• Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Older Adults

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    The aging process presents a number of challenges to individuals as they grow older, and as a result, many older adults will turn to alcohol as a means of self-medication. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse is widely under-recognized in seniors, so it is rarely met with the appropriate care and treatment. Below, you can learn about some of the signs of alcohol abuse in seniors, which is often treatable through a dual-diagnosis strategy to address both alcohol consumption and related mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, or dementia.

    Reduced Interest in Social Activities

    After the loss of a spouse or transition to an assisted care facility, seniors may feel isolated even when they are around other people. In these situations, alcohol consumption may seem like a source of comfort, though interest in social interaction may continue to decline as alcohol abuse becomes a more significant problem.

    Defensive or Aggressive Behaviors

    Making excuses or taking on a defensive attitude is a tell-tale sign of substance abuse at any age, so you should not ignore these behaviors if you observe them in an elderly loved one. Some older adults may also feel the need to hide their alcohol consumption by keeping a stash of alcoholic beverages hidden in the home.

    Increased Alcohol Consumption during Family Events

    Older adults may not always work to hide their alcohol use, so you may notice that an older loved one will consume multiple drinks during holidays and other family gatherings. While the occasional drink is not much to worry about, drinking three or more alcoholic beverages in a single gathering may be the sign of a bigger problem in an older relative.

    Declining Health

    Alcohol may have negative reactions with certain prescription medications, causing significant health problems that may lead to frequent illness or even hospitalization. Plus, alcohol can have a stronger effect on older adults, leading to health problems when prescription medications are not a factor.

    If you suspect that an elderly loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, you can find the right approach to care with RISE Behavioral Health at Southern Hills Hospital. This dedicated mental health unit caters exclusively to patients 50 and older with inpatient and outpatient programs to meet the needs of your loved one. Learn more about how our services can help your older relatives fight alcohol abuse by calling us at (702) 880-2100 today.

  • Causes and Cures for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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    Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common condition affecting about 10-15% of American adults, though only about half of this group has had a diagnosis of the condition, because many people do not alert physicians of their symptoms . With IBS, patients may have pain, anxiety, and fatigue related to changes in the frequency and appearance of bowel movements. If you are one of the many Americans suffering from IBS, it is important to know what signs to look for and identify potential causes that may be controlled for greater comfort and wellness. Keep reading to discover the facts of this condition during IBS Awareness Month this April.

    Causes

    There is no known cause for IBS, though there are a number of physical conditions that could be related to IBS. Some of these conditions include infections, GI mobility problems, brain-gut signal problems, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. In many cases, certain foods can trigger symptoms and worsen IBS. Stress is also a contributor of flare-ups with increased symptoms.

    Symptoms

    IBS is characterized by ongoing symptoms of abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements—which may include diarrhea, constipation, or both. Because IBS is a chronic condition, symptoms will persist for months at a time or come and go over a period of years. Bloating and general abdominal discomfort are also common in patients with IBS. While IBS is not linked to other health problems or permanent damage to the GI tract, it can be a consistent source of pain and discomfort, so treatment is still important.

    Treatments

    Your doctor will work with you to explore some of the physical conditions that may contribute to IBS, as these underlying conditions can guide your treatment approach. For example, if you have bacterial overgrowth, antibiotic therapy may provide relief. Other medications that may be used to treat IBS include fiber supplements, laxatives, and low-dose antidepressants. Probiotics have also shown success in relieving the symptoms of IBS. In addition to these clinical therapies, your doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes to help you eat better, manage stress, and improve your mood.

    If you are experiencing IBS symptoms, connect with Southern Hills Hospital to find the right physician for your needs . You can contact us on our website or call (702) 880-2100 to speak with one of our registered Las Vegas nurses. 

  • Tips for Choosing the Right Primary Care Provider

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    Many people do not think about their healthcare until symptoms or emergency situations arise, but having a primary care provider to offer a preventive approach to care can reduce the likelihood that you will face a more urgent medical situation down the road. When you regularly see a doctor for routine checkups, you can manage your health more proactively and gain a better understanding of how your daily habits affect your overall wellness. If you are new to the Las Vegas area or you are simply looking for a new practitioner for your primary care, follow these helpful tips from Southern Hills Hospital to find the right fit.

    Consider Your Healthcare Needs

    There are several types of physicians who may serve as primary care providers . Family practitioners care for patients of all ages, while pediatricians focus only on the care of children and internists generally only treat adult patients. Women may choose to seek primary care through an OBGYN, since these physicians are sensitive to the healthcare needs of women in both reproductive and general care. Thinking about what kind of physician you want to work with for your care can significantly narrow your search when you are seeking a new provider.

    Think of the Practice as a Whole

    When you have an appointment with your primary care physician, you may spend more time with the office staff and nurses than you spend with the doctor. Therefore, you will want to assess the practice as a whole unit rather than only considering the physician’s personality and qualifications. If you seek care in a practice where you feel comfortable, you are more likely to return for future appointments and openly discuss your healthcare needs, even in the face of more embarrassing conditions.

    Ask Plenty of Questions

    Strong communication with your doctor is important for the quality of your care, so you should not hesitate to ask plenty of questions during an interview or initial appointment. If the doctor is not able to answer all of your questions or tries to rush through the visit, you may want to explore other physicians to handle your primary care.

    To begin managing your healthcare more effectively, enroll in Southern Hills Hospital’s H2U program and call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line for physician referrals in the Las Vegas Valley . You can learn more about our state-of-the-art hospital facilities and community health services on our website or at (702) 880-2100. 

  • How Many Lives Can One Organ Donor Save?

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    April is National Donate Life Month, which may have you considering becoming an organ donor. As an organ donor, you can build a legacy for yourself and save the lives of others after you have passed away. This article will take a closer look at the life-saving potential of organ donation along with the high need for organ donors in the United States.

    Organ Donors May Save up to 8 Lives

    A single organ donor can save up to 8 lives while touching the lives of more than 50 people with non-life-saving donations such as corneal transplants that may dramatically improve a person’s vision. Organ donors also affect the lives of the families of patients in need, since these individuals are given a second chance at life with donor tissues.

    Organ Donor Status Does Not Affect a Person’s Medical Care or Funeral Arrangements

    There are many misconceptions about organ donation—including the myth that registered organ donors will not receive adequate care if they are hospitalized. A person’s donor status is only ever considered when the person has died, which means that choosing to be an organ donor will have no effect on your medical care. As an organ donor, you may still have an open casket funeral and follow the ethical code of your religious beliefs.

    123,000 Patients Are Waiting for Organ or Tissue Transplants

    While the number of organ donors in the United States is growing all the time, there are still thousands of patients waiting on lifesaving transplants. About 18 people will die each day waiting for an organ transplant.

    Almost Anyone Can Be an Organ Donor

    There are many lives at stake when it comes to organ donation, but the good news is that anyone can become a donor, no matter what their age or medical history is.

    If you are thinking of joining the thousands of Americans who have already chosen to donate life, call Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center to speak with one of our registered nurses about your decision. You can reach us through our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line 24/7 at (702) 880-2100.