• Steps Toward Good Health in the New Year

    One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to start exercising . But after a few weeks or months, many new gym members stop making time in their schedules for fitness. This is unfortunate because exercise offers so many positive benefits for both physical and mental health. This year, make a plan to make physical activity a regular habit. If you would like to consult a doctor regarding your exercise plans, you can turn to Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center.

    Know the Guidelines
    Doctors recommend doing cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week and strength training exercises on two or more days per week. Most adults should aim for a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An example of moderate-intensity exercise is brisk walking. However, if you have a medical condition, are a senior, or are pregnant, consider asking your doctor about personalized exercise recommendations.

    Make a Plan
    A successful New Year’s resolution requires a specific and actionable plan. Plan to start slowly, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time. Set realistic long-term and short-term goals. Your long-term goal might be to run in a 5k race, but if you’ve never run before, you should start with brisk walking. After a few weeks of brisk walking, you might be ready to start alternating walking with jogging.

    Be a Social Exerciser
    Exercising with friends or family can be more enjoyable and you might be more likely to stick with your plan. Ask a friend to join an exercise class with you or meet you for a walk in the park instead of lunch. You might even consider adopting a rescue dog. Dog owners tend to get more exercise because their furry friends need regular walks.

    Consult a Fitness Coach
    If you’re feeling stuck with your exercise program, consider hiring a fitness coach. Personal trainers can revamp your routine, teach you how to use the proper form and techniques, and keep you motivated during each workout.

    Physical limitations can make it difficult for some people to exercise, which is why Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is pleased to offer a complete suite of physical rehabilitation programs. Our hospital is focused on providing patient-centered care for every stage of life. You can direct questions about our Rehabilitation Department in Thousand Oaks to a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746.

  • How Can You Cope with Holiday Depression?

    Depression is a serious problem year-round, but the holiday season can throw it into sharp relief. When it seems like everyone around you is filled with holiday cheer, feeling sad or worthless can be even more difficult to cope with. The holidays can be especially burdensome after a diagnosis of a major illness or a death in the family. However, depression is a treatable disorder and every patient with depression deserves to have a better quality of life. Consider speaking with your physician about your challenges. And in the event that you experience suicidal thoughts or actions, the emergency room at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is always open.

    Design a Reasonable Schedule
    The stress of the holidays can worsen depressive symptoms and one leading reason for holiday stress is a busy schedule. Don’t be shy about declining invitations; there’s no need to offer an excuse. If you have trouble handling crowds and traffic, consider doing all of your holiday shopping online this year. And don’t forget to schedule some unstructured “you” time every day to let yourself relax and unwind.

    Avoid Striving for Perfection
    It can be hard to reconcile the image you might have in your mind of the perfect holiday with the reality of what actually happens. There is no need to strive for perfection. Try to give yourself some perspective. Would the world end if you forget to pick up a wreath for the front door or if you have dusty bookshelves when company arrives?

    Avoid Alcohol Consumption
    Alcohol is a depressant. It may be tempting to soothe your frayed nerves with some spiked eggnog, but it won’t really support your mental health. Instead of self-medicating with alcohol, step outside for some fresh air or pet a furry friend when you feel overwhelmed.

    Seek Medical Care
    Making these changes can help you cope more effectively, but depression is a mental health disorder that often requires medical care. If you haven’t yet sought help for your depression, consider making this your priority this holiday season. You can rest assured that your doctor will respond to your concerns with compassion and without judgment. There are many effective treatments available to you.

    High-quality emergency room care is just part of what we do here at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. Our hospital offers renowned care for cardiology, surgery, orthopedic, and bariatric patients. Call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746 if you would like general information about our hospital services.

  • Don’t Let Stress Ruin Your Health

    It might not surprise you to learn that chronic stress isn’t healthy. But did you know it can have specific consequences such as an increased risk of heart disease, weight gain, and digestive disorders? In fact, being stressed out frequently can even result in a greater tendency to contract infections because the immune system isn’t working as well as it should be. At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center , we encourage families in Thousand Oaks to take advantage of our preventive healthcare resources.

    What the Research Suggests
    For years, clinicians have been documenting the many negative effects of chronic stress on physical health. Some of the early research performed by two pioneers in the field focused on the chronic stress of medical students . For a decade, the researchers evaluated the immune function and stress levels of the students. They noted that during the three-day period of exams, the students had remarkably lower immune function. Specifically, they had reduced levels of natural killer cells, which are responsible for combating infection and tumors. The study participants also had weaker T-cells and their production of gamma interferon had nearly ceased entirely. Since that study was released, many others have been performed that suggest a causal relationship between chronic stress and long-term depression on poor immune health.

    How Stress Causes Indirect Consequences
    Stress doesn’t only result in lowered immune function; it can also have other indirect consequences on health. When a person is under stress, he or she may be less likely to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep—all of which are also crucial for supporting immune function and other areas of health. Some people under chronic stress might also turn to cigarettes, alcohol, or other substances of abuse.

    How You Can Improve Your Stress Response
    It isn’t always easy to manage stress, but with practice, you can learn to adjust your stress response. Exercise is an effective way to blow off steam for short-term stress management and improve wellness for long-term benefits. Yoga and tai chi, which are forms of moving meditation, have been shown to be particularly helpful. If you have trouble managing your stress by yourself, consider speaking with a mental health counselor.

    Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is your source for high-quality medical services—from preventive medicine to sophisticated diagnostics to minimally invasive interventions. Our hospital is dedicated to helping patients live life well. To request a referral to a doctor in Thousand Oaks, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (877) 888-5746.

  • Knowing When to Take a Trip to the ER

    Every day, emergency room doctors work to save lives in hospitals around the country. Your family can count on your local emergency room for all types of medical emergencies—from lacerations and concussions to heart attacks and stroke. The ER doctors at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center urge our neighbors in Thousand Oaks to call 911 when the need arises and not to ignore possible red flags of life-threatening conditions. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear one of our registered nurses explain how we coordinate care with emergency responders to improve our responsiveness.

    Chest Pain
    Panic attacks, muscle strain, and indigestion all have one thing in common: They can all cause chest pain. Many chest pain cases that arrive in the emergency room do not turn out to be heart attacks. However, emergency room doctors prefer that patients err on the side of caution. Since it’s impossible for patients to know if they are definitely having a heart attack or not, it’s best to get evaluated in an emergency room—just in case. Even if the cause of chest pain isn’t a heart attack, it could very well be another condition that is equally as life-threatening , such as pulmonary embolism or aortic dissection.

    Slurred Speech
    A sudden impairment of basic functions like speech should be assessed as quickly as possible. Slurred speech can be a sign of stroke, especially when it’s accompanied by the sudden onset of confusion, one-sided numbness and weakness, difficulty walking, or loss of consciousness.

    Respiratory Distress
    A patient who is in respiratory distress is having trouble breathing properly. Respiratory distress can include the feeling of not being able to get enough air, having difficulty breathing, or having uncomfortable breathing. Shortness of breath can have many causes, including physical exertion. When shortness of breath cannot be attributed to physical exertion, patients would be well advised to seek emergency care. Respiratory distress may be caused by heart attacks, angina, heart failure, asthma attacks, and pulmonary embolism.

    Call 911 without delay if you or someone else is experiencing a severe medical problem. If you have a non-emergent question about our hospital services in Thousand Oaks, you can call (877) 888-5746 to speak with a registered nurse at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center . We are a Certified Primary Stroke Center and a Level II Trauma Center.