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.

How your heart health affects your Alzheimer's risk

You know that living a heart-healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, but did you know it could also reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease? Your heart and brain health are closely linked, and following the advice of your cardiac care specialist to protect your heart could also protect your brain. Here is what you need to know.

How are the heart and the brain linked?
Although you can’t feel your brain working like you can feel your heart pumping, your brain is an extremely active organ. About 20% of the blood that your heart pumps goes directly to your brain to provide the cells there with food and oxygen.

If your heart doesn’t pump efficiently or if the blood vessels in the brain aren’t healthy, then the cells in your brain could be starved of the oxygen and nutrients they need. This lack of blood flow can lead to acute issues like strokes, and can also contribute to long-term brain health problems, including Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

How can I improve my heart and brain health?
There are several lifestyle adjustments that you can make to improve the health of your heart and brain. These ideas can help:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. People who are obese during middle age have twice the risk of developing dementia in their senior years.
  • Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure can lead to a six times higher risk of dementia.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes on most days.
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fats, sodium, and cholesterol.
  • Don’t smoke, and quit if you do. Your physician can help.
  • Manage your blood glucose levels. Diabetes can dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Good Samaritan Hospital is pleased to provide world-class neurology and cardiac care in San Jose to help patients achieve and maintain good heart and brain health. To make an appointment with one of our specialists, please call (888) 724-2362.

Staying prepared to bring your child to the ER

No parent relishes the idea of getting emergency care for their child, but being prepared for ER visits can help to take some of the stress out of the event. The last thing you want to do in the midst of a medical emergency is search for things you need to take to the hospital. Follow these tips for preparedness so that you will be ready to react quickly should your child need emergency care.

Know where to find a pediatric ER
Although you will want to take your child to the closet ER in a medical emergency, taking them to a pediatric ER can be beneficial for their care, if there is time. Knowing where the pediatric ERs are in your area will mean you won’t have to search for one if an emergency occurs. Some of the advantages of pediatric ERs include:

  • Physicians and nurses who are trained in pediatric health issues
  • Healthcare team members who are used to dealing with young patients
  • Child-sized equipment that make exams more comfortable

Maintain a list of medications
Keep an updated list of your child’s medications on hand. The list should include the name of each medication, when he or she began taking it, and what dosage he or she takes. Having this list ready will reduce the amount of time the ER team has to spend finding out your child’s medical history.

Many parents find it helpful to keep this list in their phones. Ideally, keep one of these lists for each member of your family so that you are prepared whenever anyone needs emergency care.

Provide treatment at home
It is acceptable to give your child over-the-counter medication at home before you go to the ER. Doing so could make the process of diagnosing and treating your child easier in the emergency room.

Be sure to note the time and dosage you give your child, so that you can give the ER team accurate information.

At Good Samaritan Hospital, we have a dedicated ER just for kids who need emergency care in San Jose, including a NICU and PICU for kids who need to be admitted for complex conditions. To get answers to your questions about our pediatric hospital services, please dial (888) 724-2362.

Explaining jaundice and why it requires special care in infants

Jaundice is common in newborns, but some are more vulnerable to it than others. In some cases, jaundice is not serious and doesn’t require any special treatment, but when jaundice is severe, treatment is necessary. Treatment for jaundice, when needed, starts soon after labor and delivery.

What is jaundice?
Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that occurs as the result of excess levels of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the body when red blood cells are renewed, and it has a yellow appearance that causes the look of jaundice.

Bilirubin is typically metabolized in the liver, so that it can be expelled from the body via stools. Before babies are born, the placenta removes bilirubin, but after birth, the liver must begin performing the function. Because the liver may take some time to work effectively, jaundice occurs.

What causes severe jaundice?
Although nearly every newborn has some form of jaundice, it is more likely to be severe in these cases:

  • Rh incompatibility between the baby and the mother
  • Babies born with sickle cell anemia
  • Low oxygen levels at birth
  • Infections at birth
  • Diseases of the liver, such as hepatitis
  • Premature birth

These are just a few of the causes of severe jaundice in newborns. Genetic disorders, medications, and difficult deliveries can also play roles.

When is treatment for jaundice necessary?
Most babies will not need treatment for jaundice, as explained in the video. However, if the levels of bilirubin in the blood are excessively high or increasing rapidly, treatment is necessary. Premature babies need treatment more often than babies who reach full term.

Treatments for jaundice include:

  • Phototherapy – Babies are placed under blue lights that help to break down bilirubin.
  • IV fluids.
  • Blood exchange transfusion – This treatment is only necessary in the most severe cases. Babies receive fresh blood with normal bilirubin levels.

In the maternity departments in San Jose of Good Samaritan Hospital, our labor and delivery team is committed to helping every new baby have the healthiest possible start in life. Contact us today at (888) 724-2362 to set up a tour of the birthing center, learn more about our childbirth classes, or get a referral to one of our physicians.

Keeping your eyes from harm while in the workplace

Eye injuries that happen in the workplace can lead to significant disruptions in your personal and professional lives. If an eye injury does occur, it’s essential to get emergency care right away to prevent the injury from becoming worse and causing further complications. Although emergency care can reduce the risk of long-term vision problems, preventing an injury from occurring in the first place is the best strategy. Keep this advice in mind to prevent eye injuries in your workplace.

Know the risks
Identify the areas of your job that put your eyes most at risk. These are some of the most common eye risks in the workplace:

  • Flying debris
  • Tools
  • Chemicals
  • Sparks, such as in welding

Although it is not associated with acute eye injuries, keep in mind using a computer can also cause eye strain that leads to vision issues. If you work on a computer all day, remember to look away periodically to give your eyes a break.

Wear protective goggles
The single most effective thing you can do to prevent eye injuries at work is to wear protective goggles. Be sure to choose goggles that are appropriate for the kind of work you do. For instance, if dust and debris fly around at your job, your goggles should have side shields. If you work with lasers or fiber optics, wear safety goggles that reduce light exposure.

Any safety goggles you choose should comply with OSHA regulations for the kind of work you do. Regulations also require anyone who wears glasses to have them incorporated into your goggles. There are two options: your glasses can fit under the goggles or the goggles can be made with prescription lenses.

Recognize the symptoms
While some eye injuries will be obvious, others can have subtle symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Unusual pupil size
  • Feeling like there is something stuck in your eye
  • Feeling like vision is worse in one eye than the other

Seek emergency care right away if you suspect that you have sustained an injury.

The emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide fast, high-quality care for all of your urgent healthcare needs. To find out more about our emergency care services in San Jose, please call (888) 724-2362.

What happens during a mental health screening?

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as protecting your physical health. Mental health screenings are performed to diagnose various mental health conditions, just as blood tests, medical imaging, and other screening exams are used to diagnose physical health problems. Mental health screenings can take place at your primary care provider’s office, in the office of a specialist, or at the hospital. If you’ve never had a screening, consider talking to your doctor about performing one. Here’s what you can expect.

What is the process for a mental health screening?
Mental health screenings can be adapted to test for specific conditions, or used to determine broader diagnoses. Typically, a screening will involve one or more of these components:

  • Interview – Your physician will ask you questions designed to assess your emotional state and cognitive functioning.
  • Journal – As part of a screening, you may be asked to keep a journal noting your symptoms and feelings for a few days before you see your doctor.
  • Tests – You may undergo a written or verbal test to assess your ability to perform day-to-day activities, your memory, and your symptoms.
  • Lab tests – Blood tests, MRIs, CT scans, and EEGs are sometimes used to determine if a physiological issue is causing or contributing to your symptoms.

Your doctor will decide which of these screening components is appropriate for you, based on factors such as your symptoms, health history, and age.

Why are mental health screenings performed?
A mental health screening may be performed as part of your regular preventive care regime when you have a physical. Screenings may also be ordered if your physician suspects you have a mental health condition. These are some of the reasons mental health screenings are performed:

  • To diagnose problems like depression, schizophrenia, dementia, and anorexia
  • To determine if a health issue is caused by a physical or mental health problem
  • To determine if someone has a learning disability, ADHD, ADD, or conduct disorder
  • To determine if a mental health problem contributed to criminal behavior

Good Samaritan Hospital offers extensive behavioral health services in San Jose, including mental health screenings, inpatient and outpatient care, and inpatient detox programs. Request a referral to one of our behavioral health specialists by calling (888) 724-2362.

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