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    Time to Talk About Epilepsy

    Last updated 3 days ago


    It’s National Epilepsy Awareness Month so let’s talk about this disorder that affects about 2 million people in our country.  Epilepsy is also referred to as a seizure disorder because someone suffering from the condition has recurring and unprovoked seizures.  If Epilepsy goes undetected and untreated, the results can be devastating.

    When an epileptic has a seizure it can last from a few seconds to minutes.  It’s caused by a disturbance in the brain where groups of nerve cells are signaling abnormally.   The seizure causes the individual to lose body control and can affect their awareness of what’s going on around them. 

    The onset of epilepsy can happen at any age but it typically happens to children under 2 and seniors over 65.  But regardless of age, getting an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment is vital.  Along with a review of the person’s medical history and a neurological exam, a physician may order an electroencephalogram (EEG) and a brain scan (CT) or MRI.  Once those tests are completed the doctor can best decide how to treat the patient. 

    Treatments range from medications, to surgery, to other therapies like electrical nerve stimulation.  But the key to getting the best diagnosis and the best treatment is finding the right physician.  Doctors who specialize in severe cases are called Epileptologists but many times your Primary Care physician or a Neurologist are the first to recognized the disorder and manage its treatment.

    For more information on the treatment of Epilepsy or for a referral to a qualified physician, call our free health information and physician referral line at 1-850-864-0213. 

    You Can be a Quitter Too!

    Last updated 8 days ago


    November 20th is the Great American Smoke-out sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  It’s always the 3rd Thursday of November and it’s a great day to be a quitter!  Now, we know that if you’re a cigarette smoker, having someone tell you to quit sounds easier than it really is.  It’s hard to quit because tobacco addiction is real, it’s controlling, and just the thought of going through a day without your smoke can be overwhelming.

    But let’s look at what not smoking, even for one day, can do for you.  These are stats you can find on the ACS website.  Here’s how quickly your body can benefit from not lighting up the morning of November 20th.   Within 20 minutes of not smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop and within 12 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood drops to normal. 

    If you can hang in there past that first day, here’s what happens.  In 2 weeks to 3 months your circulation and lung function improve, that hacking cough and shortness of breath diminish and within a year, your risk of heart disease is half that of someone who is still smoking.  And if you stay tobacco free, over the years your risk for things like cancer, stroke and heart disease can continue to go down until you’re on par with someone who has never smoked. 

    No one is suggesting that you just wake up on November 20th and miraculously you won’t crave a cigarette.  But if you want to try, you can talk to your doctor and get help.  You can make a plan, get smoking cessation aids, try something that might work for you.  And if you don’t succeed on the 20th, try again.  People who were ‘hard-core’ tobacco addicts have quit smoking.  You can be a quitter too!

    For information on smoking cessation classes in the community or to find a physician who can help you kick the habit, call our free health information and physician referral line at 1-850-864-0213.

    Health Care Heroes

    Last updated 11 days ago


    Sometimes ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’  You’ve heard that one before.  But sometimes the things we fear – like public health risks – seem to be completely out of our control.  So it’s really good to know that our hospital, in partnership with several other local, state, and national agencies are looking out for us every single day.

    It’s an invisible kind of activity.  We don’t see it going on, but it is.  People with Emergency Management Services are talking to people at the hospital, who are talking to people in the health department, who are talking to the Centers for Disease Control.  Conversations and reporting of trends happen every day in order to protect public health.

    In every community across our nation, these front-line health care professionals track and trend a long list of diseases that could impact us from the annual influenza bug to malaria to Lyme’s disease.  They gather information based on symptoms of patients and lab results to ensure that ‘outbreaks’ are quickly identified and managed.

    They even practice – a lot – to make sure they are ready to handle a real emergency.  They develop scenarios – both likely and unlikely – and run drills on what and how things need to go in order to best protect the public.  That’s comforting to know, isn’t it?

    So during this holiday season when thankfulness is something we all tend to embrace, we can be thankful to those health care heroes who are working behind the scenes to protect us every day.

    Have You Updated Your Diabetes Treatment Lately?

    Last updated 14 days ago


    Diabetes is an all-to-common disease.  You most likely know several people with the disease – your pet might even be diabetic!  Whether it’s a two-legged or four-legged member of your family or friends, you know how big an impact it has on the lives it affects.

    Diabetics have too much glucose or ‘sugar’ in their blood.  While it’s an important source of energy for cells and our brain’s main fuel source, having high blood sugar wreaks havoc with your overall system and can affect your kidneys, eyes, nerves and heart, not to mention its effect on your energy level.  It is an aggravating disease.

    Depending on the severity of the disease, it might be managed through diet and exercise.  But in more severe cases daily medication is also needed to keep the most harmful effects at bay.  In the last decade a lot of progress has been made in developing more options when it comes to treatment.  For people who have given themselves insulin shots for years, there may be new oral medications that can take the place of needles.

    There are a variety of drugs and combinations of drugs that physicians can now prescribe based on the individual patient.  If you are diabetic or know someone who is, maybe it’s time to have a talk with your doctor to see if new developments in the treatment of diabetes are right for you. 

    Call our free health information and physician referral line at 1-850-864-0213 to learn more about diabetes, nutrition classes, or to find a qualified physician to help manage your disease.

    Can An Apple A Day Really Can Keep the Doctor Away?

    Last updated 22 days ago


    We’ve all heard the saying about an apple day keeping the doctor away, but is that true? Now, no amount of fruit and vegetables can take the place of good preventive medicine provided by a health care professional, but apples really do have a lot of healthy benefits that ought to encourage us to eat them up!

    While the peak season for apples is September through November, there are so many varieties of them, you can get good, scrumptious apples all year long.  In November we like to put them in pies to be served on our holiday table but eating these flavorful orbs in their natural state is the best way to go.

    Here’s some ‘food for thought’ about the apple.  Apples are loaded with vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant that can block damage caused by free radicals and boost the body’s resistance against infectious germs.  An apple offers B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B-6 which are key to maintaining red blood cells and keeping your nervous system healthy.  They are rich in calcium, potassium and phosphorus, and their value as part of a high fiber diet can help keep bad cholesterol down.

    Who knew these beautiful, tasty little things could be packed with so many benefits.  So while an apple a day can’t really replace your doctor, they sure can boost your health.  Make them a part of your daily diet!


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