Taking multiple medications
Many people take multiple medications. This presents the possibility of drug-drug interactions, which occurs when one drug interacts with another.

Adding to the problem is the fact that many patients are prescribed drugs by different physicians. As an example, your cardiologist might prescribe a blood thinner and an Emergency Room doctor might recommend aspirin. These two drugs can interact with each other and potentially cause excessive bleeding.

Whenever you’re prescribed a new drug, ask the prescribing provider to make sure it won’t interact with your current medications. You can also ask the pharmacist to double-check for potential interactions when you pick up your medications.

Keeping track of your medications
It’s easier to inform your providers of the medications you’re taking when you have them all written down. If you need to go to the Emergency Room, the stress of the situation might cause you to forget about a medication you’ve taken recently.

Write a list of all of your prescribed medications, over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Make a note of the dosage strength and how many doses you take each day. Update the list whenever your routine changes.

Watching out for potential side effects
The pharmacy can provide you with information about side effects to watch out for. Read this information carefully each time you start taking a new medication.

Call your doctor if you do experience any bothersome side effects. He or she may adjust your dosage or prescribe a different drug.

Los Robles Regional Medical Center invests in the latest medical technology to give our patients the best possible outcome. But beyond our high-tech approach, we’re also committed to providing compassionate care delivered by providers who are genuinely concerned for your health and safety. For general healthcare questions, contact a registered nurse in Thousand Oaks at (877) 888-5746.

  • Choosing where to get treatment for breast cancer

    Learning that you have breast cancer is a life-changing event. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially during the early days while you try to sort through your treatment options. But with the right cancer team to support you, you can get through this. Los Robles Regional Medical Center invites you to explore the resources available at our Breast Center in Thousand Oaks.

    Multidisciplinary team of breast cancer specialists
    Cancer is a fundamentally complex disease that can affect your life in so many ways. It’s best treated by a multidisciplinary team of experts, all working together to give you the best possible outcome.

    When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll meet Cathy Cole, the Nurse Navigator at Los Robles Regional Medical Center’s Breast Center. She explains some of the benefits of choosing treatment at a comprehensive breast program, such as the presence of the multidisciplinary team of experts.

    Nurse Navigator available for patients
    One of the hallmarks of a breast program committed to healthcare excellence is the presence of the Nurse Navigator on the breast care team. Nurse Navigators are an invaluable source of information, guidance, comfort and support for patients and their families during this difficult time. Some of the responsibilities of the Nurse Navigator include:

    • To explain the abnormal mammogram results
    • To educate patients about their treatment options
    • To explain complex medical concepts and terms
    • To help patients coordinate their care
    • To connect patients with support resources


    Nurse Navigators also offer an understanding ear and a shoulder to lean on. Consider choosing a cancer program that includes a Nurse Navigator on the team.

    Breast cancer patient support services
    Breast cancer treatment is an emotional journey as well as a medical one. Look for a cancer program that offers exceptional patient support services, such as a lymphedema support group. You could also look for a hospital that participates in the Cancer Support Community and American Cancer Society’s Look Good… Feel Better Program.

    If you have any questions or concerns during your breast cancer treatment, help is just a phone call away. You can contact a registered nurse at Los Robles Regional Medical Center at (877) 888-5746 any time of the day or night. Our advanced hospital in Thousand Oaks is committed to upholding the highest standards of patient care and safety.

  • What everyone should know about sudden cardiac arrest

    Sudden cardiac arrest is a very serious condition in which the heart abruptly stops beating. It’s caused by a malfunction within the heart’s electrical system, which is responsible for regulating the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. Patients who experience cardiac arrest need immediate medical attention, even before they reach the Emergency Room at Los Robles Regional Medical Center. Unless patients receive immediate intervention, death typically occurs within minutes.

    Recognizing the signs of cardiac arrest
    Cardiac arrest can’t always be detected before it will occur. However, some patients do experience some symptoms in the hours or weeks leading up to the episode. These symptoms can include:

    • Chest pain
    • Weakness
    • Faintness
    • Pounding sensation in the chest

    When a person suffers cardiac arrest, he or she will collapse, stop breathing and lose consciousness. The patient will lack a heartbeat or pulse.

    As soon as the heart stops beating, the tissues throughout the body no longer receive the oxygenated blood they need to sustain life. Permanent brain damage can occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen, even if the patient survives.

    Responding to cardiac arrest
    Patients who suffer cardiac arrest are typically unable to help themselves, as they lose consciousness. It’s important to know what to do in the event you happen to witness a cardiac arrest.

    • Check for a pulse, heartbeat or breathing when someone collapses
    • Call 911 immediately or direct someone else to call
    • Begin CPR, delivering rescue breaths after every 30 compressions

    If you haven’t been trained in CPR, you can just do chest compressions. Push hard and quickly—about 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Note that the chest should rise completely between compressions.

    Continue performing CPR until emergency personnel arrive. A defibrillator can be used to restore the heartbeat.

    Reducing your risk of cardiac arrest
    If you have any heart conditions, you could be at a higher risk of cardiac arrest. Consider talking to your doctor about managing your risk. Your doctor may prescribe medications if you have any of the following:

    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes

    CardioVascular Institute at Los Robles Regional Medical Center brings together cutting-edge medical technology with highly trained heart care specialists. The entire team at our hospital in Thousand Oaks is committed to providing you the patient-centered, superior care you deserve. Call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746 for a physician referral, or for emergency care, call 911.

  • Are breast self-exams necessary?

    You may already know about the importance of screening mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. But there’s another important step you can take to protect your health, and it doesn’t require an appointment. A breast self-exam is your own examination of your breasts to check for potential abnormalities. However, the recommendation in favor of monthly breast self-exams is debatable. If you aren’t sure whether it’s a good idea for you, a doctor at Los Robles Regional Medical Center can offer personalized medical guidance.

    Potential value of breast self-exams
    It’s thought that breast self-exams may support the earlier detection of abnormalities like lumps. Some breast cancers are found through detection by the patients themselves, rather than screening tests conducted at the hospital. That’s why some doctors still recommend breast self-exams when done in combination with screening mammograms.

    Possible downsides of breast self-exams
    There is evidence to suggest that breast self-exams don’t actually increase early detection rates or reduce breast cancer mortality rates. And in some cases, it’s possible for them to do more harm than good when patients undergo unnecessary biopsies.

    Instead, some health providers recommend breast self-awareness. This refers to having a good understanding of how your breasts generally look and feel in order to detect unusual changes.

    Best practices in breast self-exams
    If you are thinking of doing a breast self-exam, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. He or she can show you the proper method for performing a self-exam.

    Know that it’s natural for the breasts to change over time. Before and during your menstrual period, your breasts may naturally feel lumpy, swollen, tender and painful. They may also feel lumpy during pregnancy.

    If you decide to do a breast self-exam every month, you can write down your findings. Make a note of where your breasts feel lumpier, for example. This can help you keep track of changes.

    Breast Center at Los Robles Regional Medical Center is focused on saving lives through preventive medicine, early detection, advanced treatment and healthy survivorship. Our state-of-the-art hospital in Thousand Oaks puts our patients first because healthy patients mean stronger communities. Call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746 for general information about our breast care services.

  • Ways that loneliness endangers your health

    Humans are social creatures. Even the most introverted person needs to feel a connection to other people. It’s often thought that loneliness is predominantly a psychological issue. But increasingly, researchers are discovering that chronic loneliness can be associated with numerous physical health risks. Additionally, loneliness and depression often go together. If you’re experiencing these mental health challenges, you should know that life doesn’t have to be this way. Reach out for help. At Los Robles Regional Medical Center, our compassionate healthcare providers genuinely care about your quality of life, and we’ll do everything possible to support you.

    Type 2 diabetes
    Chronic loneliness and type 2 diabetes are linked. People who are chronically lonely and depressed may be more likely to make poor lifestyle choices, which can contribute to an increased risk of diabetes. These poor lifestyle choices may include:

    • Choosing sugary, fatty foods
    • Getting takeout or convenience food instead of preparing meals
    • Avoiding exercise
    • Having difficulty staying motivated to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

    Additionally, it’s possible that loneliness can make diabetes worse in people who already have this disease. People with depression and chronic loneliness may be less likely to monitor their blood glucose levels carefully and take their medications as directed.

    Cognitive decline in the elderly
    Chronic loneliness and depression are associated with changes in hormone levels and changes in gene expression. These changes may contribute to cognitive problems , especially among the elderly. Seniors who are lonely may have:

    • An increased risk of developing dementia
    • An accelerated cognitive decline
    • An increased risk of confusion and forgetfulness

    More research is needed in this area, but it’s also thought that chronic loneliness may trigger systemic inflammation, which is harmful for brain health.

    Increased alcohol consumption
    People who are chronically lonely and depressed are more likely to self-medicate with excessive amounts of alcohol. This can lead to short-term risks, such as the potential for accidents, falls and alcohol poisoning. It may also lead to long-term health risks, such as the following:

    • Anemia
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Cirrhosis
    • High blood pressure

    Los Robles Regional Medical Center attracts top physicians and nurses, thanks to our reputation as a patients-first hospital. We provide specialized medical services, while always maintaining our commitment to compassionate, family-centered care. Call our hospital in Thousand Oaks at (877) 888-5746.

  • When do you need to see a doctor for a sunburn?

    There’s no such thing as a healthy tan, and the same applies to sunburn. Even a few bad sunburns can dramatically raise your lifetime risk of developing melanoma—the deadliest type of skin cancer. At Los Robles Regional Medical Center, we encourage our neighbors throughout Thousand Oaks to prioritize their health and stock up on sunscreen this summer.

    When to go to a doctor for sunburn
    Most cases of sunburn can be treated at home. However, you’ll need to see a doctor promptly if your sunburn covers a large area of skin or it doesn’t start getting better within two days. A doctor should also evaluate your sunburn if you experience any of the following symptoms.

    • High fever
    • Extreme pain
    • Confusion
    • Nausea
    • Chills
    • Headache

    Monitor the sunburn for signs of an infection, and see a doctor if you notice any of them. Signs of an infection can include:

    • Worsening pain
    • Drainage or pus
    • Red streaks on the skin
    • Worsening tenderness and swelling

    What to do after developing sunburn
    Once you notice that you’re developing sunburn, go inside immediately to prevent further damage. Take a cool shower or bath to cool off your skin.

    Apply cool compresses to your injured skin. Take a clean cloth, dip it in cold water and wring out the excess water. Drape the cloth over your sunburned skin.

    After removing the compresses, moisturize your skin while it’s still damp. Use a gentle, creamy lotion and apply liberal amounts of it to the damaged skin. Avoid using oil-based or petroleum lotions.

    Unless you have medical contraindications, you could also take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to manage the discomfort and inflammation. Follow the product directions carefully.

    How to help your skin recover
    During the coming days, continue to monitor the sunburned skin for signs of an infection or other indicators that you need to see a doctor. Otherwise, you can continue to treat the sunburn at home by keeping your skin moisturized and staying out of the sun.

    You may also find relief by applying aloe vera gel or an over-the-counter cortisone cream. Remember to drink plenty of fluids while your skin heals.

    From acute injuries to chronic diseases, we can handle it all here at Los Robles Regional Medical Center. Our hospital in Thousand Oaks is a state-of-the-art medical facility that offers numerous specialty services, all delivered with an emphasis on personalized, superior care. If you’d like a referral to a doctor or specialist, call one of our friendly registered nurses at (877) 888-5746.

  • Is mental illness like any other illness?

    The social stigma surrounding mental illnesses is nothing new. In some cultures, mental illness was perceived to be the result of demonic possession. And in decades past in America, the mentally ill were kept isolated and were subjected to ineffective or dangerous “treatments.” In recent years, there has been a shift toward the public perception that a mental illness is just like any other illness—like diabetes or heart disease. But is this a fair or even accurate representation of an incredibly broad and complex range of conditions? The concept remains controversial, but at Los Robles Regional, one thing is for certain—each of our patients always receives the compassionate, evidence-based treatments they need to live life well.

    The biological basis of mental illnesses
    Researchers have made amazing strides toward better understanding mental illnesses, but there’s quite a lot that’s still unknown. It’s still unknown exactly what causes depression, for instance, although there are a lot of contributing factors that can play a role. One of those factors may be low serotonin levels.

    Research in this area seems to support the idea that mental illnesses can have a biological basis. But the question of what causes depression can’t be answered by low serotonin levels alone, as this provides an incomplete picture. If a biological basis alone can’t explain mental illnesses , would it be accurate to call them just like any other illness?

    The risks of grouping together mental and physical illnesses
    There are a few reasons why some experts have balked at the idea of classifying mental illnesses just like any other disease. One is that it implies that an individual patient’s experience with mental illness can be downplayed, but the same mental illness won’t necessarily affect two people in the same way. As an example, not everyone with depression has suicidal thoughts or would even appear to be depressed to the casual observer.

    Another potential risk of this concept is that it could lead to overdependence on the medical treatments of mental illnesses, namely, medications. Some patients might be led to assume that, if their condition has a biological basis, they can exclusively use medical treatments and skip more involved, long-term interventions like psychotherapy. In fact, most providers would likely agree that a multidisciplinary approach tends to be most effective.

    You’ll find highly trained and genuinely caring healthcare providers at Los Robles Regional Medical Center . Our modern medical facility in Thousand Oaks combines cutting-edge technology with a friendly, patient-focused approach. You can get in touch with a registered nurse any time of the day or night by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • When will your doctor recommend surgery for lower back pain?

    Lower back pain can be a minor, temporary inconvenience, or it can be intensely painful and debilitating. It can also keep you from doing the things you love and enjoying your life. You deserve to live a pain-free life, so talk to your doctor about the treatment options that may help you. Depending on factors unique to you, you might be referred to an orthopedic surgeon at The Spine Program at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks.

    When you’ve already tried other back pain treatments
    Usually, back surgery isn’t recommended as the first course of treatment. The surgeon will consider whether you’ve already tried nonsurgical treatments, like taking prescribed medications, staying active and working with a physical therapist. Patients who are overweight may also find that losing weight lessens back pain.

    Discuss the other treatments you’ve tried. Ask the surgeon whether there are any other nonsurgical options still left available to you. If not, then it may be time to consider surgery.

    When your doctor determines that surgery can help
    Back surgery can only help you if it’s able to correct or minimize the underlying cause of your pain. For example, if your back pain is caused by a problem with an intervertebral disc , then it’s possible that disc replacement surgery may help. You can hear more about this surgery when you watch the accompanying video, which features an orthopedic surgeon who treats patients at Los Robles Regional.

    When you’re healthy enough to tolerate surgery
    Given that surgery is intended to improve one’s health, it seems counterintuitive that good overall health would be a requirement for having surgery. But not everyone is healthy enough to withstand the stress of surgery. Your doctor can make this decision after reviewing your full medical history and evaluating your overall lifestyle.

    You may be asked to make some changes before having surgery. If you smoke, you’ll likely be asked to quit. This is because smoking increases the risk of complications both during and after surgical procedures.

    You’ll receive personalized, compassionate care as a patient at The Spine Program at Los Robles Regional Medical Center . Our team of surgical specialists genuinely care about your quality of life, and will work to help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible. You can request a referral by speaking with a registered nurse in Thousand Oaks at (877) 888-5746.

  • How depression can influence stroke recovery

    One of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. is stroke. Stroke care goes well beyond the Emergency Room . In fact, stroke recovery can last for years, and some stroke survivors may never fully recover from their disabilities. Many factors can influence a patient’s recovery from stroke, including how quickly the patient arrived at the Emergency Room at Los Robles Regional Medical Center—a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Mental health is another factor that can affect a patient’s recovery.

    The prevalence of post-stroke depression
    Stroke rehabilitation programs are comprehensive, involving treatment modalities like physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and nutritional guidance. And in many cases, it should also include behavioral healthcare.

    Post-stroke depression is quite common, and it may be underdiagnosed. According to the National Stroke Association , over one-third of all stroke survivors may develop post-stroke depression. Every patient’s experience with depression is a little different, but many report these associated emotions:

    • Hopelessness
    • Anger
    • Fear
    • Sadness
    • Frustration
    • Anxiety

    The consequences of post-stroke depression
    Stroke survivors are at an increased risk of suffering a recurrent stroke. To combat this problem, specialists can incorporate preventive medical interventions and lifestyle modifications into the stroke rehabilitation program. These often include:

    • Doctor-approved exercise
    • Dietician-designed meal plan
    • Smoking cessation
    • Alcohol abstinence or moderation

    The problem with post-stroke depression, other than the fact that it lowers quality of life, is that patients with depression often have trouble following through on healthy lifestyle changes. It’s challenging to find the motivation to exercise or prepare a healthy meal when feelings of hopelessness and sadness persist.

    Post-stroke depression can even exacerbate other problems that linger after a stroke, such as:

    • Sleep disturbances
    • Fatigue
    • Pain
    • Incontinence

    The coping strategies for post-stroke depression
    It’s important for family members of stroke survivors to be aware of the potential signs of post-stroke depression, and to encourage the survivor to talk to the doctor or a counselor. Depression isn’t easy to cope with, especially with the combined challenges of stroke rehabilitation, but there are many talented healthcare providers who are ready and eager to help stroke survivors. Some coping strategies include:

    • Support groups
    • Mindfulness meditation
    • Social engagement
    • Realistic goal-setting
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy

    Medications, including antidepressants, may also be appropriate for some stroke survivors.

    Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks is Ventura County’s first certified Comprehensive Stroke Center . If you think you’re having a stroke, call 911 immediately—don’t try to drive yourself to the Emergency Room. General questions about our superior, patient-centered medical services can be directed to a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746.

  • Understanding what nurses do in the hospital

    Nurses are the backbone of the hospital. They are rigorously educated and trained professionals who work in every department—from the Emergency Room to the surgical suites. Nurses provide a full spectrum of services for patients, ranging from patient assessments to education to discharge coordination. Los Robles Regional Medical Center would like to extend our sincere gratitude to our dedicated nursing staff.

    Patient assessments
    Nurses are some of the busiest people in the hospital. They’re always on their feet, moving from patient to patient. But while they’re with any given patient, nurses put their full focus on that individual.

    Nurses are often responsible for assessing patients. They can do physical exams, take health histories and communicate with patients to get detailed information about the nature of their medical complaint.

    Patients who are hospitalized require periodic, ongoing assessments. Nurses who work with the inpatient population will make scheduled rounds. During each patient visit, the nurse will chart the patient’s vital signs, make a note of any abnormalities and perhaps adjust medications if necessary.

    Patient care
    A great deal of the care patients receive in the hospital is provided by the nursing staff.

    During a typical day, a hospitalized patient might need assistance getting out of bed or repositioned in bed. He or she may need toileting assistance, feeding assistance and linen changes. Nurses also provide wound care, administer medications and follow through on any doctor-ordered changes to the patient’s treatment plan.

    Patient counseling and education
    Nursing is arguably as much of an art as it is a science. The profession draws genuinely caring individuals who know how to connect with people. Part of a nurse’s typical day is devoted to counseling and educating patients about the following issues:

    • What the diagnosis means
    • What the treatment options are
    • The benefits and risks of the treatment options
    • What the medications do and how they are taken
    • How to provide self-care at home

    Nurses also routinely update family members about patients who are critically ill or recovering from surgery. They offer a shoulder to lean on when families are dealing with very difficult situations.

    Each nurse at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks is a highly compassionate individual who works tirelessly to support our patients’ health. We invite you to explore our Nursing Recognition Program , which allows patients to nominate an extraordinary nurse who went above and beyond the call of duty. If you’d like to speak with a friendly member of our nursing staff, you can call (877) 888-5746.