Learn the factors that increase your risk of developing this cancer.

Ovarian cancer strikes only a small percentage of women, but it can be deadly. It causes more deaths than any cancer of the female reproductive system. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to learn the factors that increase a woman's chance of developing the disease.

Factors You Can’t Control

  • Genetics – mutations in genes called BRCA1 and 2 are linked to higher rates of ovarian cancer. Other genetic mutations can lead to Lynch Syndrome. While more closely associated with colorectal cancer, it can be a factor with ovarian cancer too.
  • Family history – if any close female relatives have had ovarian or breast cancer, your chances of developing ovarian cancer are higher.
  • Personal medical history – if you had or have breast cancer or certain other cancers (including melanoma and uterine cancer), your risk increases. Taking estrogen alone after menopause for hormone replacement therapy also boosts the risks.
  • Reproductive history – if you cannot (or choose not to) have children, you might be at higher risk. Each full-term pregnancy a woman has reduces her chance of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Age – most ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women who have gone through menopause.

Lifestyle Choices and Other Controllable Factors

  • Diet – a low-fat diet has been tied to lower rates of ovarian cancer.
  • Fertility drugs – women who are at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer should avoid clomiphene citrate (Clomid), as this drug has shown to further increase your risk.
  • Contraception – using birth control pills or injectable hormone contraceptives lowers the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Assessing the Risk

If you’re curious about your risk of developing ovarian cancer, there are several online assessment tools available, including one here. Of course, if you’re truly concerned, you should see your doctor.

At North Hills Hospital, we’re concerned about women’s health too. If you’re looking for  a physician to address reproductive or other health issues, use our online physician finder or call 1-855-5NHILLS for a referral.

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Learn why newborns are screened before leaving the hospital.


 

Before your new baby leaves the hospital, she’ll be screened for a variety of conditions. From blood tests to hearing tests, these important screenings can save your baby’s life. Learn more about the tests your baby will undergo before being discharged.

Why are newborn screenings performed?
According to the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation, newborn screening is performed to find out if your baby is at risk for disorders that require early treatment or management. In many cases, early management can prevent intellectual disability, physical disability, or death.

When are newborn screenings performed?
Unless your baby is born prematurely, newborn screenings will probably be performed within 24 to 48 hours after birth, while your baby is still in the hospital. This allows the hospital staff to begin treatment immediately if necessary.

How are newborn screenings performed?
Medline Plus explains that newborns receive three major screenings before leaving the hospital. The most well-known newborn screening is a blood test done with a quick prick at the baby’s heel. This test looks for 30 or more inherited disorders. In addition, babies are given a hearing test and a quick skin test that measures how well a baby’s heart is performing.

What if a screening is positive?
There are many courses of action if early newborn screenings determine that there may be a problem. Further testing will be used to confirm a diagnosis. In many cases, these tests show that everything is fine. In the rare case that your baby has an issue, the hospital’s medical team will move forward with a treatment plan.

Keep baby's safety in mind as she grows and develops. Kid-friendly ER at Alliance is here for all of your emergency needs. If you would like help finding a doctor, give our physician referral line a call at 1-855-5NHILLS.

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Learn more about the benefits of vegetables, fruits and fiber in your diet.

You already know that eating well is good for your health. During More Matters Month, look at the facts. Learn why getting plenty of vegetables, fruits and fiber in your diet can help you lose weight, make you feel great and lower your risk of disease.

The benefits of fruit
While supplements are recommended for some, the best way to get vitamins and nutrients is generally from food. Fruit is high in many vitamins and minerals, while being lower in calories. Fruit contains no cholesterol. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, fruit contains nutrients such as potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).

The benefits of vegetables
Vegetables are a versatile, delicious part of a healthy diet. When deciding what to eat, remember that 100% juice, frozen vegetables, canned vegetables and fresh veggies all count. Increasing your intake can help fight disease and improve your heart health. Eat a variety, including leafy vegetables, dark green vegetables, brightly colored vegetables, beans and peas, and starchy vegetables. Try to work veggies into every meal.

The benefits of fiber
Fiber in your diet has tremendous benefits. According to the National Fiber Council, fiber in your diet can reduce the risk of heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and certain cancers. It helps with your intestinal health and can help lower your cholesterol. With so many benefits in mind, make an effort to choose foods that are high in dietary fiber with every meal. In addition to whole grains, many fruits and vegetables also contain fiber.

Learn more about food and nutrition at our health library. To learn more about North Hills Hospital, visit us online or call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral. Take control of your health today!

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Simple Ways To Keep Your Kids Safe

Learn how to keep your student athlete safe during the sports season.

Youth sports are a source of passion and excitement for many kids and teens. As your child strives to be his or her best, help them avoid sports injuries. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 1.35 million kids visited the ER with sports injuries in 2012. Use these tips to teach your young athlete how to enjoy sports without getting hurt.

Never allow your child to play with an existing injury
Allowing your child to continue practicing or playing after an injury is a recipe for further injury. Have your child’s doctor evaluate the injuries. Stick to the recommended follow up, which may including icing or elevating the injury.

Encourage good warm up techniques
Even if your child’s coach doesn’t structure warm up time into practices or games, make sure your child has a good warm-up routine. Teach basic stretches and encourage more specialized routines as your child progresses into specific sports.

Stress the importance of hydration
Make sure your child gets enough to drink during practices and games. Avoid too many sugary sports drinks. Water is the best option for children when it comes to avoiding dehydration while playing sports.

Use the right equipment
Your child should always wear the proper equipment when playing youth sports. Make sure equipment fits well. If you purchase used equipment, ask your child’s coach to inspect it for fit and durability. Not sure what equipment you need? The Youth Sports Safety Alliance shares further resources for specific youth sports and related injuries.

Keep your young athlete healthy and strong. Learn more about kids' health at North Hills Hospital. To find a doctor to speak with, please call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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Depending on the cause of your pain, both treatments could be necessary.

You reach overhead for something, and pain shoots through your shoulder. Or maybe even when your sitting still, you feel an ache. What we call the shoulder is made up of three bones and many tendons and muscles, and problems with any of them can lead to shoulder pain.

In 90 percent of shoulder injuries, patients respond to non-surgical treatments. Other times, surgery is necessary. Here’s a look at some common shoulder problems and how they’re treated.

Arthritis
Arthritis in the shoulder is commonly treated with one or more of these:

  • Changes in physical activity to reduce pain
  • Physical therapy exercise
  • Injections of corticosteroids
  • Application of ice and/or moist heat
  • For rheumatoid arthritis, prescription medication

In some cases, doctors perform arthroscopic surgery to clean out the joint. In extreme cases, a doctor might recommend a shoulder joint replacement.

Inflammation and Tears
In the shoulder, tendons and sacs of fluid called bursas can become inflamed. Shoulder tendonitis and bursitis are usually treated the same way as arthritis.

The muscles and tendons around the shoulder form the rotator cuff. When a tear occurs in the cuff, half of patients use the non-surgical treatments described above to reduce pain. Surgery is most often recommended if:

  • The tear is a result of an acute injury
  • The tear increases in size
  • Pain lasts more than six months
  • There is major loss of use of the shoulder

Dislocation
With a one-time dislocation, a doctor pops the upper arm bone back into the shoulder joint. Afterward, physical therapy helps reduce risk of recurrence. But if dislocations become frequent, surgery is often recommended.

Fracture
Surgery, including the insertion of pins or plates, can be an option, depending on the type of break. In some cases, simply wearing a sling is enough to let the bone heal. In either case, exercises to strengthen muscles are the norm.

Whatever is causing your shoulder paint, the Orthopedic Surgery Center at North Hills Hospital is ready to help. Our staff includes surgeons, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Give us a call at (855)-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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Keeping track of medications is crucial for the elderly.

A wide range of medications helps the elderly live longer, more productive lives. But not following a prescription properly, or not taking a medication at all, can lead to serious health problems. If you’re a senior on medication or you care for someone who is, here are some ways to organize medications and make sure they are taken when prescribed.

Organizing Bottles

  • Use different sized bottles for each medication.
  • Mark the tops of bottles with different colors to make it easier to distinguish one kind from another.
  • Place medications on a shelf in alphabetical order or based on how often they’re taken; a drug that requires three daily doses could go on the left, while one that requires a single dose could go on the right.

Organizing Doses

Pill boxes, or organizers, provide a way to keep all of a day’s medication handy. Many organizers hold up to a week’s worth of pills. For seniors taking multiple medications in one day, they can get an organizer with multiple compartments for each day.

Pill organizers can be simple plastic boxes or more sophisticated electronic versions, with such features as:

  • Beepers to notify when a pill should be taken
  • Automatic dispensing of a dose
  • Remote monitoring to alert a caregiver if medication has not been taken

Medication Calendars

Seniors who don’t want to use a pill organizer can keep track of which medications they’re supposed to take at what time by writing down the schedule for their doses on a calendar. Once they take the dose, they mark it off. Smartphone apps are also available to remind people when to take their medication.

General Tips for Medication

  • Store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Throw out medications when your doctor tells you to stop taking them.
  • Throw out medications after the expiration date on the label.

At North Hills Hospital, we want to make sure the elderly take all their medications properly and pursue every opportunity to ensure good health. The Dr. David Pillow Senior Health Clinic provides a variety of services and classes. Call 817-255-1940 for more information. If you need a physician referral, please call 1-855-5NHILLS.

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Get the facts on common myths about being pregnant.

When you’re having a baby, you’ll come across plenty of advice. Your friends and family will probably give you lots of tips, but some of them may be based on common pregnancy myths. To help clear up the confusion, here are five of the most common pregnancy myths debunked.

1. Avoid getting stressed out or it will hurt the baby.
If you’ve seen headlines linking stress to problems in pregnancy, try not to worry. These studies are generally based around significant stress and trauma, not everyday worries. A normal amount of stress is fine. If you find yourself feeling like you’re unable to cope, talk to your doctor.

2. Pregnancy makes you crave ice cream and pickles.
Many women experience strange cravings during pregnancy, but they won’t necessarily be similar. This is a pregnancy myth illustrating how surprising cravings may be. You may not even experience any at all.

3. You’ll glow and feel wonderful while you’re pregnant.
Being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean feeling blissful and content. For a variety of reasons, pregnant women may feel uncomfortable, sick or even depressed. Try not to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. It’s okay if you don't always feel great or better than usual.

4. You shouldn’t work out when you’re pregnant.
The American Pregnancy Association’s recommended guidelines do not prohibit a woman from working out. As long as your pregnancy is low risk, you can continue your normal fitness routine. Be careful about starting anything new or strenuous, and avoid contact or dangerous sports.Talk to your doctor about your workout plans.

5. You should be eating for two.
According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should not use pregnancy as an excuse to eat more than is necessary. Eat what makes you feel good when you’re feeling nauseated, but try to focus on a balanced diet. Talk to your doctor about what supplements are necessary for you.

At our Women's Center, get the very best care before, during and after the birth of your baby. If you would like to set up an appointment or find a doctor to speak with, call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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Find out when women should worry about abdominal pain.

If you're a woman, you are probably no stranger to abdominal pain. There are a number of causes for abdominal pain and many times women can determine the cause for their pain and treat it accordingly. However, it is important that women don't take for granted certain types of pain and know when to seek treatment. Here are some common causes for abdominal pain in women, some of which should be taken very seriously.

Ectopic Pregnancy
Any sexually active woman should know the signs of an ectopic pregnancy. These typically include a sharp abdominal pain on one side that occurs 6 weeks into a pregnancy, followed by vaginal bleeding. The pain worsens with movement or straining and, over time, signs of shock occur resulting from internal bleeding. If you suspect an ectopic pregnancy, seek medical attention immediately.

Heart Attack
Women are at a higher risk of dying from a heart attack because their symptoms vary from men, and women are more likely to ignore their symptoms. Abdominal pain can be a sign of a heart attack including chest pressure or squeezing, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, nausea and pain in the arm, neck, chest or back. Never ignore these symptoms and call 911 if you suspect you may be having a heart attack. 

UTI
A urinary tract infection (UTI) can make urinating uncomfortable, but it can also cause your belly or back to feel tender or it may make your abdomen feel heavy. It is important to have a UTI treated so that the infection does not spread or affect your kidneys.

Norovirus
Severe abdominal pain or nausea may be a sign of norovirus. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills and stomach pain. It is very easily transmitted, especially for those living in close quarters. It can be particularly dangerous for small children or older adults.

Appendicitis
Pain from appendicitis can start around the belly button and then worsen to a sharp pain localized to the right side of the abdomen. The severity of pain usually increases over a 6-12 hour period and can include symptoms like nausea, abdominal swelling, tenderness, pain during movement, fever and diarrhea. It is critical that those with appendicitis seek immediate medical treatment.

Digestion Complications
A number of conditions related to digestion can cause abdominal pain for women. GERD (or heartburn) can cause severe discomfort in the upper abdomen and chest. IBS is a common condition and may result in digestion issues including cramping, diarrhea or nausea. During a woman's period, she may experience diarrhea or abdominal bloating in addition to menstrual cramping. Gallstones, pancreatitis and Crohn's Disease are also more serious digestive conditions that result in abdominal pain.

When to Seek Medical Attention
Abdominal pain is common in women, but its cause or source can vary dramatically. If abdominal pain continues without relief and is paired with other unusual symptoms, it is important to seek treatment since the reason may not always be apparent. Are you experiencing unexpected or unusual abdominal pain? Call North Hills Hospital at 1-855-5NHILLS to request a physician referral. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention.

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Learn how to help your kids have a safe, happy school year.

It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching back to school time. As you shop for school supplies and school clothes, keep safety in mind. Try these simple back to school health tips to give your child a healthy advantage this school year.

Keep up to date with vaccinations
Consult with the National Network for Immunization Information to find out which immunizations your child needs before the school year starts. When flu shots are ready later in the year, make sure your child gets his or her flu shot.

Prepare healthier school lunches
Avoid foods that are loaded with sugar and preservatives when you pack your child’s school lunches. Stick to whole foods as often as possible, and switch things up to keep your child engaged. Get older kids involved with shopping for lunches and preparing them.

Teach your child about bike safety
Kids grow quickly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends making sure helmets fit properly and bikes are fitted properly to the rider. Check your child’s size before school and take time to review basic safety rules.

Talk to your child about peers
Don’t ignore the social aspects of school. While it’s important to focus on education and study skills, you also need to talk to your kids about their social encounters. Have age-appropriate conversations about difficult topics such as cheating, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, and peer pressure.

Discuss healthy habits
Remind your child to wash their hands thoroughly after using the restroom and before meals. Make a habit out of encouraging everyone in the family to wash their hands as soon as they return home from school and work.

Learn more about kids' health at North Hills Hospital. To find a doctor to speak with, please call 1-855-5NHILLS for a physician referral.

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Learn more about this common gastrointestinal disorder that affects millions.

Causing symptoms like pain, bloating and changes in bowel movements, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder that often interferes with quality of life. It has no cure, but can be managed with lifestyle changes. Find out what doctors know about IBS and how you can get help.

How common is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, 10 to 15 percent of people in the United States have IBS. Not everyone sees a doctor for it, and not every case is severe.

What are the symptoms?
Not everyone with IBS experiences the same symptoms. The most common symptom is abdominal pain and discomfort. Along with this discomfort, most people experience diarrhea or constipation. Usually the pain is alleviated somewhat after a bowel movement. If you have IBS, these symptoms can happen frequently or infrequently.

What are the causes?
According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, IBS is caused by a disturbance in the way the brain and the intestines interact. This can be related to stress or anxiety, but isn’t caused by stress alone.

How is Irritable Bowel Syndrome treated?
Because IBS does not have a cure, patients are encouraged to use a variety of tools to help alleviate symptoms. Dietary changes and stress management techniques are generally more effective than treating IBS with medication, but medication may need to be used for severe symptoms. Many people find that types of therapy that address stress and other emotional disturbances have a positive effect on IBS symptoms and frequency.

Visit the North Hills Hospital online health information section to learn more about irritable bowel syndrome. Are you experiencing any pain, discomfort or other symptoms of IBS?  Call us at 1-855-5NHILLS to request a physician referral.

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