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Posted on: 8/18/2015

Looking Out for the Warning Signs of Stroke

When it comes to stroke treatment, time is an important factor in the outcome of every case. Time lost in seeking emergency care for stroke can lead to a more significant loss of healthy brain cells, which will increase the chances of fatality or long-term disability. In order to be sure that you will find the appropriate care for stroke when you or a loved one needs it, read on to familiarize yourself with the most common signs of stroke.

Body language

Often during a stroke, the muscles on one side of the body will become weak or numb, causing one arm to drift downward when both arms are lifted. The face may also show signs of stroke with an uneven smile or droopiness on one side.

Speech difficulties

Along with the visual signs of stroke, you should look for changes in a person’s speech. Someone suffering from a stroke may not be able to repeat simple statements or answer basic questions. The person may have slurred speech or become very difficult to understand, as stroke often has an impact on the brain’s ability to process and produce language.

Changes in vision and balance

There are some signs of stroke that will be more internal for the patient. For example, stroke may cause sudden difficulty seeing clearly out of one or both eyes. There may also be a loss of balance or dizziness that creates trouble walking or standing. Finally, stroke might cause a sudden, severe headache.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering a stroke, call 911 right away. For more resources to help you manage your stroke risk and take charge of your emergency care, connect with Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. You can reach us by calling (504) 988-5263 to speak with one of our registered nurses.

Posted on: 4/20/2015

Identifying Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

Smoke shaped as human lungs.

Could you be at risk for lung cancer? Knowing your lung cancer risk factors will help you and your doctor make important decisions about cancer screenings. At Tulane Medical Center, we offer testing and care for lung cancer in our Pulmonary Clinic and Tulane Cancer Center. Get a better understanding of your risk of developing lung cancer by considering how the following risk factors apply to you.

Smoking

Smoking is definitively the top risk factor for lung cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 90% of lung cancer cases in the United States are tied to smoking. Smokers are between 15 and 30 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers, and the longer a person smokes, the more that risk increases. This is because of the more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 70 have been found to cause cancer in either people or animals. The dangers of smoking aren’t limited to smokers themselves, however. Secondhand smoke is also linked to lung cancer. Each year in the United States, approximately 7,300 non-smokers die from lung cancer tied to their exposure to secondhand smoke.

Radon Exposure

Radon, a gas that occurs naturally in rocks and dirt, can sometimes accumulate in buildings and homes. Radon can’t be seen, tasted, or smelled, but the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that close to one in 15 U.S. homes has elevated radon levels. Because radon exposure is tied to about 20,000 lung cancer cases each year, the EPA recommends testing home radon levels.

History of Lung Cancer

If you have an immediate family member with lung cancer, you are at greater risk of developing the disease because you may have been exposed to the same risk factors. In addition, if you have survived a past bout of lung cancer, you have an increased risk of developing another case, particularly if you smoke.

Visit the Pulmonary Center or Tulane Cancer Center at Tulane Medical Center for lung cancer screenings and treatments. Our New Orleans hospital is also home to a comprehensive range of other healthcare services, including robotic surgery, orthopedic care, and cardiology. Learn more by calling us today at (504) 302-0664. 

Posted on: 4/9/2015

Common Questions about Sports Injuries

soccer injured

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to suffer from a sports injury. Everyone from beginners to fitness experts can experience painful injuries while working out or playing sports. There are several different factors that can contribute to sports injuries, but the good news is that most people can recover completely without the need for orthopedic surgery. What do you need to know about sports injuries? Here are the answers to some common questions.

What Causes Sports Injuries?

While the specific causes of injuries vary, most can be traced back to a few factors. Poor conditioning, including failure to warm up and stretch before being active, is a common cause of injury. Not wearing the proper protective gear is another major problem. In other cases, players take all of the proper steps, but become injured through an accident. While you can’t prevent accidents, you can reduce your odds of having a sports injury by focusing on conditioning, using proper form, and always wearing protective gear.

How Are Acute and Chronic Injuries Different?

An acute injury is one that happens very suddenly during the course of play. A broken bone and sudden onset of pain are common examples of acute injuries. Chronic injuries come on slowly after you’ve been playing a sport or doing a particular exercise for an extended period of time. Chronic injuries may cause pain while you’re active as well as when you are at rest, and often get worse over time.  

What Treatments Are Available for Sports Injuries?

It’s important to never try to fight through pain or an injury while playing sports, as you could cause further damage. In some cases, rest and ice are all that are required to treat an injury. In other cases, physical therapy and pain medications may be used. Severe injuries may require orthopedic surgery. It is important to visit a doctor after any sports injury to determine what type of treatment is required for optimal recovery.

If you experience a sports injury, start the healing at Tulane Medical Center. In addition to providing acute care, our orthopedic surgery team can repair a range of sports injuries using the latest techniques, including robotic surgery, to get you back in the game. Find out more about the services at our New Orleans hospital, from cardiology to back surgery, by calling (504) 302-0664. 

Posted on: 3/13/2015

What Is PAD?

3d rendered medical illustration of a human heart

Millions of Americans suffer from cardiovascular conditions such as peripheral artery disease (PAD). Cardiologists diagnose this condition in a person who has plaque accumulation in the arteries of the legs. Plaque buildup inhibits the healthy flow of blood. Cardiologists warn that patients who have PAD may also be more likely to have plaque buildup in the coronary arteries, which lead to the heart, along with the blood vessels that lead to the brain. This increases the risk of life-threatening cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

If you’ve been diagnosed with PAD, there are a number of ways you can treat your condition. If you smoke, it’s important to quit promptly. You can also follow a meal plan that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Individuals with PAD may experience tiredness, cramping, or pain in the legs, particularly after walking or climbing stairs. However, starting an exercise program can help you combat PAD. Talk to your doctor about gradually beginning a walking program. A cardiologist might also prescribe medications such as statins. Sometimes, surgery is necessary.

Patients throughout New Orleans who suffer from PAD or other cardiovascular conditions can find the help they need at Tulane Medical Center. You can reach our cardiology center by calling (504) 302-0664.

Posted on: 3/4/2015

Can You Hurt Someone Doing CPR?

Cardiologists often hear that people are afraid that they might inadvertently hurt someone if they perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) incorrectly. In fact, if that person’s breathing has ceased and heartbeat has stopped, doing CPR can only help. Survival rates of adverse cardiology events drop about 10 percent for each minute that passes without administration of CPR.

As you’ll learn by watching this video, hurting someone by doing chest compressions is a very rare occurrence. However, even if you do fracture a rib, you can save that person’s life. This video follows the story of Jessica, who collapsed when she was 14. Her mom immediately administered CPR, likely saving her life.

The cardiology team at Tulane Medical Center is ready to respond promptly in the event of an emergency situation. New Orleans residents who wish to learn more about our cardiology services may call (504) 302-0664.

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