Healthy Mama: Answers to your questions

Those who attended the Business Women’s Conference — and texted questions to the all-female panel during Mercy Health System’s break-out session — can find some of their “overflow” answers below.

The audience texted the panel so many health questions during the session, they couldn’t answer them all! They asked Motherlode to help share the answers so even more women could benefit from them.

This is the third in the series of question-and-answer articles. (Click HERE and HERE to see the first two rounds of questions that published on Motherlode.)

donna-murdock-wittkop_mercydocs_0477.jpgThe following four answers were provided by panelist Donna Murdock, ANP at Mercy Heart and Vascular Center, 2708 Rife Medical Lane, Rogers.

Females in my family have a history of varicose veins.Are there steps at 30 that I can take to prevent them?  Support hose in the 15-20 mmHG range are by far the most effective treatment for varicose veins – with or without symptoms.  If you experience pain, swelling leg heaviness and leg fatigue or have skin changes or venous ulcers, you may be a candidate for a laser procedure to close the veins and relieve symptoms. (To read more details about the causes, prevention and treatment of varicose/spider veins, click here for a previous story on Motherlode.)

Q: What is a calcium score? Calcium scoring is a procedure involving the use of a 64-slice CT scan to determine the level of calcium in the coronary artery.  The presence of calcium in the coronary artery is a sign of coronary artery disease(CAD). Early identification indicates the need for aggressive management of modifiable risk factors to prevent the progression to obstructive coronary artery disease.This process has nothing to do with your calcium intake, either  to much or too little.When a small plaque in the artery ruptures a healing process takes place as it does with all injuries in the body.Calcium is part of scar. This process will continue until the process that causes the damage ( smoking, hypertension, diabetes) is controlled.This process has nothing to do with your blood levels of calcium and cannot be controlled by dietary or supplemental calcium restriction.

What was the title of the James O’Keefe book you mentioned? The Young Forever Diet and Lifestyle by James O”Keefe, M.D. and Joan O’Keefe, R.D.  Dr. O”Keefe is a preventive cardiologist  and his wife, Joan is a registered dietician.  

Can the effects of bad habits like smoking be reversed?Can the heart and lungs rejuvenate? The effects of smoking on the lungs in general can be reversed initially.That issue could be be answered by someone with expertise in that area.However, where the heart is concerned, once heart muscle is damaged, it does not rejuvenate.Once blockage develops in an artery, it will not go away but can be stopped from getting worse with management of risk factors that are modifiable.

What is the relationship between thyroid and irregular heartbeat hypothyroidism?Abnormal circulating thyroid levels can be one of the underlying causes of atrial arrhythmias which presents as an irregular heart beat and should be addressed by a cardiologist.