POSTS WITH TAG: preventative medicine

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    Vaccinations are controversial. Sex, especially teen sex, is controversial. So when we’re talking about a vaccination against a sexually transmitted disease recommended for 11-year-old girls, you know it’s going to get controversial.

    First off, let’s dispel with the rumors that a vaccination for human papillomavirus will lead to sexually promiscuous teenagers. While some opponents of Gardasil and Cervarix (the two HPV vaccines currently on the market) may worry that protecting girls against STDs is like handing them a permission slip to have sex, yet another study was recently released disproving this.

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    It may cause blindness, but it will cure cancer. Two scientists in Australia have been busy studying all the health benefits of self-pleasure, and the results show that it’s quite possible that teenage boys are the healthiest humans on the planet.

    According to Anthony Santella, a public health scientist at the University of Sydney, and his colleague Spring Chenoa Cooper, a senior lecturer, masturbation “can ward off a host of illnesses, from cystitis, diabetes to prostate cancer.”

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    Okay, 'fess up: do you go to the doctor more often than the men in your life? Without a doubt, I do. But the weird thing is, I also take far less medicine than my husband and am almost never really sick. I can't even remember the last time I had the flu or a serious virus. It's not that I run to see my general practitioner the day I feel a strange symptom, but I never wait longer than two or three days. And my way of handling things has -- I believe -- helped me tackle health problems long before they get out of control. I consider this a smart move that saves time and money in the long run.

    But some men folks, including Fox News' John Stossel, would argue I'm just another female hypochondriac who deserves to pay more for health insurance because...well, mainly just because I'm a woman and we're all crazy like that, you know.

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    Crazy story. One of my daughter's friends is kinda perturbed she has two arms and isn't more like star surfer girl Bethany Hamilton, who so awesomely rocks just the one. After learning about this desire during the most disturbing game of make-believe ever, I was inspired to examine the insanely painful things kids want -- or think they want -- just because they seem cool. Maybe her wish to have something that seems really awful isn't so rare.

    Sure, that's an extreme example, but we never really considered the downside of all those totally "rad" things we longed for as kids like braces or crutches or (name that thing), did we? How many painful afflictions, experiences, or medical devices did you want growing up? Do your kids want even now?

    I can think of quite a few. Here are my top 10. Do any sound familiar?

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    Want to start a spirited debate among friends? Find out who's pro-flu shot and who's anti-flu shot, split them up into teams, then sit back and watch the show! You know what I'm talking about: There are people who swear by the flu shot and others who think it's poison, and never the twain shall meet. Or so it seemed, until this year.

    That's because this year, the flu shot is falling short. Big time. While the vaccine is usually between 50% and 70% effective, this season's shot worked for only 56 percent of people who got it -- AND "it largely failed to protect the elderly against an especially deadly strain circulating during flu season."

    And that's not all. While the flu shot's side effects are largely downplayed, there's a significant amount of data suggesting the vaccine may do more harm than good.

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    By now, you've no doubt heard all about how this year's flu epidemic is reaching, well, epidemic proportions. And besides being widespread, sounds like it ain't a pretty strain (or strains) of flu this time around, either. Maybe you've already experienced the flu, maybe you were first in line for the flu shot, maybe you're contemplating getting a flu shot but your doctor is wiped out of stock ... whatever your current flu status, you're probably wondering what else you can do to prevent the flu (or any of the other nasty bugs lurking out there).

    Thankfully, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself and your family, and they really do work -- although some of these tips might take you by surprise.

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    Would you be angry, insulted, or feel imposed upon if the government made HIV testing mandatory for every citizen? Would you revolt? Or would you acquiesce because you were sure it was all part of an effort to stop the spread of the disease? The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that every American between the ages of 15 and 65 be tested for the virus. Everybody in that age range, regardless of personal history. 

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    Yikes. I've never been much of a sun worshipper, but this photo of a 69-year-old man who drove a delivery truck for the past 28 years (apparently somewhere very, very sunny) makes me even more wary of those skin-damaging rays. I mean, good lord -- look at what the sun did to the left half of his face!! (The condition is technically known as Unilateral Dermatoheliosis.)

    Ready to freak out a little bit more?

    According to the latest studies, the standard SPF you're probably using might not be enough.

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    Paula Deen gave Prevention magazine an exclusive interview, talking about the three years she kept her diabetes diagnosis to herself and about the backlash that followed. We got a surprise about that Novo Nordisk endorsement deal. But we also got this puzzling quote.

    I don't want 25 million people out there with diabetes blaming themselves. This is not something we choose. Diabetes is like a puzzle, and if the pieces fit together, then we show up with type 2 diabetes.

    I'm sorry, what? This is not something we choose? Where is the personal responsibility? What about that full cup of sugar Paula says she was drinking every day in her iced tea? I get what she means about diabetes being a puzzle, but you're putting some of those pieces in place with your lifestyle choices. I don't care how unpopular it is to say so.

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    Nothing inspires me to take care of my health like watching my female relatives age. I have their genes, after all, so they're a pretty good indication of what's ahead for me. It's been a rough few years for my mother. She suffers from arthritis. Her knees ache so badly she's had to cut back on her great passion, gardening. Even standing in her front yard raking up the mimosa blossoms has become too much for her. She finally found a holistic practitioner who helped her cope with the pain, but it was just a band-aid. Just last week my mother finally faced the inevitable: She had the first of two knee replacement surgeries.

    Those of you who have known knee surgery have seen that it doesn't magically transform your knees. There's months of physical therapy, a recovery that can take forever, and then you still have to do the other knee! My poor mom, I hate that she has to go through this! But -- I'd also hate to go through it myself. Can I prevent the same thing happening to my knees?

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