Suffer from migraines? Treatments help prevent attacks before they start
Are there effective treatments for preventing debilitating migraine attacks? New guidelines say yes, but many people are not taking advantage of these treatments.
Migraine is a condition involving recurring headaches that often can last anywhere from two hours to four days, and can completely interrupt your daily activities, impair your work performance and affect your family obligations. Research shows that many treatments can help prevent migraines, yet few people use these preventive treatments, according to new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Neurology and American Headache Society.
"Studies show that migraine is under-recognized and under-treated," says guideline author Dr. Stephen Silberstein of Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "About 38 percent of people who suffer from migraine could benefit from preventive treatments, but less than a third of these people currently use them."
Unlike acute treatments, which are used to relieve the pain of a migraine attack when it occurs, preventive treatments usually are taken every day to lessen the frequency, severity and duration of attacks.
"Some studies show that migraine attacks can be reduced by more than half with preventive treatments," Silberstein says.
Some over-the-counter treatments may offer relief for migraine sufferers.
Several herbal preparations, vitamins and minerals are used for preventing migraine. The guideline research found that the herbal supplement Petasites, also known as butterbur, is effective in preventing migraine attacks. There is moderate evidence that riboflavin (vitamin B2), the mineral magnesium and the herbal preparation MIG-99 (Feverfew) can help prevent migraine.
In addition, several drugs for inflammation have been studied for migraine prevention. These are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Evidence shows the NSAIDs fenoprofen, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen and naproxen sodium can help prevent migraine attacks.
Silberstein notes that while people do not need a prescription from a physician for these over-the-counter and complementary treatments, they should still see their doctor regularly for follow-up. You can learn more about the guideline recommendations at http://www.aan.com/guidelines.
Some prescription drugs help prevent migraine attacks, too.
The blood pressure drugs metoprolol, propranolol and timolol have been shown to be effective. The depression drugs amitriptyline and venlafaxine, as well as epilepsy drugs divalproex sodium, sodium valproate and topiramate can help prevent future occurrences of migraine. It’s important to discuss prescription drug options with your doctor to see if one is right for you.
What other steps can you take to avoid migraine attacks?
In addition to preventative treatments, it’s wise to avoid common migraine triggers. In some people, migraine headaches can be triggered by certain foods and beverages, according to the American Headache Society. Skipped meals, dehydration, strong odors and bright lights are other factors to avoid if possible.
"Migraines can get better or worse over time," Silberstein says. "People should discuss these changes in the pattern of attacks with their doctors and see whether they need to adjust their dose or even stop their medication, or switch to a different medication."
Personalizing lung cancer care through biomarker testing
Over the last decade, the scientific community has gained a greater understanding of genetic mutations, or abnormalities, associated with the development and progression of cancer; these mutations are also known as biomarkers. The presence or absence of a biomarker can help physicians determine the most appropriate treatment approach for each individual patient based on their specific type of cancer.
In some cancers, like breast cancer, testing for biomarkers is already an established best practice.
However, for other cancers, the regular use of biomarker testing is still gaining momentum; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one example.
NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer - in fact, about 85 percent of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed as having NSCLC. Today, there have been multiple biomarkers identified and believed or known to play a role in the development and progression of this disease. One of these biomarkers is a mutation in a protein known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); it is one of the most common biomarkers identified in NSCLC patients. Another biomarker being closely studied in NSCLC is anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancers have EGFR mutations, while another two to seven percent have ALK rearrangements.
There have been significant advancements in the research of NSCLC over the past 10 years including increased knowledge of biomarkers, which can inform treatment decisions.
Traditional surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, which can remove or kill some normal cells along with cancer cells, were once the only options; however, targeted therapies are now an option for some patients who have a biomarker. Targeted therapies generally work by influencing the processes that control growth, division, and spread of cancer cells, as well as the signals that cause cancer cells to die naturally (apoptosis), the way normal cells do when they are damaged or old.
“The discovery of genetic mutations and the process of testing for them - known as biomarker testing - is changing the diagnosis and treatment landscape for patients with cancer,” said Kevin Lokay, vice president and business unit head, Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “It allows us to determine if a patient’s cancer is associated with a genetic mutation, leading to a more detailed diagnosis and giving us the tools we need to map out an individualized treatment approach for each patient.”
Ideally, biomarker testing happens immediately after a patient is diagnosed with a disease like lung cancer to help ensure that he or she can start on the most appropriate treatment as early as possible.
A team - that may include pulmonologists, pathologists, oncologists and other health professionals - typically works together in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung cancer, including biomarker testing. There are multiple steps involved in biomarker testing for patients with advanced NSCLC, including:
* Taking a sample of lung tissue from a patient
* Analyzing/confirming type of lung cancer
* Testing the tissue sample for biomarkers
* Determining an individualized treatment approach
What can you do? You can increase the awareness of biomarker testing. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with lung cancer, be empowered by asking about biomarker testing. You can learn more about the biomarker testing process via an easy-to-understand brochure titled, “Individualizing Your Lung Cancer Care: Informing Decisions Through Biomarker Testing,” which can be found on http://onebreath.org and was developed by Boehringer Ingelheim in collaboration with the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and EmergingMed.
Healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients with lung cancer can find out more through Boehringer Ingelheim’s Let’s Test initiative (www.LetsTestNow.com) to learn more about the importance of automatically testing for biomarkers in advanced NSCLC and the importance of a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to testing.
Avoiding footwear fumbles when exercising or playing sports
“To get the most out of your workout or from playing a favorite sport, it’s imperative to choose the right footwear for the type of exercise you’ll engage in,” says Dr. Matthew Garoufalis, a podiatrist and president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “Improper footwear can lead to irritation and injury.”
Foot or ankle sprains and fractures are the most common types of injuries related to exercise and footwear. The type of exercise or sport you prefer can influence the type of injury you could experience. In general for example, foot and ankle sprains and fractures are more common among football players, while basketball players may suffer more ankle sprains and runners experience stress fractures to feet or ankles.
APMA offers some guidance on how to avoid foot injury while exercising:
* Always warm up before exercise. Just as you stretch to warm up leg and arm muscles, your feet need to warm up gradually too.
* If you experience foot pain while exercising or engaging in physical activity, stop immediately. Foot pain is not normal and you shouldn’t feel any when you exercise. If pain persists even after you stop your workout, see a podiatrist.
* Always wear supportive shoes that are appropriate for the type of physical activity you’re engaging in.
Choosing the right footwear can help ensure you minimize the risk of injury and enjoy a more productive and comfortable workout. When choosing workout or sports footwear, keep these pointers in mind:
* Choose a running shoe based on your foot type: low/flat arch, normal arch or high arch. You can find a graphic of what each foot type looks like on the APMA website. If you have a low or no arch, you need a supportive shoe designed for stability and motion-control. Normal arched feet require a shoe with a balance of stability and cushioning to help absorb shock when your feet meet the ground. For people with high arches, a cushioned running shoe with a softer midsole and more flexibility compensates for the poor natural shock absorption of the higher arch.
* Also take into account the kind of activity you’ll do. Runners need more arch support and cushioning to absorb impact. Basketball players require extra ankle support to prevent injury from side-to-side movement - which is why basketball shoes come up over the ankles.
* Don’t go it alone when you’re shopping for a workout or sports shoe. Go to a store that specializes in athletic footwear and ask to be professionally fitted before you buy. Shoes should fit comfortably as soon as you try them on; never assume you’ll “break in” an uncomfortable athletic shoe. Shop toward the end of the day, when feet are at their largest due to normal daily swelling.
* Whatever your exercise or sport of choice, your athletic shoes should offer plenty of support in the front and back.
Finally, when athletic shoes begin to show signs of wearing out, it’s time to replace them. Examine the tread, especially around mid-sole. Generally, you should replace athletic shoes every year, and running shoes every 300 to 400 miles.
To learn more about foot health, or to find a podiatrist in your area, visit www.apma.org.
(BPT) - It’s the cycle of fashion - trends are always recycling, returning and changing. Save time and money by transforming your existing wardrobe into stylish, on-trend pieces with a few simple tricks.
Do-over your denim
Shorts are a fashionable warm weather staple - and a great way to show off your tan. Make a personalized pair by repurposing old jeans - just trim them at your desired length for a cool, casual pair of cutoffs. Or, embrace the bright color trend by transforming colored khakis or denim into capri pants or Bermuda shorts. Add a bit of pop to your jeans by adding fabric panels at the sides - open the side seams and sew in some fabric all the way down. For a simpler touch, add lace or ribbon down the side seams for a chic effect, or cover the back pockets in a unique design.
Transform a T-shirt
The classic summer tee is the perfect medium for some do-it-yourself fashion flair. Give new life to a favorite T-shirt by transforming it into a halter top. Start with a crew neck T-shirt, remove the sleeves, cut a v-shape in the front and back, then trim straight across the back at the bottom of the v-shape to create straps. To embrace another fun trend, add some fringe to the bottom of a t-shirt. For best results, start with a T-shirt that’s a bit longer. Mark where you want the fringe to start; next, use a ruler to measure even strips. Then, snip, snip.
Stick to it
Father’s favorite fix-all isn’t just for home repairs anymore - duct tape clothing and accessories are everywhere. A recent episode of the popular fashion design program “Project Runway” even featured an Unconventional Materials Challenge asking the designers to create dresses using Duck Tape brand duct tape.
“What is great about making a dress out of Duck Tape is that you can always change as you go - the -dress is never set in stone, because it’s tape,” says Michelle Lesniak Franklin, winner of the Duck Tape Unconventional Materials Challenge and Season 11 of “Project Runway.”
Flexible and fun, Duck Tape can be used to create entire garments or to simply add a bit of color and pattern to existing clothing and accessories. For instance, cut out a personalized monogram using Duck Tape Sheets to add some style to a handbag or backpack, make a funky flower ring or create colorful waterproof flips flops using a few of the hundreds of colors and prints available.
Stenciling or painting on fabric is another easy way to turn basic clothing into sophisticated styles. Create your own customized stencils using contact paper, or find plenty of options at your local craft store or on websites like Etsy. Just pick up some fabric paint, lay out your stencil and get to work. For a super simple - but definitely eye-catching - transformation, try replacing the buttons on a favorite sweater or jacket with new buttons in an unexpected color, fabric or texture. Adding beads, ribbon or lace are additional options for making your clothing your own.
Not ready to make over your favorite existing pieces? Experiment with finds from a local consignment store, Goodwill or Salvation Army shop - you’ll often discover gently used or like-new clothing for just a few dollars, and you won’t have to worry if your design goes awry. For more fun fashion do-it-yourself ideas, check out Pinterest, crafting websites like Craftster, or try to recreate styles from the pages of your favorite fashion magazine.
THE SMART PROFILES HAVE ARRIVED! NEW Claisonics have arrived at Skin Savvy RX ! The device has a microchip that tells you when to replace your brush head! You can even attach a pedicure smoothing disc for your feet. These pedi smoothing d…isc’s are on back order! Wonder why? I hear the results are amazing! Summer clean healthy skin and smooth callus free feet in the sand! These are not sold in department stores. Only retails in Medical offices.
Did you know we spend as much as 90 percent of our lives indoors and that indoor pollutant levels are often two to five times higher than outdoors? Using the principles of green design will significantly improve your home’s indoor environment, leading to better health and well-being for your family.
Simple changes make a big difference. “Many principles of sustainable design and green building can be easily incorporated into your existing home without extensive remodeling,” says Lilia Gomez-Lanier, interior design faculty at The Art Institute of Atlanta - Decatur, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta. Plus, such improvements can save you money.
"Efficient use of water has become a national as well as a regional concern," says Robert Brown, interior design faculty at The Art Institute of Tennessee - Nashville, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta. When replacing appliances or fixtures, look for those that use less water, such as low-flow faucets and shower heads, dual-flush toilets, front-loading washing machines and newer models of dishwashers with two drawers, so you can run small loads. Using less water can add up to big savings on your water bills.
With many Americans suffering from asthma and allergies, indoor air quality is more important than ever. Household pollutants like mold, radon, carbon monoxide and toxic chemicals from building materials, household cleaners and pesticides can be health risks. Start by reducing dust and improving ventilation. Clean furniture, floors and carpet regularly. Consider cleaning and sealing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Ensure that range hoods, bathroom fans and gas fireplaces vent to the outdoors.
Eliminate sources of asbestos and lead, and eliminate or properly store air fresheners, pesticides, certain cleaning products and paint, which can emit pollutants. When you redecorate or renovate, look for low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, stains, adhesives, carpets and hard surface flooring, as well as wood and bamboo products manufactured without formaldehyde.
"Energy efficient appliances save you money in your electrical bill, and there may be tax incentives for switching to more efficient systems," says Leslie Roberts, interior design faculty at The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta. She recommends using a heat pump and a programmable thermostat, adding insulation in walls, ceiling and floor, and insulating windows, window treatments and floor coverings. Gomez-Lanier adds, "Introduce an attic fan and ceiling fans to circulate air and cool the house with less energy. Use heavy draperies to eliminate a lot of direct light and heat." And don’t forget energy-efficient light bulbs.
When remodeling or redecorating your home, reuse existing furniture and building materials where possible. Used furniture - either your own or items purchased at a garage sale or second-hand store - can often be reupholstered and refinished to look new.
At architectural salvage stores you can purchase doors, windows, hardwood floor planks and more. When using new materials, Roberts says, “Choose materials that are produced from rapidly renewable resources, such as wool rugs, bamboo or cork tile flooring.” Though these products sometimes cost more, they generally last longer and are a better investment over time.
Purchasing materials with recycled-content is also an environmentally sound choice, helping ensure that recycled materials will be used again to manufacture new products. You can easily find construction materials with recycled content, including drywall, insulation, plastic lumber, kitchen countertops, glass tiles, carpet and padding - even steel.
Help in making green choices in your home
A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited interior designer can help you make sound environmental choices for your home and prevent expensive mistakes. An interior designer who has achieved this accreditation knows effective green design solutions and keeps up with the newest information about sustainable products.
Start going green at home today. Your family, your wallet and the planet will thank you.
Ask the pharmacist: Expert advice for navigating Medicare Part D enrollment
(BPT) - If you’re confused about health care reform and Medicare, you’re not alone. Medicare Part D open enrollment is underway and thousands of Americans are looking for answers.
A new survey from Express Scripts titled, “Fifty States of Confusion,” confirms that seniors are misinformed about how health care reform will impact their Medicare benefits.
“It’s worrisome; one-in-five seniors think they’ll be able to enroll in a health or prescription drug plan through a public health insurance exchange,” says Paul Reyes, an Express Scripts’ pharmacist and host of Ask the Pharmacist radio series. “These exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act, but are only for uninsured people under the age of 65.”
Although Medicare Part D has been around, with some states offering upwards of 36 different plans, the survey revealed that 60 percent of seniors still think that choosing the right Medicare plan is confusing. And with more than half of seniors falsely believing they’ll be paying more for their prescriptions drugs as a result of health care reform, they are taking matters into their own hands.
“Seniors are skipping doctor’s appointments, delaying medication refills and skipping medication doses,” says Reyes. “These misconceptions may not only cost seniors, but could also lead to decisions that may be bad for their health.”
Whether you are preparing to enroll into a Medicare Part D plan or you’re helping a family member or friend, Reyes provides some tips to simplify the process.
* Know the basics: You are eligible for Medicare Part D when you turn 65. Enrollment begins on Oct. 15, and ends on Dec. 7. If you miss this deadline, you won’t be able to enroll again until fall, unless you qualify for a special election period. If you’re eligible (age 65), and neglect to enroll in Medicare Part D on time, you will be faced with a penalty when you do join the program.
* Do your homework: Consider the premium, deductible and co-pays when assessing the overall cost of the plan. Make sure that the drugs you need to take are on the plan’s formulary (the list of covered medications). Also, look at the plan’s network of pharmacies. Some plans, like the Express Scripts Medicare Choice Plan, offer a preferred pharmacy network, which could save you money.
* Care and convenience: Consider a plan with round-the-clock pharmacist access to help you get the support you need and the savings you want from your plan. Pharmacists can identify shortcuts to help you stick to your treatment regimen and avoid potentially harmful drug interactions.
* Making the most of your Medicare dollars: To achieve the most value from your Part D plan, make sure to take your medications as prescribed, use generic medications when clinically appropriate, ask about home delivery and take advantage of the free preventative screening and vaccinations under Medicare Part B.
To help seniors and caregivers make informed decisions, Express Scripts’ developed a consumer eGuide titled “Navigating Medicare and Reform: A Roadmap for Seniors and Caregivers,” available at www.roadmapformedicare.com. Seniors can also visit www.medicare.gov to learn more about the available Medicare Part D plans in their region.
Fibroids and polyps: What women should know about a common health problem
(BPT) - Women might be surprised to know that most of them will develop fibroids or polyps as a health issue sometime in their lives. In fact, studies show that 70 percent of white women and 80 percent of African-American women will develop fibroids by the time they are 50. Although these growths are among one of the most common health problems a woman can face, few know what they are, what the symptoms can be, and what treatments are available to them.
So what is a fibroid or polyp and how do you know if you have them?
Fibroids and polyps
Fibroids and polyps are growths in a woman’s uterus that are usually benign but can be malignant in some cases. While they are mostly be benign, some of the most substantial problems they cause for women result in infertility, trouble with getting pregnant and suffering recurring miscarriages.
Polyps are small growths on the surface of the uterine wall, an overgrowth of the lining that is easy for the ob-gyn to remove. Fibroids are larger and are usually imbedded in the smooth muscle of the uterine wall.
Fibroids vary in type, size, and where they grow in the uterus. Two types of fibroids can grow inside the uterus on a stalk or outside the womb.- Others can grow just below the lining of the uterus. Some fibroids grow in the middle of the uterine wall and some develop under the outer covering of the uterus. Heredity and race can increase your risk of developing fibroids.
Uterine polyps usually occur in women in their 40s and 50s. Factors that can put you at risk for fibroids are obesity, high blood pressure and a history of cervical polyps. Endometrial polyps - or those that grow in the lining of the uterus - occur in 10 percent to 25 percent of women, and are present in 25 percent of women with abnormal uterine bleeding, or heavy periods.
What are the symptoms?
While some fibroids and polyps can go undetected based on size and where they are located, there are a number of symptoms that women should be aware of.- Many will suddenly suffer from heavier periods than usual (lasting seven days or longer), sensations of abdominal or pelvic-area bloating, belly or pelvic pain, constipation, or pain during sexual intercourse. While none of these symptoms are life-threatening, they can detract from a woman’s quality of life.
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibroids or polyps, you should talk with your health care provider about your treatment options.
There’s no single best treatment approach. For uterine fibroids and polyps, your doctor might recommend “watchful waiting,” where active treatment is unnecessary unless the fibroid or polyp changes or if you’re at risk for development of cancer.
Certain hormonal medications, including progestins, may shrink polyps and lessen symptoms. But such medications are short-term solutions at best— symptoms typically recur once you stop taking the medicine.
Fibroids usually grow slowly— or not at all— and tend to shrink after menopause when levels of reproductive hormones drop. Medications for fibroids target hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. They don’t eliminate fibroids, but may shrink them.
As recently as 20 years ago, hysterectomy was the standard treatment for fibroids and polyps. In addition to the complete loss of fertility that comes with a hysterectomy, patients routinely faced long, painful recuperation times - six weeks or more. New procedures for laparoscopic hysterectomies may have reduced recovery time for some women, but did nothing to prevent the loss of fertility and hormonal changes associated with a hysterectomy.
Today, alternatives exist that are less invasive and can be performed on an out-patient basis. These procedures, such as the MyoSure tissue removal system, can eliminate fibroids and uterine polyps without having to cut or remove any part of the uterus. The MyoSure System works for fibroids located within the uterus, is a short procedure which allows you to go home the same day. The procedure can help eliminate fibroids and polyps as well as the heavy periods that may be associated with them. To learn more, or to find a doctor who can perform the procedure, visit www.changethecycle.com or Facebook.com/ChangetheCycle.
Actress Rose McGowan is on a personal mission to raise awareness of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
(BPT) - Actress Rose McGowan, best known for her leading role in the TV series, Charmed, is sharing her story in a new leading role: raising awareness for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. After her father was diagnosed with IPF, she became determined to honor his memory by bringing attention to this widely unheard of lung disease.
IPF, a form of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) with no known cause, is a progressive and fatal disease that causes permanent scarring of the lungs, difficulty breathing and prevents oxygen from getting to the body. IPF affects as many as 132,000 Americans each year.
Rose decided to share her family’s experience so others can become more knowledgeable about the facts behind this disease, and why it is imperative to know the signs and symptoms.
“Like me, before my dad was diagnosed, you’ve probably never heard of IPF,” said Rose. “What made his diagnosis so hard was that it didn’t make sense. He went from being a youthful, active, healthy man who loved long hikes to no longer being able to take three steps without stopping to catch his breath. I felt so helpless watching as his health declined so rapidly in just one year. IPF took away many of the things that he loved.”
There are currently no FDA-approved drug treatments for IPF, and most patients die from the disease within three to five years. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chronic dry cough, fatigue and weakness, chest discomfort, loss of appetite and rapid weight loss.
Diagnosing IPF can often be difficult, as it requires specific testing, and misdiagnosis is common because IPF symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases like COPD and asthma, and to congestive heart failure.
In fact, a small survey of 68 randomly selected self-identified IPF patients and caregivers, fielded through the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) membership with support from Boehringer Ingelheim, found that they or their loved one saw 2.7 doctors, on average, before they were properly diagnosed. The survey also found that patients were most often misdiagnosed with pneumonia (15 respondents), bronchitis (14 respondents) and COPD (12 respondents) prior to an accurate IPF diagnosis.
A majority of patients and caregivers also reported that they did not initially understand the implications of an IPF diagnosis (48 respondents) and that they wish there was more information available about IPF (64 respondents). As IPF is a progressive disease, it may also have a significant impact on a patient’s emotional state. The survey found that patients felt isolated (12 respondents), helpless (20 respondents) and anxious (26 respondents), and 57 respondents strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that they or their loved one is no longer able to do the things they once enjoyed.
“Increasing awareness of IPF is the first step in helping patients and physicians recognize the symptoms and receive an early and accurate diagnosis,” said Talmadge King, Jr., MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco. “With IPF, early diagnosis and intervention are extremely important as management options such as supplemental oxygen or pulmonary rehabilitation can be initiated sooner.”
Rose’s desire to pay tribute to her father and raise awareness for the condition led to a new partnership between Boehringer Ingelheim and continuing to work with the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, for whom Rose serves as Chair of the Daughters of PF program, to shine a spotlight on the disease during Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month in September. Through this partnership, Rose is turning her father’s experience with the disease into an educational message: don’t wait to get educated about IPF - know the signs and symptoms and speak to your doctor if you’re concerned.
“We believe Rose’s message will motivate physicians and people experiencing symptoms of IPF to learn more about this devastating disease,” said Mishka Michon, CEO, Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. “While IPF is rare, the number of individuals diagnosed with the disease continues to increase and it’s extremely important for those experiencing symptoms to secure an accurate diagnosis.”
Skin Savvy has become a model for medical aesthetics and has brought together the talented clinicians of Skin Savvy Rx, who share a commitment to a practice based on sound medical-aesthetic principles and individualized attention to each client’s needs.