• Reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning at home

    Carbon monoxide poisoning is a dangerous condition that turns deadly for hundreds of families each year. The risk of poisoning goes up during the winter months, thanks to the use of space heaters and portable generators. By knowing the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and taking steps to reduce the risk of it happening in your home, you can prevent the need for emergency care and maybe even save lives. Here are some things you can do to keep your family safe.

    Know the signs
    Recognizing the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can help you take fast action to get the emergency care needed. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can easily be confused with other conditions, but it is always best to err on the side of caution and get checked out if you have these symptoms:

    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Confusion
    • Chest pain

    If more than one family member is exhibiting these symptoms, it’s more likely to be caused by carbon monoxide poisoning than if only one member of your family is feeling sick. This could indicate the presence of carbon monoxide in your home.

    Get a detector
    Just as a smoke alarm can save you during a fire, a carbon monoxide alarm can save you when this dangerous gas is present. There should be alarms on each level of your house, particularly near bedrooms.

    Because carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, you won’t know it is there unless an alarm tells you. Your alarm can give the early warning you need to prevent symptoms from developing.

    Be cautious with potential carbon monoxide sources
    If you have gas appliances in your home, make sure trained professionals regularly service them. Never use portable, flameless chemical heaters or charcoal grills indoors. Use the extractor vent when you are using a gas stove.

    If you have a fireplace, have the chimney cleaned annually, and make sure the flues are open any time you start a fire.

    West Hills Hospital and Medical Center provides emergency care 24 hours per day, seven days per week, for all of your urgent medical needs. You can learn more about our emergency room and all of our hospital services in West Hills by calling (818) 676-4321.

  • Knowing when to schedule important women’s health screenings

    Preventive health screenings are an essential part of an overall wellness plan for women. Although your personal health history will dictate when and how often you need certain screening tests, there are some general guidelines to help you understand what kind of schedule you should follow. Here is a look at some screenings that most women can benefit from having and the recommended timeline for having them. Be sure to consult with your own women’s health specialist to make the right decisions for your needs.

    Mammograms are X-ray screenings of your breast tissue. They are performed to look for abnormal changes that could indicate the presence of cancerous or precancerous cells. Mammograms, along with clinical breast exams, play a central role in preventive care for breast cancer.

    Most women should begin having mammograms between ages 40 and 50 every one to two years. However, if you have a personal or family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, your physician may recommend that you begin your screenings earlier or that you have them more often.

    Pap tests and HPV screenings
    These tests are usually done in conjunction with each other during well woman gynecological exams. Pap tests look for signs of cervical cancer, while HPV screenings are used to help women understand their risk of cervical cancer.

    These tests should usually begin by age 21. Between the ages of 21 and 29, women should have a Pap test every three years. Between 30 and 65, women should have a Pap and HPV test every five years or a Pap test only every three years. More frequent testing is usually not recommended for women unless they have an elevated risk of cervical cancer.

    A colonoscopy is performed to spot signs of colorectal cancers. During a colonoscopy, polyps that are in the colon may also be removed so that they do not become cancerous.

    Women usually start having colonoscopies at age 50. The time between tests depends on your family history. You may also need earlier screening of colorectal cancer runs in your family.

    As explained in the video, scheduling an appointment for women’s health services in West Hills is easy. Call West Hills Hospital and Medical Center today at (818) 676-4321 to get a referral to the right specialist for your needs.

  • Keeping your knee joints healthy

    Knee pain is an extremely common complaint that causes people to miss days of work and to miss out on their favorite activities. If you’re experiencing knee pain caused by joint damage, an orthopedic surgeon can help you find relief through joint replacement surgery . However, there are also things you can do to protect your joints before this kind of damage occurs. These strategies can reduce joint pain and damage so that you can continue to do the things you love without knee pain.

    Maintain a healthy weight
    Excess weight can put an enormous strain on your knees. Gaining as little as five or ten pounds can put pressure on your joints that causes pain and eventually leads to damage. In fact, excessive weight is one of the leading causes of osteoarthritis.

    Fortunately, even a modest weight loss can make a big difference for your joints. Every pound you lose takes pressure of your joints, which can ease discomfort and protect them from damage.

    Play it safe on the stairs
    Most people have a habit of bounding up and down the stairs. For your knees, this habits means hundreds of pounds of extra pressure with each step, which can lead to serious joint damage.

    Pay attention to the activities you do that could put excessive pressure on your joints, such as running up the stairs, and make adjustments to protect your knees. This includes sticking to walking on pavement, rather than grass. Grassy walkways put pressure on your joints.

    Exercise with your knees in mind
    When you work out, do activities that strengthen the muscles that support your knee joints. For instance, building up your hip abductor muscles on your inner thighs will help to support your knees when you walk.

    Take care to also do activities that are low-stress for your knee joints, such as gentle yoga, swimming, and floor exercises.

    The Total Joint Care Program at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center can have you back on your feet in no time when joint pain is holding you back. Are you struggling with painful joints in West Hills? Call (818) 676-4321 to request a referral to an orthopedic specialist.

  • Is robotic thyroid surgery the right choice for you?

    If you have been referred for thyroid surgery, you may be concerned about the invasiveness of the procedure and the potential scar the surgery could leave on your neck. Robotic surgery could be an option that addresses some of these concerns. Although this approach to thyroid surgery is not right for every patient, it does have some advantages. How do you know if robotic thyroid surgery is right for you? Here is a look at some of the factors that could make you a good candidate.

    You don’t have scar tissue from a previous surgery.
    During robotic thyroid surgery, it is essential for your surgeon to be able to reach your thyroid gland without any obstructions. If you have had previous surgeries on your neck or shoulders, you could have scar tissue that could impede your surgeon’s ability to manipulate the robotic tools.

    Keep in mind that excess weight can also cause the same issues. Your surgeon must determine whether you have fat tissue that could prevent easy access to your thyroid gland.

    Your thyroid meets size and health requirements.
    Robotic thyroid surgery is only recommended for tumors that are no larger than three centimeters in size. Additionally, your thyroid itself must not exceed six centimeters for robotic surgery to be an option.

    Certain health conditions can also make robotic surgery inappropriate. If you have thyroid cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, substernal disease, or Graves’ disease, your surgeon is unlikely to recommend a robotic procedure.

    You are concerned about scarring.
    Non-robotic thyroid surgery usually requires making an incision in the neck, which leaves behind a linear scar. Patients who are concerned about the cosmetic appearance of this scar may favor robotic surgery.

    Because the cost of robotic thyroid surgery is more than other options, patients often have to balance the price of the procedure with their concerns about visible scarring.

    West Hills Hospital and Medical Center offers multiple robotic surgeries for patients who want a minimally invasive procedure with a faster recovery time. If you need surgical services in West Hills, choose our highly trained team of specialists for your care. For a referral to our surgical team, please dial (818) 676-4321.