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Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – watched their parent’s age and decided that an inactive middle age wasn’t for them.  Golfing, biking, tennis, basketball, running, skiing – 50 became the new 40, 60 became the new 50...or was it the new 40? Those Boomers just wouldn’t stop moving -- until their knees and hips started aching. Now hitting 60+, the joints are aching more and the body parts are wearing out. 

Arthritis, compounded by wear-and-tear on knees and hips, has sparked a sharp jump in the number of total joint replacements.  Osteoarthritis is the most common reason that joints fail.  It is a degenerative disease that deteriorates the cushioning cartilage in joints, leaving bone grinding on bone. Ironically, the repetitive motion of exercise by Boomers trying to stay fit can actually trigger the arthritis. 

Uterine Fibroids Can Be Painful

Posted on in Women's Health

Not long ago, Brenda thought it was just part of being a woman. Not just her monthly period, but the pain and bleeding that bothered her throughout the month. Some days Brenda couldn’t work. She missed her daughter’s dance recital. Her constant need for a bathroom made her hesitate to go out with friends. And her pain took the romance out of sex with her husband.

Today, Brenda’s life is much better, since visiting her personal physician and learning three important facts: 1) Her problems are due to fibroids growing in her uterus, 2) they can be easily treated and 3) fibroids are benign, NOT cancerous.

“The heart’s 4 valves can malfunction in two primary ways,” says McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Scot Schultz.  “A valve can fail to open all the way or a narrowing can block the flow of blood. Or a valve may fail to close all the way, allowing some blood leak the wrong way.”

Many people with heart valve disease have no symptoms.  Fatigue or tiredness is one of the most common, along with heart irregularities that some people may describe as “palpitations.”

What to Expect After Incontinence Surgery

Posted on in Women's Health

Most women who undergo surgery for their urinary leakage see a significant improvement in their condition along with a reduction in the symptoms.  The most common procedure for stress incontinence cures 70-90% of the women who choose this option.  

“Every woman recovers at a different rate,” says McLeod Gynecologist Dr. Brad Campbell. “Your doctor will probably schedule an appointment following the surgery to review your recovery. In addition to improving your incontinence, other topics you may want to discuss are pain, fatigue and returning to work.”

This article is one of three outlining signs & symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart valve problems.

“Your heart has 4 valves that are essentially flaps of tissue,” says McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Scot Schultz. “The main job of the valves is keeping the blood flowing in one direction through the heart and body.  Valves are very busy body parts – opening and closing about 100,000 times a day.”

Total knee joint replacement surgery has been performed for about 30 years. Over those years, incremental improvements in materials and designs have raised the expected life of the “new” knees to 10 to 20 years. 

Two developments are causing a noteworthy change in patients and expectations. Where knee replacements had been reserved for patients over 65, because of the limited life of the replacements, now younger, more active patients are seeking relief from pain and limited mobility. Secondly, the FDA has approved a replacement that claims a 30-year lifetime of use.

Within a few years of the discovery of X-rays in 1896, cancer patients were being “treated” with radiation therapy. Multiple radiation treatments were often needed, usually combined with surgery.  Side effects included hair loss and damage to tissues and organs near the cancer.

Radiotherapy Improves Its Aim

Annually, more than 600,000 knee joint replacement surgeries are performed in the United States.  With 150 possible device choices for each surgery, every manufacturer is looking for ways to differentiate their product. Some have introduced new materials. Others try refinements in shape.  Better fit of an implanted knee joint usually translates into better function and less pain and discomfort for the patient.  So, it’s no surprise that some manufacturers would try to differentiate their product by creating and marketing a knee joint designed specifically for women.

“Women do have anatomical differences from men that affect the knee joint,” says Dr. Pat Denton, of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “Size is obviously one difference, but there are other gender variations, such as shape and how much pressure is exerted. Since knee joint replacements already come in a range of sizes, the real question is: Will a device designed specifically for women perform better than the unisex models?”

Endometriosis FAQs - What Women Need to Know

Posted on in Women's Health

Q: What is Endometriosis?

A: Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is also found elsewhere in the body, mainly in the abdominal cavity.

7 Ways to Avoid Hip & Knee Joint Replacement

Posted on in Orthopedics

Total hip replacements are expected to grow 175% between now and 2030, according to a recent report.  Total joint replacement surgery for knees is also expected to grow dramatically over the next few years.

“Pain and stiffness are the most common signs of a bad knee or hip,” says Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Pat Denton of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “But not every case of a bad knee or hip joint has to end in surgery. Here are a number of ways to avoid – or at least attempt delaying – the need for total joint replacement.”

Fatigue, Nausea, Hair Loss…and More. Many Bumps on the Road of Your Cancer Journey

The punch in your belly from a cancer diagnosis is followed by a tidal wave of emotions and questions.  How to tell your family, your friends, your boss?  Then, come decisions on treatment options.  It’s not an easy road to travel.  Understanding what to expect can help with your decisions and your journey.  

Fibroids FAQ: What Women Need to Know.

Posted on in Women's Health

Fibroids are a common problem for women. Below are the most common questions and answers about this condition.

Q:   What are fibroids?
  Uterine fibroids are growths in the womb (uterus). They are made of muscle and other tissue. Fibroids almost never develop into cancer.

Larry King, best known for his long-running cable interview show "Larry King Live," at the age of 54 suffered a serious heart attack.  Shortly afterward he underwent a quintuple bypass surgery.  The experience led him to not only make serious changes in his own life, but to also inspired him to help others with heart disease by sharing his experiences in his book "Mr. King, You're Having a Heart Attack". 

Your days, weeks and months after heart surgery are certainly a time of physical recuperation and rehabilitation.  The post-surgery period can hold emotional challenges, as well.  So, let’s tackle that side of your recovery plan first.

Actor Robert DeNiro continues to star in movies following a 2003 battle with prostate cancer.  “The Talk” co-host Sharon Osbourne (Ozzie’s wife) underwent chemotherapy and surgery in 2002 for colon cancer. Singer Melissa Etheridge continues to record and perform after her 2004 battle with breast cancer. These celebrities are an example of the new world of cancer patients -- a world we know as SURVIVORS.  You can be one, too….with the right care and treatment.

“Of the many questions you face after a cancer diagnosis, one is the most important: How does an average cancer patient, like me, find the right place to go for treatment?,” observes McLeod Oncologist Dr. Michael Pavy. “If I faced cancer, here are 7 items I’d look at when considering places to seek cancer therapy and treatment.”

Women have many questions when it comes to Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Below are the most common questions and answers.

Q: What is a menstrual period?

A:When puberty begins, your brain signals your body to produce hormones. Some of these hormones prepare your body each month for a possible pregnancy. This is called the menstrual cycle. Hormones cause the lining of the uterus to become thicker with extra blood and tissue. One of your ovaries then releases an egg. This is called ovulation. The egg moves down one of the two fallopian tubes toward the uterus.

“Nearly everything in our lives has some effect on the risk of having a heart problem (cardiac) or disease related to our blood vessels (vascular),” says McLeod Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Fred Krainin. “The narrowing and hardening of arteries can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, diabetes or even dementia.”

Everyone is at risk for cardiovascular disease.  Some risk factors are beyond your control.  But others can be influenced by how we lead our lives.

“Total joint replacement is great. But it’s not magic,” says Dr. Barry Clark, Orthopedic Surgeon with Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “Patients return to many of the activities that they did – or were trying to do – before surgery.  Range of motion is increased.  Pain is reduced or alleviated. Quality of daily life returns. However, joint replacement doesn’t make you younger, run faster, or golf better than you did before your joints became a problem.”

Here are 8 other things you should know about knee and hip joint replacement: 

Pain… Pain in your leg… When you walk... Or climb stairs… You think it’s just age… Stiffness…   Maybe a touch of arthritis…  OR it could be a type of serious cardiovascular disease called Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).

PAD is caused by a buildup of plaque (plak) in arteries that carry blood to your limbs.  As the plaque builds up, arteries become clogged, limiting the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to your legs.  The danger of gangrene and amputation exists if PAD is left untreated

5 Breast Cancer Myths And the Truth You Need to Know

Posted on in Cancer

“There are so many myths about breast cancer that it is difficult to narrow down the list,” says McLeod Oncologist Dr. Rommel Lu. “Plastic surgery, the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene, and underwire bras are just a few of the ‘issues’ people have misunderstandings about that we do NOT address here.  Checking with the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation or the American Cancer Society are good reference sources for you.”

Here are some of the most common myths:

When actress Angelina Jolie had her highly publicized mastectomy, she had breast reconstruction surgery at the same time. The decision to have breast reconstruction is becoming a more common decision among the 296,000 women annually who face breast cancer. 

“The patient faces a whole range of options,” says Dr. Dominic Heffel of McLeod Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. “The simplest is to do nothing.  They can do something that uses an implant or we can use some of their own tissue to rebuild the breast.”

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