• The Impact of High Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a quiet risk factor of heart disease, but it can be identified through proper screening and controlled through lifestyle changes . As this video explains, high blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease by weakening the arteries through which blood travels. When the valves are significantly weakened by persistent high blood pressure, blood flow is restricted.

    Take control of your blood pressure and get in tune with your health with a free blood pressure screening at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. This screening is part of our H2U program, which you can join on our website or by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 559-2011.

  • Ways to Improve Your Pulmonary Health

    Whether you are trying to manage a lung condition or you just want to get in better control of your total health, taking care of your lungs is important for a healthy life. There are several factors that affect the health of the lungs, so taking charge of your pulmonary health involves several key steps. Here is a look at the ways you might improve your lung capacity and breathe easier for life.


    Get more exercise

    Aerobic exercise is beneficial to the lungs, as it will cause you to breathe deeper and get your heart rate up. These effects will increase your body’s intake of oxygen and help your lungs stay strong through your other daily activities. Aim for at least two hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly.

    Don’t smoke

    Smoking cigarettes or marijuana severely restricts your lung capacity and raises the level of CO2 in your lungs. Plus, the chemical content of tobacco products introduces the body to harmful toxins that could lead to serious conditions including cancer.

    Eat your vegetables (and fruit)

    A balanced diet that features a broad array of fresh fruits and vegetables will support your total health while improving the function of your lungs. Antioxidant-rich foods like spinach, blueberries, and broccoli are excellent choices to include in your daily meals. Getting antioxidants from these food sources is shown to be more beneficial than taking supplements, so changing your diet is the best way to improve your health.

    For more helpful health tips and a look at your current pulmonary health, check out the classes and events coming up at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. Sign up for our free events and take advantage of our H2U program by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 559-2011 or visiting us online.

  • Understand the Proper Use of Antibiotics During Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

    Antibiotics are medications that may be prescribed in greater frequency this time of year, especially because infections and illnesses become more widespread through the busy holiday season. However, antibiotics are not always the answer, and they may do more harm than good if they are not used correctly. Below are some answers to common questions about antibiotics so you can use them the correct way.

    Colored pills, tablets and capsules

    When are antibiotics helpful?

    Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, because antibiotics are not able to treat viruses like the cold and flu. You should only take antibiotics when they are prescribed, as self-medicating with these drugs can be dangerous.

    Should I take antibiotics after I feel better?

    Using antibiotics might help you feel better within the first few days of use, but bacteria could still be present in the body. To prevent getting sick again due to lingering bacteria, use the medication exactly as directed for the number of days your doctor recommends. If you do still have antibiotic medication leftover after you get better, discard it immediately.

    What happens if I take antibiotics when I don’t need them?

    There are few immediate effects that occur when antibiotics are taken without a bacterial infection present. However, overuse of antibiotics and use when they are not needed can lead to antibiotic resistance, meaning that antibiotics will not work effectively when they are used for their intended purpose. Therefore, taking antibiotics when they are not prescribed could cause a future infection to require highly involved and expensive treatment.

    Find more facts about properly using antibiotics and other medications by joining the H2U program at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. This program will provide you with free health education classes and regular publications that can keep you informed about your health. Learn more about H2U and other Good Samaritan Hospital services on our website or by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line.

  • What to Do If Your Home Pregnancy Test is Positive

    Confusing Pregnancy Test Results

    Maybe you jump for joy at becoming pregnant, or perhaps you anxiously bite your nails. Whatever your emotion, an at-home pregnancy test is a quick and easy tool to use to find out if you are having a baby or not. Such tests are available over-the-counter without a prescription from your doctor. And it only takes a few minutes to do. Just urinate on the stick and wait for the result.

    An at-home pregnancy test measures the amount of a substance called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This substance is found in your blood shortly after an egg and sperm join together, and the developing baby implants in the lining of your womb. HCG levels rise quickly in the early weeks of pregnancy.

    If you are pregnant, you may get a plus sign, a smiley face, or other symbol or word on the test stick, depending on the brand you use. Many brands say they are 99% accurate, but this isn’t true if you take the test in the first days after your missed period. You are more likely to get a correct result if you take the test at least 1 week after you were supposed to get your period.

    Have a positive pregnancy test? Here is what you should do next:

    1. Call your doctor or nurse to schedule a prenatal appointment. Proper prenatal care is essential for the good health of you and your baby. Your doctor or nurse will order a blood test to confirm the pregnancy and see how far along you are. You probably will not be seen until you are 8 weeks pregnant, but that depends on your health history and symptoms.
    2. Make sure you tell your health care team about any concerns or symptoms you have, especially vaginal bleeding and cramping.
    3. Stop drinking alcohol. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a dangerous condition in the baby. FAS can cause birth defects, and lifelong problems with mental development. No amount of alcohol has ever been proven safe to use during pregnancy.
    4. If you smoke, quit. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for premature birth, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, and other serious complications.
    5. Ask your doctor or nurse if the medicines you take, if any, are safe to take if you are, or think you are, pregnant. This includes over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and supplements. Never stop taking any medicine without asking your doctor first.
    6. Make sure you take 600mcg of folic acid every day during pregnancy. If you are trying to get pregnant, you should take a multivitamin with at least 400mcg of folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent many birth defects.
    7. Follow a healthy diet. You are eating for two now, so it’s even more important to make healthy choices.
    8. Do not eat fish high in mercury. Nix the shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Limit amounts of tuna, shrimp, salmon, and other fish. Ask your doctor or nurse for more information.
    9. Avoid hot tubs and saunas. While the idea of a soaking in a hot tub may sound soothing, the heat can be dangerous for the developing baby.
    10. Have someone else change the cat’s litter box. Cat feces can contain a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, which can lead to miscarriage.

    At Good Samaritan Hospital , we believe every birth is a special one. That’s why we have designed our birthing center to meet the individualized needs of you and your family – and installed state-of-the-art technology to ensure a safe delivery. We encourage you to take one of our free tours of our birthing center – just give us a call today at (408) 559-BABY.

  • Join Good Samaritan Hospital’s Breast Care Center at “Celebrate Life” This Wednesday!

    Breast Cancer Awareness

    Good Sam proudly offers SAVI targeted radiation treatment for breast cancer, reducing treatment time from five weeks to five days.

    Because of the outstanding performance of Good Sam’s Breast Care Center and Radiation Oncology Department in delivering this advanced treatment option to women in our community, Cianna Medical is designating Good Sam as a SAVI Center of Excellence.

    The BCC and RadOnc are hosting “Celebrate Life” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24, at their facilities at 15400 National Ave. in Los Gatos.  Refreshments, breast cancer education and tours of Good Sam’s highly specialized radiation oncology capacities will be hosted by the departments.  Plan to attend this great event and learn more about the services available to you, your family and your neighbors when they need our care.

    Call toll-free to 1-(408) 559-2011 to register.

  • Halloween Safety 101

    Halloween is a favorite holiday for many children, but the same things that make it so fun—dressing in costume, wandering the neighborhood at night, decorating the house, and receiving a bounty of candy—can also present a danger to kids. Here are some important aspects of child safety to review with your family before the big night:

    Happy Halloween

    Staying Visible

    Because trick-or-treating requires that children roam the streets in the dark, it’s important to equip them for safety. Have kids carry flashlights or glowsticks to help them be seen more easily by cars and minimize their risk of tripping on uneven pavement. If possible, place reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark stickers on their treat bags or costumes. Kids that are trick-or-treating without an adult present should understand how to watch for cars and know not to enter strangers’ homes.

    Preventing Fire

    Make sure that your family wears flame-resistant costumes and avoids long sleeves or trailing cloth that can fall into a flame and catch fire. Kids often benefit from a reminder to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing should ignite. In addition, be careful when decorating—light jack-o-lanterns with battery-operated candles and keep cobwebs, streamers, and scarecrows well away from any open flame.

    Checking Candy

    Although most adults handing out candy simply want the neighborhood kids to have a good time, it is possible for someone with malicious intent to tamper with treats. For this reason, it is a good idea to check your children’s candy before they are allowed to sample it. Discard any pieces that are unwrapped, partially open, or homemade.

    For more tips on keeping your kids safe and healthy, contact Good Samaritan Hospital by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 559-2011. Our helpful nurses can answer your questions, schedule medical appointments, and inform you about our upcoming events and classes.

  • What to Expect During Your First Doctor’s Visit

    Fetoscope Heart

    If you are pregnant, or think you might be, the first thing you should do is call your doctor or nurse. Regular medical checkups are essential for keeping you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Such checkups are called ” prenatal care.” It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time mom or not. Proper prenatal care is necessary every time you are pregnant.

    During your pregnancy, you will have many office visits, blood and urine tests, and ultrasounds to make sure the pregnancy is going smoothly. Early and regular prenatal care can help your doctor discover any potential complications and take action to protect you or your baby.

    Your first prenatal doctor’s visit will probably be scheduled around 8 weeks after you missed your period. However, that depends on your health history and symptoms. The first prenatal visit usually is the longest, so be sure to schedule plenty of time for it.

    Here’s what to expect during your first doctor’s visit:

    Your doctor will examine you from head to toe.

    • A pelvic exam will be done. The doctor may be able to feel the baby.
    • A Pap smear may be done.
    • Other tests may be done to check for sexually transmitted illnesses such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, which can be passed to the baby during childbirth.

    You will be asked questions about:

    • Your medical and family history
    • How many pregnancies you have had
    • The medicines you take
    • Tobacco and alcohol use

    It is important to let your doctor know about any health problems or concerns you or your partner or family may have.

    The doctor or nurse will check your:

    • Blood pressure
    • Breathing
    • Heart rate (pulse)
    • Height
    • Weight

    A blood test will be done to confirm the pregnancy and see how far along you are. This is called a quantitative hCG blood test . Other blood tests will be done to check for:

    • Anemia
    • Blood type
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs disease
    • Hepatitis
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Measles (rubella)
    • Syphilis
    • Thalassemia
    • Tuberculosis

    Urine tests will be done to check for signs of:

    • Diabetes
    • Infections

    You may have additional blood or urine tests, depending on your symptoms and health history.

    Your doctor will calculate your due date and talk to you about ways to stay healthy during pregnancy. For example, you will probably be told to take folic acid supplements. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent serious birth defects. Women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should take a folic acid supplement.

    At the end of your appointment, you will be told when you need to return for another check up. You will probably see your doctor about once a month until you are 28 weeks pregnant. After that, you will have more frequent checkups.

    At Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose , our highly trained obstetrical teams deliver care designed for each patient’s individualized needs from the first prenatal visit through delivery in our state-of-the-art birthing center and beyond. To find a physician or to schedule a tour of our birthing center, call us today at (408) 559-2011.

  • Stay Healthy this Halloween

    Halloween girl

    – Find out all about the risk factors for breast cancer, the screening methods used to detect it, and ways to pay for mammography in this document from the American Cancer Society.

    – Drivers and trick-or-treaters alike can benefit from reading this SafeKids.org article on preventing Halloween injuries .

    – This helpful article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how to stay healthy and safe during Halloween .

    – To learn how you can enjoy decorating and dressing up for Halloween without creating a fire hazard, visit this page from the National Fire Protection Association.

    – KidsHealth.org provides a kid-friendly primer on Halloween safety that includes tips for staying visible, planning a trick-or-treating route, and examining candy.

    If you want to explore more information about the latest in healthcare technology and practices, browse these articles and contact Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. You can reach us on our website or by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 559-2011.

  • Taking the Next Steps After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

    If your most recent mammogram or breast exam uncovered a lump that turned out to be cancerous, you may be worried about your prognosis or uncertain what comes next. Good Samaritan Hospital’s Cancer Care Center provides comprehensive treatment with compassionate understanding, and our professionals can guide you through the following steps:

    Consulting a Surgeon

    Breast lumps that are identified as cancerous are often removed surgically, so your radiologist may refer you to a surgeon in order to discuss your options. These include breast-conserving surgery, which only removes the cancerous portion, and total mastectomy, which involves the complete removal of the affected breast.

    Hand tower

    Undergoing Treatment

    Depending on the extent to which the cancer has spread, you may need to treat it with radiation or chemotherapy in addition to surgery. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells using targeted X-rays or a small amount of radioactive material placed near the tumor. It is often used after surgery to ensure that all cancer is removed. In contrast, chemotherapy involves the intravenous infusion of medication to prevent cancer cells from dividing. Unfortunately, it also affects the body’s healthy cells, causing a multitude of side effects, so be sure to discuss its risks and benefits with your physician. On top of these therapies, your doctor may prescribe medications to counteract estrogen and boost your immune system.

    Seeking Emotional Support

    Dealing with breast cancer can be stressful, harrowing, and isolating, which is why many patients find comfort in talking to others in their situation. Sharing tips and personal experiences can be highly empowering, and such social support may improve your mood and emotional outlook, benefiting your overall wellbeing.

    Good Samaritan Hospital is dedicated to providing cutting-edge treatment for a variety of cancer types. Our cancer support group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to patients, survivors, family members, and close friends. Call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 559-2011 for more information.

  • What Happens When Your Water Breaks

    Happy, young couple expecting a new baby

    You are pregnant and suddenly there is a pool of water at your feet. Or maybe, it’s just a trickle and you think, “Did I just wet my pants?” Chances are, your “water” just broke. The medical term for this is the “rupture of membranes” or “ROM.” (If you haven’t reached 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is called the premature rupture of membranes, or PROM.)

    Whatever you call it, it means the baby is probably coming soon.

    During pregnancy, your baby sits inside your womb in a sac filled with a watery fluid called amniotic fluid. This fluid contains water, nutrients, hormones, and infection-fighting substances called antibodies. It cushions and protects your baby as he or she grows. It also helps the baby’s lungs, muscles, bones, and digestive system grow.

    This sac usually breaks open right before you go into labor. Most women have a constant trickle of fluid. Only 1 in 10 has a huge gush.

    Sometimes, the water does not break, and your doctor or midwife may need to do it for you. Never, ever try to break your own water. This can be dangerous to you and the baby.

    Here’s what you need to do if your water breaks:

    • Note the color and odor of the fluid. Amniotic fluid is clear and odorless.
    • Call your doctor, nurse, or midwife. Call right away if you are not at least 37 weeks pregnant. Call within a few hours if you are within 3 weeks of your due date. There is an easy, painless test to tell if your water really did break, or if you just leaked some urine. (It’s common to leak urine during pregnancy.)
    • If your water breaks and you are having contractions, go to the hospital or childbirth delivery center. Most women go into labor soon after the water breaks.
    • If your water breaks before 3 weeks of your due date, you may be given medicines to stop labor.
    • If you are 37 or more weeks pregnant and do not go into labor soon, your doctor or midwife may give you medicines to speed up your contractions. The longer it takes for labor to start after your water breaks, the more likely you are to get an infection.
    • Ask if you will be given antibiotics if your water breaks. Many health care providers routinely prescribe antibiotics when the water breaks in a pregnant woman who is at least 37 weeks pregnant. The antibiotics are used to prevent infections in the baby and mother. The U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend antibiotics for all pregnant women who are carriers of bacteria called group B streptococcus, or GBS. Your doctor or nurse will test you for this during a prenatal exam. Women who do not carry these bacteria may be given antibiotics if they do not go into labor about 18 hours after their water breaks.

    The highly trained obstetrical teams at Good Samaritan Hospital of San Jose are available 24 hours a day. For more information about maternity care at Good Samaritan, call (408) 559-2011.