Breast Self Exams
It’s hard to know what to think sometimes. Some headlines would have you believe that breast self exams (BSEs) are no longer necessary.
The American Cancer Society ACS) points out that many women who find breast lumps do so not during an actual breast self exam, but while taking a shower or getting dressed, for example. They stress that women should know how their breasts normally look and feel, making it easy to detect any changes. But the ACS has now stated that women may not necessarily have to do regular BSEs as part of an early cancer detection plan.
The best way for you to feel sure you’re doing everything you can to detect breast cancer is to talk with your doctor about your risk profile. Depending on your age, family history and personal history, you and your doctor can determine when and how often you should have mammograms and clinical breast exams and when you should perform breast self exams.
Source: The American Cancer Society.
Tongue Splitting, Piercing
Heard about the latest body-altering craze? It’s tongue splitting, and you probably don’t want to get it done. It can change the way you speak, sometimes causing you to learn to speak all over again. Tongue splits can cause bacterial infections as well.
If you do decide to get your tongue split, do it the safest way. Have a doctor or a dentist perform the procedure, not the local body piercer.
Another fashion craze, tongue piercing, can also cause health problems. Scarring, bleeding, infection, cracked teeth and nerve damage are some of the common consequences.
Anyone who’s thinking about having either of these procedures performed should know in advance that there are serious health risks involved.
Source: British Dental Journal, May 2003
Back Sleeping for Baby
Many people already know that having babies sleep on their backs reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. A recent study shows additional benefits to back sleeping:
- Less incidence of fever
- Fewer ear infections
- Fewer stuffy noses
- Less trouble sleeping
Some parents have worried that babies who sleep on their backs may be more likely to swallow their own vomit, but this was not the case for any of the infants in the study.
Source: Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, May 2003
At Risk for Hemochromatosis?
Hemochromatosis (HMC) is a genetic disorder that causes iron to accumulate to toxic levels in tissues of major organs. Left untreated, HMC can cause diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, liver disease, depression, impotence and cancer. HMC is most common in men of Scotch-Irish, British, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian or Mediterranean descent, but women can also have HMC. Symptoms include
- Chronic fatigue
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
HMC can usually be detected through genetic testing or a specific blood test, and treatment is usually simple. If you think you may have HMC or are at risk for HMC, talk to your doctor about getting tested.
Sources: Iron Disorders Institute
Why Clean Up After Your Dog?
Dog feces are unattractive and smelly, but they’re hazardous to your health too. They contain bacteria, including E. coli, that can make people sick, especially children. They also carry salmonella and giardia. All of these bacteria are present in a healthy dog’s gut.
When dogs defecate near water, the water supply can become contaminated as well. Tests conducted on creeks and other bodies of water in Florida, Virginia and Idaho showed that dog feces caused high bacteria counts in the waterways.
According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, four out of 10 American households have at least one dog. In 2000, Americans owned 68 million dogs. That gives you an idea of how much difference it would make if owners disposed of feces the right way.
Source: USA Today, 6 June 2002