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.

What does it mean when you cough up phlegm?

Phlegm is a sort of mucus that most people don’t notice too often. Usually, a person will only cough up phlegm when he or she is ill. Although a phlegmy cough usually is not a situation that requires emergency care, it can be distressing to experience this problem. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a doctor at Good Samaritan Hospital explain some of the common causes of phlegm. He also discusses when it’s a good idea to visit the hospital to talk to your doctor.

The colors of phlegm

Only your doctor can accurately diagnose the cause of your phlegmy cough, but the color of the sputum may give you some clues. White phlegm, for example, may be caused by viral bronchitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Green or yellowish phlegm might be caused by:

  • Bacterial bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infections
  • Cystic fibrosis

Black phlegm can be particularly distressing for patients to see on a tissue. It can be caused by:

  • Smoking
  • Coal dust inhalation
  • Pneumoconiosis (black lung disease)
  • Fungal infection (uncommon)

The right time to see a doctor

Your primary care doctor is a trusted source of medical information and advice. He or she genuinely wants to help you enjoy good health, but you’ll have to take the first step by making an appointment. Even if your phlegmy cough turns out to be inconsequential, talking to your doctor about this issue can give you peace of mind.

Every patient has unique health needs, but in general, you may wish to consider seeing your doctor if:

  • Your phlegmy cough doesn’t go away
  • Your symptoms seem unusual to you
  • You experience other troublesome symptoms along with the cough
  • You have a compromised immune system
  • You have a history of lung cancer or other lung diseases

The emergency care physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital are firmly committed to providing all of our patients the superior, compassionate care they deserve. Whether you have a minor medical emergency or a serious condition, we’re here to provide sound medical guidance within a supportive setting. You can speak with a registered nurse at our hospital in San Jose by calling (888) 724-2362.

Are you eligible to donate blood?

There is a constant, pressing need for blood donors all over the country and right here in San Jose. By becoming a blood donor, you could save the lives of people in your own community. Donated blood is urgently needed for emergency care, cardiac care and cancer care patients, along with those undergoing routine or emergency surgeries. It only takes a few minutes of your time to visit a local blood drive and find out if you’re eligible. If you have any health concerns about becoming a blood donor, the physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital look forward to discussing them with you.

Body type

For most people, height and weight are not barriers to donating blood. Eligible blood donors must simply weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors who are 18 years old or younger must meet additional weight requirements, depending on their height.

Chronic medical conditions

Each potential donor’s health will be evaluated individually, but in general, patients with chronic illnesses may still donate as long as the condition is well-controlled and the individual feels well. These general guidelines apply to the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Heart murmur
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Allergies
  • Asthma

Patients with bleeding problems might not be able to donate blood for their own safety. Additionally, the following medical conditions prohibit people from donating blood:

  • Mad cow disease
  • Family history of mad cow disease
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Recent hepatitis exposure
  • Recent malaria exposure
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Active infection

This is not an exhaustive list of medical conditions, so be sure to fully disclose your medical conditions when you go to the blood drive.

Medication usage

The blood drive professional will ask you about your medication use and whether you’ve recently had any vaccines. Most medications do not prohibit you from donating blood, including the following:

  • Birth control
  • Aspirin
  • Over-the-counter nutritional supplements

The emergency care and cardiac care providers at Good Samaritan Hospital would like to offer our sincere thanks to all blood donors throughout our San Jose community. You can get in touch with a registered nurse at our hospital by calling (888) 724-2362. If you aren’t eligible to donate blood, you can still help others by donating your time at local blood drives.

Why men should be concerned about heart disease


All adults should be concerned about heart disease, as it is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Heart disease kills about one in every four men. Furthermore, men who have heart disease often don’t realize it. It’s not uncommon for men to experience sudden death due to heart disease, despite not reporting any symptoms beforehand. Although these facts are frightening, effective cardiac care can help men live long, healthy lives. At Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, our cardiac care specialists are firmly committed to improving the quality of life of our patients.

Heart disease risk factors are common

Millions of American men have at least one risk factor for heart disease—and many men have multiple risk factors. Three of the most common risk factors among men are tobacco use, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Other risk factors include:

  • Physically inactive lifestyle
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Poor nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Family history of heart disease

Although countless men have heart disease or are at an elevated risk of it, many of these factors are modifiable. Consider talking to a physician about your unique cardiac care needs. Some risk factors are controllable with smart lifestyle changes, while others may require medical management and lifestyle modifications.

Heart disease affects millions of men

It’s important to not underestimate the risk of heart disease in men. According to a statistical fact sheet released by the American Heart Association in 2013, about 8.8 million men in the U.S. have coronary heart disease, and five million of those have a history of suffering a heart attack.

Coronary heart disease is just one type of heart disease. The American Heart Association also notes that at least 2.7 million men are living with heart failure, and about 350,000 more men are diagnosed with it every year.

The prevalence of heart disease and its risk factors, and the life-threatening nature of these diseases, are why all men should be concerned about heart disease.

Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital brings together leading cardiac care specialists and cutting-edge medical technology to give our patients the superior care they deserve. Here, cardiac care patients of all ages receive a continuum of care—from stabilization and diagnostics to interventions and rehabilitation. Call 911 for emergency care in San Jose or call (888) 724-2362 for non-emergent healthcare information.

How to tell when a mole is cancerous

Most moles are harmless, but it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on them. If the appearance of a mole changes or if you develop any other suspicious-looking growths on the skin, your doctor can perform a thorough skin exam to check for melanoma. In the event that you are diagnosed with skin cancer, Good Samaritan Hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Program offers superior, patient-focused care.

Know how to spot skin abnormalities

There’s an easy way to know if a mole is abnormal or not. Compare it to the ABCDEs of skin cancer.

Asymmetry: If you compare the two halves of a potentially cancerous mole, they might not match.

Border: The borders of a harmless mole are even and smooth. Melanomas often have uneven borders that might look notched or scalloped.

Color: Harmless moles are typically a uniform color. Moles that have multiple colors or shades should be examined by a doctor.

Diameter: Potentially cancerous moles might be small initially, but they may later grow larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser.

Evolving: Harmless moles stay the same over time. If a mole begins to evolve in appearance, it’s time to see a doctor.

Perform a skin self-exam

Doctors generally recommend performing a skin self-exam once per month and having a skin cancer screening during your annual exam. After bathing, stand in front of a large wall mirror and have a handheld mirror handy. Keep the ABCDEs of skin cancer in mind while you examine the following areas:

  • Fronts and backs of the legs and arms

  • Tops and undersides of the hands and feet

  • Between your toes and fingers

  • Face, shoulders, neck and scalp

  • Behind the ears

  • Front and sides of your torso

  • Back and buttocks

You may need to have a partner or family member help you check areas that are hard to see. Make a note of any moles you see and keep track of their appearance over time.

Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose provides unique cancer care services, including our Survivorship Program. Our highly trained physicians and nurses choose to work at our hospital because of our unparalleled reputation for putting our patients first. Call us today at (888) 724-2362 and let us know how we can help you live life well.

Why is cycling such a good workout for bone and joint health?

Staying physically active is crucial for bone and joint health. Bicycling is a good choice for many people because it’s fun and invigorating. However, if you’ve already been diagnosed with a bone or joint condition, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about your workout plans. A doctor at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose can help you design an effective and safe exercise program.

Bicycling is not a weight-bearing exercise

Weight-bearing exercises are the gold standard for building bone density. These exercises include jogging, stair climbing and dancing.

However, one major downside of weight-bearing exercises is the stress they place on the joints. For people who have bone and joint health problems, such as arthritis, weight-bearing exercises might not be advisable.

This is one reason why bicycling is a great workout. Since it isn’t a weight-bearing workout, cycling can allow orthopedic patients to get active.

Bicycling can help maintain a trim waistline

Hopping on a bike and putting some miles behind you is a fun and satisfying way to burn calories. Staying within a healthy weight range is particularly important for patients with joint problems like arthritis. This is because every extra pound places additional weight on the joints, which can increase joint pain.

Bicycling strengthens the muscles that support the joints

Bicycling is an effective way to strengthen the muscles throughout the body, including those that support the joints. The stronger these muscles are, the better they are able to stabilize the joints.

Bicycling supports strong bone mass

Exercise is essential for maintaining dense bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Although bicycling is not a weight-bearing exercise, it is thought that it can still help support bone density because pushing the pedals is a form of resistance exercise.

Good Samaritan Hospital is a top provider of orthopedic care in San Jose. Our joint replacement surgeons are leaders in their field, and our hospital offers a full range of nonsurgical treatment options. To request a physician referral, call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362.

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