• How will doctors know you’ve had a stroke?

    Compared to the rest of your body parts, the brain uses more oxygen than most. If an area of the brain is deprived of oxygen for longer than a few minutes, the cells start to die. This causes permanent, irreversible brain damage, and it’s why strokes are one of the most common causes of death and long-term disability in the U.S. At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, we believe that even one death from a stroke is one too many. Our Emergency Room and stroke care teams are committed to saving the lives of our neighbors in Thousand Oaks.

    Signs and symptoms of stroke
    As soon as a possible stroke patient arrives in the Emergency Room, he or she undergoes a rapid diagnostic process.

    Every second counts when treating strokes, but it’s also essential to provide the right type of treatment. Blood clot-busting drugs, for example, aren’t given to patients having a hemorrhagic stroke, which involves bleeding on the brain. You can hear more about how we diagnose a stroke by watching the accompanying video.

    First, the Emergency Room team will assess your signs and symptoms. Stroke causes the sudden onset of severe symptoms , including the following:

    • One-sided weakness, numbness or paralysis
    • Confusion
    • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
    • Vision problems
    • Dizziness
    • Problems walking/loss of coordination
    • Excruciating headache with no apparent cause

    Physical and neurological exam
    Next, the stroke care team will review your medical history, and perform physical and neurological exams. Specifically, they will assess these areas:

    • Consciousness
    • Speech
    • Gait
    • Language processing
    • Mental status
    • Motor strength
    • Sensation

    During this assessment, the doctor will ask you to complete some simple tasks, such as holding out both arms in front of you, answering questions and recalling information.

    Imaging tests
    One or more imaging tests can help the stroke care team make a definitive diagnosis. You may have any of the following tests:

    • Computed tomography
    • Magnetic resonance imaging
    • Carotid ultrasound
    • Carotid angiography

    As soon as a diagnosis is made, medical intervention begins.

    Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center has been certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center—the first of its kind in Ventura County. Our hard-working Emergency Room team is proud to make a difference for the families in our Thousand Oaks community. Please call 911 without delay if you think you’re having a stroke, or call a registered nurse at (877) 888-5746 for non-emergent inquiries only.

  • What should you do if your child sticks a marble up his nose?

    Children are incredibly imaginative and often find creative uses for everyday objects. If their creativity leads them to stick an object in their nostril , parents can turn to the reliable Emergency Room doctors at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. We have a kid-friendly Emergency Room, with specially trained pediatric ER nurses who know how to help their young patients feel better.

    Know the signs of a foreign body in the nose

    Curious youngsters can get into trouble in the blink of an eye, and it simply isn’t possible to watch a child every second. Even if you didn’t see your child stick anything up his or her nose, your suspicions may be raised by the following indicators:

    • Persistent poking and prodding of the nose

    • Anxiety or irritability

    • Nasal discharge, especially from just one nostril

    • Foreign objects in the nose aren’t usually a medical emergency. However, you should call 911 right away if your child is having trouble breathing.

    If your child is choking, perform the modified Heimlich maneuver if he or she is under one-year-old. For older children, do abdominal thrusts. If you’re unsure of how to perform these movements, call 911 and put the dispatcher on speakerphone so he or she can walk you through the steps.

    Remove a visible marble

    If your child isn’t in any distress and the marble is visible, you can usually remove it yourself. Or, ask your child to blow out through his or her nose.

    Seek medical care for non-visible marbles

    If you can’t see the marble, or can’t remove it easily, do not try to remove it by inserting Q-tips or anything else into the nostril. Take your child to the Emergency Room instead.

    All true medical emergencies should be directed to a 911 dispatcher without delay. If you have a general healthcare question, you can call our nurse referral line at (877) 888-5746. Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is proud to serve the Thousand Oaks community by delivering superior care with a patients-first approach.

  • Recognizing the mental health needs of veterans

    Serving in a combat zone places unimaginable stress on a person’s mental health , and settling back into everyday life at home isn’t easy either. Some returning veterans may hesitate to seek the help they need. Family members can help by being supportive, becoming informed and talking to a healthcare provider. The caring providers at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center extend our sincere gratitude to veterans and their families. When life presents challenges, we’re here to help.

    Identifying common mental health challenges
    Veterans may display signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. When a veteran has sustained a disabling injury, the resultant physical challenges can add to the mental stress. These problems can be further exacerbated if the veteran tries to cope by turning to alcohol or recreational substances.

    Some of the possible symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may include:

    • Nightmares
    • Flashbacks
    • Intrusive memories
    • Numbness or emotional detachment
    • Anger
    • Insomnia
    • Hypervigilance
    • Impaired concentration
    • Digestive problems
    • Chest pain
    • Dizziness

    Understanding when to seek emergency care
    Occasionally, a veteran’s mental health challenges may require a visit to the Emergency Room. Families shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 if their loved one has thoughts of suicide, commits a suicidal action, threatens others or shows aggressive actions to others. The emergency responders and ER staff should be promptly informed that the patient is a veteran who is in mental distress.

    Coping with civilian life
    Veterans and their families should know that readjusting to civilian life isn’t always easy . It can take some time for veterans to reconnect with their loved ones. Family members should understand that it’s nothing personal—the veteran just needs time to process everything.

    Veterans might not be ready to talk about their deployment, especially if they’ve lost a fellow soldier. Families can support veterans by letting them know that they’re ready to listen whenever the veteran is ready to talk.

    Mental health counseling and support groups can help both veterans and their loved ones stay resilient in the face of mental health challenges.

    Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center is a state-of-the-art facility staffed by healthcare providers who live and work in the same Thousand Oaks community as our patients. Our dedication to the health and safety of our neighbors is reflected in all that we do. Call a registered nurse at our hospital at (877) 888-5746.

  • Knowing diabetes can send you to the ER

    Some chronic medical conditions can affect a person’s entire lifestyle, and diabetes is one example. It takes a lot of work and help from your doctor to stay on top of blood glucose levels. Successful stabilization of your blood glucose is worth the effort- it lowers your risk of serious complications that can send you to the Emergency Room. The physicians at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center look forward to helping you live life well despite your diagnosis. We’re here to help you with any challenges you might encounter.

    Emergency Room physicians can treat diabetic patients for ketoacidosis when ketones build up to dangerous levels in the bloodstream. Ketones are the chemicals produced when the body uses fat for fuel because rather than glucose, as there isn’t enough insulin to break down the glucose. Excessively high levels of ketones create an acidic environment in the body.

    Without prompt treatment, ketoacidosis can result in a diabetic coma or death. Watch out for the following signs and symptoms:

    • Very dry mouth and excessive thirst
    • Frequent urination
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Abdominal pain
    • Fatigue
    • Dry or flushed skin
    • Confusion
    • Fruity odor on the breath
    • Difficult breathing

    Your doctor may advise you to check your ketone levels at certain times, since it’s preferable to treat ketoacidosis as quickly as possible.

    Diabetes increases the risk of stroke , which always requires a 911 call and a rapid trip to the Emergency Room. Knowing that diabetes can contribute to your stroke risk may be the motivation you need to take the following steps:

    • Stabilize blood glucose levels
    • Eat well
    • Exercise often
    • Quit smoking

    Kidney failure
    Diabetes can cause gradual damage to the kidneys, but some people do develop acute kidney failure. This occurs when the kidneys suddenly lose their ability to filter waste products from the bloodstream. With immediate care and treatment, it can be reversible, but lack of treatment may be fatal.

    Acute kidney failure may involve the following red flags:

    • Fluid retention and lower extremity swelling
    • Decreased urination
    • Fatigue
    • Nausea
    • Confusion
    • Chest pain or pressure
    • Seizures
    • Coma

    If you require immediate transportation to the Emergency Room in Thousand Oaks, please call 911 right away. Otherwise, a registered nurse is available at (877) 888-5746 to provide physician referrals. At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center , we are firmly committed to providing the exceptional patient education that leads to the best possible outcome.