MAKE A WISE ENERGY INVESTMENT IN 2018

Happy New Year, friends! For many of us, this is an important time of year as we work on making changes and accomplishing new goals. I hope you are very successful in whatever you choose to work on in 2018. I have some things I want to work on personally. One of my goals may be something you’ll want to consider.  One thing I want to do is maximize my investments, especially in terms of my energy. The goal in any investment is to expend the resource in such a way as to have a return that is greater....

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QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE HAVING SURGERY

Before undergoing any surgery, you should ask your doctor how to prepare and what to expect afterward. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (www.plasticsurgery.org) says you need to communicate your goals and expectations to your plastic surgeon. And, of course, you should choose someone who is board certified by a reputable association such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and who has a good amount of training and experience….

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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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NEW SCREENING DEVICE AVAILABLE FOR PATIENTS WITH DIABETES

People who have diabetes must be vigilant about their eyes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults between the ages of 20 and 74 years, and 45 percent of patients with diabetes develop diabetic eye disease, which can lead to severe vision loss or even blindness, according to www.DiabetesSightRisk.com. One complication of diabetes that affects the eyes is diabetic retinopathy. In this condition, blood vessels become blocked and prevent areas of the retina from receiving blood and nutrients. This can lead to diabetic macular edema, which occurs when the damaged blood vessels leak fluid into the macula.


At Family Practice Associates, we now offer fundus photography to screen for retinopathy in patients with diabetes. The procedure takes about five minutes and is covered by Medicare and most insurances. It takes color photographs of the retina and offers an automatic evaluation. The diagnostic report includes retinal images, which are reviewed and read by a board-certified ophthalmologist. A referral/screening plan clearly details next steps you can take to enhance your eye health.


Sometimes you may need to see a retinal specialist, who will perform additional tests. With fluorescein angiography, the specialist injects a dye into your arm and takes photos as the dye passes through your eye. This test helps the specialist detect any closed, damaged

or leaking blood vessels. A second special test is an imaging test called optical coherence tomography. It produces a cross section of the retina and is useful for revealing any swelling in the eye tissue.


To keep tabs on possible diabetic eye disease, patients with diabetes are encouraged to get a dilated eye exam every year in addition to routine visits with their primary care physician. This type of exam often detects problems a regular vision test cannot. Your doctor will put drops in your eyes to dilate and enlarge the pupils, the openings at the center of the iris. Enlarging your pupils allows your eye doctor to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for signs of disease. Using a special magnifying lens, the doctor checks the retina and optic nerve for damage.


The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders (www.niddk.nih.gov) says your eye doctor may conduct other tests to measure the pressure in your eyes; your side or peripheral vision; and how well you see at various distances. You may also need to keep seeing a general ophthalmologist or optometrist if you have other medical conditions that affect your eyes, such as glaucoma, or if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.



A dilated eye exam could be the deciding factor in preserving your sight. Early detection, timely treatment and follow-up care could reduce your risk of diabetes-related blindness by 95 percent. Another way to keep your eyes healthy is to keep your blood glucose and Hgb A1C numbers as close to your targets as possible. Also, be sure to regulate your blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and take your medications as directed.

JOSEPH E. GERHARDSTEIN

Dr. Gerhardstein is a native of Fort Thomas, Ky. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He joined Family Practice Associates of Lexington in 2003. His specialty is family practice. Dr. Gerhardstein shares Nietzsche’s philosophy: “That which does not kill us only makes us stronger.”

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