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Social Media Champions Corner

Review, Select, Share

The Mayo Clinic Social Media Champion program is a chance for you to quickly share the latest inspiring stories, news, and discoveries with your friends and followers. Take part in #MonthlyMissions to give back, or simply reach those who are looking for answers in their healthcare journey.

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Changing Minds While Learning to Live With Epilepsy

The first time Tehya Mrotek had a seizure during class, she just started high school. Her teachers weren’t very familiar with handling epilepsy and were not equipped to administer seizure first-aid. Around the same time her family was discussing the importance of epilepsy education, the school hired a new nurse and decided to bring in Mayo Clinic specialists to train staff and engage an advocacy group. “A training was initiated at the beginning of every school year for all the teachers,” said Tamra, Tehya’s mother and a timekeeping specialist at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus. The school also initiated multiple training refreshers throughout the year. Soon after the training, Tehya’s classmates began to understand her condition. “People started to get a grasp of what epilepsy was and started talking to me and telling me they were there for me if I ever had a seizure,” Tehya recalls.

7 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

High blood pressure affects about 1 in 3 adults. Everything from genetics to stress can be a factor – and while medications can help, there are also ways people can bring it down naturally. Mayo Clinic physicians share some science-backed tips to ease rising blood pressure.

  • Exercising 30 minutes a few times per week can lower blood pressure and helps strengthen the heart, which is vital to pump blood.
  • Relax. Being overly stressed doesn’t do your heart any favors and can increase a person’s risk for heart problems. So if you’re feeling stressed, try relaxation techniques like yoga or meditating.
  • Put down the coffee and alcohol. Caffeine has been shown to increase heart rate and blood pressure. If you’re feeling off, reconsider that second (or third) cup of coffee or glass of wine.

Hit the slopes, not your head

Has watching the X Games inspired you to hit the slopes or break your snowboard out of storage? Winter sports can be a fun form of exercise, but it’s important to be safe while participating in them. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common injury seen in winter sports, and because the extent of TBI can vary, so can the symptoms and treatment options. Facing a traumatic brain injury can be just that – traumatic. So if you plan to participate in your own X Games, wear a helmet and practice safe X!

Cowboy Back in Saddle After Successful Treatment of Glomerulonephritis

Four years ago, Jack Rhodes, a retired rancher, had gained 40 pounds due to fluid retention that resulted in swelling throughout his body. He suffered severe shortness of breath and was unable to walk. Local doctors were unable to diagnosis Jack’s symptoms, so he visited with nephrologist Dr. Nabeel Aslam at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. After several tests, Dr. Aslam was able to give Jack a diagnosis—a kidney disease called membranous nephropathy. Jack began immunosuppressant medication, along with antibiotics to prevent any infections. After 15 months, Jack was able to stop taking the medication and is now in remission. His symptoms are well controlled, which has meant a marked increase in his quality of life. “Dr. Aslam has the ability to listen and concentrate on what the patient is saying. It appears to be vitally important to him that his patients improve as much as possible so they can enjoy their life,” Jack says. “He and Mayo Jacksonville are responsible for me being alive.”

11 Effective Solutions for Heartburn

Sixty million Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month—and some studies show that more than 15 million Americans have symptoms every day. Doctors suggest that these numbers will likely continue to climb due to the growing obesity rate in the U.S. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus. But there’s a lot you can do to relieve the burn without relying on antacids and medications. Making simple lifestyle changes can go a long way, such as eating smaller meals, drinking plenty of water or drinking dark roast coffees. Reduce heartburn and be healthier with small changes to your daily routine.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Birth defects affect millions of babies each year, but they can be prevented. For many newborns with a birth defect, there is no family history of the condition. Many birth defects are not found immediately at birth. One step physicians recommend is taking folic acid once a day to help the baby’s brain and spine develop very early in the pregnancy. Discover more about your baby’s health with prenatal testing.  

Diagnosis and Treatment for a Rare Disease Brings Back Trish Byrd’s Hearing and Optimism

In spring 2016, Trish Byrd went deaf and no one knew why. With constant ear pain and the inability to hear, Trish saw seven different doctors, but none of them could give her an answer. Trish was nearing the end of her options and met with an ear, nose and throat specialist at Mayo Clinic. “It took him 67 minutes to figure out what was wrong,” said Trish. She had a rare disease called granulomatosis with polyangiitis, which can cause inflammation of blood vessels in noses, sinuses, throat, lungs and kidneys. Trish says visiting Mayo Clinic made all the difference because her team gave her a clear, calm explanation of the condition and the treatment she needed.

Mayo Clinic Helps Patients with Rare Genetic Condition

Metachromatic leukodystrophy. What’s that? It’s a rare genetic disorder that causes your brain and nervous system to progressively lose function. Though the disease is rare, Mayo Clinic doctors evaluate and treat more than 40 people a year with metachromatic leukodystrophy. It’s an example of one rare disorder among many that Mayo Clinic works with patients and families to treat. With individual treatment programs, knowledgeable experience, and the latest research and developments on metachromatic leukodystrophy, Mayo Clinic is the place to find the answers you’re looking for. Request an appointment today.

A Gift of Life From One Friend to Another

When Lori Allan revealed to her close friend, Becca Spurr, that she needed a kidney transplant, Becca proved that she was more than just a friend to Lori – she was also a willing donor. According to the Mankato Free Press, a medication Lori had been taking for an “unrelated health issue” damaged her kidneys to the point where doctors told her a transplant was her only option. That’s when Becca decided to have her testing requirements completed at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester. “They test you very thoroughly to make sure you’re healthy to be able to donate,” she tells the paper. “The great thing is, I was healthy” and — even greater — “I was able to donate.” Lori’s transplant procedure went smoothly and is forever grateful to her friend.  “You can’t even describe what it means to you to have a friend who is willing to give that kind of gift to you,” Lori says. “It’s overwhelming.”

Six Unexpected Ways Winter Affects Your Health

Catching a cold or flu during the winter can leave you feeling miserable for days, if not weeks. That’s why most people focus on avoiding the sniffles or a sore throat, but what about the other health risks that aren’t usually associated with winter? Conditions such as asthma, heart attacks and stroke are often overlooked, but doctors say people need to think about these conditions in the winter as well. Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Jeahan Colletti says extreme cold causes airways to tighten, causing inflammation and making breathing even more difficult. Cold weather also has an impact on arteries causing the passage to constrict, cutting down blood flow and forcing the heart to work harder. Cold weather can cause or aggravate a myriad of health conditions, so become educated on how to protect yourself and loved ones this winter.

Cervical Health Awareness Month

More than 12,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than 4,000 of women will die due to this disease. We’d like to reduce that number by spreading the word that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, so spread the word about cervical cancer and HPV disease. Talk with your doctor to learn more about prevention tips.

Successful Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer Inspires Richard to Reach Out

Richard Carvajal was in the best shape of his life. He planned to compete in his first Olympic-distance triathlon in August 2014, until he began experiencing sharp abdominal pain on his way to the race. Doctors initially thought Richard had kidney stones, but it turned out to be a symptom of a much more severe condition. Richard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, so he consulted with doctors at Mayo Clinic and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Two years later, Richard is in remission and says he recommends anyone dealing with cancer to visit Mayo Clinic.

Thyroid Awareness Month

January is Thyroid Awareness Month – how much do you know about your thyroid gland? Your thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. In short, your thyroid is pretty important. There are several diseases that can affect your thyroid, including cancer, so it’s important to talk to your physician about ways to maintain good thyroid health. 

Marine Captain Witnesses His Daughter's Birth From Thousands of Miles Away

Matt Reedy, a captain in the United States Marine Corps, was deployed overseas when his wife, Alicia, was due to deliver the couple's first child. Doug Pappin, Alicia's father and a manager in Information Technology at Mayo Clinic, convinced Alicia to have the baby at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. On Oct. 24, when Dorothy “Dottie” Lane Reedy finally made her arrival, Matt connected to the delivery room through a video calling app on his smartphone. He was able "to see the birth of his beautiful daughter, and to hear her first cry," Doug (aka "Grandpa") says. "He wasn't there to hold her, but because of technology and caring Mayo Clinic staff, everyone … brought Matt into the experience as best they could."

Why skin cancer is becoming more common among young women

Did you know that more than 30 million Americans—including 2.3 million teens—use tanning beds each year? Skin cancer continues to become more common, especially among young women, and Mayo Clinic oncologists and dermatologists say multiple studies show that indoor tanning is related to causing melanoma. So before you head to the beach this spring, think twice about tanning before your trip – and don’t forget your sunscreen!

National Folic Acid Awareness Week

It’s National Folic Acid Awareness Week – did you know it’s one of the most important supplements you can take as a mom-to-be? Consuming folic acid daily can help prevent neural tube birth defects, like spina bifida and anencephaly. Women also need a sufficient amount of folic acid even before becoming pregnant, as birth defects can develop within the first few weeks of a pregnancy. Learn more about folic acid benefits today.

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After 20 Years of Seizures, Erica Enjoys Life Following Epilepsy Surgery

For much of her life, Erica Laney had frequent seizures that were caused by abnormal electrical activity throughout her brain. She describes these auras as roller coasters with a big drop followed by complete darkness. Erica suffered seizures weekly during her freshmen year of college, so she decided to transfer to a community college where she earned her nursing degree. Her seizures became so severe that Erica could no longer drive to work. Her neurologist recommended she visit Mayo Clinic to see whether alternative therapies would help control her seizures. Doctors recommended a temporal lobectomy, a procedure that removes the seizure focus. Today, Erica is seizure-free and is able to travel and experience the world with her husband and son.

National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Your resolutions may include exercising and eating right, but make sure you’re not neglecting other aspects of your health, like taking care of your eyes. January is National Glaucoma Awareness month, and almost 3 million people who are 40 and older have glaucoma, yet only half know they have it. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and it comes with no warning signs. Being proactive about your eye care is key, so start the year off right and schedule your regular eye exam.

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Mayo Patient Celebrates End of Radiation Treatments with Scottish Flair

Six months after having surgery to remove the cancer from his body, Leonard Hislop was told that the cancer had returned. He suddenly was facing 30 rounds of radiation. But instead of dreading those treatments, Leonard decided he was going to embrace it. He told his care team he was planning to show up to his last appointment — where he would ring a bell signaling the end of his radiation treatment — in a formal kilt outfit. As the news spread, Dr. Johnson Thistle agreed to surprise Leonard by playing the bagpipes at his bell ringing. "It was absolutely incredible," Leonard says. "I could hardly contain my excitement and my heart rate. The bagpipes are very special to me, and so having Dr. Thistle take the time to do that for me really lit my candle."

Liver Cancer rates tripled in the past 30 years

Over the past 30 years, rates of liver cancer have tripled in the U.S. In 2016 alone, nearly 40,000 Americans were diagnosed with liver cancer. Why are rates increasing? Research suggests some possible reasons for an increase in liver cancer include obesity, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, diabetes and untreated hepatitis. Doctors recommend being proactive to reduce your risk, such as consuming less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s also important to know the symptoms of liver cancer, so you can talk with your doctor immediately as the survival rate is almost three times higher if caught in an early stage. Be proactive, know the signs and spread the word to others.