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    A Quick Overview of Common Liver Diseases

    Last updated 4 hours 37 minutes ago

    The liver is a hardworking organ that allows you to digest food properly, store energy, and filter toxins from certain foods, drugs, and alcohol. While you may not think about your liver much, it serves several vital functions that you could not live without. Therefore, liver disease should not be taken lightly when symptoms like easy bruising of the skin, abdominal pain, yellowing skin, or bloody stools appear. These symptoms may be present with a number of varying conditions affecting the liver, which means that you should discuss them immediately with your physician. Below is a look at a few of the possible outcomes that may be diagnosed when the characteristic symptoms of liver disease are present.


    Cirrhosis describes scarring of the liver, which may result from injury, alcohol use, or other liver diseases. Obesity combined with high-fat diets has contributed to the development of cirrhosis, making it much more common over the past few decades. When there is scar tissue in the liver, the function of the organ is impaired. This might lead to increased sensitivity to medication, jaundice, internal bleeding, and swelling in the abdomen and lower body. Cirrhosis cannot be reversed, but measures may be taken to slow down the rate of scar tissue formation and preserve healthy tissue.


    Hepatitis comes in several forms, and these are all viral infections of the liver that may be spread through sharing needles, blood transfusions, or unprotected sex. Medication can manage hepatitis, but it is best treated through prevention with vaccinations during childhood.

    Liver cancer

    Primary liver cancer, or cancer that develops in the liver, is somewhat rare, but may be caused by cirrhosis, hepatitis, heavy drinking, or certain chemical exposures. Cancer that originates elsewhere in the body and travels to the liver is more common than primary liver cancer in most western countries, though the opposite is true in Asia and Africa, likely due to higher rates of hepatitis infections.

    Take the time to have an annual checkup and ask about your liver health. From preventive care to imaging services to state-of-the-art cancer care, West Hills Hospital can cover your health needs with convenient, accessible care in the western San Fernando Valley. 

    What You Need to Know to Manage Your Breast Health

    Last updated 4 days ago

    With Breast Cancer Awareness events taking place throughout the month of October, you may be concerned about the ways you can manage your breast health and prevent breast cancer in your own life. Aside from getting your annual mammogram once you hit age 40, there are several things you should keep in mind for your breast health. Women at every age should be aware of the following factors, which have the biggest impact on breast cancer risk.

    Normal breast tissue

    The guideline for self-breast exams used to be that women should alert their doctors of any abnormal tissue while feeling the breast and underarms in the shower or in front of the mirror. However, what is normal and abnormal differs for every woman, so the important thing is to know your own breasts. When you feel any changes from what is normal for you, your doctor should be notified.

    Cancer fighting habits

    Some habits will help reduce your overall cancer risk, making them beneficial for your breast health too. These habits include eating a diet rich in fresh produce, exercising regularly, and maintaining a schedule of annual checkups with your primary physician.

    Family health history

    If breast cancer is hereditary in your family, you may be at a higher risk for breast cancer earlier in life due to BRCA gene mutation. You should discuss your family history of breast cancer with your physician so that he or she can decide if genetic testing is necessary. This may alert you to a need for mammograms earlier than 40 to increase the chances of early cancer detection.

    Reproductive history

    Certain reproductive factors can raise a woman’s risk for breast cancer, because of the cancer’s receptiveness to estrogen. Not all breast cancers are estrogen-sensitive, but those that are may be more likely if you have not had children, did not breastfeed your child, or began menstruation earlier in your adolescence.

    If it is time for your annual mammogram, you can trust West Hills Hospital, which has Mammography Accreditation from the American College of Radiology. For a closer look at our breast care services, visit our website or call (818) 676-4321 to reach our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line 24/7. 

    Nutritional Guidelines to Follow During Breast Cancer Treatment

    Last updated 6 days ago

    If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you are beginning your treatment of chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy, your primary focus should be on staying strong and healthy through your treatment. Proper nutrition will be an asset as you struggle with treatment side effects like fatigue and nausea, and it is important to know what you should be eating to combat these effects. Not only will the tips below help you stay well throughout your treatment, but they can also be vital for preventing new cancers after the breast cancer is eradicated.

    Boost your protein intake

    Lean protein takes longer for the body to break down than carbohydrates, so you will want to have some protein on your plate at every meal. Protein also helps build and maintain muscle tissue, which is important as you find yourself decreasing your physical activity during treatment. Lean meats like chicken and certain cuts of beef are great choices, but you might also add some vegetarian protein sources like beans and nuts.

    Try new foods

    Some cancer treatment drugs can throw off your taste buds, which means that foods you didn’t like before might now taste good. Alternatively, you can develop a distaste for some of your reliable comfort foods. Don’t be afraid to pick up some different choices as you notice your tastes changing, and remember that some veggies you once hated could become staples of your diet.

    Incorporate more vegetables

    Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that are vital for cancer care: antioxidants. There are many different types of antioxidants that have been shown to fight cell damage caused by free radicals in the body, which may lead to the growth of cancer. Fruits and veggies that are packed with antioxidants tend to be the most darkly colored choices like berries, sweet potatoes, beets, and dark leafy greens. You can find antioxidants in supplements, but these do not have the same positive effects as nutrients derived from whole food sources.

    Eat small, regular meals

    It may be a challenge to eat right if you are experiencing nausea as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation, but this may be relieved with smaller meals eaten throughout the day.

    For the support and state-of-the-art care you need to fight breast cancer, connect with West Hills Hospital today. You can find a physician on our website or through our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (818) 676-4321. 

    Why That Indoor Tan May Not Be Worth the Risk

    Last updated 25 days ago

    Wearing sunscreen is an important part of skin cancer prevention. As this video points out, avoiding indoor tanning beds is also key for protecting your skin.

    Cancer care experts caution the public to minimize sun exposure because of UVA and UVB rays, which can damage the skin and contribute to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. What some individuals may not realize is that indoor tanning beds emit the same UVA and UVB rays, and can be just as dangerous to the skin as lying out in the sun.

    Let your current lifestyle choices provide the foundation for a future of good health. To learn more healthy living tips, call West Hills Hospital at (818) 676-4321 and ask about our h2u Health to You program for West Hills residents. 

    Understanding the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

    Last updated 27 days ago

    West Hills Hospital strives to provide patients with the most effective treatment options available. Among our many advanced care services, we offer minimally invasive surgery in place of several traditional surgical procedures, including hysterectomy and appendectomy. Eligible patients who undergo these leading-edge surgical treatment options often enjoy the following benefits:

    Less Postoperative Discomfort

    Conventional surgery uses significant incisions to access the body part requiring treatment. Though incisions are integral to surgical care, they often require the cutting of skin, muscle, and even bone. As a result, patients sometimes experience considerable pain after surgery that limits their mobility. Minimally invasive surgery involves the use of smaller incisions to reduce tissue trauma and postoperative pain.

    Minimal Surgery Scarring

    Some surgeries take place in conspicuous area of the body, such as the neck and midsection, making postoperative scars highly noticeable to others. Thanks to the use of minute incisions, minimally invasive surgery can lessen the appearance of scarred skin, making it an attractive alternative to conventional surgery. Less scarring can also make it easier for surgeons to provide follow-up treatment should additional surgical procedures be necessary.

    Swifter Recovery Period

    Traditional surgical treatment requires weeks or even months of reduced activity or bed rest as the incisions and affected tissues heal. This consequence of traditional surgical procedures is highly inconvenient to individuals who wish to return to their work, domestic, and social obligations. Since minimally invasive surgery demands less substantial trauma to the body, patients can heal more quickly and get back to their daily routines. With reduced trauma, minimally invasive surgery recipients may also experience fewer instances of excessive bleeding and infection, which can likewise hamper recovery efforts.

    Find out how minimally invasive surgery can play a part in your treatment needs. To find out more about the minimally invasive procedures that West Hills Hospital provides, call (818) 676-4321. Our Consult-A-Nurse representatives in West Hills are available to discuss your questions and concerns. 

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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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