• Why you should always take a trip to the ER for chest pain

    When you have chest pain, it’s easy to explain it away as something non-serious. You assume that your big lunch is taking its toll or that the stress of your upcoming presentation is nagging at you, and then you try to go on with your day. In reality, ignoring chest pain could be deadly. Any time you experience chest pain, the only answer is to go to the emergency room right away for evaluation. If you are having a heart attack, every second counts. Find out why you can’t ignore chest pain, and what other symptoms could indicate you are having a heart attack.

    Why shouldn’t I wait and see what happens when I have chest pain?

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US, and many of those deaths are tied to heart attacks. In some cases, chest pain is the only symptom of a deadly heart attack, and the longer you wait to go to the emergency room, the more heart tissue will be destroyed. Consider these facts:

    • 735,000 people in the US have heart attacks each year, and two-thirds of that group is people who have had a first heart attack. Just because you haven’t been diagnosed with heart disease doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you.
    • Because most people don’t act quickly when they have symptoms of a heart problem like chest pain, about 47% of sudden cardiac deaths happen outside of the hospital.

    Chest pain is a symptom that always requires an accurate diagnosis by a medical provider in the ER. There is no time to wait and see or to make a self-diagnosis.

    What are some other symptoms of a heart emergency?

    Although chest pain is a serious indicator of a cardiac crisis, heart attacks can cause other symptoms as well, including:

    • Pain in the back, jaw and arms
    • Shortness of breath and lightheadedness
    • Sweating
    • Fatigue
    • Nausea

    Don’t take chances with your heart health. Go to Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center and our emergency room in Thousand Oaks to get the lifesaving care you need around the clock from our skilled cardiology specialists. Find out more about all of our hospital services by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • Gaining perspective on the risk factors for autism

    Autism is a common, and frequently misunderstood, disorder. Early intervention is beneficial to children with autism, and parents are usually on the front lines of recognizing the signs. Being aware of your child’s risk factors can give you more insight into what to look for and when to consult with your child’s pediatrician about his or her symptoms. April is Autism Awareness Month, which will be honored by hospitals and other organizations across the country with educational events, and it offers the perfect opportunity to learn more about the risk factors for autism. Here is a closer look at some of the things that make a child more vulnerable to autism.


    Although doctors do not yet understand the reason, boys are about five times more likely to develop autism than girls. About one in 42 boys will develop autism, with the condition affecting about one in 62 children overall. Researchers are trying to uncover the reason that boys are more likely to develop autism, and they suspect it could be linked to a missing gene or DNA sequence on the X chromosome. Since girls get two X chromosomes, the missing sequence could appear on their other chromosome, protecting them from autism. Since boys only get one X chromosome, they do not have a chance to get the missing sequence from anywhere else.

    Family History

    Families with one child with autism have a greater risk of having another one develop the disorder. In many cases, families with one child with autism may notice certain behaviors associated with the condition in their other children, even if those children are not ultimately diagnosed.

    Parents’ Ages

    Autism is more common in children of older parents, but researchers are not sure why there is a link. Babies born to teen moms also have a heightened risk of the condition. There also seems to be a greater risk of autism in children born to parents with a wide age gap.

    If you want to learn more about your child’s risk of autism, speak to a pediatric specialist at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center . The expert physicians at our hospital in Thousand Oaks can evaluate your child and help you understand the signs of autism, so you’re prepared. For a specialist referral, please call our hospital at (877) 888-5746.

  • Increase your awareness of testicular cancer

    Testicular cancer affects men of all ages from all walks of life. According to the American Cancer Society , the rate of testicular cancer has been increasing over the past several decades, but many men are unaware of the signs and risk factors for this disease. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, which hospitals around the country embrace as an opportunity to educate the community about this form of cancer. Here are some of the facts you need to know about testicular cancer.

    Testicular cancer disproportionately affects young men.

    Although testicular cancer only accounts for one percent of cancers in men overall, it is the most common kind of cancer among men between the ages of 15 and 35 . Fortunately, testicular cancer is very treatable, despite the fact that most testicular tumors are metastatic, especially when the disease is diagnosed early. Roughly one in 250 men will get testicular cancer, but only one in 5,000 will die from the disease.

    Many risk factors are unknown.

    Testicular cancer is most common in Caucasian men. Men who have a history of testicular cancer in their families also have a higher risk of developing the disease, as do men with undescended or abnormally shaped testicles. Unlike many other forms of cancer, there are no obvious connections between testicular cancer and lifestyle choices. Men who get testicular cancer often do not have any clear risk factors for the disease.

    Knowing the signs and doing self-exams could be life-saving.

    The most frequent first indicator of testicular cancer is a painless lump on the testicles. Other signs include changes in the size of a testicle, a sense of heaviness or a collection of fluid in the scrotum and a dull ache in the lower back or groin. Some men also notice breast tissue enlargement or tenderness. Since catching cancer early is important, men should perform monthly self-exams, preferably in the bath or shower, when warm water relaxes the scrotum. If you notice any changes, see your physician.

    The Los Robles Hospital Cancer Center in Thousand Oaks provides advanced cancer treatment through a team of compassionate specialists. Find a cancer specialist or get a referral to any physician throughout our hospital network by calling (877) 888-5746.

  • Getting to know your hospital staff: How nurse navigators differ from primary care nurses

    When you are admitted to the hospital, a multidisciplinary care team will be involved in your treatment. Hospitals rely on a variety of providers to ensure that every patient gets the personalized care they need and that patients have access not just to treatments for their acute problems but also to support when navigating recovery, paying for care and making treatment decisions. Two members of a typical hospital staff that you may encounter are nurse navigators and primary care nurses. Here is what you need to know about how they differ and the roles they play in your care.

    Nurse navigators

    If you are undergoing treatment for a chronic condition, then you may be assigned a navigator for your care. The nurse navigator will help you understand the roles of other people involved in your care and assist you in finding resources to make managing your care easier. A nurse navigator may do everything from acting as a spokesperson for the patient’s family with a physician to helping a patient get an appointment with a nutritionist if he or she is struggling with eating properly. As Cathy Cole, RN of Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, explains in this video , nurse navigators are also instrumental in providing emotional support to patients and their families.

    Primary care nurses

    Primary care nurses are directly involved in patient care. They may administer medications, draw blood, place IVs and monitor vital signs. Primary care nurses are more hands-on with treatments than nurse navigators, but they do not coordinate other aspects of your care beyond the scope of their specialty. If you ask your nurse navigator for information about your care plan or your treatment progress, he or she may consult your primary care nurse.

    The staff at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center shares a singular commitment: to ensure every patient receives advanced, comprehensive care with compassion. You can learn more about the services of our hospital in Thousand Oaks or get a referral to one of our specialists by calling (877) 888-5746.