• Shopping Smarter for Your Heart Health

    For the first time in generations, kids are not expected to have longer life spans than their parents. A big reason for this trend is obesity, which is caused by widespread poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles. This video from the American Heart Association offers some tips for improving diets in childhood by promoting healthy habits of eating fruits and vegetables.

    The video suggests that parents should go on the offensive when it comes to serving fresh fruits and vegetables. In other words, these shouldn’t be optional add-ons for each meal; they should be the primary ingredients of every meal. If you still have a hard time convincing your child to eat right, try growing a garden with your kids so they are excited to try the fruits of their labor.

    If you are concerned about your heart health or your child’s nutrition, West Hills Hospital is here to offer you support, guidance, and preventive screenings. You can find a physician affiliated with our hospital on our website or by calling our healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4000. 

  • Stay Connected with West Hills Hospital’s ER through our Text Services

    You may not always see a medical emergency coming, but it’s important to stay prepared so that you get the care you need right away. If you are facing an emergency situation, you can get the fastest care possible with West Hills Hospital’s text services, which are detailed in this video clip. All you need to do is text ‘ER’ to 23000, and we will text you back with average ER wait times for the area.

    Don’t be surprised if West Hills Hospital is frequently at the top of the list for the lowest wait times, because we strive to offer a higher level of care with optimal efficiency where it matters most. If you prefer to avoid standard messaging fees, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line for wait time updates at (818) 676-4000. 

  • Tips for Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

    Healthy green Smoothie on wooden table

    The decision to get weight loss surgery may take a significant amount of time, because this surgery does mark the beginning of some big, permanent lifestyle changes. Weight loss surgery has been shown to facilitate complete recovery from conditions that lead to heart disease as well as diabetes, but this does not come without some serious work from the patient.

    After weight loss surgery, your diet will look much different. Your meals will be small but nutrient-dense, and you will have to start out on a primarily liquid diet as you recover. Doing some pre-operative research will let your prepare your pantry adequately so that temptation is not lingering in the form of junk food and sugary beverages. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit before surgery to minimize surgical risks and kick-start your healthy new lifestyle. Attending a weight loss surgery support group is another helpful measure that will give you a good idea of what you can expect once your stitches heal.

    If you are considering surgical weight loss to help you manage your weight for good, West Hills Hospital will allow you to receive the best possible care with minimally invasive surgical techniques that reduce recovery time. Start exploring your candidacy for weight loss surgery with us by calling (818) 676-4000 or visiting our website today. 

  • What Happens If You Are Diagnosed with Breast Cancer During Pregnancy?

    pregnant woman

    The thought of a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy may sound like a nightmare, but it is a possibility—especially as women are getting pregnant later and later in their childbearing years. While the chances of encountering breast cancer in pregnancy are rare, women should know how to cope with this diagnosis if it does come up.

    Not all pregnant women with breast cancer will undergo treatment during pregnancy. The decision to start therapies will depend on how far along the pregnancy is, the location of the tumor, the spread of the cancer, and the size of the tumor. Surgery is typically the preferred method of treatment when the patient is pregnant, because it has the fewest risks for the developing fetus. Treatments like radiation and chemotherapy will likely be delayed until after pregnancy, because they can have serious side effects for a developing baby.

    Facing a breast cancer diagnosis is tough in any circumstances, but the multidisciplinary cancer care team and care coordinators at West Hills Hospital can help you get through it. You can reach us to discover more information about our prenatal care and cancer treatment services online or at (818) 676-4000. 

  • How to Improve Your Lung Health

    human lung

    Lung cancer and COPD are both high on the list of the leading causes of death in the United States, and this is in large part due to the lingering effects of industrial pollution and irresponsible environmental practices from decades past. Now that the general public is more aware of the health risks of polluted air, there is a bigger push for more eco-friendly practices in industrial settings. However, there is still plenty of work that can be done on an individual level to improve air quality and improve respiratory health on a community level. The important measures below are all great ways to keep your lungs healthy so that you stay protected from deadly respiratory diseases along with chronic conditions like asthma that can impair your daily activities.

    Beware of outdoor pollution levels

    Living in the Los Angeles area, you may be no stranger to outdoor air pollution. What you may not realize that pollution levels change throughout the days and seasons, so you should keep track of when pollution is at its highest. During these times, try to stay indoors or use a facial mask to breathe easier.

    Get your annual flu shot

    Minor respiratory infections like the flu can do damage in the long run—especially if you tend to come down with the flu every year. With a quick flu shot, you can save yourself some sick days and keep your lungs in better working condition.

    Test radon levels

    Radon is a radioactive gas released as uranium breaks down, and it may leak into the home, silently diminishing indoor air quality. To test for this invisible, odorless, and otherwise unnoticeable gas, pick up a radon testing kid and consider radon reduction if the levels are between 2 and 4 pCi/L. No level of radon is known to be safe, so lower numbers are always favorable.

    These are just a few of the ways that you can clean up the air around you and preserve your respiratory health. For more helpful tips from registered nurses available 24/7, call West Hills Hospital through our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4000.

  • A Quick Overview of Common Liver Diseases

    Medical X-Ray Scan - Liver

    The liver is a hardworking organ that allows you to digest food properly, store energy, and filter toxins from certain foods, drugs, and alcohol. While you may not think about your liver much, it serves several vital functions that you could not live without. Therefore, liver disease should not be taken lightly when symptoms like easy bruising of the skin, abdominal pain, yellowing skin, or bloody stools appear. These symptoms may be present with a number of varying conditions affecting the liver, which means that you should discuss them immediately with your physician. Below is a look at a few of the possible outcomes that may be diagnosed when the characteristic symptoms of liver disease are present.


    Cirrhosis describes scarring of the liver, which may result from injury, alcohol use, or other liver diseases . Obesity combined with high-fat diets has contributed to the development of cirrhosis, making it much more common over the past few decades. When there is scar tissue in the liver, the function of the organ is impaired. This might lead to increased sensitivity to medication, jaundice, internal bleeding, and swelling in the abdomen and lower body. Cirrhosis cannot be reversed, but measures may be taken to slow down the rate of scar tissue formation and preserve healthy tissue.


    Hepatitis comes in several forms, and these are all viral infections of the liver that may be spread through sharing needles, blood transfusions, or unprotected sex. Medication can manage hepatitis, but it is best treated through prevention with vaccinations during childhood.

    Liver cancer

    Primary liver cancer, or cancer that develops in the liver, is somewhat rare, but may be caused by cirrhosis, hepatitis, heavy drinking, or certain chemical exposures. Cancer that originates elsewhere in the body and travels to the liver is more common than primary liver cancer in most western countries, though the opposite is true in Asia and Africa, likely due to higher rates of hepatitis infections.

    Take the time to have an annual checkup and ask about your liver health. From preventive care to imaging services to state-of-the-art cancer care, West Hills Hospital can cover your health needs with convenient, accessible care in the western San Fernando Valley. 

  • What You Need to Know to Manage Your Breast Health

    pink ribbon

    With Breast Cancer Awareness events taking place throughout the month of October, you may be concerned about the ways you can manage your breast health and prevent breast cancer in your own life. Aside from getting your annual mammogram once you hit age 40, there are several things you should keep in mind for your breast health. Women at every age should be aware of the following factors, which have the biggest impact on breast cancer risk.

    Normal breast tissue

    The guideline for self-breast exams used to be that women should alert their doctors of any abnormal tissue while feeling the breast and underarms in the shower or in front of the mirror. However, what is normal and abnormal differs for every woman, so the important thing is to know your own breasts. When you feel any changes from what is normal for you, your doctor should be notified.

    Cancer fighting habits

    Some habits will help reduce your overall cancer risk, making them beneficial for your breast health too. These habits include eating a diet rich in fresh produce, exercising regularly, and maintaining a schedule of annual checkups with your primary physician.

    Family health history

    If breast cancer is hereditary in your family, you may be at a higher risk for breast cancer earlier in life due to BRCA gene mutation. You should discuss your family history of breast cancer with your physician so that he or she can decide if genetic testing is necessary. This may alert you to a need for mammograms earlier than 40 to increase the chances of early cancer detection.

    Reproductive history

    Certain reproductive factors can raise a woman’s risk for breast cancer, because of the cancer’s receptiveness to estrogen. Not all breast cancers are estrogen-sensitive, but those that are may be more likely if you have not had children, did not breastfeed your child, or began menstruation earlier in your adolescence.

    If it is time for your annual mammogram, you can trust West Hills Hospital , which has Mammography Accreditation from the American College of Radiology. For a closer look at our breast care services, visit our website or call (818) 676-4000 to reach our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line 24/7. 

  • Nutritional Guidelines to Follow During Breast Cancer Treatment

    Warm Chicken Salad

    If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you are beginning your treatment of chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy, your primary focus should be on staying strong and healthy through your treatment. Proper nutrition will be an asset as you struggle with treatment side effects like fatigue and nausea, and it is important to know what you should be eating to combat these effects. Not only will the tips below help you stay well throughout your treatment, but they can also be vital for preventing new cancers after the breast cancer is eradicated.

    Boost your protein intake

    Lean protein takes longer for the body to break down than carbohydrates, so you will want to have some protein on your plate at every meal. Protein also helps build and maintain muscle tissue, which is important as you find yourself decreasing your physical activity during treatment. Lean meats like chicken and certain cuts of beef are great choices, but you might also add some vegetarian protein sources like beans and nuts.

    Try new foods

    Some cancer treatment drugs can throw off your taste buds, which means that foods you didn’t like before might now taste good. Alternatively, you can develop a distaste for some of your reliable comfort foods. Don’t be afraid to pick up some different choices as you notice your tastes changing, and remember that some veggies you once hated could become staples of your diet.

    Incorporate more vegetables

    Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that are vital for cancer care: antioxidants. There are many different types of antioxidants that have been shown to fight cell damage caused by free radicals in the body, which may lead to the growth of cancer. Fruits and veggies that are packed with antioxidants tend to be the most darkly colored choices like berries, sweet potatoes, beets, and dark leafy greens. You can find antioxidants in supplements, but these do not have the same positive effects as nutrients derived from whole food sources.

    Eat small, regular meals

    It may be a challenge to eat right if you are experiencing nausea as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation, but this may be relieved with smaller meals eaten throughout the day.

    For the support and state-of-the-art care you need to fight breast cancer, connect with West Hills Hospital today. You can find a physician on our website or through our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4000.