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.

Taking stock of the top risk factors for heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. Fortunately, many of the risk factors for heart disease can be controlled, so you can dramatically reduce your chances of developing it and experiencing the associated complications, like heart disease and stroke. Here is a look at some of the top risk factors for heart disease. Consider discussing your personal risks and the steps you can take to control them with your physician.

As explained in the video, smoking is one of the most disastrous things you can do for your heart health. People who smoke may have as much as four times greater risk of getting heart disease than people who don’t. Smoking also increases your risk of other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure.

If you are currently a smoker, quitting can be difficult. Fortunately, your physician can offer advice that can help, from medications that can curb cravings to support groups for people who are trying to quit.

High blood pressure
When you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder than normal, which can cause the muscles in your heart to weaken and become thickened. It also weakens your blood vessels by putting intense pressure on them, which can make them leak or rupture.

High blood pressure also increases the risk of blood clots from forming. These blood clots can impact your heart and can also travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

As with high blood pressure, obesity increases your heart’s workload, causing damage that can lead to heart disease. People who have excess weight around their midsections are particularly at risk of developing heart disease.

Obesity also increases the risk of other heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

By taking steps to control your risk factors, you can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease. At Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas, our cardiovascular team is committed to helping patients achieve healthy hearts, from emergency care for heart attack symptoms to procedures in our cath lab. For a referral to a physician, call (702) 916-5023.

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.

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