Q: How can I detect breast cancer early?
A: October is breast cancer awareness month. When detected early, breast cancer is nearly 98 percent survivable when it is at a localized site. According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Everyone needs to know the early signs and symptoms so any abnormality can be checked out by a doctor. The best way to do this is to perform monthly breast self exams. Most of us know we need to perform these exams, but a very low percentage of people actually do them. Any sign of increased tenderness or a lump around the breast or armpit needs to be furthered examined by a physician. Keep in mind, these lumps certainly do not indicate breast cancer. Nonetheless, further examining is key in early breast cancer detection. Besides the breast self-exam, women starting at age 40 will need to have a yearly mammogram. If not yearly, at least every two years. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them.
There are six simple habits that we can do to not only reduce our risk of breast cancer, but for other cancers and long-term health conditions. Maintain a healthy weight. Eat right with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. Quit smoking and avoid other tobacco products. Limit alcohol consumption. And lastly, get regular screenings. With these six habits combined with breast self-exams, you will put yourself on the right track for early detection and hopefully stay cancer-free.
Q: How does chiropractic care affect my overall health?
A: The body is designed with an innate ability to heal itself from injury or illness, and the nervous system controls this response. Every cell, tissue and organ is controlled by the nervous system — the immune system is no exception.
When germs enter the body, the nervous system directs the inflammatory cells to react, the antibodies to attack and the lymph cells to collect the debris. When the nervous system is compromised with spinal misalignments, the body’s response may be delayed or inefficient, triggering upper respiratory infections such as sinus or ear infections.
Tight and inflamed muscles in the neck and back can also compromise lymph drainage that is necessary to rid the body of the viruses and bacteria, prolonging or magnifying the symptoms. In addition, the nervous system controls the production of new cells to replenish those that are weakened or destroyed during the illness. Maximize your health with chiropractic adjustments to reduce the nervous system interference that is limiting your body from performing at its highest potential.
Q: What is shoulder impingement?
A: Shoulder impingement is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. The pain results from pressure on the rotator cuff muscles from part of the shoulder blade as the arm is lifted overhead. The shoulder blade literally presses or impinges on the rotator cuff muscles and causes loss of strength of the rotator cuff muscles, pain, irritation and decreased range of motion.
The symptoms of shoulder impingement are pain radiating from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm, sudden pain with lifting and reaching movements, pain with lifting the arm, pain with lowering the arm from an elevated position, pain at night and strength loss. Impingement is common in both athletes and non-athletes. Sports and jobs that require overhead activities such as baseball, volleyball, painting, hanging drywall or repetitive jobs like those in a factory commonly cause shoulder impingement.
Physicians will often use anti-inflammatory medications in the form of a pill or an injection to help alleviate the inflammation and pain. While the medications help with the pain, they don’t address the mechanical dysfunctions that actually cause the impingement. A physical therapist will use hands-on techniques to improve mobility around the shoulder blade and upper back and teach a home exercise program to work on improving strength and functioning of the rotator cuff muscles.
Q: What changes will I see in 2013 Medicare Part D plans?
A: Starting Oct. 15 and going through Dec. 7, 2012, Medicare beneficiaries can take advantage of the annual open enrollment period and compare their current plan to about 33 others in Iowa. Experts recommend that you do the comparisons because many plans have made changes in their premiums, deductibles, drug coverage choices, coverage during the “donut hole” and coverage for persons with low-income subsidies.
In some cases, the plans that have always had zero premiums and no deductible have changed those provisions. In addition, many of the plans have implemented preferred pharmacy networks where numerous independent pharmacies have become “out-of-network.” That doesn’t mean you cannot go there; it means you may pay higher copays if you do.
Where does that leave local residents who wish to use Adel pharmacies? We won’t know for sure until we can compare plans in Medicare’s drug plan database. However, plans will exist that include Adel pharmacies as preferred pharmacies, so do your homework. Another caution — watch for plans that have mandatory mail order. The insurance plans own their mail order pharmacies. This means they make you think you’re going to save money, when in reality it puts more money in their pockets and leaves you with the frustrations that inevitably occur, such as late mailings, overcharges and drug substitutions that you didn’t approve — not to mention lack of oversight and personal attention that you receive from your hometown pharmacy.