Get Heart Healthy – One Day at A Time

The human heart is complex. Keeping yours healthy doesn’t have to be! “Making simple changes each day can help keep your heart healthy and strong,” says Andrew M. Ayers, MD, MBA, a licensed interventional cardiologist who practices at Dignity Health–St. Rose Dominican.

Where should you start? Dr. Ayers suggests focusing on small, everyday choices that can help you improve your diet, pump up your exercise routine, manage your weight, and relieve stress.

Where to begin? Try following this day-by-day plan for a heart-healthy week. These doable steps can inspire you to keep up the momentum and keep your heart healthy!


Go meatless. You’ll reduce your overall saturated fat intake, which can help prevent heart attacks and other problems. Look to beans, lentils, tofu, or unsalted nuts to replace meat in your favorite dishes.


Say “so long” to sugary beverages. They’re high in calories—and often low in nutrients— which add empty calories to your diet. Quench your thirst with water or another sugar-free beverage.


Take 10. A 10-minute walk, that is. Even this small burst of activity can  help your heart. Walk briskly enough to increase your breathing and heart rate. Then build on your success. A good goal: Walking for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week.


Lighten up a little. If you’re a milk drinker, go from whole milk to low-fat—or even nonfat. You’ll get all the benefits of milk, like vitamin D and calcium, without the potentially artery clogging saturated fat.


Try something fishy. Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps improve heart health. Aim for two servings of heart-healthy fish each week. (A serving is about 3. ounces.) Salmon, trout, and herring are great choices.


Give yourself permission to relax. Set aside at least 15 minutes to just sit quietly and breathe deeply. Imagine your stress seeping away. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can help keep your blood pressure in check.


Draw up next week’s plan. What new healthy habits can you work into your life?

For more inspiration, visit We’ve got heart-smart articles, recipes, health tools, and more.



Dignity Health – Best Place to Interview


Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job sites, ranked Dignity Health first among the 100 winners of its annual Candidate’s Choice Awards, honoring the Best Places to Interview in 2017 according to those who know best—the candidates.

Among all U.S. companies considered, Dignity Health received an impressive overall interview experience rating of 93 percent based on positive interview experience ratings, interview duration, and level of interview difficulty shared on Glassdoor throughout the past year. This rating is higher than any other listed company, and is a testament to the passion we bring to our ministry each day, and the way we share that passion with candidates.

Glassdoor noted several themes in candidates’ feedback that led to Dignity Health receiving the top spot on the Best Places to Interview list. Our interviewers often set clear expectations, shared useful information about the role, asked a range of questions—from related experience to how to handle specific situations—and allowed for open questions from candidates.

As Glassdoor’s chief human resources officer said: “The interview process is the gateway experience that employers have with a candidate, and you only get one chance to make a great first impression. It’s no easy task, but employers who get this right will have the recruiting and business advantage.”

We are honored by this award because we believe in demonstrating humankindness in all that we do, especially in our conversations with prospective team members. In the last year, we have implemented a behavioral based interview process, manager training, and standardized job descriptions for non-represented employees. This new approach helps us pinpoint consistent technical competencies, as well as cultural fit and an applicant’s commitment to our patients.

At Dignity Health, we want team members who share our belief that humankindness holds the power to heal and can guide our patients through their healing process.

Glassdoor’s 100 Best Places to Interview in 2017 list features winning employers across diverse industries spanning health care, business services, technology, retail, aerospace and defense, and more. For more information, visit Glassdoor’s 100 Best Places to Interview.


Dignity Health Nevada and Select Medical to Build Acute Rehab Hospital in Las Vegas

A joint venture agreement between Dignity Health and Select Medical Corporation has been made to construct and operate a 60-bed acute inpatient rehabilitation hospital in the Las Vegas area.  The new hospital, expected to open in 2018, will be built directly adjacent to the existing St. Rose Dominican Siena Campus, the largest hospital in Henderson.  Select Medical is the majority owner in the joint venture and will manage operations of the new hospital.  The agreement also includes joint operation of 12 outpatient rehabilitation clinics in the Las Vegas market, including 11 existing Select Medical locations and one Dignity Health center.

Nationally, Select Medical operates 20 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and more than 100 hospitals specializing in long-term acute care, as well as approximately 1,600 outpatient rehabilitation centers and more than 300 occupational medicine centers through its Concentra subsidiary.

“We are thrilled to partner with Dignity Health to provide an exceptional patient care experience for those needing physical and cognitive functional recovery throughout the region,” said Select Medical Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital Division President Jeffrey Ruskan.  “Our clinical leadership and outcomes in rehabilitation combined with Dignity Health’s reputation of providing outstanding system-wide care is a powerful partnership.  Together, we will deliver top-notch inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services for patients as they strive to restore strength and independence in activities of daily living.”

The Select Medical partnership enables St. Rose to grow its diverse package of health services to include care for patients who have experienced a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, neurological condition, amputation, orthopedic injury or have other rehabilitation needs.

“This joint venture brings together two health care providers that are committed to excellent patient care,” said Brian Brannman, senior vice president of operations for Dignity Health in Nevada.  “For patients being treated in one of our hospitals, the partnership with Select Medical will make additional long-term medical and rehabilitation resources available to help them return to a full, healthy life.”

Young athletes: Cheer them on to safety

February 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Every kid is a winner when it comes to playing sports. Game time can boost a youngster’s social skills and selfconfidence, while providing plenty of healthy exercise that’s also a lot of fun.

But every sport poses at least some risks. As a parent, you can work with coaches and your young athlete to help reduce these risks.

Stay off the injured list. To help your child score in safety, Emily Peterson, DO, FAAP, a pediatrician at Dignity Health Medical Group’s Henderson location, suggests the following:

ASK QUESTIONS. Learn what your child’s sports program is doing to prevent and respond to injuries, such as ensuring conditioning for players and safety training for coaches.

SCHEDULE A PHYSICAL. A preseason exam from a doctor will help confirm that your youngster is healthy enough to play.

GET EQUIPPED. Depending on the sport, a helmet, body padding, mouthguards or shinguards, eye protection, and proper shoes may be needed.

PLAY BY THE RULES. From football to soccer, many sports have rules designed to prevent injuries. Make sure your child knows—and follows—them.

BEAT THE HEAT. Give your child a water bottle—and encourage frequent drinking.

WARM UP. Encourage warm-up exercises before and cooldown exercises after both practices and games.

TAKE CONCUSSIONS SERIOUSLY. In general, players shouldn’t get back in the game until medically evaluated and cleared to play.

ENCOURAGE REST. Athletes need breaks in between seasons and during practices and games.

SPEAK UP. Teach your child to speak up if he or she is sick or hurt. And remember to check with your child’s doctor if you suspect an injury.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; National Institutes of Health; Safe Kids Worldwide

Take 10: Short workouts can really work

January 27, 2017 Leave a comment

“Not enough time.” That’s a common lament – especially when it comes to exercise. But with minor tweaks to your schedule, the benefits of exercise can be yours if you simply take it 10 minutes at a time.

Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. Weight loss, better sleep, and lower risk for heart disease are all compelling reasons to be active. And as long as your weekly total is 150 minutes, exercising in 10-minute increments (that’s only three times each weekday) is as effective as doing longer workouts.

Where to find openings for three 10-minute activity breaks? Try looking here:

Time your commute on public transportation so you can get off early for a brisk walk. If you drive to work, walk through a park near your office or park as far away from the entrance as possible.

Spend the last 10 minutes of your lunch hour climbing up and down the stairs.

Repeat your morning routine, and boom! You’ve done your time for today!

Sources: American College of Sports Medicine; American Council on Exercise


Categories: Siena

7 ways to keep your heart going strong

January 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Roughly 2.5 billion times. That’s how often your heart will beat by the time you reach age 70. It’s  amazing, really. Nonstop, 24/7, the beat goes on and on and on.

Doctors have learned a lot about how the heart functions—and what we need to do to keep it healthy and going strong. Four cardiology experts who practice with St. Rose Dominican offer seven ways to help keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

  • Put it to the test – Your “heart numbers” can tell you a lot about what’s going on with your heart and if you have risk factors that may affect its health. Moniz Dawood, MD, board-certified in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology, shares some key information:

High blood pressure and excess cholesterol can cause plaque to build up inside arteries in the heart. Lifestyle changes can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. Medication may also be needed in some cases.

Body mass index (BMI)—a measurement of your weight in relation to your height—is a good indicator of body fat. Excess weight forces your heart to work harder. It may also raise your blood pressure and have negative effects on your cholesterol levels. To find out your BMI, look for “BMI Calculator” under “Health Tools” at

  • Pump it up – Like any muscle, your heart gets stronger with exercise. That helps it pump blood more efficiently. But David Navratil, MD, FACC, a physician board-certified in cardiovascular diseases and cardiac electrophysiology, indicates that the benefits don’t stop there. Regular exercise can help you manage your weight, lower your blood pressure, and improve your cholesterol.

Most people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. That’s any activity that causes a slight increase in breathing and heart rate, like brisk walking. Choose activities you enjoy so you’ll be more apt to stick with them. And start slowly, especially if it’s been a while since you were active.

  • Eat heart-smart – Your entire body, including your heart, is fueled by food. So quality matters. A heart-healthy diet contains lots of delicious options, such as:
    • Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
    • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
    • Skinless poultry, lean meat, and fish—especially those containing omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and trout.
    • Nuts and legumes.

Also aim to eat fewer foods with sodium, added sugar, and refined grains. It’s best to limit saturated fat and trans fat, too.

  • Clear the air – Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. And simply being around others’ smoke puts your heart at risk. Fareed Sheikh, DO, a cardiologist board-certified in cardiovascular disease, says, “Smoking is also the biggest risk factor for peripheral arterial and cerebral vascular diseases, which can lead to amputations and strokes.” Primary care doctors and specialists can help you quit.

Keep this in mind: Just a year after quitting, your excess risk of future heart disease is cut in half. Fifteen years after your last cigarette, it’s as if you never smoked at all.

  • Seek sound sleep – Too little sleep has been linked to heart failure and heart attack in adults. Maintaining consistent sleep schedules, keeping your bedroom dark and quiet, and avoiding large meals and caffeine near bedtime may help you sleep better. If you have ongoing sleep problems, speak with your doctor.
  • Ease stress – When you’re tense or anxious, your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure increase. If stress   becomes chronic, it can take a toll on your heart. Find healthy ways to manage stress. Even taking a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe deeply may help you feel calmer.
  • Know the danger signs – If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911. Quick treatment may save your life. According to Sanjay Malhotra, MD, FACC, board-certified in cardiology and interventional cardiology, signs and symptoms of a heart attack include:
    • Chest pain, pressure, or discomfort.
    • Pain, tingling, or discomfort in the arms, shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
    • Shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, or cold and clammy skin.
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

Other possible signs and symptoms of heart problems you shouldn’t ignore are chest pain that worsens with physical activity and goes away with rest, swelling in your feet, legs, stomach, and veins in your neck, or a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow, or irregular.

If your primary care physician feels you should see a cardiologist, the St. Rose Dominican physician referral service can help. Call 702.616.4900.

Categories: Siena

Ready to enjoy sweet slumber again?

Verna holds her remote control while Dr. Goll shows in Inspire implant.

Verna holds her remote control while Dr. Goll shows in Inspire implant.

Verna Akina lived with obstructive sleep apnea for more than 20 years. She had tried everything, including the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine—a mask you wear while you sleep that forces air through the nose or mouth.

“I used to dread going to bed,” says Verna. “I got so sick of trying to make the CPAP work for me that I finally decided to stop using it and let ‘whatever happens happen.’”

So why does Verna now look forward to going to bed? She was one of the first recipients in southern Nevada to receive the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation implant.

Like night and day

“Inspire therapy is designed specifically for those who can’t tolerate CPAPs,” says Frederick Goll, III, MD, board-certified otolaryngologist, who implanted Verna’s device. “It addresses the root of the problem by delivering mild stimulation to the muscles and soft tissues that relax and block the airway.”

The system is placed under the skin of the neck and chest through three small incisions during an outpatient procedure. It then syncs with breathing patterns. If needed, it delivers mild stimulation throughout the night to keep breathing passages open.

Verna’s thrilled with the results, saying that since her implant was activated in early October 2016, it’s been like night and day. “I use a remote control to turn the implant on when I go to bed, then turn it off when I wake up.” Now, she doesn’t nod off while reading, and she can drive without fear of falling asleep.

A danger zone

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects 15 million Americans and causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start while you sleep. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can result in:

  • Poor memory and concentration
  • High risk for work or traffic accidents
  • Higher risk for stroke or heart attack.

Know the signs of sleep apnea—and find relief

  • Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up.
  • Headaches in the morning.
  • Sleepiness or fatigue during the day.
  • Snoring and restlessness during sleep.
  • Waking up suddenly and feeling like you’re gasping or choking.
  • Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or irritability.

Benefits of Inspire Stimulation Therapy:

  • Significant reduction in snoring and apnea episodes.
  • Improvement in quality of life.

Find a St. Rose physician who can tell you if the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation implant is right for you. Call 702.616.4900.

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