• Why your age plays into your orthopedic care

    Your healthcare needs continually evolve throughout your life, and many of these changes are the direct result of your age. Children, young adults, middle-aged adults and seniors all have unique healthcare concerns, including orthopedic issues. At Southern Hills Hospital, we provide high-quality care for patients in every stage of life. Our orthopedic surgeons welcome the active involvement of our patients in their own medical treatment.

    Changes of an aging body
    Many orthopedic problems can affect a person of any age, such as broken bones. However, the musculoskeletal systems of older adults do go through certain changes that can predispose them to injuries. For instance, the cartilage can deteriorate, bones can lose density, intervertebral discs can become less flexible and joint range of motion can be restricted.

    Considerations of functional age
    Age isn’t solely a byproduct of the calendar. Orthopedic surgeons may consider a patient’s functional age when putting together a treatment and rehab plan. Functional age may influence the likely health outcome.

    Functional age is an assessment of the patient’s physical capacities. For instance, a 70-year-old man who is physically active, eats well and doesn’t smoke could have a functional age that is comparable to someone much younger. Similarly, a 40-year-old man with diabetes, who leads a sedentary lifestyle and uses tobacco could have a much older functional age.

    Pathways for post-discharge care
    Many orthopedic injuries and diseases require a long-term plan for physical rehabilitation. A patient’s post-discharge support needs can be influenced by age.

    For an active teenager with a broken bone, a significant challenge might be to convince the teen to follow activity restrictions. On the other hand, when a senior breaks a bone, he or she may need some convincing to go to physical therapy sessions.

    Orthopedic surgeons will consider physical and logistical challenges in addition to emotional and behavioral ones. For instance, older adults recovering from a broken hip need extensive support at home, especially during the initial recovery. If this is lacking, then a referral to a long-term care facility may be necessary.

    The highly trained orthopedic surgeons at Southern Hills Hospital continually strive for healthcare excellence to give patients of every age the best possible outcome. At our hospital in Las Vegas, you’ll receive attentive care that is designed around your needs. Call (702) 916-5023 to request a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

  • How holiday drinking can affect your health

    Some people drink during the holidays to celebrate with friends and family. Others drink in an ill-advised attempt to cope with holiday stress. If you fall into the latter category, consider talking to your doctor about your alcohol use. Self-medication with alcohol can be associated with alcohol use disorder , which consequently can harm your health in multiple ways. If you’re concerned about your alcohol consumption, a psychiatrist at Southern Hills Hospital is here to help you.

    Your liver
    When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear a doctor at Southern Hills Hospital explain how excessive alcohol use can harm the liver . Your liver is responsible for processing the alcohol you consume, and if you drink too much, it will become overwhelmed.

    Alcohol can damage the liver cells, causing permanent scarring known as cirrhosis. The scar tissue inhibits the ability of the liver to do its job properly. Eventually, liver failure or liver cancer may develop.

    Your immune system
    One often-overlooked consequence of alcohol abuse is its effect on the immune system. People who drink heavily are more likely to suffer from immune deficiency. This leaves them more susceptible to serious or potentially life-threatening illnesses.

    Alcoholism is closely associated with increased rates of:

    • Pneumonia
    • Tuberculosis
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Hepatitis B and C
    • Septicemia

    Southern Hills Hospital is a leading provider of specialized medical care in Las Vegas, including emergency care, psychiatric intervention and gastroenterology care. If you suspect you may have a substance abuse problem, you can find the help you need at our Behavioral Health Unit. Call our nurse referral line at (702) 916-5023.

  • Why even healthy people need flu shots

    The flu vaccine is safe and recommended for use in nearly everyone, with the exception of babies under six months and people with certain medical conditions. Unfortunately, many people neglect to get their annual flu shot, because they assume the illness won’t severely affect them. The emergency care doctors and nurses at Southern Hills Hospital have seen firsthand how unpleasant influenza can be, and since it can be fatal for some patients, we encourage our Las Vegas neighbors to get vaccinated.

    The flu isn’t like having a cold
    Unlike a cold, the symptoms of the flu usually develop rapidly. A cold might only slow you down a little, but the flu can send you to bed for a few days. Flu viruses can result in these symptoms:

    • High fever with chills
    • Severe fatigue
    • Headache
    • Severe muscle aches
    • Nasal congestion
    • Runny nose
    • Sore throat
    • Sneezing
    • Decreased appetite

    Of course, some people may only experience mild flu symptoms. However, since the flu is highly contagious, affected individuals should stay home from work and school to avoid infecting others.

    The flu can cause complications that require hospitalization
    In some people, the flu can cause life-threatening complications . Even if you’re generally healthy and have a robust immune system, an illness places you at a higher risk of dehydration. If you develop severe dehydration or you can’t keep fluids down, you’ll need emergency care.

    Flu vaccines protect the entire community
    As safe as the flu vaccine is, not everyone can get it. Infants under six months of age and people with certain life-threatening allergies are unable to get this vaccine. This means they are vulnerable to flu viruses circulating during any given year.

    If you do contract the flu, you can easily spread the germs to others. Even if you only experience mild symptoms, the germs you transfer to your family, friends and neighbors might make them gravely ill. Getting vaccinated is an easy way to do your part for your community.

    Preventive healthcare is a priority here at Southern Hills Hospital , but our emergency care providers are always here to help, just in case. If you have any concerns about the safety or effectiveness of vaccines, one of our providers will be happy to discuss them with you. To speak with a friendly member of our nursing staff in Las Vegas, call (702) 916-5023.

  • Don’t get hurt by hard-to-open packaging this holiday season

    So-called “wrap rage” affects countless people each holiday season. Hard-to-open packaging can be frustrating, especially when a child is getting impatient to play with a new toy. As a result, some people resort to unsafe methods of opening packaging, which can cause deep lacerations that require emergency care. If you do need medical attention this holiday season, the emergency care team at Southern Hills Hospital is here to help—although we sincerely hope you won’t have need of our services.

    Look for opening indicators

    Some manufacturers have responded to packaging frustrations by including opening indicators. Perforated lines or labels stating “Open Here” indicate that the plastic wrap should tear open easily at that location. Always check packages for opening indicators before resorting to scissors or a knife.

    Take initial steps to prevent injuries

    If plastic packaging is stubbornly resisting conventional opening techniques, take the item away from other people before using anything sharp on it. Place the item on a hard, flat surface—never hold it in your lap when using a sharp implement. Next, put on protective work gloves, just in case.

    Use sharp tools safely

    If you use a knife, remember to cut away from your body. Don’t place your other hand in the path of the implement.

    If you use scissors, choose heavy-duty utility scissors that feature a blunt tip. Avoid completely extending the scissors and using just one blade, as this requires that you place your hand on the other blade.

    Open clamshell packaging with a can opener

    Clamshell packaging is that tough, seemingly indestructible plastic wrap that often houses expensive electronics. It’s intended to deter theft, but it’s resulted in plenty of emergency care visits.

    Try opening it with a can opener instead of a knife or scissors. Place the can opener on the bottom edge of the package, and turn it until you get to the other side of the package.

    And remember to stay calm. No matter how frustrating plastic packaging can be, dealing with it calmly is preferable to spending your holidays receiving stitches .

    If injuries do affect your family, the emergency care doctors at Southern Hills Hospital are available day or night, every day of the year. Serious medical problems don’t take time off for the holidays, and so we don’t, either. Call 911 for true medical emergencies, or call a registered nurse in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 for non-emergent inquiries only.