St. Lucie Medical Center
For more than 25 years, St. Lucie Medical Center has continued to grow and provide world-class care to the residents of Port St. Lucie.

What Is Involved in a Women's Health Checkup?

Women have unique needs in their health, which should be addressed through annual well-woman exams that focus on reproductive and preventive health. You might schedule this women’s health checkup with your primary physician or with a gynecologist, and in either setting you can expect the following components as part of the visit.

Health history overview

If you are seeing a certain doctor for the first time, you should expect a slightly longer visit during which you may discuss your personal health history and your family health history. Knowing your health background will allow your doctor to recommend certain screenings and lifestyle changes that will help you stay healthier in your daily life.

Pelvic exam

During a pelvic exam, your doctor will feel the internal reproductive organs to measure their shape and size. Any abnormalities may result in further screening with MRI or X-ray exams to take more detailed images of these organs. Conditions commonly diagnosed during pelvic exams include cysts, fibroids, and uterine abnormalities.

Pap test

A pap test may be included as part of the pelvic exam. This test uses a swab to take a cell sample from the cervix, or the opening of the uterus. Cells are examined under a microscope to identify potentially cancerous cells along with certain strains of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer. Your doctor may also recommend other STD tests as part of your exam, depending on your health history and sexual activity.

What's the Hype about High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is one of the most common health problems in the United States, with one in three adults suffering from it. However, it often goes undiagnosed for long periods since it seldom causes symptoms. Early diagnosis is an important part of treating high blood pressure, as it can cause a range of serious health problems, including cardiovascular issues, stroke, and kidney failure. The best way to keep track of your blood pressure is to have it checked regularly by your doctor and to understand your risk factors. Your doctor can also help you find ways to minimize your risk of developing high blood pressure through eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress. Learn more about high blood pressure in this infographic from St. Lucie Medical Center. At our full-service hospital, we treat conditions associated with high blood pressure and also provide women’s health services, robotic surgery, and more. Please help others take control of their health by sharing this information.

A Look at Your Newborn's First Hours of Life

For first-time parents, the first few hours after delivery can be full of surprises. The delivery room will be fairly hectic, and you might be a little shocked at what your baby looks like just after he or she is born. Still, you will have time to immediately bond with your baby and get the rest you need as your baby is given the medical care necessary for a great start. Here is a closer look at what you can expect in the Birthing Center at St. Lucie Medical Center after your baby arrives.

Initial impressions

When babies are first born, they might have patchy skin, wrinkles, or a light covering of very fine hair that will disappear over the next few weeks. At the moment you first hold your baby you will probably gaze right into his or her eyes, since babies will open their eyes very shortly after birth. Any of your baby’s more shocking physical features will fade over the next several weeks, during which time his or her looks will change from day to day.

Newborn screenings

After you have a moment to hold your baby and forge an initial bond, the hospital staff will need to perform newborn screenings to ensure that your child is healthy and well. The Apgar test is the first step in newborn screening, and this will include a measurement of heart rate, breathing, skin color, reflexes, and muscle tone. If your baby has a normal Apgar score, other medical testing may be delayed for up to an hour while you have some quiet time together.

Bonding moments

It is important for babies to spend time with their parents very shortly after birth. This might involve letting your baby hear your voice and look at your face as you cuddle with skin-to-skin contact. Some moms are successful in breastfeeding their babies shortly after birth as well, but this may not always be the case. When breastfeeding is more of a challenge, a lactation consultant can work with you later on after your baby has received more early medical care.

At St. Lucie Medical Center, we are dedicated to creating the most positive experiences possible for every family in our Birthing Center. To schedule a tour of our maternity facilities or get a physician referral, call us at 1 (800) 382-3522 and speak with one of our registered nurses.

What You Need to Know About Spinal Fusion Surgery

When it comes to back pain, there are a number of possible causes and treatments. In most situations, orthopedic physicians will recommend the most conservative, non-surgical treatment options first, but surgery may become necessary if these treatment options do not provide effective pain relief. Spinal fusion surgery is a common type of spinal surgery, which is usually performed through minimally invasive techniques to reduce the stress of surgery and boost the likelihood of successful treatment. During spinal fusion, two or more of the vertebrae are fused together so that movement between these bones no longer occurs. Below, you can see why this surgery may be used to treat your back pain along with details of the procedure to help you prepare.

Reasons for the procedure

Spinal fusion surgery is widely recommended following spinal fractures, which can reduce stability in the spine and pose a risk for further injuries. Other possible causes for surgery include spinal deformity, severe disc herniation, and instability of the spine during activities. It is important to discuss all of the pros and cons of surgery with your physician before scheduling the procedure, since there are so many possible treatment modalities for any given spinal injury or deformity.

Surgical techniques

Any spinal fusion procedure will involve the use of a bone graft, which will bond to the existing bone tissue to create a stable structure over the months following surgery. In nearly all cases, surgeons will prefer an autograft, which uses bone tissue from the patient rather than a donor bank. There are two possible approaches for the surgical incision: Anterior and posterior. The posterior (from the back) approach is more common for lumbar spinal fusion, while the anterior incision on the front of the body is more likely for surgery in the cervical spine.

Recovery and rehabilitation

Because spinal fusion does involve substantial bone healing over several months, it can be a disruptive procedure in your day to day life. You will likely need to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days, and you will work with a physical therapist to facilitate a full recovery. Your physical therapy may begin while you are recovering in the hospital with continued sessions on an outpatient basis.

To learn if you are a candidate for spinal fusion surgery, connect with the Orthopedic & Spine Institute at St. Lucie Medical Center in the Treasure Coast. You can all us anytime 24/7 at 1 (800) 382-3522 to speak with one of our registered nurses about your spine health needs.

Answers to Your Questions About Cardiac Stress Tests

When you typically see your cardiologist, your heart is beating at a resting rate your doctor may not be able to see how well your heart functions when it has to work harder during exercise. Therefore, your doctor may recommend a stress test that shows how your heart works when it is pumping more blood at a faster rate through the body. There are many possible reasons your doctor may schedule a stress test, which might include heartbeat irregularities, symptoms of chest pain or difficulty breathing or your desire to start an exercise program. As you prepare for your stress test, take a look at these commonly asked questions to get an idea of what you can expect.

What is a stress test?

A stress test measures your heart’s activity while you walk on a treadmill with increasing speed and incline. Electrocardiogram equipment measures the electrical activity of your heart while your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure are also monitored. To prepare for the test, you may be asked to change your medication or avoid eating and drinking for a few hours prior to the test. You should wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes to be sure that you can move freely on the treadmill.

Are there any risks?

Stress testing is very low-risk, since it simply involves walking or jogging for a short period of time. Still, there will be a team of medical professionals present to ensure that nothing unusual happens during the test. If you are unable to perform the exercise necessary for the test, you may be given medication to increase your heart rate. You can also stop the test at any time if you are tired or uncomfortable.

What does the test show?

After a stress test, your doctor will be able to make personalized recommendations for how much you should exercise. Your doctor might also use your test results to achieve a more accurate diagnosis of narrowed arteries or other serious cardiovascular issues.

If you are concerned about your heart health, call St. Lucie Medical Center at 1 (800) 382-3522 for a physician referral in the Treasure Coast. Our experienced staff is regionally recognized for excellent care paired with a friendly attitude and sense of humor for the most approachable patient care.

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