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The heat of summer is on! Most people love being outside and enjoying time in the sun. But during extremely hot and humid weather, your body has more trouble cooling itself. And when your body heats up too rapidly or when you lose all your fluids through dehydration or sweating – you could experience a heat-related illness. Knowing the symptoms of excessive heat exposure can help keep you and your loved ones safe during these sweltering days of summer. 

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke 

The symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be easily confused. But left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to the more serious of the two conditions – heat stroke. When the body’s temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, your heart, brain, kidneys and muscles can be come damaged. It’s the most severe heat-related illness and can lead to death without emergency intervention.

If you suspect someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, get the person out of the sun immediately and into a cool, environment. Turn on a cold shower or apply cool compresses; spray them with a water hose if you can’t get inside quickly. Have them sip water cool water and avoid physical activity for the rest of the day. 

And if symptoms continue or get worse, don’t wait. Get them to the emergency room immediately! 

Tops Tips for Staying Safe in the Heat 

1. Water, water, water! Staying hydrated is essential to keeping heat exhaustion or heat stroke at bay. Sip on eight or more 8-ounce glasses of water or fruit juice every day. It’s also good to avoid caffeine and alcohol because these beverages can lead to dehydration quickly. Most importantly, don’t wait to drink until you’re thirsty! 

2. Rethink outdoor exercise. If you’re going to run, walk, or bike when temperatures spike, be sure to schedule time for fitness early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun’s not as hot. Check the weather forecast. If there’s a heat advisory for that day it’s best to move exercise indoors. 

3. Stay cool at home. Check your air conditioning to make sure it’s working properly. Installing weather stripping around windows and doors helps keep cool air inside and hot air out. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, head to a mall, community center, movie theater or a friend or relatives home during the hottest part of the day. 

4. Wear light, loose clothing. Light clothing made of natural fibers (like cotton) help keep you cool in the heat. Stay away from polyester blends in dark colors that attract the sun’s rays. 

5. Know the signs of heat stroke.  High body temperature, a flushed face, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, dizziness and confusion are all hallmarks of heat stroke. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone else, take immediate action!  

What about Pets? 

The heat of summer can be dangerous for pets, too. These simple tips can help keep your pets safe: 
Never leave your pet in a parked car – not even for a minute! 
Limit exercise on hot days, or choose to head outdoors in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat of the sun. 
Provide shade and lots of cold water. Coverage from a tree or tarp is better than a doghouse - it can make the heat worse!

If your animals get overheated, they can get heatstroke just like people can. Some of the signs include heavy panting, glazed yes, rapid heartbeat, excessive theirs, problems breathing, dizziness, profuse salivation, vomiting and a deep red or purple tongue. Animals that are very old, very young, overweight or not conditioned for exercise are particularly susceptible to heat stroke. If you see these any of these signs, move your pet indoors quickly, apply ice packs to their head, neck and chest, and let them drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Take them to the veterinarian immediately. 

Many people will tell you that they don’t enjoy going to the doctor, and men are even more likely to avoid it. Research has shown that men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited their doctor in the last year. Why? Some have suggested that men are focused on self-reliance and resilience, and they don’t like the idea of asking for help. But when you’re not under the routine care of a physician, chronic health conditions can worsen and have a negative impact on your overall health – even leading to higher risk of hospitalization and death. 

In honor of Men’s Health Month, here’s information about some of the top health conditions men face and things you can do to decrease your risk. 


The statistics are alarming – every year 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, a condition that’s causes by too much sugar in the blood. We know that obesity is directly related to diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases, and recent research has shown that more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. When left untreated or poorly managed, diabetes can lead to serious health problems including blindness, kidney failure and amputations because of poor circulation. It’s also the seventh leading cause of death in the US. 

To combat diabetes, getting and staying at a healthy weight is the critical first step to fighting or even reversing the disease. That means increasing the amount of time you exercise each week and cutting back on sugary treats and high-fat or processed foods. The American Diabetes Association recommends aiming for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week. This includes biking, brisk walking, playing tennis, climbing stairs, running or jogging, dancing and more! Click here for more details on how you can meet that 150-minute benchmark

Heart Disease & Stroke

Many of the risk factors for diabetes are also tied to heart disease and stroke. Men who are overweight often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels –  leading risk factors for heart attack or stroke. According to the American Heart Association, 22 pounds of excess weight translates to an average 24% increase in stroke risk because of the boost in the top and bottom blood pressure numbers. 

What’s the best place to start on your path to a healthy heart? Eat a balanced diet that includes high-fiber foods (like fruits, beans, vegetables, nuts and whole grains), reduce sugared drinks and pre-packaged food choices, and add fish to your menu twice a week. Just like for diabetes, it’s important to get regular aerobic exercise. Working long hours, busy schedules and not eating at home are the reasons many people cite as the source of weight gain. To get back on the right track, start with setting specific short- and long-term goals for healthy eating and exercise. Check out these strategies from the Mayo Clinic to help you prevent the condition.   

Prostate Cancer 

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men and the second most common cause of cancer death. Approximately 180,000 men are diagnosed each year with prostate cancer and approximately 27,000 men die of the disease. Because symptoms of prostate cancer generally appear in the more advanced stages, it’s critical that men check in routinely with their doctor for PSA test and a physical exam. When should you get started with screening? 

*At age 50 for men who are at average risk 
*At age 45 for men at high risk, including African Americans and men who have a father, brother, or son who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65. 
*At age 40 for men at highest risk – with more than one first-degree relative with an early prostate cancer diagnosis 

Learn more from the American Cancer Society’s Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines. 

Erectile Dysfunction

If you have erectile dysfunction (ED), more than your sex life is at risk! Occasionally having trouble getting or keeping an erection is common and generally not a cause for concern. But if it’s happening with more frequency, it may signal something more serious. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of other underlying health issues – like heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, among others. 
One thing you may not realize that’s having a big, bad effect on your sexual performance? Smoking. That’s right, if you smoke your risk of ED is nearly two times that of men who don’t. Smoking makes getting and keeping an erection more difficult, and quitting is considered one of the simplest ways you can improve your overall cardiovascular health. Learn more about symptoms and causes of ED here. 

Lung Cancer 

Did you know that lung cancer causes more deaths than the next three most common cancers combined? The risks are high – the American Cancer Society estimates that about 224,390 Americans will be diagnosed with new cases of lung cancer this year. Even more alarming are the death statistics—another nearly 158,000 lung cancer deaths are expected. Finding lung cancer early is the goal – when treatment is most effective. That’s why scheduling regular checkups with your physician is critical. If you’re a current or former smoker, ages 55-77 and have smoked for 30 years (one pack a day or more), or if you’ve quit within the last 15 years, you may be appropriate for a low-dose lung CT screening for lung cancer. 

We also know that tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet more than 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. As of 2013, there were also 12.4 million cigar smokers in the US, 8.8 million smokeless tobacco users, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes. If you’re still smoking, today is the perfect day to quit! For more information and tools you can use to help you kick this habit once and for all, visit WebMD’s Smoking Cessation Center or the American Cancer Society for tips on fighting cravings

If you're experiencing some of these symptoms or haven't seen your physician recently to keep up with routine screenings,  don't wait! Make an appointment with your health provider today. And here's to a long, happy and healthy life! 


Summer is here and that means weekends on the lake, days at the ballpark, and lots of time soaking in the sun. All the sun exposure, however, could have unintended consequences, including skin cancer. The surgeons at University Surgical Associates (USA) want you to be aware of this condition affecting people of all ages and take precautions to prevent it.

Whenmost people hear skin cancer, melanoma may come to mind. Although it’s aggressiveand serious, it’s not only type of skin cancer. Basal cell and squamous cellcarcinoma are more common skin cancers. They form in the middle and upperlayers of the epidermis, or the outer layers of skin. They’re considered ‘non-melanoma’and are usually found on arms, neck, face, and top of the head.  Non-melanoma skin cancers can often be treatedeffectively when discovered early. The risk of recurrence for these types ofskin cancer goes down after five years.

More Than Skin Deep
Melanoma, although less common than other skin cancers, is moreaggressive. There are advanced risks with melanoma because of its potential tospread quickly to other parts of the body if not found early. What’s more, yourrisk for developing the condition greatly increases with sun exposure.

“Melanomahas a tendency to spread to other areas of the body – more so than non-melanomacancers. It also has a higher potential for recurrence in the original cancersite,” says Alvaro Valle, M.D., surgical oncologist with University SurgicalAssociates. Melanoma is more aggressive than other skin cancers but can betreated effectively.  

Who’s at Risk?
“People who have increased sun exposure like working outdoors or using tanningbeds, are at higher risk for developing melanoma,” says Dr. Valle. “But if youhave fair skin, a history of sunburns during childhood, a family history ofunusual moles, or many small moles on the body, you need to take specialprecautions and check your skin regularly.” Children especially need UV protection to prevent future skin cancerrisk.


Protect Your Skin
Minimizing skin exposure to intense UV rays is the best andfirst defense against skin cancer. An effective measure is simply seeking shadewhenever you’re outdoors. The American Cancer Society offers a catchphrase toremember how to protect skin when you do spend time in the sun – Slip, Slop,Slap and Wrap! Slip on protective clothing, such as long sleeve shirts with UVprotection. Slop on sunscreen with an SPF 30 or above. Slap on a hat and wrapon sunglasses. Also consider applying lip balm with SPF protection, andminimizing time outdoors when the sun is strongest – from 10 am to 4 pm.

Effective Treatment
The most effective way to combat skin cancer is early detection.Surgeons at University Surgical Associates work closely with primary carephysicians and dermatologists to address every aspect of skin cancer – from diagnosisto treatment to recovery.

“Surgeryis very impactful in the treatment of melanoma,” says Dr. Valle. “In earlystages, melanoma can be treated effectively by surgery while in advancedstages, we typically use a combination of surgery and immunotherapy.”

Talkwith your dermatologist or primary care physician if you have any questionsabout moles or unusual areas on the skin when you conduct routine skin exams onyourself.  If you suspect a problem,don’t wait. For more information, pleasecall us (423) 267-0466 or visit the USA Surgical Oncology page.

Posted by University Surgical | Topic: Health Tips