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.
818.676.4000

How Smoking Can Lead to Serious Medical Conditions

Tobacco smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer in the United States and also increases a smoker’s risk for developing many other types of cancers, such as cancer of the pancreas and bladder. It is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. In this video, you can learn more about the ways that smoking can lead to a wide variety of serious medical conditions. You can also find out many of the immediate and long-term benefits of quitting today.

Knowing your risk factors and making simple lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, are powerful steps in living a longer, healthier life. Contact the healthcare team at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4000 for more information about staying healthy. 


Causes and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression

Approximately two weeks after a woman gives birth to a new baby, she can sometimes experience feelings of deep sadness and despair. These feelings can keep her from functioning normally and performing important daily tasks for weeks to months after delivery. Some of the major symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Lack of interest or pleasure in life’s daily activities
  • Lack of appetite
  • No desire to engage in social situations
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep and restlessness
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Rapid mood swings or episodes of crying for no apparent reason
  • Difficulty making decisions and poor concentration

While the exact causes of postpartum depression are unclear, some scientists believe that the symptoms may be the result of hormonal changes in a woman’s brain that occur during and after delivery of the new baby. Levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen decrease very dramatically immediately after the baby is born, which may result in mood swings similar to those that occur before menstrual periods. Thyroid hormones can also decrease sharply at the same time, which also have effects on mood, energy level, and sleeping patterns. Overall, postpartum depression appears to be the result of a combination of many factors, from genetic makeup to lifestyle choices.

A woman may be more at risk for developing this condition if she:

  • Has a family member suffering from depression or a personal history with depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
  • Has a history of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Lacks a good support system or has a strained relationship with her partner

If you are at an increased risk for developing postpartum depression, speak with your doctor about what you can do to help prevent this condition from affecting your life. To find a compassionate and experienced medical specialist in the West Hills, CA area, contact the staff of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4000.


Recognizing, Preventing, and Treating a TIA or Mini-Stroke

A transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is a temporary condition that is caused by an interruption of blood flow to the brain. These serious medical episodes can be a warning of a full-blown stroke, so it is important that you are able to recognize the signs of TIA and act as soon as possible. In this video, you can learn more about the signs of TIA and what you should do if you or someone you know experiences them.

Not every potentially life-threatening medical event provides a warning before it strikes. When you recognize the signs of a TIA, consider seeking emergency care as soon as possible to help prevent the consequences of a stroke. To learn more about this condition, contact West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4000—we are happy to answer your questions.


Different Types of Stroke

Pulse Trace

Stroke, also known as a ‘brain attack’, occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted. Without the oxygen and nutrients supplied by arterial blood, brain tissue rapidly undergoes serious damage and can die in a matter of minutes. There are two main types of stroke and each can affect many parts of the brain, including the cerebrum, brain stem, and cerebellum. 

  • Ischemic stroke
    Blood clotting is an essential aspect of how our bodies recover from injury. Some clots, however, can be fatal. Ischemic strokes occur when blood clots form elsewhere in the body (usually in the heart) and travel up into the brain, leading to a blockage of an artery supplying the brain with blood. Clots also have the ability to form on fatty plaques that are attached to an artery wall, which can also result in the blockage of a cerebral artery. 
     
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
    There are no blood clots involved in a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke is caused by the breakage of a blood vessel within the brain, resulting in bleeding. Blood flow is interrupted and the bleeding eventually puts dangerous pressure on the brain tissue. Patients with chronic high blood pressure (hypertension) or cerebral aneurisms are much more likely to experience a hemorrhagic stroke. 

Stroke is the number one cause of adult disability and a leading cause of death in the United States. If you or a loved one experiences the symptoms of stroke, do not hesitate to act. Seriously consider seeking emergency medical attention from the emergency medical professionals of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center—our center for emergency services is dedicated to providing prompt and expert treatment for any serious illness or injury. Contact us at (818) 676-4000 to find out more about our comprehensive healthcare services. 


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