also watch out for the potential signs of heat-related illnesses, such as the following.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • High temperature
  • Rapid pulse

The most severe type of heat-related illness is heatstroke. It always requires emergency care, as it can be life-threatening. Call 911 if you notice these possible signs of heatstroke:

  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • Blurry vision
  • Temperature over 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Lack of sweating
  • Pale, dry skin
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing

Keeping the home cool
Air conditioners are the most effective way to keep a senior’s home cool and comfortable. Fans do not cool down a room, and will not help prevent heat-related illnesses.

If your senior loved one’s home lacks air conditioning, offer to install a window unit for him or her. You can also bring your loved one to an air conditioned building, such as a:

  • Library
  • Shopping center
  • Movie theater
  • Public cooling center
  • Senior center

Staying hydrated
Seniors need to drink more fluids during hot weather, but it’s often hard for them to tell when they’re thirsty. Encourage your senior loved one to stay hydrated by:

  • Offering water-rich fruits (pears, watermelon or cantaloupe)
  • Offering frozen grapes as a snack
  • Squeezing lemon or lime into a glass of ice water
  • Making homemade popsicles
Please call 911 right away if you or a loved one could be suffering from life-threatening heatstroke. The emergency care team at Southern Hills Hospital brings together in-depth expertise, high-tech medical equipment and a compassionate, patient-centered approach. Non-emergent questions about our hospital services in Las Vegas may be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

The effects of arthritis on your mental health

Most people think of joint pain when they think of arthritis, but the effects of this condition extend beyond the physical. The chronic pain and lack of mobility associated with arthritis can also have far-reaching implications on mental health. For people with arthritis, mental health care can be as important to a treatment plan as orthopedic or rheumatologic care. Here is a closer look at how arthritis can impact mental health.

Arthritis and mental health
Mental health issues are common in people with arthritis. According to one study, people with arthritis reported having problems with their mental health on five days out of 30, while people without arthritis reported having the same symptoms on only three days out of 30.

People with arthritis are thought to experience two to three times worse mental health than those without it. This includes people with all types of arthritis.

Reasons for mental health impacts
Although researchers are not sure why people with arthritis have more mental health problems, such as depression, than people without arthritis, but there are some factors that they believe could contribute to these symptoms. These contributors include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Frustration with lack of mobility
  • Inability to work
  • Cost of medical care
  • Co-occurring medical conditions

Not everyone with arthritis experiences these issues, but they can contribute to poor mental health when they do occur.

Treating mental health issues in people with arthritis
People with arthritis should discuss depression, chronic stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues they are experiencing with their physicians. Addressing these problems can improve quality of life and may help make living with the physical symptoms of arthritis more tolerable.

Seeing an orthopedic specialist or other physician on a regular basis for arthritis care can also help to control the physical symptoms of the disease, which may in turn help to improve mental health.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides care for the physical and mental symptoms of arthritis through our orthopedic and behavioral health teams . Contact our hospital in Las Vegas today at (702) 916-5023 to request a referral to one of our physicians.

When is it common to see signs of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that can cause a range of different psychoses. Diagnosing the disease can be challenging, and paying attention to the age of the patient is one strategy behavioral health specialists use in evaluating symptoms. Although schizophrenia can happen at any age, there are certain points in life that it is more common to see the illness than others.

Typical ages for schizophrenia diagnosis
Schizophrenia occurs in men in women at different ages. For men, symptoms usually appear during the late teens and early 20s. Women tend to develop symptoms later, in their late 20s and early 30s.

Schizophrenia can be diagnosed in patients at any age. However, it is not common for people younger than 12 or older than 40 to learn that they have the disease.

Prodromal period
The prodromal period is a time during which the first symptoms of schizophrenia may be apparent. This usually happens during the teen year, but because the symptoms are non-specific, families and behavioral health specialists do not always recognize them. During the prodromal period, teens who are developing schizophrenia may display these symptoms:

  • Change in sleep habits/chronic sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Change in friend groups
  • Dropping grades

These symptoms can often be considered typical teenage behavior. However, if teens have a family history of psychosis or experience episodes of disordered thoughts or paranoia, a behavioral health specialist may be able to make a diagnosis.

Early diagnosis
Schizophrenia is a chronic disease without a cure, but it can be managed. Getting an early diagnosis is an important part of successfully managing the disease. Treatment that starts after the very first psychotic episode a person experiences can help to prevent future complications.

If you are concerned about your own symptoms or the symptoms of someone you love, the behavioral health department at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here to help. To get a referral to a specialist, call our hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023.

What to know about the different types of arthritis

Many people think of arthritis as a singular condition, but there are more than 100 different forms of the disease. The different forms of arthritis are treated in different ways, and they can cause a wide range of varying symptoms. If you have joint pain and see an orthopedic specialist, one of the first things he or she will do is diagnose the type of arthritis you have to make an effective treatment plan. Here is a look at some of the most common forms of arthritis and how physicians approach their treatment.

Osteoarthritis is a form of generative arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage between the joints breaks down, allowing the bones to rub together painfully. It often affects large, weight-bearing joints, such as hips and knees, and most often occurs in older people.

Treatments for osteoarthritis vary depending on the location of the arthritis and severity of the symptoms, among other factors. Resting joints, maintaining a healthy weight, exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joints, and pain medications are often used for treatment. In some cases, joint replacement surgery is necessary.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It occurs when the immune system attacks the joints when it mistakes them for foreign invaders. In addition to joint damage, rheumatoid arthritis can cause damage to internal organs and the eyes.

Medications to minimize the immune response are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, with the goal of preventing joint damage and damage to other parts of the body. With medication, the disease can go into remission.

Gout is a form of metabolic arthritis. When high levels of uric acid build up in the body, it can attack the joints and cause a sudden onset of extreme pain. Gout usually comes and goes and becomes chronic in many people.

Medications and dietary changes to reduce the levels of uric acid in the body can help to control gout.

Arthritis can be debilitating, but Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here to help. From our diagnostic imaging team to our orthopedic surgery department in Las Vegas, we can diagnose and treat the wide-ranging forms of arthritis. Take the first step towards a pain-free life today by calling us at (702) 916-5023.

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