Each year, the first Friday in February is designated as National Wear Red Day. Red is a bold, eye-catching color that symbolizes love and the heart. And so it’s fitting that wearing red on this particular day is intended to raise awareness about heart disease. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is a renowned heart hospital in Las Vegas. This February, we’re proud to support National Wear Red Day, and we encourage our neighbors to take proactive steps to protect their heart health . Our physicians and cardiologists are here to help.
Background of National Wear Red Day
Many men and women still believe that heart disease kills more men than women. But according to the American Heart Association , heart disease results in the deaths of almost half a million women in the U.S. each year.
Since women weren’t receiving the information they needed to make informed decisions for their heart health, the American Heart Association decided to take action. In 2003, the group teamed up with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and created National Wear Red Day.
Progress in heart health
The American Heart Association has credited National Wear Red Day with empowering women to make the healthy lifestyle changes needed to reduce the risk of heart disease. Since 2003, fewer women are dying from heart disease, and many women have:
- Gotten their cholesterol levels checked
- Started or increased exercise
- Changed their diets
- Lost weight
- Spoken with their doctors about heart health
Although this is promising news, there’s a great deal more work to be done, and it starts with you.
Steps you can take
In addition to wearing red this February, make a commitment to support your heart health. Talk to your doctor about screening tests, choose low-sodium meals and get active. Every small change you make now can help you prevent heart disease later.
Call 911 immediately if you think you might be having a heart attack. If you just need to get in touch with a nurse in Las Vegas to request a physician referral, you can call (702) 233-5300. Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is an accredited Chest Pain Center, and offers an atrial fibrillation program and cardiac rehabilitation program.
Cancer is a frightening disease that’s difficult to treat, but there are many screening tests available to check for certain cancers. A screening test is a health exam or lab test performed despite the absence of symptoms. It enables physicians to find potential problems as early as possible. A highly recommended screening for women is the cervical cancer screening, also called the Pap test . If you have any questions or concerns about cervical cancer screenings, a physician at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are here to help you.
When to schedule a Pap test
Women from ages 21 through 65 should receive cervical cancer screenings. The specific guidelines vary, as they are issued by different health organizations. Some of these guidelines are:
- Pap test every three years for women ages 21 to 29
- Pap test and HPV test every five years for women ages 30 to 65
- No Pap tests after age 65 if recent results have been normal
Your doctor may give you guidance that deviates from these guidelines, depending on your health history or risk factors. Always follow your doctor’s suggestion, as they will consider your risk factors and age to provide customized recommendations for scheduling your Pap tests.
How to prepare for your Pap test
Pap tests are straightforward medical exams, but they do require a little preparation. Schedule your appointment for a time when you do not expect to have your period. Do not do any of the following:
- Have sex for 24 hours prior to the appointment
- Use contraceptives with spermicides for 72 hours before the test
- Use vaginal medications, creams or douches for 72 hours beforehand
What to expect from a Pap test
When you arrive at the doctor’s office or hospital, you’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown. You’ll need to remove your underwear. You’ll be given a paper sheet to place over your lap.
When the doctor comes in the exam room, you’ll be asked to lie flat on your back, with your bottom at the edge of the table and your feet in stirrups. The doctor will then perform the following steps:
- Use a sterile tool called a speculum to gently open the vagina
- Insert a small brush or spatula
- Swab a sample of cells from the cervix
- Remove the speculum
It only takes a few minutes to perform a Pap test, although it’s often combined with a general physical exam and breast exam.
Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center is a trusted provider of comprehensive women’s care in Las Vegas. Our state-of-the-art hospital also includes an oncology unit, where patients and their families receive compassionate, personalized services. You can call a nurse at (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral.
Any congenital defect is a medical problem that is present at birth, rather than acquired later in life. A congenital heart defect may affect the heart’s valves or interior walls. This sort of diagnosis is frightening for parents, but in many cases, congenital heart disease is minor and doesn’t cause any symptoms. Even when a heart defect is serious, treatment is available through our Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Genetic risk factors of heart defects
In some cases, heart defects can run in families. It’s possible for a child to have a higher risk of congenital heart disease if a parent also has it, but it’s not a guarantee a parent with a heart defect will pass it along to their child.
Congenital heart disease is often caused by genetic conditions, especially Down syndrome. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute , about half of all children who are born with Down syndrome are also born with congenital heart defects.
Because of the possibility of a genetic cause of heart defects, some couples may choose to undergo genetic counseling. Genetic counseling is best done before pregnancy and works best if both parents do it. It involves testing a sample of blood for genetic problems that might cause heart defects.
Maternal risk factors of heart defects
Smoking during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of heart defects. Alcohol use and the abuse of recreational drugs also increase the risk. More research is needed regarding other possible maternal risk factors, but the following may have some influence:
- Diabetes or lupus
- Rubella infection (German measles)
Unknown cause of heart defects
All too often, the cause of congenital heart disease is unknown. When the cause of a medical condition is unknown, it’s often referred to as “idiopathic.” Individuals who were born with heart defects may decide to participate in research studies later in life, in order to help scientists learn more about the causes and risk factors.
The cardiologists and nurses at Heart Center at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center care for patients as if they were family. Our state-of-the-art heart hospital in Las Vegas provides rapid medical interventions for emergency situations, as well as long-term, supportive care. You can request a physician referral by calling a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.
Seizures occur when there is an abnormality in the activity of the brain. They can cause a variety of symptoms, including unusual behaviors, atypical sensations, loss of awareness and twitching. A seizure can affect anyone, no matter the background. A person who has two or more unprovoked seizures might be diagnosed with epilepsy. These patients need specialized care from a neurologist. In the Las Vegas region, the only dedicated neurosciences program is found at Nevada Neurosciences Institute at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
Inhibition of estrogens in the brain
Epilepsy specialists continually research new, more effective and safer ways of managing seizures . One of the emerging treatments is based on research on estrogens in the brain.
It’s thought that when seizures occur, the hippocampus in the brain is stimulated to generate estrogens. Estrogen is a female sex hormone, but both men and women produce it. Researchers have proposed that the use of medications that inhibit estrogen production may help control seizures.
This research is still in its infancy, and there haven’t been any human studies yet.
Gene therapy for seizure control
Some patients with seizures are found to have genetic mutations that cause the disorder. This discovery has given researchers a new direction to focus on: The use of personalized medicine based on genomics.
The idea behind precision medicine for epilepsy patients is that the specific gene mutation can be isolated and replicated in a laboratory setting. Then, the lab scientists can test different medications against the mutation to find out what will work best. This eliminates the need for the patient to try multiple medications, some of which may cause severe side effects or be ineffective.
MRI-guided laser ablation
When medications aren’t a good option for a patient, implantable devices or surgery may offer a solution. One new treatment option involves the use of real-time MRI-guided thermal imaging with the application of specialized laser technology. It allows neurosurgeons to precisely focus the laser on the diseased tissue of the brain.
Nevada Neurosciences Institute provides world-class care for patients with epilepsy. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas attracts top physicians and specialists because of our reputation for putting patients and their families first. Call (702) 233-5300 to request a physician referral.
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