avatar

Marathon-running mom faces rare spinal cord tumor

February 29 is Rare Disease Day

In her third trimester, Aimee Garrison finally became convinced the soreness and tension across herAimee Preg Sloane Jogging stroller shoulder blades and into her back had to be more than just part of being pregnant.

“I had been running and lifting weights all the way up to 26 weeks,” the marathoner from Kalamazoo says, “so I slowed down, but it didn’t get better. Soon I was having trouble sleeping and keeping up with my toddler.”

Eventually, an MRI revealed Aimee was one of the less than 2,000 adults each year who find out they have a spinal cord ependymoma. A tumor the size of a baby carrot had been slowly growing in Aimee’s spinal cord, pushing her spinal cord against her vertebrae. Continue reading

avatar

U-M LVAD patient lives a full life while awaiting heart transplant

Catching up with LaVishia McDonald about life with a left ventricular assist device

Faces-of-Cardiovascular-Disease4

LaVishia McDonald had already given birth to five children, so when her sixth child was born in 2008, she knew her symptoms and extreme fatigue weren’t normal. “I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t breathe. My legs were swollen. I knew something was very wrong,” she remembers.

When her condition didn’t improve, LaVishia’s primary doctor, who suspected a heart condition, recommended she be seen at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Continue reading

avatar

FMD: Racing toward an answer

Motivated patients make a difference in demystifying fibromuscular dysplasia

Pam_Mace_blogAfter suffering a stroke at age 37, Pam Mace, of Gross Ile, learned she had a disease she’d never heard of: fibromuscular dysplasia. The diagnosis would inspire her to start a movement around the hidden threat to middle-aged women.

FMD is a little-known form of vascular disease that puts people at risk for artery blockages, stroke, coronary artery dissection and aneurysm. Because the signs and symptoms are so vague – high blood pressure, headache and swooshing in the ears – it can take years to get the right diagnosis. Continue reading

avatar

Food worries: do I have increased cancer risk if I don’t eat organic?

eat organicPeople recovering from cancer or hoping to lower their risk sometimes worry about chemicals used in conventional agriculture. When you eat organic food is that a smarter option? Here are some facts and tips about organic versus conventional foods, and what you can do to maximize your diet’s health benefits.

Are organic foods better for your health?

When it comes to health benefits, there have not been any direct studies on humans to show that organic foods can prevent cancer – or other diseases – more effectively than conventionally grown foods. So far, there is also no Continue reading

avatar

Cardiac rehab myths: Why some patients don’t follow through

U-M Celebrates National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, Feb. 14 - 20

Cardiovascular_Medicine_Dominosblog

If you’ve had heart surgery or another heart-related procedure, cardiac rehab is likely an important part of your recovery. But national statistics reveal only 10 to 20 percent of those eligible for cardiac rehab actually participate in a program.

Here are some of the cardiac rehab myths that often prevent heart patients from following through:

Myth: I’m not sure rehab is safe for me.

Fact: Some patients shy away from rehab because they’re afraid they are not physically ready. The University of Michigan Cardiac Rehabilitation Program begins with a comprehensive screening process that allows us to catch potential health issues early. That means everyone who is deemed eligible to participate has been fully evaluated. Our staff members are fully educated with extensive cardiac care experience and a focus on safe rehab. Continue reading

avatar

Get the facts about neuropathy

Neuropathy_checkoff_list

About 2-7% of people in the United States have neuropathy, which makes it one of the most common neurologic problems, right after headache. It increases in people who are over the age of 50 or 60, so the older we get, the more likely we are to have this medical condition.

Definition of neuropathy

When most people say “neuropathy,” they mean polyneuropathy or the neuropathy that affects people starting in their feet. People can also have neuropathy in their hands.

Signs and symptoms of neuropathy

People often describe numbness and tingling.

Pain is also a big symptom and it’s something that bothers people more than the other symptoms. It can be an electric pain, a burning pain or a sharp pain, and it’s usually located in a “stocking glove” pattern because it’s like stockings going up your leg and gloves on your hands.

Neuropathy can also cause weakness but that’s usually a much later symptom.  Continue reading