• How depression can increase your risk of stroke

    Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. suffer a stroke each year. Even when a stroke isn’t deadly, it inflicts considerable lasting damage. In the U.S., it’s the most common cause of severe, long-term disability. Yet, most stroke cases are preventable with effective medical management and lifestyle changes . As a leader in innovative stroke care, Regional Medical Center of San Jose embraces ongoing clinical research that contributes to better health for our community.

    The possible link between depression and stroke
    Emerging research suggests that depression is associated with an increased incidence of stroke. It’s too early to determine whether depression might contribute to causing stroke, or whether people with depression are simply more likely to also suffer from stroke. More research is needed in this area, but what is definitively known is that mental health can affect physical health, and vice versa.

    The American Heart Association has reported that researchers in Australia evaluated 10,547 women ages 47 through 52 over a 12-year period. Their research suggests that women who are depressed are at an increased risk of stroke by a factor of 2.4.

    The researchers then accounted for other factors that can contribute to stroke, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and lifestyle factors. Even with the adjusted figures, the researchers found that depressed women are still at an increased risk by a factor of 1.9. In other words, the suggestion is that depression might double a woman’s risk of stroke.

    The ways you can lower your risk of stroke
    Your cardiovascular health is just one more compelling reason to prioritize mental health. If you think you might be experiencing persistent depressive symptoms, your doctor can help. You deserve good quality of life.

    Other ways you can reduce your risk of stroke include:

    • Quit smoking, if applicable
    • Avoid secondhand smoke
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Limit or abstain from alcohol
    • Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fiber
    • Exercise on most days of the week

    In addition to enjoying a healthy lifestyle, you can work with your doctor to get any chronic medical conditions under control. The following conditions can increase the risk of stroke:

    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Sleep apnea

    If you or someone else requires stroke care in San Jose, please call 911 without delay. Every second counts, and Comprehensive Stroke Center at Regional Medical Center of San Jose works closely with emergency responders to provide immediate care to our patients. General healthcare questions may be directed to a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881.

  • Should you have genetic testing for breast cancer?

    During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the Cancer Care specialists at Regional Medical Center of San Jose encourage women to learn about health screenings. Beyond getting screening mammograms and performing breast self-exams, some women may want to consider genetic testing. Deciding whether to get tested is a personal decision you should make with guidance from your physician. When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear one of our radiation oncologists explain that genetic testing is appropriate for women with a strong family history of breast cancer .

    Determining whether genetic testing is right for you
    Before you consult your doctor, you can do a little background research into your family medical history. This includes your maternal and paternal relatives. You may want to consider genetic testing if:

    • A close relative has had cancer in both breasts
    • Your family history reveals male breast cancer
    • Three or more female relatives have had breast cancer
    • Your family is of Ashkenazi descent

    Additionally, consider getting a genetic test if your family history reveals a pattern of any of these cancers:

    • Ovarian
    • Uterine
    • Prostate
    • Melanoma
    • Pancreatic
    • Stomach
    • Thyroid
    • Colon
    • Sarcoma

    Knowing what to do after a negative test result
    If you do have a genetic test and the results are negative, you may feel relieved to know that your risk of breast cancer is the same as for women in the general population. As reassuring as this is, it unfortunately does not mean there is no chance of developing breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about:

    • When to start screening mammograms
    • How often to get screening mammograms
    • How to perform breast self-exams
    • Which signs and symptoms to watch out for

    Additionally, you can manage other risk factors by:

    • Limiting or abstaining from alcohol
    • Maintaining a healthy weight
    • Understanding the potential risks of hormone therapy

    Exploring treatment options after a positive test result
    Women who test positive for mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have an increased risk of breast cancer that is about three to seven times higher than the general population, according to Breastcancer.org. These genetic abnormalities also increase the risk of ovarian cancer. A doctor may recommend that women who test positive consider having:

    • Aggressive schedule of screenings
    • Hormone therapy to reduce the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer
    • Preventive double mastectomy
    • Preventive removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes

    Cancer Care at Regional Medical Center of San Jose has earned a reputation for personalized, patient-centered care that embraces the latest innovations in medical technology and techniques. Our compassionate cancer specialists work one-on-one with patients and their families to ensure their every need is met. For a physician referral in San Jose, call a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881.

  • Why carving pumpkins is dangerous work

    Whether it’s a couple of holes for eyes and a toothy grin, or an intricately carved Van Gogh replica, the fine art of pumpkin carving is a fun tradition for adults and kids alike. It’s also the reason why hand surgeons are busier during October and early November. A better awareness of the health hazards of pumpkin carving can help keep your family out of the ER at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. If someone does need emergency care for a hand injury , we have specialists available 24/7.

    Types of pumpkin carving injuries
    Most wounds caused by pumpkin carving are shallow and aren’t serious, as long as precautions are taken to prevent infection. More serious injuries can lead to lasting impairment, especially if a tendon or nerve is severed.

    Some patients may need to undergo delicate hand surgery to reattach a severed tendon. The site will then heal over the next few months, and patients can expect to require physical therapy.

    Causes of pumpkin carving injuries
    Using the wrong tools to carve a pumpkin is one of the most common mistakes that lands people in emergency care. Very sharp kitchen knives and power tools should be avoided.

    When a knife is very sharp, it easily gets stuck in the pumpkin’s tough rind. This can lead to severe lacerations as the carver attempts to push or pull the knife to dislodge it.

    Knives that are too long can also contribute to hand injuries. If the pumpkin is small enough and the carver holds the back of the pumpkin, the knife can penetrate through the other side of the rind and into the hand.

    Tips for avoiding pumpkin carving injuries
    The number one rule to remember is to never let kids handle sharp objects . Instead, young kids can have fun painting pumpkins, or drawing faces for adults to cut out.

    Use the tiny, serrated saw that comes with pumpkin carving kits. It handles intricate details better than kitchen knives, and it’s less likely to get stuck in the rind. Even if this small blade does cause an injury, it’s usually not sharp enough to inflict severe damage.

    Here at Regional Medical Center of San Jose , we put our patients first because the health of our neighbors is important to us. If you or a loved one needs emergency care in San Jose, a 911 dispatcher is always available to help. Non-emergent questions about our Wound Care Center and Trauma Center may be directed to (888) 762-8881.

  • Celebrate Healthcare Quality Week with Regional Medical Center

    At Regional Medical Center of San Jose, an enduring commitment to healthcare excellence is a defining characteristic of our mission. We are an HCA-affiliated hospital, which means we continually invest in our people and our technology in order to deliver the best possible care to our neighbors throughout San Jose. And from October 15 through 21, we’re celebrating our staffers who make that possible with Healthcare Quality Week.

    About Healthcare Quality Week
    The National Association for Healthcare Quality has designated the third week in October as Healthcare Quality Week. Its purpose is to recognize the important work these professionals do on behalf of patients throughout the country—work that often goes unrecognized due to the behind-the-scenes nature of the job.

    Healthcare Quality Week also serves to raise awareness among these professionals about the continuing education options available to them. The gold standard of professional achievement in this field is the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality designation, which is the only accredited credential for this profession.

    About healthcare quality professionals
    Patients are generally well-informed about the roles of various medical specialists, such as cardiologists and emergency care doctors. But many of them aren’t familiar with the ways in which healthcare quality professionals work to improve the patient experience. The main goals of these individuals are:

    • To improve patient outcomes
    • To improve patient safety
    • To enhance the delivery of care

    Healthcare quality management is a dynamic, evolving field that is necessary for all sorts of medical settings. Different hospitals and patient populations have varying challenges and needs, and healthcare quality professionals must be able to quickly adapt to a rapidly changing medical landscape. During any given day, one of these professionals might work on:

    • Connecting staff to advanced credentialing and certification opportunities
    • Evaluating patient satisfaction
    • Identifying and implementing ways of improving the patient experience
    • Improving the efficiency and rapid delivery of care in the ER
    • Advocating for investments in emerging medical technology

    In all that they do, healthcare quality professionals are focused on putting patients first.

    For comprehensive and compassionate care throughout all of life’s stages, your family can trust Regional Medical Center of San Jose. Our highly trained providers deliver personalized medical services because we genuinely believe in a collaborative doctor/patient relationship. A friendly member of our nursing staff is here to help at (888) 762-8881.