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What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting It

Dr. Nichole McDonald, OB/GYN at Lexington Women’s Care, was a guest on WLTX recently to talk about “What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting It.” The discussion centered around everything you wish you knew, but no one ever told you. Check it out in the link below.

Here are a few notes from Dr. McDonald’s interview:

~Puberty begins in African American girls around age 8 or 9, and in Caucasian girls around age 10. It’s important that parents help walk them through their daughters through those changes.

~A woman should see her gynecologist once each year, beginning when she becomes sexually active or between the ages of 18 and 21.

~We begin screening for cervical cancer at age 21. As long as pap smears are normal, we now screen every 3 to 5 years.

~During pregnancy, nausea and vomiting are typical early in pregnancy. But if it causes more than 10 pounds of weight loss, call your doctor. And, if you feel regular tightening of your abdomen before 34 weeks gestation, you should call your doctor.

~Before menopause begins, women will begin noticing changes in their menstrual cycle – the cycle will become more erratic and irregular. Menopause occurs when a woman goes one year without a menstrual cycle.

~Bone density is a measure of the amount of mineralization of a bone per cubic centimeter. When a woman starts to have thinning of the bones, we start worrying about osteoporosis. We begin screening for that around age 65. Women should get a good amount of calcium throughout their life to prevent osteoporosis. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting It

Women go through a lot of changes during their lifetime. Some of them are unexpected and can be scary. In our hospital’s FREE physician lecture this month, Dr. Nichole McDonald will cover everything you wish you knew – but no one told you. Call you mothers, daughters and girlfriends. From puberty to menopause, Dr. McDonald will share a wealth of knowledge for women in all stages of life.

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The Doctor Is In: Women and Heart Disease

From raising children to maintaining busy work schedules and keeping up with household chores, women’s lives are more hectic than ever. Women often put everyone else in their family first, but it’s important that they take time for their own health.

Dr. “Dee” Prastein, heart surgeon at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, talks about women and heart disease, encouraging all of us to “Just Say Know.”

Prastein_Labcoat_Standing_ORWhat differences have you noticed between men and women with heart disease?
Women tend to delay things, living with heart disease longer and presenting later. We see women who go about their routine chores while having chest pain or chest discomfort, ignoring or dismissing it. Sometimes they live with symptoms until they become so tired that they physically can’t do anything. It’s only then that they see a doctor.

What do women tell you about why they didn’t see a doctor sooner?
They seem to be focused on everyone except them. They put their families first. We see wives encouraging their husbands to see a doctor, but women often live with symptoms until they can no longer hide them.

How can heart surgery be different for men and women?
Women do really well with heart surgery because they seem to tolerate pain better than men. Also, older patients often tolerate pain better than younger ones.

How does smoking affect our hearts?
Nicotine causes hardening of the blood vessels, making them more stiff and narrow. That hardening of the arteries makes blockages more apparent sooner. You could say nicotine is the opposite of nitroglycerin, which allows blood vessels to become bigger.

What about diabetes?
With diabetes, high levels of sugar in your bloodstream allow the buildup of plaque in every blood vessel in your body, including the arteries in your heart.

What message do you have for women about heart disease?
I want women to know that it’s not normal to have no energy or to have chest discomfort such as pain or burning. If you do, see your doctor. Women who smoke, have a family history of heart disease or have diabetes should be especially careful. Don’t ignore symptoms. We can treat them and prevent a major heart attack.