• Understanding How Obesity Hurts Your Heart

    Although it’s common knowledge that obesity can lead to dire health consequences, you may be surprised at the extent to which obesity can harm your heart health. Obesity is strongly associated with several health problems that can compromise cardiovascular wellness, such as high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. If you’re concerned about your heart health, you may wish to speak with a physician at Riverside Community Hospital about your obesity treatment options. For example, bariatric weight loss surgery may be an appropriate option for some patients in the Riverside area.

    High Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure is often referred to as a “silent killer” because many people with hypertension are unaware that they have it. Sometimes, hypertension can go undiagnosed for years, during which time the excessive force against the arterial walls can inflict considerable damage to the blood vessels, heart, and other organs. Obesity increases the risk of hypertension. Likewise, having high blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease (CHD), and many other health problems.

    High Cholesterol Levels

    Some patients who may be good candidates for bariatric weight loss are those with obesity and other health conditions, such as high cholesterol levels. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of being diagnosed with high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It can also lower your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the beneficial type of cholesterol. Like hypertension, abnormal cholesterol levels increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

    Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

    Individuals with obesity are more likely to have accumulations of waxy plaque in the coronary arteries, which perform the important job of supplying blood to the heart. This condition is referred to as coronary heart disease. The buildup of plaque can reduce the amount of blood sent to the heart, which may cause chest pain. Sometimes, deposits of plaque can rupture, which causes the formation of a blood clot. If the blood clot is large enough, it can significantly or completely block blood flow to the heart, which causes a heart attack.

    The bariatric weight loss physicians at Riverside Community Hospital are dedicated to helping patients regain control of their health. To learn whether bariatric weight loss might be right for you, you might consider attending one of our seminars or patient support groups. Riverside residents can speak with a registered nurse at our community hospital by calling (951) 788-3000.

  • Simple Substitutions to Improve Your Nutrition and Promote Weight Loss

    Before having bariatric weight loss surgery at Riverside Community Hospital, you may be asked to make dietary changes, begin an exercise program, and try to lose a little weight. Weight loss before bariatric surgery may help reduce the risk of complications from the procedure. Additionally, becoming accustomed to a new way of eating now can make it easier for you to adjust to your new lifestyle after the procedure.

    Baking Substitutions

    Doctors generally advise bariatric weight loss patients to avoid eating pastries and similar baked goods. However, if you do bake once in a while, making some substitutions can decrease the amount of fat, sugar, and calories. For example, replace butter with equal parts unsweetened applesauce and canola oil. For an even healthier swap, replace the canola oil with ground flaxseed. Use two egg whites to replace one egg and zero-calorie stevia to replace the sugar. Replace white flour with a combination of whole wheat flour, oat flour, and unflavored protein powder. Some healthy eating advocates have even used drained and mashed chickpeas to replace the eggs, butter, oil, and flour in cookie recipes.

    Lunch Swaps

    Many popular lunches sneak in more calories than you might expect. For example, adding cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings to a salad turns an otherwise healthy lunch into a calorie bomb. Instead, make a flavorful salad with lots of different veggies, such as spinach, kale, and lettuce. Instead of cheese, add a couple of small slices of avocado. Although avocados are high in calories, they contain the healthy fats your heart needs. Just be sure to limit the amount you eat.

    Dinner Ideas

    There are lots of ways to make dinner healthier and flavorful. Bariatric weight loss patients need to limit their intake of carbohydrates. Instead of eating a plate of pasta, try spaghetti squash or peel long ribbons of zucchini. Instead of making chili with beef, try ground chicken or turkey.

    Residents of the Riverside area can turn to the Center for Surgical Weight Loss for all the information they need to make informed decisions for their health and well-being. For bariatric weight loss patients, Riverside Community Hospital offers informational seminars and support groups, in addition to our sophisticated bariatric weight loss procedures. Contact our hospital at (951) 788-3000 for general information about bariatric weight loss.

  • How to Get Fit While Keeping Cool This Summer


    The hot summer months may be ideal for taking family vacations and planning get-togethers, but working out in sizzling temperatures can be uncomfortable. It can also be dangerous if you become dehydrated. However, physical activity is crucial for the long-term success of bariatric weight loss patients. Simply adjusting your workout routine can help you beat the heat while staying active.

    Join a Gym

    If you haven’t already done so, you might consider joining a gym to have access to air conditioning throughout the summer. Many people prefer to exercise outdoors because they enjoy the fresh air and change of scenery. However, working out in a gym during the summer offers its own advantages. In addition to keeping cool, you can choose from a wide range of workout classes to join. Your gym may offer martial arts classes, aerobics classes, and Pilates groups, for example.

    Create an At-Home Gym

    Another option is to create an inexpensive gym in an air conditioned room of your home. There are many exercises you can do with no equipment at all, such as squats, jumping jacks, crunches, and leg lifts. Other workouts require only minimal equipment, such as a jumping rope, yoga mat, and medicine ball. For a change of pace, find some online workout videos that appeal to you and follow along to them at home.

    Try Water Workouts

    One way to exercise outdoors and still stay cool this summer is to head over to your community pool. Bring the kids or your friends and play a game of water polo. Swimming laps can get your heart rate up without placing stress on your joints, which is particularly beneficial for bariatric weight loss patients. You could also take a water aerobics class.

    Divide Your Workout

    Dividing your workout is another smart way to stay cool. Instead of going for a 30-minute walk, go for a 10-minute walk three times throughout the day. Your body will have plenty of time to cool down between exercise sessions and you’ll reduce your risk of getting dehydrated.

    The physicians at Riverside Community Hospital can provide personalized guidance on staying safe while being physically active during the summer. In addition to preventive healthcare services, our community hospital offers heart care, bariatric weight loss procedures, robotic surgery, and OB/GYN services. Residents of the Riverside area can call (951) 788-3000 for our Consult-A-Nurse referral line.

  • Breaking Misconceptions About Bariatric Surgery


    Bariatric weight loss surgery has been performed for decades and the techniques have been significantly improved over the years. Despite the hundreds of thousands of patients who have benefited from bariatric weight loss, there are still many misconceptions about these procedures. If you’re considering having surgery to treat obesity, you could consult a bariatric specialist at Riverside Community Hospital to learn more about these procedures.

    Myth: Bariatric Surgery Is Riskier Than Obesity

    Every type of surgery carries the potential for some risks to the patient. It’s important that patients fully understand these risks before having bariatric weight loss surgery. However, weight loss surgeries may actually be safer than certain other types of surgeries, such as gallbladder surgery. In fact, the health risks associated with obesity are of far greater concern than the potential risks of treating obesity with surgery. After weight loss surgery, patients typically have significantly reduced risk of mortality from heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

    Myth: Bariatric Surgery is a “Magic Bullet” Solution

    It’s true that ideal candidates for bariatric surgery are those who have previously tried conservative weight loss methods because undergoing surgery is a significant decision. However, while bariatric procedures may be considered options of last resort, they are certainly not “magic bullet” solutions. Before having these procedures, patients can expect to undergo a thorough evaluation to determine if they are committed to making the drastic lifestyle changes that are necessary for a successful outcome.

    Myth: Patients Require Little Follow-Up Care

    All surgeries require some follow-up care. The physician must check to see that the patient’s incisions are healing properly, for example. However, it’s commonly thought that bariatric weight loss patients require only minimal follow-up care. In fact, long-term follow-up care is essential for successful weight loss. Long after the surgery, patients may continue to attend bariatric support groups and to meet with various members of their healthcare team.

    The Center for Surgical Weight Loss at Riverside Community Hospital provides a comprehensive bariatric weight loss program that includes extensive patient evaluation, education, and post-surgical follow-up care. At our community hospital, residents of the Riverside area can also explore our heart health services, OB/GYN care, and organ transplant program. Call our Consult-A-Nurse referral line at (951) 788-3000.