• How to assess your heart health

    Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., knowing the state of your heart health is one of the most significant things you can do for your overall well-being. When you understand your personal heart health risks, you can take steps to keep them under control and lessen the chances that you will need cardiology specialty care . There are several easy things you can do to assess the heart of your health. Focus on heart health with these assessment tips.

    Check your pulse
    Your pulse can give you a great deal of information about your heart’s rate and rhythm. Follow these steps to check your own pulse at home:

    • Put the index and middle fingers of one hand on the inner wrist of the opposite hand in the area below the thumb. Move your fingers around until you can feel the tapping of your pulse.
    • Count the beats you feel for 10 seconds.
    • Multiple that number by 6—this will tell you the number of beats per minute.

    Usually, people have resting heart rates between 60 and 100 beats per minute. This number can vary based on a number of factors, however. Keep in mind that fit people have lower heart rates. By performing this check regularly, you can get an idea of what is normal for you and recognize any changes that you may want to discuss with your doctor.

    Check your blood pressure
    Home blood pressure cuffs let you check your blood pressure without going to the doctor’s office. Healthy blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. If either of your numbers is higher, you could have high blood pressure.

    You can have occasional abnormal readings for a number of different reasons, from stress to illness. Repeated high readings could indicate that you need treatment to control your blood pressure.

    Know your numbers
    See your physician regularly for tests that provide clues about your heart health. You should have regular screenings for:

    • Cholesterol
    • Blood glucose
    • Blood pressure

    Your weight is another important number to know. Being overweight increases your risk of heart health problems.

    You can also test your heart health by taking the Heart Risk Assessment from Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Should you need heart care, our Cardiovascular Institute offers renowned cardiology care in Thousand Oaks. To obtain a referral, please dial (877) 888-5746.

  • How does diabetes affect your child’s risk of birth defects?

    Women with diabetes can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies . However, it’s important to recognize the increased risk of having diabetes during pregnancy so you can take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your baby. Diabetes can influence your baby’s risk of birth defects so you will need to work closely with your healthcare team both before and during your pregnancy. Here is what you need to know about the link between birth defects and diabetes.

    Pre-existing diabetes
    If you have diabetes when you become pregnant, the risk of birth defects is usually greatest during the first few weeks of your pregnancy. Because you may not know you are pregnant at the time when your baby is most at risk of birth defects, maintaining good blood sugar control at all times is essential.

    If possible, plan your pregnancy so that you can have the healthiest possible A1C at the time of conception, which will lower the risk of birth defects for your baby. If you become pregnant unexpectedly, notify your diabetes specialist right away. You may need to make significant adjustments to your management plan to achieve blood sugar control quickly.

    Gestational diabetes
    Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Although this kind of diabetes is generally less risky for developing babies, it can also cause complications and birth defects. The risk of defects related to gestational diabetes is especially high during the first trimester.

    See your obstetrician at regular intervals during your pregnancy so that you can be monitored for gestational diabetes. Treating your high blood sugar levels as soon as possible will protect your baby.

    Types of birth defects
    Diabetes is linked to several types of birth defects. The defects that are most common when blood glucose is high early in pregnancy include:

    • Spina bifida
    • Limb defects
    • Oral Clefts
    • Heart defects

    Both pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes are also linked to excessive fetal growth, or macrosomia. This increases the risk of birth injuries and of the need for a cesarean delivery. Babies may also be born with low blood glucose levels.

    At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, our Birthing Center in Thousand Oaks is committed to ensuring that every new mother has a healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Get the care you need by calling (877) 888-5746 to request a referral to one of our obstetric specialists.

  • Essential health screenings you need this year

    When it comes to maintaining good health, taking a proactive approach is more successful than simply reacting to problems as they emerge. With regular screening tests , your physician can help you understand your risk factors for certain diseases and diagnose health conditions in their early stages, when they are easier to treat and before they can cause complications. Here are some of the screening tests you can benefit from having.

    Thyroid function tests
    Thyroid function tests are performed to determine if your thyroid gland is supplying the appropriate amount of thyroid hormones to your body. If you have either too little or too much thyroid hormone, your metabolism will not function appropriately, which in turn will impact the way nearly every system in your body functions.

    Your doctor can tell you if you should have a thyroid function test based on a number of different factors, including your age and any symptoms you’re experiencing, such as sudden weight fluctuations. Thyroid tests can be particular important for women, who tend to suffer from thyroid issues more often than men do.

    Heart health tests
    There are a number of different tests that can be used to assess your heart health. As mentioned in the video, combining these tests to look for a variety of risk factors for heart disease is most helpful. Some tests your physician may recommend include:

    • Blood pressure
    • Cholesterol
    • Blood glucose

    Both men and women can benefit from having these tests regularly so that they have a better understanding of their heart health.

    Colorectal cancer screenings
    Colorectal cancers tend to grow slowly, so screening tests can be enormously effective in preventing cancer and diagnosing it in an early, treatable stage. During a colonoscopy, your physician can also remove polyps that could pose a future cancer risk.

    Typically, colorectal cancer screenings should begin by age 50 for men and women. However, if you have a family history of this kind of cancer, you may need to begin screenings sooner.

    At Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center , we offer comprehensive inpatient and outpatient healthcare services in Thousand Oaks, including these essential screening tests. Take control of your health today and call us at (877) 888-5746 for a referral to one of our physicians.

  • What all women should know about cervical cancer screening

    Cervical cancer screenings are an important part of women’s preventive health care. Your physician will help you decide when you need to start screening tests and how often you should have them, based on your personal health history and that of your family. Regardless of your personal risk factors for cervical cancer, here are some facts that all women should know about these kinds of screening tests.

    Why are cervical cancer screening tests important?
    Cervical cancer screenings allow your physician to identify abnormal cells in your cervix that could be cancerous or precancerous. Screenings help women get cervical cancer diagnoses in early stages of the disease, when it is easier to treat.

    Precancerous cells in the cervix often take between three and seven years to develop into cancer. With regular screening tests, these cells can be identified before they become cancerous so that they can be removed or otherwise treated, which could help to prevent cervical cancer.

    What happens during cervical cancer screening tests?
    Cervical cancer screenings are performed using a Pap test. During a Pap test, cells are gently brushed away from the cervix and examined under a microscope to look for any abnormalities.

    Some women also have HPV tests as part of their cervical cancer screenings. This test looks for forms of HPV that increase the risk of cervical cancer. A positive HPV test does not mean that a woman has cervical cancer but rather that she has an increased risk of the disease.

    How often do I need to be screened for cervical cancer?
    Usually, women between 21 and 29 need to have a Pap test every three years and do not need HPV testing. Between 30 and 65, women usually need both tests every five years, or they can opt to have Pap tests every three years.

    If you have a history of gynecological cancer or if cervical cancer runs in your family, you may need more frequent testing.

    The Cancer Center at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center assists with all stages of cancer care, from screening tests to comprehensive treatment plans. Contact our hospital in Thousand Oaks today at (877) 888-5746 for a referral to a women’s health physician or our cancer team.