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Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Acetaminophen Recall

WASHINGTON Nov 9, 2006 (AP)— Check your medicine cabinet: Millions of bottles of the widely used pain reliever acetaminophen some sold as long as three years ago are being recalled because they may contain metal fragments.

The recall affects 11 million bottles containing varying quantities of 500-milligram acetaminophen caplets made by the Perrigo Co. The pills were sold under store brands by Wal-Mart, CVS, Safeway and more than 120 other major retailers, the Food and Drug Administration said. At least two chains CVS Corp. and SuperValu Inc. started pulling the pills from store shelves Thursday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or illness. The contaminated pills included metal fragments ranging in size from “microdots” to portions of wire one-third of an inch long, the FDA said. The FDA could not describe further the type of metal.

Perrigo discovered the metal bits during quality-control checks done after the company discovered its equipment was wearing down prematurely, the FDA said. Agency officials declined to say whether the metal found in the pills caused the damage or resulted from it.

A company investigation turned up metal in roughly 200 pills of the 70 million it passed through a metal detector, according to the FDA.

Consumers who take any of the contaminated pills could have minor stomach discomfort or possible cuts to the mouth and throat, the FDA said, adding that the risk of serious injury was remote.

Acetaminophen is best known as the drug in products sold under the Tylenol brand. But it is available in typically less expensive generic versions. The drug, along with aspirin and ibuprofen, is one of the most widely used pain relievers available without a doctor’s note.

The recall does not affect Tylenol. Nor should the recall cause a shortage of acetaminophen, the FDA said.

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I’m dropping my calories back down to 1200-1500, (I tried going up to about 1800 a day, and my weight loss stopped) and adding another liter of water to my daily intake. I’ve been stuck, I’ve gotta kick start my metabolism back into gear.

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On June 8, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced good news about cervical cancer prevention. Following successful clinical trials, a vaccine called Gardasil was approved to ward off the strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer. The impact of the vaccine could be huge, given that cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in women worldwide, responsible for about 240,000 deaths per year.

But the HPV vaccine is not be recommended for every woman, which means that it may not be right for you. As with any important health issue, you should discuss the new vaccine with your doctor. But to help you better understand the cancer and how to prevent it, Prevention.com asked cancer researcher Dr. Doug Lowy, M.D. to answer some common questions about the vaccine. Dr. Lowy is chief of the laboratory of cellular oncology at the National Cancer Institute, specializing in HPV and cervical cancer.

What is HPV and how does it spread?
HPV is the most common kind of sexually transmitted virus, affecting over 50 percent of sexually active adults. There are more than 80 types of HPV. Some types cause irritation, genital warts and other kinds of lesions. Other HPV types–classified as “high-risk” types–can cause cervical cancer.

Is it possible to have HPV and not know it?
Yes, many HPV infections go undetected. Your immune system is capable of clearing the virus on its own within six to twelve months, so in the absence of symptoms, you might never know you had it–and passed it along. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 20 million people are currently infected with HPV and that, by the age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have had an HPV infection.

How can a virus cause cancer? Isn’t this unusual?
If the immune system isn’t able to clear the infection and the virus lingers, HPV can cause genetic changes in cells in the cervix, affecting their ability to control normal growth. When looking at all kinds of cancer, this sort of trigger is unusual: viral infections are not considered a common cause. But there are other examples of cancer-causing viruses, including hepatitis C, which can result in liver cancer.

Is cervical cancer caused solely by HPV?
HPV is a factor in every case of cervical cancer. But not every woman infected with the cancer-causing strains of HPV will actually develop cancer. Science doesn’t fully understand the other factors that contribute to cervical cancer, says Dr. Lowy. But it appears that women who smoke and who have many pregnancies have a higher risk. So are women who have compromised immune systems, such as women who are HIV-positive or who are kidney-transfer patients on medication to suppress immune response. A family history of cervical cancer does not appear to be a risk factor.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?
In approving Gardasil, the FDA does not make recommendations regarding its implementation. That’s the job of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is scheduled to meet within a few weeks after FDA approval. But the data submitted from the clinical trials involved women ages 9 to 26, with the best immune response seen among the youngest study subjects–not only because the adolescents had little to no sexual activity but also because vaccines in general tend to “take” better among young people. So it stands to reason that the vaccine will be recommended for females between the ages of 9 to 26. That’s not to say “that the vaccine will be illegal to administer to older women,” says Dr. Lowy. But there’s no data suggesting that it would be effective and as such, insurance policies would probably not cover it for women over 26.

Does getting the vaccine guarantee that I won’t develop cervical cancer?
No. Gardasil was formulated to vaccinate against the two types of HPV that are responsible for 70% of all cervical cancers. The remaining 30% of cervical cancer cases are caused by other types–against which Gardasil offers no protection. Further and like any vaccine, it is not protective against a virus that you already have, so if you are infected at the time of your vaccination, Gardasil will not work.

Is the vaccine available?
Yes. Merck, Gardasil’s manufacturer, made the vaccine widely available upon FDA approval, which was this Thursday, June 8.

If I get the vaccine, will I still need to have a regular pap smear?
Yes! And this message is an important part of a public-service campaign about the vaccine. Pap smears as a means of cervical cancer prevention are crucial, given that Gardasil only offers protection against the HPV types that cause 70% of all cervical cancers.

Will men be vaccinated?
Merck has ongoing trials looking at the effects of Gardasil for protecting men from HPV. It is likely that the FDA will consider approving the vaccine for men: even though men don’t develop HPV-related cancers, they do spread the virus to women.

For more information about the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer and how often you should schedule a pap smear, go to CDC.gov.

-by Diane di Costanzo

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Rosacea

Rosacea

No one knows what really causes rosacea, although doctors have noticed that fair-skinned women of Irish or Celtic ancestry are genetically predisposed. Rosacea affects about 5% of the population, most often women between the ages of 30 and 40.

Fortunately, keeping rosacea under control is frequently as simple as treating your skin gently and avoiding anything that’s known to trigger a flush.

Find a gentle cleanser. Use a liquid facial cleanser that contains sodium lauryl sulfate or disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate. Both ingredients will clean your skin gently and without any stimulation that might cause flushing.

Soothe your skin with chamomile. Since chamomile is known to soothe rosacea-prone skin, use cleansers, soaps, and moisturizers containing chamomile, an herb related to the ragweed family. One caution though: If you are allergic to ragweed, you should avoid these cleansers.

Avoid abrasives. Any type of abrasion can cause a flush. So leave abrasive products such as scrubs, buff puffs, or cleansing powders to others.

Keep wrinkle creams to a minimum. If you have rosacea and want to use an anti-aging cream that contains alpha hydroxy acids to prevent wrinkles, proceed cautiously. Read product labels carefully, and only buy creams that keep the percentage of acid under 2.5%. If package directions urge you to use the cream twice a day, don’t push your luck. Use it once a day, tops. If there is any redness at all, discontinue using the product.

Gently apply a cucumber moisturizer. After you cleanse your skin (and also if you apply an alpha hydroxy acid preparation), smooth on moisturizers that contain cucumber extracts. Although no one knows why, cucumber lotions soothe rosacea-prone skin.

Select cosmetics for sensitive skin. Since the chemicals used in most cosmetics will irritate rosacea-prone skin, use only cosmetics that are labeled “for sensitive skin.” Although not chemical-free, they usually have fewer and less-irritating chemicals than regular makeup.

Stay in the shade. Stay out of the sun, period. The sun may set off a flare-up, and no cover-up or sunscreen will prevent it.

Use only a titanium dioxide sunscreen. Even in the shade, you’re exposed to indirect sunlight, so use a sunscreen whenever you go outside. Avoid all the chemical sunscreens, and stick to a sunscreen that lists titanium dioxide as its major ingredient. It’s less irritating to rosacea-prone skin.

Stay cool. Since heat is a major cause of flare-ups, dress in layers of light clothes that you can peel off to keep your body cool, no matter where you are. And take tepid (not hot) baths and showers.

Avoid wool. Wool tends to keep you too warm and seems to cause redness and rashes in those who are prone to rosacea.

Choose cool food. Spicy food is known to make those with rosacea flush. Avoid foods prepared with chili peppers, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, and the like. Try to eat more dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, asparagus, and spinach. These foods are high in vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and bioflavonoids, which can improve rosacea by strengthening capillaries and boosting the immune system.

Don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol causes blood vessels in the skin to dilate, making rosacea more noticeable.

Treatment
Unfortunately, rosacea is a chronic condition that comes and goes. Doctors frequently treat rosacea with prescription antibiotics or topical medication. Here’s what you can do at home.

Apply a cold compress. Soak a cloth or paper towel in ice-cold water, and apply it to the flushed areas of your face. The cold will constrict the dilated blood vessels and halt the inflammatory process.

Use tinted makeup. If you’re prone to frequent flare-ups, use a green-tinted under-foundation cover, available at beauty supply stores, for everyday wear. The green combines with any red in your face and neutralizes it completely.

When to See a Doctor
See your health care provider if:

  • Your nose and cheeks are persistently red.
  • You also have acne-like bumps on affected areas.
  • Article Provided By Prevention Magazine Online

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    I was going to wait until October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month) to post this but I had a bad scare with a lump (a very sore purple one) just this week. I saw a DR, and luckily the lump is superficial and not actually in my breast tissue. What a relief! Looks like it will just go away on its own. I just wanted to remind all of you ladies to do your self breast exams every month.
    Here’s A Simple Routine That Could Save Your Life!

    Most breast lumps are discovered by women themselves. Although the majority of lumps are non-cancerous, early detection saves lives.

    Pre-menopausal women should examine their breasts the week following menstruation each month when the breast are the least swollen and tender. Women who no longer menstruate can pick one day of each month for self-examination.

    * Step 1. While standing in front of a mirror, with your hands on your hips, visually examine your breasts. Look for lumps, changes in size, color, shape or contour. Look for dimples or puckering. Are your nipples normally inverted? If not, look to see if they are pushed in.

    * Step 2. Repeat this portion of the examination with your hands behind your head.

    * Step 3. Next, pinch each nipple, checking for discharge.

    * Step 4. Lie down with a pillow under your left shoulder and place your left hand under your head. With the fingers of your right hand flattened and together, press the top portion of the left breast. Using circular motions, feel for lumps and thickening. In other words, think of your breast as the face of a clock. With the top of the breast as 12 o’clock, move around the outer portion of the breast clockwise. Once you have returned to 12, move the fingers closer to the nipple and repeat. Seventy-five percent of breast cancer occurs under the nipple-areola region or in the upper, outer portion of the breast near the armpit, so make sure you thoroughly examine these areas.

    * Step 5. Once you have checked the entire surface of the left breast, move the pillow and examine the right breast with the left hand.

    * Step 6. Using the same small, circular motions examine the area adjacent to your breast in the armpit. This area also contains breast tissue. (Note: A breast self-exam can also be performed during a shower or bath.)

    * Step 7. If you detect thickening or a lump, contact your doctor immediately. Most lumps are benign, but only a doctor can determine that for sure. By performing a breast self-exam every month, you will become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel. This will help make abnormalities easier to detect.

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