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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THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE GOING THE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE ROUTE

notion that “some is good, so more is better.” This is not the case with supplements and herbal remedies. It is a sensible idea to follow the instruction on the product’s label and take only the recommended dose. An even better idea is to first check with your health care provider to have a conversation about potential interactions, side effects and safe administration of the product.


Supplements and their manufacturers have little oversight and are not subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, some supplements and herbal products have not been tested in FDA-approved clinical trials to determine their effectiveness in treating a given condition. Providers are calling for increased regulation of supplements and/or requiring manufactures to register with the FDA to provide evidence of good manufacturing practices and to show the product is what the label claims it is.


It is important to remember alternative medicine therapies can be beneficial, good options for some individuals, but not necessarily the ideal treatment for others. If you are considering an alternative medicine treatment, please consult with your primary care provider to discuss the benefits and risks.


SHELBY RIGGS, APRN

Shelby Riggs, APRN, recently joined Family Practice Associates. After working for nearly 10 years as a hospital RN, Shelby decided to further her education and graduated as a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner in August 2017 from Indiana Wesleyan University. Shelby’s experience in pediatrics and endocrinology and her personality make her an excellent fit for FPA. She enjoys women’s health and pediatric issues but can see any patient from child to adult. She is available for new patient, well- child and preventive adult visits, as well as routine office visits.

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Alternative medicine has become increasingly popular in the United States. Alternative medicine encompasses approaches that are used as alternatives to traditional or mainstream therapies. Examples include aromatherapy, dietary supplements and herbal remedies. When making the decision to start using a dietary supplement or herbal remedy, it is important to carefully consider its potential benefits and risks. Despite manufacturer claims that a given supplement is “natural,” it is not a guarantee the product is without side effects or is an appropriate treatment.


Since alternative medicine focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself, natural ingredients are often recommended to help restore health. Some supplements do not require a prescription and can be easily obtained. Be aware some products can interact with other treatments and medications a patient is already receiving, which could result in unfavorable reactions. These side effects can include strengthening or weakening the potency and efficacy of prescription medication. Examples include garlic, aloe vera, ginkgo biloba and ginseng. Some of these products have the potential to interact with cardiovascular medications and cause serious adverse effects. You should always check with your provider before starting an alternative therapy.


Another thing to consider before starting alternative therapies is making sure to take the product as recommended. People can have the