• Exploring Some of the Early Signs of a Heart Attack

    Your heart can affect your overall health in a number of unexpected ways. In fact, your heart may send out warning signals well before a heart attack takes place, but these signs are often ignored by patients because patients do not immediately associate them with an impending heart attack. Keep reading to learn some of the signs that might let you know it’s time to see your doctor for a cardiac checkup to avoid a heart attack in the near future.

    Extreme fatigue

    Unusual fatigue can be a warning sign for a number of conditions, so you should discuss this symptom with your doctor even if you do not have a history of heart problems. At first, you may have difficulty waking up in the morning and carrying out normal activities, but this can worsen to the point of overwhelming exhaustion where you feel too tired to do anything.

    Digestive discomfort

    A heart attack might be proceeded by frequent indigestion, which can evolve to severe heartburn with nausea and vomiting.

    Unexplained anxiety

    Your mind might subconsciously sense a heart attack well before it occurs with a sense of fleeting anxiety. As a blockage continues to develop, you might feel like you are having a panic attack with severe anxiety and shortness of breath that persists, regardless of your current level of activity.

    Flu-like symptoms

    Many women will have flu-like symptoms such as fatigue and body aches prior to having a heart attack. These symptoms might persist for several days or even weeks before more distinct symptoms like chest pain and upper body discomfort set in.

    If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 right away. For a physician referral or information about the cardiovascular services available at West Hills Hospital, call our 24-hour Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321.

  • How Do Doctors Identify STEMI Heart Attacks?

    Heart attacks can differ in their severity, depending on the cause and size of the blockage limiting blood flow. STEMI heart attacks are the most severe type of heart attack, and they are characterized by an ST-elevation during myocardial infarction. This reading, which can be seen on an electrocardiogram, will indicate a complete blockage of the coronary artery. With this type of blockage, more widespread damage is likely to occur in the heart muscle. Therefore, it is very important to identify this type of heart attack quickly and have the right type of care available to restore blood flow. West Hills Hospital’s Emergency Room is a STEMI receiving center, meaning that we will provide the most efficient care possible for STEMI heart attacks. Below, you can get a closer look at the ways that these heart attacks are diagnosed and treated in our hospital.

    Severe heart attack symptoms

    Because STEMI heart attacks are more severe, they may have more pronounced symptoms. Chest pain and weakness in particular may be amplified with this type of heart attack. If any type of heart attack symptoms are present, you will want to call 911 so that you receive care in the timeliest fashion.

    EMS diagnosis

    With a STEMI heart attack, the diagnosis may come before you even arrive at the ER. Ambulances are equipped with electrocardiogram equipment for a rapid diagnosis that will indicate the proper steps in patient care, including transportation to a STEMI receiving center.

    Preferred STEMI treatments

    While clot-busting medications are highly effective for non-STEMI heart attacks, they are not the preferred method of treatment when a complete blockage is present. A STEMI heart attack should be treated with percutaneous coronary intervention, which involves the insertion of a catheter into the coronary artery to reopen the blood vessel quickly with a lower risk of bleeding than clot-busting medication.

    To learn more about the enhanced ER capabilities of West Hills Hospital, give us a call at (818) 676-4321. Our nurses are available to answer your call 24/7 and offer physician referrals, hospital information, current ER wait times, and healthcare tips.

  • Taking a Look at Heart Attack Symptoms in Seniors

    As you get older, your heart attack risk may increase substantially since older adults have a higher rate of conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Each of these conditions can lead to a heart attack if they are unmanaged, so it is important to see your primary care physician to keep an eye on these risk factors. In addition to improving your preventive care routine, you should familiarize yourself with the heart attack symptoms frequently seen in seniors that might guide you to the ER.

    Shortness of breath

    Shortness of breath is often the first sign of a heart attack. Well before a heart attack occurs, shortness of breath during physical activity is common. During a heart attack, difficulty breathing will be persistent, even while you are at rest.

    Chest discomfort

    Most people associate a heart attack with chest pain though you should remember that this symptom is not always present. Chest pain may also differ from person to person. Some patients will have sudden, severe pain, while others may feel an increased pressure that comes and goes in waves. To play it safe, it is best to head to the ER for any type of chest pain.

    Cold sweats

    In many cases, heart attack sufferers will have an overall feeling of illness, which might include cold sweats or clammy skin.


    Before and during a heart attack, seniors are especially likely to feel an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. You might feel gradual increasing fatigue, or you may suddenly feel too tired to carry out normal activities. In either situation, emergency care will be the best response.

    When you need cardiovascular care at any age, West Hills Hospital can provide the advanced services you need through our Heart & Vascular Institute . To find a physician or learn more about our hospital services, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321.

  • Burn and Scald Prevention Tips for Burn Awareness Week

    Burn injuries can happen in a flash, especially when they are caused by scalding hot liquids, which can splash and cover a widespread area of the body. To prevent burn and scald injuries at home during Burn Awareness Week and beyond, follow the helpful tips in this article for safely handling hot liquids and cooking tools.

    Check your water heater temperature

    Your home’s water heater should not be set higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, since hotter temperatures can scald the skin. If you have kids, always use a thermometer to check the bath water before your child gets in. You might also run your hand through the water to check for hot spots.

    Use caution when cooking on the stove

    When you have water boiling on the stove, make sure that the pot is not overfilled so that there is not a risk of water splashing over the edge. Keep all handles pointed away from the front of the stove so that they do not accidentally get knocked down or pulled off the stove by wandering kids or pets.

    Make sure travel mugs have leak-proof lids

    If you like to take coffee or tea along with you on your morning commute, be sure that your travel mug has a secure lid that is leak-proof. You should also remember that travel mugs are typically insulated, so they will keep liquids very hot for a long period of time.

    Always handle hot dishes with oven mitts

    Whether you are taking a dish out of the microwave or off the stove, you should use oven mitts to protect your hands. Dishes can get very hot in the microwave, and pot handles may heat up on the stove, and the shock of grabbing a hot dish might cause you to drop it. Plus, you might sustain a burn from the dish itself.

    If you do suffer a burn injury in West Hills, you will be in good hands under the care of the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital. To learn more about our dedicated burn care and other hospital services, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321.