• Raising Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

    Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society , and approximately 7% of all cancer deaths. It is considered to be a particularly dangerous form of cancer because it is difficult to diagnose early and can spread quickly. At West Hills Hospital & Medical Center , we provide comprehensive cancer care to patients facing a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, with cutting-edge treatments provided by a compassionate team of experts. Raising awareness about the disease may help to reduce its devastating impacts. Here are the facts you need to know.

    Pancreatic cancer symptoms are vague.
    The most common form of pancreatic cancer , which starts in the exocrine cells, does not usually cause symptoms until the disease progresses. When symptoms do occur, they are generally vague and may not be initially recognized as cancer. They include weight loss, back and abdomen pain, fatigue, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Often, patients find out they have pancreatic cancer late in the disease process when it has spread to another organ that triggers more obvious symptoms.

    There are several risk factors.
    Some risk factors for pancreatic cancer can be controlled, such as smoking and being overweight. Other risk factors can’t be changed, such as being over 65, being male, being African-American, having a family history of the disease or a personal history of diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and cirrhosis. Having risk factors for pancreatic cancer doesn’t mean that you will get the disease, but it can help you be more alert to potential symptoms so you can be proactive about getting examined if you experience them.

    Multiple treatments are available.
    Your cancer team will create a care plan for you based on a number of different factors, including the stage of your cancer and whether it has spread to other organs. Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery, and radiation may all be used, either alone or in combination.

    Sophisticated cancer care at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center means that patients with all forms of cancer have access to state-of-the-art treatment from a multidisciplinary team of providers. Call our hospital in West Hills today at (818) 676-4321 for more information.

  • Is It Possible to Prevent Alzheimer’s?

    Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating illness that robs people of their memories—and, eventually, their lives. Although there is no single way to prevent Alzheimer’s, there are strategies that you can use to reduce your chances of it happening to you. Protect your brain health with this advice.

    Prevent Head Trauma
    Head traumas, especially those that cause loss of consciousness, increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the future. Protect yourself and your family from head trauma by making it a rule that seatbelts are worn in the car for every ride and that helmets are worn for sports, including bike riding. You can further reduce the risk of head injuries by fall-proofing your home. Secure area rugs with double-sided tape, don’t let electrical cords cross walking paths, and keep your floor tidy.

    Exercise Your Brain
    Research indicates that doing activities that stimulate your brain can protect you from Alzheimer’s disease. Give your brain a workout with intellectual activities like puzzles and word games, and keep your brain active by fostering social connections with friends and family. These activities fire your brain into action, which may help to maintain strong connections between nerve cells that could protect you from Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss. These kinds of brain exercises are especially important for seniors to continue, so if you have an elderly loved one who is isolated, make an effort to help him or her engage.

    Protect Your Heart Health
    Good heart health means good brain health. Eat a diet that is low in saturated fat and excess sugar, get physical activity most days, and try to keep your weight under control. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to manage it. A healthy heart will reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

    At West Hills Hospital & Medical Center, we offer comprehensive care for a range of conditions, from emergency care and cancer care in West Hills to our neurology department , where Alzheimer’s patients can get the diagnostics and treatments they need. Get more information about our hospital services by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • How to Handle Holiday Burn Injuries

    Burn injuries are common during holidays, as people light more candles, do more cooking, and experiment with things like frying turkeys. Some burns can be managed at home easily, while others require emergency care . Knowing what steps to take can reduce pain and the risk of long-term scarring. If burn injuries strike this holiday season, take these steps to get the right treatment.

    Determine the Degree
    Start by evaluating the burn to determine how serious it is. A first-degree burn, also called a superficial burn, causes pain, swelling, and redness but no blistering. Second-degree burns involve deeper layers of skin. On the surface, the skin may look thickened, and blisters are common. The skin appears waxy or leathery after a third-degree burn. Most third-degree burns aren’t initially painful because of damage to the nerves. Fourth-degree burns cause the skin to look charred and ashy. They are usually not painful at the time they occur but are extremely serious.

    Consider Home Care
    Minor, first-degree burns that are less than three inches in diameter can often be treated at home. Rinse the area with cool water to ease pain and swelling, and clean the area with mild soap and water. Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the area with sterile gauze. All other burns require emergency care, and every burn, regardless of how superficial it seems, should be evaluated when it affects the face or genitals or when the victim is a child or elderly person. Children have skin that is particularly vulnerable to burn injuries, as West Hills Hospital physician Dr. Alexander Majidan explains in this video .

    Choose Emergency Care
    In the ER, the doctor will determine the extent of the burn and provide treatment to reduce the risk of infection and to alleviate pain. In some cases, patients can leave the ER after their initial treatment and continue to manage the burn through outpatient care. For severe burns, inpatient treatment at a burn center may be needed.

    West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is home to the world-renowned Grossman Burn Center , where we provide innovate acute care and reconstruction for patients with severe burns, as well as comprehensive rehabilitation and psychological counseling during the recovery process. Find out more about our burn center in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • Keeping Diabetes Complications Out of Your Life

    Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes work closely with their doctors to keep their blood glucose levels under control with medications and lifestyle modifications. By carefully management diabetes, you can reduce the risk of complications that require emergency care and that can even be life-threatening. Take these steps to manage your chances of experiencing diabetes complications.

    Maintain a Healthy Weight
    Keeping your weight under control is one of the best things you can do for your diabetes. Excess weight impacts the way your body uses insulin and increases your risk of other diabetes complications , like heart disease and stroke. For people with type 2 diabetes, losing weight can even reduce the need for medication. Choose lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and small amounts of high-fiber, whole grain carbs, and avoid high-fat, high-sugar food choices. Aim to get 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Even a brisk daily walk can help you manage your weight and keep your diabetes problems under control.

    Follow Your Care Plan
    Stick to the care plan your doctor has created for you, including taking your medications as directed and testing your blood glucose frequently. Regular blood glucose checks help you identify patterns in blood glucose levels and allow you to catch dangerous blood glucose swings that could require emergency care, such as rapidly rising blood glucose that could lead to a medical emergency called diabetic ketoacidosis.

    See Your Doctor Regularly
    Your doctor is your partner in managing your diabetes, and you should have regular appointments to allow him or her to monitor the success of your treatment and to make any necessary changes to give you the best possible control of your illness. Your doctor will also monitor your symptoms of complications, such as neuropathy, vision problems, kidney problems, and skin infections.

    If you have diabetes, West Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers the comprehensive care you need, including emergency care in West Hills and ongoing management from our specialists. You can find out more about our services and request a physician referral by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • Understanding Your Risk for Stroke