Twin Cities Hospital
Twin Cities Hospital is a 65 bed general acute care facility dedicated to the comfort, care, and education of our patients and our community.

Bone Densitometry: What Is It and Who Should Have It Done?

Bone densitometry is a type of diagnostic imaging exam that allows healthcare providers to evaluate a patient’s bone health. Also called bone density scanning or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanning, this test measures the amount of calcium and other minerals in a particular area of bone. By revealing a patient’s bone density, the test allows healthcare providers to determine whether he or she has osteoporosis or is at risk of developing the disease. At Twin Cities Hospital, our women’s services department is pleased to offer state-of-the-art bone densitometry testing.

How Bone Density Scans Work:

Bone densitometry uses X-ray technology to produce measurements of bone mineral density. A part of the body is exposed to ionizing radiation. The bone mass with high density absorbs the most amount of radiation, while the least dense areas absorb less radiation. The radiation that is not absorbed passes through the body, at which point it is detected and measured. By evaluating how much radiation passes through the body instead of being absorbed, the bone densitometry equipment can determine the density of the bones.

Who Should Have the Exam?

Bone density testing is generally recommended for individuals at a high risk of osteoporosis. A physician may recommend bone density testing for patients who are post-menopausal women and those who have displayed possible indicators of osteoporosis. These indicators include loss of height and bone fractures. Additionally, patients may be referred for diagnostic imaging if they have any of the following risk factors:

  • Corticosteroid or anti-seizure drug use
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive collagen in urine
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Personal history of hip fractures
  • Thyroid or parathyroid condition

How Patients Can Prepare:

Patients who are anticipating a bone density scan may be instructed not to take calcium supplements for at least 24 hours prior to the appointment. It’s advisable to wear loose, comfortable clothing that lacks metal accessories. Patients should advise the provider if they are pregnant, have had a barium examination, or have received contrast material.

For advanced diagnostic imaging in Niceville, you can turn to Twin Cities Hospital. To learn more about our hospital services, or to speak with a registered nurse, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (850) 729-9468.

Moving Forward After Knee Replacement Surgery

As the term suggests, knee replacement surgery is an orthopedic procedure that involves removing damaged or diseased portions of the knee and replacing them with artificial components. If you suffer from chronic knee problems that interfere with your quality of life and have not been sufficiently managed through conservative orthopedic treatments, then you might consider having knee replacement surgery at Twin Cities Hospital’s Certified Orthopedic Joint Replacement Program.

Before Leaving the Hospital

Most knee replacement patients stay in the hospital for one to four days. Before you can be safely discharged to return home, you’ll need to attain an acceptable level of pain control and fully understand your discharge instructions. You’ll also work with a physical therapist to regain your ability to get in and out of bed by yourself, walk with an assistive device, climb a few stairs, and take care of basic needs such as eating, drinking, and using the facilities by yourself.

After Your Discharge

Once you return home, it’s important to have a responsible adult stay with you for a while to assist you as you recover. You’ll be given instructions for caring for the incisions, reducing your risk of blood clots, and identifying the warning signs of an infection. Enjoy a healthy diet when you return home, but be mindful of any dietary restrictions such as reducing your intake of vitamin K. Take your medications as prescribed and call your doctor if any issues arise.

Before Resuming Usual Activities

It’s important to stay active after your surgery, but not to overdo it. Someone will need to take you to regular physical therapy appointments. Your physical therapist may instruct you to do some exercises and stretches at home between your appointments. You’ll also have a follow-up visit with your orthopedic physician, who will give you clearance when you can resume your usual activities such as driving, sports, and work.

The Joint Venture Program at Twin Cities Hospital is a Certified Orthopedic Joint Replacement Program that includes extensive preoperative education and discharge planning. Our specialists in orthopedics in Niceville include a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, nurses, physical therapists, and cases managers to help each patient move forward after orthopedic surgery. For general information about orthopedics or our other surgical services, you can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (850) 729-9468.

A Look at the Unique Stroke Symptoms for Women

As the third leading cause of death among women, stroke symptoms should never be ignored. The sooner a possible stroke patient seeks emergency care, the better the chances of survival will be. Receiving emergency care at Twin Cities Hospital within a certain window of time may also improve long-term recovery from stroke. Women and men may both experience the common symptoms of stroke, which include sudden muscle paralysis. However, there are some unique stroke symptoms that can occur in women.

Symptoms Common to Men and Women

Women and men who suffer a stroke typically experience the rapid onset of severe symptoms. These can include the sudden development of muscle weakness, numbness, or paralysis, especially on one side of the body. If you suspect someone is having a stroke, you can ask him or her to smile and raise both arms parallel to the floor. If one side of the smile droops or one arm drifts downward, call 911 immediately. Additionally, stroke patients may experience sudden visual problems in one or both eyes, problems walking, loss of coordination and balance, dizziness, and a sudden, severe headache that has no apparent cause. Stroke may also cause confusion, problems speaking, or problems understanding the speech of others.

Unique Symptoms in Women

Women may be more likely than men to faint or lose consciousness. This is another reason why it’s advisable to call 911 right away, before losing consciousness. Women are also more likely to report suffering from generalized weakness, shortness of breath, or difficult breathing, nausea, vomiting, and pain. They may develop hiccups or they may suffer from seizures. Women are also more likely than men to display sudden behavioral changes, which may include unusual agitation. Hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, and unresponsiveness may occur.

Twin Cities Hospital provides a 24/7 ER in Niceville for patients with medical emergencies. If you think you could be having a stroke, please call 911 immediately for transportation to the ER. You can direct non-emergent inquiries to our Consult-A-Nurse line at (850) 729-9468.

What Happens During a Stroke?

As a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., stroke is a medical condition that should be taken seriously. It’s important to become aware of the warning signs of stroke and to seek emergency care immediately if any of those symptoms are observed. Symptoms include one-sided weakness, slurred speech, and loss of consciousness.

Problems That Can Cause Stroke

Most often, stroke occurs when a blood clot obstructs the flow of blood to the brain. This can happen if a blood clot forms in a blood vessel that is carrying blood to the brain or if the clot forms elsewhere and then travels to one of these blood vessels, such as the carotid arteries. When a blood clot breaks free of its point of origin, it can travel in the bloodstream until it reaches a blood vessel that is too small for it to pass through. This causes an obstruction in the blood flow. A blood clot is more likely to form in a person with high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, or atrial fibrillation. Another way in which stroke can occur is when an aneurysm ruptures. This is known as hemorrhagic stroke. It occurs when a weakened area of a blood vessel bursts, causing blood to leak onto the brain tissue.

Process of Brain Cell Death

All types of stroke induce brain cell death, which can lead to death or lifelong disability. When stroke occurs, the affected area of the brain becomes deprived of oxygen. Since the brain is unable to store oxygen, brain cell death can occur within minutes of being oxygen deprived; this is known as anoxic brain damage. When brain cells die, the brain’s electrochemical impulses are disrupted and the end result is functional impairment. While brain damage cannot be reversed, an intensive stroke rehabilitation program may help restore some degree of function.

If you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing a stroke, call 911 immediately. The qualified medical professionals in Twin Cities Hospital’s emergency room provide 24/7 emergency services and are ready to help in your time of need. To speak to a Registered Nurse about your health related questions, call our FREE physician and healthcare referral line, Consult-A-Nurse, at 850-729-9468.

Diabetes Prevention Tips

Millions of people in the U.S. have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease that may result in disabling or life-threatening complications requiring emergency care. If you already have diabetes, the Diabetes & Nutrition Educator at Twin Cities Hospital can help you learn how to manage your condition properly. Even if you do not have diabetes, leading an overall healthy lifestyle is a wise decision that can reduce your risk of developing this disease and many other chronic medical problems.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, which means the body is unable to use this crucial hormone properly. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels by escorting blood sugar into the cells to be used for energy. If you’re overweight or obese, your cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin, which results in high blood sugar levels and can eventually lead to diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight if need be, can reduce your risk of insulin resistance.

Increase Your Fiber Intake

Making dietary changes is another way to prevent diabetes. You might consider talking to the Diabetes & Nutrition Educator at Twin Cities Hospital about healthy meal planning. She may recommend you increase your intake of fiber by choosing whole fruits, rather than fruit juice, and whole grains, rather than refined grain products such as white bread. Try to add vegetables to every meal. You could add spinach and mushrooms to an omelet for breakfast, for example, and choose a whole grain wrap stuffed with vegetables and low-sodium salsa for lunch.

Start an Exercise Program

Like weight loss, regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing insulin resistance. If you’re already developing insulin resistance, starting an exercise program can improve the insulin sensitivity of your cells. Exercise can also help prevent diabetes by contributing to a healthy weight. If you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition such as heart disease or asthma, it’s a good idea to talk to your physician before beginning an exercise routine.

At Twin Cities Hospital, you’ll find qualified, caring professionals who can help you take charge of your wellness. Our hospital provides 24-hour emergency services, surgical services, and a variety of inpatient and outpatient services in Niceville. To speak to a Registered Nurse about your health related questions, call our FREE physician and healthcare referral line, Consult-A-Nurse, at 850-729-9468.

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