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Recent blog posts

New Mammography Study: Too Much Mammography? No!

Posted on in Cancer

Medically Reviewed by
Noel Phipps, MD

In early February 2014, the Canadian National Breast Cancer Study published an article in the British Medical Journal, essentially saying, “Long-term follow-up does not support (mammogram) screening in women under 60.”

Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for stroke, making a person 5 times more likely to suffer stroke. 

WHAT IS IT?  Atrial Fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat. It is caused when the two upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat rapidly and unpredictably, producing a changeable heartbeat. 

A woman’s uterus is held in place in her pelvis by muscles and ligaments. However, aging, menopause and pregnancy can weaken the support, allowing the uterus to drop into the vagina. This is prolapse.

“Symptoms of pelvic prolapse range from a low backache to painful sexual intercourse and frequent urination,” says McLeod Gynecologist Dr. Brad Campbell. “In the most severe cases, a woman’s organs can appear outside her vagina.”

Here’s a quick multiple-choice quiz. Given the topic of the article, we’re expecting a perfect score.

Question:  Which of the following is the greatest cause of the extraordinary increase in hip and knee replacement surgeries:

A temporary fluttering in the chest.  An extra or skipped beat.  This is something that almost everyone has experienced.  It's usually nothing but could be a sign of something more serious. 

The Problem. Think of the heart like a machine that requires electrical impulses to travel through it in a certain path to keep blood pumping regularly.  When the impulses don’t travel in the correct path, the heart’s chambers (2 upper atriums, 2 lower ventricles) don’t expand and contract in a coordinated manner. A rapid beating in the upper chambers prevents the heart from pumping blood adequately to the lower chambers. At times the heart may beat too fast or too slowly. 

Medically reviewed by Wallace Vaught, MD

“I gotta go. I gotta go! Oops. I didn’t make it.”   It’s not funny. It’s a struggle that some 15 million American men and women struggle with everyday: urge incontinence – the sudden feeling of a need to urinate even if the bladder is not full. Even a rush to the nearest bathroom may not be fast enough to avoid urine leakage from their overactive bladder.

Young Women Beware of an ACL Tear

Posted on in Orthopedics

A pop! The sound of cracking! A feeling of glass breaking!  Descriptions may differ. But each represents the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee joint – a problem that is 8 times more likely to affect teenage females than males.

What is an ACL Tear?  The ACL is one of four ligaments that stabilize the knee.  It’s a rubber band-like fiber about the size of your little finger that runs through the knee joint, attaching the thigh to the shin.

The waiting room air crackled with anxiety. Beth paged through an old Red Book magazine not really paying attention to the articles. Across the room, Rhonda checked her watch to see how long she’d been waiting. Both had the same thought: “Will I be able to get pregnant?”

Beth was diagnosed with fibroids, a tumor-like, non-cancerous growth in her uterus. Rhonda’s last visit confirmed that she had endometriosis, where the material that normally grows as a lining in the uterus, starts growing outside.

A person’s heart has four valves. Two of them do the most work.  The mitral valve pumps blood between the heart’s two left chambers. The aortic valve controls blood flowing from your heart into the body’s main blood vessel. 

Two common problems happen with valves.  In one case, the valve can’t close properly.  In the other, the valve opening narrows, limiting the amount of blood that can flow through.

Finding the right surgeon for knee or hip joint replacement is much the same as finding any other doctor or specialist. Ask your other physicians. Find people who have had total joint replacement surgery. 

Yet, ironically, the sources that may be in question – according to the Harvard Medical School Publications – are third-party rating sites.

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.”

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