• When do you need to go to the ER for a stomachache?

    Constipation, food poisoning, viral infections and even emotional stress are all common causes of stomachaches. Usually, stomachaches are minor, and don’t require emergency care. There are a few less common conditions that do need prompt medical attention, however, which you can find at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. Our emergency care team is committed to maintaining ER wait times that are consistently below the national average.

    When it might be appendicitis
    Your appendix is a little pouch that doesn’t appear to have any function in the body. Appendicitis refers to inflammation of the appendix, which can be caused by a blockage that results in an infection.

    Appendicitis is one of the more serious causes of sudden-onset abdominal pain. Usually, emergency care doctors recommend an appendectomy to remove the appendix before it can cause major complications, like a rupture or an abscess.

    When you watch this featured video, you’ll learn that appendicitis usually causes pain in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. It may also cause:

    • Abdominal bloating
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Low-grade fever
    • Constipation or diarrhea
    • Pain that worsens with coughing

    When it might be a gallbladder problem
    The gallbladder is located just underneath the liver . It’s responsible for storing and releasing bile, which is used in the digestion of fats. The most common problem to affect this organ is gallstones, which can be diagnosed by an emergency care physician.

    Some of the possible indicators of gallstones are:

    • Sudden onset of pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen
    • Rapidly worsening pain in the center of the abdomen
    • Pain between the shoulder blades
    • Pain in the right shoulder
    • Nausea and vomiting

    When it might be an ectopic pregnancy
    An ectopic pregnancy is one that implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. It is not medically possible for an ectopic pregnancy to survive, and women will usually require emergency care for this problem.

    Initially, an ectopic pregnancy may only cause the initial symptoms that are typical of any pregnancy, including nausea, breast tenderness and a missed period. Abdominal and pelvic pain, and light vaginal bleeding are usually the first warning signs that something is wrong. Emergency care is needed for these symptoms:

    • Fainting
    • Extreme lightheadedness
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Shoulder pain

    The emergency care physicians and nurses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center respond quickly to relieve the pain of patients in distress. If you’re experiencing a true medical emergency in the Las Vegas area, please call 911 right away instead of trying to drive yourself to our ER. A registered nurse, available at (702) 233-5300, is happy to answer general healthcare questions and provide physician referrals.

  • Make Thanksgiving a healthier holiday for your family

    For most American families, Thanksgiving is all about the food. Even if you have diabetes, heart disease or obesity, you can still eat, drink and be merry—in moderation. It’s hard to make major changes to a traditional menu, but there are some small changes you can make to improve its nutritional value for the whole family. If you’d like to consult a diabetes educator or a registered dietitian, the experts at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are always available to provide personalized, patient-centered guidance.

    Start the day with healthy choices

    Some people like to skip breakfast and lunch so they can fill up on the Thanksgiving dinner. This isn’t healthy, especially for diabetics.

    Instead, eat a small, fiber-rich breakfast like oatmeal flavored with a little nut butter for protein. Choose a salad for lunch, topped with tuna.

    Ask your family members to join you in some pre-feast exercise. Go for a family bicycle ride or take a stroll along a parade route, if your area is hosting one. Some areas, including Las Vegas, routinely host Turkey Trot fun runs.

    Ditch the cheese platter

    Cheese platters may be traditional for many families, but they also make it too easy to load up on fat-laden cheese and crackers. Instead, serve an array of fresh veggies with a bowl of hummus.

    Serve a healthier Thanksgiving feast

    In recent years, the deep-fried turkey trend has gained traction. Do your heart a favor and roast your bird instead. Remember to use an internal thermometer to ensure that it is fully cooked.

    Serve healthier starting courses for Thanksgiving , like curried butternut squash soup. Cook sweet potato dishes with pineapple and spices, instead of brown sugar and butter. Other healthy choices are:

    • Sautéed green beans with garlic

    • Roasted Brussels sprouts with red onion wedges

    • Mushroom and barley stuffing

    Enjoy sensible desserts

    Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without pie. Consider making crustless pumpkin pie with artificial sweeteners. Or, serve ginger pumpkin mousse in individual ramekins to aid with portion control.

    As an HCA-affiliated hospital, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is committed to healthcare excellence. From our emergency care doctors to our diabetes educators , we offer the specialized medical services Las Vegas families need to live well. Contact a registered nurse at our hospital at (702) 233-5300.

  • 4 steps to take toward lung cancer prevention

    In the U.S., more men and women die from lung cancer than from any other type of cancer. One of the reasons why lung cancer is so deadly is because it’s often not diagnosed until it’s already in the later stages. At Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center , we’re working to change that by connecting patients to the health education and resources they need, including lung cancer screenings. Not every risk factor is changeable—like past exposure to Agent Orange—but many of them are. Your physician can help you learn about preventive steps to take.

    Ask your doctor about getting screened
    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that some adults have lung cancer screenings. This is done with low-dose computed tomography technology. Your doctor can determine whether lung cancer screening is appropriate for you .

    Annual screening is usually recommended for adults who meet all of the following criteria:

    • Aged 55 to 80 years
    • Current smokers or have quit within the past 15 years
    • People with a 30 pack-year history of smoking

    One pack-year is the equivalent of smoking one pack per day for one year. This means it’s possible to accrue 30 pack-years in just 15 actual years, if you habitually smoke two packs per day.

    Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
    If you haven’t already, quit smoking now. Each cigarette you smoke reduces your life expectancy a little bit more. It’s never easy to overcome an addiction, but it’s far easier to quit than to endure lung cancer and its treatments.

    Your doctor can help you put together a smoking cessation action plan, which might include:

    • Nicotine replacement products
    • Medications
    • Mental health counseling
    • Support groups

    If you don’t smoke, don’t start, and avoid secondhand and thirdhand smoke. Don’t allow anyone to smoke in or near your home or car.

    Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
    A good diet isn’t a substitute for quitting smoking, but eating lots of vegetables and fruits may offer some protection. Getting vitamins and minerals from food sources is preferable to taking supplements, especially for smokers. There is some evidence to suggest that taking large doses of vitamins in pill form may actually increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

    Test your home for radon
    Radon is a naturally occurring gas that you can’t detect with your eyes or nose. Your home could have high levels of radon, which increases the risk of lung cancer. You can purchase a home testing kit to find out if your family is at risk.

    You’ll find the advanced medical services you need with the compassionate care you deserve at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. We connect Las Vegas-area residents to cutting-edge cancer care and diagnostic imaging tests. You can request a referral to a physician by calling (702) 233-5300.

  • Which medical conditions increase your risk of Alzheimer’s?

    The rates of Alzheimer’s disease are nearing epidemic proportions. It’s no overstatement to say that Alzheimer’s is devastating for families, especially for family caregivers who find themselves trapped between caring for aging parents and young children. If you’re one of those family caregivers, you should know that a strong family history of Alzheimer’s disease can increase your own risk. If you’re concerned about your future health, the physicians at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are here to help.

    Head trauma
    Head injuries are caused by falls, car accidents, sports collisions and acts of violence. They can cause severe short-term problems, like loss of consciousness, confusion and dizziness. Long-term health problems are also possible, especially if the brain injury is severe.

    One of those long-term effects could be an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The research is ongoing, and there is no conclusive evidence yet.

    However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association , people who have sustained moderate brain injuries have a 2.3 times greater risk of Alzheimer’s than people who haven’t had any traumatic brain injuries. The same study suggests that people who have had severe brain injuries have a 4.5 times greater risk of Alzheimer’s.

    This risk, along with the other complications of traumatic brain injuries, highlights the importance of protecting the delicate brain. The following precautions are recommended:

    • Always wear a seatbelt
    • Reduce tripping hazards in the home
    • Avoid alcohol intoxication
    • Wear appropriate sports protective equipment

    Cardiovascular conditions
    If you’re a patient at a heart hospital, then you may have already heard that the lifestyle choices that are good for your heart are also good for your brain. Blood vessels nourish the brain with a steady supply of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. But damage to the blood vessels and other cardiovascular problems might increase the risk of brain health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

    Beware of the following risk factors that may be linked to Alzheimer’s:

    • High cholesterol
    • Atherosclerosis
    • High blood pressure
    • Overweight and obesity

    Down syndrome
    Down syndrome occurs when a person has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This chromosome contains the APP gene, which manufactures amyloid precursor protein. Excessively high levels of this protein can contribute to beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.

    This is why nearly all people with Down syndrome have beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles by the time they reach age 40. It isn’t inevitable that these individuals will have Alzheimer’s, but their risk is elevated significantly.

    Nevada Neurosciences Institute at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is widely known for being a pioneer in brain injury and disease research. We are also a world-class heart hospital, with compassionate and comprehensive patient support services. Residents of Las Vegas can contact a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral.