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Learn More About Your Health And Wellness With These Resources

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Are you looking for more information about postpartum depression or the other topics discussed in our recent posts? Check out the following links or contact West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (818) 676-4000.

  • In this article, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists answers many frequently asked questions about postpartum depression and postpartum blues.
  • You can also learn more about postpartum depression from this fact sheet found on WomensHealth.gov.
  • Find out more about burn injury prevention from the American Burn Association website.
  • This article from the PubMed Health medical library provides an overview of the causes, symptoms, and first-aid procedures associated with burn injuries.
  • Read some of the statistics that are related to lung cancer and the other types of cancer from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Visit the National Stroke Association website for more information on the basics of a stroke and its causes.
  • A stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate treatment—read more about recognizing the symptoms on the American Stroke Association website.
  • This overview from MedlinePlus describes a few of the problems that can arise when a woman becomes pregnant.
  • KidsHealth.org provides more information about what designates a high-risk pregnancy.
  • Become more aware of the symptoms of transient ischemic attack by reading this guide from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

A Look at High-Risk Pregnancies

High Risk Pregnancy

When a woman is considering having a child, it is important for her to take good care of herself and make healthy lifestyle choices, including practicing proper nutrition and staying physically active. Taking these precautions can help to prevent complications associated with high-risk pregnancies. A high-risk pregnancy occurs when a woman has one or more illnesses or factors (such as advanced maternal age) that could put her or her developing child at risk for experiencing health-related complications. Certain conditions can also develop during a pregnancy to make it high-risk. A few of these health problems include:

  • Gestational diabetes
    Like other forms of diabetes, this condition results in high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to produce or utilize insulin, the hormone that facilitates glucose uptake into the cells of the body. When this condition is properly managed with the help of a knowledgeable specialist, mothers are usually able to deliver healthy babies. When blood sugar levels are not managed, however, this condition can pose serious health risks to both mother and child.
     
  • Preeclampsia
    This syndrome leads to high levels of protein in the urine and abnormal changes in liver enzymes during a woman’s pregnancy. Preeclampsia also causes high blood pressure in expectant mothers. Without proper management, this condition can lead to serious long-term health problems and can even be fatal for the mother and child.   
     
  • Preterm labor
    Labor that begins before the 37th week of gestation is considered preterm. The baby is not fully developed before this time and may not be able to survive outside his or her mother. While physicians cannot predict which women are at a higher risk for experiencing preterm labor, there are defined factors, such as a shortened cervix, that may increase a woman’s risk.

The staff of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center’s Maternal and Child Health Center is dedicated to providing the highest quality of medical care for expecting mothers and their families. We also offer Childbirth and Baby Care Classes to help you approach the birthing process and new motherhood with confidence. Contact our friendly staff at (818) 676-4000 to find out more about how we can help you to have a peaceful and enjoyable birthing experience.


Common Treatments for Burns

Burn Treatment

A burn is defined as damage to the skin (and sometimes the underlying tissues) that occurs due to exposure to heat, flame, chemicals, scald, electricity, radiation, steam, oil, or other dangerous substances. There are three categories of defined burn severity: first-, second-, and third-degree burns.

  • A first-degree burn, also called a superficial burn, is most often caused by very short flame exposure or UV radiation (sunburn). This type of burn affects only the outermost layer of skin and does not normally result in a scar.
  • A second-degree burn can be caused by a splash of scalding-hot liquid or short flame exposure. These burns affect the epidermis more deeply and may or may not cause scarring.
  • A third-degree burn is a very serious injury and causes damage to all layers of the skin and will often involve the muscle and bone beneath it. These burns do not heal on their own and will result in scarring.

When a person suffers from a burn injury and seeks medical assistance, the physician will examine the injured area and evaluate the grade of the burn. He or she will then formulate a plan of treatment that depends on the depth and cause of the injury and how much of the body has been affected. Prompt treatment is very important for burn injuries and can decrease the damage done to the skin and other tissues. 

First-degree burns can usually be treated effectively with home care, typically involving cooling the skin with running water and keeping the wound clean to avoid infection. More serious burns, however, should be evaluated by an emergency medical professional. If the burn is diagnosed as being serious, treatment may include the following:

  • Intubation and the administration of oxygen to assist with breathing
  • IV (intravenous) fluids to replace those lost by the burn injury
  • Possible skin graft depending on the burn damage
  • Splints for the joints to help maintain their mobility
  • Physical therapy (if the burn is very serious and covers a wide area)

The Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital is a plastic surgery-based medical center of excellence specializing in the comprehensive treatment of burns - from acute care and reconstruction, to rehabilitation and psychological counseling. For more information, visit our website or contact West Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (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.


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