• Enter the Holiday Season with Smarter Eating Habits

    Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner 1

    It’s all too easy to gain a few extra pounds during the holiday season, since many holiday social activities emphasize the sharing of delicious foods. If you have a medical condition that necessitates a certain diet, such as diabetes or heart disease, you might consider visiting your community hospital prior to the holiday season. You could talk with your physician about maintaining your meal plan throughout the holidays. A physician at your local hospital might recommend trying lighter holiday recipes and tracking your food intake.

    Revamp Favorite Holiday Recipes

    Many people enjoy baking desserts during the holiday season. You can lighten up your traditional recipes by substituting a few ingredients. Consider swapping out some of the sugar for zero-calorie stevia, for example, in addition to using a butter substitute. While preparing holiday meals, include more vegetables and fewer starchy side dishes, such as rolls. Instead, try roasted Brussels sprouts or sautéed mushrooms.

    Improve Your Hunger Awareness

    It’s easy to overeat during the holidays because meals often become social events. You can prevent yourself from overeating by considering whether you’re truly hungry or not. When arriving at a holiday party, sip on a glass of water before heading straight for the food. Try to eat slowly and mindfully so that it will be easier to determine when you’re satiated.

    Track Your Food Intake

    If you find your diet plan getting derailed during the holiday season from frequent snacking, consider tracking your total food intake. Keep a food journal and write down everything you eat. If you’re at a party, keep your food journal in your car and write down your intake before you leave. This can help you become more aware of exactly how much you’re eating, in addition to whether you’re eating a properly balanced meal plan .

    West Hills-area residents can consider signing up for the H2U – Health to You – program available from West Hills Hospital. As an H2U member at our community hospital, you’ll receive actionable wellness information, interactive health tools, and invitations to wellness activities. If you have any general questions about the healthcare services available at our hospital, such as cancer care, maternity care, and spine treatments, call (818) 676-4000.

  • Getting on the Right Path to Quitting Smoking for Good

    No Smoking

    If you’re trying to quit smoking, setting a date can be helpful and empowering. Consider making your quit date the third Thursday of November, which is the date of the annual Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society. There are many methods of quitting smoking for good; you can experiment with several to find one that works for you. Consider visiting your local hospital to explore smoking cessation resources, such as prescription medications or nicotine replacement products.

    Some people find it helpful to get their thoughts on paper. Write a list of all of your perceived obstacles toward quitting smoking and then brainstorm solutions for each challenge. For example, you might write, “It’s hard to quit when I’m stressed out,” followed by a solution such as “I can find healthier ways of coping with stress, such as talking to a counselor or starting an exercise program.” You might also consider writing a list of all of your reasons for quitting smoking. Write the list on a small index card and keep it in your wallet. Whenever you crave a smoke, pull out your list and remind yourself of what you’re working toward.

    At West Hills Hospital, you’ll find a supportive environment, with caring physicians and state-of-the-art technology. Explore our cancer care , emergency care, or spine health services on our website or call our Consult-A-Nurse referral line at (818) 676-4000.

  • How Walkable Neighborhoods Can Reduce Obesity

    The lifestyle choices an individual makes on a daily basis have a significant effect on that person’s waistline and overall wellness. However, some scientific studies have also demonstrated the importance of city planning and policy improvements for the health of a population.

    When you watch this video, you’ll hear about several studies that explored the effects on the walkability of neighborhoods on the residents’ health. The researchers determined that the most walkable neighborhoods had more residents who maintained a healthy weight and had lower rates of diabetes. Walkable neighborhoods are defined as those that are not only pedestrian-friendly, but also encourage walking by placing local stores and services within walking distance.

    At West Hills Hospital, our healthcare team strives to empower area residents to make informed decisions for their health by offering regular classes and events . West Hills residents can call us at (818) 676-4000 or visit our website to learn more about our services, including spine care, maternity care, and burn services.

  • How to Maintain Your Brain Health As You Get Older

    Couple Performing Stretching Exercise At Home

    Although Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline are prevalent among seniors, these conditions are not inevitable. You can take steps now to protect your brain health as you age gracefully. For example, a physician at your local hospital might recommend starting an exercise routine, managing underlying medical conditions, and maintaining a healthy weight to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

    Enjoy Physical Activity

    The latest research reveals that leading a physically active lifestyle may significantly reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as you grow older. This may be because exercise stimulates the hippocampus region of your brain, which is responsible for the formation of memories. Before beginning an exercise program, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor at your local hospital to ensure that you can enjoy exercise safely.

    Follow a Brain-Healthy Diet

    Doctors often advise patients to follow a heart-healthy diet to support brain health. The same dietary guidelines that can help you reduce your risk of heart problems may also reduce your risk of cognitive problems. Try reducing how much cholesterol and saturated fat you consume, while increasing your intake of colorful vegetables and fruits, in addition to sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon.

    Challenge Your Brain

    It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and in doing so, you’ll support your brain health. Learning new skills stimulates new brain cell growth and brain cell connectivity. Consider signing up for a continuing education class or try an activity you’ve never tried before, such as Sudoku.

    Seniors throughout West Hills can find the resources they need to maintain wellness at West Hills Hospital. At our community hospital, our specialists offer cancer care, emergency care, and spine services, among many other specialty services. If you wish to speak with a registered nurse, you can call (818) 676-4000 or you could click through to our website to learn more about our hospital.

  • A Look at the Devastation of Genetic Disease

    Muscular dystrophy, including myotonic muscular dystrophy, is a type of inherited disorder that affects the muscles and other parts of the body. As you’ll learn by watching this video, people with myotonic dystrophy face significant challenges with everyday life. They suffer from progressively worsening muscle weakness, among other health issues.

    This video follows the story of a researcher who was driven to work toward a cure for the disorder after watching his father struggle with severe myotonic dystrophy symptoms. You’ll also hear from a patient who was diagnosed as a college student. Despite her challenges, she refused to give up her active lifestyle.

    West hills Hospital is your source for comprehensive healthcare services in the West Hills area, including emergency care, cancer care, and maternity care. Call our Consult-A-Nurse referral line at (818) 676-4000 and ask us about our team’s dedication to improving our patients’ well-being .

  • Combating Wintertime Arthritis with Physical Activity

    Senior Woman Stretching In Park

    The pain and inflammation associated with arthritis often leads to reduced physical activity. However, staying physically active when you have arthritis can actually help you manage your symptoms. Exercising regularly may help improve muscle strength, improve balance, and enhance pain tolerance. If you struggle with arthritis symptoms, consider talking with a doctor at your local hospital about lifestyle changes that may help.

    Enjoying a Variety of Activities

    There are many different types of exercises that fall under the categories of flexibility or range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, aerobic exercises, and body awareness exercises. Some examples of flexibility workouts include stretching routines such as yoga. To strengthen your muscles, consider using a resistance band, hand-held weights, or a weight machine. Some examples of aerobic exercises that may be ideal for people with arthritis include swimming, bicycling, walking, and dancing. Body awareness exercises, such as tai chi, can help you improve your coordination, joint position sense, balance, and posture.

    Choosing an Exercise Routine

    In addition to selecting the types of exercises you wish to try, it’s a good idea to carefully consider your routine. Many people with arthritis experience stiffness of the joints that is worse in the mornings. If this applies to you, it can be helpful to enjoy gentle stretching and flexibility exercises in the morning, but to delay more vigorous exercise until the afternoon. Additionally, don’t hesitate to change your routine to accommodate your symptoms. During a flare-up of symptoms, it may be helpful to get more rest and less exercise.

    Starting an Exercise Plan

    Before beginning an exercise plan or changing your current one, consider visiting your community hospital to consult your physician. Your physician can review your exercise plan and make helpful suggestions. It’s a good idea to begin a new exercise program gradually and to set realistic goals.

    Members of the West Hills community who suffer from arthritis or other joint-related conditions can find the help they need at West Hills Hospital. The Total Joint Team at our community hospital includes board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and other joint specialists. You can call (818) 676-4000 for a referral to an orthopedic specialist or browse our website to read more about our healthcare services, including spine care, emergency care, maternity services, and burn treatment.

  • Why Early Diabetes Should Be a Wake-Up Call for Your Health

    Glucose meter and fresh vegetables

    Type 2 diabetes doesn’t develop overnight. Often, individuals have early diabetes, or pre-diabetes, for years before developing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know if you have pre-diabetes because it doesn’t cause discernible symptoms. If you are trying to be more proactive about your health, you might consider scheduling an appointment at your local hospital for a wellness exam. During your exam, your physician can review your risk factors and check your blood glucose levels to determine if you could be at risk of diabetes. If so, take advantage of the resources at your community hospital to regain control over your health.

    What Is Pre-Diabetes?

    The simplest definition of pre-diabetes is that it is a condition that can be followed by the development of type 2 diabetes . Patients with pre-diabetes typically have elevated blood glucose levels, yet these levels aren’t high enough yet to be considered indicative of diabetes. Individuals with risk factors of pre-diabetes may wish to be screened for the disease. These risk factors include being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and having cardiovascular problems such as high cholesterol and hypertension.

    Is Type 2 Diabetes Inevitable?

    If you have pre-diabetes, you will not automatically develop type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes can give you a wake-up call to improve your health. By working with a doctor at your local hospital, you can learn how to modify your lifestyle to prevent diabetes. These preventive measures include losing weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.

    What Are the Potential Complications?

    By reducing your risk of diabetes, you can also reduce your risk of developing the many complications associated with the disease. Diabetics with poorly managed blood glucose levels are at a higher risk of kidney disease, eye damage, stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease.

    Individuals who have diabetes or are at risk of developing it can find the information and tools they need at West Hills Hospital . Our physicians pride themselves on providing extensive patient education to help you make smart decisions for your health. Call our hospital in West Hills today at (818) 676-4000 or explore our specialty departments online, including our maternity hospital, spine program, burn center, and emergency room.

  • Movember Health Tips for All Men to Remember

    Man Standing Outside In Autumn Landscape

    Each Movember (November), the Movember Foundation launches a global challenge for men to raise funds toward men’s healthcare costs by growing mustaches and requesting donations for the Foundation for their efforts. This global movement provides funding for cancer care and other pressing health problems, and raises awareness about critical men’s health issues. The Movember Foundation encourages men to be proactive about their wellness by visiting their local hospitals for wellness exams.

    When you schedule regular wellness exams, you can keep track of your important numbers, such as your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, weight, and body mass index (BMI). If any of these numbers are less than desirable, you could work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan and reduce your risk of health problems. Other Movember tips men may use include managing stress, quitting smoking, understanding family history, and maintaining emotional wellness.                                                                                                                      

    The physicians at West Hills Hospital are committed to providing compassionate, proactive care to our community members, including preventive health screenings, maternity care, and cancer care. Residents throughout the West Hills area can contact our community hospital at (818) 676-4000.