• What you can do for your heart beyond wearing red

    National Wear Red Day takes place on February 2, 2018. This designation is intended to raise awareness about the risk factors of heart disease, and the importance of taking steps toward prevention. On this day, you’ll likely see plenty of people at heart hospitals and in your community proudly wearing red. Although it’s good to raise awareness, taking concrete steps to improve your health is even more important. Riverside Community Hospital connects patients with caring specialists who can provide personalized treatment plans and lifestyle recommendations.

    Talk to friends and family about heart health
    On National Wear Red Day, you can encourage your loved ones to be proactive about their own heart health. Schedule a physical exam for your partner, invite a co-worker to take a walk with you after work or ask your kids to help you prepare a low-sodium vegetarian meal. Share information about the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle on your social media accounts.

    Know your heart health numbers
    Do you know your blood pressure and cholesterol level? If it’s been a while since you had a screening test, it’s time to schedule an appointment. See how your numbers compare to these ideal ranges:

    • Blood pressure: Below 120/80
    • LDL cholesterol: Below 100
    • HDL cholesterol: 60 or higher
    • Total cholesterol: Below 200
    • Body mass index: 18 to 25
    • Resting heart rate: 60 to 100

    Set goals to improve your numbers
    If all of your numbers are already ideal, then keep making healthy lifestyle choices to maintain your heart health. Otherwise, your doctor can help you learn about medical management options or lifestyle changes to improve your health.

    Establish specific, reasonable goals for making lifestyle modifications. For example, instead of aiming to cut down on sugar, your goal could be to eliminate added sugar in coffee. Once you’ve mastered that, work on eliminating soda from your diet.

    Every small change can help you reach your goal, and your doctor can give you guidance along the way.

    From diagnosis to follow-up, you’ll find a continuum of care at HeartCare Institute at Riverside Community Hospital . Our team of cardiovascular surgeons, cardiologists and nurses is committed to giving each patient the superior care he or she needs for the best possible outcome. Call 911 for medical emergencies, or call a registered nurse in Riverside at (951) 788-3463 for general information about our heart hospital.

  • 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.

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