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.

Exploring the unexpected health benefits of volunteering

When most people think about volunteering, they think about the impact their service has on the people who are benefiting from it. In reality, the people who give their time volunteering may be the ones who benefit from it most of all. Volunteering can positively impact your life in many ways, including by improving your health. As it turns out, donating your time as a volunteer could be one of the best ways to make a commitment to your health. Here is what you need to know:

Health and volunteering
Researchers have been exploring the impact of volunteering on health for an extended period of time through multiple studies. The results of these studies have indicated that there is a clear, positive relationship between your health and donating your time as a volunteer. Volunteering may affect your health in these ways:

  • Lower mortality rate
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Great functional ability

The health benefits of volunteering seem to increase the more you do it. The greatest benefits were found in people who volunteer for 100 hours per year or more.

Seniors and volunteering
Volunteering can be especially helpful to seniors. Seniors who volunteer receive the greatest health benefits from volunteering. They are less likely to experience things like depression and dementia, and they are less likely to experience physical health problems.

The reasons that seniors receive the largest number of benefits are unknown, but researchers think that volunteering helps them avoid a significant health risk: loneliness. Seniors are more likely than other age groups to face isolation, as well as depression and anxiety associated with being alone. Volunteering keeps seniors from being alone and gives them a social group.

Volunteer opportunities
There are volunteer opportunities throughout every community. The Corporation for National & Community Service connects people with volunteer opportunities, as can local churches, schools, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center welcomes volunteers to assist with serving patients, greeting guests, and performing clerical work. Students, retirees, professionals, homemakers, and former patients all come together in our dedicated team of volunteers at our hospital in Las Vegas . To learn how you can volunteer your time, call (702) 916-5023.

Walking your stress away

No matter how much you try to avoid it, stress is a part of life. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, the way you manage it has an enormous impact on how it affects you and your health. Exercise can be a powerful part of stress relief for many people, whether you are facing occasional bouts of stress or prolonged periods of chronic stress and anxiety. Patients of all ages who visit their providers for help with stress management are likely to have exercise as part of their treatment plans, because of its powerful ability to manage stress without medication.

How does stress impact your body?
The impact of stress on the body can be far-reaching. When you suffer from chronic stress, your body is coping with an influx of the hormone adrenaline. In small doses, adrenaline can be a good thing. It spurs your body into action so that you are ready to face an acute stressor. Adrenaline is responsible for the “fight or flight” response people feel when they are facing a threat.

Adrenaline—and the responses it causes in your body—are meant to be present only until the threat has passed. When you suffer from chronic stress, adrenaline stays in the body for an extended period of time. This can lead to heart disease, weight gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

How can walking help?
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels and be an effective means of controlling anxiety. Walking may be the most beneficial exercise of all for people dealing with chronic stress. Research has indicated that a 10-minute walk can be as effective as a 45-minute workout in curbing anxiety.

To use walking to deal with stress, walking frequently is more important than walking far or for long. Aim to walk at least five times per week, for about 30 minutes at a time, for lasting benefits.

If you’re suffering from the effects of chronic stress, speak to a behavioral health specialist at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center. From inpatient geriatric psych care in Las Vegas to comprehensive outpatient services, we help patients overcome a multitude of behavioral health issues . Call us today at (702) 916-5023 to get a referral to one of our providers.

How occupational therapy helps families with autistic children

For families dealing with autism, occupational therapy can make a dramatic difference. Occupational therapy helps children with autism overcome issues that affect their behavior and development by teaching new ways of tackling problems. This kind of intervention can be helpful for children in a number of different places on the autism spectrum and in a number of different settings. Here is what families need to know.

What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is designed to help people accomplish tasks that they want to accomplish in ways that work for them. It is useful in helping people with a number of different diagnoses, from people who are learning new ways of doing everyday activities after suffering brain damage from a stroke to children who have been diagnosed with autism and need to learn how to function in a classroom.

The goal of occupational therapy is to help everyone do the things that they want to do, even if they have obstacles that prevent them from doing things the way that other people do. For families that are affected by autism, this usually means developing a customized therapy plan, based on personal symptoms and needs.

How is occupational therapy used to help children with autism?
For people with autism, occupational therapy is usually centered on sensory processing issues. Many children with autism experience sensory processing problems, which can make it difficult for them to manage sensory stimulation. This is why many children with autism dislike loud noises or touch.

Through occupational therapy, children can learn to process sensory stimulation in a more effective way. This can allow them to cope better in classrooms and at home, and it can help reduce behavioral issues that are associated with sensory issues.

Could occupational therapy be beneficial for your family as you deal with autism? Let a physician at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas help you make a customized autism management plan that meets your family’s needs. To learn more about our programs or to get a physician referral, call (702) 916-5023.

Is tuberculosis a modern health concern?

Every year on March 24, hospitals around the U.S. recognize World TB Day. March 24 is the anniversary of the date on which Dr. Robert Koch announced that he’d discovered the cause of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Since that day in 1882, researchers have made remarkable strides in treating and preventing this serious disease. Although TB is no longer a leading cause of death among Americans, it’s still a health concern. At Southern Hills Hospital, we applaud the public health advocates who are working tirelessly toward a TB-free world.

Tuberculosis control efforts
TB was once a widely feared disease in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it killed one out of every seven people during the early 1900s.

Although the bacterium that causes TB was discovered in 1882, it wasn’t until the 1940s that doctors had drugs to treat it. For the next few decades, the incidence rate of TB in the U.S. declined. Unfortunately, there was a resurgence of TB during the 1970s and 1980s.

TB is both preventable and curable, but it continues to be a health concern today. This is partly because of the rise of drug-resistant TB. This means that the disease doesn’t respond well to certain drugs used to treat it.

Tuberculosis identification
Tuberculosis is a very serious disease that requires emergency care. TB often settles in the lungs, where the bacteria attack the tissue and can even create holes in the lungs. TB is identifiable by the following signs and symptoms.

  • Chest pain
  • Severe cough that can last longer than three weeks
  • Cough that produces blood or sputum
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Fever

The drugs used to treat active TB usually need to be taken for at least six months. It’s very important that patients complete the full course of medication. Otherwise, drug-resistant TB can develop.

When a serious or persistent infection affects your family, the emergency care providers at Southern Hills Hospital are here to help 24/7, every day of the year. The health and safety of our patients are important to us because they are our neighbors in Las Vegas. Call 911 if you have a true medical emergency, or call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023 if you have general questions about our medical services.

Understanding the link between drinking and GI health

Excessive alcohol consumption can affect your health in some surprising ways. For instance, people with alcohol use disorder are more likely to develop frequent infections and heart problems. Alcohol can even affect whole bodily systems, such as your digestive system. The accompanying video features a doctor at Southern Hills Hospital. He introduces the main ways in which alcohol affects your gastrointestinal health.

How alcohol affects your liver
Your body isn’t able to store alcohol; unlike the food you eat. When you drink alcohol, metabolizing it becomes your body’s top digestive priority. This places excessive strain on your liver, as this organ is responsible for processing the alcohol.

As a result of excessive alcohol consumption, the liver cells become damaged and are replaced by scar tissue. This is called liver cirrhosis. The scar tissue isn’t able to function like normal liver tissue.

Over time, the liver begins to fail. Liver failure affects the many other functions of the liver, including the following:

  • Blood clotting
  • Toxic waste processing
  • Hormone metabolism
  • Nutrient metabolism

Liver cirrhosis can result in death. It also increases the risk of liver cancer.

How alcohol affects your pancreas
The pancreas, which is an organ in the abdomen, performs important digestive tasks. People with alcohol use disorder are at an increased risk of acute pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of the pancreas. This condition can sometimes be life-threatening.

Acute pancreatitis requires emergency medical care, and often requires hospitalization. It can cause intense, long-lasting pain that begins in the upper abdomen, along with these symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Swollen, tender abdomen

Pancreatitis interferes with your digestive system’s ability to digest food. Patients are at risk of severe malnutrition.

How alcohol affects your stomach
Another way alcohol endangers your GI health is its effects on the stomach. Alcohol irritates the stomach lining because it triggers the overproduction of acids. This can result in:

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Acid reflux
  • Ulcers

Additionally, heavy alcohol use increases the risk of stomach cancer.

Gastroenterology Services at Southern Hills Hospital is committed to maintaining the highest standards of patient care and safety. Our team has specialized training and experience, and it’s important to us to give each patient the best possible health outcome. Call a registered nurse at our hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023.

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