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.

Get answers to your questions about childhood immunization

Before vaccines were routinely given to babies and children, deadly and debilitating diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and tetanus were much more common. In fact, immunizations have been called one of the most impactful public health achievements of the 20 th century. Getting your child immunized is an effective way to protect him or her, but you may still have some questions about vaccines. The family physicians at Southern Hills Hospital are here to help.

Why do vaccines contain formaldehyde and other toxic substances?
One of the main concerns parents have about vaccines is their ingredients. Aside from the substance that triggers immunity, vaccines contain small amounts of other ingredients.

Some of these ingredients, like formaldehyde, are used during the manufacturing process. The formaldehyde is then removed, and so only a trace amount remains. This tiny amount isn’t harmful, and in fact, small amounts of formaldehyde are also present in commonly used items like mouthwash and antihistamines.

Other ingredients, like trace amounts of aluminum, are in vaccines because they help the shots work more effectively. Vaccines can also contain mercury in very small amounts, which is comparable to the low levels of mercury found in breast milk and infant formula.

Why is my child legally required to get vaccinated?
State laws require children to be vaccinated before enrolling in public schools because it’s necessary to protect the health of other children, teachers and families throughout the community. Choosing not to vaccinate a child doesn’t only place that child at risk—it places the entire community at risk.

Remember that some people cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons, such as those with cancer or HIV/AIDS. These patients rely on the “herd immunity” of the community to protect them from potentially deadly diseases.

Can my child receive a vaccine while ill?
Let your doctor know that your child is ill, but in the case of a mild illness, vaccination is still safe and advisable. Vaccines can’t make an existing illness worse. However, if your child has a serious illness, such as cancer, then he or she might not receive certain vaccines.

Family care physicians are available at Southern Hills Hospital to address all of your healthcare concerns. We deliver uncompromising, superior care because your health is important to us. Call a registered nurse in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 to request a physician referral.

What happens if you don't treat a herniated disc?

It usually isn’t wise to delay getting treatment for a medical condition, but many people do because they’re busy with work, or because they’re worried they might need surgery. Know that no doctor would ever force you to have a medical treatment you don’t want—it’s ultimately your decision to treat a herniated disc or not. But if you don’t get the care you need, your condition may worsen. Come to Southern Hills Hospital to talk with the caring specialists in our Spine Program. We’ll explain your treatment options and address your concerns to help you find the best possible solution for your needs.

Delaying treatment for a minor disc herniation
A disc herniation affects the cushion-like structures between the bones of your spine. Some of the softer material on the inside migrates through the wall to the outside. This doesn’t always cause symptoms.

If you have a herniated disc without symptoms, which is referred to as asymptomatic, then you might not need treatment right away. However, there’s always a possibility that your condition will worsen. Consider seeking nonsurgical treatment to heal the disc to prevent this possibility.

Getting nonsurgical treatment for disc herniation
You might be delaying medical care because you don’t want to learn that you need surgery. If so, you need to watch this featured video. It’s an interview with a doctor at Southern Hills Hospital. He explains that about 90 percent of patients with disc herniation don’t actually need surgery—they’re able to heal with conservative treatments.

These nonsurgical treatments may include:

  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care

Understanding the risks of severe disc herniation
It is possible, though uncommon, for disc herniation to cause a severe complication called cauda equina syndrome. This occurs when the nerve roots at the bottom of the spine are compressed.

Cauda equina syndrome does require emergency medical intervention. Otherwise, there is a risk of the following:

  • Permanent paralysis
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Loss of sexual sensation

Some patients are not able to recover full function, even with immediate treatment.

Southern Hills Hospital is proud to offer high-quality spine care by leading specialists in their field. When you become a patient at our hospital in Las Vegas, you’ll receive uncompromising medical care, courteous attention and concierge-level services. Call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

Challenges women face while breastfeeding

Many expecting moms who intend to breastfeed are surprised to discover that it isn’t always easy. Becoming a breastfeeding pro takes practice and patience. While you’re getting the hang of breastfeeding, you can take advantage of the extensive lactation support services available at Southern Hills Hospital. Our maternity team is honored to help you welcome your baby into the world.

Traveling while breastfeeding
Before traveling out of the country with your baby, check with your doctor about the health risks associated with your destination. It’s safe for you to receive vaccines while breastfeeding, but your baby might not be able to get the vaccines just yet.

Do increase your intake of healthy fluids, as milk production may decline because of various travel-related stressors. If you’re flying and plan to bring pumped breast milk, call the airline ahead of time and make sure your breast milk will get through security without any hassles.

Dealing with a nursing “strike”
If your baby suddenly refuses to breastfeed, it usually isn’t because he or she is weaning. A nursing strike may be attributed to any of the following problems:

  • Mouth pain (teething or fungal infection)
  • Ear infection
  • Dissatisfaction with breastfeeding position
  • Emotional distress (major change in routine or parental separation)
  • Stuffy nose
  • Environmental distractions or stress

While your baby is on strike, continue to offer the breast. Express milk manually and try bottle-feeding. You can also try the following changes:

  • Try a different breastfeeding position or hold
  • Breastfeed in a calm, distraction-free area
  • Give extra cuddles and soothing touches while feeding

Write down the number of wet diapers your baby has, and call the doctor if you’re concerned he or she isn’t getting enough to eat.

Managing plugged milk ducts
When a duct doesn’t drain correctly, it can become plugged. This feels like a sore lump. You can encourage the plug to resolve by:

  • Breastfeeding on that side as often as possible
  • Massaging the area
  • Applying a warm compress
  • Wearing a supportive bra that isn’t too tight

Consults with our lactation specialist, breastfeeding classes and breastfeeding support groups are just a few of the benefits of choosing Southern Hills Hospital for your delivery. From our Level II NICU to special celebration cakes for each family, our maternity specialists go the extra mile for families in our Las Vegas community. Call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

What are the risk factors for stroke in young adults?

The risk factors of stroke in older adults include high cholesterol levels and hypertension. Younger adults can also have these risk factors, but they’re more likely to require stroke care for other reasons. You can hear about these reasons when you watch this featured interview with a stroke care specialist at Southern Hills Hospital.

Drug use and stroke risk
One of the things stroke care teams consider is the possibility of illicit drug use. Drugs like cocaine and amphetamines are a well-known cause of stroke.

Amphetamines: Amphetamines can cause stroke even among new users, either during or after their use. Amphetamines result in rapid changes in heart functioning and blood pressure. Long-term amphetamine use increases stroke risk by affecting the blood vessels in the brain.

Cocaine: Long-term use can cause cerebrovascular disease, which raises the risk of stroke even in younger adults without other risk factors. Short-term use can also cause stroke by causing bleeding on the brain.

Blood vessel malformations and stroke risk
Arteriovenous malformation is an abnormality that affects the blood vessels in or on the brain. Over time, the weakened blood vessels can rupture and bleed on the brain, causing stroke.

Some people with abnormal blood vessels experience warning signs that there is a problem, such as seizures, localized head pain and functional impairments like vision or speech problems.

Holes in the heart and stroke risk
It’s possible to have a hole in the heart. One example is a patent foramen ovale, which is a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart. A hole in the heart adversely affects the circulation of blood, and it raises the risk of a blood clot traveling to the brain—causing stroke.

Southern Hills Hospital is a certified Primary Stroke Center. Our stroke care team coordinates with EMS personnel, so we are ready to diagnose and treat the patient as soon as he or she arrives at our hospital in Las Vegas. Call 911 for emergency care for a stroke, or, for non-emergent questions only, call a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

What your doctor wants you to know about your heart health

Your heart is one of the hardest working organs in your body, and it’s time to get better acquainted with it because heart health is crucial at every age. The next time you see your doctor, ask about your risk of heart problems. Many people think that the main risk factors of heart disease aren’t modifiable, such as your family medical history. However, the cardiologist featured in this video wants his patients at Southern Hills Hospital to know that there are plenty of controllable risk factors of heart disease. Becoming more familiar with your heart and your risk factors puts you in control of your health.

Hearts can grow larger
Telling someone, “You have a big heart,” is high praise. But when a cardiologist says it, it spells trouble.

A heart can enlarge in response to the following problems:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Anemia
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Damage from a heart attack

The enlargement of a heart is an attempt by your body to pump more blood. But enlarged hearts are problematic because the following complications can develop:

  • Heart failure
  • Heart murmur
  • Blood clots
  • Cardiac arrest and sudden death

A woman’s risk of heart problems is different from a man’s risk
The same risk factors of heart disease can affect a woman or a man, but in some cases, they can have a greater impact on the woman. According to the National Institutes of Health, women with diabetes are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease compared to men with diabetes.

Heart attacks can affect young patients
Even if you haven’t noticed any gray hairs yet, there is a possibility that a heart attack could occur. Heart attacks have been reported in patients in their 30s and even in their 20s.

This can be particularly problematic because younger patients might assume they can’t possibly be having a heart attack, and so consequently, they fail to seek emergency care. Know your risk factors and the signs of a heart attack, and don’t delay getting to the ER.

Southern Hills Hospital is an accredited Chest Pain Center—a designation that reflects our commitment to providing superior care for the best possible outcomes. Call 911 now if you need emergency care in the Las Vegas area. A registered nurse, available at (702) 916-5023, welcomes your general questions about our hospital services.

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