• How stress can damage your heart health

    The stress of a new job or a public speaking engagement can make your palms sweaty, your heart race and your stomach clench. The mind and body are inextricably linked and, unfortunately, mental stress can lead to real health problems. When stress levels stay high day after day, your heart health may suffer the consequences. The research is ongoing as to whether chronic stress directly causes heart disease. But what is clear is that stress can indirectly raise the risk of heart disease. Here at Riverside Community Hospital, our heart health providers empower patients to make smart decisions for their healthcare.

    Stress can affect your eating habits

    Nutrition has a significant effect on your heart health. Your heart and blood vessels need a well-balanced diet that is:

    • High in fiber
    • Low in saturated fat
    • Rich in healthy fats
    • Low in sodium
    • Low in sugar

    If you choose healthy foods like whole grains, lean meats, vegetables and fruits regularly, you’re already taking important steps to protect your heart. But when you’re having trouble coping with stress, you might be more likely to stray from these healthy food choices. Stress can cause some people to overeat or skip meals, choose sugary junk foods and get takeout meals.

    Stress can affect your motivation to exercise

    When you exercise your muscles, you’re also exercising your heart muscle. Exercising regularly benefits your heart and blood vessels in the following ways:

    • Keeps your arteries flexible
    • Regulates your blood pressure
    • Regulates your cholesterol levels
    • Stabilizes your blood sugar
    • Maintains a healthy weight

    Unfortunately, stress can make a person lose the motivation to exercise, particularly if that stress is linked to not having enough time. If you can manage to get yourself to exercise despite your stress, you’ll almost certainly find that working out helps you manage your stress better.

    Stress may prompt you to drink or smoke

    Another way stress can indirectly affect your heart health is by setting the stage for alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Of course, not everyone who experiences stress will have a few drinks or smoke cigarettes. But those who do risk worsening heart health.

    At HeartCare Institute at Riverside Community Hospital, our heart health specialists are committed to helping you live life well to prevent or manage heart disease. In the Riverside region, our heart hospital is recognized for unsurpassed patient care and life-saving procedures. Please direct medical emergencies to a 911 dispatcher, but for non-emergency questions, you can speak with a nurse at (951) 788-3463.

  • Making the decision to become an organ donor

    Every day at Riverside Community Hospital, our organ transplant team sees the incredible difference just one person can make. We work one-on-one with patients who are waiting for a life-saving kidney, as well as those who have already been given a second chance at life. From our family to yours, thank you for making the decision to join the organ donor registry during National Donate Life Month this April.

    The decision to become an organ donor

    This decision is a highly personal one that only you can make. You may decide to join the registry after a loved one has been told he or she needs an organ transplant. Or, you might simply feel comforted to know that even after your death, you may be able to save up to eight lives with your organs.

    If you decide to become an organ donor, you’re in good company. Millions of other U.S. adults have joined the registry, but the need for more registered donors is critical and ongoing. Take a look at these troubling statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

    • 119,000+ people on the waiting list
    • 22 deaths daily while waiting for organ transplants
    • 1 name added to the waiting list every 10 minutes
    • 3 in 1,000 registered donors die in a way that allows donation

    The eligibility criteria for organ donation

    Organ and tissue donors are all ages, sizes and ethnicities. Most health conditions do not disqualify a person from donating organs for transplant. Even if a couple of organs are not suitable for organ transplants, it’s possible that others will be suitable.

    Most major religions approve of organ donation as a selfless act of humanity. These include Catholicism, Islam and Judaism.

    All individuals who are 18 years of age and older can sign up on the state organ donor registry. When a potential organ donor dies before reaching the age of majority, the parents or legal guardians can make the decision to give the gift of life.

    More than 525 patients have received life-saving organ transplants at Kidney Transplant Center in Riverside Community Hospital. Our interdisciplinary team of specialists is committed to providing uncompromising care, personalized treatment and comprehensive patient education. Call a registered nurse at our hospital in Riverside at (951) 788-3463.

  • Encourage the men in your life to get screened for testicular cancer

    With the demands of work, family and friends, it’s hard to find the time to visit a doctor for health screenings. But these exams and tests, which are performed in the absence of symptoms, are an essential cornerstone of preventive medicine. If the men in your life haven’t seen their family physicians lately, encourage them to make an appointment during Testicular Cancer Awareness Month this April. A testicular cancer screening probably won’t reveal any abnormalities. But just in case it does, the skillful cancer care specialists at Riverside Community Hospital are here to help.

    Testicular cancer screening guidelines

    Health screening guidelines are established by multiple organizations and they can vary. It’s important to remember that these guidelines may not necessarily be appropriate for every patient. Men should consider asking their primary care physicians if a certain health screening is appropriate for them, based on their personal risk factors of testicular cancer.

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not currently recommend that men who do not have symptoms undergo routine screenings for testicular cancer. The organization also does not recommend that men perform routine self-exams.

    The American Cancer Society does recommend that men who are at least 20 years old have a testicular cancer screening during their annual health exams. The organization also notes that doctors may recommend routine self-exams for men who are at a high risk of testicular cancer.

    Testicular cancer self-exams

    Self-exams for testicular cancer are intended to alert men to abnormal changes of the testicles, which should be evaluated by a doctor. Men who choose to perform self-exams should do so after bathing because the skin of the scrotum will be more relaxed. Men can check for the following abnormalities:

    • Hard lumps or nodules
    • Changes in size, consistency or shape
    • Swelling or enlargement of one testicle

    Cancer Center at Riverside Community Hospital brings together leading oncology specialists who are genuinely committed to giving each patient the high-quality, personalized care he or she deserves. We’re pleased to offer state-of-the-art medical technology like CyberKnife and robotic surgery, which allows Riverside families to receive superior care right in their own community. Call our nurse referral line at (951) 788-3463.

  • How are traumatic injuries different from other emergencies?

    Emergency Room doctors can diagnose and treat a wide range of medical problems—from respiratory infections to heart attacks. But in some cases, patients are taken to the Trauma Center instead to receive specialized medical care. Traumatic injuries are different from other medical emergencies because they involve significant shock or damage to the body as a result of physical force. At Riverside Community Hospital, our Level II Trauma Center is fully staffed 24/7 with specialists dedicated to saving lives.

    Types of traumatic injuries

    In addition to the physical trauma to the body, these injuries may be complicated by psychiatric, social and behavioral factors. Watch this featured video to hear a trauma nurse at Riverside Community Hospital explain the nature of traumatic injuries. Some examples of traumatic injuries include the following:

    • Internal damage
    • Head injuries
    • Traumatic amputations
    • Spine fractures
    • Spinal cord injuries
    • Crush injuries
    • Collapsed lung
    • Puncture wounds
    • Gunshot wounds

    Patients who are taken to the Trauma Center have acute injuries that are severe enough to require immediate medical attention. This may include emergency resuscitation to preserve life.

    Causes and risk factors of traumatic injuries

    Many trauma patients are involved in serious accidents, including motor vehicle accidents, falls from elevated areas and animal attacks. Other causes include the following:

    • Explosions
    • Physical assault
    • Natural disasters
    • Sports collisions
    • Near-drowning
    • Plane crashes
    • Electrical shock

    Although accidents that result in traumatic injuries tend to occur very quickly, there are still ways of reducing your risk. Consider the following tips:

    • Wear a seatbelt
    • Avoid drinking and driving
    • Avoid distracted driving
    • Use power tools properly
    • Wear sports safety equipment
    • Avoid aggressive animals
    • Install smoke alarms

    Treatment for traumatic injuries

    Trauma surgeons, doctors and nurses must be ready to respond to all sorts of serious injuries at a moment’s notice. They rapidly assess the patient and administer life-saving interventions, such as resuscitation. The immediate focus is on stabilizing the patient, which may require the following steps:

    • Mechanical ventilation for breathing
    • IV fluids
    • Blood transfusions
    • Unblocking the airway
    • Bracing or splinting

    It may be necessary to perform surgery right away or after the patient has been stabilized. Some traumatic injuries require extensive recovery and rehabilitation services.

    From resuscitation to rehabilitation, our commitment to superior patient care is evident in all that we do. The Trauma Team at Riverside Community Hospital understands the complex needs of our patients and their families, and continually strives for healthcare excellence that exceeds national standards. Call 911 now for emergency care or call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463 for general questions about our medical specialties.