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.

Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular Fitness

The heart is a hard-working muscle that continuously pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body. Like any other muscle, regular training and physical activity can improve its functioning and efficiency. Fortunately, you do not have to be an Olympic athlete for your heart to benefit from physical activity—you just need to remain active in your daily life. Even simple acts like walking can provide you with improved cardiovascular efficiency over time. 

Participating in regular physical activity to improve cardiovascular fitness will not only reduce your risk of heart disease, but can potentially provide a host of other benefits.  Fitting exercise into your daily routine can help to improve your:

  • Physical abilities: Over time, regular exercise will improve your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the vessels of the circulatory system. You will also see improvements in your agility, endurance, muscle strength, and energy levels.
  • Appearance: Regular physical activity will help to control your weight while improving muscle tone, resulting in a tighter, thinner appearance.
  • Overall sense of well-being: Exercise provides more than physical benefits—it also improves your psychological health in many ways. Those who exercise frequently report reduced stress levels, decreased anxiety, and diminished feelings of depression. 

Even if you already suffer from cardiovascular disease or another chronic medical condition, exercise can still help to improve your overall health. Make an effort to get out and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for most, if not all, days of the week. Strength activities such as weight lifting can also help to improve your health and increase the strength of your muscles and bones. 

Committing to a long-term health plan involving physical activity will improve your sense of wellness and overall quality of life. If you are interested in finding out more ways to look great and feel better, contact the healthcare experts at West Hills Hospital. Our nurses are available all day, every day to answer your questions—call today at (818) 676-4000.

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the number one cause of cancer in the United States and accounts for more than half of all diagnosed cancers in the country. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.  Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing this potentially deadly condition. 

  • Avoid the sun at its peak hours
    The sun emits the most ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you can, avoid being exposed to the sun’s rays at this time. If your plans require that you be outside, seek shade as much as you can throughout the day.
  • Do not tan deliberately
    Even if you appreciate the look of a new tan, avoid exposing your unprotected skin to the sun’s harmful rays (or tanning beds) deliberately. Doing so will not only prematurely age your skin, but will also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Get the right gear
    Choosing the right clothing, hat, and sunglasses can be very helpful in keeping harmful UV from reaching your skin. When out in the sun, wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and 100% UV protective sunglasses.
  • Apply your sunscreen liberally
    Whenever you are anticipating sun exposure, be sure to apply sunscreen to any areas of skin that are not covered by protective clothing. Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater that provides protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays. After your initial application, reapply after two hours have passed or if you have been sweating or exposed to water.
  • Use extra caution in some environments
    Snow, sand, and bodies of water can reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your risk for developing a sunburn. Take the necessary precautions when in these environments during the sunny parts of the day.

The Cancer Care department at West Hills Hospital  is dedicated to providing a comfortable, patient-centered experience from the initial evaluation through the treatment process. To learn more about cancer prevention and treatment, call West Hills today at (818) 676-4000.

Cancer Survivors: Nutrition and Physical Activity

New medical technology and advanced knowledge have been helping more and more cancer patients to triumph over the disease and become cancer survivors. Recently, the American Cancer Society has released nutrition and physical activity recommendations for those men, women, and children who have been cured of this deadly disease. This video offers a brief summary of helpful recommendations. Watch the entire clip to learn more about leading a healthier life and preventing cancer.

Making healthy choices matters in cancer prevention and cancer survivorship. To learn more about making healthy choices in your everyday life, contact West Hills Hospital at (818) 676-4000. Our nurses can help you to find an experienced and compassionate physician in your area.

How to Protect Your Skin from UV Rays

Skin Protection

Summer is just around the corner—and with it comes long hours enjoying the warmth of the sun’s rays. Unfortunately, excessive exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun can be harmful to your skin. Without adequate sun protection, these UV rays can lead to sunburn, premature aging of the skin, and even skin cancer. This spring, learn how to better protect your skin during the upcoming months by reading through the tips below. 

  • Buy protective gear
    Sun protective gear, such as a wide-brimmed hat or long-sleeved shirt, can be the most effective way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. When shopping for a shirt or pants, be sure that the fabrics are tightly woven and cannot be seen through when held up to a light source. Choose a wide-brimmed hat that has at least a three-inch brim to protect your nose, cheeks, ears, and neck.
  • Always use sunscreen
    If you ever have plans that involve being out in the sun for any length of time, always remember to apply sunscreen to any skin that may be exposed during the activity. When choosing a sunscreen, buy a lotion with at least 30 SPF that blocks both UV-A and UV-B light. Reapply every two hours to ensure that your skin remains protected.
  • Wear sunglasses
    Whenever you are out in the sun, wear protective eyewear that blocks out 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays. Excessive exposure to sunlight without wearing protective eyewear increased risk for developing skin cancer in the skin around the eyes.

Taking steps to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays can help you to avoid the complications associated with skin cancer and sunburn. If you are interested in learning more ways to stay healthy and prevent disease, consult with the healthcare experts at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center. Our hospital offers a full range of comprehensive medical services and is dedicated to the continued health of the West Hills community. Call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line today at (818) 676-4000 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialty physicians.

What Is Lupus?

CAT Scan

Lupus, also called systemic lupus erythematosus, is an autoimmune disease affecting the connective tissues and organs of the body. Like other autoimmune diseases, lupus occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly recognizes the body’s own healthy tissue as a dangerous foreign substance and tries to eliminate it. There are four main types of lupus: systemic, discoid, drug-induced, and neonatal. 

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus:
    Often called SLE, this form of lupus has the ability to adversely affect any organ in the human body, from the joints to the nervous tissue. This form of lupus often leads to symptoms that affect the whole body, such as fatigue.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus:
    This form of lupus is confined to the skin and only produces symptoms there.
  • Drug-induced lupus:
    This disease can occur due to a side effect of certain prescription medications.Although it presents just like SLE, it is different in that it is caused by a drug and can usually be cured by discontinuing the drug in question.
  • Neonatal lupus:
    Neonatal lupus is seen in developing infants of mothers who suffer from SLE or Sjogren's disease.

Although the cause of SLE is unknown, medical scientists have determined that black, Native American, Asian, or Hispanic women of childbearing age are at an increased risk of developing the condition. To treat lupus, physicians will often prescribe medications to control the symptoms and reduce any flare-ups of the disease. The symptoms of a lupus flare-up typically include:

  • Inflamed, swollen, and painful joints, usually affecting the hands and feet
  • Fever of one to two degrees above normal
  • Weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite
  • A characteristic skin rash on the nose and cheeks which resembles a butterfly

Do you still have questions about lupus and its effects? You can learn more about this disease by visiting the Lupus Foundation website or contacting the healthcare experts at West Hills Hospital. Our staff is always available to provide helpful medical advice—call us today at (818) 676-4000.

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