Cancer is becoming a seeming plague, and breast cancer especially so. No longer the disease of elderly women, it is now even striking teenagers. Lou Covington, of Lou C’s at 207 Coman St. in Athens, has spent the last several years tending to the multiple physical, spiritual, cosmetic and emotional needs of women who are in the middle of “gettin’ through it.”

On October 9th, Lou C’s and Valley Imaging Center are hosting the 7th annual Party In Pink, which, rather than being a fundraiser, is a gathering to celebrate the victories of the extraordinary women who are either currently fighting cancer, or who have beaten it back.

“We don’t sell tickets, and this isn’t about raising money,” she told me. “It’s about recognizing the strength of these women who have gone through treatment, and give them a day where they get pampered. Women who have breast cancer experience a feeling of a loss of femininity and confidence, but when they get together and share their journey, they always come to the place where the question they end up asking isn’t, ‘Why me?, but instead, it’s ‘Why her?’ It’s amazing,” said Lou.

What I did not know is that the loss of a breast can actually affect your posture as well as the way you walk, and it’s very important to restore a sense of balance to your body. “A lot of women think they don’t need a breast form or a mastectomy bra,” Lou said. “That is the center of gravity for a woman’s body, and the new forms are lighter and cooler.”

She went on to tell me the necessity of getting good nutrition as well as exercise in the battle against breast cancer. You also “need to respect your body, and get support,” she said, thus emphasizing the benefits of attending Party in Pink. What is also unique about Lou’s approach is that she considers Lou C’s to be a ministry, and her “shop” is not part of any national foundation. “I believe it serves the women of our area the best to keep everything local,” she said.

Lou, as is the case with everyone involved with the health care system, is experiencing the frustration of ever growing bureaucracy, and the fact that several of her client’s costs are no longer covered by insurance. But she is a tough cookie, and clearly keeps going through the strength of her faith, as well as the knowledge that she is walking in her calling. Her “boot camp,” if you will, was not dealing with cancer herself, but walking the journey with her mom. After her mom passed, she knew this was what she was supposed to do. Her love for her clients shines from her eyes, and I know if I had any type of cancer at all, I’d run straight into her shop and her hug. Come to the Party in Pink on October 9th, and see what I’m talking about.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Hobbs Shoe Shop

(ARA) – Two million Americans fall victim to medical identity theft each year, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute, commissioned by Experian’s ProtectMyID. While medical identity theft costs victims an average of $22,346, the potential impact can be far greater – medical identity theft could cost some victims their health, or even their lives.

Medical Update

Medical identity theft involves the theft of personal information – such as your name, Social Security number or Medicare number – to obtain medical care, purchase drugs or submit false claims to Medicare. The crime can damage a victim’s credit rating and even be life-threatening if it causes incorrect information to appear in a victim’s personal medical records, warns the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

According to the study, while more Americans now understand just what medical identity theft is, few are taking the key steps that could help prevent it. Only 57 percent of survey respondents check their medical records for accuracy, and nearly one in five (18 percent) say they don’t care about the accuracy of their medical records.

“There are specific things that people can and should do to protect themselves from medical identity theft,” says Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of ProtectMyID. “People have to be vigilant with their personal information and avoid letting their guard down, even with family and friends.”

The Federal Trade Commission recommends you take these steps to help prevent medical identity theft:

* Before you share medical information with anyone, verify who you’re talking to. Never provide information over the phone or through the mail unless you initiated the contact and you’re confident you’re dealing with a legitimate organization. Be aware that medical identity thieves often try to scam consumers by posing as representatives of insurance companies, doctor’s offices, pharmacies and even government agencies.

* Protect your information. Keep paper copies of medical
or insurance records and forms in a secure, locked file or drawer. When managing your health or insurance accounts online, be wary of any site that asks you to share sensitive information like your Social Security number, insurance account number or details of your medical conditions. Look for the hallmarks that a website is secure, including a web address (URL) that begins with “https” (the “s” stands for “secure”) and a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of the page.

* Picking through trash is a common ploy of identity thieves. Shred your discarded health insurance forms, bills and medical records before disposing of them. Destroy the labels on your prescription pill bottles and packages before throwing them away. The OIG also offers tips for medical identity theft protection, including:

* Treat your Medicare and Social Security numbers and cards as carefully as you would your credit cards.
* Be wary of anyone who asks for your Medicare number in exchange for “free” medical equipment or services. If what they’re offering is really free, they shouldn’t need your numbers.

* Never let anyone use your Medicare ID card. The Ponemon survey found that a growing number of survey respondents (5 percent more in 2012 than in 2011) have allowed a family member to use their personal identification to obtain medical services, including treatment, healthcare products or pharmaceuticals. Doing so is against the law, and may afford unscrupulous individuals the chance to use that information for unauthorized purposes.

According to the Ponemon survey, it takes, on average, about a year to resolve an instance of medical identity theft, and a quarter of the survey respondents said it took more than two years. As with a serious medical issue, resolution can be made more challenging depending on how long the problem is allowed to fester.

Take an active role in protecting your medical information from identity thieves. Check your medical records regularly and keep an eye on all your financial and credit accounts. Products like ProtectMyID can help. A comprehensive identity theft detection, protection and resolution product, it can help you prevent the damages caused by identity theft.

“Medical identity theft hits consumers both medically and financially,” says Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “For three years in a row, our findings have consistently shown that medical identity theft crime continues to increase in terms of prevalence and costs to the victim.”

It must be in part our gene patterns that cause us to take care, and I mean really good
care, of those around us. But the real question of good self care comes when we experience our own illness, injury or diagnosis.

October will be Cancer Awareness Month, so let’s think now about how to be ready for all that activity coming our way as we unite to fight this terrible disease. In fact, let’s celebrate that awareness, anticipate the results, and learn to live proactively.

If your health issue happens to be swelling of either your lower limbs or your arms, and
is coupled with a cancer that you have been in treatment for–you might be
dealing with Lymphedema.

If your swelling does not seem to go down after getting off your feet or
lying down, you might have more than just swelling. Lymphedema is a swelling
of a body part, most often an extremity, and is caused by the abnormal accumulation
of lymph fluid. It can occur in the face, neck, abdomen and lungs. Although
it is a chronic condition, it can usually be brought under control by good
care and attention to the basic rules.

This condition often brings a feeling of heaviness, slight discomfort, and
even repeated episodes of infection. Severe cases can be associated with
thickening of the skin, and even a hardening of the limb that is affected.

Here are some basics if you believe you are suffering with this condition:
Avoid extreme temperatures.

Avoid infections, and if you travel, you need to have a plan for this
possibility.
Avoid lifting heavy items, as this puts further strain on the swollen area.
Avoid insect stings.

You can find more information on this subject at The Academy of Lymphatic Studies. Joachim Zuther has brought a vast body of information on lymphedema to America. He has several blog sites, and resources that can be helpful.

We have raised 8 children, all adults now. We have added two by marriage, and have a beautiful grandson. We realize that it is our job, our duty, yes and our privilege to start finding ways to meet the challenge of healthy self care, (as we are not getting any younger,) and we would like to encourage you to do the same.

So, let me ask that one again, how do you take care of you?
By Susie Adams

Five Ways To Take Charge Of Your Health And Increase Your Bottom Line.
(ARA) – Health care today is expensive, but there are ways that you can give your wallet a break. One of the best ways to make health care more affordable is to avoid the need for medical care in the first place.

More than 75 percent of health care costs are attributed to chronic illness, most of which are controllable, if not preventable. For those, here are five ways to save on health care spending so you have more money to enjoy life.

Know your numbers
It is important that you know your optimal range for health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. Knowing your health scores allows you to take steps to lessen your risk of chronic and costly diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Not only are such diseases a burden to national health spending, they also make a major impact on personal spending.

For instance, people with type 2 diabetes that can be controlled through diet and exercise spend about $2,000 a year. When it isn’t controlled, those costs can escalate dramatically for insulin treatments, or worse, hospitalization.

Life Time, The Healthy Way of Life Company has initiated a new program called myHealthScore to bridge the gap between fitness and health care. The program provides testing, available to members and nonmembers, to measure six critical health markers: cholesterol ratio, blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides, nicotine use and body fat ratio. These metabolic markers provide a baseline from which people can set goals, or in some cases detect serious health issues that might otherwise go undetected, even with an annual doctor visit. A Life Time health adviser works with participants to move their score into an optimal range. “Results from myHealthScore give someone an inside-out view of their health,” says Tom Manella, vice president of Personal Training at Life Time.

Invest in prevention
Get health screenings as advised and prevent illness with vaccines. What you spend on an annual flu shot will more than make up for costs you incur on over the counter medications, doctor’s visits, and lost wages if you get sick. Likewise, an annual membership to a fitness center can cost as little as $50 a month, but being inactive and overweight costs significantly more: an additional $1,152 in medical expenses if you’re an obese man and $3,613 more if you’re an obese woman, according to a study published in the Journal of Health Economics.

Put your money where your mouth is

Poor oral health is often a signal of bigger health problems. The same bacteria that causes gum disease has been implicated in other major health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and premature births, all of which can require expensive and ongoing care. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day with a toothbrush that is replaced every three to four months and flossing every day, an investment that will cost as little as $15 a year.

Stop spending on sugar
Your sweet tooth is very, very expensive. Saving anywhere from $5 to $20 a week that you’d normally spend on sugary treats translates into savings of $1,000 a year, not to mention the calories saved, which can save additional thousands spent on taking off that extra weight later or obesity-related medical expenses.

Flaunt your fitness in front of your employer
Most health insurers provide incentives for people to take the initiative to get and stay healthy. For example at Allina Health System, one of many companies using Life Time’s myHealthCheck program, employees have the potential to earn up to $1,600 in what they call “Be Fit Premium Credits.” Many health plans offer a discount for people who make regular visits to a fitness center, too. Ultimately the savings can trickle down to deductible spending. The healthier you are, the less you need to see a doctor, which means out of pocket costs go down.
None of us enjoy spending money on health care expenses. Do yourself – and your wallet – a favor and begin to invest in better health. Small steps today can pay big dividends tomorrow.

(ARA) – For the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes, high temperatures and increased sun exposure can pose particularly dangerous health risks. During warm weather, experts caution that people with diabetes must take extra care to avoid serious, heat-related conditions.

“Heading to the beach, the pool or the park is a great way to cool down and stay in shape when the temperature rises, but people with diabetes may not realize the heat can place them at greater risk for serious, heat-related illness,” says Dr. Deneen Vojta, senior vice president and chief clinical officer of UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA). “Diabetes actually impairs a person’s ability to sweat, which means that hot, humid weather can dangerously reduce the body’s regulation of blood sugar levels. That’s why it is critical that people with this disease take proper precautions to avoid conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

Vojta offers seven simple tips that may help people with this disease to stay active, healthy and safe when temperatures
are high:

  • Check your blood sugar levels often. Changes in activity and heat levels can affect your body’s insulin needs.
  • Wear sunblock. Sunburn can tax your body and trigger increased blood glucose levels.
  • Stay cool. Take regular breaks from the heat in airconditioned areas or designated cooling centers, if possible. Make sure to exercise in an air-conditioned place or exercise during early morning and evening hours when temperatures are cooler.
  • Keep medication and supplies cool and away from direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures and sunlight can have a damaging effect on diabetes
    medication such as insulin, causing the drug to break down or become less effective.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration stresses the body and affects glucose levels.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol alcohol and caffeine have diuretic effects that can increase risks of dehydration.
  • Be alert for common signs of heat exhaustion. Signs of serious health-related illnesses can include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting.

Vojta advises that people with diabetes should be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and seek medical attention right away if they experience symptoms. Additional resources on managing and preventing diabetes can be found by visiting the websites of the American Diabetes Association (www. diabetes.org) and the National Diabetes Education Program (ndep.nih.gov/resources). UnitedHealth Group also offers a range of helpful tips and information on the disease at www.unitedhealthgroup.com/ diabetes.

Sarrell Dental is an Alabama based nonprofit which serves children ages 1-20 with Medicaid or ALLKids insurance. With 14 locations throughout the state and a Mobile Dental Bus, the Sarrell Dental Team has treated over 350,000 children since their establishment in 2004.

With over 185 employees, the Sarrell Dental staff is made up of individuals who are dedicated to helping children and ensuring no child is neglected when it comes to receiving dental care. The Sarrell Dental Team understands the importance of a comfortable environment for children and strives to make sure patients enjoy their trips to the dentist. With colorful walls, a friendly staff, and TV’s in each room, each office is catered to the needs of the children they serve.

Since opening, Sarrell Dental has seen a notable decrease in the revenue per patient treated. In 2005, the revenue per patient was $328. In 2011, the revenue per patient was decreased to $131. This decrease can be attributed to both the preventative work provided for children at a young age as well as Sarrell Dental’s community outreach efforts. Through providing dental screenings at local schools and daycares, the Sarrell Dental Team can evaluate the needs of students and ensure parents are aware of their child’s current dental needs. In addition, Sarrell Dental provides dental education lessons at various schools, day cares, and community events where children have the opportunity to learn the correct way of brushing, learn interesting dental facts, and ask any questions they might have through a fun, relaxing presentation.
Aside from providing dental care to children in need, one of the ways Sarrell Dental gives back to the community is through their free summer basketball camps which they put on in different areas across the state. Camp instructors include members of the University of Alabama basketball team who spend the day teaching children the fundamentals of basketball and the importance of team work.

Within their second annual session of summer basketball camps, over 200 children have attended the camps held in Anniston and Clanton. Sarrell Dental will hold their third basketball camp this Saturday, July 21st from 9:00am- 12 noon at the East Limestone High School Gym. The 2012 summer camp session will come to a close after the fourth basketball camp is held in Tuscaloosa on July 28th at the Tuscaloosa Plum Grove Baptist Church Activity Center.

Sarrell Dental takes pride in the opportunity to provide these free camps for children because they realize many children might not have the chance to attend summer camps due to the expense. The summer basketball camps provide a small way for Sarrell Dental to have an impact on children outside of the dental realm.

If you are looking for a dental home for your child or know of someone who might be interested in Sarrell’s services, Sarrell Dental has an office located near you at 310 West Elm Street in Athens, AL. To schedule an appointment or ask any questions you might have, please call (256) 262-0200 to speak with a Sarrell representative.

Sarrell Dental looks forward to continual growth as their team strives to meet the dental needs of Alabama’s children. With a mission devoted to oral care and oral health awareness along with a staff dedicated to children, the future of Sarrell Dental looks bright. For more information on Sarrell Dental, please visit our website at WWW.SarrellDental.Org.
By: Christine Marsh of Sarrell Dental

Courtesy ARA Content

(ARA) – As women enter their 40s and 50s, it’s inevitable. Menopause will begin. And so will the hot flashes.

At the onset of “the change,” many women turn to their moms, sisters and friends for advice on how to beat the heat during unpleasant and uninvited hot flashes. While each woman can offer her advice on relief, you might find that different treatments work for different women.

According to Rebecca Hulem, certified menopause clinician and affectionately known as “The Menopause Expert,” that is OK.

“There’s no one method of treatment that is appropriate for all menopausal women,” says Hulem. “The choices you make might be quite different from the ones your best friend makes. And the way a specific treatment method affects your body might also be quite different.”

But one common ground many women find in their treatment plans is that they are looking for natural solutions. Natural remedies typically involve plants or habitual lifestyle changes that help alleviate hot flashes.

For women seeking natural hot flash relief, below are a few of the most effective options:

Focus on nutrition
With many changes taking place inside your body, it’s essential to maintain the right kind of diet. What’s the right kind, you ask? One that’s full of fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, legumes and soy. Certain soy supplements, specifically, have been scientifically proven to decrease the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

For some women, certain foods trigger hot flashes. Common triggers include coffee, spicy foods or alcohol. Many experts recommend avoiding caffeine or alcohol within three hours of bedtime to decrease the likelihood of night sweats interrupting your sleep.

Exercise regularly
Exercise has been shown to improve hot flashes as well as a host of other menopause- related issues women face, including sleep disturbances. However, to reap the full benefits, it’s important to incorporate a variety of training techniques including aerobic, weight-bearing, strength training and relaxation exercises like yoga.

Take a natural supplement
Supplements containing soy isoflavones rich in genistein, or naturally-occurring compounds with a chemical structure similar to estrogen, have been scientifically proven to reduce the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes.

The results of the most comprehensive study to-date, which were published in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society this year, found clear and consistent evidence that soy isoflavones decrease hot flash frequency and severity by approximately 50 to 60 percent.

However, it’s important to carefully examine supplement dosage to make sure you are getting an effective amount. Supplements that contain a dose of at least 19 milligrams of the soy isoflavone genistein are most effective.

Some companies are making it especially easy to find supplements that contain the right amount of soy iso-flavones – just look for the green NovaSoy brand leaf on the labels of over-thecounter supplements widely found in drug, grocery and health and nutrition stores. To find a list of products featuring the leaf logo, visit www.NovaSoy.com.

Deflate stress with therapy
It’s been proven that lowering stress levels helps decrease menopausal hot flashes. There are many ways to alleviate stress, such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga exercises. But some women are turning to more creative therapies such as hypnotherapy, herbal therapy and aromatherapy. Regardless of the approach you choose, bringing your body to a state of calmness and relaxation should help minimize hot flashes.

It’s important to remember though, that you should still consult your health care provider even if you are using natural options for hot flash relief. Discuss your symptoms, treatment plan and how it may impact your overall health.

It’s also critical for women to remember that treatment doesn’t work overnight, emphasizes Hulem.

“You may need to try several different approaches before you find the one that works best for you,” she says.

Drs. Lynn and Lorie Hedgepeth

Common Questions from Parents:
1. How early should children be adjusted?
2. Is it safe?
3. Why do they need adjustments?
4. What if they cry? All of these questions go through the minds of parents who are considering chiropractic care for their children. Some parents are hesitant about getting their children adjusted even though they are under chiropractic care themselves. If chiropractic care is important to your good health, then it should be important to your children’s health as well.

After all, children have nervous systems that control all of their body functions just as you do. And just like you, they get subluxations too. A subluxation is what happens when spinal bones loss their normal position and motion from stress, trauma, or chemical imbalance.

It’s Never Too Soon
Subluxations can occur at any time. The first one may very well have occurred at your baby’s birth. That is why parents who understand the importance of correcting subluxations have their newborns examined by their chiropractor as soon after birth as possible. By correcting subluxations at an early age, the damage that comes from functioning at less than optimal levels can be prevented. The longer a subluxation is present, the greater loss of proper function. In addition, the longer the subluxation is present, the longer your child’s body will continue to grow in a compromised way.

Many people who come in to a chiropractic’s office for the first time as adults would have had far greater potential for regaining their health if they had received regular chiropractic care as children.

Kids Make Great Patients
Adjusting a child is not a difficult procedure . In fact, in most cases, a child’s spine is much easier to adjust than an adults. Children have not had the long-standing subluxations, their muscles are not tense, and they are usually just more relaxed in general than adults. In most cases, children hold their adjustments for longer periods of time as well. However, with falls, accidents and the generally active lives most kids experience, regular chiropractic check ups are important.

It’s Worth The Effort
Chiropractic adjustments are usually painless. Children may, on the first visit or two, be somewhat reluctant. However, they rarely hesitate to get on the table to get adjusted, especially when they see other members of their family being adjusted as well. Chiropractic adjustments are important to their good health and the few tears that may occur on the first visit (usually because of fear of the unknown) are well worth the benefits to our children’s health. Obviously children who are adjusted regularly from infancy think of their visits to the chiropractor as a regular part of their lives and are not the least bit hesitant to climb onto the adjusting table.

Drs. Lynn & Lorie Hedgepeth are chiropractors at ChiroCare in East Limestone. They are both active members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). You can obtain more information about children and chiropractic by visiting the website www.ICPA4kids. org.