Regional Medical Center of San Jose
Regional Medical Center of San Jose offers world-class healthcare to residents throughout the greater San Jose community.

Types of heart rhythm problems and their treatment

Your heart is an involuntary muscle, which means it is always contracting and relaxing without you thinking about it. The rhythm of your heart is caused by electrical activity, and should be steady and even despite your heart’s pace changing from activity or inactivity. As this video explains, there are many different types of heart rhythm problems, or arrhythmias, that may throw off your heart’s natural rhythm and present more significant health problems later, such as stroke or heart failure.

Dr. Chow explains in the video that there are many different arrhythmias that exist and the important of narrowing down a patient’s diagnosis to select the right course of treatment and resolve symptoms—as well as mitigate future health risks. Here you can learn about some of the more common arrhythmias and get an idea of what treatments are used to correct them at Regional Medical Center of San Jose.

Atrial fibrillation (aFib)
Perhaps the most common type of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that originates in the atria, or upper chambers of the heart .

Atrial flutter
Atrial flutter also originates in the atria, but it has a much different pattern. Where the heartbeat is highly irregular with aFib, it is steadier with atrial flutter, though there is a faster rate and the occasional added or skipped beat.

Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT)
PSVT is another type of arrhythmia in which the heart beats too fast, but this condition originates in the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart.

Treatment options
There are certain conditions that can cause arrhythmias, so it’s important to work with your cardiologist for an accurate and thorough diagnosis. Once any underlying conditions are managed, your doctor may recommend drug therapy with prescription drugs to regulate the heartbeat. Should this conservative approach fail, you might consider electrical cardioversion—a treatment in which an electrical shock is sent to the heart to restart its normal rhythm—a pacemaker, or another type of implantable device designed to regulate the heartbeat through electrical stimulation.

For exceptional cardiovascular care in your neighborhood, connect with Regional Medical Center of San Jose. Our accredited Chest Pain Center and cardiovascular surgery services are regionally recognized, and we remain invested in the most advanced treatment options to ensure your heart health. To learn more about us or request a physician referral, call (888) 762-8881.

Is it safe to drive yourself to the ER?

One of the most important steps in dealing with a medical emergency is recognizing that an emergency is taking place. In some cases, it’s clear when to call 911, such as after a serious car accident or when someone is showing the symptoms of a stroke. Other times, you may recognize that you or someone else needs to see a doctor right away, but you might think that it’s better to drive to the hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

In general, it is better to go on the side of caution and call 911 even if you think it is safe to drive to the ER. As Dr. Justin Wang from Regional Medical Center explains in this video, you may not drive as carefully as you should, because you are trying to get to the hospital quickly or are driving recklessly due to the urgency of the situation. In addition, your symptoms may worsen when you are on the way to the hospital, putting you at risk for an accident.

When you should call 911
If someone is facing a life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack or traumatic injury, you should absolutely call 911. When an ambulance arrives on the scene, lifesaving interventions can begin to take place immediately. In addition, EMS services can connect with local hospitals to help their emergency rooms prepare for a patient’s arrival and see to it that a doctor or surgeon is ready to tend to the individual upon arrival.

Why it may be better to call an ambulance
Along with life-saving interventions that can be offered by EMTs in the ambulance, you can access more appropriate care by calling 911. Dr. Wang provides the example of a stroke patient being taken to a regional stroke center that may be just a little further away than the closest hospital.

When you need emergency care, never hesitate to call 911 to be taken to Regional Medical Center of San Jose. For non-emergent medical inquiries, stay in touch with us by calling (888) 762-8881.

Does a lump always indicate cancer?

It can be frightening to find an abnormal lump under the skin. You should always have these changes checked out by your doctor, but try not to panic—not all lumps are cancerous. At Regional Medical Center of San Jose, we provide superior breast care for cancerous and benign conditions. You’ll hear from one of our highly trained radiation oncologists when you watch the accompanying video.

Finding a breast lump
The breast is one of the many areas where abnormal lumps may develop. Breast care specialists urge women to become familiar with how their breasts usually look and feel, so that it’s easier to identify changes. Your doctor may recommend that you perform a breast self-exam once per month, and depending on your age and risk factors, you may also have a yearly mammogram.

If you do find a lump, or if you find an area of the breast or underarm that has changed, it’s best to have your doctor check it out as soon as possible. Know that most lumps found in these areas are not cancerous.

Understanding benign breast conditions
A breast lump that isn’t cancerous might not need treatment, although some of them do. Some examples of benign breast conditions are:

  • Breast cysts
  • Fibroadenomas
  • Hyperplasia
  • Intraductal papillomas
  • Sclerosing adenosis
  • Radial scars

Some benign breast conditions, while not cancerous themselves, may increase the risk of breast cancer. One example is hyperplasia, which is an overgrowth of cells.

Being diagnosed with other benign growths
Lumps can develop in many other places besides the breasts, and it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor to evaluate these unusual changes—just in case. Much of the time, patients with atypical lumps are found to have noncancerous conditions, such as the following:

  • Ganglion cysts
  • Rheumatoid arthritis nodules
  • Adenomas
  • Fibroids
  • Lipomas
  • Hemangiomas

Even when a lump isn’t cancerous, it might still need to be removed. Benign tumors can exert pressure on bodily structures, which might cause discomfort or functional impairment.

Cancer Care at Regional Medical Center of San Jose is a supportive community of friendly specialists, physicians and nurses, all of whom work together to give our patients the best possible outcome. Our oncology program is comprehensive, offering diagnostics, interventions, rehabilitation, nutrition services and psychosocial support. Call (888) 762-8881 to request a referral to a specialist.

Understand the relationship between high blood pressure and stroke

Although stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S., it’s not an inevitable part of growing older. In fact, the majority of all strokes can be prevented with the right medical management and healthy lifestyle choices. You can discuss your risk factors of stroke with a physician at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. As a leading provider of exceptional stroke care in the area, our providers know all too well the irreversible damage stroke can cause. We encourage our neighbors to get proactive about managing risk factors like high blood pressure.

Understanding high blood pressure
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries as it flows through. The next time you see a healthcare provider, ask for your blood pressure numbers, which will be expressed as one number over the other.

The top number is your systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The bottom number, diastolic blood pressure, reflects the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats when the heart relaxes. A normal blood pressure is anything less than 120 over less than 80.

Knowing the risks of high blood pressure
If you have high blood pressure, your arteries are under excessive stress. The high pressure within the blood vessels gradually damages and weakens them. Hypertension increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which involves the hardening, narrowing and clogging of the arteries.

Consequently, atherosclerosis increases the risk of blood clot formation, which can cause a stroke. People with high blood pressure are also more likely to have atrial fibrillation, a type of heart arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation causes the heart to have problems pumping out blood, and the resulting accumulation of blood can trigger blood clot formation.

Most cases of stroke occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to part of the brain. The brain cells need a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood. Without it, these cells begin dying within a matter of minutes, causing irreversible damage and potentially resulting in death.

Regional Medical Center of San Jose is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center—a designation that reflects our enduring commitment to superior care, immediate medical interventions, and state-of-the-art medical equipment. Every second matters when a stroke occurs, so please call 911 right away if you think you’re having a stroke. For general questions about our stroke care in San Jose, you can speak with a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881.

What happens if you go into labor prematurely?

Most mothers go into labor between 38 to 42 weeks. When labor occurs between the 20 th and 37 th week of pregnancy, it’s a preterm or premature labor. Preterm labor increases the risk of health problems for the baby. This means the baby will need specialized medical care in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, such as the Level II NICU at Regional Medical Center of San Jose.

Understand the risks of premature delivery
Not all women who go into premature labor will deliver prematurely, since it’s can be possible to stop contractions. And even when a baby is born too soon, he or she might not have serious medical problems. However, expecting mothers may wish to know about the risks to the baby’s health, such as the following:

  • Breathing problems
  • Developmental delay
  • Learning disability
  • Digestive problems
  • Brain/neurological complications

If you’re at a higher risk of premature labor, it’s particularly important to receive prenatal care from an experienced obstetrician who has admitting privileges at an NICU hospital.

Know the warning signs of premature labor
Women who go into premature labor may notice any of the following:

  • Backache
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Abdominal cramps, with or without diarrhea
  • Menstrual-like cramping
  • Fluid leakage from the vagina
  • Uterine contractions

Know what to do when premature contractions start
If you suspect you’re going into preterm labor, call your doctor right away. Your doctor will either instruct you to go to the hospital or to try the following steps:

  • Urinate
  • Lie down on your left side (not on your back)
  • Drink lots of water
  • Keep track of your contractions for an hour

If the symptoms become worse or still linger after an hour, it’s time to go to the hospital. The doctor may give you medications to slow or halt the contractions and prevent premature delivery. Some women are also given corticosteroids, which are drugs that help the baby’s lungs and brain reach maturity faster.

Family Birthing Center at Regional Medical Center of San Jose features a Level II NICU for all of your little miracle’s extra medical needs. Our multilingual obstetrics staff is committed to improving outcomes for preterm births, and each family can expect exceptional amenities and supportive care. Call (888) 762-8881 to request a referral to an obstetrics specialist in our hospital in San Jose.

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