Health Blog with a stethoscope sitting on top of a laptop.

Welcome to Our Blog.

At McLeod Health, we are dedicated to providing useful health and medical information to our community. Take a look at our blog categories and choose those that interest you. Be sure to subscribe to each category of interest and we will send you new blog articles as they are posted.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Recent blog posts

“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.”

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.”  

“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.

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. 


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?


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.”

Women Are Different At Heart

Posted on in Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in South Carolina. Heart disease and stroke account for nearly 28% of women’s deaths in South Carolina. To put it on a more personal, understandable level – about 15 women die EVERY DAY in South Carolina from heart disease and stroke.

 These statistics alone show the serious impact of heart disease on women in our home state and hometown. While cardiac issues are often considered “men’s diseases,” recent statistics show that at least as many women as men die from coronary artery disease.

Questions To Ask Your Oncologist About Your Cancer.

Posted on in Cancer

Much like winners in the TV game show “Jeopardy,” a cancer patient’s chances for success are greatly increased by putting their concerns in the form of a question. In fact, one recent study has shown that patients WANT to ask questions about and be more involved in decisions about their care.

“We know from experience that patients want to be engaged in the decisions about their care,” says McLeod Oncologist Dr. Michael Pavy. “For many cancer patients, the diagnosis signals a loss of control over their life. Not only does involvement in treatment decisions give a person back some sense of control, but also it’s truly the best approach we cancer specialists can take.”

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Symptoms & Treatment

Posted on in Women's Health

“Pelvic relaxation may sound like something pleasant but that is definitely not the case,” says McLeod Gynecologist, Dr. John Browning. “The phrase is another way of describing pelvic organ prolapse – or the failure of a woman’s body to support the uterus. At its worst, the condition can result in a woman’s uterus, bladder, small bowel, and even the rectum protruding from her vagina and cervix. Thank goodness there are a number of ways to solve this problem.”

Causes. Multiple vaginal births, obesity, aging and high impact activities or chronic straining due to constipation are among the risk factors and causes for pelvic relaxation. Women as young as 20 can experience some of these conditions.

Cancer Treatment Options

Posted on in Cancer

“Cancer is not one disease,” says McLeod Cancer Committee Chair Dr. Rajesh Bajaj. “In fact, it is a group of perhaps thousands of different diseases, which have some common characteristics. For this reason, cancer treatments are very complex and increasingly personalized.”

Although each patient’s treatment must be calculated uniquely, the options fall into three main categories: Medications, Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy.

The information on this site is intended to increase your awareness and understanding of specific health issues and
services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
To report technical issues, please contact us. Public Access to Information or To Report a Concern.

©2012 McLeod Health. Download Vendor Code of Conduct | HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices | Patient Bill of Rights
Report a Concern | Visitation | Download McLeod Health Mission & Values