West Hills Hospital & Medical Center
West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is your community resource for better health. We have the capability and expertise to perform emergency open heart procedures, perform brain and spine surgery.

What you need to do to improve your lung health?

Since breathing is involuntary, most people don’t give much thought to the health of their lungs on a day-to-day basis. But by making conscious decisions to support your lung function, you’ll be rewarded with a reduced risk of disabling and life-threatening lung diseases like cancer. Watch the accompanying video for a quick introduction to lifestyle choices that promote strong lungs, presented by one of our doctors from West Hills Hospital.

Quit smoking or don’t start
Thousands of chemicals are present in tobacco smoke, including carbon monoxide and tar. Smoking a cigarette or cigar causes both short-term and long-term changes in the lungs, including the following:

  • Increased production of thicker mucus
  • Suppressed ability of the cilia to clean the lungs
  • Increased risk of lung infections
  • Irritation, inflammation and narrowing of the airways
  • Destruction of lung tissue
  • Less oxygen available for the body
  • Increased risk of lung cancer

The health benefits of quitting smoking begin right away. Within a matter of days, ex-smokers will notice that it’s easier to breathe. As time passes, ex-smokers have a decreased risk of lung infections and cancer.

Stay away from secondhand smoke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.5 million non-smokers have died since 1964 from health problems that developed because of their exposure to secondhand smoke. Non-smokers may develop:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Frequent, severe asthma attacks
  • Lung cancer

You can protect your lungs from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke by taking the following steps:

  • Prohibit smoking in and near your home
  • Prohibit smoking in and near your car
  • Walk away if someone near you lights up
  • Prohibit smoking on your company’s property, if you own a business

Test your home’s radon level
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally, and is present in many homes. Exposure to high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer. You can protect your family by purchasing a radon test kit to use in your home.

Exercise on most days of the week
Each time you exercise, your lungs get exercise, too. Everyone’s physical capabilities and needs are a little different. For most adults, doctors generally recommend getting moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

With our cutting-edge medical technology and genuinely compassionate healthcare providers, West Hills Hospital is your family’s partner in health. We pride ourselves on comprehensive preventive health services, but also offer cutting-edge interventional medicine by our Cancer Care team in West Hills. You can request a physician referral by calling (818) 676-4321.

What is it like in the emergency room?

If you go to the emergency room for an illness or injury, it’s natural to have many questions about what to expect. If you’ve never been to the ER before, the process can seem confusing, but it is actually a very carefully orchestrated system designed to ensure every patient gets top quality care. Here is a look at what it’s like to be in the emergency room.

Triage is central to the way emergency rooms function. This process allows providers to prioritize care based on who needs it the most. When you check in at the emergency room, a triage nurse will take your vital signs and ask you questions about your symptoms. Through this process, he or she will determine in what order you should be seen, compared to the needs of other patients.

Triage ensures that people who have potentially life-threatening conditions, such as a heart attack or stroke, receive care before someone whose condition is less serious. If you go to the ER and see other patients receiving care before you, it is because that it was determined that their conditions needed more urgent treatment during triage.

After you are brought into an exam area in the ER, work will begin on your diagnosis. During the process, you may interact with:

  • Nurses
  • ER physicians
  • Lab technicians
  • Medical imaging technicians

All of these people will work together to make an accurate diagnosis of your condition. You may also be visited by a member of the hospital administration team, who will take information about your insurance and explain how ER billing works.

Once you have a diagnosis, treatment will begin. In some cases, such as when you have a broken bone or need stitches, treatment may be completed in the ER. The ER physician may also send you home with prescriptions for medications and a referral to a specialist provider, depending on your needs. You will then be sent home with discharge instructions.

If you need more extensive care, or if the ER physician decides you need more tests to determine an accurate diagnosis, you may be admitted to the hospital rather than being discharged.

West Hills Hospital and Medical Center is pleased to provide emergency care in West Hills around the clock for patients of all ages. To learn more about the comprehensive emergency care we provide in our ER, including our accredited chest pain center and the Grossman Burn Center , please call us today at (818) 676-4321.

Why your doctor will recommend physical therapy after joint surgery

After joint replacement surgery, physical therapy will begin before you leave the hospital and continue to be part of your recovery plan when you go home. The amount of physical therapy you need will depend on several factors, including the type of joint replacement you have and your overall health needs. Here is a look at why therapy is such an important part of getting back to your normal activities after orthopedic surgery.

Moving safely after surgery
After joint replacement, one of the first things you will learn in physical therapy is how to maneuver safely without jeopardizing your new joint. For instance, if you have hip replacement surgery, your physical therapist will show you how to get out of bed, get into your car, and go up and down stairs.

You will usually receive this portion of your therapy in the hospital, so you are prepared to do these basic motions before you go home. In some instances, you won’t be able to leave the hospital until you can reach certain benchmarks, such as using the stairs.

Preventing blood clots
Your risk of blood clots increases after surgery, especially when you spend extended periods of time in bed. Exercises help to keep your blood flowing, minimizing the chances of developing a blood clot.

Being active during physical therapy reduces the blood clot risk, and your therapist will show you specific exercises you can do in bed to improve circulation.

Improving your range of motion
The exercises your physical therapist has you perform are designed to strengthen the muscles around your new joint, which in turn adds stability that helps to restore your mobility.

Often, before joint replacement surgery, people adapt their motions to reduce the amount of stress on the affected joint. After surgery, it’s important to unlearn these new ways of moving and restore a healthy range of motion to the joint. Physical therapy focuses on making that improvement.

At West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, our comprehensive joint replacement program—called the Total Package—includes pre-operative education and access to our Fitness and Rehabilitation Center after your procedure. Find out more the joint replacement program or request a referral to a specialist at our hospital in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

Do you know how often you should see the doctor?

Many people think that they don’t have to see the doctor unless they are sick. In reality, seeing your doctor for preventive care could keep you healthy and help you avoid things like heart disease, stroke, and other conditions that require emergency care. How often should you be checking in with your doctor? Here’s what you need to know.

Annual physicals
Most people should see their primary care physicians once per year. During these checkups, doctors perform a comprehensive exam to identify any potential medical issues. The visit is also a chance to discuss healthy lifestyle choices and to update vaccinations.

Another important reason to attend an annual physical is to establish and maintain a relationship with your physician. If you see your doctor at least once per year, he or she will be familiar with your medical history and disease risk factors, which makes it easier to provide you with quality care.

More frequent exams
Your doctor may recommend that you have more frequent visits if you suffer from chronic medical conditions. Your doctor may schedule more frequent exams for conditions like:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes

You may also need to see your doctor more often if you smoke, so he or she can monitor you more carefully for smoking-related conditions. Managing chronic diseases will reduce the risk of potential complications in the future.

Screening tests
Screening tests are typically a part of annual physicals. The exact screenings you need depend on many different factors, including your sex, age, and medical history. Some tests include:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Complete blood count
  • Blood glucose

These tests give your doctor important information about your health. Depending on the results, you may be diagnosed with a medical condition and begin treatment, or your doctor may tell you about lifestyle changes to prevent you from developing a condition you’re predisposed to.

If you’re behind in getting an annual physical, let West Hills Hospital and Medical Center help you find a provider with whom you can establish care. Contact us at (818) 676-4321 to request a referral to one of our physicians in West Hills.

How volunteering can help you with depression

When you’re suffering from depression, even the most mundane activities can seem overwhelming. The idea of volunteering may sound like the last thing that could help you, but it could change your life. At West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, we offer a variety of volunteer opportunities that could give you the chance to make a profound impact on someone else’s life, which in turn could change the way you feel about your own. If you’re living with depression, here are some of the ways that becoming a volunteer could affect your symptoms.

You get to follow a structured program.
When you make a commitment to volunteer, an organization counts on you to hold up your end of the bargain. Although your commitment may be small in terms of overall time—two to four hours a week, in some cases—simply sticking to your schedule and being accountable can be a great reminder that you are capable of being reliable and focused.

The confidence you’ll build by successfully following your schedule will increase your confidence that you can replicate that success in other areas and could spur you to re-engage with parts of your life that you have let fall by the wayside.

You will experience a sense of accomplishment.
When you volunteer, you will get to see the impact of your actions in real time. Patients and their families will appreciate your efforts and be grateful for the help that you are providing.

Seeing how your efforts are affecting others will give you an enormous sense of accomplishment. It’s a reminder of how important you are to yourself and to other people, at a time when you may not truly value everything you have to give.

You will learn new skills.
As with any new experience, becoming a volunteer requires you to learn new skills and apply them successfully. As you become more confident in your role, you’ll be reminded of how capable you can be.

Are you interested in reaping the rewards of volunteering at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center? We have opportunities for adults and high school students in a number of different roles, including gift shop volunteers and pet therapy volunteers. To find out more about the program and how to apply, please call our hospital in West Hills at (818) 676-4321.

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