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.

What are the signs of kidney disease?

Millions of Americans are living with chronic kidney disease. This serious disease affects the ability of the kidneys to filter out waste products and excess fluids from the bloodstream. The kidneys are also essential for the regulation of acid, potassium and salt levels. When chronic kidney disease goes untreated, patients may develop kidney failure, which can lead to death. The doctors at Southern Hills Hospital encourage our neighbors in Las Vegas to learn about the potential signs of kidney disease, and to seek a medical evaluation right away if they develop.

Changes in urination
Let your physician know if you notice any abnormal changes with your urination. Kidney disease can affect the way the urine looks. For example, your urine may look bloody, bubbly or foamy.

Additionally, kidney disease can cause:

  • Less frequent or more frequent urination
  • Smaller or greater amounts of urine
  • Difficult urination

Your two kidneys are located in your lower back, on either side of the spine. Some patients with chronic kidney disease develop pain in the back, although it’s also possible to have pain in the side or leg.

Unusual taste
As the kidneys sustain damage, they are less able to remove waste products effectively. This means waste products build up in the body, causing some unusual side effects.

Patients may notice that food tastes differently, and they may experience a metallic taste in the mouth. Chronic kidney disease can also cause a loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss.

Edema is a medical term for the excess accumulation of fluid. Since kidney disease reduces the ability of these organs to remove fluid from the body, patients can develop edema. You may notice swelling in your:

  • Hands
  • Face
  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Legs

Respiratory distress
Excess fluid can also accumulate in the lungs. This can cause unusual shortness of breath that can’t be attributed to physical exertion.

Additionally, people with kidney disease may have anemia. Anemia reduces the oxygen in the body, which can also contribute to shortness of breath.

Southern Hills Hospital is a widely acclaimed, state-of-the-art medical facility serving Las Vegas. We’re known for our highly trained and experienced specialists, and for our compassionate, patient-centered care. A registered nurse is available to take your call at (702) 916-5023.

Understanding how eating disorders affect older adults

Eating disorders are not just a young person’s problem. Older adults—particularly older women—can and do suffer from eating disorders, and the impacts can be more extreme because of age-related changes in their bodies. Older women who suffer from eating disorders can often benefit from geriatric psych care.

How common are eating disorders in older adults?
Although the exact number of seniors suffering from eating disorders is unknown, the problem is significant. One survey of women over 50 had these findings:

  • 13% of women in this age group had symptoms of an eating disorder
  • 70% were trying lose weight
  • 62% felt that their weight had negatively impacted their lives

These numbers are similar to findings about younger women. Some older women who have eating disorders had the disorder when they were younger and experience a relapse as they age. In other cases, older women are experiencing eating disorders for the first time.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of eating disorders in older people are similar to those in younger patients. Although some of the signs vary depending on the type of eating disorder, some common symptoms include:

  • Compulsive exercise
  • Rigid eating habits/Extreme calorie restriction
  • Vomiting or laxative use
  • Binge eating, with or without purging
  • Significant weight loss or weight fluctuations

Older people are especially vulnerable to developing these symptoms after a major life change, such as divorce, retirement, menopause, or adult children leaving the home.

What treatments are available?
Therapy designed to treat younger patients is not usually helpful for older people with eating disorders. Instead, older patients can benefit from a geriatric psych program that has been created to meet the unique needs of seniors.

It is also important for seniors with eating disorders to get help for underlying issues that could affect their appetites, such as medications and health conditions.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers geriatric psych in Las Vegas as part of our behavioral health unit. We offer outpatient care specifically designed for senior patients as well as a dedicated 14-bed inpatient unit. To learn more about our behavioral health services, call (702) 916-5023.

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.

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