• How are your heart and lung health related?

    You may think of your heart and your lungs as two very different parts of your body, but in reality, they are closely linked. Achieving good heart health and good respiratory health means keeping both your heart and your lungs healthy. Here is what you need to know about cardiopulmonary health problems.

    Right side of the heart
    If your cardiologist identifies problems with the right side of your heart, you could also be at risk for lung health issues. Poor pumping on the right side of your heart can impact your lung functioning and ultimately interfere with the ability of your heart and lungs to oxygenate blood so that it can be circulated throughout your body.

    Abnormalities on the left side of your heart can contribute to lung issues as well, but right-sided heart health issues may be more problematic.

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a respiratory condition that often includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is one of the leading causes of death in the US and one of the most common conditions to affect both the heart and the lungs.

    COPD leads to impaired lung function. In turn, the heart struggles to fill with oxygenated blood. As the disease progresses, the heart typically starts to pump fewer times per minute. This change can even occur in people with mild COPD who have not yet begun to experience symptoms.

    Heart and lung health advice
    There are several actions you can take that will protect both your heart and lung health. These lifestyle choices will help to keep cardiopulmonary disease at bay:

    • Don’t smoke
    • Eat a heart-healthy diet
    • Reduce your stress levels

    Do aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes on most days—it will make your lungs fill with oxygen, and oxygen-rich blood will flow through your body

    Riverside Community Hospital’s Heart Institute in Riverside is committed to providing comprehensive cardiac diagnostics and treatments to patients throughout the Inland Empire. If you’re concerned about your heart and lung health, call us today at (951) 788-3463.

  • 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.