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Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a behavioral health condition in which sufferers experience extreme mood swings. Although bipolar disorder can have serious repercussions for sufferers, it is manageable with the help of a behavioral health specialist. Could bipolar disorder be to blame for your symptoms? Here are some of the signs that you should consider talking to your physician about these symptoms.

Depression

Bipolar disorder has two main symptoms: Depression and mania. Sufferers cycle through these symptoms, often with a period of mood stability in between. During depressed moods, bipolar disorder sufferers may experience:

  • Prolonged periods of sadness and hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Decreased energy
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Trouble concentrating and remembering information
  • Thoughts of suicide

These symptoms are similar to the symptoms of major depression. What separates bipolar disorder from major depression is that people with bipolar disorder also experience periods of mania.

Mania

Mania is other piece of bipolar disorder. Mania is a marked upswing in mood that can include irrational feelings of happiness and powerfulness. In a manic episode, these symptoms may occur:

  • An overly excited or happy mood
  • Restlessness and excessive energy
  • Rapid speech
  • Loss of concentration and racing thoughts
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Poor judgment that can lead to dangerous behaviors
  • Decreased need to sleep

The degree of mania that a person experiences depends on the type of bipolar disorder he or she has. With bipolar I disorder, severe episodes of mania can happen, while bipolar II disorder is marked by less intense manic episodes called hypomania. Cyclothymia is another type of bipolar disorder that includes episodes of hypomania interspersed with mild depression. In some cases, patients have characteristics of more than one kind of bipolar disorder and are diagnosed as having bipolar disorder not otherwise specified.

At Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, our compassionate team of behavioral health specialists includes physicians, nurses and other skilled providers who provide both inpatient and outpatient care. To learn more about behavioral health in the Treasure Coast, call (800) 382-3522.


Steps to Take When You That Learn You're Pregnant

Finding out you’re pregnant is a joyous occasion, but once the initial excitement wears off, you may find yourself wondering what exactly to do next. If you haven’t done so already, make an appointment with your women’s services physician to confirm your pregnancy and find out your due date. After taking that first big step, here is a look at what to do next.

Establish maternity care

Most women will use their regular women’s services physician for their maternity care, but if yours does not offer obstetrics services, then you will need a referral to a physician.

Once you have chosen your specialist, establish a plan for prenatal care. This can include starting prenatal vitamins and determining how often you should see your physician. In the early stages of your pregnancy, you may only see your physician once per week, and then your visits will increase to weekly at the end of the pregnancy. However, if you have a high-risk pregnancy, you may need to see your physician more often.

Learn about eating for two

You need more calories to sustain both you and your baby, but that doesn’t mean you eat twice as many calories as you did before the pregnancy. Generally, most women should have about 300 extra calories per day of nutritious foods, such as proteins and healthy, whole-grain carbohydrates. Empty calories from high sugar and high fat foods don’t provide your baby with any nutrients and can contribute to excessive weight gain.

Your physician will set a target weight gain for you, based on your pre-pregnancy weight, and advise you about foods to avoid during pregnancy, such as raw fish and unpasteurized diary.

Decide where to have your baby

Schedule a visit to the maternity unit of the hospital where you plan to have your baby. See the labor and delivery rooms, and find out what kind of services they provide. You should also work on a birth plan with your physician and the maternity team to ensure your wishes for things like pain relief are understood and can be accommodated.

Find out for yourself why women across the area choose Lawnwood Regional Medical Center for their maternity care in the Treasure Coast. Schedule a tour of our maternity department, or call (800) 382-3522 to find out more about our comprehensive women and children’s services.


Recognizing the Early Signs of Autism

Early intervention for children with autism can improve learning, social skills and behavioral outcomes. Pediatrics specialists can often determine if a child is at risk for autism spectrum disorders by age 1, but parents play an important role in deciding if a child should be screened by recognizing the potential symptoms of autism. April is Autism Awareness Month, which is an opportunity to learn more about autism spectrum disorders and the symptoms parents can look out for in their own children. Here is a look at some of the early indicators of autism and what steps you can take if you recognize them in your own child.

Early autism symptoms

Although the following symptoms don’t necessarily mean that your child has an autism spectrum disorder, they should be discussed with your pediatrics specialist. Consider consulting with a physician if you notice the following behaviors:

  • Your child doesn’t smile or have warm expressions by age 6 months or later
  • Your child mirror sounds or facial expressions by 9 months
  • Your child doesn’t babble by 12 months
  • Your child doesn’t engage in back-and-forth gestures, like waving, by 12 months
  • Your child doesn’t use any words by 16 months
  • Your child doesn’t use two-word phrases accurately by 24 months
  • Your child has a loss of speech or social skills at any age

Autism screening tests

If your pediatrician thinks that it is appropriate to screen your child for autism, he or she may use the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT). The M-CHAT consists of 23 questions about a child’s behaviors that are answered by parents. Based on the results of the M-CHAT screening, the pediatrician may recommend further testing, including genetic, neurological and developmental tests. No one test definitively diagnoses autism. Rather, your pediatrician will consider all tests results, as well as your family medical history, before making an autism diagnosis.

The Women’s and Children Center at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center is committed to helping families achieve the best health possible with a range of preventative, acute and chronic care programs. For a referral to a compassionate pediatrics provider in Treasure Coast or more information about children’s services, please call (800) 382-3522.


Understanding the dangers of distracted driving

According to the National Safety Council, along with alcohol and speeding, distracted driving is one of the top three causes of traffic accidents and fatalities. A simple text message is all it takes for a car journey to turn into a trip to hospital for emergency care. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is the perfect time to assess your own driving habits and consider what you can do to make the roads safer for everyone. Get the facts here about the dangers of distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving occurs when your mind is not focused on the activity of driving. Although your brain can switch between different activities quickly, it can’t do two things at once, which is what makes distracted driving so dangerous.

When you are talking on the phone, the part of your brain that works to process visual images decreases activity by about 30 percent. That is the reason that even hands-free devices are dangerous to use when driving.

What are some common causes of distracted driving?

Most people think of cell phones when they think of distracted driving, and texting and talking on the phone are certainly common distractions. However, many other things can cause distraction when you’re driving, including things that may seem like normal things to do in the car. Some other causes of distracted driving include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Changing radio stations
  • Using in-dash navigation systems
  • Putting on makeup

How can I prevent distracted driving?

Make it a habit to store your phone out of reach when you’re driving, and pull over if you need to use it. Set your radio station and navigation systems before you leave. If you have a group of passengers, ask them to keep the noise levels down. If you are the parent of a teen driver, set an example by keeping your attention completely on the road.

If an accident does occur, Lawnwood Regional Medical Center provides emergency care in the Treasure Coast around the clock for all of your urgent medical needs, including a fully equipped pediatric ER for young patients. To learn more about our hospital services, please call (800) 382-3522.


What Increases the Risk of Trisomy?

Trisomy is a chromosomal disorder in which the nuclei of cells contain an extra copy of a chromosome. There are a few forms of trisomy, including trisomy 13, 18 and 21. Trisomy 21 is best known as Down syndrome. Specialized children’s services can help children with trisomy live life to the fullest, but there is no cure and there is no known way of preventing these disorders. If you have concerns about your preconception health or prenatal care, consider speaking with a women’s services provider affiliated with Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.

Chromosomal Abnormalities

During Trisomy Awareness Month, which is recognized in March, take a few minutes to become familiar with human chromosomes and their potential abnormalities. The cells in the body contain genes within their nuclei. These genes are essentially the blueprint for life. In a person without trisomy, the cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, which equates to 46 individual chromosomes in total. A person with trisomy has a total of 47 chromosomes because of an error in cell division. For example, the majority of Down syndrome cases are trisomy 21, as opposed to mosaic trisomy 21 and translocation trisomy 21. Trisomy 21 occurs when an extra copy of chromosome 21 is present in the sperm or the egg. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, this fertilized egg has a total of three copies of chromosome 21. When the cells of the embryo divide, the extra chromosome is copied in each new cell.

Maternal Age

Unlike many medical problems, trisomy disorders cannot be affected by environmental influences or lifestyle modifications. Preventive measures are not available, aside from undergoing genetic counseling prior to conception. However, one risk factor that researchers have identified for trisomy is maternal age, which refers to the age of the mother during conception and pregnancy. As a woman grows older, her eggs do, too. Older eggs have a higher risk of dividing abnormally.

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center provides compassionate children’s health services in Treasure Coast. Our women’s services provider affiliated with Lawnwood Regional Medical Center include prenatal counseling and testing, and our newborn care is supported by our Level III NICU. You can reach a registered nurse at our hospital at any time by calling (800) 382-3522


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