Signs of Glaucoma to Know During National Glaucoma Awareness Month

In January, it’s customary to make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or start exercising. While these are certainly excellent health goals, vision health is often overlooked. About three million Americans are estimated to be living with glaucoma. During Glaucoma Awareness Month this January, the healthcare providers of JFK Medical Center encourage our neighbors to become informed of the signs of glaucoma.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

There are different types of glaucoma. The signs and symptoms a person may develop can depend on the specific type he or she has. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. It typically develops quite slowly and usually does not have early symptoms. As changes do develop, patients are likely to notice a loss of peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is the ability to see objects that are off to the side of the person. Patients can also develop tunnel vision; they may see halos or rainbows around light sources; and eventually, patients can develop blindness.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma occurs as a result of blocked drainage of the eye, which causes the rapid rise in pressure within the eye. This type of glaucoma develops abruptly and requires emergency care. Patients with this type of glaucoma will typically experience the sudden loss of vision, hazy or blurry vision and nausea or vomiting. Severe head pain and eye pain can also be indicative of angle-closure glaucoma, along with the appearance of rainbows around light sources.

Normal-Tension Glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma involves damage to the optic nerve despite normal intraocular pressure levels. It is not typical for patients with this type of glaucoma to experience any symptoms until the damage to the optic nerve is already quite severe. At this point, patients will notice visual impairments.

JFK Medical Center is a leading provider of high-quality healthcare services in Atlantis, including neurology, cardiac, orthopedics, breast care and emergency care. Our team encourages our patients to take proactive steps toward protecting their wellness, including scheduling an annual exam with an ophthalmologist. For general information about our services, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (561) 965-7300.

Recognizing National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) was first started in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Its purpose is to connect teens to scientists and other professionals who can help these kids get the facts on the science of substance abuse and addiction. Since then, NDAFW has grown to encompass many educational initiatives, including community events and online chats. In 2017, NDAFW is being recognized from January 23 rd to 29 th. The ER team at JFK Medical Center embraces these efforts to prevent substance abuse in our Florida communities.

Get the Facts

Teens are a high-risk group regarding drug and alcohol use. Many of them experiment with one or more illicit substances at some point. Not all of these teens develop lasting substance abuse and addiction problems, but it’s important for adolescents to understand that serious or life-threatening health problems can occur even if an illicit substance is used just once. Teens are often uncomfortable discussing these issues with their parents, which is one reason why NDAFW has been so successful; these events allow teens to access information they need without feeling pressure from authority figures.

Withstand Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is highly influential for adolescents. Many teens try alcohol or drugs as an attempt to fit in with their friends or because they feel that drug use makes them look grown up. In fact, researchers have found that the knowledge that friends are watching causes a teen’s reward center in the brain to activate. This is especially true when a teen is making risky choices, such as driving recklessly or trying drugs. It’s important for parents and guidance counselors to help teens learn how to withstand peer pressure. Teens who have trouble simply saying “No” might do better if they have a sarcastic response prepared. For example, if offered a drink, a teen might say, “I prefer to preserve my brain cells,” or “Do you enjoy drooling on yourself? Because I don’t.” Teens who know the facts about substance abuse and are proactive about resisting peer pressure are taking smart steps to protect themselves.

At JFK Medical Center, you’ll find supportive behavioral health services in Atlantis, including treatment for co-occurring substance abuse. Visit us online for detailed information about our behavioral health services. To request a referral to a specialist, call one of our registered nurses at (561) 548-4JFK (4535).

Spotlight on National Birth Defects Prevention Month

In January of 2017, the theme for Birth Defects Prevention Month is “Prevent to Protect: Prevent infections for baby’s protection.” Of course, not all birth defects are preventable, but there are precautionary measures that can help reduce the risk of heart, orthopedic, and other birth defects. The obstetricians and other providers at The Birthplace at JFK Medical Center are devoted to supporting optimum outcomes for mother and baby to prevent the following risks.

Foodborne Illnesses

Foodborne illnesses are a major concern during pregnancy, because of the altered state of the immune system. Foodborne illnesses may increase the risk of health problems for mother and baby, including premature birth and stillbirth. Babies infected with Listeria prenatally may even develop functional impairments of the brain, kidneys or heart. The basic steps of preventing foodborne illnesses include washing hands frequently, preventing cross-contamination of food, cooking food to the proper internal temperature and refrigerating food promptly.

Zika Virus

Expecting mothers in Florida often have concerns about the Zika virus. This virus is known to cause birth defects, including microcephaly. It is recommended that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant avoid nonessential travel to areas with confirmed Zika presence. A physician can provide up-to-date information to prospective travelers.


Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that typically poses no threat to people of overall good health. However, a toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy does increase the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage and congenital toxoplasmosis of the baby. This infection is transmitted through the handling of cat feces. Expecting mothers who have cats are advised to have someone else clean the litter box for the duration of the pregnancy.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

CMV is a common virus that belongs to the herpes family. It can be very dangerous for the baby when contracted during pregnancy, particularly if the mother has never been exposed before. Infected babies may develop blindness, hearing loss, learning disabilities and epilepsy.

At JFK Medical Center, it’s our goal to provide patient-focused, high-quality maternity and newborn care. Our maternity providers near Atlantis offer supportive prenatal education to reduce the risk of birth defects. You can request a referral to a physician by calling (561) 548-4JFK (4535).

Raising Awareness for Cervical Health

January has been designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month by the U.S. Congress. Thousands of women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of cervical cancer and promote its early detection if it develops. This January, consider talking to a women’s health services provider at JFK Medical Center about your risk of cervical cancer.

Know the Symptoms

It is typical for cervical cancer to not cause any noticeable signs or symptoms until it is already in an advanced stage, which is one reason why routine screening tests are crucial. When cervical cancer does cause noticeable changes, women may report abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding that occurs during these times:

  • After a pelvic exam
  • Between regular menstrual cycles
  • After sexual intercourse
  • After douching

Additionally, some women report pain during intercourse and abnormal vaginal discharge. As the disease continues to progress, patients may experience pain in the back, abdomen or pelvis, appetite loss, extreme fatigue, bone pain, urinary or rectal problems or swelling in the legs.

Identify Your Risk Factors

It is entirely possible to develop cervical cancer despite the absence of personal risk factors, just as it is possible to avoid a cervical cancer diagnosis despite having many risk factors. However, risk factors can be a useful tool in assessing a patient’s individual need for screenings. The most significant risk factor for cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Some strains of HPV are preventable with a vaccine. Other risk factors include the following:

  • Cervical dysplasia
  • A history of multiple sexual partners
  • Tobacco use
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure
  • Poor nutrition
  • Obesity

Understand Your Screening Options

Screening tests include Pap smears and HPV tests. In general, it’s recommended that a woman of average risk for cervical cancer receive a Pap test every three years when she is between the ages of 21 and 29. These guidelines change with age. Women who have previously had abnormal Pap results or other risk factors of cervical cancer may be advised to have more frequent screenings. A physician can provide personalized recommendations.

JFK Medical Center is a leading provider of women’s health services in Atlantis. We offer comprehensive breast care, including oncologic services. For further information about our women’s services, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (561) 548-4JFK (4535).

Hurricane Preparedness

Developing a Plan

  • Identify where you will go if you need to evacuate- i.e. relative, friend, public shelter, etc.
  • Stay informed of the latest updates and evacuations orders.
  • Prepare a detailed list of information about the specifics of your medication regime.
  • Consult a physician and medical supply vendors to make sure you are adequately prepared for a hurricane.
  • Have at least a two-week supply of your medication.
  • Have a first-aid kit fully stocked on-hand.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your disability and/or medical condition.
  • If you are dependent on any medical device that requires electricity, contact your physician for his or her recommendation.
  • Pregnant women 38 weeks or greater or that are considered high-risk should consult their physician.

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