Heart Disease Pop Quiz

When it comes to heart disease, how knowledgable are you? In this WIS-TV report, news anchor Dawndy Mercer-Plank asked community members in downtown Columbia questions about heart health. Then, Dr. Heather Currier, new cardiothoracic surgeon at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, provided answers. Watch the video here.

Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in America. in fact, it kills more people than many forms of cancer combined. A recent study from the American Heart Association showed that approximately 46% of American adults have some form of heart disease. In South Carolina, the most common heart surgery is coronary artery bypass. And, as the population grows older, valve replacement is becoming more frequent, too. 

Lexington Medical Center wants you to “Just Say Know” to heart disease. To test your heart health knowledge with a quiz, visit LexMed.com/Know.

 

Fixing A Racing Heartbeat at Lexington Cardiology

We’re pleased to bring you a blog series called “Meet the Patients.” We share the stories of Lexington Medical Center patients whose experiences will educate and inspire readers about the outstanding care provided throughout our hospital network and the importance of modern medicine.

For years, Natalie Herndon felt her heartbeat racing extremely fast. Many doctors dismissed the University of South Carolina student’s symptoms as anxiety. But at Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, doctors discovered something wrong with Natalie’s heart – and knew just how to fix it. She shares her story below.

Natalie’s condition was called PSVT – paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. That’s an abnormal heart rhythm where the electrical signal goes in a circle around the heart rather than in a straight line from top to bottom. It causes a rapid heart rate and can make people feel palpitations, or fluttering, of the heart. In Natalie’s case, she was born with an extra electrical connection in the heart that allows the signal to move faster than usual. She underwent a cardiac ablation that stopped the abnormal heart rhythm in its tracks.

Since her procedure in July, Natalie no longer suffers from PSVT episodes.

For information on Dr. Christopher Rowley and Lexington Cardiology, visit LexCardio.com.

Lexington Medical Center Welcomes Heather M. Currier, MD, FACCP

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to welcome Heather M. Currier, MD, FACCP, to the hospital’s network of care at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery. The physician practice provides cardiovascular surgery with the latest medical technology and state-of-the-art treatments.

Dr. Heather Currier

An honors graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Dr. Currier graduated with her medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, earning outstanding performance distinction in surgery. She went on to complete a general surgery residency at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She is board certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Dr. Currier retired as a colonel from the United States Army after more than 24 years of active duty. At retirement, she was serving as the chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at both Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Charlie Norwood Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.

Dr. Currier is a recipient of the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster for her combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her other positions and awards include Deputy Commander of Surgical Services, Chief of Surgery, the Army Commendation Medal and the National Defense Service Ribbon. In addition to these accomplishments, in 2014, the American Board of Cardiology awarded her with its Award of Honor and recognized her as a board consultant for cardiac surgery.

Prior to joining the Lexington Medical Center Network of Care, Dr. Currier was a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon at Augusta University Medical Center, University Hospital and Georgia Children’s Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, and provided locums coverage at Piedmont Athens Regional in Athens, Georgia. She also serves as an advanced trauma life support instructor.

Dr. Currier proudly joins Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery to provide cardiovascular surgical consultations, follow-up care and vascular labs, as well as a variety of cardiovascular and thoracic services, including aortic/mitral valve replacement, coronary artery bypass grafting, and procedures for ascending and thoracic aneurysms, pulmonary diseases, esophageal tumors, lung masses and carotid arteries.

For more information, visit LexingtonCardiovascular.com.

Where Did The Time Go?

By Lisa Baker

Has anyone really looked at the calendar today?  Where did January go?  Here we are one month into 2019.  Time goes by so fast.  I talked to Dad this morning on the phone; it was hard to understand all that he said.  From what I could piece together, he is tired of sitting around and no one coming to visit him.  I tried to explain to him that both my husband and I have been sick.  He told me he has never had a cold, and that shouldn’t stop us from coming to see him.  He wants to see Mom and go to his house.  He thinks he can stay by himself.  He wants to walk in the yard and in the road so he can go wherever he wants.

He thinks that no one watches him at the facility.  It doesn’t matter how many times you try to tell him that staff watches him, he can no longer comprehend that he cannot be alone and that he is being watched.  He cannot communicate because he can’t verbalize what he wants to say.  He repeats words over and over thinking that he is completing his thoughts.  Dad will never again be able to be alone.

Right now, Mom seems to be doing OK.  She has been a little dizzy and has had some pain lately, but she seems to be settling in at her new facility.

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I want you to sit down and think about this: you can’t speak clearly, and you can’t remember which words to use to express your thoughts.  You feel so isolated and alone because you are having huge communication issues.  Can you begin to understand how a dementia patient feels? How about the family that is trying so hard to keep their loved one at home? At this point, it doesn’t matter if they are in a facility or at home.  If they are at home, you or someone must be with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have no help, you start to feel like you are losing your mind too.

Now imagine you are married.  Your spouse works outside the home.  You have to care for your children, keep up with your house work, prepare meals, wash clothes, and help your kids with homework. Now add a loved one with dementia to the mix.  Imagine they are at a point where they don’t want to bathe or eat. If you thought you had your hands full before, you were dreaming.  You are very quickly wearing yourself out.  You need help. Is it any wonder that caregivers for a loved one with dementia stand a very high chance of getting it themselves?

So what are you going to do?

Give up yourself completely? Find extra help who you will have to pay? Start looking at long term care facilities? The answers to all these questions and many more vary from person to person and family to family.

I do not have all the answers, right or wrong.  I can only do what’s best at the moment for myself and my parents.  What can I tell you then?  Well for me, I almost immediately made an appointment with my doctor.  I had no idea just how bad things could be, but I knew I would need help for me.  I knew I needed to be very honest with my doctor about my physical health as well as my mental health.

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I knew that the stress of everything could be very high, but I also knew that I needed help.  I needed someone who I could share all the burdens and business of having both parents with a dementia diagnosis.  While I do have both of my brothers, I knew I needed someone else with some medical experience to help me with things.  My sister-in-law was a perfect choice.  She has medical experience which makes it so much easier when we have to split up with one of us with Mom and one of us with Dad.  We set up a group text between my sister-in-law, both my brothers, and myself, so we could communicate effectively to each other about both parents. Early on, I mentioned that my parents had their wills already done and their POA financial and medical already picked.  All their legal paperwork was in order.

Even with that, you need a human support system. I don’t see how anyone can do this without help.

What other things can you do? Look at the questions below.  Sit down with your loved one NOW and go through these.  Write their answers down or better yet, video record them and their answers.  You may think it’s not important now, but later you will wish you had done this.  Sometimes you don’t realize just how much is gone until you start thinking about the things you can never go back and ask your loved one because they are too far in the dementia process to be able to remember.

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This disease takes so much away from us all even before your loved one dies.

fb_img_1541818060307Sorry folks, I’ve been pretty deep in thought about the process and how we’ve already lost so much of Mom and Dad even before they pass.  You start realizing you can’t just ask them the things you used to because they don’t remember.

Strive each and every day to make as many memories as you can.  Take lots of pictures.  Journal about your loved ones as well as yourself.  You never know if the day will come, so you will be so thankful that you did.

 

The Voice Behind our Christmas Commercial

So far, our 2018 Christmas commercial has received more than 44,000 views on social media. The spot features a beautiful voice singing a song called “You’ll See Christmas.” People keep asking us about the singer: Who is she?

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Courtesy: MandyHarvey.com

You may recognize her. Her name is Mandy Harvey. A Florida resident, the jazz and pop singer and songwriter took part in a season of the television show America’s Got Talent, finishing in 4th place.

Notably, Harvey is deaf. She gradually lost her hearing during childhood as a result of a connective tissue disorder, becoming completely deaf by age 18. Despite her disability, Harvey has performed regularly around the country, garnering accolades along the way. She uses “visual tuners” and muscle memory to help her find pitches.

Harvey caught the attention of Mark Shelley, vice president of Marketing and Communications at Lexington Medical Center, while competing on America’s Got Talent.

Shelley also learned Harvey had recorded several Christmas songs, including “You’ll See Christmas,” which has a message about the true meaning of the season.

“We all get caught up in what we think Christmas is about – gifts, presents and parties,” Shelley said. “But Christmas is really about love, kindness and bringing people together. The message of “You’ll See Christmas” fit perfectly with the story we wanted to tell in our commercial.”

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Mark Shelley (center) directing the Christmas commercial filming.

Shelley reached out to Harvey’s agent and arranged for her to sing a special arrangement of the song for the Lexington Medical Center Christmas commercial this year. We feel proud that she took part in this project with us.

Harvey embodies kindness in many ways. She’s an ambassador for an organization called “No Barriers” that helps people with disabilities overcome obstacles. She has also written a book called Sensing the Rhythm: Finding My Voice in a World Without Sound.

 

You can watch the 2018 Christmas commercial during your favorite holiday programming this season. Merry Christmas!

Health Tips for Every Decade

Carolina Women’s Physicians, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The practice has provided comprehensive obstetric and gynecology care for women in the Midlands for a decade. In recognition of that milestone, the practice offers tips for women in all decades of life.

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20s

Nearly 20 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur each year. Most happen in women under the age of 25. Because some have no symptoms, it’s important for women in their 20s to see a health care provider regularly. In addition, symptoms such as odor, discharge and pelvic pain require immediate attention. Some infections can cause complications that could lead to infertility. Doctors can perform simple tests to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

 

30s

Premenstrual syndrome peaks for women in their 30s for several reasons. First, women’s bodies are not as forgiving compared with earlier in life.  Secondly, women in their 30s are at higher risk for depression, stress and obesity. And, it’s more difficult to clear excess calories from alcohol and caffeine, which can result in lack of sleep. Making simple changes to a daily routine can prevent premenstrual syndrome. Get eight hours of sleep each night, exercise 3 to 4 times per week, eat nutritious foods and pay attention to calories.

 

40s

The five years leading up to menopause can be filled with irritability, memory changes and sleep problems. Metabolism can begin to slow down and menstrual cycles will fluctuate. These are symptoms of perimenopause and can be treated with hormonal and non-hormonal methods. It’s also important to eat a diet that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates to diminish the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

 

50s

Many women believe that changes will slow down and they will start to relax in this season of life. However, the risk of depression can increase and is very common in women in their 50s. Symptoms such as changes in appetite, shortened sleep cycles, weight gain and apathy can be signs of depression and anxiety. A combination of medicine and therapy are the most effective ways to treat chronic and situational depression. Remaining engaged in long-time friendships, traveling and exercise can also help.

 

Carolina Women’s Physicians has locations in West Columbia and Irmo. Visit CarolinaWomensPhysicians.com or call (803) 936 – 7590 for an appointment.