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U-M bicuspid aortic valve patient faces challenges head-on

Thelma Thompson proves to be "one tough woman"

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Photograph by Leisa Thompson

 

Thelma Thompson was never one to shy away from exercise. At 67, she was accustomed to playing 36 holes of golf in a single day. When she noticed she was tiring more easily, Thelma chalked it up to “age.” But she realized her diagnosis was much more serious than she suspected when she suffered a heart attack in 2013. Thelma was shocked to discover her coronary artery was 95 percent blocked. At the same time, she was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve and an aneurysm of her thoracic ascending aorta.

Thelma underwent surgery for her blocked artery at her local hospital, and was then referred to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center in January 2015 for treatment of her bicuspid valve and aortic aneurysm. Continue reading

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Health benefits of dark chocolate

Cocoa can lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and boxes of chocolates spilling over in store aisles everywhere, it’s time to set the record straight about the health benefits of chocolate.

Dark chocolate rich in antioxidants

The good news about chocolate pertains to cocoa — the dark chocolate rich in plant compounds called flavonoids — which originates from seeds from the cacao tree. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants that help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart and brain, raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels and lower “bad” LDL levels — all of which protect against heart attack and stroke. And although cocoa is not considered a health food, it certainly can play a role in helping to keep the heart healthy. Continue reading

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Giving birth – an athletic event?

U-M team studies labor, delivery recovery with sports medicine eye; finds never-before-detected fractures, injuries

PregnantAs a researcher and nurse practitioner helping women recover after giving birth, Janis Miller struggled answering some of the most common questions from new moms.

“Many women say they feel like something has changed ‘down there’,” says Miller, who is faculty at the University of Michigan School of Nursing and part of the Healthy Healing After Delivery clinic at the U-M Health System. “What has happened to me? Is this normal?’ Our best answer so far has been ‘well, you did just give birth.’”

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A dream job: Using digital technology to support healing

jj bouchard digital media mott children's hospitalYou’ve probably heard the warnings.

“Limit screen time for your children.”

“Focus on real experiences vs. screen experiences.”

There are good reasons for these guidelines.

But what about kids who spend long periods of time in hospital rooms, cut off from friends and peers? What about teens who crave even a small sense of normalcy – average teen activities, and even ways to interact with other teens from within the confines of their hospital room? Can “screens” actually be a lifeline in these situations?

That’s where J.J. Bouchard comes in.

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What is gallbladder cancer?

Symptoms act like common digestive problems, so are often overlooked

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Some of the risk factors for gallbladder cancer are a family history, being older, female, or being Mexican American.

Gallbladder cancer is rare. In fact, the American Cancer Society notes there will only be about 4,000 new cases of gallbladder cancer this year. Our gallbladder stores and secretes brownish liquid called bile which aids in the digestion of food. Since the gallbladder is hidden under the liver and not easily seen on imaging or felt, gallbladder cancer is usually discovered in the later stages. Only about 1 of 5 gallbladder cancers is found in the early stages, when the cancer has not yet spread beyond the gallbladder. Continue reading

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The long road to heart transplant

U-M patient shares the pain and joy

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Daniel Silverman has faced death more times that he’d like to think about. But through the years — 21 to be exact — and the many heart-related emergencies he’s experienced, he has never once asked: “Why me?”

This 59-year-old heart transplant patient is especially grateful to be alive today, and is thankful for his heart donor and for the cardiovascular team at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. But the road to his successful heart transplant has been a long and difficult one.

From the beginning

Daniel’s heart issues were first discovered during a routine physical in 1995. While living in Chicago, the then 39-year-old was diagnosed with premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) or irregular heartbeats. He had no symptoms at the time and was treated with ACE inhibitors to keep his heart beating at a steady rhythm. Continue reading