HEALTH

Joan Lunden Senior Living

Mammography 3D Trichomoniasis Muscle and Bone Health Treat Cold Sores Allergies and Animals Suspicious Supplements Stroke Symptoms

Tips On Finding A Place To Put Sparkle Into The Golden Years

(NAPSI)—If you’re ever among the estimated 65 million Americans caring for loved ones, a look at one famous family’s experience may be useful to you.

Joan Lunden, former host of “Good Morning America,” wife, mother of seven and caregiver to her mother, Gladyce, was faced with the challenge of finding the right senior living community for her mom. Lunden found herself completely unprepared for what was ahead.

“My mom was always a social butterfly,” recalled Lunden. “I thought she would live in a place where she could make friends, entertain and socialize, but I quickly came to realize that version of my mom no longer existed. The community we initially chose was lovely but did not meet her needs.”

Gladyce’s first community lacked critical aspects of memory care that would help her cope with dementia, a condition that was worsening with time.

“We had to move a couple of times but ultimately found a small residential home in my mom’s area that provided the hands-on, day-to-day care she needed. It was a long journey, but we finally arrived at the right place,” Lunden added.

As a result of her experience, Lunden has partnered with the nation’s largest senior living referral service to help educate Americans on what they need to know about this difficult, complex process. At A Place for Mom, knowledgeable and compassionate Advisors counsel families through the process, offering guidance at each stage of their search. These experts advise there’s no better way to learn about a community than to visit. Families should tour the places they’re considering, together, to fully gauge if it’s the right fit.

What To Look For On a Visit

• Check for Cleanliness. Look under the beds, into corners, and at baseboards and windows to ensure that the community is properly maintained. Ask for details on housekeeping protocols, maintenance and response times.

• Follow Your Nose. Odors offer subtle hints. Smells concentrated in one area indicate a single, recent incident. Odors throughout the community may indicate a bigger problem.

• Visit During an Activity. Research the activity calendar and learn what’s available on- and off-site throughout the year and if those activities match your loved one’s interests.

• Meet the Management. Meet community management so you can assess their approach to residents’ care. Also look for interaction between staff members and residents. Are they engaged and courteous? Do they make eye contact with residents?

• Go Outdoors. Does the area feel safe and secure? Are activities held in these areas on sunny days?

• Dine. The dining room experience is very important. Discuss entrée choices, learn about dining hours, options and procedures. Enjoy a meal and meet some of the residents.

• Ask Security and Safety Questions. Be sure bathrooms are accessible and have convenient grab bars. Are there registered nurses on-site? How do staffing patterns differ at night?

• Check on Personal Care. Discuss bathing options and preferences. Observe current residents while visiting. Are they clean shaven, with well-groomed hair and nails? Are the residents dressed appropriately?

• Ask About Move-Out Criteria. Under what circumstances is a resident asked to move out? What notice does the resident or caregiver need to give the staff? Oftentimes, a 30-day notice is required by the property.

• Trust Your Instincts. Think about your loved one living in the community. Do you feel at ease? The place doesn’t have to be the most beautiful to be the best fit. Follow your instincts and your heart.

How to Learn More

For more details on these helpful tips and further suggestions on how to find the right senior living options, visit www.aplaceformom.com or call (877) 311-6099.

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New 3D Mammography Increases Chance Of Detecting Cancer

(NAPSI)—The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more treatable it is. Considering one in eight American women can expect to develop breast cancer at some point in her life, access to the best screening technology for early detection is critical.

Fortunately, doctors can now use a revolutionary technology called 3D mammography to more accurately detect cancer. Groundbreaking research recently published in the scientific journal Radiology found that adding 3D mammography to a traditional 2D mammogram increases the likelihood of detecting invasive breast cancers by 40 percent. Conducted by researchers at the University of Oslo, this study, which involved over 12,000 women, is the largest clinical trial to date showing the benefits of 3D mammography compared to traditional mammography.

Since the chance for a cure is nearly 100 percent if a cancer is detected before it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body, 3D mammograms are a valuable screening tool for women everywhere.

3D Mammography Compared To Traditional Mammography

The American Cancer Society recommends that all women, starting at age 40, get an annual mammogram to screen for breast cancer. While 2D digital mammography is still an excellent screening technology, limitations exist because it provides only a two-dimensional picture of the breast.

3D mammograms provide clearer images, giving doctors a more detailed view.

How a 3D Mammogram Works

For the patient, having a 3D mammogram is nearly identical to having a traditional mammogram. The difference is in how the images are captured and displayed to give doctors more accurate information.

Think of reading a mammogram as similar to reading a book. If you look down at the cover, you cannot see individual pages. However, when you open it up, you can go through the entire book page by page to see everything in between the covers. During the 3D procedure, an X-ray arm sweeps in an arc, taking multiple images in just seconds. These images are used to produce a 3D reconstruction of the breast, which a doctor can read one section—or page—at a time. Fine details are more clearly visible, making it easier for doctors to spot abnormalities.

Anxiety Reduced

Currently, many women are called in to have additional tests after something suspicious is seen on their screening mammogram. Waiting for the results of additional tests can mean a lot of worry and anxiety; however, many times, the suspicious area turns out to be normal—a false alarm. In addition to detecting cancers earlier, 3D mammography can reduce unnecessary callbacks by as much as 40 percent by helping doctors more accurately distinguish between normal tissue and true abnormalities. As a result, fewer women go through the anxiety-provoking ordeal of a false alarm.

Where to Find 3D Mammograms

Talk to your doctor about the benefits of 3D mammography and visit www.Hologic3D.com for a list of 3D mammography providers nearby.

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Little-Known Condition Can Have Big Consequences

(NAPSI)--A recent survey by the American Sexual Health Association revealed a troubling lack of information about a potentially serious--but readily curable--condition.

Trichomoniasis (trich) is the most common, curable, sexually transmitted disease (STD), yet only one in five women are familiar with it. Women surveyed perceive trich as the least common STD, when in reality there are more new cases of trich annually in the U.S. than gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia combined; an estimated 7 to 8 million new cases each year.

Trich is a parasite that is passed on during sex. Infection is more common in women, with the highest number of cases seen in those between ages 16 and 35.

Only about 30 percent of people with trich develop any symptoms, which in women can include itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals, discomfort with urination or a thin discharge with an unusual smell. Trich can also make sex unpleasant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that any sexually active woman seeking care for vaginal discharge should be tested for trich. Yet 65 percent of women surveyed would not seek medical attention if they experienced unusual symptoms, instead waiting to see if the symptoms go away or treating themselves with over-the-counter medicine, often thinking it a mere yeast infection.

Left untreated, trich can mean preterm or low-birth-weight babies and a greater susceptibility to HIV.

A Solution

The not-for-profit American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) recommends that women talk with their health care providers about trich testing, as the infection can last indefinitely and a person can be infected before meeting his or her current partner.

Trich is curable with just one dose of antibiotics but an estimated one in five are reinfected within three months of treatment.

The testing itself is simple, easy and painless. One of the newest tests lets a health care provider check for trich, chlamydia and gonorrhea using the same sample.

What Should Women Do?

• Talk to your health care provider about trich.

• Ask to be tested for trich when tested for chlamydia.

• Get tested before getting pregnant.

• Get tested if you are pregnant.

• Get tested if you have HIV.

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A Year Of Living Healthfully

(NAPSI)--To make staying healthy easier, the experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offer free, easy-to-read information about health conditions that can affect racial and ethnic populations. These tips can help you and your family stay healthy:

Keep Your Muscles and Bones Healthy

The muscles in your body help you walk, move, lift things, pump blood through your body and breathe. They also support your bones and let you do the things you love to do. To keep bones and muscles healthy, it helps to:

• Try four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. These are important for overall health and can help you make the most of your personal and family activities. However, don’t try to fit all your activity into one evening or weekend.

• Eat a balanced diet. Consume less fat and sugar and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Get enough calcium and vitamin D every day. This helps manage your weight and provides the different nutrients that your bones and muscles need.

Manage Joint Pain

A joint is where two or more bones are joined together. If you have frequent joint pain, visit your doctor to determine the cause. If your joint pain is due to a condition like arthritis, there are ways to feel better and stay active even if you have pain:

• When you exercise, try to move all your joints. Walking or climbing stairs helps circulation, supports the joints and strengthens the muscles. Strengthened muscles help take stress off the joints, and reducing joint stress helps reduce joint pain.

• Use an ice pack on the sore area.

• See a doctor regularly. Tell the doctor if your pain is improving or worsening.

Get Information

The NIH has developed a series of free health planners that offer different tips on bones, joints, muscles and skin for each month of the year. They were created for four multicultural communities:

• African Americans

• American Indians/Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians

• Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders

• Hispanics/Latinos (bilingual planner).

A Year of Health planners can be ordered by calling the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Information Clearinghouse toll-free at (877) 226-4267 [TTY: (301) 565-2966] or at www.niams.nih.gov/multicultural.

The mission of the NIAMS, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’, NIH, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; to train scientists to carry out this research; and to provide information and resources on conditions of the bones, joints, muscles and skin.

Learn More

For further information, call (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS or visit www.niams.nih.gov.

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More Than Lip Service

(NAPSI)—Star athlete and Olympic gold medal winner Misty May-Treanor has some advice for the 80 million Americans who develop cold sores: “Don’t tough it out, knock it out.”

“I’ve gotten cold sores for as long as I can remember, and have been using Abreva for about that long. I like it because it gets the job done fast. I try to use it as soon as I feel the first tingle of a cold sore.”

Abreva, the number one pharmacist recommended over-the-counter cold sore treatment, speeds healing like a prescription but without one. It penetrates deep to the root of cold sores and helps block the spread of the virus to healthy cells.

“Other ‘look-alike’ cold sore treatments claim to heal cold sores as fast as Abreva and may even imitate the packaging, but Abreva is the only over-the-counter medication approved by the FDA that is proven to shorten healing time and duration of a cold sore,” said Pam Marquess, Pharm.D, pharmacist, pharmacy chain owner.

Marquess says common triggers of cold sores include fatigue, stress, cold weather, ultraviolet (UV) rays, hormonal changes, trauma to your mouth or lips, and a fever, a cold or the flu.

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Living With Allergies—And Animals

(NAPSI)—Good news for the estimated one in five allergy sufferers who have pets: There are ways you and your pet can live together. The experts at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology suggest you:

• Keep your pet out of the bedroom. You spend as much as a third of your time there. Letting a dog or cat in increases your exposure to dander and the likelihood of allergic reaction.

• Bathe your pet frequently. It’s not the hair shed by the dog or cat that causes you to suffer, it’s the loose flakes of skin he deposits around the house. Bathe your pet at least once a week and dry him as best you can to limit the animal’s shaking and stirring up more dander.

• Replace air filters regularly. With a pet in the house, you should replace the filter in your forced-air heating and cooling system at least once a month. A high-quality pleated filter offers more surface area to capture more dander than a flat-surface filter.

• Clean your house frequently. Doctors recommend frequent vacuuming of both hard-surface and carpeted floors, heavily upholstered furniture and draperies.

• Consider a central vacuum system, such as the new BEAM Alliance System by Electrolux. It offers the most cleaning power available to remove 100 percent of captured dander from the living area without stirring up dust. Its hose-handle power controls let you increase or decrease power as needed during cleaning. Quiet operation also prevents startling the dog or cat, reducing the amount of dander the pet will shed.

Reducing exposure through environmental controls, however, may not be sufficient for some allergic patients. You may need an over-the-counter or prescription medication to live comfortably with your pet. Ask your physician about the appropriate treatment for you.

Learn More

To learn more about the BEAM Alliance System, go to www.beam.com. For more facts about living with allergies and pets, visit www.acaai.org.

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Save Yourself From Suspicious Supplements

(NAPSI)—Protecting your health is important to everyone. That’s why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants you to know that there are many dangerous products unlawfully marketed as “dietary supplements” that contain hidden drugs and chemicals. These products are sold for all sorts of conditions including weight loss, sexual enhancement, bodybuilding, arthritis and diabetes. They can contain hidden prescription ingredients at levels much higher than those found in approved drugs.

Using these bogus products may place you at risk of injury or death especially if you have other health problems. They may interact in dangerous ways with other medicines you are taking. FDA has received many reports of harm including stroke, liver injury, kidney failure, heart palpitations and death.

The experts at FDA offer these clues that a product may be tainted. Beware of products that:

• Promise rapid or long-lasting effects for sexual enhancement

• Are labeled in foreign languages

• Claim to be a legal alternative to anabolic steroids

• Warn you may test positive for performance-enhancing drugs

• Promise quick and easy weight loss

• Are marketed using e-mail spam or unsolicited faxes

• Include directions and warnings that resemble those of FDA-approved drug products.

Be proactive—do your research before buying these types of products, especially if you find them on the Internet. If you use or are considering using any product marketed as a dietary supplement, check with your health care provider.

Ask yourself if the claims sound too good to be true or seem to be unrealistic or extreme. Be on the lookout for these “red flag” claims, including “quick cure,” “secret ingredient,” “new discovery,” “cure-all” or “instant pain relief.”

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What To Do

If you or someone you care about has been hurt by a tainted dietary supplement, call (800) FDA-1088 or visit FDA online at www.fda.gov/safety/MedWatch.

To report a product you suspect may be tainted, e-mail Tainted-Products@fda.hhs.gov, or to anonymously report “Suspected Criminal Activity,” complete the form available at www.fda.gov/oci. For more information on how to spot health fraud scams, visit www.fda.gov/healthfraud.

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Knowledge Is Power As Fire Chief Acts F.A.S.T. In Response To Mom’s Stroke

(NAPSI)—Stroke is a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the U.S. , killing more than 133,000 people each year. Unfortunately, many Americans do not recognize the signs of stroke, ignore their symptoms or do not call 9-1-1. But for those with firsthand knowledge of what a stroke entails, the results can be very different.

That was the case with Fire Chief Captain John Curry of the Fire Officers Association of Miami-Dade (FOAM-D) when he received a phone call from his mother, Elaine Curry. Elaine had been reading a book when she suddenly realized she was unable to understand the words she was reading on the page.

“I knew there was something wrong with my mom when she called me,” Capt. Curry recalls. “She was slurring her words and I was having trouble making out what she was saying. She was exhibiting stroke symptoms.”

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood and oxygen to the brain is blocked by plaque or a blood clot (acute ischemic stroke), or breaks (hemorrhagic stroke). The visible signs and symptoms of stroke include speech impairment, arm numbness and weakness, severe headache, sudden confusion, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, as well as uncontrollable drooping of the face.

Recognizing and understanding the signs and symptoms of a stroke is crucial. The brain may lose up to 1.9 million cells each minute that it is deprived of oxygen in a large-vessel acute ischemic stroke, which is why it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention. There are treatments available if a patient’s symptoms are recognized quickly and he or she is transported to an emergency room early enough.

Fortunately, Captain Curry’s knowledge of stroke symptoms and protocols saved his mother precious time. He quickly called 9-1-1 and Elaine was rushed to the hospital, where Captain Curry was able to talk to her neurologist about treatment options. Thanks to her son’s quick recognition of stroke symptoms and the team that cared for Elaine, she was able to resume her normal life with minimal effects.

“In my line of work, I have seen what can happen when a patient ignores his or her symptoms and doesn’t seek immediate medical attention,” said Capt. Curry. “While it’s my job to know the signs of stroke, everyone can educate themselves on recognizing the signs of stroke just by remembering the acronym F.A.S.T.”

For more information, go to www.stroke.org.

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