Monthly Archives: September 2014

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month By: Vikas Gupta

OCancerOvarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in women ages 35-74, according to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). This type of cancer causes more deaths than any other type gynecological cancer. In honor of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, HealthCare Partners would like to alert women to the risk factors associated with this disease and the ways they can safeguard their health.

Ovaries are found on either side of a woman’s uterus, and are responsible for producing eggs (ova) and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer develops when cells in the ovaries grow uncontrollably, causing the formation of tumors which put excessive and additional stress on surrounding organs.

Because there are no screenings and tests that directly detect ovarian cancer, most cases are often undiagnosed until the disease has already spread into the pelvis and abdomen. Once in these late stages the disease is often fatal. According to the NOCC, the survival rate for ovarian cancer can be as low as 30.6 percent.

In addition to the lack of tests, ovarian cancer does not have distinct symptoms which makes early diagnosis difficult. The symptoms commonly associated with this disease are often nonspecific and can include vaginal bleeding, weight loss, discomfort in pelvic area, constipation and frequent urination. Because these can be related to more benign conditions, it is extremely important for patients to know what is normal for their bodies and to keep their HealthCare Partners coordinated care team aware of any unusual symptoms that they may be experiencing. When detected early, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 90 percent according to the NOCC. This is why as physicians we recommend patients be active and involved in their care.
All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, however, older women are at greater risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 percent of those who develop ovarian cancer are women older than 40 years of age, with a greater number of cases occurring among women aged 60 years or older.

Maintaining a healthy weight through a proper diet and regular exercise can greatly decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute taking oral contraceptives, pregnancy and breastfeeding can also decrease a woman’s risk.

Only physicians can determine a patient’s risk for cancer. Asking a HealthCare Partners provider for ways to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer can be an important step in preventing this disease.

Preventing Heart Disease By: Dr. Howard Broder

Heart
The heart is a muscular organ that is vital to all functions that give life to a person’s body. It is responsible for circulating blood which provides the entire body with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to survive. Because the heart is the center of so many essential functions, taking care of this life-sustaining muscle is extremely important. The physicians at HealthCare Partners Cardiology have a few tips for patients on ways to protect this hard-working muscle and prevent heart disease.

Heart disease describes a number of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Forms of heart disease include coronary heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmias and heart valve problems. Coronary heart disease is the most common form and occurs when plaque builds up in blood vessels. When blood cannot flow freely through narrowed or blocked vessels, this condition can result in a heart attack. Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., many forms of heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle changes and healthy living.

The risks of heart disease increase with age, this is why it is extremely important to protect the heart at an early age. There are many factors that affect a patient’s risk for heart disease, some such as genetics are uncontrollable. However, simple lifestyle changes can be made to greatly reduce a person’s risk.

Being obese or overweight can put added pressure on the heart and increase the risk for heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is an important step toward taking care of the heart. Physicians often use the body mass index (BMI) to calculate a healthy weight range for patients. They can also use waist and hip measurements to determine a person’s excess body fat. In addition to aiding in weight management, choosing healthy meals that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat and sodium can help with maintaining low cholesterol levels and regulating blood pressure. Taking the time to exercise for as little as two and a half hours each week can also significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Consult a HealthCare Partners physician for advice on a healthy diet and exercise plan.

Smoking cessation is another essential step towards preventing heart disease. There are many resources available for those who want to quit smoking, HealthCare Partners physicians are a great resource for those who need information to take this step.

Following these simple steps can go a long way towards preventing heart disease. Only a physician can truly assess a person’s risk. HealthCare Partners Cardiology has several clinics throughout Southern Nevada, visit www.hcpnv.com/cardiology to find a cardiologist near you.

Flu Awareness By: Sunita Kalra

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The fall season is here and the providers at HealthCare Partners Nevada would like to remind patients that flu season is fast approaching. This season can start as early as October and last until May. Flu season has also been known to peak in the months of January and February.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various forms of the influenza virus. According to flu.gov, approximately five to 20 percent of U.S. residents contract the flu each year. Unlike a common cold, flu symptoms can come on very suddenly. Those who are infected experience a sudden onset of fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, headaches, muscle and body aches.

The wide variety of virus strains make the flu extremely unpredictable. While most people can recover from the illness within a few days, many experience complications which can be life-threatening such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infection. Although everyone is at risk for the flu, people older than 65, pregnant women, young children and those suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at an increased risk for these complications.

Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step towards preventing the flu. Vaccines protect against three or four different flu viruses and come in various forms, including a shot and a nasal spray. The physicians at HealthCare Partners recommend that all people older than six months receive a flu shot once a year. Children younger than six months are at increased risk for flu because they are too young to receive the vaccine, this is why it is extremely important for parents and caregivers to receive the flu vaccine and lessen their risk of putting young children in contact with the virus.

Preventative actions such as avoiding contact with those who may be sick is important in halting the spread of the flu. As a physician with HealthCare Partners, during flu season, I advise my patients to wash their hands regularly, stay hydrated and rested, and use caution when coming into contact with others.

Getting vaccinated and practicing simple preventative measures can go a long way in preventing the spread of the flu. Make an appointment with your HealthCare Partners provider today to get the flu shot!

Doctor-Patient Relationships Promoted in Marketing Campaign By Hartley White, Vice President, People Services and Wisdom

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In an effort to promote the close doctor-patient relationships that often develop under its Total Care Model, HealthCare Partners recently implemented the “We Are HealthCare Partners” campaign, a series of television, online and print ads featuring real HealthCare Partners physicians and patients side by side. In the six videos created for television and online viewing, these patients and their doctors relay the true stories of the tight-knit relationships they have built over years of care and the positive experiences they have shared through HealthCare Partners. The print and online ads feature the same pairs of providers and patients.

HealthCare Partners pursued this new marketing campaign after experiencing positive feedback from last year’s “I Am a HealthCare Partner” campaign, which featured individual patients and providers in separate TV ads discussing their positive experiences at HealthCare Partners. It seemed a natural progression to take this idea a step further and create TV spots featuring patients and their physicians together.

In order to provide the most compelling stories for the TV segments, HealthCare Partners helped identify physicians who demonstrated very strong relationships with their patients to go on camera. A marketing agency interviewed these doctors and patients side-by-side on camera with only a few guiding questions, allowing them to take the reins on describing their experiences and convey honest answers.

Highlighting this feature in HealthCare Partners’ advertising plays an important role with informing audiences about the organization’s Total Care Model. Under this unique approach to health care, providers strive to build strong relationships with all of HealthCare Partners’ patients, spending valuable one-on-time with patients and developing a comprehensive understanding of their medical needs. Completely unscripted, the campaign’s videos convey the relatable stories of real patients and relay the fact that they have a partner in their care through HealthCare Partners.
HealthCare Partners encourages people to view the videos online at www.hcpnv.com/stories.