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    Understanding Sleep Disorders

    Last updated 4 days ago

    Every day, sleep disorders rob millions of Americans of the restful sleep they need. Without treatment, these disorders can lead to a long list of health problems, from weight gain to depression and heart disease. If you are experiencing disrupted sleep or unexplained daytime fatigue, discuss your symptoms with your doctor and ask for a referral for a sleep study at Raulerson Hospital. In our sleep lab, we can get to the bottom of your sleep problems so that treatment can begin. Here is a look at some of the most common disorders.

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea occurs when the airways is constricted by pressure from the neck and throat. As a result, sleep apnea suffers stop breathing periodically throughout the night. A typical episode occurs then the airway is blocked and the sufferer starts gasping for breath. Then, he or she eventually wakes up, clears the obstruction, and falls back to sleep. These episodes can occur hundreds of time per night but are so fast the sufferer is usually unaware that is happening until he or she is told by a sleeping partner. Most patients improve by wearing a C-PAP device to keep the airways open during sleep.


    Narcolepsy disrupts the area of the brain that controls sleep and wakefulness. As a result, people with narcolepsy experience “sleep attacks,” during which they fall asleep without warning. These attacks can occur at any time and last anywhere from 30 seconds to more than 30 minutes. Sleep attacks may also be accompanied by cataplexy, or loss of muscle tone, throughout the body. Planned naps and stimulant medications may help.


    Insomnia isn’t actually a sleep disorder. Rather, it is symptom. Despite the fact that it is not actually a disorder, it can be extremely disruptive. Insomnia can indicate other issues, ranging from restless leg syndrome to depression. If you are experiencing insomnia, talk to your doctor so you can work to pinpoint the cause.

    Call our Consult-A-Nurse hotline at (888) 725-3918 to learn more about our Sleep Disorders Laboratory. Be sure to also ask questions about our other hospital services.

    A Look at Some Common Types of Heart Disease

    Last updated 6 days ago

    Finding out that you have heart disease may be overwhelming at first, but it is important to arm yourself with as much information as you can about your illness. Learning about your heart disease will help you adapt to managing it and will help you recognize symptoms that need to be treated in the ER. Here is an overview of some the most common types of heart disease and what you need to know about the symptoms.

    Congenital Heart Disease

    Congenital heart disease is caused by heart abnormalities that are present at birth. These defects can be caused by a number of different things, including viral infections and alcohol use during pregnancy. The cause is unknown in some cases. Congenital heart disease can impact any part of the heart, including the valves, septum, aortas, and chambers. Most heart abnormalities that are associated with congenital heart disease disrupt blood flow and cause symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and bluish skin. In most cases, congenital heart disease is treated surgically.

    Congestive Heart Failure

    With congestive heart failure, the heart no longer pumps as effectively as it should. As a result, the rest of the body does not receive the blood it needs. This type of heart disease is most common in older people and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other diseases that cause fluid back-up in tissues. Weight gain, swelling in the legs and abdomen, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath are all symptoms.

    Coronary Heart Disease

    Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. It is caused by atherosclerosis, a condition associated with plaque build-up in the arteries. Chest pain is the most common symptom. Women may also experience fatigue and weakness.

    If you are experiencing chest pain, you should seek immediate assistance from the ER at Raulerson Hospital. You can call our Consult-a-Nurse service to learn more about heart disease symptoms and for a referral to a physician who can help by dialing (888) 725-3918. 

    Important Information about Mammograms

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American women. Every year, breast cancer claims the lives of around 40,000 women. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of that statistic is that many of these deaths could be prevented with proper screening. If you’re a woman over the age of 40, the medical professionals at Raulerson Hospital recommend that you learn more about mammograms and go in for annual screenings.

    What are Mammograms?

    A mammogram is a procedure that uses x-ray technology to examine breast tissue. A mammogram can detect abnormalities that cannot be detected during a routine breast self-exam. After taking a few images of the breast tissue, a doctor looks for any signs of calcifications, tumors, and other abnormalities. Though a mammogram can identify trouble areas, it cannot identify whether a particular abnormality is cancer (you need a biopsy for that).

    What to Expect During the Procedure

    Consider scheduling your mammogram a week after your menstrual period, when your breasts are less tender. Before your mammogram, the technician will ask you to remove your shirt and bra so your breasts can be examined. Your breasts will then be compressed between two plates, allowing the machine to see more of your breast tissue. This part of the procedure may feel uncomfortable, but should only last about 20-30 seconds per breast.

    When to Get a Mammogram

    Doctors recommend that all women over the age of 40 go in for a mammogram every year. If you have a close relative who has or has had breast cancer, you may want to go in for a mammogram even earlier. If you have multiple breast cancer risk factors—such as starting your period at an early age, a cigarette smoking habit, or obesity—your doctor may recommend additional screening.

    Raulerson Hospital has some of the most modern digital mammography equipment available, and we’re standing by to help you identify your risk of breast cancer. Don’t put your life at risk—call us at (888) 725-3918 to schedule an appointment or a screening.

    Understanding EKGs

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women. If you have even the slightest risk of developing heart disease, it’s important that you work closely with your doctor and embrace healthier lifestyle habits. One way a doctor can evaluate your heart health is through a procedure called an electrocardiogram, or EKG.

    An EKG is designed to check the electrical activity of your heart. During the EKG, you will lie flat on a table while doctors and nurses attach electrodes to your legs, arms, and chest. Over the next 5 to 10 minutes, you will lie still and breathe normally as a machine records your heart activity. An EKG can help identify the cause of chest pain, determine how well heart medications are working, and evaluate the function of a pacemaker or other device.

    If your family has a history of heart disease, it may be a good idea for you to undergo an EKG at Raulerson Hospital. We’ve been serving Okeechobee and the surrounding areas for over 35 years. Call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (888) 725-3918 if you have any questions.

    How does an MRI Work?

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Medicine would be a very difficult enterprise if surgeons had to physically operate on an individual every time they complained of bodily pain. Fortunately, medical professionals can see inside the body with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. While traditional x-rays can also see into the body, they can’t produce detailed images of the body’s soft tissues. If you’re planning on having an MRI at Raulerson Hospital, read on to learn more about the procedure and its benefits.  


    Before your MRI, you should be sure to inform your physician of your medical history, current medications, and allergies. You should also tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker or any other metallic device. Since an MRI uses strong forces of magnetism, you will be asked to remove credit cards and all metallic jewelry. You will wear a hospital gown and lie down on a table which will slide into the donut-shaped MRI machine.


    The most significant component of an MRI machine is the super-powered magnet, which creates a large magnetic field. The MRI’s wire coils help create the magnetic field by conducting electricity through the system. The magnetic field orients the body’s hydrogen atoms so they’re facing the same direction. During an MRI, you’ll hear loud noises similar to bongo drums—this is caused by the electricity in the wires interacting with the magnetic field.


    This complex procedure results in a series of two-dimensional cross sections, which your doctor can then examine for abnormalities. These abnormalities should up on the MRI as a different shade of gray, making them easier to detect. Just by looking at the images, a doctor can detect cancer, torn ligaments, multiple sclerosis, and a wide range of other ailments. The earlier your doctor identifies an abnormality, the sooner you can receive treatment.

    Raulerson Hospital offers a range of sophisticated imaging procedures, including MRIs, CT scans, and mammograms. Call us at (888) 725-3918 or visit our website to discover our range of wellness services.



The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials does not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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