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What expecting moms can do to prevent birth defects

Birth defects can happen to any baby. However, there are many things you can do to ensure your baby has the best chance at being born without any issues. These steps will help promote the health of both you and your baby.

Take folic acid
Folic acid, a type of B vitamin, can help to protect your baby from birth defects, especially early in pregnancy. In fact, if you’re planning to become pregnant, taking a folic acid supplement can help to reduce the risk of brain and spine-based birth defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida.

In addition to supplements, you can get folic acid from foods that been fortified with the vitamin and foods high in folate, such as leafy green vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits.

Avoid cigarettes, drugs and alcohol
Cigarettes, drugs and alcohol can significantly increase the risk of birth defects. There are many kinds of birth defects these substances can cause, including:

  • Cleft palates
  • Cleft lips
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Intellectual disabilities

There are no safe amounts of cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol to have during pregnancy. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor.

Manage your chronic health conditions
Birth defects can happen to any baby. However, there are many things you can do to ensure your baby has the best chance at being born without any issues. These steps will help promote the health of both you and your baby.

Take folic acid
Folic acid, a type of B vitamin, can help to protect your baby from birth defects, especially early in pregnancy. In fact, if you’re planning to become pregnant, taking a folic acid supplement can help to reduce the risk of brain and spine-based birth defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida.

In addition to supplements, you can get folic acid from foods that been fortified with the vitamin and foods high in folate, such as leafy green vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits.

Avoid cigarettes, drugs and alcohol
Cigarettes, drugs and alcohol can significantly increase the risk of birth defects. There are many kinds of birth defects these substances can cause, including:

  • Cleft palates
  • Cleft lips
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Intellectual disabilities

There are no safe amounts of cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol to have during pregnancy. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor.

Manage your chronic health conditions
Some chronic health conditions can increase the risk of birth defects. For example, diabetes increases the risk of spina bifida and cleft palates. Having a chronic health condition can also put you at risk of complications during pregnancy, which can increase the chances of your baby having health problems.

If you have a chronic health condition, be sure to manage it carefully during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor as soon as you become pregnant, as you may need to make changes to some of the medications you take.

Having reliable healthcare throughout your pregnancy is essential for the wellbeing of you and your baby. Family Birthplace at Riverside Community Hospital is here to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. For more information about having your baby at our hospital in Riverside or to get a referral to one of our women’s health specialists, please call (951) 788-3463. Some chronic health conditions can increase the risk of birth defects. For example, diabetes increases the risk of spina bifida and cleft palates. Having a chronic health condition can also put you at risk of complications during pregnancy, which can increase the chances of your baby having health problems.

If you have a chronic health condition, be sure to manage it carefully during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor as soon as you become pregnant, as you may need to make changes to some of the medications you take.

Having reliable healthcare throughout your pregnancy is essential for the wellbeing of you and your baby. Family Birthplace at Riverside Community Hospital is here to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. For more information about having your baby at our hospital in Riverside or to get a referral to one of our women’s health specialists, please call (951) 788-3463.

Assessing your health before weight loss surgery

If you are considering bariatric surgery, there are several steps required to ensure the procedure is safe for you. Going through these health assessments will determine if you can expect a smooth recovery from surgery and if a weight loss procedure is likely to help you reach your goals. Here is a look at some of the health assessments you many need before weight loss surgery.

Thyroid function
January’s Thyroid Awareness Month helps increase awareness about the important link between weight and thyroid function. If you are suffering from hypothyroidism—also known as an underactive thyroid—then you could find it difficult to lose weight, as an underactive thyroid can suppress your metabolism.

A thyroid screening test before bariatric surgery will tell your physician if hypothyroidism is contributing to your weight. You will need treatment for an underactive thyroid before weight loss surgery and your thyroid will be closely monitored after your procedure so it doesn’t interfere with your weight loss efforts.

Emotional preparedness
As explained in the video, bariatric surgery is the start of your journey. To reap the benefits of your weight loss surgery, you will have to commit to a healthy lifestyle and new way of eating after surgery.

Your physician will work closely with you to make sure you’re emotionally ready for the demands of post-surgery life. If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or another emotional health issue, treatment can help.

Heart health
For any kind of surgery, it’s important that your heart is healthy enough for anesthesia and the demands of recovery. Your doctor will review your cholesterol, blood pressure, and other facets of your heart health to make sure that surgery is safe for you.

Your physician may ask you to lose a certain amount of weight before surgery in order to make the procedure safer for your heart.

Center for Surgical Weight Loss in Riverside at Riverside Community Hospital performs multiple forms of weight loss surgery and offers comprehensive patient education and support before and after our procedures. Find out if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery by calling (951) 788-3463 to request a referral.


Can you give blood if you have high blood pressure?

If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, consider blood donation. By donating blood, you make sure that the hospitals in your area have this vital resource on hand to save lives. Many people want to give blood but hold back because of myths about the process and eligibility. For instance, what is the real story about donating blood with high blood pressure? Here are the facts behind this question and other blood pressure donation myths.

Myth: You can’t donate blood if you have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure does not preclude you from donating blood. If your blood pressure is less than 180 over 100, it’s perfectly safe and acceptable for you to donate. Likewise, being on blood pressure medicine has no bearing on your ability to donate blood. Many people who donate blood regularly are under treatment for high blood pressure.

Myth: Blood donation is painful.
It is natural to be a little nervous about blood donation. After all, no one really likes needle sticks. However, nearly everyone who donates blood agrees that any worrying that they did beforehand was not necessary and that any discomfort they experienced was minimal and over quickly. The good you do by donating blood lasts far longer than the slight, momentary pinch of the needle.

If you have had blood drawn at the doctor’s office, then you know what to expect from donating blood. Blood draw teams at donation sites are experienced and dedicated to your comfort.

Myth: You can’t donate blood if you’re on medications.
There are very few medications that prevent you from donating blood. One of the few medicines that could prevent donations is bovine insulin, a type of insulin derived from cows that is not widely used or available.

Generally speaking, as long as your health condition is under control, taking medication does not interfere with blood donation.

Blood donations play an important role across Riverside Community Hospital, from our ER to our organ transplant service in Riverside. Consider supporting health in our community with blood donations. If you have questions about our hospital services or need a referral to a physician, please call us today at (951) 788-3463.


Improve your stroke knowledge

Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. suffer a stroke every year. It’s among the top causes of death and long-term disability. Since anyone can potentially suffer a stroke—even younger adults - everyone should know the warning signs. The sooner a stroke victim reaches the hospital, the better the chances of saving his or her life. At Riverside Community Hospital, a certified Primary Stroke Center, our dedicated team of specialists works around the clock to save lives and improve long-term outcomes.

Understanding how stroke happens
The accompanying video features a neuroradiologist at Riverside Community Hospital. He explains that stroke occurs when there is reduced blood flow to an area of the brain, causing that brain tissue to become deprived of essential oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, the brain cells begin to die.

There are two main types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. The majority of stroke patients suffer ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain is blocked. This can happen when a blood clot forms in that blood vessel, or when a blood clot forms elsewhere and travels to the brain.

The other type, hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and causes bleeding on the brain. The blood that fills the space in the skull puts pressure on the delicate brain tissue.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke
The symptoms of stroke develop suddenly, such as a sudden, severe headache that has no apparent cause. Other symptoms include:

  • Numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty understanding speech or speaking
  • Vision impairment in one or both eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble walking
  • Loss of balance
  • Lack of coordination

A 911 dispatcher should be notified immediately if any of these symptoms develop suddenly.

Reducing your risk of stroke
Most cases of stroke are preventable. Talk to your doctor about managing the medical conditions that may increase your risk of stroke, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol
  • Sickle cell disease

A heart-healthy lifestyle is also effective for reducing the risk of stroke. Consider making the following changes, if applicable.

  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid secondhand smoke
  • Avoid or limit alcohol
  • Lose weight
  • Exercise
  • Eat well
Call 911 right now if you or someone else might be suffering a stroke in the Riverside area. For non-emergency, general healthcare questions, a registered nurse at Riverside Community Hospital is available at (951) 788-3463. Our designation as a Primary Stroke Center reflects our commitment to providing superior, patient-focused care that leads to the best possible outcome for stroke patients.

Here's what you need to know about antibacterial soap

For years, people bought soap labeled “antibacterial” because it was thought the product would offer better protection from illness-causing germs than regular soap. This seems like common sense, but health experts have long disagreed about the possible benefits and risks of adding antibacterial ingredients to soap. Given that the benefits remain unproven, but the evidence of harm continues to grow, the FDA has banned 19 of the ingredients manufacturers used to make antibacterial soap. The move does not affect hand sanitizers or the soap used in hospitals like Riverside Community Hospital.

How regular soap works
Some molecules are polar, which means they are mixable with water. Others are non-polar, which means they aren’t mixable into water. Soap molecules are amphipathic, which means they have both types of properties.

The amphipathic nature of soap molecules means that soap can dissolve many foreign molecules on the skin, allowing you to wash off grime easily. When regular soap is introduced to bacteria and viruses, these pathogens no longer adhere well to the skin, which lets you scrub them off. And since there is soap on the skin, you’ll likely rinse long enough to send these germs down the drain.

In other words, regular soap helps you scrub off germs, but it doesn’t kill them.

How antibacterial soap works
Antibacterial soap is amphipathic too, so it works the same way as regular soap. However, the antibacterial ingredients added to it are designed to prevent the replication of any bacteria still remaining on the skin. Just like antibiotics, antibacterial soap has no effect on viruses.

Why the FDA has banned antibacterial soap ingredients
Most antibacterial soaps contained triclosan—one of the 19 banned ingredients. Triclosan is also added to a variety of everyday products, from toys to interior paint, for the purpose of discouraging bacterial growth.

It’s been associated with a number of harmful effects, including drug-resistant bacteria and environmental harm. Triclosan has also been shown to cause hormonal disruptions in animals. Whether or not humans could suffer the same harm is a subject of ongoing research.

From our Ob/Gyn specialists to our organ transplant surgeons, the entire team at Riverside Community Hospital follows rigorous sanitation protocols to prevent hospital-acquired infections. Nothing is more important to us than your health and safety, since our healthcare providers live and work in the same Riverside community as you. Call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463.


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