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Health Q&A

Posted September 05, 2012 in Advice Column, Johnston

Q: What are the guidelines for mammograms, Pap smears and HPV vaccinations?

A: Due to the high incidence of breast cancer in the U.S. and the potential to reduce deaths from it when caught early, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends mammography screening be offered annually to women beginning at age 40. Previous ACOG guidelines recommended mammograms every one to two years starting at age 40 and annually beginning at age 50.

    • Pap smears screen for cervical cancer. They should begin at age 21. Women aged 30 and older who have had three consecutive negative Pap smear results and who have no history of moderate to severe Pap smears may extend the interval between cervical cytology exams to every three years. In women who have had a total hysterectomy for benign indications and have no prior history of high-grade Pap smear abnormalities, Pap smears should be discontinued. The combination of Pap smear plus HPV testing is appropriate screening test for women 30 years and older. If both tests are negative, rescreening should be no sooner than three years subsequently.

• The FDA has licensed two vaccines shown to be effective at preventing HPV infection. The vaccine should be administered as three separate doses according to the following schedule: first dose at the elected time; second dose two months after the first dose; third dose six months after the first dose. The FDA has approved this three-dose vaccine for females 9 through 26 years.

Information provided by West Des Moines OBGYN, 4949 Westown Parkway, Suite 140, West Des Moines, 515-223-5466.

Q: Why am I fatigued?

A: If you feel generally tired in the mornings, need caffeine or sugar to keep going, or feel worse: exhausted all of the time, it is your body’s way of telling you it needs healing. When the lab tests are negative but you know you just don’t have the energy you used to, don’t settle for “I feel old.” Consult with a natural health physician who works with nutrition and consider detoxification. A great health practitioner should be able to determine the source and naturally treat your fatigue.
    • Adrenal stress. Due to poor sleep, use of stimulants such as caffeine, or busy and multitasking at home and work.
    • Pancreas stress. Symptoms include better energy with eating then tired or hungry one to two hours after eating; may signal insulin resistance (prior to diabetes).
    • Digestive stress. Symptoms include tiredness, belching, bloating or gas, irritation from eating certain foods or acid reflux.
    • Cellular stress. Symptoms of slight swelling in the hands, bloat. Exercisers with low fat diet, not enough electrolytes, magnesium, minerals.
    • Hormonal stress. An inability to lose weight, brittle nails or hair, gain weight at waist, thighs or hips. Lifestyle of small exposures to pollutants and use of plastics.

Information provided by Dr. Juliet O’Donnell, DC, Heartland Chiropractic and Wellness Center, 515-252-8668, 5521 N.W. 86th St.

Q: Could my nagging, aching pain be a soft tissue injury?

A: Whether you’ve been in an automobile accident or just have the “chronic soreness/tightness” in your body, soft tissue injury could be the culprit and you don’t have to “just live with it.”

When a muscle, tendon, ligament or nerve is damaged from trauma or overuse, the body will attempt to repair the damage with scar tissue. These scar tissue adhesions, left untreated, perpetuate the cumulative injury cycle and result in progressive loss of function and increased pain. Soft tissue injuries often lead to a loss of flexibility, strength and range of motion. People often attribute these losses to “just getting old,” but this is seldom the case.

Our office specializes in soft tissue injuries through the use of a couple highly recognized techniques: Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) as well as the Graston Technique, both of which are proven to be fast, effective, non-invasive ways to heal a wide variety of soft tissue injuries.

These techniques focus on releasing the soft tissue adhesions, restoring vascular and lymph circulation and increasing your range of motion, flexibility and strength, all of which allow you pain-free ranges of motion and a sense of “normal.” Acute soft tissue injuries can easily turn into chronic tendenopathies such as golfer’s and tennis elbow, runner’s knee, planter fasciitis, carpal tunnel and many more. So if you have an injury, get it evaluated today. We can help.

Information provided by Dr. Aaron Rector, Active Wellness, 8711 Windsor, Parkway, Suite 7, 867-2900.

Q: Why are baby teeth important?

A: Primary “baby” teeth help children speak clearly, chew naturally and also provide a path for the permanent “adult” teeth to erupt into place. Primary teeth generally start erupting between 6 – 12 months of age. The posterior (the back) teeth have to last children up to 12 years. When primary teeth are lost early due to decay, it causes the remaining baby teeth to move out of place, which can lead to problems in the spacing available for permanent teeth.

It is very important to keep the primary teeth clean and healthy until they fall out naturally. Use a small, soft toothbrush or small, soft wet washcloth to clean the teeth as soon as they come in. Fluoridated toothpaste can be used when a child can spit. It is safe to use a small, thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth until age 2. For 2- to 5-year-olds, it is safe to increase the amount of fluoridated toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. Start flossing your child’s teeth once side-by-side teeth start to touch.

It is recommended that your child see a dentist once the first tooth comes in or no later than the child’s first birthday. At this first check-up, the dentist will examine the child’s oral cavity and spend time giving advice and guidance to parents and caregivers about how to care for their child’s oral health.

Information provided by Julie Smith, DDS, Johnston Dental, 5541 NW 86th St., Suite 100, Johnston, 276-2500.

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