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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OSTEOPOROSIS - A DILEMMA FOR OUR AGING POPULATION

Bone density test results are reported using T-scores. A T-score compares how much higher or lower your bone density is compared to that of a young healthy adult. A T-score of -1.0 or above is normal bone density. A T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 equals osteopenia. A T-score of -2.5 or below is osteoporosis.


Bone density tests are recommended every two years for woman age 65 years or older, men age 70 years or older and anyone who breaks a bone at or after age 50 years. Many chronic medical conditions put patients at much higher risk of osteoporosis. Risk factors for osteoporosis include gender, age, race (Asian or Caucasian decent), family history, small body frame, low BMI, smoking, alcohol intake, rheumatoid arthritis and steroid use. A FRAX score is used to calculate a 10-year probability of having a hip or other major osteoporotic fracture.


What treatments are available for osteoporosis? Prevention is key. Living a bone-healthy lifestyle includes doing daily weight-bearing exercises, not smoking and getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D. About 99 percent of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth. Every day, we lose calcium through our skin, nails, hair and sweat. Our bodies cannot produce calcium on their own. When the

body doesn’t get the calcium it needs, it takes it from our bones. Over time, this causes weaker bones that are more susceptible to breaking. The daily calcium requirement is 1,000 mg through food rich in calcium. If a patient cannot get enough calcium through their diet or because of poor absorption, their provider can place them on calcium supplements. Vitamin D is essential to your body’s ability to absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D from sunlight, but it’s recommended adults ages 51-70 years of age get 800 to 1,000 IU a day through a vitamin D supplement.


Once a patient has fractured a bone or been diagnosed with osteoporosis by a bone density test, medications can be prescribed to combat it and/or prevent further fractures either by slowing the breakdown of bone or promoting bone formation. Talk to your primary care physician about when it is appropriate for you to have a bone density test based on your personal risk for osteoporosis.

DR. ALETIA FARMER

Dr. Aletia Farmer is a native of Lexington. She began her education at the University of Kentucky, graduating cum laude with a BS degree in biology in 1998. She graduated from UK Medical School in 2005 and completed her residency in internal medicine there in June 2008. While at UK, she received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Beale Primary Care Scholarship and the Primary Care Resident Award. Dr. Farmer is trained in all aspects of internal medicine and its special- ties, managing both acute and chronic conditions. Her clinical interests include women’s health, preventative medicine and chronic disease management. She and her husband, Wesley, have two children. She enjoys boating, snow skiing and gardening.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) (www.nof.org), osteoporosis (which means porous bone) is characterized by low bone mass, compromised bone strength and an increased fracture risk. Bones become brittle and weak. They may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from just sneezing or a minor injury.


Based on NOF statistics, 9.9 million Americans have osteoporosis. An additional 43 million have low bone mass (osteopenia), which increases fracture risk. Annually, osteoporosis causes 2 million fractures. Studies show one in two women will have an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. Up to one in four men age 50 years and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis is a silent disease. It presents very few symptoms. Breaking a bone is often the first sign you have osteoporosis. The disease can lead to a loss of independence and diminished quality of life for the aging population.


Osteoporosis is diagnosed through a bone density test (BMD), which tells your provider if you have normal or low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis. An imaging of the patient’s hip, spine and femur is performed by a central dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machine. This machine estimates the amount of density in these particular bones. The lower your bone density, the greater your risk of breaking a bone.