Health Tip Sheet: The Methodist Hospital, Houston

Botox may be popular for reducing wrinkles, but it’s also doing wonders for stroke patients suffering from stiff, sore muscles, also known as muscle spasticity. Repeated Botox injections after a stroke may improve muscle tone and reduce pain in the hands, arms, and legs, making it easier for stroke patients to dress themselves and perform other daily activities.

Physicians at the Methodist Neurological Institute say if stroke patients with muscle spasticity are candidates for post-stroke rehabilitation – quarterly Botox injections plus physical rehabilitation – patients may avoid disabling complications such as contractures, a condition that leaves the muscles and tendons permanently shortened.

Erectile dysfunction might play role in heart disease

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) may need to worry more about their hearts than their diminished sexual function.

Dr. Stephen Lapin, a urologist with The Methodist Hospital, says an early warning sign of heart disease is when atherosclerotic plaque begins to form in the blood vessels, restricting blood flow. This plaque is more damaging to penile circulation than in other vessels due to their small size.

Erectile dysfunction affects more than 300 million men worldwide between the ages of 40 and 70. Lapin believes if urologists are aware of this connection that they can alert their patients who can then make changes in diet and exercise.

Women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding have quick and painless option

A little known gynecologic procedure can spare women with heavy menstrual bleeding from undergoing hormone therapy or hysterectomies. The Novasure System is a safe, quick option that can be used in the office, and patients return home the same day.

Physicians at The Methodist Hospital insert the slender device through the cervix while the woman is under local anesthesia with sedation, or general anesthesia. Once it is in place, Novasure destroys the lining of the uterus in about 90 seconds. About 60 percent of patients are completely menstruation free for life. The majority of the remaining patients have only minimal bleeding. The procedure is recommended for women after their childbearing years.

Treating GERD helps performing artists stay on stage

Christopher Whelan needs his voice, especially when he’s on stage performing musicals. When the New York-based actor’s vocal and sinus problems prevented him from working, he was surprised that Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, was at the root of his problems.

For performing artists who use their voices to earn a living, acid reflux can be damaging to the vocal cords and, if left untreated, lead to permanent damage. Whelan began a treatment of acid reflux medications and a health regimen to get himself back on stage.

Dr. Richard Stasney, voice specialist and founder of The Methodist Hospital’s Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM) program, says in addition to medications, lifestyle changes can do wonders:

— Plenty of hydration so the vocal cords vibrate efficiently
— Avoid throat clearing and harsh coughing
— Avoid smoking – tobacco irritates the vocal tract
— Get adequate rest
— Eat a balanced diet
— Limit the use of your voice in high-ceilinged restaurants, noisy parties, cars and planes

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