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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SENIORS ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO DEPRESSION


Especially during this pandemic, when seniors are among the most vulnerable for contracting and succumbing to COVID-19 and are missing that vital connection with friends and family, our older friends and relatives are more at risk for developing depression.


Symptoms of depression include changes in appetite and sleep patterns; lack of interest in activities you formerly enjoyed; loss of energy; feeling helpless and hopeless; physical aches and pains; and having suicidal thoughts. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs, especially if they last longer than two weeks, your immediate first step is to talk to your primary care physician. There is no reason to suffer in silence or alone. When you see your doctor, be honest about your feelings. Depression can happen to anyone and there is no reason to be ashamed. Getting help quickly is essential.


There are many things you can do to combat depression. Be sure to get out and exercise whenever you can. Try not to dwell on negative thoughts and watch your intake of news and social media posts. Reading a good book, taking up a new

hobby, listening to music you love or talking to a sympathetic friend are other ways to combat depression. Tap into your spiritual side through meditation, journaling or prayer. If none of these strategies work, get to your doctor right away. With time and personalized treatment, you can expect to feel like your happier self again.

DR RAJEANA CONWAY

Dr. Rajeana Conway is an Internal Medicine specialist at Family Practice Associates of Lexington who sees patients 18 years of age and older.  She is originally from Maysville, Kentucky and is married with two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to church, watching TV, crafting, and going to the lake.  Dr. Conway earned her medical degree from The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2015 and completed her residency in internal medicine at The Christ Hospital in 2018.  For an appointment with Dr. Conway, please call our office at (859) 278-5007.

more articles by Dr Rajeana Conway

Depression is common among older adults. It is estimated 7 million Americans over age 65 years experience depression annually. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org), depression is more than just feeling sad. This serious mental health disorder can be incapacitating and devastating for both the patient and his or her family. However, with early detection and diagnosis and a treatment plan that may include medication, such as an antidepressant, and psychotherapy, many people with depression can and do get better.


The National Institute on Aging (www.nia.nih.gov) stresses depression is not a normal part of aging. There are numerous reasons depression often hits this particular demographic so hard. For one thing, many seniors are coping with debilitating chronic illnesses, which can cause anxiety and uncertainty. As well, some medications used to treat conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke can cause depressive symptoms. Social isolation is another factor. Some seniors live alone after their children move out to build lives of their own. Many of them have been widowed. Retirees no longer get the stimulation of going to the office every day and intermingling with coworkers. People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are susceptible to the change in seasons; less sunlight makes them more prone to depression. Genes are another contributing factor; people with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop it than those whose families do not have the illness. Depression in older adults may be related to changes that occur in the brain, such as restricted blood flow (ischemia).