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 Not to Do in the Face of Heart Attack Symptoms

If you or someone you love is experiencing heart attack symptoms, the only answer is to get emergency care as fast as you can. When treatment is delayed, more heart tissue is allowed to die, which can lead to long-term health impacts and even death. If you are assisting someone who is having heart attack symptoms, here are some things you should avoid as you are making arrangements for emergency care.

Don’t Give Any Medications
Many people believe that you should give a person who is having heart attack symptoms an aspirin, but in reality, you shouldn’t administer any medications except for heart medications that have been prescribed for the person, such as nitroglycerine tablets. Giving any other medications could not only lead to choking, but could also interfere with the medications the emergency care team is able to provide.

Don’t Wait and See
Heart attack symptoms aren’t always severe and dramatic, especially in the early stages of the attack. By reacting quickly when symptoms strike, you could drastically reduce the amount of damage done to the heart. Taking a wait-and-see approach to heart attack symptoms only allows further damage to happen to heart tissue. Go to the hospital for emergency care as soon as symptoms appear. It is much better to go to the hospital and find out that a heart attack isn’t to blame for the symptoms than it is wait for them to get worse.

Don’t Be Convinced the Situation Isn’t Serious
It’s natural for someone who could be having a heart attack to want to minimize or deny their symptoms, but don’t be convinced that you shouldn’t get help. Insist on calling 911 for emergency medical care whenever someone is having heart attack symptoms.

The ER at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is available to provide life-saving emergency care around the clock for heart attacks, strokes, and other medical crises. Call us today at (818) 676-4321 to learn more about our emergency care services in West Hills as well as our other hospital services.

Stroke Symptoms Unique to Women

When it comes to strokes, every second counts. The longer it takes for a stroke patient to receive emergency care, the more brain tissue they will lose, which can lead to permanent disability and loss of life. Women frequently underestimate their risk for strokes and often aren’t aware of the symptoms, so they delay seeking care and put their lives on the line. As a woman, understanding stroke symptoms could save your life or the life of a woman you love. Here is a look at stroke symptoms, including the symptoms that are unique to women.

Standard Stroke Symptoms
Women and men alike tend to experience a similar set of stroke symptoms that can be easily remembered using the acronym FAST. F stands for facial drooping and refers to the sagging of one side of the face, especially noticeable in a lopsided smile. A is for arm, and it refers to the tendency of one arm to drift downward when both arms are raised. S refers to the slurred speech that typically occurs with a stroke, while T means time—time to call 911 for emergency care when the other symptoms are present. Both men and women have these stroke symptoms, and both require treatment as soon as possible. The clot-dissolving drug that is most effective at treating most strokes must be delivered within three hours of the onset of these symptoms.

Women-Specific Stroke Symptoms
Women may also experience stroke symptoms that men don’t. Women are more likely to have headaches during a stroke and in the lead-up to a stroke. Others may have hiccups and indigestion, which may lead them to chalk up their symptoms to a gastrointestinal issue. Women may even have chest pain related to a stroke that causes them to suspect a heart attack instead of a stroke.

The emergency care and neurology teams at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center stand ready to provide the urgent diagnosis and care stroke patients need. You can find out more about emergency care in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

Essential Care Tips for Patients with a High Risk of Heart Disease

Do you know your risk of heart disease? If not, review your risk factors with your doctor. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, or if you are generally inactive, smoke, or are overweight, your risk of developing heart disease is higher than the general population. That means that you need to take steps to reduce your risk and keep your heart healthy. Keep these tips in mind to protect your heart health.

Control Your Medical Conditions
If you have a chronic medical condition that increases your risk of heart disease, follow your treatment plan closely and see your doctor regularly to monitor your progress. For instance, keeping your blood glucose levels under control when you have diabetes doesn’t erase your increased risk for heart disease, but it can dramatically delay and minimize any heart-related complications you do experience.

Get Regular Check-Ups
As Dr. Sam Kalioundji, an interventional cardiologist at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center discusses in this video, close monitoring by your physician is essential if you have a high risk of heart disease. Seeing your physician often allows him or her to diagnose changes in your heart health in early stages, when treatments can be most effective. Diagnosing heart disease in this way is much better than finding out you have it when you’re receiving emergency care for a heart attack.

Commit to Healthy Living
Having an existing high risk of heart disease means that lifestyle choices that could harm your heart are more dangerous than ever. Commit to doing everything you can to avoid contributing to your risk. Don’t smoke, and if you do, ask your doctor for help quitting. Eat a diet low in sodium, added sugars, and trans fats while consuming more foods high in monounsaturated fats, fiber, and lean protein. Get physical activity most days, as long as your doctor says it is safe.

West Hills Hospital & Medical Center provides nationally recognized cardiac care through our West Hills Regional Heart & Vascular Center and our specialized emergency care in Las Vegas. Get a referral to one of our physicians or learn more about heart care services by calling (818) 676-4321.

Why You Should Head to the ER for Shortness of Breath

As Dr. Natalie Shum of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center explains in this video, shortness of breath is always a cause for concern. Whenever you or someone you love experiences it, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible to find out the cause and get treatment. Although some causes of shortness of breath are easy to manage, others can be life-threatening, which is why it is so important to seek emergency care. Here are some of the potential causes of shortness of breath that require treatment in the ER.

Heart Attack
Shortness of breath frequently occurs with a heart attack, when oxygenated blood cannot be pumped efficiently by the heart. The shortness of breath associated with a heart attack may come on suddenly, or it may appear slowly, over the course of several days, before a heart attack. If you notice that you are becoming winded when doing simple activities like walking across a room or that you have shortness of breath that gets worse when you lay down and improves when you sit up, then get your symptoms checked out in the ER in case a heart attack is to blame.

Pulmonary Embolism
A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that forms in the lungs. In addition to chest pain and a cough, it can cause shortness of breath and rapid breathing. Pulmonary embolism is an extremely serious condition that requires immediate emergency care. Left untreated, a pulmonary embolism can be fatal, so getting a fast diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible is essential.

Anaphylaxis is an immune system reaction to an allergen that can cause sudden and severe shortness of breath. With anaphylaxis, urgent treatment is required to stop the reaction and restore normal body functioning, including breathing. Although an EpiPen injection can put a stop to the initial reaction, emergency care is still required, even if the symptoms have subsided.

Whatever your medical emergency, West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here around the clock to provide the care you need. Don’t let your potentially serious symptoms go unchecked. Call us today at (818) 676-4321 for answers to your questions about emergency care and the other services we offer at our hospital in Las Vegas.

Start This Year as a Volunteer at West Hills Hospital

If you are looking for a fun and fulfilling way to give back to the community, then West Hills Hospital & Medical Center has an opportunity for you. Our volunteer program matches motivated adults and high school students with volunteer positions in our hospital, where they can make an impact on patients, their families, and our team of healthcare providers. Could volunteering at our hospital be right for you? Here is what you need to know.

Who can volunteer?
We welcome both adult volunteers and teen volunteers. Adults can apply throughout the year, while high school students who are interested in our Junior Volunteer program are accepted during March, April, and May. We ask volunteers to commit to working shifts for six consecutive months and that they complete 100 hours of service in that time. Volunteer shifts are available seven days a week during the morning, afternoon, and evening, so there is a time that can fit into almost anyone’s schedule.

What do volunteers do?
We have several different volunteer programs. Volunteers can work in the gift shop, as chaplains, pet volunteers, and in our regional occupational program, which is coordinated through LAUSD. Volunteers may also assist with clerical work throughout our hospital departments. We can help volunteers find an opportunity that puts their skills to the best possible use.

How can I become a volunteer?
We hold information sessions for volunteers on the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 PM at 7320 Woodlake Avenue, #120, in West Hills. Information sessions last for one hour and reservations are required. Reserve a spot by emailing the Director of Volunteer Services at least 48 hours before the session you wish to attend. Prospective volunteers are then invited to complete an application, and if selected, will undergo a Tuberculosis screening free of charge as well as a background check. Attendance at all training and orientation sessions is required.

To find out more about the volunteer program, contact West Hills Hospital & Medical Center today. Call (818) 676-4321 to learn more about getting involved as a volunteer and becoming an integral part of our hospital community.

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