Good Samaritan Hospital
Through leadership in research and adopting the latest technological and clinical practices, Good Samaritan Hospital offers excellent medical care for the people of Silicon Valley.

Your guide to living with hepatitis

Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver. There are multiple forms of the disease, some of which can be treated and some of which are chronic, but there are some general management strategies that can make living with any form of hepatitis easier. Protect your wellbeing and feel your best with these strategies.

Restrict alcohol
Drinking alcohol takes a heavy toll on your liver. Even people with healthy livers can develop liver disease in response to excessive alcohol intake, but when you have hepatitis, it is even more important to restrict alcohol.

It is advisable to avoid alcohol completely to give your liver the best protection. However, your doctor may give you the okay to drink with heavy restrictions—for example, only enjoying one alcoholic beverage on holidays. Because taking acetaminophen can exacerbate the impact of alcohol on the liver, never take Tylenol or any medication that contains acetaminophen when you drink.

Manage fatigue
Fatigue is a significant symptom of some forms of hepatitis. For some people, it can be crippling. Getting an adequate amount of rest each night is essential if you have hepatitis.

Some people struggle to work because of the impact of hepatitis-related fatigue. Telecommuting, flex hours, and job share programs can all help if fatigue is interfering with your workday.

Protect others from exposure
When you have hepatitis, prevent others from being exposed to your blood as much as possible. That means keeping cuts covered and not sharing razors, toothbrushes, or needles. Even minuscule amounts of blood can transmit hepatitis.

Some forms of hepatitis can also be transmitted via bodily fluids during sexual contact. Latex condoms can help to reduce the risk of infection.

It’s possible to live a healthy life with hepatitis through homecare strategies and close disease management by a specialist. If you have hepatitis, contact Good Samaritan Hospital for a referral to a specialist who can diagnose, treat, and manage this disease. Request a referral to a physician in our network in San Jose by calling (888) 724-2362.

Becoming more informed about your child's health

As a parent, you are no longer only responsible for managing your own health. You also have to take control of your child’s health—and that can be scary. Pediatricians understand how overwhelming it can be for parents to manage their kids’ health, and they are always willing to provide the support that parents need to feel confident about the decisions they make about care for their kids. Getting informed is the first step. Here is what you need to know.

Understand the kind of care that is needed
One of the biggest challenges for parents is knowing when a child needs emergency care, when he or she needs to see the pediatrician, and when to care for symptoms at home. First-time parents often seek a higher level of care than their kids need, and doctors encourage parents to err on the side of caution.

As discussed in the video, it’s important to get to know what is normal and what isn’t for your child. This knowledge will help you act quickly when your child needs emergency care and recognize when you can manage symptoms at home.

Ask questions
During visits with the pediatrician, don’t hesitate to ask questions about your child’s health. The physician wants you to be an active partner in keeping your child healthy, and asking questions is the best way to get informed.

It can help to prepare a list of questions before an appointment so you don’t forget to address any important issues.

Be an advocate
As a parent, you know your child better than any physician. Don’t be afraid to advocate your child’s health if you feel like your concerns are being dismissed.

Advocating for your child’s health also helps you increase your knowledge about the issues that affect him or her, since it will prompt more in-depth conversations with physicians.

From the emergency room to our pediatric intensive care unit , Good Samaritan Hospital is here to be your partner in keeping your child healthy. Visit our ER if your child is having a medical emergency, or call (888) 724-2362 to ask for a referral to a pediatrics specialist in San Jose.

What causes schizophrenia and how is it diagnosed?

Schizophrenia is a serious, chronic mental health condition that can cause delusions and psychoses. It usually appears during early adulthood and is more common in men, but it can happen at any age to anyone. There is no cure for schizophrenia, but with medications and behavioral health services, it can be managed. Getting an early diagnosis can help people with schizophrenia prevent serious complications.

What exactly is schizophrenia?
As the video explains, schizophrenia is a biological disorder of the brain. This means that it response to medication. Therapy is sometimes helpful for treatment management, but therapy alone is not effective for treating the disease.

People with schizophrenia often start by displaying symptoms of depression, and then later go on to develop disordered thinking, hallucinations, and inappropriate behaviors. They may become paranoid, develop unusual beliefs, or become irrationally angry.

What causes schizophrenia?
The exact cause of the disease is not known. However, physicians do have some ideas about factors that can play a role. These include:

  • Genetics—Having a family member with schizophrenia increases the risk of developing it.
  • Environment—Physicians believe that being exposed to viruses before birth during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy can add to the risk of schizophrenia later in life.
  • Brain chemistry—Dopamine, glutamate, and neuron networks may all play a role in schizophrenia.
  • Substance abuse—Marijuana use, particularly at a young age, may increase the risk of schizophrenia and may cause the disease to occur earlier in life.

How is it diagnosed?
The process of diagnosing schizophrenia is challenging. Many people with schizophrenia symptoms do not recognize them, which can make it difficult for doctors to know that someone is experiencing signs of the disease.

Schizophrenia is diagnosed when other causes of symptoms, such as brain tumors, drug-induced psychosis, and other mental illnesses, are ruled out. Patients who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have at least two of these symptoms happening on an ongoing basis for an extended period of time:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized/catatonic behavior
  • Negative symptoms (symptoms that diminish abilities, such as dull or flat emotions)
Good Samaritan Hospital provides inpatient and outpatient behavioral health treatments for diagnosis and management of a wide range of mental illnesses. To request a referral to one of our behavioral health specialists in San Jose, call (888) 724-2362.

What women with arthritis should know about pregnancy

Although arthritis can have an impact on pregnancy, most women are able to have a pregnancy that is safe and healthy for both mom and baby. The key is to work closely with your healthcare team, including both your OBGYN and arthritis-care provider, to monitor both your pregnancy and your arthritis throughout. Here is what you need to know about pregnancy and arthritis.

The impacts of arthritis on pregnancy vary.
Your type of arthritis will influence the impact you experience during pregnancy. For example, rheumatoid arthritis often goes into remission during pregnancy then flares up soon after birth. Lupus may flare up during pregnancy, and osteoarthritis pain can be exacerbated by pregnancy weight gain.

Talk to your physician about the impacts you should expect during your pregnancy, so that you can vigilant about your symptoms. You may wish to see a high-risk OBGYN who is accustomed to treating expectant mothers who have chronic health conditions.

You may need to adjust your medications.
Many medications for arthritis are not safe to take during pregnancy, but some, including some immunosuppressants taken for inflammatory arthritis, may be acceptable for you and your baby.

Don’t stop taking any of your medications without talking to your physician. He or she will weigh the risk of stopping medicines with the risks to your pregnancy and help you find a treatment plan that is safe and that controls your arthritis symptoms.

You will need a plan for post-delivery.
As you make plans for managing your arthritis during your pregnancy, don’t forget to plan for the period after you give birth. As your body adjusts to not being pregnant, your arthritis may be prone to flare-ups. Arthritis symptoms can also make it difficult to care for your baby.

Plan to have as much help as you can in the period after giving birth, so you can get the rest you need. Talk to your physician about when you can restart your usual medical plan, particularly if you are breastfeeding.

The birthing center and women’s health teams at Good Samaritan Hospital help mothers have the healthiest pregnancy, labor, and delivery possible, with full support at every stage. Find out why so many families in San Jose choose our hospital to give birth and get a referral to a doctor by calling (888) 724-2362.

When does osteoporosis typically start?

Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to porous, fragile bones that are prone to fractures. It is often thought of as a woman’s disease but can affect men as well. Although the disease is not life threatening, it can lead to serious fractures and loss of mobility, especially in seniors. Discuss your risk of osteoporosis with your physician to find out if you need to be screened or if there are steps you can take to reduce the chances that you will develop it.

Osteoporosis onset
Osteoporosis can occur at any age but is most common after age 50. At this age, the rate of bone loss increases dramatically, especially in women. For men, the onset is often later. Women begin to lose bone density rapidly at this age because of declining amounts of estrogen due to menopause.

In addition to menopause, there are other things that can cause osteoporosis to happen earlier in life. These risks include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Malnutrition
  • Anorexia
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking

Screening tests
Physicians can screen for osteoporosis with a bone mineral density scan test, or DEXA scan. This painless test uses x-ray technology to determine if you have low bone density, so that you can begin treatment to prevent further bone loss if necessary.

This test can also be used to confirm an osteoporosis diagnosis and track the effectiveness of treatments if you have already been diagnosed.

Treatment options
Medications, including hormone therapy, may be recommended for osteoporosis. Your physician may also recommend that you make dietary changes and get more exercise to improve your muscle strength and balance.

Fall prevention is also an important part of osteoporosis treatment. Because bones are very vulnerable to fractures during falls when you have osteoporosis, prevention is critical. Your provider can give you information about changes you can make at home to prevent falls.

Could you be at risk of osteoporosis? Request a referral to a physician in San Jose at Good Samaritan hospital to find out. We offer comprehensive diagnostic imaging services as well as emergency care for fractures when needed. To call our hospital, dial (888) 724-2362.

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