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Decrease your risk of dying from heart disease

Eating more produce is the key, studies say

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Everyone knows the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but could consuming more servings of produce actually decrease your risk of dying from heart disease?

Although one apple a day is certainly a good start, the latest research suggests that higher fruit and vegetable intake helps decrease your risk of death from heart disease. One study found that each additional serving of fruits and vegetables cut heart disease death by 4 percent. This means that getting 5 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis may decrease your chance of dying from heart disease by 20 percent! Continue reading

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Concussions and student athletes: Get the facts from medical researchers

 

With the recent release of the movie “Concussion”, concussions, particularly in athletes, have become the center of public and media conversations.

Concussions are an important health issue and should certainly be taken seriously. But it’s also important to remember that care from a medical professional with expertise in concussion diagnosis and treatment can generally result in a positive outcome for the patient.

Steps have been taken by schools, medical professionals and legislators around the country to help bring awareness to concussions. Continue reading

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High blood pressure and cold meds

Decongestants can pose a dangerous risk to those with hypertension

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Cold medicines are not off-limits if you have heart disease, but if you have high blood pressure or hypertension, you should check the label carefully when picking a medicine to fight a cold or flu. Make sure the medication you are taking is free of decongestants — such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, phenylephrine, naphazoline and oxymetazoline — which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate.

Decongestants can also prevent your blood pressure medication from working properly. And always read the active and inactive ingredient lists because many medications are high in sodium, which also raises blood pressure.

Ask your doctor for suggestions about other ways to ease your symptoms, including taking Coricidin HBP, which is free of decongestants. Continue reading

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Ignition interlocks offer solution for reducing drunk driving

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The New Year’s Eve holiday means parties and get-togethers with friends…and more opportunities to drive while intoxicated.

As an emergency physician, I often see patients and families on the worst days of their lives. In April of this past year, I came closer to experiencing what could have been the worst day of my life.

On a Friday afternoon that spring, an individual with two prior drunk driving arrests, no driver’s license and a borrowed vehicle, chose once more to drink and drive. He left the highway at a curve and rumbled straight across over 100 feet of grass without braking, smashing his 6,000 pound pickup truck through the playroom wall of my son’s daycare.

Fortunately, as it was the end of the day and a warm spring afternoon, most of those in the center were either outside or near the exit preparing to go home. Some, however, were only one thin wall away from being crushed by the truck.

Since that crash, I have gone through a range of emotions. I was relieved. I was angry. However, as an emergency physician, I ultimately wanted to seek out a solution.  Continue reading

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At Mott when it mattered

danno schneiderLike many families, the reality of how fortunate we are to live near one of the country’s top ranked children’s hospitals was not something we ever really thought about.  That all changed when Danno came into our lives.

During a routine ultrasound while I was pregnant with twins last year, the doctor discovered that the heart of one of the twins was not developing properly. We learned even before he was born that our son, Daniel (eventually nicknamed Danno after we all fell in love with our 2-year-old’s attempts to pronounce his baby brother’s name) had a congenital heart defect. The exact diagnosis was double outlet right ventricle with pulmonary atresia and a large ventricular septal defect.  It’s a mouthful, and we were frightened, but knew we were in good hands at University of Michigan.

In early October, I was admitted to U-M’s Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital because my twin boys were beginning to show signs of distress. The doctors decided to deliver them on October 27 at 34 weeks gestational age.

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U-M patient counts blessings each Christmas

Catching up with U-M patient Don Heydens after treatment in 2007 for life-threatening aneurysm

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Each Christmas Eve, Don Heydens and his wife, Ellen, reflect on what could have been the last night of Don’s life. He’s been marking the anniversary of his descending thoracic aortic aneurysm for 10 years now and each time, he counts his blessings that he’s alive.

On Christmas Eve 2004, Don returned from a relative’s home and found he had plenty of gift-wrapping to do, keeping him up later than normal. For this, he is grateful. “I began to lose feeling in my hands and feet, then in my legs and arms,” he says. “If I had gone to bed, I may not have been aware of what was happening.” Don called his sister, a registered nurse, who understood the severity of his condition and advised him to call 911 immediately. Continue reading