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Recent blog posts

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?
A:
  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:

“Constant pain severe enough to limit activities of daily living are signs that your hip or knee joint may need surgical replacement,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Rodney Alan. “Beyond the pain itself, a person’s age and overall health are considerations.”

In medical terms, a knee or hip joint replacement involves surgically replacing injured or damaged parts of the joint with metal, plastic or other materials.

Conditions related to vascular disease mostly have long, complicated names – carotid artery disease, transient ischemic attacks, peripheral arterial disease – and similar multi-word, multi-syllable names.  

“Simply put, these terms are describing the process of blood vessels clogging up over time,” says McLeod Vascular Surgeon Dr. Christopher Cunningham. “The result is a decrease in the flow of blood to various parts of the body and brain, leading to potentially serious health problems.”  

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.”

Total Joint Replacement “Bring It On” say Boomers

Posted on in Orthopedics

Knee replacements tripled in people ages 45 - 64 from 1997 - 2009.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery

Carotid artery disease is the major cause of stroke and a leading cause of disability in the United States. 

WHAT IS IT?

It was more than 2 decades ago that a surgical procedure to remove a woman’s uterus with small incisions was first introduced.  Yet, in 2010 nearly 60% of the hysterectomy surgery in the US were still being performed with long incisions across a woman’s stomach. Although the traditional approach to hysterectomies can be medically required in some cases, most women are excellent candidates for the newer technique.

“The Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy (LSH) is a technical name for the procedure which involves making a small ¾” incision so that a wand-like implement to clip and remove the uterus,” says Dr. Charles Tatum of McLeod OB/GYN Associates.. “Compared to the traditional method, the LSH is described as minimally invasive and it has a quite a few benefits for the patient.”

When it comes to discovering breast cancer, a woman can do a self-exam, looking for lumps or changes in the size or shape of the breast,” says Radiologist Dr. Noel Phipps, Medical Director of McLeod Breast Imaging. “Also, a physician or nurse can perform a clinical breast exam, feeling for lumps or other changes.  Or the gold standard for diagnosing breast cancer is the mammogram.   But the questions many women face are 1) when should I start getting mammograms and 2) how often should I get a mammogram?

WHAT IS A MAMMOGRAM?

Snickering aside, women should be grateful to Gynecologist Arnold Kegel.  In the late 1940s, he developed an exercise for pelvic muscles that offers women huge benefits. Studies show that 70% of women with stress incontinence who use the Kegel exercise will see improvement.  Beyond the leakage issue, Kegels can prepare a pregnant woman’s body for labor and improve your sex life.

“Before your doctor recommends surgery of some type, he or she is likely to suggest the Kegel exercise,” says Dr. Michael Davidson of Advanced Women’s Care.  “Weak pelvic muscles are one cause of urine leakage among women.  Like any other muscle in our body, exercise can strengthen the muscles and give you more control.”

Heart disease and cardiovascular conditions can be treated in numerous ways, depending on the seriousness of the condition and the patient’s history or other medical problems.

Prevention. If you are reading this, it may already be too late to think about preventing your heart disease. However, many diagnosed heart issues can be treated successfully with the lifestyle changes listed below. If you don’t have a heart problem, following the lifestyle recommendations can prevent or delay serious heart issues for you.

Females experience stress incontinence (or urine leakage) when they cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise vigorously or, very commonly, simply by swinging a golf club. Urodynamic testing conducted in the doctor’s office is used to determine the type of incontinence.

Treatments include exercises (Kegels), bladder training or medication.  When these treatments fail to solve the problem, bladder incontinence surgery is the next step.

If there can be any good news about Cancer Treatment, this is it: You may be encouraged to add foods to your diet that most of us are cautioned to avoid,” says McLeod Registered Dietitian Kitty Finklea.  “Cancer can change the way your body uses food. And loss of appetite is a common side effect of chemo and radiation therapy.” 

In addition to appetite loss, cancer patients may experience nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, changes in taste or smell and an allergy to dairy products (lactose intolerance). Not everyone has the same side effects, even if they are taking the same treatments. 

Talk To Your Doctor about Incontinence.

Posted on in Women's Health

Embarrassment for personal incontinence is understandable and can cause you to put off seeing a doctor. First, remember – you are not alone. One source says women wait an average of more than 6 years before finally seeking help for their incontinence. On the average only 10% of women who experience urinary incontinence will seek professional medical help.

“This is sad, because there are many treatment options available,” says McLeod Gynecologist, Dr. Gary Emerson. “We’re trained to deal with your problem professionally. Bladder control problems are a common issue. Fifty percent of women will experience urinary incontinence during their lifetime. Those numbers increase as women age with one in three by age 60 experiencing some type of bladder control problem. Urinary incontinence is not a disease of old age as women as young as 20 experience bladder control and leakage problems.”

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