Heart Attack Triggers
Some lesser-known situations and stressors can contribute to a heart attack:
• Driving in traffic
The stress from your commute can triple your likelihood.
Your chances increase 20 percent the first day of the week.
• The morning
During the early hours of the morning, you're 40 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than any other time of the day. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon: hormone levels, medication, which may be at a lower or higher level, and dehydration. Severe dehydration will cause the blood to thicken and increase the tendency to clot.
• Speaking at a podium
Situations such as public speaking ignite the flight or fight response, a physiological stress reaction that elevates heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline.
• Consuming a high-fat, high-carb meal
"You can think of it as the sludge in your vessels," ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "Your vessels might be less compliant after a high fat meal."
• Shoveling snow
The vigorous nature of this winter activity, which is often performed without any warm-up time and by people who are not ordinarily physically active, can triple your chances.
• Having a bowel movement
"If you're constipated, and really straining on the toilet, it increases what's called your intra-thoracic pressure," Dr. Travis explains. "That decreases blood returned to your heart and makes your heart work harder."
To keep stool at a healthy viscosity, be sure to add plenty of fiber and fluids to your diet.
Most adults shower daily, but for babies, bathing too often can harm their delicate skin. New mom Tiffani is worried about her 5-month-old son, whose face and abdomen are red and irritated. Tiffani says she bathes her son every evening, which pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears posits is most likely the cause.
"I actually recommend bathing twice a week, because when you bathe your baby in nice, warm water, you're washing off the warm, moisturizing oils that are natural to [the baby's] skin," Dr. Jim says. "The baby needs them to moisturize the skin."
Bumps and bruises are bound to happen when children are learning to walk. But if your toddler is walking with an unexplained limp, it may be a sign of a fracture, or worse, septic arthritis: a dangerous infection.
"A lot of parents don't know this, but an unexplained limp [in a child] is actually potentially very serious," Dr. Jim says. "It's one of the few, true pediatric emergencies. It ranks up there with a stiff neck and a high fever."
Chief of pediatric orthopedics at UCLA Medical Center, Dr. Anthony Scaduto, explains how septic arthritis develops and infects the knee, ankle or hip joint.
Warning Sign of Toddler Fracture:
• Unable to bear weight on leg
• Leg is tender to the touch
Kitchen Fire Safety
Throwing water on a stovetop fire can have devastating results. Water, being heavier than oil, drops to the bottom of the pot or pan and is instantly heated.
The steam explodes, shooting burning oil high in the air and scalding everything in its path.
If Your Stovetop Is on Fire:
1. Turn off the burner
2. Don't touch the pan
3. Don't throw water on it
4. Get a wet towel and place it over the fire
Abnormal Bowel Movements
Mucous lines the intestines and lubricates stool. A small amount can be present in a bowel movement. However, too much mucous in the stool, especially for more than two weeks, can be cause for concern.
Blood in the stool can indicate something as minor as a hemorrhoid, or something as serious as inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer; it warrants medical attention.
"Any blood from your rectum, you can't ignore that," plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon says.
When to Worry:
• Change in bowel habits
• Rectal bleeding
• Blood in stool
• Dark, tarry stool
• Chronic abdominal pain
A fecal occult blood test, which can be taken at home, can detect blood in the stool.
In the U.S., 60 percent of males are circumcised at a young age. Dr. Jim and Dr. Ordon demonstrate how circumcision is performed and note that the procedure is slightly more complicated for adult males.
Benefits of Circumcision:
• Decreases chance of catching and spreading sexually transmitted diseases
• Decreases chance of penile cancer
• Increases quality of hygiene
Risks of Adult Circumcision:
• Chance of infection
• Chance of scarring
• Chance of erectile dysfunction
Ellen was diagnosed with Addison's disease 30 years ago, and recounts how doctors were confounded by her symptoms for years. "Unfortunately, 30 years later, people are still getting misdiagnosed," she says. "I just wanted to make people and doctors aware of it."
The adrenal glands produce hormones essential to digestion, stress, sex and immune system response.
Sufferers of Addison's have an insuffient amount of cortisol in their system, which is vital to the body's function. If not treated, the disorder can be fatal. Dr. Travis describes Addison's disease, noting there are two types: primary and secondary. Various hormone therapies are used to restore adrenal function.
Symptoms of Addison's Disease:
• Muscle weakness
• Weight loss
• Decreased appetite
• Low blood pressure
• Darkening of the skin
• Chronic diarrhea