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3 Reasons Why Breastfeeding is Good for Mom’s Health

Breastfeeding has both short- and long-term benefits for mothers.

When mothers breastfeed their babies, they’re providing them with all the essentials nutrients an infant needs to grow. But along with helping their babies start off on a healthy path, breastfeeding moms are also doing themselves a favor. Here are some of the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers.

Immediate Physical Benefits

As a newborn baby starts to breastfeed, he or she triggers a complex and beneficial process in the mother’s body. The act of suckling stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin in the mother. The hormone has several functions:

  • Signaling the body to begin the flow of milk to the baby
  • Causing the mother’s uterus to contract, which helps prevent bleeding
  • Inducing, through those contractions, the uterus to return to its normal, pre-pregnancy condition
  • Helping a mother feel a deeper emotional connection to her baby

In the months right after childbirth, breastfeeding delays the mother’s return to a regular menstruation cycle. This means she conserves iron and lowers the risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia, compared to mothers who don’t breastfeed. This delay in menstruating also acts as a natural birth control method, meaning the mother can wait before returning to other methods.

Long-Term Physical Benefits

Studies have shown that women who breastfeed their babies reduce their chances of developing various illnesses or medical conditions later in life, including:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis

Other Benefits

The simple act of breastfeeding can make life easier for mothers and their families and help the planet. Here’s how:

  • Breastfeeding is cheaper than buying formula.
  • Parents don’t have to prepare formula in the middle of the night.
  • Breastfeeding mothers tend to lose weight gained during pregnancy faster than mothers who use formula.
  • Breastfeeding conserves water and energy, compared to using formula.

At Lower Keys Medical Center, the health of expecting and new mothers and their infants is a top priority. We offer a variety of medical servicesclasses and the Cuddlebugs program. To schedule your delivery here or to register for a class, call (305) 294-5531, extension 4209.

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Sports Injuries: 101

Learn the basics about the injuries that athletes of all abilities face.

Whether you’re a sports “weekend warrior” or a pro athlete, you’re bound to experience some kind of sports-related injury. Here’s some basic information on sports injuries and what athletes can do to treat them.

Common Sports Injuries

The most common sports injuries are:

  • Injuries to soft tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles, resulting in:
    • Sprains
    • Strains
    • Contusions
    • Tendonitis
    • Bursitis
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Knee injuries
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Pain along the shinbone
  • Rotator cuff injuries

Less common, but generating increasing concern in the sports world, are concussions. They can occur while taking part in a wide range of activities, and a person might suffer one without necessarily losing consciousness.

What to Do When They Occur

People who feel pain while participating in athletics should immediately stop what they’re doing. Depending on the injury, it might be necessary to call 911 and seek emergency treatment. With many sports injuries, however, the athlete or someone nearby can begin the RICE treatment method:

Rest – Stop using the injured body part and cut down on regular activities.

Ice – Place an ice pack or bag on the injured area for 20 minutes, at least four times per day.

Compression – To reduce swelling, put even pressure on the injured area. Some tools for doing this include elastic wraps or splints.

Elevation – Rest the injured area on a pillow at a level above the heart.

Preventing Sports Injuries

Some ways to prevent the injuries in the first place include:

  • Warming up before playing a sport or doing exercises
  • Stretching after a warm up
  • Using the proper equipment, which can mean:
    • Having the right shoes for each sport
    • Wearing protective gear such as helmets, pads, or braces
  • Not taking part in a sport when already experiencing pain
  • Resting when tired

At Lower Keys Medical Center, we acknowledge all the benefits physical activity has for our health. We also know that even after taking precautions, sports injuries do occur. We have orthopedic specialists on staff that are trained in sports medicine who can diagnose and treat the wide range of injuries that athletes experience. For a free referral, please visit LKMC.com.

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Common Signs of a Heart Attack

Knowing these symptoms can save lives.

Heart disease is a killer—it’s the leading cause of death for Americans. One sign of heart disease is a heart attack. Each year, about 500,000 people experience their first heart attack, while several hundred thousand more have a repeat attack.

The first signs of a heart attack vary. Here are some of those symptoms.

The Common Signs

  • Chest pain – typically, someone experiencing a heart attack has pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. The pain might last for a few minutes. It can also go away and then come back. The sensation in the chest can feel like a squeeze or fullness. Sometimes it feels like heartburn or indigestion.
  • Shortness of breath – having trouble breathing can occur alone, or along with chest pain. It might happen without doing any strenuous physical activity.
  • Upper body discomfort – this may be pain or discomfort in the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or one or both arms.

Other Signs

While most people associate a heart attack with pain in the chest or other parts of the upper body, these are also signs that someone might be having a heart attack:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Sudden dizziness or feeling light headed
  • Unusual level of fatigue

Heart Attacks and Women

Women don’t always have the same heart attacks symptoms as men. They are less likely to experience chest pain and are more likely to experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • A tired feeling that lasts for several days
  • Back or jaw pain

Other Considerations

  • Have a doctor check out any chest pain.
  • Call 911 immediately if experiencing any of the signs of a heart attack.
  • The symptoms of second heart attack may not be the same as the first.
  • The more of these signs someone experiences at one time, the more likely a heart attack is happening.

If you or a loved one shows symptoms of a heart attack, the Emergency Medicine staff at Lower Keys Medical Center is ready to help. And our Heart Care Services can treat all forms of heart disease. Call (305) 294-5531 for more information.

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New Patient Portal — ‘My Health Home’

Introducing the easy way to keep track of your health online.

At Lower Keys Medical Center, we’re always looking to use technology to enhance our patients’ experience with us. To help keep you informed about your hospital health information, we’ve introduced the My Health Home patient portal. Using this secure online application, you can access a variety of information from any device with an Internet connection. My Health Home is easy to use, and best of all, it’s free!

Why Use My Health Home?

With My Health Home, you can access INPATIENT information such as:

  • Lab results
  • Medications prescribed
  • Diagnoses
  • Allergies
  • Physician reports
  • Discharge instructions

In most cases, information about your inpatient stay is available 36 hours after your discharge.

Using the portal, you can easily review and update personal information. And if you need to access records of family members, with proper authorization you can create representative accounts that let you do that.

Getting into My Health Home

You can set up an account while you’re in the hospital by following these easy steps:

  • Present your photo identification at Registration.
  • Provide your email address.
  • After your stay, open the link to the portal that we’ll send you by email.
  • Finalize your account set-up online by:

    • Entering your name as it appears in the email you received, and your date of birth
    • Creating a password and choosing a security question
    • Logging in to view, download and send your information
  • Bookmark the site for easy, future access.

What About Security?

Protecting your information is paramount to us. My Health Home’s security measures include:

  • Sending data on encrypted connections that meet the highest industry standards
  • Storing data on a secure server
  • Sending you an email when your password is changed to verify you made the request
  • Only sharing information with third parties that you have authorized to view your account

At Lower Keys, we’re excited about this new way to keep our patients informed about their health history. We’ll be adding features regularly to make the portal more useful. If you have questions about setting up your or a representative account, call our toll-free help line at (877) 456-9617.

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Water Safety

Enjoy the water safely all year round.

Whether it’s spending a day at the beach or taking a dip in a pool, most of us love to beat the Keys’ heat in the water. But water-related accidents—whether accidental drownings or boating mishaps—cause almost 4,000 deaths each year. June is National Safety Month, but following these tips for water safety is important throughout the year.

Safety at the Beach

  • Swim in areas with lifeguards.
  • Swim with another person.
  • Always have an adult watch young children.
  • Learn the meaning of beach flags that indicate swimming conditions.
  • Watch for rip currents; if you get caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until you can escape it, then swim on a diagonal to the beach.

Safety at a Pool

For residential pools:

  • Put up fences at least four feet tall around all sides and install self-latching gates.
  • Install drain covers that meet federal regulations.
  • Supervise children.
  • Provide life jackets for young children or beginning swimmers.
  • Consider installing an alarm that goes off when someone enters the pool without your knowledge.
  • Have a cell phone nearby when using the pool

At community pools, check to make sure these safeguards are in place:

  • A lifeguard is on duty
  • Safety rules are prominently posted
  • Life-saving equipment, such as rings and reaching polls, are nearby
  • Drains are properly covered

Safety on a Boat

  • Check weather conditions before going out on the water.
  • Have everyone on board wear a life jacket at all times.
  • Keep the minimum required safety equipment on your boat, which varies according to its size. These include a:

    • fire extinguisher
    • sound-making device
    • visual distress signal
  • Get a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or the United States Power Squadrons.
  • Take a boating safety course.

Some General Tips

  • Have everyone in your family learn how to swim.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before swimming or boating.

At Lower Keys Medical Center, we want everyone to have a safe and fun time in the water. But if an accident happens, our Emergency Medicine staff is ready to help. Call 911 during an emergency. For help finding a doctor here at the medical center, visit www.LKMC.com and hit "Find a Doctor."

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Eating Disorders in Men

Men are not immune from anorexia and other eating disorders.

Eating disorders–anorexia, binge eating, and bulimia–are often seen as problems only for women. The reality is, about 10 percent of people with an eating disorder are men. That number might be low, because men are less likely to seek treatment for an emotional disorder and to be diagnosed with an eating problem. The percentage of gay men with eating disorders seems to be even higher. Adding to the problem is that few scientific studies have examined men and eating disorders.

What Causes Eating Disorders?

As with women, the reasons why some men choose to binge, binge and purge, or eat less than their bodies need are wide ranging. Some relate to sports, others to self-image or emotional issues. Some of these include:

  • To avoid being teased for being fat
  • To make weight requirements for a competitive sport, such as wrestling, weightlifting, or rowing
  • To achieve a certain type of musculature perceived as masculine or socially desirable

Some character traits of or existing health problems in men who develop eating disorders include:

  • Perfectionism
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Attention defecit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Issues with abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Past physical abuse
  • Emotional stress

Possible Health Problems

Depending on the type of disorder, men can experience a range of physical issues, incuding:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Muscle loss
  • Irregular heart beats
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Increased risk of type II diabetes

Seeking Treatment

Because eating disorders are often perceived as a women’s health issue, many men are reluctant to admit they have a problem. But once they do, they can undertake a variety of treatments, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Other forms of outpatient therapy, including family or group therapy
  • Inpatient care at a facility that focuses on eating disorders, if the disorder has led to serious physical problems

The goal of the treatments is to find and deal with the underlying cause of the disorder and address any physical issues it may have caused.

At Lower Keys Medical Center, we know the physical and emotional pain associated with eating disorders. If you think you might have one, our behavioral health professionals can help. Call (305) 294-5531 for more information.

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What Are the Different UV Rays and How to Protect Your Skin from Them

Keep your skin healthy while enjoying the outdoors.

By now most people know that prolonged exposure to sunlight increases the risk of developing skin cancer, the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. Despite all of Florida’s sun, the state has fairly low skin cancer rates compared to other states. Maybe that’s because folks here take the necessary precautions. But since May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, let's review the best ways to protect yourself from the sun.

Harmful Rays

You need to focus on two forms of radiation emitted by the sun: ultraviolet (UV) A and B rays. A makes up a greater part of UV radiation, while B is the stronger of the two. Each can lead to cancerous changes in skin cells.

Protecting Yourself from the Sun

Since both UVA and B play a role in promoting skin cancer, you need to choose sunscreen products that specifically say they block both forms of radiation. Some of the products you can use include:

  • Sunscreen lotion, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15
  • Wrap-around sunglasses
  • Special sun-protective clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of at least 30

When using sunscreen, remember that even a product with an SPF of 50 can’t block all of the UVA and B rays. And a sunscreen loses its effectiveness over several hours.

More Steps to Take

Here are some other things you can do to reduce your exposure to the sun:

  • Seek the shade as much as possible.
  • Avoid being in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, preferably of at least three inches.
  • Wear clothing made of fabrics that naturally screen out more UVA and B rays. These include:

    • Denim and other tightly woven fabrics
    • Synthetic fabrics such as rayon and polyester
    • Heavy fabrics, such as corduroy
  • Choose clothes that cover your arms and legs.

For severe sunburns our Emergency Room is open 24/7 and our wait time is online at www.LKMC.com  For a physician referral, please see our Find a Doctor page at www.lkmc.com/find-doctor

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Happy Nurses Week: May 6-12!

It's National Nurses Week! Let's show some appreciation for the men and women who work tirelessly to keep their patients healthy and comfortable.

It's no secret that hospitals and doctor's offices simply can't function without the help of their nurses. That's why every year we take a week to really show these dedicated workers how much they mean to their patients, employers, and community. Here are some of the reasons why we love the nurses at Lower Keys Medical Center.

They are dedicated to patient care. Your well-being is a nurse's top priority. She is continuously learning and studying to keep up with the latest in her field for your benefit. She stays on her feet for 12 hours a day, ensuring that your needs are met.

They always have a warm smile. Nursing can be a stressful and sometimes thankless job. Despite the occasional chaos of a busy floor, nurses still strive to be a friendly and comforting presence for their patients. They know bedside manner is just as important to the patient as their medicines and exams.

They are trustworthy and professional. Nurses see a lot during the scope of their day. Patients can feel secure knowing that whatever their nurse sees or hears is confidential. There will never be any judgment from a nurse; she is on your side.

They are passionate about their field. Nursing isn't a job that can be done by someone without passion. You have to love what you do. Whatever floor you find yourself on as a patient, you'll know your nurse has a real interest and expertise in that specialty.

The nurses at Lower Keys Medical Center are the best in their field. You can always count on the highest quality of care during your visit with us. Need to make an appointment?

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What Are the Common Symptoms of IBS?

Digestive problems? See if your symptoms match up with the most common signs of IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be an unpredictable and frustrating condition to endure. There is no known cause or cure, but the symptoms are well known enough to reach a confident diagnosis when experienced on a regular basis. These warning signs should alert you that a problem may be brewing in your digestive system.

  • Abdominal pains – The foremost symptom of IBS is cramping, which can occur at any time, but especially after eating or before using the bathroom.
  • Diarrhea – Loose stools can occur when your digestive system is behaving abnormally.
  • Constipation – Along with diarrhea, the opposite can also be a symptom. Patients often experience one for a few days, and then the other.
  • Bloating – A big meal or a certain food may cause temporary bloating, but chronic bloating shouldn't be a normal part of your day.
  • Changes in your stool – You may notice blood or mucus when you use the bathroom.
  • A frequent "need" to go – The feeling of an upcoming bowel movement might be present around the clock, even if there is no real need.
  • Discomfort after meals – You may feel extremely full, or even nauseated, after just a few bites.
  • Inability to eat reasonable portions – Take note if you can only eat small amounts at a time, or if you've lost your appetite altogether.

If you found yourself nodding as you read through this list of symptoms, it's time to make a doctor's appointment! You can learn more about our digestive care department at our website, or receive a free physician referral at our website www.LKMC.com and hit the link "Find a Doctor."

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The Dangers of Driving Distracted

When you're behind the wheel, keep your focus on the road.

You're never more dangerous than when you're driving a car. Small mistakes can have big consequences, so the road deserves your full attention. Are you prepared to face and reject the most common distractions? Here's what you can do to stay safe.

Put your cell phone away.

Texting and talking on the phone are not safe activities for a driver. If you are tempted to check your phone or answer a call while you're on the road, turn your ringer off and put your phone somewhere out of your reach.

Get directions safely.

If you have a passenger with you, ask him to be your navigator. You don't want to be reading a map, skimming a list of directions, or typing an address into your GPS while cruising down the street. If you are driving somewhere unfamiliar alone, plan in advance so you can remain free of distraction.

Set boundaries with your kids.

Parents often become distracted when their kids start fighting, making a mess, or taking off their seat belts. It helps to enforce consistent rules for safe behavior in the car. If the rules are broken, don't hesitate to pull over and stop the car until the situation resolves.

Keep both hands on the wheel.

Whether you're digging through your purse, applying make-up in the review mirror, or just trying to change the music, if your hands aren't on the wheel or your eyes aren't on the road, you're too distracted to be driving.

Whatever your healthcare needs are, we'll find the right match for you. For ER time wait or a free referral to a doctor, please visit www.LKMC.com and hit the "Find a Doctor" link.

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