PAP SMEAR: TEST LOOKS FOR PRESENCE OF PRECANCEROUS CELLS

A Pap smear is a procedure that screens for cervical cancer. Most women should start getting Pap smears at age 21 years and every three years after. It should be a part of your annual physical exam. The test looks for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, the opening of the uterus or womb. During the procedure, cells from the cervix are scraped away. It is not painful and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. You may bleed a little after the test is completed.

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WHAT IS A MEDICARE WELLNESS EXAM?

A Medicare Wellness Exam is a preventative screening visit your provider wants you to have once a year. This visit is free and is separate from your annual physical exam (if your plan covers annual physicals). Traditional Medicare does not pay for a physical – it only covers a Wellness Exam.  What is a Wellness Exam? The visit is covered once every 12 months (11 full months must have passed since your last visit). It is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health....

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ORAL HERPES

Oral herpes is an infection caused by a specific type of the herpes simplex virus. This condition, also called HSV-1 or sometimes cold sores or fever blisters, creates painful sores on your lips, gums and tongue, as well as the roof of your mouth and sometimes the inside of your cheeks. It may even affect your nose and chin. Symptoms of oral herpes include swelling in the lymph nodes, fever, tiredness and aching muscles. While the initial infection with oral herpes occurs most often in children ages 1-2 years, ….

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DO YOU HAVE AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE?

with your state’s law. In most states, you can include special requests in your advance directive, such as wishes about organ donation, cremation or burial. Advance directives do not expire and you can change yours at any time. If you complete a new advance directive, it invalidates the previous one. You do not need a lawyer to prepare an advance directive.


If you have not yet completed an advance directive, your annual Medicare Wellness visit is a great resource for knowledge and advice. Your provider can explain what is involved in certain treatments and procedures so you can make an informed choice about what you want and don’t want. He or she can tell you about pain management options.


One advantage of an advance directive is the peace of mind it gives your family. Should something catastrophic happen to you, they will understand your wishes and won’t have to agonize over actions to take for you. They will know you have already decided on the treatment you want to receive and they can be comforted knowing they are abiding by your wishes. It is vital that you talk to your family members so they know what is in your directive long before you ever need it. For tips on how to prepare an advance directive and how to talk to your family about

it, visit www.fivewishes.org. Five Wishes was created by the non-profit organization Aging with Dignity. The documents available on the Website also address matters of comfort care, spirituality, forgiveness and final wishes regarding funeral plans and memorials.

JANUARY HAMBY, APRN

Family Practice Associates of Lexington, PSC is pleased to welcome January Hamby, APRN, to the office. January has experience in critical care and geriatrics. After working for 18 years as an RN in hospital critical care units and at the VA Medical Center, January decided to further her education and graduated as a Board Certified Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner in August 2017 from Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo. January enjoys geriatric health and preventive medicine but can see adult patients of all ages. She also performs annual Medicare Wellness exams.

more articles by january hamby

Every year during your annual Medicare Wellness visit at Family Practice Associates, your primary care provider will discuss with you the topic of advance directives – what they are and why you should have one. If you already have one, the wellness visit is an excellent time to review it and make sure it still reflects your wishes about what you want done on your behalf should you ever get seriously ill.


An advance directive outlines specific procedures you want performed if you are unable to articulate your wishes because you are incapacitated. For instance, you could elect to have a DNR – do not resuscitate – order. Your directive will let your medical providers know whether you want to be put on life support. You should keep a photocopy of this important document on your person or on your refrigerator at home and make sure family members know where to find it. Your health care providers should know what your advance directive says; a copy should be kept in your medical file. Your provider is ethically and legally obligated to follow your wishes.


Before your advanced directive can be used for medical decision making, two physicians must certify you are unable to make your own decisions and are in the medical condition specified in your state’s living will law, such as terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. The laws govern-ing advance directives vary from state to state, so it’s important to complete and sign advance directives that comply