Inflammatory Arthritis: Enjoying Life after the Diagnosis

When Wine Is Not So Fine: What Every Red Wine Oenophile Can Do To Protect Their Smile

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If you read magazines or watch the news, you have probably read or heard about the many health benefits that can be had just by drinking red wine. In fact, modern medical research now shows that red wine contains several antioxidant compounds that enhance heath, including: resveratrol – believed to improve cardiovascular health, prevent blood clots and help slow or stop both mental and physcial aging processes quercetin – believed to help patients fight some types of cancer by inducing cancer cell death polyphenols – believed to help prevent some types of chronic disease tannins – believed to protect against heart disease In addition, red wine is thought to interfere with the growth and development of fat cells and even lower blood pressure, when used in moderation.  However, red wine oenophiles should also know that drinking red wine on more than an occasional basis can also discolor and cause deterioration of their teeth. If you are a red wine lover who would like to continue to enjoy sipping a daily glass of wine, but have concerns about the effects it can have on your teeth, the following tips will help you enjoy red wine without sacrificing your dental health or your smile.  Start With Red Wine, End With Red Wine White wine contains high levels of acids that can erode tooth enamel. Drinking white wine before drinking red wine allows these acids to strip away the protective coating on teeth so that the tannins found in the red wine can adhere to them better and cause more staining. Avoid drinking white wine before red wine.  Pair Fiber-Rich Foods With Red Wine Foods that contain a lot of fiber help to clean your teeth and remove red wine stains as you eat. Salads and vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and chard all have fiber that requires increased chewing action. This encourages your mouth to produce more saliva and when paired with the additional chewing action required for fiber-rich foods, teeth are effectively scrubbed clean of wine stains while you enjoy your meal. Enjoy Some Cheese With Your Red Wine  Snacking on hard cheese while drinking red wine is not only delicious, but good for your teeth. The calcium from the hard cheese builds up on the surface of your teeth, filling in the tiny openings that would otherwise allow the acids and tannins in the wine to infiltrate the enamel coating and cause tooth damage and staining. Brush Before You Pour, Rinse After Instead of attempting to brush away red wine stains immediately after consuming the wine, it is actually more effective and healthier for your teeth to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth an hour before you plan to enjoy a glass or two of red wine. The plaque that collects on your teeth between brushings provides a sticky surface that red wine can cling to easily. By removing this plaque before drinking, the wine will be less likely to stick to your teeth and form stains. In addition, the acids found in all types of wine, including red, can soften the surface of your teeth. This can cause them to suffer abrasions when brushing and flossing are done too soon after being exposed to the wine. Instead, choose to rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm...

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Acupuncture Can Help You With Pregnancy Discomfort

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Acupuncture may seem like an extreme alternative treatment for pregnancy troubles, but it can actually be very effective for many women who struggle with the effects of pregnancy. Acupuncture is used to treat all sorts of different ailments using thin needles to access specific nerve and pressure points in the body. For pregnant women, acupuncture can be especially effective for relieving these common forms of discomfort: 1. Morning Sickness Many women struggle with nausea during the first trimester of pregnancy, and some will continue to struggle even after they pass into the second and third trimesters. Pregnancy nausea, when severe, can be debilitating, as it can prevent the mother form getting enough nourishment and can lead to dehydration. One study of 593 women in the first trimester showed that acupuncture effectively reduced dry-heaving and nausea levels in pregnant women experiencing morning sickness.  2. Sciatica Sciatica is a common ailment for pregnant women. It occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back all the way down the back of each leg, becomes inflamed. Sometimes, the inflammation is caused because the nerve is pinched. Other times, it is because the nerve is irritated. Because the muscles and joints in the pelvic area and lower back become loose during pregnancy, the chances of developing sciatica are greater, simply because it’s easier for the hips and pelvis to become misaligned or for muscles that aren’t morally used to tighten in order to compensate for the looseness of the area. The pressure of the fetus can also cause pinching. Before getting acupuncture, you should see a health care professional first to make sure that your leg, butt, or hip pain is not caused by a more immediate problem. Sometimes, intense pain the leg during pregnancy can be a sign of blood clots, which are very serious. However, once the source of the pain is discovered, acupuncture and massage therapy can help. Acupuncture needles can help tap into the nerve itself, helping to reduce the pain signals that go from this nerve to the brain. If the sciatic nerve is being pinched because the surrounding muscles (namely the piriformis) have shifted or tightened, massaging these muscles can loosen them. 3. Depression. Unfortunately, depression affects up to 23% of pregnant women. While this condition may be different than a pulled muscle or pinched nerve, it can make pregnancy unbearable and cause significant disruption to your daily life. Studies show that acupuncture is an excellent alternative treatment for depression. This is especially good news for those who are expecting, because medications for depression while pregnant are limited in type and dose due to the effect they could have on the fetus.  Depression is actually an ideal condition for acupuncture to treat. According to tradition, emotional imbalances reflect an imbalance in a person’s Qi. While physical conditions can also affect Qi, depression is the manifestation that something in the body is out of balance. Therefore, during an acupuncture treatment for depression, the acupuncturist will try to restore the flow of Qi by stimulating the liver, spleen, and heart. You can expect some needles in these areas, as well as in the hands and feet, which provide secondary stimulators for the internal organs.  Living with pregnancy symptoms is difficult, especially if they are severe enough to affect...

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Five Ways To Alleviate Arthritis Symptoms Without Prescription Drugs

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If you suffer from the joint stiffness, pain and inflammation that is characteristic of arthritis, you are probably looking for ways to alleviate your discomfort. Although various rheumatology treatments are available such as anti-inflammatory medications and pain relieving drugs, many are known to cause side effects in some individuals. Fortunately, there are ways to treat your symptoms naturally without the use of prescription drugs, and this may include diet and exercise, the use of dietary and herbal supplements, physical therapy or massage therapy. Talk it over with your primary care physician or an arthritis specialist, then consider these five options for treating your arthritis symptoms: 1. Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods Foods that contain natural anti-inflammatory properties may help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Research and studies tout the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for fighting inflammation, and some good choices for your diet include fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna. You may also find these beneficial fatty acids in various nuts and seeds. Try snacking on butternuts, pecans, walnuts and dried chia seeds. Add these nuts and seeds to recipes as well. By incorporating more nuts and seeds into your diet, you may find that your pain and inflammation has decreased over time. Many fruits and vegetables contain anti-inflammatory properties as well. Strawberries and blueberries are especially beneficial for fighting inflammation. Dark green, leafy vegetables are helpful as well, as many contain vitamin E which can help guard against inflammation. Kale and spinach are excellent choices, and you may also wish to eat more collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens and broccoli. Whole grains may also help reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. For a healthy choice, incorporate whole grains and greens together in recipes such as kale and quinoa cakes or patties. Quinoa is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, according to studies. 2. Get More Exercise Keep moving to loosen those stiff joints associated with arthritis and to improve your range of motion. Regular exercise will also help you maintain your weight, as obesity may place added stress on joints and cartilage. If you’ve been sedentary, begin your routine slowly, and choose low-impact exercise, such as walking or swimming. You should not undertake an exercise program without consulting with your physician. 3. Add The Following Supplements to Your Daily Regimen Try some herbal supplements containing ginkgo or chamomile. These are known to contain anti-inflammatory compounds. You might also want to try glucosamine and chondroitin as daily supplements to prevent further cartilage damage and reduce inflammation. As always, consult with a doctor or pharmacist as some supplements may interact with certain medications and prescriptions. 4. Seek Physical Therapy Sessions with a licensed physical therapist may help improve your range of motion and improve flexibility, two key factors that may be impaired by arthritis flare-ups. A therapist may also show you how to use devices such as a knee brace or a walking cane. Your physical therapist may also recommend hot and cold treatments to relieve your swollen and painful joints, or demonstrate exercises you can do during sessions and at home. Keep in mind, you may or may not need a referral from your physician to receive physical therapy. 5. Massage Away Your Discomfort Consider getting a professional massage. Massage may be beneficial in relieving pain, inflammation and stiffness...

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Does Your Child Have Celiac Disease & Need Orthodontic Treatment? Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted by on 11:09 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Does Your Child Have Celiac Disease & Need Orthodontic Treatment? Here’s What You Need To Know

Oh, the joys of adolescence… when everything seems to cost an arm and a leg, especially when it comes to dental care and orthodontics. The joys are compounded when a child is diagnosed with celiac disease, which means parents have to keep their child safe from gluten. Unfortunately, gluten can be found in more than just food items, and is often found in dental hygiene products and orthodontic devices, such as retainers. If your child has celiac disease and needs orthodontic treatment, it’s important that you understand the types of dental products and devices that may contain gluten, how they can affect your child, and precautions you can take. Here’s what you need to know. Gluten in dental products and devices As the parent of a child with celiac, there’s no doubt that you check every ingredient label of every food before you give the food to your child. However, it’s also important to check the ingredients of non-food items as well, especially oral health care products and dental devices. Gluten is sometimes used as a binding agent due to the glue-like and elastic qualities it has. These qualities are why manufacturers use gluten to make plastics and resin polymers, including for retainers, bite splints, and mouth guards. The binding agent quality of gluten makes it ideal for toothpastes, so you’ll want to be sure the toothpaste in your home and in the dental office are gluten free. Other possible gluten-containing products in your home and/or dental office include dental picks, polishing paste, dental floss, toothbrushes, mouthwashes, and rubber gloves. Before your child sits in the chair at a dental or orthodontic office, ask the staff if these types of things are free of gluten. Your child’s health & gluten-containing orthodontic devices Just a small amount of gluten entering into your child’s body can cause their autoimmune system to kick into high gear due to having celiac disease. Essentially, when your child ingests (and/or touches, in severe cases) gluten, even in extremely small amounts, his or her body attacks itself. Now, consider what would happen if your child wears long-term orthodontic devices that contain gluten. You guessed it! Your child’s condition could worsen.  It is crucial that every part of each orthodontic device is gluten-free, particularly cement, rubber bands, and plastics. Ask the orthodontist to check with the various manufacturers of those items to make sure they are all free of gluten, especially if the orthodontic office is not promoted as being gluten-free. Given the prevalence of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, many dentists and orthodontists offer gluten-free treatment and offices for their patients. As with most things that are gluten-free, it may be a good idea to budget a little more when it comes to dental care and orthodontic treatment. However, most dentists and orthodontists work with their patients to set up affordable payment plans, so be sure to ask if that is an option available to you. Get a series of tests done prior to orthodontic treatment It’s a good idea to have your child get a series of celiac disease tests done prior to starting orthodontic treatment. The test results can be used as a baseline for the future. This may help determine if any gluten was introduced into their body via their orthodontic device in...

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Retinopathy And Premature Babies: Advice For Parents

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Almost four million new babies are born in the United States every year. Around 28,000 newborns weigh less than 2.75 pounds, making them more susceptible to certain health complications. Many of these premature babies suffer from an eye disorder called retinopathy of prematurity or ROP. Find out why this condition occurs, and learn more about the implications this can have for your newborn baby. How retinopathy of prematurity occurs ROP occurs when there is a problem with the blood vessels on the surface of a child’s retina. The condition affects premature babies because these infants have not had enough time for the blood vessels to fully develop. In some cases, the blood vessels start to grow abnormally and may develop away from the retina. These abnormal blood vessels are generally weaker than those in a healthy child. As such, the vessels may slowly leak. This can cause scarring and can even lead to lead to retinal detachment. The problem often occurs in premature babies because eye development normally accelerates rapidly in the last twelve weeks of a pregnancy. Premature babies will often fail to get the oxygen and nutrients they need, leading to developmental problems like ROP. Diagnosis and likelihood If your premature baby weighs over 2.75 pounds, it’s unlikely that he or she will suffer with ROP. The risk of the condition increases, according to how small the baby is. The condition affects up to 16,000 infants annually, but only 1,500 babies need treatment. Eye doctors classify ROP in five stages, ranging from stage 1 (mildly abnormal) to stage 5, where the retina completely detaches. For these babies, visual impairment or blindness can sometimes occur. Symptoms of ROP do not normally appear unless the condition is more advanced. At stages 3 to 5, symptoms include: Abnormal eye movements Crossed eyes White-looking pupils All premature babies are at risk of ROP, but it’s almost impossible to predict which newborns will suffer from the condition. Your doctor or midwife will start to regularly examine a premature baby for any signs of ROP, using special eye drops that dilate the pupil. Treatment options Parents should remember that many premature babies with ROP do not need any treatment. With careful monitoring, ROP will often go away without any long-term side effects. In more severe cases, treatment options are available, which can successfully stop permanent vision problems. If your baby needs treatment, an ophthalmologist will often recommend laser therapy or cryotherapy. Both these types of treatment destroy areas of the retina that are causing a problem, slowing down or stopping any abnormal blood vessel growth. Other treatment options (in severe cases) include a scleral buckle placed around the eye. Over time, this can encourage the retina to flatten down and develop normally. Similarly, an ophthalmologist may recommend vitrectomy, which replaces vitreous in the eye with a saline solution to help the retina grow normally. Ongoing developments Researchers continue to investigate ways to prevent and successfully treat ROP in premature babies. Unfortunately, some premature babies cannot cope with invasive treatments like laser therapy due to other serious or life-threatening conditions. In some medical centers, doctors now use bevacizumab therapy to treat affected babies. Eye doctors inject this drug directly into the newborn’s eye. Once injected, the medication shrinks the abnormal blood vessels and can cut the risk of retinal detachment. Further...

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How Does Swimming Help Relieve Pain From Lumbar Stenosis?

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If you have lumbar stenosis, you already know that it can cause considerable pain in the lower back and legs. You probably also know that doctors recommend exercise to relieve the symptoms. You may be wondering how you can exercise regularly when simply moving causes excruciating pain to radiate through the lower back and legs.  Swimming may be an answer for you. Why is Swimming Good for Lumbar Stenosis? Swimming is a low-impact aerobic exercise known to bring relief from lower back and leg pain from lumbar stenosis. Because the body is partially suspended in water, the effects of gravity are less, causing less stress on injured nerves, muscles and joints. But, the physical benefits of swimming are only part of the picture. Both the physiological and psychological benefits of swimming play a role in relieving your pain from lumbar stenosis. Physical Benefits Swimming relieves the pressure on the spinal column that can occur with walking or sitting. This in turn relieves the pain associated with the compressed nerves responsible for lower back and leg pain. The initial relief opens the door for further benefits. Physical movement in water relaxes tense muscles that can contribute to the pain experienced with lumbar stenosis. Tense muscles increase the pressure against inflamed or damaged nerves, relaxing them gives them a chance to recover and begin the healing process. Swimming helps control your weight, which also means less pressure on nerves, joints and muscles. Weight reduction is one of the main goals for managing pain from lumbar stenosis. It also improves the range of motion in your muscles and joints and keeps you flexible. That means you will be able to move more freely with less pain. The more you move, the better you will feel. The aerobic exercise from swimming also increases blood flow to the injured area and brings life-giving oxygen to the cells, speeding healing and recovery. A 2011 study involving rabbits (and rats) with crushed sciatic nerves showed that swimming after a sciatic nerve injury increased nerve regeneration, improved nerve impulse speed and minimized muscle weakness. Although tests have not been performed on humans, scientists are hopeful that the results will translate to humans. More studies are needed to support this theory. If you find swimming difficult, try the backstroke. This position takes pressure off the back while it is supported by the soft caress of the ocean waves. (Okay, so maybe the waves aren’t from the ocean, but you get the idea.) It also allows a good range of motion for your muscles, which is one of the things you should aim for in recovering from back problems. Psychological Benefits Swimming stimulates the release of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, that elevates mood and promotes the production of ANP, a stress-relieving hormone. This in turn reduces stress, anxiety and depression, all of which affect your perception of pain. Going to the pool (or the ocean) with a friend or colleague gives you an opportunity to participate in physical activity with others. This builds your social competence and self-esteem and draws your thoughts away from your pain. Participating in activities you enjoy keeps you active and feeling good about yourself. People who feel good about themselves tend to experience less pain. If you are new to swimming, talk to your doctor...

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Premature Tooth Loss From Osteoporosis? Dental Implants Offer Best Life Satisfaction

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You have probably heard the medical warnings about women’s risk for osteoporosis, a condition common to women over 40 in which bones become brittle and prone to breaking. You may not know that this disease can also affect the bone density of your jaw, putting you at risk for premature tooth loss. You may also not be aware that men can develop osteoporosis too! If you suffer tooth loss because of osteoporosis, a recent study suggests that dental implants offer the most overall satisfaction for people with this condition. Women and osteoporosis About 200 million women in this country suffer from osteoporosis, and one in three over the age of 50 will suffer bone fractures because of the condition. Bone density naturally declines after people reach the age of 35, but plummets as women head into menopause. This is because declining estrogen levels accelerate bone breakdown. Osteoporosis has no symptoms, and a woman may not know she has this condition until she breaks a bone. Men and osteoporosis However, men get osteoporosis too. In fact, Dr. Elizabeth Regan, a researcher at National Jewish Health, studied the bone density of 3,000 smokers and found surprising results. Contrary to popular belief, men were a little more likely than women to have low bone density and to suffer bone fractures! In fact, one in four men is likely to break bones because of osteoporosis (remember, it’s one in three for women). Dr. Regan is calling for routine bone density screening for men over 50 so that they can take preventive measures against fractures. Osteoporosis and tooth loss Most information about osteoporosis emphasizes the potential for broken hips, legs, or arms. However, the density of the jawbone is just as much affected as the other bones in your body. As your jawbone becomes brittle and weak, it is no longer able to support your teeth effectively. This leads to gum disease and premature tooth loss. Dental problems compounded Aside from tooth loss, dental problems are exacerbated for people with osteoporosis. These problems include inability to achieve proper fits from dentures complications from dental procedures periodontal (gum) disease In conclusion, osteoporosis has profound effects on oral health. Dental implants preferred If you have lost teeth because of osteoporosis, a recent study by Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) seems to point to dental implants as the best solution. Researchers studied various indicators of life satisfaction in 237 women who had dental implants, fixed partial dentures (one false tooth connected to crowns on two adjacent teeth), removable dentures, and no tooth replacements at all. These satisfaction indicators included occupational, physical, emotional, and sexual health. Women with dental implants reported the highest satisfaction levels of all groups. This seems to be because dental implants look and function just like natural teeth. There’s no embarrassment from missing teeth or slipping dentures, and implant patients can eat their favorite foods without restriction. These measures of satisfaction would seemingly apply to men as well. Osteoporosis management Along with dental implants for missing teeth, there are other ways you can manage osteoporosis. For instance: take a calcium supplement approved by your doctor either spend 20 minutes outside in the sunshine each day or take a vitamin D supplement eat foods rich in both calcium and vitamin D (calcium facilitates the absorption...

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Go To An Independent Installation Company For A Stair Lift That Meets Your And Your Spouse’s Needs

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Many people need a stair lift as they grow older and are no longer able to navigate steps. For elderly couples, finding a lift that meets each persons’ needs can be challenging. If both you and your spouse struggle to climb up and down the stairs in your home, a local stair lift installation company that works with multiple manufacturers is most likely to have a model that can accommodate both you and your spouse’s needs. Balancing Multiple Considerations Finding the right stair lift for one person is challenging enough. Looking for one that will work for two people is doubly difficult. There are many considerations to balance. Here are a few that you may want to discuss with a salesperson or installation technician before settling on a lift. First, you or your spouse might suffer from back pain. Even if you don’t have back pain now, the American Chiropractic Association estimates that 80 percent of people will have back problems at some point in time. To reduce the strain that using the lift places on your or your spouse’s back, you might want to look for a model that features soft starts and stops. notes that this can help users who suffer from lower back pain. Second, if you or your spouse suffers from dementia, you might need a stair lift that has a key lock. Key locks prevent anyone who doesn’t have a key from operating the lift. While they may still press the lever or button that moves the lift, nothing will happen unless the key is inserted into the lock. Silver Cross notes that key locks are primarily included on stair lifts that are used in commercial or public spaces, but they can also help prevent dementia patients from endangering themselves by operating a lift in their home without supervision. Finally, you’ll need a lift that is rated for both your and your spouse’s weight. If one of you is significantly heavier than the other, whether because of a medical condition or simple gender differences, you’ll need a lift that can support the heavier person’s weight. Working with Multiple Manufacturers Most stair lift manufacturers make more than one model, but some don’t offer many different features. To find a stair lift that meets all of the criteria that both you and your spouse have, you’ll probably have to compare multiple manufacturers’ offerings. The easiest way to do this is by talking with a salesperson at a local installation company that carries lifts from several different manufacturers — one that’s like an independent insurance agency. Stair lift installation companies can be compared to auto insurance agencies. Just as some agencies work with only one insurer, some installation companies only carry stair lifts from one manufacturer. Other, independent, agencies offer insurance policies from multiple carriers, and other local installation companies carry stair lifts from several makers. When you go to an independent installation company’s showroom, you’ll be able to see many different options in one place. If one manufacturer’s offerings don’t meet all of your and your spouse’s requirements, your salesperson can show you another maker’s lifts. If you were to shop for a lift at an installation company that only worked with one manufacturer, then you would either have to settle for a model that...

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Contact Lens Costs Breaking You? 3 Tips To Preserve Your Vision Without Going Into Debt

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While most people without perfect vision get used to having to wear contact lenses, few people get used to having to spend a fortune on contacts and products to care for them. Even if you have vision insurance, you may have to pay upfront for your exams and lenses and wait for what seems like forever for your vision insurance company to reimburse you. Insurance companies also do not pay for costly contact solutions, which are extremely pricey today. If you are tired of spending more than you have to on your vision care, then follow these three tips for cutting your vision care costs.  1. Ask Your Optometrist if There is a More Budget-friendly Alternative to Your Contact Lens Brand This tip can really help if you don’t have vision insurance or your coverage doesn’t cover the full cost of your lenses. There is a wide array of contact lenses available from many companies, but your eye doctor likely prescribes a certain brand just because he or she carries it at their office. Also, just as other types of doctors receive benefits from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing certain brands of medications to patients, eye doctors often receive similar benefits from contact lens manufacturers for prescribing their lenses.  What does this mean for you? The specific brand of contact lenses your eye doctor prescribes you may only be chosen because your eye doctor has a business relationship with that brand. He or she may not have “hand-picked” that brand specifically for you and your eyes, as they would like you to believe. If your eye doctor prescribes a pricey contact lens brand, then ask if there is a more budget-friendly alternative that he or she can prescribe instead.  2. Buy Your Contact Lenses Online to Save Whether you decide to switch to a more budget-friendly contact brand or not, you can typically save money when purchasing any brand of contacts online instead of at your ophthalmologist’s office. Online contact lens retailers simply don’t have the overhead costs of brick-and-mortar retailers. You can also hunt for online promo codes to buy contact lenses at a go to site, and there are often discounts and rebates on large purchases.  Another benefit for people with vision insurance when buying contact lenses online is that if your eye doctor makes you pay upfront and have you wait for reimbursement from your insurance company, there are online contact lens retailers that don’t; they do the leg-work to get payment from your insurance company directly. This can really help when you don’t have the cash to spare while you wait for your insurance company to send you a check.  3. Take the Edge off Contact Solution Costs with These Tips Whether you have vision insurance or not, one expense that really adds up is the cost of name-brand contact solution. Don’t think that you have to use the brand your eye doctor recommends. There is a big misconception believed by many contact lens wearers that they have to use the exact contact solution their eye doctor happens to use. Just as there are generic medications that work just as well as name brands, there are generic contact lens solutions that work just as well as more expensive ones. Just make sure you pay attention to solution ingredients...

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You Have Skin Cancer: Now What?

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If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, you may have reacted with panic, anger, grief, a thousand other understandably negative emotions. But it’s important to realize that modern medicine offers a variety of treatment options to help you conquer this ailment, especially in the early stages when removal of the lesion can effectively cure you of the condition. So take a deep breath, try to relax, and have a look at some of the more common techniques used to remove skin cancers. Excision Surgery The most straightforward way to deal with a skin cancer is to excise it surgically. In fact, you may have already experienced a type of surgery called a shave excision when your dermatologist removed the a layer of skin from the lesion for biopsy. Additional excision removes not only the surface lesion but also a small ring of healthy tissue surrounding it. This provides a margin for error and helps to ensure that all the cancerous tissue was removed. Large excisions may call for a skin graft to cover the wound and promote healing. Mohs Surgery This type of skin cancer surgery is ideal when you want to remove the smallest amount of tissue possible to minimize scarring. Your dermatologist will start by removing the topmost layers of skin, proceeding one layer at a time and viewing each excised layer through a microscope. This process permits him to stop cutting as soon as he reaches a layer displaying no cancer cells. This technique is also referred to as micrographic surgery. Curettage and Desiccation If you have only a small squamous cell or basal cell cancer on the surface on the skin, one of the simplest techniques for removing it is to scoop it out, a procedure known as curettage. Your dermatologist will use a little spoon-shaped device called a curette to remove the lesion. This procedure is typically followed by desiccation, in which another device uses electric current to kill any last cancer cells that might be left behind. You’ll need only a local anesthetic for this in-office procedure, and the wound should be small enough that you don’t require any stitches. Cryosurgery Another quick and non-invasive form of skin cancer surgery to consider is cryosurgery, or freezing of cancer cells. This is good option if you have a bleeding or clotting disorder because it causes much less bleeding than more traditional forms of surgery. Liquid nitrogen is applied to the skin to bring it down to a very low temperature nearly instantly. As the area thaws, the cancer cells die. Although no cutting is involved in cryosurgery, total healing time may take several weeks as the wound oozes and eventually forms a protective crust. Radiation and Chemotherapy Two mainstays of cancer treatment, radiation and chemotherapy, can prove equally effective against skin cancer. A tightly focused application of radiation can kill cancerous basal cell or squamous cell lesions, making it a good alternative to potentially disfiguring surgery for the treatment of especially large areas. Chemotherapy may be either topical or systemic, depending on the severity and spread of the cancer. Superficial cancers can often be killed by applying a topical chemotherapy cream to the affected area for a period of weeks. A more advanced case of basal cell cancer may also respond to an experimental technique...

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