• Knowing the causes of vascular disease

    Vascular disease affects the vessels that make up the circulatory system. When vascular disease occurs, blood does not flow correctly through the body, which can lead to everything from amputation to heart attack and stroke. If you have vascular disease, it is important to see a specialist for treatment to prevent the risk of serious health complications. You can reduce the chances that you will get vascular disease and control the progression of vascular problems if you already have it by understanding the common causes and taking steps to avoid them.

    High cholesterol

    As the video explains, high cholesterol is a common cause of vascular disease. When you have high levels of cholesterol in your blood, plaque can build up in your arteries, which causes blockages to form that impede blood flow.

    These blockages can stop blood from getting to various organs in your body, including your heart and brain. If the blood flow to the heart stops, you will have a heart attack. Lack of blood flow to the brain causes a stroke.

    High blood pressure

    High blood pressure can also cause vascular disease. The increased pressure of the blood moving through the vessels can damage the vessel walls and cause the blood vessels to become stiff.

    Stiff blood vessels are not effective at pumping blood through the body, and they also increase the risk of blood clots. Vascular disease caused by high blood pressure can cause kidney damage, vision problems, heart disease, stroke, and more.

    Diabetes

    Diabetes increases the chance of risk of developing risk factors for vascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. People with diabetes have an elevated risk of vascular disease, even if they have not been diagnosed with another risk factor.

    Controlling blood glucose levels reduces this risk, but even people whose blood glucose levels are under control have a higher risk of getting vascular disease than a person without diabetes.

    Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiovascular care in Las Vegas, including a Chest Pain Center for emergency care and Cath lab services. Contact us at (702) 916-5023 to request a referral to a cardiovascular specialist.

  • Which treatments are recommended for metastatic breast cancer?

    Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of the disease. Also called stage IV breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer has spread beyond the breast into other parts of the body. The lungs, liver, bones, and brain are the most likely to be impacted by metastatic breast cancer, but other parts of the body can be involved as well. Here is what you need to know about treating this form of breast cancer.

Treatment considerations
Metastatic breast cancer is still treated as breast cancer, no matter what part of the body it spreads to. This is because the tumors in other organs are still made up of breast tissue, so they respond to breast cancer treatment.

The kind of treatment your cancer care team recommends for your metastatic breast cancer depends on a wide range of factors, including:

  • The parts of the body that are affected
  • The characteristics of the tumor
  • The symptoms you are experiencing
  • The treatments you have used in the past

Treatment options
Surgery is not usually used for metastatic breast cancer, except in rare cases. The most frequently used treatments are:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • PARP inhibitors

Often, patients undergo a combination of treatments for the best results. In addition to standard treatments, many patients with metastatic breast cancer take part in clinical trials, which allows them to get access to a medication that are not yet on the market but that may be helpful to them.

Resistance to Medications
Medication resistance is a common concern in treating metastatic breast cancer. Frequently, a treatment will work for a period of time, and then the body will become resistant to it. When this occurs, it is necessary to start a new treatment.

To identify resistance when it is occurring, patients undergo regular blood tests and cancer scans.

Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers 3D mammography for the earliest possible breast cancer diagnoses. The earlier cancer is detected, the more effective treatment can be. You can request a referral for a mammogram in Las Vegas or learn more about cancer care by calling (702) 916-5023.

  • Reducing the stigma of mental illness

    Millions of people live with mental illness, but unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to it. The stigma of mental illness prevents people from getting the help that they need when they have the symptoms of a problem, and it makes it more difficult for people with mental illness to live their lives. Mental Illness Awareness Week, which takes place during the first week in October, is an opportunity for the public to learn more about mental illness in order to fight the stigma for sufferers. It is the perfect opportunity for mental illness sufferers and their supporters to take steps to reduce stigma with steps like these.

  • Be open and honest
    Much of the stigma of mental illness comes with the fact that it is widely misunderstood. It’s important for people living with mental illness and their advocates to speak up openly and honestly about mental health.

    Don’t shy away from sharing diagnoses with people. Talk openly about treatment and the effects of mental illness on your life. These actions will help to educate people, which is a powerful tool in fighting stigma.

    Talk about physical and mental illnesses in the same way
    People are almost always compassionate to people who are suffering from a physical illness, such as cancer or heart disease, but they treat mental illness differently. Fight back against this by ensuring that you discuss physical and mental illness in the same way.

    Setting a standard of equality between these two types of illness will help to show people that they should be treated the same. Mental illness is a health problem, not a character flaw, so set an example by treating it as such.

    Don’t stigmatize yourself
    If you have mental illness, break the stigma with yourself first. Don’t feel embarrassed about mental illness or withdraw from activities because you’re concerned people will know you have a mental illness.

    Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers geriatric behavioral health services in Las Vegas and is constructing an 80-bed facility for treating mental illness in patients 13 and older in our continued commitment to be a resource for the community. Please call (702) 916-5023 for more information about our behavioral health services.

  • What patients gain in physical therapy

    Whether you are recovering from orthopedic surgery, suffering from joint pain, or recovering from a car accident, physical therapy could make a dramatic difference in your health. There are a number of benefits to going to physical therapy, which is why patients with so many different needs attend. If your physician refers you for physical therapy, and you are not sure you should invest the time, here is a look at some of the things you can expect to gain.

    Pain-free movement
    Is joint or muscle pain holding you back from doing the things you love? If so, physical therapy can help. During therapy, you will strengthen the muscles in the areas in which you are feeling discomfort, so that they offer better support to you as you move.

    For people dealing with chronic pain, physical therapy can reduce or even eliminate the need for pain medication, which helps patients avoid side effects and the danger of becoming addicted.

    Role in your recovery
    Being a patient can be a frustratingly passive experience, except in physical therapy. When you are in physical therapy, you get to take an active role in your recovery as you work collaboratively with your therapist.

    Your physical therapist will work with you to set goals and objectives for your treatment and to design a plan that works for you. When you are dealing with medical issues that feel out of your hands, physical therapy can help you to take some of that control back.

    Recovery without surgery
    In some cases, physical therapy can help patients avoid surgery. If you enter therapy early enough in the progression of your condition, physical therapy can prevent it from getting worse, so you can get better without surgery.

    Physical therapy has been demonstrated to be as effective as surgery for some conditions, including osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and rotator cuff tears.

    Talk to your orthopedic surgeon or other healthcare provider at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center to see if physical therapy could be right for you. For more information about the services at our hospital in Las Vegas, call (702) 916-5023.

  • How does hepatitis testing work?

    Viral hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. The infection can cause symptoms like jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea. Your doctor may recommend that you be tested for hepatitis if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, however, you may be a good candidate for hepatitis screening. A doctor at Southern Hills Hospital can offer personalized recommendations for you based on your health history and risk factors.

    Getting blood drawn
    Hepatitis is detected with a blood test. This lab test checks for the presence of antibodies that your body will produce if you’ve been exposed to a hepatitis virus. For most people, getting blood drawn is a routine procedure.

    However, some people have trouble handling needles. If you’re nervous about getting blood drawn, tell your provider. He or she can take steps to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for you, such as by:

    • Using a smaller needle
    • Using a skin numbing medication
    • Talking you through the blood draw
    • Reminding you to breathe naturally

    Determining if you should get screened
    Not everyone needs to get screened for hepatitis. Your doctor will determine if a blood test is a good idea for you, based on your health history, risk factors and lifestyle issues.

    Age can also play a role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all adults born from 1945 through 1965 get tested at least once for hepatitis C . This is true regardless of their individual risk factors.

    Additionally, your doctor may recommend a hepatitis screening if any of the following apply to you.

    • Have previous or current injected drug use
    • Have an HIV infection
    • Are pregnant
    • Were born in or have traveled to certain areas of the world
    • Did not receive hepatitis vaccines
    • Are a man who has had sex with other men

    Children born to mothers who were diagnosed with hepatitis should also get screened.

    Southern Hills Hospital provides comprehensive and specialty medical services with a “patients first” philosophy. No matter what health challenges life brings your way, we’re here to help. Call our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 if you’d like more information about our services.

  • Protecting older adults from extreme heat

    Older adults and their caregivers need to be particularly vigilant when the summer heat strikes Las Vegas. Seniors tend to be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses because their bodies can’t regulate temperature as well. Seniors are also more likely to take medications and have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to heat stresses . Here at Southern Hills Hospital, we’re deeply concerned about the health of our elderly neighbors in Las Vegas. Please don’t hesitate to seek emergency care if you’re concerned about heat-related illnesses.

    Checking on the elderly during the summer
    Family members, friends and caretakers of elderly individuals should check on them every day when the weather is hot. During very hot weather, seniors should be checked on at least twice daily.

    During each check-in, the friend or caregiver should consider whether the temperature in the home is moderate and whether the individual is drinking enough water. They should also watch out for the potential signs of heat-related illnesses, such as the following.

    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Lightheadedness or dizziness
    • Headaches
    • Confusion
    • High temperature
    • Rapid pulse

    The most severe type of heat-related illness is heatstroke . It always requires emergency care, as it can be life-threatening. Call 911 if you notice these possible signs of heatstroke:

    • Seizures
    • Coma
    • Delirium
    • Blurry vision
    • Temperature over 105 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Lack of sweating
    • Pale, dry skin
    • Rapid heartbeat and breathing

    Keeping the home cool
    Air conditioners are the most effective way to keep a senior’s home cool and comfortable. Fans do not cool down a room, and will not help prevent heat-related illnesses.

    If your senior loved one’s home lacks air conditioning, offer to install a window unit for him or her. You can also bring your loved one to an air conditioned building, such as a:

    • Library
    • Shopping center
    • Movie theater
    • Public cooling center
    • Senior center

    Staying hydrated
    Seniors need to drink more fluids during hot weather, but it’s often hard for them to tell when they’re thirsty. Encourage your senior loved one to stay hydrated by:

    • Offering water-rich fruits (pears, watermelon or cantaloupe)
    • Offering frozen grapes as a snack
    • Squeezing lemon or lime into a glass of ice water
    • Making homemade popsicles

    Please call 911 right away if you or a loved one could be suffering from life-threatening heatstroke. The emergency care team at Southern Hills Hospital brings together in-depth expertise, high-tech medical equipment and a compassionate, patient-centered approach. Non-emergent questions about our hospital services in Las Vegas may be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.

  • The effects of arthritis on your mental health

    Most people think of joint pain when they think of arthritis, but the effects of this condition extend beyond the physical. The chronic pain and lack of mobility associated with arthritis can also have far-reaching implications on mental health. For people with arthritis, mental health care can be as important to a treatment plan as orthopedic or rheumatologic care. Here is a closer look at how arthritis can impact mental health.

    Arthritis and mental health
    Mental health issues are common in people with arthritis. According to one study, people with arthritis reported having problems with their mental health on five days out of 30 , while people without arthritis reported having the same symptoms on only three days out of 30.

    People with arthritis are thought to experience two to three times worse mental health than those without it. This includes people with all types of arthritis.

    Reasons for mental health impacts
    Although researchers are not sure why people with arthritis have more mental health problems, such as depression, than people without arthritis, but there are some factors that they believe could contribute to these symptoms. These contributors include:

    • Chronic pain
    • Frustration with lack of mobility
    • Inability to work
    • Cost of medical care
    • Co-occurring medical conditions

    Not everyone with arthritis experiences these issues, but they can contribute to poor mental health when they do occur.

    Treating mental health issues in people with arthritis
    People with arthritis should discuss depression, chronic stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues they are experiencing with their physicians. Addressing these problems can improve quality of life and may help make living with the physical symptoms of arthritis more tolerable.

    Seeing an orthopedic specialist or other physician on a regular basis for arthritis care can also help to control the physical symptoms of the disease, which may in turn help to improve mental health.

    Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides care for the physical and mental symptoms of arthritis through our orthopedic and behavioral health teams . Contact our hospital in Las Vegas today at (702) 916-5023 to request a referral to one of our physicians.

  • When is it common to see signs of schizophrenia?

    Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that can cause a range of different psychoses. Diagnosing the disease can be challenging, and paying attention to the age of the patient is one strategy behavioral health specialists use in evaluating symptoms. Although schizophrenia can happen at any age, there are certain points in life that it is more common to see the illness than others.

    Typical ages for schizophrenia diagnosis
    Schizophrenia occurs in men in women at different ages. For men, symptoms usually appear during the late teens and early 20s. Women tend to develop symptoms later, in their late 20s and early 30s.

    Schizophrenia can be diagnosed in patients at any age. However, it is not common for people younger than 12 or older than 40 to learn that they have the disease.

    Prodromal period
    The prodromal period is a time during which the first symptoms of schizophrenia may be apparent. This usually happens during the teen year, but because the symptoms are non-specific, families and behavioral health specialists do not always recognize them. During the prodromal period, teens who are developing schizophrenia may display these symptoms:

    • Change in sleep habits/chronic sleep problems
    • Irritability
    • Change in friend groups
    • Dropping grades

    These symptoms can often be considered typical teenage behavior. However, if teens have a family history of psychosis or experience episodes of disordered thoughts or paranoia, a behavioral health specialist may be able to make a diagnosis.

    Early diagnosis
    Schizophrenia is a chronic disease without a cure, but it can be managed. Getting an early diagnosis is an important part of successfully managing the disease. Treatment that starts after the very first psychotic episode a person experiences can help to prevent future complications.

    If you are concerned about your own symptoms or the symptoms of someone you love, the behavioral health department at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here to help. To get a referral to a specialist, call our hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023.

  • What to know about the different types of arthritis

    Many people think of arthritis as a singular condition, but there are more than 100 different forms of the disease. The different forms of arthritis are treated in different ways, and they can cause a wide range of varying symptoms. If you have joint pain and see an orthopedic specialist , one of the first things he or she will do is diagnose the type of arthritis you have to make an effective treatment plan. Here is a look at some of the most common forms of arthritis and how physicians approach their treatment.

    Osteoarthritis
    Osteoarthritis is a form of generative arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage between the joints breaks down, allowing the bones to rub together painfully. It often affects large, weight-bearing joints, such as hips and knees, and most often occurs in older people.

    Treatments for osteoarthritis vary depending on the location of the arthritis and severity of the symptoms, among other factors. Resting joints, maintaining a healthy weight, exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joints, and pain medications are often used for treatment. In some cases, joint replacement surgery is necessary.

    Rheumatoid arthritis
    Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It occurs when the immune system attacks the joints when it mistakes them for foreign invaders. In addition to joint damage, rheumatoid arthritis can cause damage to internal organs and the eyes.

    Medications to minimize the immune response are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, with the goal of preventing joint damage and damage to other parts of the body. With medication, the disease can go into remission.

    Gout
    Gout is a form of metabolic arthritis. When high levels of uric acid build up in the body, it can attack the joints and cause a sudden onset of extreme pain. Gout usually comes and goes and becomes chronic in many people.

    Medications and dietary changes to reduce the levels of uric acid in the body can help to control gout.

    Arthritis can be debilitating, but Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here to help. From our diagnostic imaging team to our orthopedic surgery department in Las Vegas, we can diagnose and treat the wide-ranging forms of arthritis. Take the first step towards a pain-free life today by calling us at (702) 916-5023.

  • Are the symptoms for stroke always the same?

    Most people have heard the anagram FAST to describe stroke symptoms . FAST reminds people that facial drooping, arm drooping, and slurred speech means it’s time to call 911, because those are the most common symptoms of a stroke. Much like heart attacks, however, not everyone who has a stroke experiences the same kinds of symptoms. If you suspect that your symptoms could indicate a stroke, don’t delay emergency care, even if you aren’t experiencing the traditional signs.

    Non-traditional stroke symptoms
    As the video explains, there are many symptoms that people don’t immediately associate with strokes that may actually indicate that one is occurring. Some of these signs include:

    • Headache

    • Feeling disoriented

    • Loss of consciousness

    • Feeling confused

    Even though these symptoms can indicate many different medical conditions, when they occur, getting emergency care is important. Getting an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment can help to prevent future complications.

    Silent strokes
    Some people who don’t have the typical symptoms of a stroke may have silent strokes. During a silent stroke, the person who is having a stroke doesn’t realize that it is happening. Even though silent strokes don’t cause symptoms, they still cause permanent brain damage.

    Most people who have had silent strokes find out when they seek care for another problem. For instance, after a silent stroke, a person may experience memory loss or chronic headaches. A physician may recommend a brain scan to determine the cause and discover the evidence of the stroke during the scan.

    Emergency stroke care
    Getting emergency care for a stroke is the only way to reduce the risk of permanent damage and disability. Brain tissue is being destroyed every second during a stroke until treatment begins.

    Because emergency stroke care is so important, don’t delay seeking treatment if you experience even mild symptoms that could potentially be a stroke.

    Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center’s Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Center offers advanced stroke care in Las Vegas, from the emergency room to post-stroke rehab. For more information, call (702) 916-5023.