Riverside Community Hospital
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Can head trauma affect your future risk of stroke?

Head traumas can lead to serious consequences, such as fatigue, personality changes, severe headaches, and balance issues, but can they also increase the risk of experiencing a stroke in the future? As it turns out, there may be an association, but why the relationship exists is a mystery.

What are head traumas?

Head traumas are also called traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. They occur as the result of a blow to the head or intense shaking of the upper body, often as the result of sports injuries, falls, or auto accidents.

Concussions are a common form of TBIs, but contusions, coup-contrecoup, and diffuse axonal injuries, as well as others, fall into this category. In most cases, TBIs are treated in the emergency room.

How do head traumas affect the risk of strokes?

By studying emergency room records for ERs in California from 2005 to 2009, researchers discovered that people who were treated for a TBI were 30% more likely to have a stroke that people who had not experienced an injury. Of people who experienced TBIs, just over 1% had a stroke within a year of being treated for a TBI.

According to the same research study, TBI seemed to increase the risk of stroke in patients under 50 more than it did in people who were over 50.

Do head traumas cause strokes?

Although the research indicates that there could be a link between head traumas and stroke, it doesn’t indicate what the relationship is. There are a few different reasons strokes could occur in people after head traumas, such as:

  • Head traumas are more likely to occur in people who are in poor health, so they already had a greater risk of stroke than the general population.

  • Head traumas lead to a decline in health that then exacerbates the risk of a stroke.

The studies that have been performed to determine if head traumas increase the risk of stroke did not measure any of the reasons why a relationship exists, so researchers are unsure of the cause.

The emergency room in Riverside at Riverside Community Hospital provides comprehensive emergency and trauma care. We are a Level II Trauma Center, equipped with a helipad and we provide fast, efficient care for head injuries, strokes, and many other medical crises. Get answers to your questions about our services by calling (951) 788-3463.


Healthy tips for aging veterans

You may have gotten a little older since your first day at boot camp, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your health. There are plenty of steps aging veterans can take to get healthier and stay that way. Maintain your good conditioning or boost your health with this advice.

Get a checkup
Seeing your primary care physician regularly for checkups is an important part of preventing health problems and managing the chronic conditions you may already have. Most people should have a checkup annually, but your physician will tell you what is right for you.

During your checkup, your physician will do a number of health screening tests to look for signs of any medical conditions and to evaluate your health risk factors. Expect your doctor to check:

  • Weight
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood glucose

He or she may also recommend periodic cancer screenings, such as colonoscopies, prostate exams, and mammogram.

Stop smoking
Many vets picked up smoking during their time in the service, and if you haven’t given up yet, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, smoking negatively impacts almost every area of your health. It raises your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, oral cancer, and long list of other conditions.

Smoking can be hard to give up, but it’s not impossible. If you’ve tried to quit but struggled to give it up for good, talk to your physician. There are many strategies that could help you finally conquer the habit.

Manage chronic medical conditions
If you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease, you don’t have to experience the complications. Prevent any chronic medical condition you have from becoming worse by carefully following your treatment plan. If you’re finding it difficult to manage your medication or if you’re not controlling the symptoms as much as you’d like, call your physician so that he or she can adjust your treatment plan.

The healthcare team at Riverside Community Hospital is committed to helping our veterans’ live their healthiest lives. Referrals to our physicians are just a phone call away. Call our hospital in Riverside at (951) 788-3463.


Steps to ensure long-term weight loss after bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery can lead to a significant amount of weight loss, but actually achieving and maintaining your goal weight requires a great deal of commitment. Before your bariatric weight loss surgery, your surgeon will discuss what to expect after your procedure and what you will have to do to achieve the weight loss you want. These steps will also help you get to that goal.

Know your eating plan before your surgery
As explained in the video, weight loss after bariatric surgery relies on a complete and drastic change in your eating habits. Because of the small amount of food you will be able to consume before becoming full, it is important for every calorie you eat to give you the nutrition you need to stay healthy. Empty calories are off the menu.

Review your recommended meal plan before your surgery, and shop for the things you will need. This will allow you to come home from the hospital ready to start a new way of eating.

Attend all of your follow-up care appointments
You will need regular appointments with your bariatric team after your surgery. These visits are dedicated to ensuring that you don’t have any side effects from the procedure and that you are losing weight as expected.

When you attend your appointments, it is easy for your surgeon to notice that you could be experiencing a problem with your weight loss, so that you can work together to make adjustments. These appointments also give you the opportunity to ask questions about food choices, exercise, and any difficulties that you may be experiencing.

Seek support
Changing your lifestyle can be challenging, so it is important to have support. Try to get your family on board with your efforts. Eat healthier meals together and incorporate physical activity into your family time.

It can also be helpful to find a bariatric support group. Within this group, you can share questions and concerns with people who understand firsthand what you’re experiencing.

Don’t waste another day being unhappy about your weight and suffering from the consequences of obesity-related health conditions. At Riverside Community Hospital, our bariatric surgery team in Riverside can give you the tools you need to reach and maintain a healthy weight at last. Call us at (951) 788-3463 for a referral to our bariatric team.


What is the value in a second opinion before surgery?

Patient-focused healthcare providers will always support the right of patients to get a second opinion, especially after a serious diagnosis or before a complex surgery. Seeking a second opinion doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’re worried the original doctor made a mistake, but rather that you feel you need to be better informed before making a treatment decision. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear an interview with a neurosurgeon at Riverside Community Hospital. He explains why he strongly supports patients who self-advocate for their right to be informed.

Becoming an informed patient
Being an informed patient means that you:

  • Fully understand your diagnosis
  • Know which treatment options are available to you
  • Understand why your doctors recommend a certain treatment
  • Understand the potential risks of the treatments
  • Have asked all of your questions

Even if you go forward with the original doctor’s surgery recommendations, getting a second opinion can be invaluable because it allows you to become better informed about your health.

Understanding your diagnosis
Another doctor’s opinion is particularly valuable for patients when the diagnosis is confusing, serious or rare. A specialist may want to run an additional medical test or imaging scan, just to be sure that the original diagnosis is correct.

Even if the original diagnosis is confirmed by another doctor, getting a second opinion can help because it gives you the opportunity to discuss it further. Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • Why do I have this condition?
  • How serious is my health condition?
  • How can I manage my risk factors moving forward?
  • Is there a possibility of a recurrence after the surgery?
  • Is it possible for my condition to worsen without the surgery?
  • How exactly will my diagnosis affect my life?

Exploring all possible treatment options
Hypothetically, if you consult two board-certified orthopedists about surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, one of them may suggest a carpal tunnel release surgery, while the other might refer you to a physical therapist first. A difference in medical opinion doesn’t necessarily mean that one of those orthopedists is wrong. It’s not unusual for similarly trained and credentialed doctors to take different approaches to patient care.

By seeking a second opinion, you’ll learn about these different approaches, and how each of them might benefit your health. When you do receive treatment, you can feel confident knowing that you made an informed decision.

World-class surgical services are available at Riverside Community Hospital , including organ transplant, spinal surgery and open heart surgery. Our surgery teams always put our patients first, and encourage them to seek a second opinion before choosing a course of treatment. Patients near Riverside can call (951) 788-3463 to speak with a registered nurse.

How will your doctor determine if you have depression?

It isn’t known exactly what causes depression, although it’s thought to be linked to brain chemistry. When your doctor evaluates you for possible depressive disorders, he or she will ask you questions about your symptoms, lifestyle and the challenges you’ve been experiencing. Since there is no laboratory test available to confirm a diagnosis, the doctors at Riverside Community Hospital rely on in-depth discussions with patients to find out how to help them.

Personal and family medical histories
A person’s risk of depression can be elevated if one or more family members have also been treated for depression. In addition to evaluating your family history, your doctor will ask you if you’ve ever previously been treated for depressive disorders or other mental health disorders. People who have already had one depressive episode are more likely to experience another.

Symptom review
It’s possible to experience many different symptoms of depression, and some of them might not appear to be associated with your mental health. Before you go to the hospital, write down all of the problems you’ve been experiencing. In particular, try to remember how long you’ve had these symptoms, how frequently you experience them and how severe they are.

Not everyone will experience the same symptoms of depression, but the following are common:

  • Persistent feelings of emptiness and sadness
  • Feeling worthless, helpless or hopeless
  • Feeling guilty
  • Irritability or anger
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Impaired concentration, memory and decision making
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Attempted suicide

Physical changes often go hand-in-hand with the less visible signs of depression.

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Loss of libido
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained aches and pains

Mental health questionnaire
If your doctor suspects you may have depression, you’ll likely be asked to complete a mental health questionnaire. There are no right or wrong answers—just respond in accordance with how you truly feel.

The questionnaire will ask you whether you’ve experienced certain symptoms and how often you’ve had them. You’ll also be asked about the extent to which your symptoms interfere with your daily activities. Your doctor will use this information to assess your mental health and recommend treatment options.

Through all of life’s ups and downs, our compassionate doctors and nurses are here to help. Riverside Community Hospital is a modern medical facility in Riverside that embraces a “patients first” approach. You can speak with a registered nurse any time by calling (951) 788-3463.


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