High Blood Pressure: Do these Things Now to Prevent Future Problems

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries, and it’s normal for it to rise and fall throughout the day. However, when blood pressure stays elevated over time, it’s called hypertension (aka high blood pressure). High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure also can result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure. This means that even if you don’t have high blood pressure now, you are likely to develop it in the future unless you adopt a healthy lifestyle.

  • Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, your blood pressure rises as your body weight increases. Losing even 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure, and losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have hypertension.
  • Be physically active – Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure. Try to engage in physical activity for a total of 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can do this by combining everyday chores with moderate-level sporting activities, such as walking.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan – What you eat affects your chances of getting hightape-403593__340 blood pressure. A healthy eating plan can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower a blood pressure that is already too high. An important part of healthy eating is choosing foods that are low in salt (sodium chloride) and other forms of sodium. Using less sodium is key to keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. Use spices, garlic, and onions to add flavor to your meals without adding more sodium. Set up a healthy eating plan with foods low in saturated fat,total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation – In addition to raising blood pressure, too much alcohol can add unneeded calories to your diet. If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount—one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.
  • Take prescribed medications as directed – If you need drugs to help lower your
    lood pressure, you still should follow the lifestyle changes mentioned above. Use notes and other reminders to help you remember to take your meds. Ask your family to help you with reminder phone calls and messages.

These are just a few of the relatively easy things you can do to help lower or prevent hypertension. Ultimately, keeping blood pressure at healthy levels can be quite difficult – especially if you are dealing with other severe health problems such as obesity and the issues that often accompany it. If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering weight-loss surgery, schedule a consultation with VIP SURG. We can help find the right treatment for you.

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LINX: Treating GERD with Innovation

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm. The diaphragm normally has a small opening for the esophagus. This opening can become the place where part of the stomach pushes through. Small hiatal hernias often cause no symptoms, while larger ones can cause pain and heartburn, leading to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment device called the LINX Reflux Management System to offer a new approach to treating GERD, a disease that is increasing at a rate of 30 percent every decade.

Think of the stomach as a mixing bowl that allows food and digestive juices to combine to begin the digestive process. The stomach has a protective lining that prevents acid in the digestive juices from eating away at the stomach muscle and causing inflammation. Unfortunately, the esophagus does not have a similar protective lining. Instead it relies on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to act as a valve to prevent acid from refluxing from the stomach into the esophagus. In the situation of a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach pushes up through the opening allowing acid to pass into the esophagus causing symptoms may include the following:

  • heartburn
  • nausea, vomiting, or retching (dry heaves)
  • burping
  • water brash, the rapid appearance of a large amount of saliva in the mouth that is stimulated by the refluxing acid

Symptoms usually are worse after meals. These symptoms may be made worse when lying flat and may resolve with sitting up or walking.

In some patients, reflux into the lower esophagus sets off nervous reflexes that can cause a cough or even spasm of the small airways within the lungs (asthma). A few patientsanatomy-archers may reflux acid droplets into the back of their throat. This acid can be inhaled or aspirated into the lung causing coughing spasms, asthma, or repeated infections of the lung including pneumonia and bronchitis. This may occur in individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly.

Fortunately, the innovative LINX procedure is helping with this significant health problem. This device is a series of magnets in the form of ring that is implanted around the bottom of the esophagus during a short, 40-minute laparoscopic procedure.

The ring of magnets is designed to stay closed and prevent the reflux valve from opening thereby preventing acid from the stomach move up into the esophagus. The magnets will open up the ring when people are eating to let food in much like a person’s native reflux valve.

 

Here are some things you need to know about the LINX procedure.

  • It is focused on the underlying cause of reflux disease not the side effect. Reflux disease is a result of a damaged lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
  • It is safer than the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Studies have proven that reflux disease can progress even when PPI therapy has effectively eliminated GERD symptoms. LINX is effective at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
  • A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked 100 patients for three years after their LINX surgery. That study found an overall decrease in stomach contents reaching the esophagus, fewer reflux symptoms, and a substantial reduction in PPI usage.
  • The side effects disappear over time in most cases. Initially, most patients experience some discomfort, but it typically dissipates over several weeks. In addition, the most commonly reported side effect is mild difficulty swallowing, which usually subsides over time.
  • The cost can be much less than a lifetime of PPI use: a 2010 study by Consumer Reports found once-a-day PPI use can range from $2,000 to $4,500 per year for brand name prescription PPIs.
  • This is minimally invasive and is performed as an out-patient procedure.
  • LINX is reversible and can be replaced.
  • Since the LINX band is placed around the LES, the device can be removed or replaced, if necessary.
  • This procedure is recommended for those with continued GERD symptoms under maximum therapy prescribed by a specialist.
  • LINX is not for everyone with advanced GERD. Today LINX is not approved for those with Barrett’s Esophagus or anyone suffering from esophageal cancer. It is important for everyone suffering from advanced stages of reflux disease to explore all available options before their disease progresses to the point where options are limited.

It is important to take your heartburn symptoms seriously because they are signals from your body that something is wrong. Since reflux disease is a progressive chronic condition, treating it early could prevent you from having to consider surgery later on.

As the first LINX trained surgeons in Las Vegas, Dr. Shawn Tsuda and Dr. Heidi Ryan at VIP SURG are ready to help you fight back against gastroesophageal reflux disease. Schedule a consultation to learn more.

 

 

The Link Between Seasonal Allergies and Reflux

While many may think of seasonal allergies happening in the spring along with blooming flowers, fall can also be a difficult time for those who are allergic. Ragweed, dust, mold, mildew, and the removal of fall crops are just some of the possible fall triggers for allergy sufferers. What many people don’t know is that allergies can be a big issue for people dealing with acid reflux disease. Separate from food allergies, seasonal allergies can also play a role in exacerbating the symptoms of acid reflux.

The link between seasonal allergies and acid reflux disease is that as allergic response becomes more active, one has more nasal drip, and more nasal drip leads to more acid, and that acid can then reflux up into the nasal passages and make the whole cycle even worse. In addition, one of the ways that seasonal allergies can aggravate acid reflux disease is the pressure from coughing or sneezing. This pressure can temporarily weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and allow stomach contents to splash into the esophagus. In order to get the added acid reflux pain under control, suffers also need to get the drainage, sneezing and coughing under control.

The first line of defense in the seasonal allergy arsenal is generally the use of antihistamines. Medications provide a way to lessen the reaction the body has to the histamines produced by allergies. These medications can help many people deal with their allergies without any further treatments.

Senior man with reflux

If you do need antihistamines in the pollen season, remember that they can dehydrate and cause constipation. The latter is also a huge reflux trigger. Be sure to drink plenty of water and gradually increase your fiber intake to counteract any unpleasant side effects. You don’t want to trade one reflux trigger for another.

There are a few things that you can do this time of year to help lessen your increased acid reflux symptoms due to allergies:

  • Even though the weather this time of year can be gorgeous, keep the windows closed in at least one room of your house. Spending time in this room throughout the day will give your entire bodily system a break from the environmental stress being placed on it.
  • Shower and change clothes after working or being outside. Most aller
    gens cannot be seen. Especially on a windy day, just assume that if you have been outside, you are wearing allergens when you come inside.
  • Be proactive with your reflux medication and your allergy medication this time of year. Reflux comes in waves. One of the best ways to manage reflux is to understand ahead of time when your reflux may be troublesome and manage accordingly. An antihistamine can be helpful. It works by blocking a certain natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. This medication can also slow down your runny nose and nasal drip whichin turn can help your reflux symptoms.
  • Do not experiment with new foods. Keep your eating very simple and reflux friendly until at least the first frost in your area.
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Allergens can be found in our environment and also in raw fruits and some vegetables. These same foods can often be better tolerated cooked. When foods are heated, the proteins are distorted and the immune system no longer recognizes the food as a problem.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are suffering from acid reflux. Schedule a consultation at VIP Surg. We can help find the right treatment for you.

 

Eating in Moderation: What Does that Really Mean?

“Everything in moderation,” says a co-worker, dipping the tines of her fork into her low-fat salad dressing.

“Everything in moderation,” says a friend helping himself to a third scoop of ice cream.

What is moderation? If this concept of moderation confuses you, you’re not alone. Everyone appears to define it differently. Eating in moderation is a subjective term, meaning something slightly different depending on your perspective. Individual perception of reasonable limits opens the door to a wide variety of complex answers for a seemingly simple question.

On one end of the spectrum, there are those who don’t put much thought into eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. Convenience and taste are the main factors influencing their dietary decisions.

On the opposite end, one may find those who label food as either wholesome and pure or downright evil, with seldom anything in between. Typical “bad” foods such as sugar, carbs, dairy, and processed or refined foods are avoided at all costs.

Both extremes can have detrimental effects on health. Eating calorie-dense foods high in sugar, fat, and salt on a regular basis, combined with a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

However, cutting out entire food groups without replacing missing nutrients can also pose problems. While “clean eating” might come in an attractive package, severe restrictions can lead to cycles of binge eating, feelings of guilt and shame, and further restriction.

Toward which end of the spectrum do you tend to lean? Where is the fine middle ground?

Eating in moderation means you do not consume more calories than your body needs to function properly. A person who does not eat a moderate number of calories gains weight, risking obesity and its associated illnesses.

The quality of the food is also an important factor when talking about eating in moderation. Consuming food your body does not need or want, such as excess sugar and fat has a detrimental effect on your body.

Eating in moderation means consuming nutritionally dense food so your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs without harmful or needless substances. According to the MyPlate scheme from the USDA, a healthy dinner plate contains lean protein, whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables.

Plan your plate to ensure you are eating the proper foods in moderation. Draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate. Fill the left half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Draw another imaginary line to cut the right half of your plate into two quarters. Fill one section with lean meat and put whole-grain products in the other section.

Moderation is about a healthy relationship with food – balancing the pleasure of eating with our basic need for sustenance. It is realizing that eating one piece of cake a week probably won’t kill you, but that doing so everyday just might.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are fighting obesity and metabolic disease, schedule a consultation at VIP SURG. We can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

Normal Heartburn or GERD?

Acid reflux is a serious disorder that can and must be treated to prevent symptoms and stave off potentially life-threatening consequences. Known medically and commercially as GERD, the acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease, repeated bathing of the soft tissues of the esophagus with corrosive stomach acid can seriously damage them and even cause esophageal cancer, which is often fatal.

Acid reflux is more than just a nuisance. It involves the backward flow of stomach acid into the tissues above it. It results when the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, fails to close tightly enough to prevent the contents of the stomach from moving up instead of down. Sometimes the upper sphincter, between the esophagus and the throat, malfunctions as well.

Contrary to what many believe, heartburn is but one of the many symptoms of GERD, and failure to recognize the others when heartburn is not among them can result in harmful untreated reflux. In addition to indigestion, GERD can cause:

  • persistent dry cough
  • sore throat
  • frequent throat clearing
  • hoarseness
  • burping or hiccups
  • bloating
  • difficulty swallowing
  • a sensation of a lump in the throat

If, when faced with such an otherwise unexplainable symptom, your doctor fails to thinkhand holding stethoscope with GERD word. medical concept of GERD as a possible reason, you might suggest it yourself. An examination of the esophagus may be the only way to find out if someone without obvious heartburn has acid reflux but doesn’t know it.

One characteristic often associated with acid reflux — being overweight, especially with abdominal obesity — largely explains why the condition has become so common in Western countries. Someone with a body mass index in the overweight range is almost twice as likely to have GERD as a person of normal weight. Losing weight is one of the best ways to find relief without having to rely on medication. Other ways to relieve GERD symptoms include:

  • quitting smoking
  • limiting alcohol
  • avoiding carbonated drinks
  • eating five or six small meals a day rather than one or two big ones
  • avoiding eating within three hours of bedtime
  • Raising the head of the bed by six inches or more

If you suffer from GERD and are looking for treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. Among other procedures, Dr. Tsuda specializes in a revolutionary treatment for GERD called LINX. Find out if it’s right for you.

 

What you Need to Know about Protein

You probably know you need to eat protein, but what is it and where exactly do you find it? The answer is – everywhere – if you’re talking about the body. Proteins make up about 42% of the dry weight of our bodies. The protein collagen—which holds our skin, tendons, muscles, and bones together—makes up about a quarter of the body’s total protein. Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Your muscles, your organs, and your immune system are made up mostly of protein. All of our cells and even blood are packed with protein molecules.

Proteins, along with fats and carbohydrates, are the macronutrients that form the basis of our diets. Once consumed, some people associate protein only with helping to build muscle, but keep in mind that’s not all it does for us. In our bodies, protein performs a range of duties, from building new cells to regulating metabolism to helping cells communicate. Proteins help shuttle oxygen throughout the body in the form of hemoglobin, as well as build muscle.

When you eat foods that contain protein, the digestive juices in your stomach and intestine go to work. They break down the protein in food into basic units, called amino acids. The amino acids then can be reused to make the proteins your body needs to maintain muscles, bones, blood, and body organs.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our DNA directs the body to join various combinations of amino acids into a variety of sequences and three-dimensional shapes for an arsenal of over 2 million different proteins, each serving a unique function. Our bodies can make some of these amino acids, but there are nine that are considered “essential amino acids” because we must consume these through our diet.

Many foods contain protein, but the best sources are:

  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • legumes like black beans and lentils

While our bodies can store fats and carbohydrates to draw on when needed, we do not have a storage pool of amino acids. We need a fresh source each day in order to build the body proteins we need. If the body is missing a particular amino acid to form the protein it needs, it will pull that amino acid by breaking down existing muscle protein. If we consistently lack certain amino acids we will lose muscle weight, energy and, eventually, fundamental functions.

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight and health. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein for the healthy individual is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 3 to 4 grams per 10 pounds, and two to three servings of protein-rich food will meet the daily needs of most adults. Athlete’s protein intake recommendations may be higher.

The good news is that you don’t have to eat all the essential amino acids in every meal. As long as you have a variety of protein sources throughout the day, your body will grab what it needs from each meal.

You can look at a food label to find out how many protein grams are in a serving, but if you’re eating a balanced diet, you don’t need to keep track of it. It’s pretty easy to get enough protein.

*Dr. Shawn Tsuda is a General Surgeon specializing in robotic bariatric surgery. Schedule a consultation to learn more.
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Heartburn or GERD – It makes a Difference

Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents moves backward into the esophagus. It’s also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Acid reflux is a common digestive condition. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans experience acid reflux at least once a month. More than 15 million Americans experience it every day.

Acid reflux usually causes a burning sensation in the chest. The sensation radiates up from the stomach to the mid-chest or throat. This is also known as heartburn. When symptoms that seem like heartburn persist, it could be a disease with more serious consequences. Chronic reflux can sometimes lead to difficulty swallowing and in some cases it can even cause breathing problems like asthma.

Acid reflux is caused when the muscle at the end of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is faulty or weak. The LES is a one-way valve that normally opens for limited amounts of time when you swallow. Acid reflux occurs when the LES doesn’t close properly or tightly enough. A faulty or weakened LES allows digestive juices and stomach contents to rise back up into the esophagus.

Large meals that cause the stomach to stretch a lot can temporarily loosen the LES. Other factors associated with reflux include:

  • obesity
  • stress
  • hiatal hernia (when part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm)
  • consuming particular foods (particularly carbonated beverages, coffee, and chocolate)

Most people experience occasional acid reflux or GERD. However, in some cases the digestive condition is chronic.

Acid reflux can affect infants and children as well as adults. Children under 12 usually don’t experience heartburn. Instead they have alternative symptoms like:

  • trouble swallowing
  • dry cough
  • asthma
  • laryngitis (loss of voice)

These alternative symptoms can also appear in adults.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease. It’s the more serious form of GERD and can eventually cause more serious health problems if left untreated. Acid reflux that occurs more than twice a week and causes inflammation of the esophagus is considered to be GERD.

Most people with GERD experience symptoms such as:

  • heartburn
  • regurgitation
  • trouble swallowing
  • a feeling of excessive fullness

Living with acid reflux is inconvenient. Fortunately, symptoms can generally be controlled through:

  • stopping smoking
  • reducing alcohol consumption
  • eating less fat
  • avoiding foods that set off attacks
  • losing weight
  • sleeping in different positions
  • antacids
  • anti-reflux medication
  • surgery

Most people with reflux will not have long-term health problems. However, GERD can increase the risk of Barrett’s esophagus. This is a permanent change in the lining of the esophagus which increases the risk of esophageal cancer.

If you suffer from GERD that isn’t responding to treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda to learn about LINX http://www.linxforlife.com/. This could be the answer you’ve been searching for.

Stethoscope on notebook and pencil with GERD (Gastroesophageal R