Vital Signs | KERA News

Vital Signs

Vital Signs is a weekly consumer health chat featuring leading North Texas medical figures. Hosted by Sam Baker, topics range from flu to skin cancer to exactly what a New Year’s cocktail does to your body.

Listen every Monday at 8:44 a.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Ways to Connect

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About 10,000 people a year will experience an aortic dissection – a tear in the body’s biggest blood vessel. It can be life-threatening, but it’s also possible to survive and to avoid in some cases.

Courtesy of the University of North Texas

There’s an ongoing shortage of doctors in Texas overall, especially in rural areas. UNT’s College of Science has created a fast track program to help fill the void.

Losing weight one to two pounds a week allows your body to adjust easier to the change.
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For many, a list of New Year’s resolutions tends to include losing weight. Before considering diets, gyms, expensive equipment and tech gadgets, a local dietitian offers some sensible ideas to help with weight reduction.

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When it's cold outside, alcohol might feel like a way to fend off the winter chill, but health care experts warn alcohol and cold weather can be a bad combination if you’re not careful.

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It’s supposed to be a time of joy, but the holiday season can be stressful for some people. However, food, of all things, can help manage that stress.

UNT Health Science Center

UNT Health Science Center is conducting the first study of a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease in a primary care setting.

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Obesity, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle are traditional risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but a new study suggests stress may contribute to the disease in older women.

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A well-balanced diet touching on all the food groups is considered essential to good health. But it’s possible to boost nutrients if you combine foods with certain vitamins and minerals.

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A flu shot's important for people in general, but it's more important for people with weakened immune systems. That includes women who are pregnant.

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Flu season began last month and continues through March. If you haven't received your flu shot, here's why you should do so as soon as possible.

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A new study says milk when consumed with breakfast cereal may provide benefits for those managing diabetes.

A well-balanced breakfast of carbohydrates, protein and fats is considered key to starting the day.

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Doctors have suggested one low-dose aspirin a day to help avoid heart attacks and strokes, but a recent study suggests healthy, older people who don’t currently take it shouldn’t start.

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Health officials across the country are monitoring the latest outbreak of Acute Flaccid Myelitis or AFM — including about a half-dozen reported cases in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Parker counties as of Oct. 18.

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Working out can make you hungry and thirsty, but what you choose to eat or drink makes a difference in how well your body recovers from exercise.

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New guidelines in screening for cervical cancer include the option of HPV testing, a move that may soon signal the end for the Pap smear test.

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The Tarrant County Health Department is keeping an eye on a recent, small outbreak of mumps at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

Mumps is a virus often spread by close person-to-person contact. It has flu-like symptoms, but swollen salivary glands are the most recognizable.

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Most think a good workout can help you blow off steam, but researchers have found strenuous exercise while angry can raise the risk of a heart attack for some people.

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Faced with a shortage of donor hearts, transplant centers have had to expand their criteria for acceptable organs. 

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Treatment for early stage breast cancer can involve dozens of radiation treatments over a month or more, but a clinical trial now underway may shorten that to a single dose.

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When you walk into the hospital with chest pain, doctors will conduct a physical exam, get your medical history and do an echocardiogram or EKG to measure electrical activity in the heart.

And then there’s the blood test to diagnose or rule out a heart attack. 

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There’s good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). While a high HDL number on a screening is usually good news, it may not tell the whole story for some women.

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Various medications and therapies can provide relief, but the FDA has approved the first in a new class of drug aimed at heading off migraine headaches before they start. 

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Over-the-counter medications usually relieve most cases of acid reflux, or what some call “nighttime heartburn," but they don’t always work. 

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Food companies have been using the snowy-colored vegetable — and others — to cash in on the low-carb, gluten-free trend. A local dietitian explains what’s so appealing about cauliflower.

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We can see it’s not a good thing for us, but belly fat can have more serious consequences than you know. There's also a way to get rid of it.

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A new study seeking detailed information about the ongoing increase in liver cancer in the U.S. found racial and ethnic differences in the outcomes.

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It’s called junk food for a reason.

It contributes no nutritional value, but you don’t have to avoid it to maintain long-term health.

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Failure to remove your eye makeup on a regular basis can eventually cause serious problems, like inflammation and irritation, according to a local ophthalmologist.

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After years of warnings to limit our consumption of eggs, a recent study suggests eating one a day might actually lower rates of heart disease and risk of stroke.

A local cardiologist says the benefits depend on who's eating the egg.

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The American Cancer Society recommends you should begin screening for colon cancer at an earlier age. For a long time, that was 50. Now, it’s 45.

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