• 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.

  • What is a thyroid storm and why does it require emergency care?

    Your thyroid gland is found at the base of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate many of the body’s basic functions, including metabolism and body temperature. Some people have thyroid diseases like hyperthyroidism where the gland produces too much thyroid hormone. If hyperthyroidism isn’t well-controlled it can lead to thyroid storm. This is a life-threatening crisis, but the emergency care team at Regional Medical Center of San Jose is here 24/7 to save lives.

    How thyroid storm occurs
    A thyroid storm isn’t common. The underlying cause is the failure to treat or failure to adequately control hyperthyroidism.

    When the gland produces far too much thyroid hormone, a person may be more likely to develop thyroid storm after experiencing a major source of physical stress, such as the following:

    • Infection
    • Heart attack
    • Major trauma
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Pulmonary embolism
    • Diabetic ketoacidosis
    • Stroke

    What thyroid storm feels like
    Unfortunately, not all patients suffering from thyroid storm seek emergency care because the signs and symptoms are similar to regular hyperthyroidism. However, the symptoms of a thyroid storm are more severe and sudden. They can include:

    • Confusion
    • Agitation
    • Diarrhea
    • Shaking
    • Sweating
    • Pounding heartbeat
    • Increased body temperature
    • Changes in mental state

    What happens if thyroid storm isn’t treated
    The prognosis for untreated thyroid storm is grim. The condition can be fatal as complications develop. These complications can include heart failure, pulmonary edema and irregular heart rhythms.

    Emergency care doctors can treat thyroid storm with medications to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone in the body. Supportive therapies may be administered, such as the following:

    • Supplemental oxygen and fluids
    • Cooling blankets
    • Vitamins and glucose
    • Fluid monitoring

    After being stabilized, patients may be referred to an endocrinologist. Endocrinologists are specialists in hormones, and they can help people with hyperthyroidism manage the condition appropriately.

    At Regional Medical Center of San Jose, you’ll find emergency care physicians and nurses who continually strive for higher standards of healthcare excellence. Our compassionate providers have made it their mission in life to provide life-saving medical interventions when they’re needed most. Call 911 if you need emergency care in San Jose, or call a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881 for general information about our hospital.