Too tired? Pressed for time? Quit the cop-outs! The Doctors transforms your excuses into an action plan.
Tammy, 46, became the first patient on the West Coast to be released from the hospital after receiving an artificial heart. Just eight days after her release, she joins The Doctors to talk about her second chance at life.
For the past 17 years, Tammy has battled cardiovascular problems such as cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure, and was placed on the heart transplant list. While awaiting her new heart, however, Tammy’s health declined rapidly, and her outlook was grim until cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Michael Bowdish, from the Keck Hospital of the University of Southern California, inserted the Freedom Driver, a small, portable, 15-pound device that works as an artificial heart.
“When we put the device in, Tammy was just a few days away from death,” Dr. Bowdish says.
While the Freedom Driver is still in its trial period in the United States, it is a major development since the original FDA-approved artificial heart, Big Blue, a 500-pound machine that forces patients to be bedridden during its use. The Freedom Driver pumps air to the heart like Big Blue, but can be worn as a backpack or a shoulder bag to improve the patient’s quality of life until he or she receives a new heart.
Dr. Bowdish explains that implanting the Freedom Driver was an extremely difficult operation. After being put under anesthesia, Tammy’s chest was opened up, and two-thirds of her heart was removed. Dr. Bowdish then sewed small cuffs onto the remaining tissue to work as air tubes attached to the air compressor within the external device, to push air in and out and pump blood through the ventricles to recreate a pulse.
Eight days since her release, Tammy has seen a vast improvement in her health.
“I feel terrific; a lot better than I did a few years ago,” Tammy says. “[The Freedom Driver] gave me the opportunity to grow old with my family.”
While the implant has improved Tammy’s quality of life, E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork stresses that the Freedom Driver is a temporary measure and that Tammy is still awaiting her heart transplant.
Organ transplant patients typically wait between six months and one year for their new organs, as there is a perpetual organ shortage. Next time you’re given the option to put the pink sticker on your driver’s license, remember that one small decision could save someone’s life.
Aertrex has integrated GPS technology into their shoes to help track down dementia and Alzheimer’s patients who wander off and get lost.
“The technology was actually developed to help find missing children, but has found more use in the elderly,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says.
The GPS device is implanted in the heel of the shoe and allows family and caregivers to monitor an Alzheimer’s patient’s whereabouts, and can even set up alerts if the patient strays outside a predefined area.
A Real Weight Loss Drug?
Scientists have reportedly discovered a new weight loss drug that’s effective without diet and exercise. The pill is purported to reduce blood flow to fat cells, causing them to wither away. The drug was originally tested on monkeys, which lost a reported 11 percent of their body fat over four weeks. It was also found that the drug lowered the animals’ body fat indexes.
“There are huge concerns when it comes to diet pills,” Dr. Travis says. “So many of them have side effects, and the minute you go off of them the weight comes right back.”
Studies did show that once the monkeys were taken off the pill, they gained back all the weight and experienced adverse side effects to their kidneys.
“There is no magic cure or solution here,” health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels says. “You have to eat right and you have to work out to lose weight.
“Plus, when you give up [exercise and eating right], you give up all the health benefits that go along with it,” she adds.
Weight Loss Intervention
Whether it’s losing 10, 20 or 100 pounds, we all make excuses when it comes to dropping weight. But Nikki, 48, is quitting the cop-outs. At 387 pounds with a body mass index (BMI) of 67.3, Nikki suffers from type 2 diabetes and smokes cigarettes regularly. Dr. Travis and Jillian perform a weight loss intervention to turn Nikki’s health around.
Standing at 5-foot-3, a healthy weight for Nikki would be 150 pounds and a healthy BMI would be 25. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight, while anything over 30 is considered obese. Dr. Travis and Jillian show Nikki how she would look at 150 pounds.
Certified pathologist Dr. Michael Fishbein gives Nikki the ultimate wake-up call – a simulated autopsy on an overweight cadaver -- to show her the detrimental effects of obesity on the organs.
“I’ve done many autopsies on obese cadavers, which is sad, because [obesity] is a preventable cause of death,” Dr. Fishbein says. “Obesity decreases life expectancy by as much as 20 to 30 years. The average woman can live to be 80 or older, while obese women die at 50 or 60.”
“But the good news is, you can reverse a lot of this [organ damage],” Dr. Travis says. “You can change your destiny.”
Nikki’s 16-year-old son, AJ, is also overweight, and says he’s concerned for both his and his mother’s health.
“I worry about [my mom] everyday I leave the house,” AJ says.
Nikki admits that she smokes about 10 cigarettes per day, but says she’s trying to cut down.
“As many health problems as being obese can cause, cigarette smoking is like loading the gun and pulling the trigger,” Dr. Travis says.
Six surprising reasons to quit smoking now:
• Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature of your hands and feet return to normal.
• Within 12 hours of quitting, your blood oxygen and carbon monoxide levels normalize.
• Within 24 hours of quitting, your risk of heart attack decreases significantly.
• Within 48 hours of quitting, your damaged nerve endings start to regenerate, and your sense of smell and taste return to their normal state.
• Within 72 hours of quitting, breathing becomes easier and lung functionality increases.
• Within a year of quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack are cut in half.
“Your body wants to repair itself, and that is the key,” Dr. Travis says. “Your body wants to be happy, you just have to give it time to repair itself.”
Is Nikki ready to make a change?
“I’m really ready to do this,” Nikki says. “I’m really motivated, and I think with the help of the show, I can do it. I’m ready to do it the right way and for the last time.”
The Doctors starts Nikki and AJ on a year-long fitness plan with personal trainers Julie and Lauren, as well as a meal delivery service compliments on Bistro MD.
Dr. Travis sends Antoinette to the experts – Bartendaz, a physical fitness program originally founded to encourage fitness in urban youth.
See how strong Antoinette's arms are now. And, who can hang from the pull-up bar the longest, Jillian or Dr. Travis? Watch them face off!
“Anyone can learn how to do a pull up,” Dr. Travis says. “Just try, and in three weeks, you can do this too.”
It’s one of the biggest excuses men make that’s putting their lives at risk: avoiding prostate exams.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States, and the leading cause of cancer death among men of all races. Urologist and author of Penis Power, Dr. Dudley Danoff, joins the show to help men put an end to their excuses.
The prostate is the organ responsible for ejaculation. Located below the bladder, and surrounding the urethra, it grows larger as men age, which can obstruct urine flow and cause renal failure.
It is said that 40,000 American men will die of prostate cancer this year due to late detection. Getting an annual prostate exam can help reduce this number significantly.
“[The exam] only takes 15 seconds!” Dr. Danoff says.
During a prostate exam, your doctor will lubricate a glove and gently insert his finger through the anal sphincter to get to the prostate. He will then run his finger back and forth across the interior of the rectum. A healthy prostate feels symmetrical and soft, like a tomato, while anunhealthy prostate will have a lumpy, bumpy texture, like a gourd.
Your doctor may also conduct an antigen blood test and take your age, sexual history and weight into account, as well as diabetes and hypertension, which are all factors in diagnosing and treating the disease.
Tips for a Healthy Prostate:
• Eat fruits and vegetables
• Eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines and tuna.
• Drink green tea.
• Exercise regularly.
• Limit your alcoholic beverage consumption to just one or two per day.
Prescription for Health
Fever, headache, muscle aches -- these symptoms may sound like the flu, but they can also signal the mumps. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from the virus.