• Moving Forward After a Stroke

    Senior Couple Jogging In Park

    When an individual suffers a stroke, blood flow is restricted to a part of the brain, causing brain tissue to die. The effects a stroke has on the brain are similar to the effects a heart attack has on the heart, so a stroke may be referred to as a “brain attack.” Because stroke is so impactful to the health of brain tissue, recovery and rehabilitation can be a rigorous and extensive process. However, there are resources to help ease this process and restore independence after a stroke occurs. Here is a look at some of the resources offered by Regional Medical Center of San Jose that can help you recover from a stroke:

    • Specialized Therapy: The exact effects of stroke can vary depending on the part of the brain damaged through the interruption in blood flow and the time between the initial attack and medical treatment. Still, all stroke patients will benefit from treatments like speech therapy, physical therapy, and psychological therapy. These therapies are types of continued care that will be tailored to the individual needs of the patient.
    • Life After Stroke Classes: At Regional Medical Center of San Jose, you can find ongoing support after stroke with exercise courses designed to improve or maintain your motor function after rehabilitative therapy. These classes are held weekly by therapists who specialize in Neuro-Developmental Treatment. Exercise is an important part of improving life after stroke, and the guidance of these courses will help you discover the most beneficial activities for you.
    • Medication: Once a stroke occurs, preventive measures should be taken to reduce the likelihood of another episode. Along with lifestyle changes and hands-on therapies, medication may be used to dissolve blood clots or thin the blood for improve circulation.

    For a closer look at stroke care and education, contact Regional Medical Center of San Jose online or at (408) 259-4000. Our Certified Stroke Center offers comprehensive care for stroke patients so that there is hope for a brighter future after a stroke.

  • The Importance of Breastfeeding Your Newborn

    Breastfeeding

    Breast milk is nature’s way of enabling the mother to care for and nourish her child, and it is the most nutritious food possible for newborn children. Breast milk has the benefit of nature’s design for the most optimal nutrition for a newborn baby. In fact, breast milk changes throughout your child’s infancy to meet his or her changing needs. Breastfeeding should begin just after your baby is born and continue until your baby is at least one year of age. There are many reasons to commit to breastfeeding instead of using baby formula, and some of the most important reasons are listed here:

    • Formula cannot match the health benefits of breast milk: Even though store-bought formula is designed to give babies the nutrients they need to grow, it simply cannot compare to breast milk for your baby’s health. Breast milk is easy on your baby’s digestive system, and it will give your baby the best start in life with a reduced chance of anemia, diabetes, asthma, and many other health conditions at later stages of his or her development.
    • Babies and mothers bond through breastfeeding: The physical contact and closeness that breastfeeding provides is important to both mother and child. It is a bonding experience that you will grow to cherish as your infant grows.
    • Mothers benefit from breastfeeding: Along with the feeling of closeness that you get from breastfeeding, you will also enjoy health benefits that result from the process. Breastfeeding actually burns about 500 calories per day, so it will help you get back to your pre-baby weight faster. There are also long-term benefits to breastfeeding, including reduced breast and ovarian cancer risk, lower risk for osteoporosis, and improved reproductive health in the future.

    Because breastfeeding does take time and work to get used to, Regional Medical Center of San Jose offers breastfeeding classes to help you get your baby off to the right start. Explore all of our prenatal and pediatric services by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 259-4000 or visiting our website. 

  • Mammograms 101

    Doctor holding roentgen film and woman on pink bra

    A mammogram is a special x-ray of the breast.  Though it cannot actually diagnose breast cancer, it can suggest that cancer may or may not be present.

    There are two different types of mammograms: screening and diagnostic.

    Screening mammograms look for breast cancer in women with no signs or symptoms of the disease.  They can help identify tumors before they are large enough to be felt. Typically, two x-ray pictures of each breast are taken, providing different views. The breast is placed between two plates on the x-ray machine.  The plates are pressed together to flatten and spread the breast tissue in order the get a clear picture.  This may be temporarily uncomfortable, but should not be painful, and only takes a few seconds.

    The images are read then by a radiologist looking for several types of changes, including a mass or calcifications.  A mass may be many things, including a benign, fluid-filled cyst or a solid tumor that needs to be biopsied. Calcifications are tiny mineral deposits within breast tissue.  Depending on their size, shape and layout, they may or may not indicate the presence of cancer.

    Diagnostic mammograms are used to check for cancer after a lump, thickening or other change is found in the breast. 

    A diagnostic mammogram may also be used to evaluate potential abnormalities detected during a screening mammogram or because of special circumstances, such as the presence of breast implants that make it difficult to get clear pictures any other way.

    Diagnostic mammograms take longer than screening mammograms since more views of the breast are taken.  The technician may want to magnify a suspicious area to help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

    Modern mammogram equipment designed for breast x-rays uses very low levels of radiation. 

    Early detection of breast cancer is important to a better outcome. While many studies suggest that mammograms help save lives, some research has questioned whether regular mammograms do in fact decrease the rate of cancer deaths.  This has led many professional, medical and cancer organizations to have different mammography guidelines .

    The majority agree that:

    • Beginning at age 40, women with an average risk of breast cancer should have a mammogram every 1-2 years.
    • Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about:
      • Whether they should begin screening before age 40
      • How frequently they should be screened

    The Breast Care Center at Regional Medical Center of San Jose has invested in the most accurate equipment available for mammography, breast ultrasound exams and stereotactic biopsy.  Our staff has extensive experience in diagnostic imaging technology.  For more information about The Breast Care Center, call (408) 259-4000.

  • Tips for Performing a Breast Self Exam

    Woman doing self breast examination

    Mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer .  Breast self examinations are sometimes recommended in conjunction with the screening to help women become familiar with the way their breasts normally feel.   This may make worrisome changes more apparent. 

    MIRROR

    Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror.  Your shoulders should be straight and your arms by your side, near your hips.  The room should be well lit.

    Look for changes in:

    • Size
    • Shape
    • Color
    • Nipple direction and/or fluid coming out of one or both nipples
    • Skin – dimpling, puckering or pulling
    • Redness, rash or swelling

    Next, raise your arms above your head and look for the same changes.  Then place your hands on your hips and tighten your chest muscles.

    LYING DOWN

    When you are done at the mirror, lie down on a comfortable surface and put your left hand behind your head.

    Place the middle fingers of your right hand on the top portion of your left breast (in the 12 o’clock position).   In a circular motion, about the size of a quarter, feel for anything unusual.  Use firm, but gentle pressure.  Move in a clockwise direction slowly around the entire breast until you are back where you began.  Then, move in one inch towards the nipple and repeat the same motions around the clock.  Continue until the entire breast is examined. 

    Repeat this pattern by placing your right hand behind your head and using your left hand to examine your right breast.

    Gently squeeze each nipple to check for discharge.

    SHOWER

    The shower is a common place for women to examine their breasts.  Feeling for lumps and thickenings is often easiest when the skin is wet and slippery.  It is also important to check your armpits.  Place your left hand on your hip and use your right hand to feel your left armpit. Then, repeat on the other side.

    Any breast changes should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible.

    The Breast Care Center at Regional Medical Center of San Jose has invested in the most accurate equipment available for mammography, breast ultrasound and stereotactic biopsy.  Regional’s Breast Care Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).  For more information, contact us at (408) 259-4000.

  • Emergency Care vs. Urgent Care: What’s the Difference?

    First Aid Kit

    Physical discomfort is the body’s way of letting you know that it needs attention. Experiencing pain prompts a series of questions in your mind: What type of attention does your body need? What is the severity of the ailment? How urgently do you need to be treated by a physician? Your answers to these questions can help you decide what type of medical care you should locate and when.

    Emergency care and urgent care are both dependable medical resources for a variety of ailments, but are fundamentally different services.

    What is Emergency Care?

    In an effort to provide our patients with a single point of care for all emergency and urgent medical situations, the Emergency Room at Regional Medical Center of San Jose also contains our Urgent Care Clinic. Patients admitted to the Emergency Room are guided through Regional’s Rapid Medical Evaluation (RME) program, which allows Emergency Room staff to determine the best method of treatment, while also reducing patient wait time and length of stay.

    According to the National Institutes of Health, emergency care is generally used to treat more severe ailments and potentially life-threatening conditions. These conditions may include, but are not limited to:

    • Bleeding that will not stop
    • Breathing problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
    • Change in mental status (such as unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty arousing)
    • Chest pain
    • Choking
    • Coughing up or vomiting blood
    • Fainting or loss of consciousness
    • Feeling of committing suicide or murder
    • Head or spine injury
    • Severe or persistent vomiting
    • Sudden injury due to a motor vehicle accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wound, etc.
    • Sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body
    • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
    • Swallowing a poisonous substance
    • Upper abdominal pain or pressure

    What is Urgent Care?

    Urgent care is a resource for patients who need medical care quickly, often times without a scheduled appointment with their primary care physician.  According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, urgent care centers are open beyond typical office hours, and their scope of services is broader than that of many primary care offices. While urgent care is intended for patients experiencing symptoms of acute illness or injury, it is not recommended for patients experiencing an emergency.

    Our Emergency and Urgent Care Services

    The Emergency Room at Regional Medical Center of San Jose offers emergency care services that are accessible to you and your loved ones twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our accredited medical team consists of well-trained emergency physicians, nurses, and support staff. The Emergency Care program also features an accredited chest pain center for the early detection of heart attacks, a Certified Stroke Center for the diagnoses, treatment, and prevention of strokes, a Level II Trauma Center, including a thirty-four bed Intensive Care Unit as well as lab, radiology, CT scanning, MRI, and blood bank.

    If you have a question about emergency care or urgent care, contact our free “Consult-A-Nurse” Healthcare Referral line at (888)-762-8881. 

  • Life after a Heart Attack

    heart attack

    Experiencing a heart attack is a traumatic event.  Most people survive their first heart attack and go on to live full and active lives.  An important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle after experiencing a heart attack is continued medical follow-up.

    Medical Follow-Up

    After a heart attack, your physician may recommend you enter into a cardiac rehabilitation program . Your physician may also suggest lifestyle changes to promote the healing process and reduce the risk of another heart attack, including

    • quitting smoking
    • getting more physical activity
    • following a healthy diet
    • maintaining a healthy weight

    Your doctor may also prescribe medication to diminish chest pain or control high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

    Most patients also require treatment for coronary heart disease (CHD) after a heart attack. CHD may cause you to experience angina, which can cause discomfort in the area of your heart muscle, but does not indicate you are experiencing another heart attack.

    Feeling ‘Normal’ Again after a Heart Attack

    Rest, including a good night’s sleep, is important after experiencing a heart attack.  The American Heart Association recommends that patients take two weeks to three months off before returning to work, depending on the severity of the attack. During this period of time, many physicians encourage regular physical activity to strengthen the heart muscle, ease stress, and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

    Emotional Follow-up

    Among other emotions, many people experience anxiety and depression after suffering a heart attack. Your physician may be able to prescribe medication to relieve some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Your physician may also recommend that you seek individual or group therapy as part of your treatment.

    The National Institute of Mental Health provides a brochure outlining the signs and symptoms of depression, the link between depression and heart disease , and possible treatments.

    The Cardiovascular program at Regional Medical Center of San Jose continues to offer the latest technologies for maintaining heart health in our Heart Diagnostic Testing center.

    To find a physician specializing in care for heart and vascular conditions , please call our free Consult-A-Nurse ® line at 1-(408) 259-4000. 

  • Tips for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer

    'Breast cancer' highlighted in pink

    Breast cancer affects one in eight American women throughout their lifetime, and 75 percent of all cases occur in women over the age of 50. However, it is important to remember that research on breast cancer is still ongoing and that it can occur in anyone, regardless of age, gender, or genetics. Understanding your risk for breast cancer is the key to prevention, so be sure to discuss these items with the professionals here at the award-winning Regional Medical Center of San Jose Breast Care Center during your next visit:

    Establish a Regular Breast Examination Schedule.

    Receiving a clear picture of your risk for breast cancer from a medical specialist can help you develop effective, non-invasive changes in your lifestyle. Although national statistics show a 12 percent risk of developing breast cancer over a lifetime, it is important to remember that each person’s individual risk will vary based on a number of modifiable and non-modifiable factors. A person’s risk will change over time, so it is important to schedule regular visits and mammographic screenings at a trusted breast care center.

    Live a Healthy Lifestyle.

    Developing a healthy diet and exercise schedule is a simple and effective method of managing your risk for breast cancer and a host of other health complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Take the time to calculate your body mass index before starting an exercise plan for the best results; this useful tool from the USDA can help you track your diet and physical activity levels.

    Consider the Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy.

    One of the reasons breast cancer predominantly affects women is due to elevated levels of estrogen exposure. Many women resort to postmenopausal hormone therapy to relieve menopausal discomfort, but it is important to first consider the potential health risks of estrogen or estrogen/progestin supplements with a doctor.

    Here at the Regional Medical Center of San Jose Breast Care Center have the medical resources and knowledge to help you understand and manage your risk for breast cancer. To learn more about our medical services or to schedule an appointment, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 259-4000 today.

  • A Look at the da Vinci Si System

    The da Vinci surgical system is one of the most advanced pieces of medical technology available to healthcare providers. By combining advanced monitoring equipment with precision machinery, surgeons are now able to perform complex surgical procedures with greater safety and efficiency. Take a look at this short film for a hands-on look at this revolutionary piece of medical equipment.

    The da Vinci surgical console is able to provide the surgeon with a high-resolution, three-dimensional image of the surgical site. By filtering the surgeon’s movements through an intuitive control scheme for each of the articulated robotic arms, the da Vinci system provides a level of dexterity that is beyond conventional surgical methods.

    We here at the Regional Medical Center of San Jose strive to provide our patients with access to the highest quality medical care. To learn more about our healthcare facilities, call (408) 259-4000 today.

  • Life After Stroke

    Brain stroke

    A person’s lifestyle can change considerably after a sudden stroke, especially when there are lingering physical or mental effects. Everyday tasks may become prohibitively difficult, and memory problems may interfere with communication. Seeking regular medical attention and professional support after a stroke is crucial for regaining one’s independence. Below is an overview of some guidelines and support resources from Regional Medical Center of San Jose’s Certified Stroke Center :

    • Dealing With the Aftermath of Stroke
      According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, nearly two-thirds of stroke victims require rehabilitation. Although the effects of a stroke are generally irreversible, post-stroke rehabilitation can help a patient circumvent the obstacles of impairment and regain lost mobility. Each patient’s rehabilitation needs will vary depending on the type and degree of damage, so consider consulting with a stroke specialist to develop an effective rehabilitation plan.
       
    • Reducing Your Risk for Recurrent Incidents.
      According to studies from the National Stroke Association, approximately five to 14 percent of stroke survivors suffer from a recurrence within the following year; the likelihood of recurrence increases dramatically to 42 percent for men (24 percent for women) in the following five years. Closely monitoring your cardiovascular health with a qualified doctor is an essential step for reducing the risk of stroke recurrence
       
    • Resources for Family Members.
      When a stroke occurs, it can also affect a patient’s loved ones. Unfortunately, a stroke may have a significant neurological impact on a person’s emotional control—and when coupled with the stress of the stroke itself—can prompt outbursts of aggression. In order to better understand the neurological impact of a stroke, consider seeking out supportive therapeutic resources for loved ones.

    Regional Medical Center of San Jose’s Certified Stroke Center is an award-winning institution that has been repeatedly recognized for its extensive efforts to provide quality medical care and services by the American Stroke Association. To learn more about our stroke treatment and rehabilitation services, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 259-4000, or contact us online today.

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