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Myths and facts about hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an increasingly common but often misunderstood disease. Researchers did not identify the hepatitis C virus until 1989, but since that time, a huge amount of knowledge has been amassed about the disease. Unfortunately, myths keep some people from getting tested who could benefit from it while others let misinformation impact their attitudes about the condition. If you or someone you love has hepatitis C, your doctor can explain the facts about the condition so you have a better understanding what it is. Don’t let these myths impact your knowledge about hepatitis C.

Myth: Hepatitis C is a terminal disease.
Although hepatitis C is a serious diagnosis, most people with the disease live long lives. It is true that 10 to 25% of people with the disease can develop serious and potentially fatal liver complications, but being diagnosed with hepatitis C does not mean that you have a terminal illness.

People with hepatitis C can do many things to improve their health, including:

  • Seeing physicians regularly to monitor the disease progression
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Following the recommended treatment plan
  • Exercising daily

Myth: Hepatitis C is an STD.
There are some instances in which hepatitis C is transmitted via sexual contact, but research has indicated a 0-3% of passing the disease on during sex in heterosexual couples. The rate is slightly higher among homosexual men, but most people with hepatitis C got the disease from blood-to-blood exposure.

Some people believe that hepatitis C can be transmitted through air or salvia, but it cannot. Sharing utensils and drinking glasses, hugging, and other forms of casual contact will not expose anyone to the disease.

Myth: Hepatitis C cannot be treated.
There is no cure for hepatitis C, but there are many medications that can help manage the progression of the disease. Not everyone needs to be on medications, but there are treatments available if your physician determines that you could benefit.

Hepatitis C medications have a reputation for having significant side effects, but these can be managed by working closely with your physician.

Living a healthy life with hepatitis C is possible. Contact Riverside Community Hospital to get a referral to a physician in Riverside who can help you get the care you need. Dial (951) 788-3463 for more information.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the elbow?

Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint in the body, and although it is more common in weight bearing joints, the elbow can be affected. If you are experiencing chronic elbow pain that impacts your range of motion and ability to do certain tasks, see your physician to determine if osteoarthritis could be blame. A range of treatments, including noninvasive options and robotic surgery, is available and help get you out of pain and back to your normal activities.

What is osteoarthritis of the elbow?
As explained in the video, osteoarthritis occurs in the elbow for the same reason it occurs in other joints. When the cartilage in the joint degenerates, it allows the bones to rub together or bump into each other, causing pains. Bone spurs may also develop.

Cartilage degeneration can occur because of an injury or because of joint overuse. Often, injuries that cause osteoarthritis happen many years before the arthritis actually appears. Overuse injuries can also take years to develop, which is why osteoarthritis is more common later in life.

What are the symptoms?
Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in the elbow. In early stages, you may only notice the pain when you are moving your elbow. However, osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, and the pain will become worse over time until you feel it even when you are at rest.

Swelling is also common, as is hearing creaks and squeaks when the joint moves. It often becomes difficult to bend and straighten the arm when osteoarthritis gets worse.

What treatment options are available?
Steroid injections and pain medications are successful in reducing osteoarthritis symptoms in some people. Activity modification and physical therapy are also helpful for some people.

When noninvasive treatments don’t provide adequate relief, surgery may be necessary. There are many different procedure options, including minimally invasive and robotic procedures, such as joint debridement and elbow joint replacement.

Don’t let osteoarthritis pain keep you from doing the things you love. At Riverside Community Hospital, we offer comprehensive orthopedic and joint replacement procedures and cutting-edge robotic surgery. Contact our hospital in Riverside at (951) 788-3463 for a referral to a specialist.

Women - set healthy goals

Today is a great opportunity for women to take time out to focus on their own health and wellness. Are you ready to commit to some healthier goals this year? Here are some strategies for committing to better health.

Have a physical
A yearly physical, including a well woman exam, is the foundation of good health. During a physical, your physician can get a clear view of your overall health, determine if you could be suffering from any undiagnosed medical conditions, and evaluate how well your current medical treatments are working.

A physical is also a good time to ask questions about your health and address any concerns you have about symptoms or your risk factors for certain diseases. By having a physical each year, your physician can track and identify changes in your health that need further attention.

Stop smoking
Smoking has a tremendous impact on your health. It can do everything from increase your risk of heart attack and stroke to cause mouth and lung cancer. The longer you smoke, the more damage you will do to your body, but when you stop, your body begins to recover immediately.

Quitting smoking is challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Your physician can help you find resources that work for you, from support groups in your area or online to medications that reduce cravings, so you can succeed in quitting, even if you’ve tried before.

Learn your numbers
There are certain numbers that mean a lot to your health, and knowing them helps you make smart decisions about your wellness. Make sure you know these numbers:

  • Weight
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood glucose

If you don’t like some of your numbers, ask your doctor about changes you can make to get them in a healthier range.

At Riverside Community Hospital, your health is our priority. If you don’t have a physician, contact us at (951) 788-3463 and ask for a referral to a primary care physician or OBGYN in Riverside .

Which technologies assist modern neurosurgeons?

Neurosurgeons rely heavily on technology to make treatments less invasive and safer. Many patients in need of neurosurgery are surprised at their options for minimally invasive treatments and how quick and comfortable recovery can be. These advanced treatment options also provide care for conditions that were considered to be unmanageable. Here is a look at some of the technologies being used by neurosurgeons today.

Deep brain stimulation

  1. Deep brain stimulation is performed by placing electrodes within the brain to stabilize abnormal impulses. As explained in the video, it can be used to treat multiple movement disorders. Some of the diseases and conditions that can be helped by deep brain stimulation include:
  • Essential tremor
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy
  • OCD
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Some types of chronic pain

Deep brain stimulation is usually performed after medications have provided sufficient symptom relief. Researchers are currently investigating its usefulness in treating depression, addiction, dementia, and brain damage caused by stroke.

Robotic surgery
Robotic surgery is a technique in which robotic instruments make incisions and excisions during surgery. The robotic tools are controlled by a surgeon, who operates them from a control panel that incorporates a high-resolution camera, so that he or she can clearly see the patient during the procedure.

Robotic surgery offers multiple benefits to patients, such as:

  • Smaller, more precise incisions
  • Faster recovery times
  • Less surgical and post-surgical bleeding

Neurointerventional Biplane System
The Neurointerventional Biplane System allows neurological procedures that would have been done with traditional, open surgery in the past to be treated with minimally invasive procedures. The system allows neurointerventionalist to map the flow of blood through the vein without an open surgery, and then treat any issues minimally invasively, through a catheter introduced through an entry point in the leg.

Some of the conditions treated with this system include:

  • Stroke
  • Carotid artery blockages
  • Intracranial hemorrhages
  • Arteriovenous malformations
Riverside Community Hospital is the only place in western Riverside County with a Neurointerventional Biplane System , and our neurosurgeons rely on advanced technologies every day to provide the best possible patient care. To learn more about our services, including robotic surgery in Riverside, please call (951) 788-3463.

Knowing when drinking is a problem

Alcohol abuse is a problem that affects every walk of life. No gender, race, class, or ethnic group is immune to risks and dangerous of alcoholism, but few people know how to recognize the signs of problem drinking before abuse becomes severe. Knowing the symptoms of alcohol abuse can help you take action when necessary is you or someone you love is struggling with a drinking problem. If you recognize these symptoms, consider talking to your healthcare provider about the next steps you should take.

Binge drinking
The amount of alcohol a person can safely consume depends on many different factors, however, there are some general guidelines as to what is considered to be excessive:

  • For women, more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per drinking session
  • For men, more than 14 drinks per week or more than 4 drinks per session
  • For people over 65, more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per session

Drinking more than these guidelines on a regular basis is considered to be excessive. When people drink more than these guidelines per session, they are engaging in binge drinking. Binge drinking is an especially dangerous form of alcohol abuse that is associated with significant health risks and loss of life.

Risk-taking behavior
Taking risks while drinking is another sign of alcohol abuse. Some common forms of risky behavior people who are dealing with alcohol abuse may engage in includes:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Mixing drinks with medications
  • Lying to healthcare providers about drinking
  • Drinking while in charge of young children
  • Engaging in risky sexual behavior

Alcohol dependence
Alcohol abuse can cause someone to prioritize alcohol over other needs and responsibilities and to become physically and psychologically dependent on it. Some signs of alcohol dependency are:

  • Trying to hide how much you’re drinking
  • Worrying about not having access to alcohol
  • Missing work and personal obligations to drink
  • Experiencing shaking, anxiety, and other physical symptoms if you can’t drink
Alcohol abuse can be devastating for families, but help is available. Your healthcare provider at Riverside Community Hospital can help you understand if you are abusing alcohol and get the help you need. Get a referral to a physician in Riverside by calling (951) 788-3463.

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