Inflammatory Arthritis: Enjoying Life after the Diagnosis

3 Common Myths About Hemorrhoid That Aren’t True

Posted by on 8:11 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Common Myths About Hemorrhoid That Aren’t True

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 75 percent of all people will suffer from hemorrhoids at some point in their life – even though it is more common in older adults. Chances are you’ve known someone who has dealt with the pain, burning and itching associated with hemorrhoids, and these people probably told you a few facts about their condition. However, before you believe everything you hear, it’s important to realize that not every so-called “fact” about hemorrhoids is true. Here are three common myths about hemorrhoids that simply aren’t true: Hemorrhoids Are an Early Sign of Cancer One of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids is blood in your feces. The small smear of blood occurs when your sensitive hemorrhoids become irritated. If you have hemorrhoids and you experience bleeding for several days or weeks, you might assume that the issue is something worse, maybe even colon or rectal cancer. However, before you assume the worst, it is important to know there is absolutely no link between any types of cancer and hemorrhoids. Instead, there is likely another far less frightening reason why you are suffering from hemorrhoids, including: Pregnancy Constipation and straining on the toilet Lifting heavy objects Sitting or standing in one spot for too long Obesity If you suffer from hemorrhoids and are suffering from continued bleeding and irritation, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor right away. A small amount of blood and mild itching and irritation and completely normal. However, if you are bleeding excessively and have other symptoms, including excessive and persistent abdominal pain, bloating and gas, unexpected weight loss and a feeling like you can’t empty your bowels, the problem could be more serious. Sitting on a Cold Sidewalk Will Lead to Hemorrhoids One of the oldest myths associated with hemorrhoids is a bizarre cause: sitting on a cold sidewalk or other chilly concrete surface. However, before you give up your spot at the yearly Christmas parade, it is important to note that sitting for a few minutes on cold concrete will not lead to hemorrhoids. Actually, if you already have hemorrhoids, relaxing on a cool surface can actually help you find relief. This is because the cold temperatures will cause the protruding vein in your anus to actually retreat back into the warmth of your body. Hemorrhoids can be caused by standing in the same position for several hours, however. This is because remaining standing in a single spot without sitting will place unnecessary pressure and strain on your rectum, which in turn can lead to hemorrhoids. Your Love of Spicy Foods Led to Your Hemorrhoids Finally, one of the most persistent myths is the link between consuming spicy foods and hemorrhoids. Consuming spicy foods will not lead to hemorrhoids, but eating your favorite Mexican dish or a plate of hot chili peppers could aggravate your hemorrhoids and lead to some of the common, uncomfortable symptoms associated with this condition, including burning and itching. If you suffer from hemorrhoids and spicy foods seems to make the problem worse, avoid them. Instead, eat foods that are high in fiber, including whole grain bread, beans, bananas, raspberries and Brussel sprouts. Consuming fiber-rich foods can help you avoid constipation and straining to use the bathroom. Straining to pass...

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Treatment Options For Managing Uterine Fibroids

Posted by on 3:38 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Treatment Options For Managing Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are a common underlying cause for heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, and infertility concerns. Once the diagnosis is made, the next concern is controlling or eliminating the problem. There are several treatment strategies to help minimize problems associated with fibroids. Hormone-Based Treatments The least-invasive option for managing uterine fibroids is hormonal birth control methods. This usually involves progestin-only pills, shots, or an intrauterine device. Not only can hormonal birth control help shrink fibroids, but it can also alleviate some of the problems associated with uterine fibroids, such as heavy and painful periods. If you decide to have a child in the future, you can simply stop using the birth control method, and your fertility should return to normal within in a matter of months. Birth control is a good treatment option to try if you want to avoid more invasive or riskier procedures. Treatments To Preserve Fertility When women want to have children or additional children, any procedure to reduce the size or remove the fibroids may reduce symptoms, but these procedures are not guaranteed to preserve or increase fertility. Additionally, there is no guarantee that fibroids will not return. Often, women with large or numerous fibroids face problems with conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to term. Successful removal of fibroids may increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy, but issues such as scarring or other damage to the uterus caused by the fibroids or medical procedures can also contribute to fertility problems. A uterine myomectomy is the procedure used to remove fibroids. Depending on the size, location, and number of fibroids, the procedure may be performed with minimally invasive methods, or it may require an open surgery. When large fibroids are removed from the uterus, there may be some concern about the integrity of the uterus. Large incisions in the uterus may increase the risk of uterine rupture during pregnancy or delivery. Women who become pregnant after a uterine myomectomy should be sure to discuss their risks with their obstetrician. They may require additional monitoring during pregnancy, and once the mother can safely deliver a healthy baby, it may be safer to induce labor than risk complications. Procedures When Fertility Is Not Important For some women, their treatment options for fibroids are heavily influenced by their symptoms, and reproductive goals are less of a concern. Although there may be less-invasive options available for fibroids, some women may opt to have a hysterectomy if they are finished having children. They may discuss with their doctor the benefits of preserving their ovaries to delay menopause and what, if any, additional risks occur with keeping their ovaries. For example, keeping the ovaries intact means the possibility of ovarian cancer remains. Women with certain gene markers or a family history of ovarian cancer may feel more confident about their health by having their ovaries removed at the same time and going through an abrupt menopause. More gynecologists are trying to avoid hysterectomies in women with fibroids, especially since, in previous decades, the procedure was often used as a first-line treatment, without trying other options. Endometrial ablation is one such procedure that is minimally invasive, but it is only performed in women who have finished having children. The procedure destroys the uterine lining. It is the same procedure used for women with...

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Why You Should Not Be Stressed By Your Child’s Parasitic Worm Skin Infection

Posted by on 10:31 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why You Should Not Be Stressed By Your Child’s Parasitic Worm Skin Infection

If you are a self-described germaphobe who squirms at the thought of bacteria and viruses lurking around your home, then you may not be too happy if you learn that your child has contracted a parasitic worm. This can happen though, and it is often described as a type of skin infection that can be treated by a dermatologist or other type of medical professional. If a parasitic worm does infect your child, there are many reasons why you should not panic. Most Worms Can Be Treated Quite Easily Parasitic worms commonly infect people in developing nations, and most worms can be found in Africa. However, the worms can still reside in the United States and can find their way into your child’s body. This can happen if the insect that spreads the worm makes its way to this country within shipping containers. Flies are the most common carrier of worm parasites. For example, the common deerfly carries the loa loa parasite, and the worm can enter the body through a single bite from the fly.  If your child does become infected with a worm, then treatment will be required. Thankfully, treatments are typically simple and easy to administer. In most cases, a drug called an antiparasitic can be given that kills the worm. The antiparasitic variety will depend on the type of worm that has infected the body. In some cases, a medicine called Ivermectin will be given. If this medicine sounds familiar, that’s because it is often given to dogs and cats as a deworming or antiparasitic agent.  Ivermectin, as well as the other varieties of antiparasitic drugs, are considered safe for mammals. One dose is usually all that is needed for humans, but the medication may be provided every three months if the parasitic infection is a persistent one.  A simple dose of antibiotics can sometimes be provided to kill and sterilize some parasites. Antibiotics can also help to treat and control bacterial skin issues that can develop after a parasitic worm infection. Your child may also be given an NSAID pain reliever for discomfort and an antihistamine to reduce swelling. Steroidal medications and creams can be provided too. Once treatment is started, symptoms should reduce fairly quickly, and the infection should go away completely within a few days or a few weeks. Symptoms Are Typically Mild While a skin infection that involves a worn may sound frightening and bring about images of worms wiggling under the skin, this is not something that will happen. While some worms do migrate, like the loa loa worm, they will do this late in their life cycle. Symptoms will appear well before the worm moves, and it will not wiggle under the skin. Most of the time, the worm will remain in the fatty tissue near the fly or insect bite wound.  While the loa loa worm remains in place, your child will experience some red, swollen, and itchy patches on the skin. Your child may develop a fever at the time of infection too. Similar symptoms that include rashes, hives, fevers, and swollen lymph nodes will occur with other types of worm infections. This means that your child will not be in agony as they seek treatment. Typically, a history will be taken to determine if your child has come into contact with any insects that may have caused a parasitic infestation. This is likely...

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4 Things You Should Always Bring On Vacation In Case Of Allergies

Posted by on 3:32 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Things You Should Always Bring On Vacation In Case Of Allergies

If you’re like most people who suffer from allergies throughout the year, you may dread going on vacation in fear of being confined to the hotel room with debilitating allergy symptoms. The good news is that by packing a few essentials, you can minimize your downtime, optimize your fun and virtually put your allergies out of your mind. Here are four must-have items you should always bring on vacation with you in case an allergy attack arises: Some Nasal Spray Using a nasal spray that contains fluticasone will make it easy to get some relief from itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing while on vacation. It can take a few days to get the relief you want, so it’s a good idea to start using your nasal spray about a week before your planned vacation begins. This will help ensure that you don’t end up having to spend the first several days of your vacation in your hotel room. You can ask your doctor to prescribe you an effective fluticasone nasal spray, or choose an over-the-counter option at your local drug store. If you choose not to use a prescription spray, it’s important to let your doctor know what brand you’ll be using so they can provide you with guidance and help make sure that you won’t have any allergic reactions upon usage. For more information on fluticasone nasal sprays, check out the sites of companies that manufacture it. A Mini Humidifier Putting a mini humidifier in your hotel room during vacation is an excellent way to minimize the discomfort that comes along with dry sinuses, congestion, and inflammation due to allergies. Your humidifier will increase the amount of water vapor that’s in the air and allow for optimal breathing while you sleep without irritating your nasal passages. Look for an evaporative humidifier that will fit right in your suitcase and on a nightstand near the bed you’ll be sleeping on. Evaporative humidifiers are easy to use – all you have to do is fill its small reservoir with water and allow the wick and filter to do its job of spreading water vapor throughout the room’s air. An Essential Oil Kit With the help of essential oils, you can boost your immune system and decrease inflammation to minimize allergy symptoms while you’re on vacation. Pack a small kit that contains a diffuser and vials of various essential oils that you can use in your hotel room, in a restaurant, or while sightseeing to keep your allergies in check. Consider including the following effective options: Peppermint Essential Oil – Helps to unclog sinuses, relieve itchy throats, and reduce coughing. Basil Essential Oil – Reduces the typical inflammatory response to allergens and aids in detoxification. Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Expands the sinuses and lungs for easier breathing and lessens allergy symptoms overall. You can put your essential oils in a diffuser to fill your hotel room with their essence, rub your favorite oils directly on your skin when you’re out and about, or dilute the oils in a bathtub at the end of a long day to ensure a good night’s sleep. A Collection of Herbs Believe it or not, a healthy dose of herbs can provide substantial allergy relief, so consider bringing a small collection on vacation with you...

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5 Tips For Caring For A Parent With Alzheimer’s

Posted by on 5:09 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Tips For Caring For A Parent With Alzheimer’s

Learning that one of your parents has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be emotionally devastating. You are not only worried about your parent’s health and happiness, but also about the impact this condition will have on your relationship. With more than five million people in the U.S. facing Alzheimer’s, you and your family are not alone, and there are resources available for you. Here are five effective ways to navigate this difficult time: Find Alzheimer’s Care in Your Area Alzheimer’s is a complicated condition that requires more specialized care than you can offer on your own. As the disease progresses, it can be dangerous for your parent to live alone, and overwhelming for them to live with you. Finding the right retirement home with an Alzheimer’s focus is the most important thing you can do for your parent. You will gain great peace of mind knowing your parent is completely safe and being looked after by professionals and experts. Join a Support Group It’s important not to neglect self-care during this challenging time. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to join a support group for family members whose loved ones have Alzheimer’s. In the support group you will be able to talk to people facing similar situations, vent about your emotions in a productive way, and share coping strategies with each other. Attending support group meetings will help you feel less isolated and afraid, which will make it easier for you to truly be there for your parent. Create a Care Notebook There can be a lot to keep track of when it comes to caring for your parent with Alzheimer’s. A good way to stay organized is to create a care notebook. This is where you can list things like doctor’s appointments you drive your parent to, medication they take, their emergency and medical contacts, etc. You can also keep a running list of activities they enjoy. A great option is a day planner and notebook combination, so that you can schedule things, make lists, and glance at the notebook each day to see what, if anything, you need to do for your parent that day. Stick to a Routine Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming and confusing for your parent, and anything you can do to provide consistency and reliability will help them feel more grounded and calm. Ideally, you will be able to create and stick to a routine. For example, it’s a good idea to visit them on the same days and at around the same time each week. The same idea applies to things like phone calls, outings, and doctor’s appointments. Be sure to communicate this idea to the rest of your family in order to get them on board. Create a Quiet, Calm Environment Alzheimer’s patients can get easily distracted and confused when there is too much stimuli. When you visit your parent, create a soothing and quiet environment before you engage in activities like arts and crafts or reading to them. Turn off the TV, make sure the light is soft instead of harsh, and consider playing soothing classical music at a low volume in the background. Encourage your other family members and other visitors to do the same. Your parent will more easily be able to focus on...

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Six Tips For Keeping Your Aging Loved One Safe Behind The Wheel

Posted by on 6:13 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Six Tips For Keeping Your Aging Loved One Safe Behind The Wheel

Nearly 600 seniors are injured in car accidents every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But age alone isn’t reason enough to hang up the car keys–particularly because driving is inextricably linked with independence and mobility for so many older Americans. These six tips can help caregivers keep aging loved ones safe on the roads.   1. Choose Checkups While the majority of senior crash injuries occur due to medical complications and heightened susceptibility to injury, many are also linked to age-related declines in physical and cognitive function. One way to make sure that your aging loved one’s driving abilities haven’t undergone potentially dangerous changes is to schedule routine visits with a physician, who can check for everything from vision loss to arthritis. In many cases, prompt diagnosis leads to simple and effective solutions. For example, 47 percent of people over the age of 75 suffer from some form of hearing impairment. Recent developments in hearing aids and today’s sophisticated hearing aid brands make it easier than ever to manage hearing loss and keep seniors safe while driving. If your interested in learning about hearing aids, click here for more information. 2. Monitor Medications Polypharmacy is a frequent problem among seniors and can lead to catastrophic outcomes — especially on the roads. According to AAA, more than three-quarters of seniors use at least one medication, but fewer than one-third of them are aware that medication can impact their driving performance. Maintain a comprehensive list of the medications taken by your senior. Ask your aging loved one’s doctor or pharmacist to review it regularly in order to help identify potentially hazardous drugs and drug interactions. 3. Start With Strength While some physical decline is a natural part of the aging process, exercise counters these effects and helps seniors keep up their strength. Regular exercise, with a focus on strength training and balance work, builds strength, increases flexibility, and enhances range of motion. Not only do these activities foster better driving performance, they also support quality of life by boosting confidence levels and preventing trips and falls. Even baby steps can make a big difference. Encourage your aging loved one to start small and build from there. Physical therapists offer invaluable partnership in helping reluctant seniors stay safe and motivated while incorporating fitness into their lives. 4. Plan Ahead While many people can continue to drive well into their golden years, it may not be the carefree, get-in-the-car-and-go fantasy of youth. Instead, planning ahead can help seniors prepare for everything from adverse driving conditions to unfamiliar routes. Caregivers should encourage seniors to limit driving to decent weather and daylight hours whenever possible, as well as to map travel routes out in advance. 5. Make It Easy Distracted driving is an issue for people of all ages, but seniors are particularly susceptible. While technology like cell phones and GPS offers benefits in certain situations, it can also be a distraction behind the wheel. Make sure seniors aren’t multitasking by using GPS devices or cellphones while driving. Also, encourage your aging loved one to refrain from listening to the radio while driving and to keep their cognitive abilities sharp by getting enough sleep. 6. Explore Options The more transportation options seniors have, the less likely they are to become...

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What You Need To Know About Walk-In Bathtubs

Posted by on 8:33 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What You Need To Know About Walk-In Bathtubs

If you, or someone in your home, suffers from limited mobility you already know that taking a bath or shower can be a major undertaking. Because traditional bathtubs require you to lift your feet and lower legs over the rim of the tub, those with mobility issues may lose their balance or may experience pain in the knees, hips or other joints, making bath time a painful or dangerous time. A walk-in bath may be the solution to your problems. How does a walk-in bathtub work? Walk-in bathtubs have a door built into the base of the tub. Opening the door allows you to walk into the tub and close the door behind you. The door is fitted with special seals that prevent water from leaking out when the tub is filled. Many walk-in tubs may also contain a raised seating area, nonslip surfaces, hand rails, water jets, and hand-held shower heads. How much room does a walk-in bathtub require? Many walk-in bathtubs take up more room than traditional bathtubs, but some models are designed to fit into the space of your current bathtub. Generally, the more special features the tub contains, the more room it will require, but always check the specifications of the brand and model you are considering to determine how much room you need to allow for installation. Who installs walk-in bathtubs? Companies that sell walk-in bathtubs typically provide professional installation of the tub. Some claim they can remove your old tub and install the new walk-in tub in one day, but always ask about installation time as the amount of work and time required depends on the model you choose and the set-up of your bathroom. The installation fee may be separate from the cost of the walk-in tub. Make sure you understand whether the quote from the dealer includes the installation fee or whether you will be charged separately for that service. How much do walk-in bathtubs cost? Walk-in bathtubs range in price, depending on the model you choose. According to Walk-In Bathtub Reviews, a price of $2,500 or below is considered a low-end walk-in bathtub. It is likely of lower quality than higher-priced tubs and contains only basic features. It further explains that the average price range for walk-in tubs is between $2,500 and $5,500, but usually does not include installation. Those selling for between $7,500 and $10,000 typically include professional installation. If the tub you are considering has a higher price tag, shop around for a similar tub with a lower price. Will medical insurance pay for the cost of a walk-in tub? In most circumstances, medical insurance will not pay for the cost of walk-in tubs. According to Paying for Senior Care, Medicare rarely pays for walk-in tubs. They may, however, reimburse the cost in rare instances. Likewise, Medicaid may help in some situations, but as a rule, it does not. Other local organizations may provide assistance. If you are seeking financial assistance for a walk-in tub, call your local Area on Aging organization or your state Disabilities Association. Your medical professionals may also be able to refer you to organizations that offer financial assistance. Are there any drawbacks to walk-in bathtubs? While walk-in bathtubs provide access to the tub for those with limited mobility, they do have some drawbacks...

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5 Ways Optometrist-Led Vision Therapy Is Different Than DIY Vision Exercises

Posted by on 5:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Ways Optometrist-Led Vision Therapy Is Different Than DIY Vision Exercises

If your optometrist suggests vision therapy for your child, you might assume that they mean an at-home kit and exercises such as the ones that were popular at the turn of the century. These kits have been shown to overstate their effectiveness and have little scientific evidence to back up their claims, so you should be wary of them. However, your child’s optometrist is recommending something entirely different when they suggest optometrist-led vision therapy. Below are five of the main differences between vision therapy and DIY vision exercises.  Vision Therapy Is Recommended After a Physical Exam of Your Child’s Eyes  For the most part, vision training focuses on alignment issues your child’s eyes might have, such as Amblyopia or Strabismus, and eye movement disorders. Occasionally, it has been used to correct focusing disorders as well. In order to know that your child needs vision therapy, they will need an accurate, thorough diagnosis of their vision problems. This is because some anatomical issues that cause vision problems cannot be corrected by vision therapy and require surgery or other physical interventions.  Alternatively, vision exercises are recommended for anyone, without taking into consideration what may be causing their vision problems. This can lead to ineffective exercises and frustration.  Vision Therapy Is Designed Specifically for Your Child  Vision therapy involves progressive exercises that are carried out with a vision therapist. Although your child’s therapist may assign some exercises to be completed between sessions, most of the work will be done in the optometrist’s office, where your child’s progress can be monitored and specific exercises can be taught and adjusted to fit your child’s needs.  DIY vision exercises offer a one-size-fits-all approach to vision correction. This leaves you and your child in charge of deciding when to progress with new exercises and whether effective progress is being made. Your child may end up straining their eyes by attempting exercises that are not helpful to them or do not address their needs.  Vision Therapy Tends to Be Used Most With Children Vision therapy tends to be recommended for children. This is because many vision problems and behavioral problems associated with vision problems become apparent during childhood. Many children with undiagnosed vision problems may have trouble concentrating in school or reading, which may lead to further investigation into their vision. However, most adults have already had corrective measures or have found ways to cope with their vision problems, making them less likely to engage in vision therapy.  DIY exercises are generally marketed towards adults who want to stop using glasses, not children with a variety of vision problems. This is because they are advertised as strengthening eyes that have grown weaker throughout your life.  Your Child May Still Need Glasses After Vision Therapy If your child has anatomical issues that prevent them from focusing correctly, they may still need glasses after vision therapy. While the therapy may help their eyes work together and track objects, allowing your child to see properly with glasses, it may not be able to fully correct their issues focusing over a distance, and most optometrists are upfront about this reality.  DIY exercises tend to focus on ending your need for glasses rather than acknowledging that you may still need glasses or other physical corrective measures.  Your Insurance May Cover Vision Therapy ...

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The Relationship Between Men, Ultrasound, And Cancer

Posted by on 10:45 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Relationship Between Men, Ultrasound, And Cancer

Most people hear the term ultrasound and think of a pregnant woman at her OB/GYN’s office. When you hear the word cancer you might think of the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer – and its correlation to women. However, ultrasound and cancer can relate directly to men, as well. Continue reading to understand how these three terms are interconnected. Ultrasound is Used to Detect and Evaluate Cancer in Men An ultrasound isn’t reserved exclusively for prenatal checkups. It serves a variety of purposes in the medical field. You may be more familiar with ultrasound’s other medical term: sonography. This equipment uses soundwaves to create and project images onto a screen for easy evaluation. If you go in for a cancer screening, you will first need to provide your medical history and possibly undergo a physical exam. If a growth is discovered, ultrasound – or sonography – equipment might be used in your exam. A few examples of cancers detected using sonography include: Kidney and Organ Cancer: The ultrasound microphone is moved along your abdomen and side so your doctor can evaluate your kidneys from multiple angles. If any suspicious lumps are found, surrounding organs are observed using the ultrasound to see if it has spread. The projected image is also used to guide a biopsy needle towards the growth while a sample is taken. The sample is then evaluated in a lab to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant. Prostate Cancer: Use of the ultrasound is slightly more invasive to detect prostate cancer than other cancers. The ultrasound microphone is inserted partway into the rectum so the prostate gland can be observed and the lining of the prostate can be measured. This measurement is used to determine the density of prostate-specific antigens (PSAs). Doctors look for high PSA counts and changes in PSA count to determine the likelihood of you having prostate cancer. If necessary, other tests such as a digital rectal exam, blood tests, and a biopsy are also used to locate prostate cancer. Breast Cancer: While less common in men than women, breast cancer is still a concern. To diagnose it, a physical exam is first performed to identify lump size, quantity, and texture. An ultrasound machine designed specifically to observe breast tissue is then used to examine the entire breast and see if the lumps look harmful or not and if more action should be taken. Why Choose Ultrasound Over Other Tests? While your physician will probably prescribe a number of tests to determine if you have developed cancer, ultrasound is a good place to start if there is a valid concern. Here are just a few reasons why: Non-Invasive: This test is non-invasive but provides a reliable view of affected tissue. If there are no visible problems, you don’t have to undergo an invasive biopsy or other tests. If a problem is detected, the ultrasound helps guide needles during invasive procedures for safety and accuracy. No Radiation: Ultrasound doesn’t expose you to radiation the way an x-ray does, so you don’t have to undergo unnecessary exposure in order to observe a growth at different angles and measure its size. Differentiates Growths: Ultrasound equipment accurately differentiates between fluid-filled cysts and solid tumors. If a cyst is detected, a biopsy is unnecessary. In some...

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5 Risk Factors For Developing Tongue Cancer

Posted by on 10:21 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Risk Factors For Developing Tongue Cancer

There are many different things that can increase your risk of developing tongue cancer. Some of these risk factors are completely within your control, while others are uncontrollable. Here are five things that have been identified as factors for the development of tongue cancer. Increased age Cancers of the oral cavity, including tongue cancer, are fairly rare in younger people. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of a person diagnosed with oral cavity cancer is 62 years old. About one-quarter of patients are younger than 55 years old, and children are very rarely affected. Since these cancers are more common in older people, you need to start paying more attention to your mouth as you age. Your dentist may recommend regular oral cancer screenings so that he or she can carefully examine your tongue and other oral tissues for signs of cancer. Using tobacco products The link between the use of tobacco products and the development of oral cancers is well-established. Tobacco, whether it is smoked or chewed, is known to be a major cause of oral cancer. A University of California study found that a staggering eight out of 10 patients with oral cancer were smokers. There are a lot of dangerous chemicals in tobacco, and when you smoke or chewed tobacco, these chemicals are released into your mouth. These chemicals can cause cancer by damaging the DNA that makes up your cells. Even small amounts of tobacco are not safe, so your dentist will recommend quitting completely, not just cutting back on your usage. Drinking a lot of alcohol Heavy alcohol use has been identified as a risk factor for the development of tongue cancer and other cancers inside the mouth. Your risk is greater if you use alcohol and tobacco together, but alcohol is also risky on its own. Alcohol is potentially dangerous because as your body breaks down alcohol, it produces acetaldehyde. This chemical is what causes hangovers, but even worse, it has been identified as a carcinogen, meaning that it causes cancer. For women, the risk of developing tongue cancer increases after one drink per day, and for men the risk increases after two drinks per day. One drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. To reduce your risk, try to cut back on your drinking and be sure to watch your portion sizes, as it is very easy to over pour a glass of wine. Having HPV Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has also been identified as a risk factor for tongue cancer. This sexually-transmitted virus is already known to cause cervical cancer in women, and it may have similar effects inside the mouth. Most of the time, oral HPV infections do not cause any symptoms, so you could have it right now without knowing that anything is wrong. Oral HPV infections can lead to cancers of the throat, the tonsils, or the back of the tongue. If you have a high risk of having oral HPV infection, your dentist may want to regularly examine the back of your tongue and surrounding areas for signs of cancer. Having a suppressed immune system Having a suppressed immune system can also make you more susceptible to tongue cancer and other types of...

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