Is Your Body a Ticking Time Bomb?

Cutting Salaries, Saving Jobs
The economic downturn has people making all sorts of sacrifices, and the medical community is no exception. Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston faced a 20 million dollar loss, and was forced to cut 600 jobs. Some of the hospital’s doctors responded by taking voluntarily pay cuts to save their staff’s jobs.

Chief of Neonatology, Dr. Dwayne Pursley, says that it was an easy decision to make. “We work so closely with the staff: nurses, social workers, nutritionists, pharmacists, folks who prepare the food and keep the place clean, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide the outstanding care and support that we’re able to do.”

Get a Grip on Your Love Handles
Studies have shown that abdominal obesity is related to decreased lung function. Love handles are a type of fat that forms beneath the skin, and they may restrict the diaphragm, a muscle essential to breathing. Love handles are often difficult to get rid of because certain fat deposits tend to be genetic; therefore many people turn to surgical options such as liposuction.

Another type of fat, excessive visceral abdominal fat (VAF), surrounds vital organs in your abdomen, and secretes hormones that trigger inflammation all over the body. VAF can be reduced through changes in diet and exercise.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Ordon notes that liposuction can treat love handles but cannot treat visceral abdominal fat.

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain. Once the blood flow is blocked, the brain dies.

“Most people don’t realize that a stroke is essentially a heart attack of the brain,” Dr. Travis explains. “The key is to stop it from happening in the first place.”

"Many of the strokes, although they occur in the brain, actually originate in the neck."

Clot Prevention
Ask any doctor and he or she will tell you that time is of the essence when it comes to stroke. There are clot-busting drugs that can be given to a patient within a few hours of an onset of stroke, but sometimes more drastic measures must be taken.

Neuro-interventionist Dr. Reza Jahan, from UCLA Medical Center, demonstrates the Merci Retrieval System, a high-tech corkscrew-like device that grabs and removes a clot in the brain.

The device is inserted via catheter in the patient’s groin and snaked up the femoral artery. Once the device reaches the clot in the brain, it grabs the clot and removes it; much like a wine bottle corkscrew grabs a cork and removes it from the bottle.

Artery Ultrasound
A high-tech carotid ultrasound machine made by GE is able to detect early risk of stroke. Dr. Peter Lawrence, chief of vascular surgery at UCLA Medical Center, demonstrates the device on Stormi, 43, whose mother died of stroke. The machine looks at specific arteries in the neck to determine whether there is a build-up of plaque; the more plaque, the greater the risk of stroke.

Artery Ultrasound

A high-tech ultrasound machine is able to detect early risk of stroke. SEE HOW...

Risks for Stroke
“Smoking, smoking and smoking,” Dr. Lawrence emphasizes. After that:
• Family history
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes
• High cholesterol

Warning Signs of Stroke
A stroke can come on quickly, so make sure to seek immediate treatment if any of the following symptoms occur:
• Numbness, weakness, or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
• Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Confusion or trouble understanding
• Slurred or garbled speech
• Severe headache

Breathe Easy
Can your breath reveal disease? Research shows that doctors can detect some illnesses based on the smell of their patient’s breath.

Liver Failure
If your breath smells fishy, you may be at risk of liver failure. The liver is the largest organ in your body, and its main purpose is to filter toxins from your system. Liver failure occurs when large portions of the liver are damaged or compromised and unable to function. Toxins build up in the body and poison it.

Thyroid Health

Learn more about thyroid health and how to spot warning signs. MORE...

Causes of Liver Failure
• Hepatitis viruses
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Overdose of acetaminophen
• Exposure to dangerous chemicals

Symptoms of Liver Failure
• Jaundice
• Nausea
• Loss of appetite
• Fatigue
• Diarrhea
• Inflammation and swelling of the liver and abdominal area

Kidney Failure
If your breath smells like urine, you may have kidney failure. The kidneys filter the blood and dispose of metabolic waste, and they are responsible for maintaining blood pressure, red blood cells, and a healthy balance of electrolytes and calcium. When kidneys start to fail, waste builds up in the body, and the results can be deadly. Most adult kidney failure stems from undiagnosed symptoms in childhood.

Symptoms of Kidney Failure
• High blood pressure
• Decreased urine output
• Darker-colored urine
• Sudden onset of nausea, diarrhea or weight loss

How to Prevent Kidney Failure
• Don’t abuse alcohol
• Don’t abuse legal or illegal drugs
• Control your diabetes if you have it
• Have regular check-ups


If your breath smells fruity, you may have diabetes. The fruity odor occurs because of DKA, or diabetic ketoacidosis, which is when the body’s sugar levels are very high, sending it into an acidotic state.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not properly produce, use or break down insulin, a vital hormone that converts sugars from food and maintains daily metabolism. Dr. Lisa describes how diabetes affects metabolism.

Symptoms of Diabetes
• Fatigue
• Excessive thirst
• Excessive hunger
• Weight loss
• Frequent yeast infections (in women)

Learn more about diabetes.

Children and Medications
When our children are hurt, we want to give them something to take away the pain. Adults commonly take pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen, but these drugs can be harmful to children.

“You do not ever want to give aspirin to a child,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “We don’t know why this happens, but aspirin can affect the brain and cause liver damage. It’s something called Reye’s syndrome.”

Aspirin belongs to a family of drugs called salicyclates. Make sure to check the labels on all medications, as many of them contain strains of salicylates. For example, adult Pepto-Bismol and Alka-Seltzer contain variants of aspirin.

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are safe to give to children to relieve fever and pain, but aspirin is a big no-no for kids, Dr. Jim instructs.

Silent Heart Attack

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Silent Heart Attack
More than four million people per year have a silent heart attack and don’t even know it! A silent heart attack often does not have symptoms, other than fatigue and possible shortness of breath.

Are You at Risk for a Silent Heart Attack?
Yes, if you:
• Smoke
• Have high cholesterol
• Are male
• Have diabetes
• Are elderly

Warning Signs of Heart Attack and Heart Disease
• Severe chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Dizziness
• Weakness or fainting
• Abdominal pain
• Sweating
• Faster heartbeat

Heart Health Tip

Eating cashews can help lower your blood pressure. Magnesium found in nuts help to protect your heart.