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 Stress Hurt Your Body?

Short-term stress, such as that you may be feeling right before a big presentation, can cause helpful changes in your body that make it possible to complete your task. However, when stress persists for an extended period of time, the effects on your body can be severe. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to depression, weight gain, poor disease management, and many problems that require emergency care, including heart attacks and stroke. Here are just a few of the ways that stress can impact your body.

Heart Disease
When stress occurs, your heart pumps harder than normal, and your blood vessels dilate, which causes increased blood pressure. These effects aren’t dangerous for most people during an acute bout of stress and are part of the body’s natural flight-or-fight response. When they happen for a prolonged period, the excess burden on your heart and vascular system can have devastating impacts, including heart attack and stroke. If you have existing heart disease or are at risk of heart disease, these impacts can be even more damaging.

Type 2 Diabetes
Stress causes your body to release cortisol, a hormone that causes your liver to produce glucose to give you the energy to fight back against your stressor. High levels of cortisol for extended periods upsets your blood glucose levels and can cause an increase in hunger that can lead to obesity. Excess weight coupled with the excess blood glucose can lead to type 2 diabetes. Research indicates that reducing stress can reduce blood glucose levels almost as much as medications for some people.

Digestive Problems
Stress can cause you to overeat comfort foods, which are typically high in fat and sugar and can lead to gastrointestinal upset. It can also impact the rate at which food moves through your digestive system and cause constipation or diarrhea. The butterflies you feel in your stomach during short periods of stress can turn into ulcers and pain when stress becomes chronic.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers extensive resources for stress management, from emergency care and stroke care in Las Vegas in times of crisis to behavioral health services and primary care doctors to manage your symptoms. Request a referral to a doctor today by calling (702) 880-2700.

Preventing Fires in the Holiday Season

The holiday season not only brings good cheer but also a unique set of risks that impact your entire family. People seek emergency care more frequently during the holidays for things like injuries, heart attacks, and strokes. Fires are another risk that peaks during the holidays. Protect your family by ensuring your smoke detector is in working condition as the season approaches, and reduce your risk of a fire with this advice.

Keep Trees Watered
Christmas tree fires are especially dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of one out of every 31 Christmas tree fires cause a death, compared to one per 144 in other home fires. Trees that are dry burn extremely fast, so make sure your tree is well watered or consider an artificial tree that doesn’t run the risk of going dry. Trees should be watered daily.

Monitor Your Candle Usage
The NFPA reports that December is the most common month for home fires started by candles. Use your candles safely by ensuring that they are always on a flat and stable surface, and never leave a burning candle unattended. Children should always be supervised in rooms with candles. Consider switching to battery-operated candles, which can look natural but don’t have the same risks as traditional candles. If you miss the scent of your favorite candle, use potpourri to recreate the aroma while opting for battery-powered candles.

Check Lights and Wires
If you decorate with stringed lights, you have an increased risk of experiencing an electrical fire. Carefully check all lights and wires before hanging them, and don’t use any frayed or exposed wires. When hanging lights outdoors, be sure to select versions that are approved for outdoor use.

If an emergency does occur during the holidays, trust Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center for the care you need. We provide emergency care in Las Vegas around the clock throughout the holidays, including stroke care, treatment for injuries, and geriatric psych services. Find out more by calling our hospital at (702) 880-2700.

Why Older Adults Have a Higher Risk of Decorating Injuries

Decorating injuries are always problematic during the holidays, and for older adults, the effects can be even more devastating. As Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin of Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center discusses in this video, for instance, osteoporosis can increase the risk of serious fractures resulting from injuries that may be less serious in younger people with stronger bones. Although everyone needs to take care while decorating during the holidays, here are some of the reasons older adults have an increased risk of injury.

Medication Side Effects
Many older adults take multiple medications each day to manage chronic conditions. These medications can cause side effects that can make decorating riskier than normal. For example, someone taking a medication that causes dizziness may struggle to use a ladder safely. Blurred vision and drowsiness are two other medication side effects that can make decorating less safe.

Failing Vision
It’s normal for eyesight to decline with age, and certain medical conditions can further exacerbate age-related eye changes. Failing vision can make it more difficult to decorate safely and increase the risk of things falls and burn injuries. If your eyesight makes it difficult for you to complete tasks, ask for help with decorating, so that you don’t injure yourself or inadvertently increase the risk of injury to others by using unsafe frayed wires that may have been difficult to see.

Chronic Medical Conditions
In some cases, chronic medical conditions can increase the risk of decorating injuries. Older adults with orthopedic conditions or who are recovering from joint replacement surgery may be unable to safely manage the weight of decorating items. People with heart disease could be at risk from the exertion required to decorate, while others who are recovering from a stroke may need physical or occupational therapy before they can undertake decorating safely.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers comprehensive services for older adults, including emergency care and geriatric psych in Las Vegas through our RISE Behavioral Health Department. Whether you need primary or specialized care, get a referral to a doctor by calling (702) 880-2700.

How to Handle Diabetes Complications

When patients are first diagnosed with diabetes, many of them are surprised by the many ways the disease affects their health and daily lives. Diabetes places patients at an increased risk of many other health problems, including peripheral neuropathy, vision loss, heart disease, and even periodontal disease. The importance of high-quality diabetes education in preventing and managing complications should not be overlooked. If you live in Las Vegas, consider joining one of the diabetes education classes at Southern Hills Hospital.

Coping with Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage in the limbs and extremities, especially the legs and feet, which can cause burning or stabbing pain, numbness, and tingling. If you experience troublesome neuropathic pain, consider asking your doctor about medical treatments that can help. It’s important for diabetics to inspect their feet daily for signs of wounds or infections, including toenail infections. The numbness of peripheral neuropathy can make it difficult for patients to detect injuries. Any abnormal changes should receive prompt medical attention to prevent other complications such as amputation.

Managing Your Eye Health
One of the potential complications of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness. Like other complications, diabetics can reduce their risk of this medical problem by regulating their blood glucose levels carefully. Quitting smoking, controlling cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and visiting an ophthalmologist regularly for eye exams are other important steps to take.

Preventing Gum Disease
Diabetes interferes with the immune system’s ability to fight germs effectively. Among other problems, this means that diabetics are at an increased risk of periodontal disease. If left unchecked, gum disease can eventually result in tooth loss. Proper at-home oral hygiene and regular trips to the dentist’s office are strongly recommended for diabetics.

The diabetes educators at Southern Hills Hospital are dedicated to helping patients live life well despite their diagnosis. Diabetic adults in the Las Vegas area can attend our three informational sessions: Overview of Diabetes Management, Proper Nutrition, and Medication Usage. Call a registered nurse at (702) 880-2700 to inquire about diabetes education and our other hospital services.

Everyday Tips for Improving Your Spinal Health

It’s easy to take the health of your spine for granted—until you begin to experience back pain. Chronic back pain is a debilitating problem that adversely affects quality of life and productivity. It’s a common cause of disability and a leading reason for hospital visits. The neuroscience and orthopedic specialists at Southern Hills Hospital encourage our neighbors throughout Las Vegas to be proactive about their spinal health.

Core Strength
You might already know that lifting heavy objects improperly can readily lead to back pain. Learn more about the importance of proper biomechanics by watching this video, which features a neurosurgeon at our hospital. In addition to lifting properly in everyday life, lifting weights in the gym can improve spinal health by strengthening the core muscles. Consider working with a fitness trainer to develop a program of squats, deadlifts, and bench presses that build your core muscles. Other core strengthening exercises can be done without any special equipment, including the glute-bridge, front plank, and hip rotation.

Sleep Hygiene
Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck? The position a person sleeps in can influence back and neck health. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Side-sleeping is recommended, but make sure your pillow is high enough to keep the cervical spine in a neutral position. Consider using a body pillow to keep your body in the right alignment during sleep and place a small pillow between your knees.

Smoking Cessation
Smoking results in numerous debilitating and life-threatening health problems. If you were looking for one more reason to quit, the health of your spine might convince you. Smoking constricts the blood vessels, which inhibits the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the intervertebral discs. This impairs the back’s ability to maintain its health and repair damage, which contributes to back pain. If you smoke, consider talking to a doctor at your community hospital about effective smoking cessation methods.

Southern Hills Hospital is a leading provider of minimally invasive spine surgery. If you suffer from persistent or severe back pain and you live in the Las Vegas area, consider talking to one of our neurosurgeons about your treatment options. You can request a referral to a specialist at our hospital by calling our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 880-2700.

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