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Recent blog posts

From an interview with Alan Blaker, M.D. Pee Dee Cardiology

Problems with the heart come in many shapes and sizes.  During February – Heart Month 2014 – McLeod Cardiologist Alan Blaker describes the various problems a person might experience:

From an interview with Virginia Clyburn-Ipock, MD McLeod Radiation Therapy

Today’s radiation therapy for cancer uses computerized, multiple streams of highly focused beams to improve survival, reduce side effects and reduce the number of treatments needed.

Medically reviewed by Adam Ploeg, MS, ATC

Ray loved weekend pick up football games. The competition. The excitement. The flashback to his high school football days. He’d stop, turn quickly and leap to catch a pass.  Then… snap, pop. Ow! What happened?  Ray fell to the ground with a stabbing pain in the back of his ankle. Ray’s not in high school anymore and his season is over.  Like many 30 to 50 year-old recreational athletes -- who run, or play basketball and football – Ray has torn his Achilles tendon.

From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Worn or leaking heart valves do not cause an emergency that a sudden heart attack does.  When you have a leaking heart valve, you will feel a range of symptoms increasing fatigue, swollen feet and shortness of breath. As McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD explains, your options are clear:

Medically reviewed by Charles Tatum, MD

“Another morning with pain,” groaned Marla as she awoke, thinking this was the third day in a row she felt this bad. Marla was having her period, but even between periods, Marla felt discomfort in her pelvic area. A hint that it was more than her period. If you feel discomfort (at best) and real pain (at worst) along with serious bleeding during your period, you’d see your gynecologist. Right? Not necessarily, says the research. A series of studies around the world report a delay of more than 9 years from the time a woman first feels the effects of endometriosis until treatment begins. Endometriosis is the result of tissue that normally grows inside the uterus, beginning to grow outside. 

From an interview with Virginia Clyburn-Ipock, MD McLeod Radiation Therapy

Today’s radiation technology can improve cancer treatments and limit side effects.  Radiation Therapist Dr. Virginia Clyburn-Ipock discusses:

From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Our heart has four valves, basically flaps that ensure the blood keeps flowing in the correct direction.  When these valves start to leak you experience symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and swollen feet. Although many heart-related problems can be addressed with life style changes or medication, leaking heart valve treatment will eventually lead to a surgeon, says McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD:

Medically reviewed by Gary Emerson, MD

What you eat. And how much. What you drink. And how much. Training for when you go to the bathroom. And how often. Special exercises for your pelvic muscles. “Call them lifestyle modification or behavioral intervention. These are the first tools we’ll use when we work with you to control your bladder control problem,” says McLeod Gynecologist Gary Emerson, MD.  “Whether it’s stress incontinence – leakage when you cough or sneeze – or urge incontinence – that feeling you “have to go” triggering a rush to the bathroom – nearly 4 out of 10 women will find some relief before moving to medications or surgery.”

Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Sutton

Total Hip Joint Replacement remains one of the most common and most successful Orthopedic approaches for people with hip problems,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Sutton of McLeod Orthopaedics Dillon.  “Your surgeon replaces the injured or arthritic top of the leg (femur) with a stem and ball.  A cup is set into the hip to complete the cup-and-ball joint.” Another lesser known, but occasionally discussed, repair for a bad hip is called resurfacing.  In this procedure, a cup section is still set into the hip.  However, rather than sawing off the top of the femur and replacing it with a metal stem and ball, the top of the leg bone is resurfaced and a cap is placed over it.

From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

The ability to operate inside the heart on small valves – tissue flaps that keep blood flowing in the correct direction – is an amazing medical development that returns the quality of life to thousands of patients. Equally amazing are the developments in technology and technique that have improved outcomes and the life of repaired or replaced heart valves, as explained by McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD:

Medically reviewed by Brad Campbell, MD

If you’re suffering from a pelvic health problem – incontinence, fibroidsendometriosis – you don’t need a pile of research to tell you that your whole life is affected. Physical symptoms – urine leakage, pain, bleeding – are just the start. The physical problems trigger anxiety, embarrassment, and insomnia that fall like a shroud over your entire life. Stick with us. There’s good news yet to come. But first, a look at what women – like you – said about their overall quality of life.

Treating Colon Cancer for a Longer Life

Posted on in Cancer

Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Spurling, M.D.

The colon is the four to six feet of the large intestine and an important part of your digestive system. With the broad range of "bad for us" foods we impose on the colon – nachos, pizza, fries, steak, and BBQ to name just a few – it’s no surprise that colon cancer strikes 1 in 18 Americans.

Stress Fractures in Feet Need Treatment and Care

Posted on in Orthopedics

Medically reviewed by Adam Ploeg, MS, ATC McLeod Sports Medicine 

A runner, a military recruit and a basketball player may be different in their type of activity but all can experience pain in their feet due to a stress fracture. It is a cross-section of the most common people who might suffer from the orthopedic issue of a stress fracture. Women seem to be more at risk than men. 

Preventing Colon Cancer

Posted on in Cancer

Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Spurling, M.D.

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. However, it is also one cancer that can be prevented with regular screening through colonoscopy. “Most cancer in the colon – the first four to six feet of the large intestine -- develops from non-cancerous polyps,” says McLeod Gastroenterologist Dr. Timothy J. Spurling. “It takes 10 to 15 years for a polyp to turn into cancer. So, if you have a colonoscopy or other screening test every five to 10 years, we should be able to catch any problem early.”

Medically reviewed by Rodney Alan, MD McLeod Orthopedics

Three things to know about pain management following a knee or hip joint replacement: One, you WILL feel better after your total knee replacement or hip joint replacement when you are fully recovered. Two, your medical team will use advancements in postoperative pain management to control your pain while you are in the hospital. And three, you should expect some discomfort when you return home. 

Heart Valve Surgery, Recovery – An Overview

Posted on in Heart Health

From an interview with Michael Carmichael, MD McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates

Think you might be facing heart valve surgery – or know someone who is?  Learn what to expect in this overview from McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Michael Carmichael, MD:

Medically reviewed by Pat Denton, MD Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

Your doctor lifts your arms up over your head. Then, you are asked to slowly drop your arms down by your side. Both arms slowly move until they are straight out from the shoulder.  As you continue, one arm just falls quickly to your side. Sometimes a diagnosis does not require the use of diagnostic testing equipment. In this case, the simple (and simply named) “Drop Arm Test” can tell your Orthopedic Specialist if an important group of muscles in your shoulder – the rotator cuff -- is torn. 

Medically reviewed by Brad Campbell, MD

Two out of 3 women never discuss bladder health or incontinence with their doctor. Shyness. Embarrassment. Shame. A feeling that, “it’s just part of growing old.” Or not knowing which medical professional can help. All these are reasons you may suffer in silence with stress incontinence or urge incontinence  – wearing pads, limiting your social life, or continually searching for a public restroom. Gynecologists are trained to help you with this problem – one that occurs in 40% of women after giving birth.  

Medically reviewed by T. Rhett Spencer, MD

For a man, the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer can be devastating. The concern is not so much for his ultimate survival (five-year survival rates are almost 100%; and at 10 years, almost 99%.). It’s the specter of potential treatment side effects that strike directly at his “manhood” -- possible incontinence and erectile dysfunction. “Newer treatments, plus technical advances in surgery and radiation therapy, can reduce the side effects,” says McLeod Radiation Oncologist Dr. T. Rhett Spencer.  “Understanding the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer is important, because early treatment can also help limit the side effects.”

Medically reviewed by Dr. Pat Denton Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates

“So,” you ask, “why are we talking about ski and snowboard injuries when we are in the Southeast?” Those who enjoy snow sports on a regular basis and often every year know what to expect.  However, if you live in the South and plan an occasional ski trip, it is like a Northerner who takes a beach trip once a year, the unexpected can leave you hurting. The following tips will help you know what to expect and what to avoid so that you can have a safer, enjoyable trip.

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