Good Samaritan Hospital
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Understanding Structural Heart Disease

Structural heart disease is not a single condition but rather a group of diseases that are related to abnormalities in the heart muscle. If you have a structural heart condition, you will need a cardiac care specialist to monitor your health and determine a treatment plan. Here is a closer look at what you need to know about structural heart disease.

What causes structural heart disease?
Structural heart disease is sometimes the result of a congenital defect. In other instances, an infection, underlying condition, or age-related wear-and-tear may cause structural heart disease. The cause of your structural heart disease may help your cardiac care specialist determine a treatment plan. Structural heart disease is non-coronary, so it doesn’t involve the blood vessels like coronary heart disease does, though having coronary heart disease may increase your risk.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of structural heart disease can vary, depending on the type of structural abnormality. Some of the most common symptoms associated with this kind of heart disease include fatigue, leg cramping, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and chest pain. Shortness of breath and heart palpitations may also occur. Some people with structural heart disease may have migraines and may experience either a transient ischemic attack, or TIA, or a full-blown stroke.

What treatments are available?
Treating structural heart disease depends on the nature of the condition, the severity of your symptoms, and how you have responded to other treatments. Some patients are able to take medications that control the symptoms of their structural heart disease, while others need surgery. Transcatheter procedures can also be helpful, especially for patients who are unable to undergo surgery safely.

Get the cardiac care in San Jose you need at Good Samaritan Hospital. In addition to our state-of-the-art cardiac care department, our hospital is home to an extensive range of medical services. For a referral to a cardiac specialist or more information about our hospital, call (888) 724-2362.


What Types of Injuries Are Common with Falls?

For seniors, falls are a significant health risk. They can lead to traumatic injuries that not only require emergency care and rehabilitation but can also permanently affect mobility. If you or an elderly loved one are experiencing falls, talk to your doctor about things you can do to reduce the risk. Making changes to the home and adjusting medications that affect balance are just two ways to make falls less common in seniors. Here is a look at some of the injuries that occur most often with falls.

Hip Fractures
Hip fractures are among the most common and most serious injuries that happen during a fall. Many seniors who fracture a hip end up needing long-term hospitalization and rehabilitation before returning home. Some are never able to return to living independently after fracturing a hip, especially if they had health problems before the fall. Hip fractures are one of the leading causes of loss of independence and mobility among seniors, so preventing them is critical. After a fall, if you suspect a hip fracture, get emergency care right away before the injury becomes worse.

Ankle Fractures
Ankles are prone to fracture during falls. Age-related bone loss and osteoarthritis can increase the risk of an ankle fracture, because the bones may be brittle. An ankle fracture can make mobility impossible, and seniors recovering from this kind of injury will need help at home from a family member or in-home care provider. Physical therapy will also be necessary.

Arm Fractures
Seniors who try to brace their falls with their arms may end up fracturing them instead. As with other fractures, bone loss can play a significant role in the overall risk of breaking an arm. The recovery period for a broken arm can be long, and during recovery, special care may be needed.

Emergency care, orthopedic care, and rehabilitation are all crucial parts of recovering from a fall, and they are all available at Good Samaritan Hospital. For a referral to a specialist at our hospital in San Jose or more information about our services, please call (888) 724-2362.


EMS and ER Staff: Partners in Emergency Care

The relationship between the emergency medical services, or EMS team and the ER medical staff is an essential part of emergency care. By working together, the EMS and ER staffs can provide faster and more efficient care and improve patient outcomes. Here is a closer look at this special working relationship.

EMS: First Responders
The EMS staff are the first responders on the scene of any emergency. They can evaluate the medical needs of the people on the scene and determine if they can be treated onsite or need to receive emergency care in the ER. This means the EMS team may come to someone’s house who has dialed 911 for an ambulance because of heart attack symptoms or they may arrive at a multi-vehicle accident with several injured people who need to be evaluated and treated. In each instance, the EMS team has protocols that they follow to decide what kind of care each person needs and to provide them with life-saving treatment immediately while they transfer patients to the ER. Through the process of providing care on the scene and making hospital transfers, the EMS team may be in contact with both their own medical supervisor and the ER staff, in order to alert the hospital about the needs of the patients they are bringing in.

ER: Life-Saving Emergency Care
As Dr. David Feldman of Good Samaritan Hospital’s ER explains in this video, the ER staff frequently consult with the EMS team when they are en route to the hospital to find out about the critical needs of the incoming patients. These communications allow the ER team to prepare for a patient before he or she arrives, saving precious minutes when a patient needs emergency care for a heart attack, stroke, or other crisis. The ER staff can also offer recommendations for care to the EMS team as needed to further improve the treatment outcomes for patients.

Good Samaritan Hospital is dedicated to providing high-quality emergency care in San Jose by using all of the resources available to us, from our comprehensive hospital services to the skills of our dedicated local EMS providers. You can find out more about our hospital’s commitment to care by calling (888) 724-2362.

Safely Taking Medications During Pregnancy

Safely Taking Medications During Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, everything you put into your body is for two, including your medications. Although some medications can safely be taken throughout pregnancy, others could endanger your baby, so it is important to consult with your maternity doctor about any medications you currently take or are considering taking, including over-the-counter drugs. This guide will help you understand how to safely approach taking medications during pregnancy.

How can medications affect an unborn baby?
Some medications have been directly linked to birth defects, such as the acne medicine Accutane. Taking any of these medicines can dramatically increase the risk of birth defects in your baby. For other medications, the risk is less clear and depends on many different factors, including how much of the medicine you take, when during your pregnancy you take it, and for how long you take it. Your maternity doctor may recommend that you stop or avoid certain medicines when pregnant to be safe, even if the exact risk to your baby is not known.

How are chronic medical conditions managed during pregnancy?
If you have a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, controlling your illness is essential for your baby’s health. Many medications for chronic conditions can be safely taken throughout pregnancy to protect both you and your baby. In some cases, your maternity doctor may recommend you switch to a different medication to manage your condition during your pregnancy.

How can I treat acute illnesses?
When you are pregnant and come down with a cold or headache, you can’t simply reach for your medicine cabinet. It is important to discuss any medication you want to take with your maternity doctor before taking them. Some over-the-counter medicines, including ibuprofen and many cold medicines, are dangerous for babies and should be avoided. Your maternity doctor can offer alternatives.

At Good Samaritan Hospital, we provide care for mothers-to-be at all stages of pregnancy, from checkups to labor and delivery in San Jose. Call our hospital today at (888) 724-2362 for a referral to a maternity specialist or more information about our birthing center.


Are You Suffering from a Cold or the Flu?


Cold and flu symptoms can be similar, but it is important to know which one you have, as the flu can sometimes lead to complications that require emergency care. The only way to get a definitive diagnosis is to visit your doctor for a flu test, but by paying attention to your symptoms, you can decide if a trip to see your physician is warranted. Consider this comparison of cold symptoms versus flu symptoms to decide which seems more closely aligned with how you’re feeling.

Cold Symptoms
Colds typically start with a nagging sore throat that persists for a day or two and then clears up, only to be replaced a runny nose, congestion, and a cough that usually appears four or five days after the sore throat appeared. Initially, the mucus that drains from your nose with a cold is clear and watery, and as the illness progresses, it becomes thick and dark. Most adults don’t experience a fever with a cold, but some children might. Colds usually last for about a week, though some of the symptoms, such as a cough, can linger for longer. Because you are contagious during the first three days of symptoms, you should stay home and rest.

Flu Symptoms
Flu symptoms are similar to those that occur with a cold, but they usually come on faster and are much more severe. The flu is also more likely to cause muscle aches, headaches, and extreme exhaustion. Fevers are much more common with the flu, though not everyone gets them. Some forms of the flu, such as swine flu, may also cause vomiting and diarrhea. Flu symptoms last for longer than cold symptoms. Although the worst of the symptoms are gone within five days, many people feel run down from the flu for weeks.

If you have the flu and experience shortness of breath, chest tightness, or a spiking fever, visit the ER at Good Samaritan Hospital. Because the flu can lead to serious complications like pneumonia or a cardiac crisis, getting fast emergency care in San Jose is important. You can find out more about our hospital services by calling (888) 724-2362.


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