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.

Improve your heart health during American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, a time to focus on the importance of good heart health. As the leading cause of death for men and women in the US, the American Heart Association reports that someone dies every 40 seconds from heart disease. However, many of the risk factors for heart disease are preventable or manageable. By committing to making a few heart-healthy changes in February, you can reduce your chances of developing heart disease and experiencing complications like heart attacks and stroke. Consider making these three simple, but impactful, improvements to your heart health.

Stop smoking
Smoking causes significant damage to your heart and can cause high blood pressure and other health problems that contribute to heart disease. Many people use American Heart Month as a motivator to kick the habit for good.

Even if you have been a long-time smoker, quitting will protect your heart. Here is how your health will improve:

  • Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate will normalize from the increase caused by your last cigarette.

  • Within 1 year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is cut by 50%.

  • Within 5 years of quitting, your risk of stroke is comparable to that of nonsmokers.

Eat a healthier diet
The food choices you make have a significant impact on your heart health. By changing your diet, you can reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Healthier eating may also help you lose weight, which will further improve your heart health.

Consider making these dietary swaps:

  • Reduce your intake of saturated fats and increase the amount of healthy fats you eat, such as olive oil and avocados.

  • Replace white bread, rice, and pasta with whole-grain varieties.

  • Swap out red meat for fish and poultry, and try to eat more meatless meals.

Move more
Being physically active is a great way to cut your risk of heart disease. Most adults should aim to get 30 minutes of activity on most days, but check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program to ensure it is safe for you.

Exercise can improve your heart health in a number of ways:

  • Improved blood circulation

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Weight loss

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is pleased to offer comprehensive cardiovascular care in Las Vegas, including cutting-edge diagnostics and interventions. Take control of your heart health today, and call us at (702) 916-5023 for a referral to one of our specialists.

How to prevent baby bottle tooth decay

When you’re in the maternity hospital after giving birth, it’s natural to suddenly feel overwhelmed about all of the things you have to learn about caring for your baby. Fortunately, our birthing center team and family care physicians are here to help you every step of the way. One thing your pediatrician may discuss with you is your baby’s oral health. One of the biggest oral health risks babies and toddlers face is baby bottle tooth decay. This kind of tooth decay typically occurs in the upper front teeth, where kids often hold their bottles. Here is a look at some of the steps you can take to prevent it.

Keep sugary drinks out of bottles
The only liquids that should go into bottles are milk or formula. Juice, soft drinks and other liquids should be avoided or served only to older kids at meals in other cups.

Because the liquid in bottles bathes the teeth over an extended period of time, putting sugary drinks in there will expose the teeth to high levels of sugar and encourage the growth of bacteria that causes decay.

Use clean pacifiers
If your child uses a pacifier, give him or her a clean one every time. Don’t dip it in sugar to make it easier for him or her to take. The sugar will cling to your child’s teeth as he or she uses the pacifier.

Avoid licking the pacifier before you give it to your baby. The bacteria in your mouth can cause an infection that leads to decay in his or her mouth.

Don’t put kids to bed with bottles
Kids should finish with their bottles before they go to bed. Resist the urge to put you baby to bed with a bottle, which will allow his or her teeth to be bathed in liquid for an extended period of time.

Try to wean your child off of his or her bottle by the time he or she is one. Encourage him or her to use a cup as much as possible.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides comprehensive care for moms and babies, from our maternity unit in Las Vegas to our pediatric specialists. To schedule a tour of our birthing center or for a referral to a pediatrician, call us at (702) 916-5023.

Why might your doctor recommend thyroid surgery?

Thyroid surgery can be performed for a number of reasons, including as part of a treatment plan for thyroid cancer and to treat hyperthyroidism. Usually, this surgery is a minimally invasive procedure and may involve either removing a section of the thyroid or the entire thyroid gland. Here is a closer look at some of the reasons your doctor may refer you for thyroid surgery.

You have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
If you have a biopsy of a nodule on your thyroid that has come back as cancerous, your physician may recommend that you have thyroid surgery to remove the cancer. Depending on the size of the cancer, you may need just the affected part of your thyroid removed or your surgeon may opt to remove the entire gland. This kind of thyroid surgery is usually performed as part of a larger cancer treatment plan.

You may also need thyroid surgery if the results of your biopsy were inconclusive or if your doctor discovers molecular markers that suggest that a thyroid nodule has a risk of becoming cancerous.

You have a large nodule or goiter.
Sometimes, thyroid surgery may be necessary if there is no evidence of cancer. If you have a large nodule or goiter, your physician may recommend that it be removed.

Benign thyroid nodules and goiters are removed if they are compressing your trachea and making it difficult to breathe, if they are interfering with your ability to swallow, or if they are a cosmetic concern.

You have Graves’ disease.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that causes hyperthyroidism. Patients with hyperthyroidism experience an overproduction of thyroid hormone that leads to racing heartbeats, weight loss, sleep disruption, and bulging eyes, among other symptoms.

In some cases, Graves’ disease can be controlled with medications, but when it is not, surgery is performed to remove the thyroid gland.

Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center is pleased to offer a number of minimally invasive surgical options to help patients have safer procedures with shorter recovery times. If you’re concerned about your thyroid health or need minimally invasive surgery in Las Vegas, call us at (702) 916-5023 for a referral.

What health complications could make a pregnancy risky?

When you become pregnant, your physician will monitor you throughout your pregnancy to help you and your baby stay as healthy as possible. If you have certain health conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely than other pregnant women to reduce the risk of complications. This additional care is necessary to protect you and your baby and to help you have the healthiest possible labor and delivery. Here is a look at some of the conditions that may require extra monitoring during pregnancy.

If you have diabetes, your physician may recommend that you reach a target A1C level before you become pregnant, since high blood sugar levels can be especially dangerous for babies during the first few weeks after conception.

Throughout your pregnancy, it will be important to keep your blood sugar levels in the recommended target range. High blood sugar can cause birth defects and increase your chances of developing other pregnancy complications.

High Blood Pressure
If your high blood pressure is well managed before your pregnancy, the risk of complications for you and your baby is low. However, uncontrolled high blood pressure carries the risk of dangerous complications.

High blood pressure during pregnancy can be harmful to your kidneys and contribute to low birth weight for your baby. It can also increase your risk of developing preeclampsia and eclampsia, two pregnancy-related high blood pressure conditions.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, can make it difficult to conceive. If you have PCOS and do become pregnant, the risk of having a miscarriage is higher.

With PCOS, women are also more likely to develop other pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. PCOS can also lead to premature labor and delivery.

At Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center, our 24/7 Laborist program means that a qualified OBGYN specialist will always be on hand when it’s time for you to have your baby. This is just one way we’re committed to make the entire experience of having a baby at our hospital in Las Vegas positive for your entire family. Find out how to schedule a tour of our birthing center by calling (702) 916-5023.

Will you have cervical cancer if your mother had it?

There are several risk factors for cervical cancer. By understanding your own risks, you can work more effectively with your women’s health provider to make decisions about screening tests. Family history is one risk factor to consider when it comes to your chances of developing cervical cancer. Here are the answers to some questions you may have about the link between your family medical history and cervical cancer.

If my mother had cervical cancer, will I get it, too?
If your mother had cervical cancer, you have a higher chance of getting the disease as well. The same is true if you have a sister who has fought cervical cancer. This does not mean that you will get cervical cancer, but it does mean that you have a higher risk than women who do not have a close relative who has had the disease.

The reason for this increased risk that runs in families is not clear. Doctors suspect that women in some families may carry a gene that makes them less able to fight off the HPV virus, which is a recognized risk factor for cervical cancer. Women in the same family may also share some other traits that are not genetic that increase the risk of cervical cancer. Some of these other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Long-term birth control use
  • IUD use
  • 3 or more full-term pregnancies

What should I do if I have an increased risk of cervical cancer?
There are several things you can do to mitigate an increased risk of cervical cancer. Work closely with your women’s health specialist to determine how often you should have screening exams. Cervical cancer responds well to early treatment, so finding out you have the disease in its beginning stages can help.

You can also work with your doctor to manage the risk factors you can control. For example, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and talking to your specialist about the safest birth control for you can help to reduce your chances of getting the disease.

Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center offers comprehensive women’s health services at our hospital in Las Vegas . Please phone us today at (702) 916-5023 to request a referral to one of our specialists or to get more information about our services.

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