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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PROBIOTICS: FOR LIFE, FOR HEALTH

probiotic, is found in yogurt. Other foods containing probiotics are fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh and some juices and soy beverages. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how probiotics work and to determine which probiotics are best for certain health problems. Different probiotics may act in different ways. They treat such gut-related conditions as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and infectious diarrhea. Some research appears to show they tackle other problems in other parts of the body, including skin conditions such as eczema, tooth decay, periodontal disease and urinary tract infections. People who are lactose intolerant may find probiotics ease their symptoms.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates probiotics like foods, not like medications. So probiotic supplement makers do not have to demonstrate their products are safe – or even that they work. The FDA has not approved any probiotics for preventing or treating any health problem. The National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov) says although some probiotics have shown promise in research studies, strong scientific evidence to support specific uses of probiotics for most health conditions is lacking. More research using widespread, carefully designed clinical trials is needed to draw firmer conclusions about probiotics’

usefulness. Generally probiotics are safe. Some people have mild side effects when they start taking them, such as upset stomach, diarrhea, gas and bloating. People with serious medical problems such as a weakened immune system may have more severe side effects and thus should be monitored closely while taking probiotics. Probiotics may also cause too much stimulation of the immune system. If you’re considering adding probiotics to your diet, be sure to talk to your primary care physician first.

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Probiotics, the focus of the latest health fad, are far from new. The concept behind them was introduced in the early 20th century when Nobel laureate Elie Metchnikoff studied the longevity of Bulgarian peasants and declared it was the result of their consumption of fermented milk products. He believed consuming beneficial microorganisms could improve health. Researchers continued to investigate this idea and the term “probiotics”— which means “for life” (as opposed to antibiotics) — eventually came into use.


According to WebMd (www.webmd.com), probiotics are microorganisms such as live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially the digestive system. Bacteria that are naturally present in the intestines help digest food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms and produce vitamins. These bacteria are considered to be good or beneficial – not disease causing – because they are vital to the proper development of the immune system. They keep the gut healthy. They help with the absorption of food and nutrients. When you lose good bacteria in your body, probiotics help replace them, seeking to maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria so the body can function properly.


Probiotics are available in foods and dietary supplements. They can be sorted into two groups, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Within each group, there are different species and within each species there are different strains or varieties. Lactobacillus, the most common