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Heart Disease Prevention
last updated:
Fri, 11/05/2010 10:24 AM

Weight gain and and an inactive lifestyle can influence heart diseases. These also increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and increased blood cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. Knowing how to maintain or lose weight and also to maintain cardiac (heart) fitness is important.

Tips on Calories:

  1. The formula for losing or gaining weight is generally simple. If you burn more calories than you take in, you'll lose weight because the calories are used up and your body begins burning fat instead. If you take in more calories than you burn, the extra calories are converted to fat and are stored in the body.
  2. Use up at least as many calories as you take in.   
  3. Find out how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. 
  4. Don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day. 
  5. Increase the amount and intensity of your physical activity to match the number of calories you take in. 
  6. Regular physical activity can help you maintain your weight, keep off weight that you lose and help you reach physical and cardiovascular fitness. 
  7. For weight maintenance, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you can’t do at least 30 minutes at one time, you can add up 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

Tips on Physical Activity:

  1. Being active brings many benefits for your heart and your health.
  2. Regular exercise improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  3. It also reduces risk for diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, depression, and colon and breast cancer
  4. Try to live an active lifestyle: incorporate as much physical movement into your usual daily activities as you can. For example, decide to take the stairs instead of riding the elevator; try not to drive to a nearby shop, and instead try walking to the shop. 
  5. How much activity do you need?  At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. For losing weight, 30 to 60 minutes moderate physical activity is required on most days.

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Dr. Santhosh K.G. Koshy, DM, FACC, FSCAI is the Director of Interventional Cardiology and Director of UT services at Methodist Healthcare and the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, Tenn. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

Discovering a Brain Aneurysm
last updated:
Thu, 11/04/2010 10:36 AM

Just ten or twenty years ago it was relatively rare to discover an aneurysm in someone’s brain before it caused a problem. The majority of the aneurysm patients that doctors saw were those whose aneurysms had ruptured. These days patients get CT or MRI scans for a variety of problems like headaches and sinus infections. Some of these scans show aneurysms that have nothing to do with the reason for the scan.

Since I am a neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of brain aneurysms, may be sent to see me. Most weeks I see several patients with incidentally discovered aneurysms. These patients are often frightened and in need of information and advice. There are a lot of physicians like me who do research to understand how best to treat you and also spend time on counseling and treating.

Aneurysms are weak spots on the sides of arteries underneath the brain. Imagine that you are buying a garden hose. When the manufacturer made this particular hose, they made a mistake and there is a spot on the side of the hose where the rubber is thinned. On this spot the rubber is as thin as a balloon instead of thick like the rubber on a hose should be. When you get the hose home and start using it, it works fine. Over time, however, as you turn the water pressure on and off repeatedly, that thin spot bulges so that there is a small water balloon on the side of the hose. We think that brain aneurysms form in a similar way. You may have been born with a thin spot on an artery but over time as blood has flown through the artery this spot has become a small, thin-walled sac hanging off of the side of the artery. We know that some drugs, like nicotine, can increase the risk of aneurysms growing or rupturing.

So if you or a friend has had an aneurysm discovered in your brain “incidentally,” or during a scan for something else, then you may be coming to see me or someone like me. I will probably talk to you about how important it is to stop smoking; the last thing you want to do is to increase the risk of the aneurysm growing or rupturing. We will review what factors might make this particular aneurysm more safe or more dangerous together. I might want better pictures of the aneurysm before giving you definitive advice about whether to treat it or not. Whatever you decide, make sure that you get good advice and understand your options so that you can get the best care possible.

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Dr. Adam Arthur is the Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery at the Methodist University Hospital Neuroscience Institute. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

How to Survive a Heart Attack
last updated:
Mon, 10/25/2010 4:01 PM

Fast action is the best weapon against heart attack! Artery opening treatments can stop a heart attack in its tracks. They can prevent or limit heart damage–but they need to be able to be performed as soon as possible after the symptoms begin.

  • Chewing and swallowing a 325 mg aspirin can reduce damage to the heart if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Call 911 and get the person to the hospital as soon as possible.

Know the Early Symptoms of Heart Attacks

Early warning signs are present in nearly 50% of all heart attacks. Symptoms are usually present 24 hours before the attack but can occur 2-3 weeks beforehand. Symptoms are typically intermittent lasting from a few minutes to a few hours, followed by a pain-free period before the acute attack.

Non-specific signs include:

  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Clammy/sweating
  • Nausea
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness/nervousness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Neck/back/jaw pain
  • Feeling of doom

Specific signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Chest pressure
  • Chest ache
  • Chest burning
  • Chest fullness

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense—like the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.

Immediately call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you. As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives—maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive—up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.

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Jennifer Hutzel is a Registered Nurse at the Methodist North Chest Pain Center. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Call 888.777.5959 for more information.

Transplant Support Group in Memphis
last updated:
Tue, 10/12/2010 2:20 PM

Join us for Methodist’s own transplant support group, Living Kindly!

This group meets the second Thursday of each month at 3:30pm located on the Thomas Wing in Methodist University Hospital on the 10th Floor in the 10 Thomas Conference Room. Pre and Post Transplant Patients, Family Members and Caregivers are welcome!

If you or a family member is interested in learning more about transplant medications, please join us at 3:00 p.m. prior to each group.

ONLY THREE DATES LEFT THIS YEAR! This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to learn more about transplantation.

  • Oct 14
  • Nov 11
  • Dec 9

Food and beverages are served and parking is free. Find out more about our transplant support group in Memphis, Tenn.

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Melissa Moore is a transplant coordinator for the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, contact the Transplant Institute at transplant@methodisthealth.org. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Locate a transplant surgeon in Tennessee or call 866.805.7710 for more information.

8 Reminders for Pre Transplant Clinic
last updated:
Tue, 4/20/2010 11:46 AM
  1. Update your phone numbers. This is such an important factor for the pre transplant nurses to have so they can update your file. The nurses at the pre transplant clinic need updated phone numbers on file so that we may contact you, especially if we get an organ donation offer.
  2. Always bring your medications or an updated list of meds you are taking so the nurse can verify for any changes. Medications can change during your evaluation and listing period, so it is important for the nurses to know exactly what you are taking.
  3. Bring your insurance card so that we can put the information on the chart. This information can change during your evaluation and listing period too, so please contact the center if your benefits change.
  4. Bring a support person. This is always helpful due to the amount of information that you will be given on your visit. Having someone else to help you remember and store everything will make your visits easier.
  5. Bring the names and numbers of other providers/physicians that are caring for you. Many times we will need to send a release of information to obtain other testing that may have been done at an outside facility. This will help with your evaluation and may prevent ordering unnecessary testing.
  6. Annual testing reports such as mammogram and pap smear should be with you. Women over 18 will need annual pap smears and women over 40 will need annual mammogram reports. Having these available may reduce your time in work up and facilitate your listing with UNOS.
  7. Be on time for your visits. We want to give you as much time as possible to go through your evaluation and ask any questions. We don’t want to rush you and this will show our staff your desire to work with us for your organ transplantation.
  8. Bring a list of questions you may have regarding transplant. Write these down prior to your visit so we don’t miss anything. Even with a good memory, it’s sometimes hard to recall questions you’ve thought about before your visit. We’re here to answer questions and support you through your organ transplant. If you have a question about a specific type of organ transplant, take a look these pages on Kidney Transplant, Liver Transplant, Pancreas Transplant and Kidney-Pancreas Transplant.

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Melissa is a transplant coordinator for the Mehtodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, contact the Transplant Institute at transplant@methodisthealth.org. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Locate a transplant surgeon in Tennessee or call 866.805.7710 for more information.

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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000

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