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Healthcare Topics


Bone Density

Osteoporosis Diagnostic Center

Just say Valdosta Specialty Clinic for Osteoporosis Prevention…

Osteoporosis is not an inevitable part of aging. It is a devastating disease with enormous impact. Fortunately, it is highly preventable and treatable if diagnosed early. That’s why the osteoporosis prevention and treatment team at VSC emphasizes early intervention. We do everything possible to help you avoid osteoporosis and the early stage “osteopenia” (low bone mass) from occurring.

We start by giving you a state-of-the art bone density test on our DXA scanner. This is a simple, painless, noninvasive test that tells us exactly how much bone density you may have lost.

In addition, VSC provides Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA). VFA is a new technology that permits imaging of the thoracic and lumbar spine to evaluate for the presence of vertebral fractures. The early detection of vertebral fractures can help us to help you in providing appropriate treatment to lower the risk of other fractures in the hip, wrist, or spine. The VFA images can be obtained at the same time as a bone density during a DXA scan with VSC’s GE Lunar Prodigy AdvanceIM bone densitometer. DXA is a highly sophisticated, diagnostic tool, providing the most accurate and advanced technique now available.


What is Coumadin® and why do I need to monitor my dosage?

Coumadin® is an anticoagulant which helps reduce clots from forming in the blood.

Valdosta Specialty Clinic offers the most efficient and effective Coumadin® Clinic in the region.

If your doctor wants you to take Coumadin® it is because your body may make clots that you don’t need. These clots can cause serious medical problems by moving to another part of your body. For example, if a clot moves to your brain, it can cause a stroke.

The use of Coumadin® must be monitored closely to ensure correct dosage and to minimize the risk of bleeding due to excessive blood thinning. Until recently, a patient needed to come into the physician’s office, have his or her blood drawn and sent on to a lab to be analyzed. This process is cumbersome and necessitates having blood drawn from an arm vein; additionally, results can take up to 48 hours.

The VSC Coumadin® Clinic provides a finger-stick method of blood analysis. You will visit with a nurse each time. Any adjustment to your medication dosage can be made immediately, in consultation with your physician, if necessary. The test eliminates the need for blood draws, and ensures that accurate results are available within two minutes. You can then go home, confident that your medication dosage is right for you.

Immediate modification to your treatment enhances your quality of life.

Endocrine Systems

A group of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone into the bloodstream to regulate the body. Hormones regulate many functions, including mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism. Typical endocrine glands are the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands.


A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hormonal abnormalities such as diabetes, conditions effecting the thyroid and endocrine glands.


Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.

Heart Attack & Stroke

About 1.5 million Americans suffer heart attacks each year, resulting in over 150,000 deaths. Surprisingly, half of those occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. Many heart attacks also occur in people without other traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes or a family history.

Risk factors for heart attacks include:

  • Previous heart attack, stent, bypass surgery, stroke or other evidence of hardening of the arteries.
  • Diabetes, or Metabolic Syndrome (pre-diabetes).
  • Family history of heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
  • Total cholesterol over 200; LDL (bad cholesterol) greater than 100; HDL (good cholesterol) less than 45 in men or post-menopausal women and less than 55 in pre-menopausal women; triglycerides over 150.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Blood pressure over 140/90 (less than 120/80 is ideal).
  • Smoking.
  • Waist measurement over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women.
  • Physical inactivity.

We have expertise and experience in heart attack prevention and rehabilitation. We always put patients first. In fact, no other group practice offers patients as many comprehensive health services and conveniences as VSC.

By working together we can lower heart attack risk significantly. There’s an excellent chance we can help you, too, if you are at risk. Call us and take advantage of advanced, experienced, complete and compassionate heart care.

We welcome and encourage referrals.


Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can significantly accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.

Several treatment options are available if you have hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes, treatment of hyperthyroidism involves surgery to remove part of your thyroid gland. Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, most people respond well once hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated.


Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.

Women, especially those older than age 50, are more likely to have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body. It seldom causes symptoms in the early stages, but, over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.

The good news is that accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism, and treatment of hypothyroidism with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually simple, safe and effective once the proper dosage is established.


Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs.

Lupus occurs more frequently in women, though it isn’t clear why. Four types of lupus exist — systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus. Of these, systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common and serious form of lupus.

The outlook for people with lupus was once grim, but diagnosis and treatment of lupus has improved considerably. With treatment, most people with lupus can lead active lives.


Osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in your joints wears down over time.

While osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your:

  • Hands
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Neck
  • Lower back

Osteoarthritis gradually worsens with time, and no cure exists. But osteoarthritis treatments can relieve pain and help you remain active. Taking steps to actively manage your osteoarthritis may help you gain control over your symptoms.


About 25 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis. It’s a bone-weakening disease that makes bones so brittle, they break easily. Fractures associated with osteoporosis can lead to pain, height loss, difficulty moving, spinal curvature and possibly permanent disability.

That’s why the osteoporosis prevention and treatment team at Valdosta Specialty Clinic emphasizes early intervention. We’ll do everything possible to help you avoid osteoporosis and its early-stage cousin, osteopenia.

We start by giving you our state-of-the-art bone density test on our new DXA scanner. This is a simple, painless, noninvasive test that tells us exactly how much bone density you may have lost. This test is an important indicator because there are no symptoms of osteoporosis.

Prevention is important because osteoporosis is not curable and cannot be reversed. Prevention steps include:

  • Increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake to build stronger bones with increased calcium absorption.
  • Exercising regularly to build strong bones through walking, jogging and other weight-bearing movements.
  • Taking steps to avoid injuries, falls and fractures by making your environment safer.

Your DXA bone studies are performed by a certified densitometry technologist and interpreted by a board-certified physician and clinical densitometrist on staff. VSC also offers patients comprehensive value-added services and conveniences. Call us and take advantage of the most experienced, complete and compassionate osteoporosis care available. We also welcome and encourage referrals from patients and other physicians.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear.

Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. They can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and can range from relatively mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.

No cure for psoriatic arthritis exists, so the focus is on controlling symptoms and preventing damage to your joints. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis may be disabling.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that most typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.

An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. In addition to causing joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect your whole body with fevers and fatigue.

Rheumatoid arthritis is two to three times more common in women than in men and generally occurs between the ages of 40 and 60. While there’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, treatment options have expanded greatly in the past few decades.


A doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other ailments of the joints.

Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps that form within your thyroid, a small gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple.

The great majority of thyroid nodules are noncancerous and don’t cause symptoms. A small percentage of thyroid nodules are cancerous.

You often won’t know you have a thyroid nodule until your doctor discovers it during a routine medical exam. Some thyroid nodules, however, may become large enough to press on your windpipe, making it uncomfortable or difficult to swallow.

Treatment options depend on the type of thyroid nodule that you have.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.

Various factors may contribute to type 1 diabetes, including genetics and exposure to certain viruses. Although type 1 diabetes typically appears during adolescence, it can develop at any age.

Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure, though it can be managed. With proper treatment, people who have type 1 diabetes can expect to live longer, more healthy lives than in the past.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s main source of fuel.

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body is resistant to the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. Untreated, the consequences of type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening.

There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you can manage — or even prevent — the condition. Start by eating healthy foods, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren’t enough, you may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy to manage your blood sugar.


Valdosta Specialty Clinic
2418 North Oak Street
Valdosta, GA 31602
Phone: 229-219-0247
Fax: 229-219-0837

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