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Health

Taking Care of Your Bladder

Woman Drinking Water

Your bladder is a hollow organ that holds the urine that is produced by the kidneys. The urine remains stored in the bladder until you go to the bathroom. If you don’t take care of your bladder properly, there are certain conditions that you can suffer from both now and in the future. A few of the most common bladder issues include:

  • Frequent bladder infections
  • Interstitial cystitis: A chronic bladder condition that causes bladder pain and frequent and urgent urination.
  • Overactive bladder: A serious condition that squeezes urine out of the bladder at inopportune times.
  • Urinary incontinence: A condition where a person is unable to control their bladder.
  • Bladder cancer

To avoid these conditions and to ensure the health of your bladder, there are a few tips that you should follow.

#1 Let It All Out

Women are especially susceptible to urinary tract infections that involve the bladder. Frequent infections of the urinary tract and the bladder can cause permanent damage to your bladder over time. When you go to the bathroom, it is important to empty your bladder completely each time. If you tighten up your muscles and you stop urinating before your bladder is empty, the urine that didn’t make it out of the bladder will bring bacteria back into the urinary tract and bladder which will cause an infection.

#2 Drink Plenty of Fluids

Drinking plenty of fluids will help to flush out your bladder. It will also flush your urinary tract, preventing you from developing an infection. It is recommended that you drink six to eight glasses of water each day. If you find that you are urinating too often, cut back slightly.

#3 Get Moving

If you spend your day sitting at a desk, fluid can build up in your legs during the day. At night, the fluid build-up will cause you to empty your bladder. The longer you leave the fluid in your bladder, the higher the chances are of developing an infection. To prevent this, try walking throughout the day. You can also try raising your legs to your waist and flexing your calf muscles.

#4 Avoid Tobacco

Each year, over 50,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer. According to a recent study, cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit. It will greatly reduce your risk of developing bladder cancer and a variety of other health conditions.

#5 Drink Cranberry Juice

The best way to avoid bladder infections is to drink cranberry juice. The ingredients in the juice can keep harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract. This will keep the bacteria from moving up into your bladder. If you don’t like cranberry juice, you can also take cranberry tablets.

#6 Watch What You Eat

There are certain foods that can cause bladder pain and frequent urination. If you suffer from these issues, avoid acidic food such as orange juice and tomatoes.

#7 Drink Less Before Bed

It is not healthy for your bladder to remain full all night. This is why you should drink fewer fluids two hours before bedtime. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks before bed because caffeine will make you urinate more often. If your bladder remains empty at night, the chances of an infection greatly decrease.

If you want to avoid bladder infections and chronic bladder problems in the future, you should start taking care of your bladder now. Each of the tips listed above will ensure a healthy bladder now and in the future.

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Signs of Lung Cancer

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Lung cancer does not have a lot of noticeable signs in the early stages. Most people do not usually get a diagnosis until when the disease has progressed. However, there are signs you can look out for that will show if you have lung cancer. Noticing the signs can help you get diagnosed at the early stages.

Unending cough

You should be keen on any new cough that is prolonged. A normal cough that is associated with a cold or respiratory infection is likely to go after a week or at most, two weeks. However, a persistent cough can be a sign of lung cancer. If you notice a cough lingering for more than two weeks, you should visit your doctor to have more tests done.

Cough changes

You should also pay attention to your cough if it starts changing. It is especially the case if you are a smoker. Some things to look out for is if your cough gets deeper if you get an increased amount of mucus or start seeing blood.

Breathing changes

A lung tumor can cause fluid buildup in the chest, and the cancer can also block or narrow an airway. One way you can identify this is if you notice that you start getting easily winded or have extreme shortness of breath.

Pain in the chest area

Lung cancer is known to cause chest pain in some patients. The chest pain may be sharp, constant, dull or intermittent. It can also occur throughout the chest or can be confined to one spot. The pain can be due to enlarged nymph nodes or metastasis to the lining around the lungs, the chest wall or ribs.

Wheezing

You experience wheezing when the airway becomes constricted, inflamed or blocked. It can be easily diagnosed as a symptom of allergies or asthma and treatment is simple. However, if the cancer blocks the airway, wheezing might also occur and should be taken seriously.

Drop in weight

One common symptom of any type of cancer is loss of weight. If you notice that you have lost about 10 pounds without trying to lose weight, you should find out the reason.

Bone pain

If the cancer progresses, it might spread to the bones leading to bone pain. The pain might increase and usually gets worse at night. You should take note f any unexplained neck, back, chest, shoulder or arm pain that worsens at night.

Headache and fatigue

If the cancer spreads to the brain, you might experience headaches. However, it can also mean that the cancer is putting unnecessary pressure on the superior vena cava that triggers the headache. Another thing to look out for is fatigue even when you have not done any work. If the fatigue does not wear off even after resting, then you should visit your physician to find out the cause.

Nervous system problems

There are patients who experience nervous system problems when the cancer causes the immune system to start attacking parts of the nervous system. It can lead to muscle disorders characterized by difficult getting up from a sitting position, loss of balance and lack of steadiness in the arms and legs, weakness in the hips and trouble swallowing.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, it is important to visit a physician as soon as possible. Early screening is important especially if you are at high risk of getting the disease.

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Prevent Food Allergies

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There are a range of allergies, and food allergy falls among them. A food allergy is described as an abnormal response to the food eaten at that given time. Not all allergies are identical, as their indications maybe be minor or other times severe.

Symptoms of Food Allergies

The major symptoms of allergies may include among others the following:

  • low blood pressure
  • itchiness
  • diarrhea
  • itchiness

Most of the time it varies from different people. Some react within minutes, and others react within a couple of hours after exposure. However, when the condition is severe, it is referred to, as anaphylaxis.

Methods of Preventing Food Allergies

You can curb food allergies through the following ways:

Keep Away from Trigger Foods

It is also advisable to do away with trigger foods from the kitchen counters. Due to the fact that certain types of foods may cause allergy, keeping them around in the kitchen maybe lure one to consume the food, either intentionally or otherwise hence leading to allergic reactions. Exercising this may greatly reduce your risk of consuming allergic foods. Some of the most known foods to cause allergies include:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts

Be Keen on Ingredients

Another useful precaution is to throw away any food products that you are not certain of the ingredients. Always keep it a practice to read food labels as possible as you can. This requires you first to identify the ingredients that often cause allergic reactions and avoid foods with such contents. Most developed countries require manufacturers to label their food containers with the top ten allergenic foods on food containers. Most allergens have code names for allergens an example is lactose, whey or rennet casein for milk.

Let your Baby Suckle

Medical experts advise that a mother should breastfeed her infant for at least 4 months of age, this helps in preventing allergies such as cow’s milk allergy, wheezing and atopic dermatitis.

Replace your Stock with Trigger Free Food or Their Alternatives

Removing your favorite foods because of allergy maybe not be an easy thing to do but alternatively, you can keep your pantry full of alternative foods thus minimizing the risk of consuming food with allergic content. In case you are in an environment around those who freely consume your trigger foods, you might want to consider storing your food separately.

Other times it causes no harm to walk around in stores to check for products specifically for folks with allergies, this may be a good idea because many manufacturers are considering that trend.

Limit Cross Contamination

In many typical homes, it is not so accidental to get into contact with trigger foods through cross contamination. This, however, can be prevented by being on the look lout on what you bring home and how you store and even cook it. Some precautions may include; using different utensils from others, owning your own cooking appliances such blenders and lastly cleaning your hands properly before handling any food stuff.

Put Down Your Meal Plans

If you constantly prepare your meal yourself, at a personal level, you stand a chance of reducing the risk of consuming trigger food. This also goes a long way in ensuring you get the right amounts of required vitamins and keep fit. This can occasionally be, maybe once a week. Take keen notice on meals you often miss at home. If you get to a restaurant, it is advisable to check the menu first.

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National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month

Banner_NCCAPM_July_Awareness_Logo_500This entire month is national cleft and craniofacial awareness and prevention month. July is a time to draw awareness, funding and support for the hundreds of infants and teens afflicted with congenital issues like cleft lip and cleft palates.

Many adults likewise suffer from cleft and craniofacial disorders through sometimes life-threatening conditions of the craniofacial region as well as trauma. A car accident, for example, could leave an individual suffering from a cleft palate, otherwise known as an opening in the mouth and lip.

These kinds of issues can erode the self-esteem of children and adolescents and cause significant developmental issues. Cleft and lip palates have been associated with breathing issues as well as some problems with language development and proper speech.

Appreciating the Differences and Encouraging Support

Some craniofacial defects are caused by abnormalities during gestational development. These kinds of defects break down into two broad categories – orofacial clefts and craniosynostosis.

The former – orofacial clefts – is characterized by the mouth and lip not forming as they should whereas the latter occurs when a young baby’s bones meld together too early for proper development to take hold.

In terms of craniofacial issues beyond cleft lip and cleft palates, national cleft and craniofacial awareness and prevention month is about drawing attention and funding towards issues like anotia (where the external part of the ear is absent) and microtia (characterized by a deformation in the external portion of someone’s ear).

  • Early Treatment is Highly Beneficial

Although treatments can vary somewhat depending on the age and health of the child, as well as the medical severity of the issue and lifestyle impairments (e.g., breathing issues), appreciating the pain and struggle that these disorders can cause is important.

Just cleft lip and cleft palate issues account for over 4,000 new cases of craniofacial issues in infants every single year. Cleft palates account for over 2,700 new cases annually, and that number is only growing.

Many of these issues are completely treatable and incredible charities like Smile Trainand put in place so that everyday people can make a small contribution that can literally change lives.

If possible, these issues should really be treated early since doing so can mitigate some of the detrimental effects of living with congenital or acquired craniofacial issues. These can include physical, developmental, and learning issues that can be severely reduced or eliminated entirely with the help of craniofacial surgeons and improvements in technology.

Many children afflicted with craniofacial issues like cleft lip and cleft palate are, tragically, teased for having the condition. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that children suffering for these conditions can face health and social problems.

On the health front, issues can range from an increased rate of dental issues and hearing problems (including ear infections) whereas social problems among children with craniofacial and cleft issues can range from issues pronouncing certain consonants in their everyday speech to school problems.

Researchers have long noted that children with cleft lip and cleft palate face an erosion of self-esteem in more severe cases and long gaps missed during the school year because of one or more surgeries to address the condition.

How Everyone Can Help: Treatment and Research Funding

There are a number of steps that you can take online, in your community, and through donations to chip away at the negative hold that these craniofacial and cleft disorders can have over too many children.

Asking your local city council or local house representative to include funding for research or simply making a small donation to ACPA can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

 

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Getting Active With The Whole Family

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Balancing Work and Family Fitness

In today’s society, both parents work. The reason for this comes out of the necessity to bring in an adequate amount of money to meet debt demands. A mother and father are the first to express concern about making the time to balance the needs of the family while balancing the budget and having the time and energy for both.

Set a Good Example for Your Kids

If you are a parent, you need to remember that your children learn by the example you set. Children are keen on observation and follow what parents do and say.

For example, if you are a couch potato in any spare time you have, your children are going to spend more time sitting, gaming, watching television, and take up more inactivity outlets.

This generation is full of electronics that grab the interest and attention of children everywhere. It seems as though all kids want to do is play with their electronic gadgets.

These sedentary activities do bodies no favors. Learn to limit your children’s time on television, kindles, iPhones, computers, and gaming consoles. Children these days love to be told to “Go to your room.”

Everyone Has 24 Hours in a Day

If you are a parent, you are the ones to instill in your kids the importance of physical fitness. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. The clue to making the time for physical fitness with the kids is how you schedule your time.

Allowing one hour out of 24 hours a day for moderate to vigorous activity every day helps all family members remain healthy and keep weights within a reasonable range. This time also allows for bonding time for parents and children.

This one hour allows for your kids to learn how important physical fitness is to you and your spouse. The kids may not want to comply, but once they do they will not know where the hour went and wanted more.

Do as much as you can outdoors. The fresh air is invigorating and gives parents and children a healthy appetite for all of the healthy foods you fix.

If you are at a loss for ideas, there are plenty of ways in which you incorporate one hour of fitness with the kids.

Some Family Activity Examples

  • Hiking on a nature trail
  • Biking
  • Team sports
  • Walking
  • Go bowling
  • Play a game of tennis
  • Play tag
  • Take the kids for a game of miniature golf
  • Fly a kite
  • Go sledding
  • Cross-country ski
  • Take the family for a swim, winter or summer
  • Play ball
  • Jump rope
  • Lawn care, garden, and pulling weeds
  • Rake up leaves and jump in the piles
  • Plan a room where you can, and your kids can build a workout room on inclement weather days.

Do not allow your children to form bad habits for exercise and eating.

When there is something as important in your life as physical activity for one hour a day, many things can obstruct your plans. These obstructions can come in the form of,
emergencies, work, deadlines, and unexpected visits from family and friends to mention a few.

You must meet your unique obligations so just rearrange your schedule and fit it in or spend extra time the next day doing what everyone loves to do in the way of exercise such as biking two hours instead of one hour.

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Understanding SIDS

Baby

Sudden infant death syndrome is a term used to describe the sudden and unexpected death of an infant that is normally described as healthy before they reach one year old. SIDS has also been referred to as crib death since as many of the cases have occurred while the child was sleeping in their crib.

What Are the Causes of SIDS?

Unfortunately, the cause of sudden infant death syndrome is not known, although there have been studies that show a link between SIDS and defects in the areas of the baby’s brain that helps to regulate breathing controls and sleep arousal.

What Are the Risks for SIDS?

Even though the exact cause of SIDS has not been fully been determined, research has uncovered causal factors that can put babies at higher risks. Some of the risk factor associated with high incidents of sudden infant death syndrome include:

  • Brain Defects

Some groups of infants that have been affected by SIDS more than others are those with immature portions of their brains that directly affect breathing and the sleep and wake cycle.

  • Respiratory Infection

Many of the instances of SIDS have occurred after an infant had recently suffered from some respiratory infection which is believed to have contributed to breathing complications. Though it is important to remember that not all children that have respiratory infections with succumb to SIDS.

  • Low Birth Weight

Multiples or other premature babies are most likely to be born below average birth weight which can lead to a delay in achieving milestones and sometimes other health complications. These delays and complications are often linked to the baby’s brain not having enough time to fully mature. When an infant’s brain has not fully developed the parts of the brain that regulate breathing and heart rate, they may lack control over the processes that control these functions.

  • Other Factors

There have been many other risk factors associated with a higher risk of SIDS. Some of these include gender, which shows higher instances in boys than girls, age, which shows higher instance rates between two and four-month-olds, and family history, which shows infants with siblings or cousins who have died from SIDS are at increased risk.

How Can SIDS be Prevented?

Knowing the risks and possible connections with sudden infant death syndrome have allowed doctors to come up with preventative measures that can help lower the risk of a child succumbing to SIDS. Preventative measures that physicians recommend for parents to help reduce their infant’s risk of SIDS include:

  • Maintaining a healthy pregnancy by not smoking, drinking, or using recreational drugs
  • Prohibiting smoking in the home and around your infant
  • Putting your baby to sleep on their back, so they have the clearest airway for breathing
  • Having your child sleep on an infant mattress free from pillow, blankets, and toys
  • Keeping your baby in the same room with you although not in your bed
  • Maintaining the temperature of the room so that your baby does not become too warm during the night

While the thought of SIDS can be a terrifying feeling for all parents, proper sleeping techniques and reducing risk factors such as smoking have shown a reduction in the amount of SID related deaths. Until researchers determine the exact cause of SIDS the best prevention is following the sleep guidelines discussed with your doctor.

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Understanding Addiction

addictions

The word addiction originates from a Latin term meaning enslaved to or bound by, which is a very apt way to describe it. Addiction’s influence on the brain is very powerful, which is why it is so challenging for you to overcome it. It hijacks the brain in three distinct ways:

  • A strong craving for a particular substance or activity
  • Loss of control of it
  • Continuing with it despite negative consequences

Experts in the field of addiction believed for many years that the only source of addictions were alcohol and drugs. Advanced diagnostic studies of the human brain and subsequent studies have proven otherwise, however. Pleasurable activities such as gambling, shopping, sex, and food can also take over your brain.

A Common Problem

Many people experiment with drugs or alcohol or find themselves engaged in an activity that they have become addicted to. Nearly 23 million Americans, approximately one out of every ten people, are addicted to alcohol, drugs, or some other harmful activity. The reasons are vast. Some of them are:

  • Curiosity
  • Relieve stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Pain management
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Fit in with others
  • To have a good time.

Engaging in these activities does not automatically lead to addiction, however. Everyone is different. The way to determine an addiction has less to do with what or how much you are participating in it and more to do with the consequences of it.

If the chosen activity is causing problems in your relationships, or at work, home or school, you probably have an addiction.

The Pleasure Center

Your brain reacts to all pleasures the same way. It doesn’t matter whether we are engaging in addictive behavior or not. Technically, pleasurable behavior causes your brain to release something called dopamine. It originates from a cluster of nerve cells located in the cerebral cortex portion of your brain. This connection is so consistent that doctors actually refer to this portion of the brain as the pleasure center.

The result of addiction is that your brain actually goes through physical changes of structure and function. It begins with recognizing pleasure and ends with compulsive behavior. It is a chronic disease not unlike other diseases such as heart disease or diabetes where the heart or pancreas is physically affected and changed.

The Addict’s Brain

Recent research has indicated that the changes to your brain are rather complicated. Every time you participate in addictive behavior and your brain’s pleasure center is flooded with dopamine, it causes a chain reaction. A portion of your brain associated with memory records the activity and creates a rapid sense of satisfaction while another area of your brain creates a conditioned response to it. Addiction stimulates this circuit of your brain and then overloads it.

When the pleasure associated with your addiction subsides, the memory centers in your brain remember it and cause you to want to recreate it. There are certain environmental cues that trigger those memories, at which time an intense craving develops.

Are You Addicted?

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it is time to seek a professional evaluation:

  • Are you using or indulging in the activity more than before?
  • Do you go through withdrawal symptoms without it?
  • Have you ever lied to anyone about it?

 

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Understanding Radiation Therapy

Radiation-Therapy

If there is one illness that many people are afraid of, it’s cancer. This is because cancer is one of the most fatal illnesses that is hard to treat. Moreover, there is really no definite treatment for it yet.

Although chemotherapy is the most popular treatment for cancer, there is still no guaranty it can cure all types of cancer. This is why another type of treatment has been developed to treat cancer. This treatment is called radiation therapy.

Radiation Therapy Explained

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation such as gamma rays and X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This happens with the help of three types of radiation therapy such as:

  • External-Beam Radiation Therapy
  • Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy
  • Systemic Radiation

External-Beam Radiation Therapy

This type of radiation therapy is done with the use of a radiation machine. The machine is similar to the X-ray machine will release its charged particles through a beam radiation. The radiation will penetrate the cancer-infected area from outside the body.

Internal Radiation

Internal radiation, on the other hand, is the method of directly placing the radioactive materials in the area around cancer cells. The process is a bit complicated, but it can be more potent.

Systemic Radiation

Meanwhile, systemic radiation treatment is the use of radioactive substances that can move through the blood to reach the areas with cancer cells. This works like a regular medicine in the sense that the substances are absorbed into the blood stream. An example of a radioactive substance is radioactive iodine.

How Does Radiation Therapy Work Against Cancer?

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging cell DNA. This also can happen by creating free radicals within the cells that kills the cancer as well.

Does Radiation Therapy Kill Other Cells?

The drawback in using radiation therapy is that it kills not only the cancer cells but also other cells nearby. This problem causes side effects depending on which cells are damaged as the result of killing cancer cells. Nevertheless, our tissues have a certain level of tolerance against radiation. It’s your doctor who will determine such levels before this treatment is performed.

Why Is Radiation Therapy Needed?

Radiation therapy is a powerful treatment against cancer. It’s so strong that other cells may also be sacrificed in the process. Nonetheless, the result is significant. It’s needed when the purpose is to completely eliminate the cancer. This means radiation therapy is used for curative intent, and it can also be used for palliative care to shrink tumors.

On the other hand, radiation therapy can also be applied along with chemotherapy. It can also be used for curative intent, control treatment, and palliative care at the same time.

How Is Radiation Therapy Scheduled?

Before radiation therapy is scheduled, your oncologist will ask you to undergo several tests such as CT scans, MRI, PET, and ultrasounds. All such tests will determine the location and the position of cancer infections inside the body. Once identified, radiation therapy will be applied in the target areas.

Conclusion

Radiation therapy may be much stronger than chemotherapy. However, there are risks involved as the radiation can also damage other non-cancer cells. Radiation therapy is ideal for curative intent as it requires patients to be much healthier and tolerant against certain radioactive materials and substances.

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What is Oral Cancer?

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Oral cancer is a persistent growth or sore inside the mouth that is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage. It will not go away on its own. It includes the following surrounding tissues:

  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Floor of the Mouth
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue
  • Lips

What are the Symptoms?

There are numerous symptoms associated with oral cancer. The most common ones are:

  • Any lesions or swelling on the lips, gums, or other areas inside your mouth
  • Unexplained oral bleeding
  • Unexplained numbness, tenderness, or pain in any areas of the mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth or the neck and face that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Red, white, or red and white speckled patches in your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change of voice
  • Earache
  • A change in your teeth or the way your dentures fit together
  • Large weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist or primary care physician as soon as possible.

Who is at Risk?

It is estimated that over 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Men face twice the risk than women, and men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of all.

Oral cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, you are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nonsmokers.
  • Using smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip makes you 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the lining of the lips, gums, or cheeks.
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol. You are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, then you are more genetically predisposed.
  • Too much sun. If you have excessive exposure to the sun, especially when you are young, it increases your odds of contracting oral cancer.
  • If you have been diagnosed with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), some strains put you at a higher risk for contracting oral cancer.

It is important to note, however, that 25% of diagnosed cases of oral cancer do occur in nonsmokers and social drinkers.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Diagnosis?

There are some things you can do to lower your risk, such as:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun, and when you are out in the sun, apply UV-A/B sun blocking products on your skin and lips.

Early Detection is Key

The earlier you see any symptoms, the greater the chance of successful treatment. You can also take an active role in early detection by doing the following:

  • Do a Self Exam Once per Month – Use a bright light and a mirror to examine all the surfaces of your mouth and lips. Feel for lumps and thoroughly look over every part of your mouth, throat, and gums. Check for enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If you find anything suspicious, contact your health care professional immediately.
  • See your Dentist Regularly – No matter how thorough, you can’t always see everything, so ask your dentist to conduct an exam at your next visit.

Remember, understanding what oral cancer is and how to detect it increases your chances of successful treatment.

 

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Cataract Awareness Month

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What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens that filters light in your eye. Cataracts can interfere with your vision and can slowly develop over time or can enlarge quite suddenly. Cataracts are often diagnosed on routine eye exams, but sudden changes in vision should be reported to an eye doctor.

Symptoms of a Cataract

Signs and symptoms of cataracts can vary depending on the size of the cataract and how far advanced at is. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or clouded vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Problems with glares
  • Frequent eyeglass and contact lens prescription changes
  • Clouding of the middle part of the eye
  • Halo effect when looking at lights
  • Double vision in only one eye
  • Needing increased light to do activities such as reading, sewing, or puzzles

A cataract may start as a small spot of blurry vision in your eye and get noticeably worse as time goes on. Regular check-ups with your doctor will help to track the development of the cataract and come up with a proper treatment plan.

What Causes Cataracts?

While cataracts typically develop as you age, there are other issues that can lead to cataracts. Injuries to your eye or surgical procedures can damage the lens of your eye leading to cataracts later in life. Genetics and long-term medical conditions such as diabetes also increase your risk of developing cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

There are four different types of cataracts that you may be diagnosed with. These usually differ by how they develop as well as their location.

  •      Nuclear Cataracts

A nuclear cataract usually begins with a disturbance in your near-sighted vision. As the cataract develops, it will become yellow and more cloudy before becoming brown and will eventually cause a disturbance in both close and far vision.

  • Cortical Cataracts

Cortical cataracts will begin as white streaks throughout the lens that will eventually spread to the middle, causing more vision disturbance as more light is blocked.

  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

This type of cataract typically starts a small opaque area towards the back part of the lens that sits directly in the pathway of the light trying to come through. Posterior subcapsular cataracts will often spread quicker than most and tend to affect reading vision and vision in bright lights. It often creates halos and glare issues.

  • Congenital Cataracts

Congenital cataracts are ones that a child is born with or they develop sometime during their childhood. This can often be the result of genetics, infection in the uterus, trauma, or medical conditions such as rubella or myotonic dystrophy.

Cataract Surgery

If your cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, drive, or perform routine daily activities, cataract surgery may be the best option for you. During the cataract surgery, the doctor will remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new clear lens that will significantly improve your vision.

Cataract surgery is very safe and is an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits or surgery with you if it is the recommended course of action.

While cataracts can cause significant problems with everyday life, they are most often treatable with surgery. If you have any vision disturbance or think that you may have a cataract, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

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