• Which technologies assist modern neurosurgeons?

    Neurosurgeons rely heavily on technology to make treatments less invasive and safer. Many patients in need of neurosurgery are surprised at their options for minimally invasive treatments and how quick and comfortable recovery can be. These advanced treatment options also provide care for conditions that were considered to be unmanageable. Here is a look at some of the technologies being used by neurosurgeons today.

    Deep brain stimulation

    1. Deep brain stimulation is performed by placing electrodes within the brain to stabilize abnormal impulses. As explained in the video, it can be used to treat multiple movement disorders. Some of the diseases and conditions that can be helped by deep brain stimulation include:
    • Essential tremor
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Dystonia
    • Epilepsy
    • OCD
    • Tourette’s syndrome
    • Some types of chronic pain

    Deep brain stimulation is usually performed after medications have provided sufficient symptom relief. Researchers are currently investigating its usefulness in treating depression, addiction, dementia, and brain damage caused by stroke.

    Robotic surgery
    Robotic surgery is a technique in which robotic instruments make incisions and excisions during surgery. The robotic tools are controlled by a surgeon, who operates them from a control panel that incorporates a high-resolution camera, so that he or she can clearly see the patient during the procedure.

    Robotic surgery offers multiple benefits to patients, such as:

    • Smaller, more precise incisions
    • Faster recovery times
    • Less surgical and post-surgical bleeding

    Neurointerventional Biplane System
    The Neurointerventional Biplane System allows neurological procedures that would have been done with traditional, open surgery in the past to be treated with minimally invasive procedures. The system allows neurointerventionalist to map the flow of blood through the vein without an open surgery, and then treat any issues minimally invasively, through a catheter introduced through an entry point in the leg.

    Some of the conditions treated with this system include:

    • Stroke
    • Carotid artery blockages
    • Intracranial hemorrhages
    • Arteriovenous malformations

    Riverside Community Hospital is the only place in western Riverside County with a Neurointerventional Biplane System , and our neurosurgeons rely on advanced technologies every day to provide the best possible patient care. To learn more about our services, including robotic surgery in Riverside, please call (951) 788-3463.

  • Knowing when drinking is a problem

    Alcohol abuse is a problem that affects every walk of life. No gender, race, class, or ethnic group is immune to risks and dangerous of alcoholism, but few people know how to recognize the signs of problem drinking before abuse becomes severe. Knowing the symptoms of alcohol abuse can help you take action when necessary is you or someone you love is struggling with a drinking problem. If you recognize these symptoms, consider talking to your healthcare provider about the next steps you should take.

    Binge drinking
    The amount of alcohol a person can safely consume depends on many different factors, however, there are some general guidelines as to what is considered to be excessive:

    • For women, more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per drinking session
    • For men, more than 14 drinks per week or more than 4 drinks per session
    • For people over 65, more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per session

    Drinking more than these guidelines on a regular basis is considered to be excessive. When people drink more than these guidelines per session, they are engaging in binge drinking. Binge drinking is an especially dangerous form of alcohol abuse that is associated with significant health risks and loss of life.

    Risk-taking behavior
    Taking risks while drinking is another sign of alcohol abuse. Some common forms of risky behavior people who are dealing with alcohol abuse may engage in includes:

    • Drinking and driving
    • Mixing drinks with medications
    • Lying to healthcare providers about drinking
    • Drinking while in charge of young children
    • Engaging in risky sexual behavior

    Alcohol dependence
    Alcohol abuse can cause someone to prioritize alcohol over other needs and responsibilities and to become physically and psychologically dependent on it. Some signs of alcohol dependency are:

    • Trying to hide how much you’re drinking
    • Worrying about not having access to alcohol
    • Missing work and personal obligations to drink
    • Experiencing shaking, anxiety, and other physical symptoms if you can’t drink

    Alcohol abuse can be devastating for families, but help is available. Your healthcare provider at Riverside Community Hospital can help you understand if you are abusing alcohol and get the help you need. Get a referral to a physician in Riverside by calling (951) 788-3463.

  • What should you do to maintain your personal health records?

    Thanks to the adoption of EHRs—electronic health records—it is easier than ever before for physicians to share information with each other and for every provider to have access to a complete view of your health. These records provide physicians with information about diagnoses, tests and results, and current medications, which helps to cut down on errors and reduce the risk of redundant tests and treatments. However, despite these advances, it is still helpful to for patients to maintain their own personal health records. Doing so is easier than you may think. Here is what you need to know.

    PHRs 101
    A personal health record —or PHR—is created and managed by you. It can contain much of the information that is in the EHRs your physicians manage, but it can also hold information that you think is important that your doctors don’t track. Some of the things that people include in PHRs that might not be in their EHRs are:

    • Over-the-counter medications and dosages
    • Vitamins/nutritional supplements and dosages
    • Exercise habits
    • Eating habits
    • Sleep habits
    • Symptom journals

    Starting a PHR
    Although you can keep paper medical records, most people who start a PHR do so using a web-based system. There are several online PHR, both for free and for a small fee. Check the features of each system closely. The difference between free PHRs and fee-based ones usually have to do with the amount of storage provided and management capabilities.

    When you select a PHR, you will have to add your own information manually or by scanning documents. You will also have to keep it updated as needed, as you get new diagnoses or medications.

    Sharing Your PHR
    Most PHRs can be viewed only with people you share them with. However, some people use PHRs provided by their healthcare network or insurance company. In these cases, your providers or insurance company may automatically have access to your information.

    At Riverside Community Hospital, the MyHealthOne Patient Portal is a great way to manage your health information. All of our providers also have access to your medical records through an EHR system, making it easier for your physicians to share information. For more information or a referral to a provider at our hospital in Riverside, call (951) 788-3463.

  • Do your heart a favor and de-stress

    One of the biggest dangers for your heart is something you may not think about—stress. Stress puts your heart at significant risk but raising your chances of many health conditions that impact your cardiac health. Although stress is a major risk factor for heart disease, it is also one of the most controllable ones. There are many things you can do to control your stress levels, which in turn will reduce your risk of heart disease.

    Stress and your heart
    When you are under stress, your body releases a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline makes your body ready to deal with an immediate, stressful situation in a number of ways—including increasing your heart rate.

    Short bursts of adrenaline can be helpful in some situations, when you have an immediate stressor to handle. The problem comes in when stress occurs of an extended period of time. This kind of chronic stress floods your body with adrenaline for long periods, which means that your heart rate is also increased for a long period of time. This can weaken your heart muscle and also contribute to high blood pressure—another risk factor for heart disease.

    Stress and lifestyle choices
    Another way stress can impact your heart is in the way it influences your lifestyle choices. When people face stress, they are more likely to engage in behaviors that can put their heart health at risk, such as smoking, drinking excessively, failing to get an adequate amount of sleep, and making poor food choices.

    While coping with stress, people any also neglect their chronic health conditions. For instance, a person with diabetes may fail to manage their blood sugar adequately. This can also increase the risk of heart health problems.

    Stress coping techniques
    To prevent stress-related heart health problems, learning how to cope with stress is essential. Some simple stress management strategies include:

    • Exercise
    • Meditation
    • Calling a friend
    • Listening to music

    If you are having difficulty managing your stress, talk to your physician. There are many medications that can be useful in reducing stress.

    At Riverside Community Hospital, your heart health is our mission. We offer comprehensive cardiac care, from our emergency room to our outpatient providers. Get more information about our heart health services in Riverside by calling (951) 788-3463.

  • Which medical conditions affect your fertility?

    If you are struggling to conceive, an underlying medical issue could be to blame. For some people, a medical condition affects their fertility, and for others, the treatment for a disease causes infertility. If you are a woman who is concerned about your ability to conceive, consult with your OB/GYN to determine if there are things you should be doing to improve your fertility. Here is a closer look at some of the conditions that impact fertility.

    Thyroid disease
    A thyroid imbalance can interfere with your menstrual cycle, which in turn can cause problems with your fertility. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause fertility issues.

    If you have thyroid disease, treating the thyroid condition can improve your chances of conceiving. If you have hypothyroidism, taking thyroid hormone medication can correct the imbalance and improve your fertility. If you have hyperthyroidism, medications that suppress thyroid function or surgical removal of the thyroid can help.

    Cervical cancer
    Cervical cancer treatment can interfere with your future ability to become pregnant. As discussed in the video, if cervical cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, it is possible to treat the disease without removing the uterus.

    For advanced cases, it is often necessary to perform radiation procedures that damage the uterus or to remove the uterus surgical. Although a traditional pregnancy is not possible after these treatments, most women can keep their ovaries after surgical cancer treatment, so they can have a genetic child via a surrogate.

    Polycystic ovary syndrome
    Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a complex condition that involves ovarian cysts as well as a number of other complications. In addition to interfering with healthy ovulation, PCOS can cause other problems that can impact fertility, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

    The OB/GYN specialists in Riverside at Riverside Community Hospital can help women navigate the complicated issue of fertility and achieve the healthiest possible pregnancy . Whether you’re ready to start a family or need help with a current pregnancy, call us at (951) 788-3463 for an OB/GYN referral.

  • Health problems that can cause kidney disease

    Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is a progressive condition that cannot be cured. However, it can be managed, so getting an early diagnosis is important to slowing down the progression of the disease and preventing complications. Although CKD can happen to anyone, there are certain medical conditions that make some people more vulnerable than others. If you have any of these chronic health problems, your physician may also monitor your kidney function to look for signs of CKD.

    Diabetes
    People with diabetes have the greatest risk of developing CKD. When blood glucose levels are high, eventually the kidneys cannot keep up with removing the excess glucose and become damaged. Managing your blood glucose levels will help to prevent CKD, though even people with diabetes that is well controlled have a higher risk of kidney disease.

    To monitor for kidney damage, your diabetes care provider will regularly test your urine for signs of a protein called albumin. The presence of albumin may indicate that your kidneys are not functioning properly.

    High blood pressure
    If you have high blood pressure, the blood vessels in your kidneys may become damaged over time. When that occurs, your kidneys will not remove waste and excess fluid effectively. As a result, blood pressure may increase even more, which then causes further damage to the kidneys.

    Controlling high blood pressure through diet and with medications, when necessary, can reduce the risk of CKD.

    Heart disease
    Although researchers are not yet sure of the reasons, there appears to be a link between heart disease and CKD. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, monitoring your kidney health is likely to be part of your treatment plan.

    The relationship between heart disease and CKD appears to work both ways. People with CKD have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

    CKD and the chronic health conditions that increase the risk of developing it require careful monitoring. Let a physician from Riverside Community Hospital help you manage your kidney function, heart health, and other conditions. Contact our hospital in Riverside for a referral by dialing (951) 788-3463.

  • How hemophilia can pose surgical complications

    Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder that interferes with the ability of blood to clot. If you have this condition, then you may bleed excessively from even minor injuries. As such, you may need to take special precautions before, during and after surgery to prevent complications. Here is a closer look at hemophilia and how it can impact surgical procedures.

    What is hemophilia?
    Hemophilia refers to a group of bleeding disorders that is passed along genetically. Most cases of hemophilia are hemophilia A and B. Both of these forms of the disease interfere with blood clotting. Some cases are mild, while other people experience severe blood loss.

    With hemophilia, an injury may lead to significant blood loss. Bleeding can also happen internally, within the joints, muscles, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tracts. Bleeding in the skull can also happen, alongside nose and mouth bleeds. In severe cases, bleeding starts spontaneously, in the absence of injury.

    How can I have surgery safely with hemophilia?
    If you have hemophilia and need to have surgery, be sure to inform your surgeon that you have a bleeding disorder. He or she will work with you to manage your condition before, during and after your procedure.

    Before surgery, your surgeon may monitor the levels of hemophilia factor as well as signs of clotting inhibitors in your blood. This will help your surgeon decide how much factor medication you need during surgery to prevent problems with bleeding.

    Your surgeon will also provide advice about the factors and other medications you will need to control bleeding during your recovery. Be sure you have all of the suggested supplies before you return home from the hospital and that your caregivers are also educated about how to care for you after your procedure.

    Riverside Community Hospital offers minimally invasive procedures, including robotic surgery , in Riverside, which are often safer for people with hemophilia. If you need surgery, call us at (951) 788-3463 for more information about our services or a referral to one of our specialists.

  • You’ve hit your head; should you go to the ER?

    A bump on the head is something that happens to everyone eventually, but how do you know when hitting your head is a minor annoyance and when it is a serious injury that requires emergency care It is a myth that your head injury isn’t serious if you don’t lose consciousness—in fact, some significant injuries can be caused by seemingly minor injuries. When should you go to the hospital after hitting your head? Here are some signs that you could benefit from emergency care.

    You’re experiencing memory loss.
    Are you struggling to remember how you hit your head? Is your memory of the event fuzzy? If you are experiencing any amount of memory loss surrounding the details of your injury, or even if you simply feel dazed or disoriented, go to the hospital.

    Memory loss can indicate a brain injury has occurred. The only way to know for sure is to have a CT scan at a hospital, so doctors can look for any signs of damage to your brain.

    You have a headache.
    Bumping your head can cause a headache even when a brain injury is not present. The pressure from the hit can trigger pain that lingers. However, if you have a headache, there is no way to know if your headache is simply residual pain from the bump or if it is being caused by an injury to the brain. Going to the hospital is the only way to get an accurate diagnosis.

    You’re concerned about an injury.
    Often, symptoms of a brain injury are not immediately apparent. They can develop days or even weeks after the injury, during which time the injury has gotten worse. If you are concerned that you have been injured, go to the hospital for an accurate diagnosis.

    The emergency room at Riverside Community Hospital is open around the clock to treat all of your urgent medical needs, with comprehensive imaging services on-site for quick diagnostics. To get more information about our hospital in Riverside, call us today at (951) 788-3463.

  • Knowing what eating disorders can do to the heart

    Mental health disorders can have grave consequences for a patient’s physical health. One major example of this is eating disorders. Eating disorders are a heartbreaking example of how psychological issues can drive patients to fight their own bodies. Here at Riverside Community Hospital, our compassionate physicians and nurses want patients to know that recovery is possible. Reach out for help before these serious disorders cause life-threatening consequences, such as heart problems.

    Low heart rate
    When people with eating disorders lose a great deal of weight or maintain a very low body weight, they naturally lose muscle mass. Some of the lost muscle may be in the heart. To conserve its resources, the body will make the heart beat slowly.

    Low heart rate is called bradycardia. It can lead to these complications:

    • Fainting spells, which may cause physical injuries
    • Heart failure
    • Sudden cardiac arrest

    Cardiac arrest isn’t the same as a heart attack. It occurs when the heart stops beating, and it has a much higher fatality rate than heart attacks. Death can occur within a few minutes if immediate medical attention isn’t available.

    Low blood pressure
    One of the possible complications of anorexia is low blood pressure. Low blood pressure can result in:

    • Fainting
    • Dizziness
    • Weakness

    In extreme cases, the body might not get enough oxygen to function properly. This can result in heart damage.

    Abnormal cholesterol levels
    Patients who suffer from binge eating disorder typically experience the same cardiovascular risks as people who are overweight or obese. One of those is abnormal cholesterol levels. This condition can contribute to the risk of heart disease, peripheral artery disease and heart attack.

    Heart failure
    Heart failure is one possible complication of anorexia and bulimia. This is a progressive and irreversible condition in which the heart is unable to pump as much blood as the body needs.

    Riverside Community Hospital is a leading heart hospital that connects patients in Riverside to sophisticated medical technology and innovative interventions delivered by a team of caring specialists. You can request a referral to a heart care specialist by calling a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463. If you think you’re experiencing a life-threatening heart emergency, please call 911 without delay.

  • Which is right for me, spine surgery or conservative treatment?

    Except in rare cases, spine surgery isn’t generally performed on an emergency basis. This means that there is plenty of time for patients to weigh the pros and cons of surgical intervention with the help of their doctors. Here at Riverside Community Hospital, we emphasize personalized treatment plans and extensive patient education. Our physicians and specialists firmly believe in empowering our patients with the knowledge they need to make thoughtful, informed decisions for their healthcare.

    Giving conservative treatments a try
    When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear directly from a neurosurgeon at Riverside Community Hospital. He explains that physicians prefer to prescribe conservative treatments to their patients first before considering spine surgery. Sometimes, a little trial and error is required to find the treatment plan that works for you.

    Give your doctor feedback on what works and what doesn’t, and whether you experience any side effects. Your doctor may adjust your treatment plan in response to your feedback. Take the initiative to ask about additional therapies that may help you, such as physical or occupational therapy.

    Considering spine surgery as a last resort
    If you’ve tried conservative treatments for a while and they aren’t doing enough to help you, schedule another visit with your doctor. It might be time to discuss spine surgery.

    You may be referred to a neurosurgeon, who will carefully evaluate your health by studying imaging scans, performing a physical exam and perhaps requesting lab tests. This thorough evaluation is necessary to make sure that surgery really can help you. Spine surgery is generally only recommended if an anatomical cause of your pain can be determined, such as a herniated disc.

    Additionally, you’ll need to fully understand the potential risks of having surgery. Your doctor can explain the most common side effects and the uncommon complications that may occur.

    If you and your doctor decide that spine surgery is the right choice for you, then you can feel confident in the exceptional skills of the neurosurgeons at Riverside Community Hospital . Neuroscience Center at Riverside is the top choice for complex brain and spine surgeries for patients in the Inland Empire. Call a registered nurse at (951) 788-3463 to request a referral to a specialist.