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Archive for the ‘Preventative Care’ Category

Congress in Session

Today or tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will pass a bill that repeals the Healthcare Reform Act that was signed into law last year.  That, of course, is the law that has generated so much controversy in this country.  I personally support this much needed law.

If you also support this law, don’t worry at all when you hear that the House has repealed it.  It’s all a big show.

The Republican Party campaigned in 2010 promising to repeal the law.  And they will take this first step.  But that’s as far as it will go.  The next step would be for the repeal to be considered by the U.S. Senate and the Democratic Party still runs things over there.  But, let’s think worst case scenario.  Let’s say that the Senate also repeals the law.    In that case, the next step is the repeal legislation would go to the President and guess what he will do?   He’ll veto the bill.

When a bill is vetoed, it goes back to the House and the Senate.  Both of those bodies can override what the President did but they have to get two-thirds of their body to vote for repeal.  And the Republicans don’t have those numbers.

So, you can watch what is going on with interest if you’ve got nothing to do.   The Republicans are just doing this so they can go back to their constituents and tell them that they “fought” to repeal that “horrible law.”

But, relax folks.  It’s all part of the show.

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John Boehner

At this point, I assume you know that a new health care system is being implemented in this country.  If you don’t know this then…..well, there is no sense in reading this cause, honey, you are on another planet.

We’ve heard all the arguing and seen some of the commercials and watched the elections and all.  We’ve heard how the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has vowed to repeal the new law.  Well, that’s a total crock because while the House of Representatives will vote to repeal it, it’s unlikely that the Senate will do the same and, if by some chance they do repeal it, well, Obama-Man is sitting there with his ole veto pen.  End of story.

We’re gonna be living with this new law for some time.  That being the case, I thought I would regularly send you a short explanation of what all of this means to you to cut through all of the stuff that you see and don’t have time to sort out.

A number of the provisions of the law will not take effect for quite a while, but some things are already in effect.  So, right now, here’s the deal:

Any health plan that you get through your job or any new individual plan has to let any kids you have under 19 to have coverage.  In other words, they cannot be denied coverage if they are already sick or have some medical condition.

If your health insurance allows you to have coverage for your dependents, then they can be covered until they are 26 years old.  After that, you kick them out of the house and they’re on their own.

Insurance companies cannot drop you from their plans when you get sick just because you made a mistake on your coverage application.

Many insurance companies say that during your lifetime you can only be covered up to a certain point.  Today, there are no limits.

If your employer offers a health plan, you generally can’t be turned away or charged a higher premium because of your health status or disability.  This protection is called “nondiscrimination.”

If family members are eligible but are not currently enrolled under your health plan at work, you may be able to add them during a “special enrollment” opportunity outside of the usual “open enrollment” period.

Not too shabby, huh?

There’s so much more to come!  Stay tuned.

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Abortion HPV

Abortion HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection.  There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of females and males, as well as the mouth and throat.  HPV is not the same as herpes and it can be acquired not just during sexual intercourse, but during any form of sexual activity that entails genital contact.

Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems because, in 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.  However, there are certain types of HPV that can cause genital warts in males and females. More important, however, is the fact that HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 10,000 women will get cervical cancer this year and over 3,500 of those women will die.

Let’s talk about the symptoms for a second.

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. These warts can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected partner—even if the infected partner has no signs of genital warts. If left untreated, genital warts might go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. They will not turn into cancer.

The problem with cervical cancer is that there are usually no symptoms until it is quite advanced. That is why women should get regular screenings for cervical cancer.  Taking these tests can help you find the early signs of the disease so the problem can be treated early before it turns into cancer.

Now, let’s talk about preventative measures that you can take.

There is a vaccine that can help prevent HPV.  It is called Gardasil.

Gardasil protects you against Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions which are pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix. Specifically, the vaccine prevents diseases caused by HPV types 16 and 18, which are associated with about 70 percent of cervical cancers, and types 6 and 11, which are associated with genital warts.

The vaccine is given in three separate injections over a six-month period. You must complete the entire series of shots. It’s believed that immunity is achieved one month after the last shot and that it remains effective for at least five years.

If you are a woman between 11 and 26, you should get the vaccine.  If you receive the vaccine before becoming sexually active, the vaccine offers the most protection because, if you have had even one sexual partner, you may have already been exposed to HPV.

If you have been sexually active for a while and are under the age of 26, the vaccine may still offer cancer protection.  Even if you have been exposed to HPV, research shows that you may not have been exposed to all four types “covered” by the vaccine. So even if you’ve been exposed to and infected with one, two, or even three types of HPV, you can benefit from the vaccine.

If you have a young daughter, you should begin your daughter’s reproductive health care before she becomes sexually active. This is a wonderful time to talk frankly about issues of puberty and growing up female.  The first reproductive health visit is an ideal time to discuss the benefits of the vaccine and to offer it as a protective vaccination against cancer.

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It is the opinion of this author that very few women require to subject themselves to the intrabdominal procedure of a tubal ligation.

There are occasions where it makes sense, like a seventh baby at c-section, the tubal takes two minutes and then it is over. But one must be certain they want irreversible sterilization and the possibility of the rare, unproven post tubal syndrome.

Simply, the vast majority of couples who are done with child bearing may let the man get a vasectomy, a much simpler and safer procedure. Men must be educated as they feel they loose their “Maleness” when this occurs.

As well women who are unsure, or the man refuses the vasectomy, most often will tolerate one of the IUDs on the market and since they are approved for such along time – the Paragard 380T was approved for 10 years – it can always be taken out, with a high degree of success, everything else being equal in regards to their fertility. As well they last long enough to almost take the average women to menopause after enough childbearing.

So the options are significant to avoid the tubal ligation which is irreversible for the most part, unless you have lots of $$s and are happy with a below 50% success rate – I am not.

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Major breakthroughs in healthcare are few. It is rare that the paradigm shifts in such a manner that our whole way of thinking about how we should address a topic radically changes. It appears this will begin to happen much more frequently as scientific breakthroughs occur at an expanding and much more rapid pace.

The HPV Vaccine may be seen as a wonderous breakthrough in science as soon as a generation has past and recieved it purported benefits.

One such example of this phenomenon is the recent approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of a vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus. Strong evidence suggests that this intervention may grow into something just short of a panacea for cervical cancer (we know the drug manufacturers hope so!). At the same time, medical history will likely look back at this occasion as the time that vaccines were introduced to protect us from things that we never even dreamed were possible.

In the beginning of my medical career, the thought of a vaccine for a cancer seemed preposterous. Now it is reality. Only time will tell. This concept of the self correcting nature and the non dogmatic objective review of pier reviewed literature will be reviewed in an upcoming article on Science – How and why it works. However, for now we are relegated to make informed desicions as best as we can on the evidence that we have. That body of work is very strong and becoming more reliable everyday.

For over four decades the scientific community and the clinical community of basic science community and the clinical community of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and ancillary health care professionals learned that women who had certain subtypes of HPV, were at much higher risk for bad changes in the cervical cells, and those bad changes occasionally led to the horrendous disease, cervical cancer.

In the beginning of the 1960’s we watched about 1/45 women over a lifetime DIE from this heinous illness. The introduction of aggressive cytology through pap smears with the microscope (colposcopically directed) biopsies of those sick cells led to an enormous decrease (almost 1/3, absolutely extraordinary) in the incidence of the precursor disease and the full blown out illness of cervical cancer.

HPV sadly became one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases. Before the onslaught of AIDS the barrier free sexuality of the 60s and 70s facilitated the transmition of hordes of STD’s which still continues today, in not quite the same tsunami of spread.

If you desire more detailed information on these items, please say so in your comments. This will help guide the tone and theme of the site. It belongs to all of us, to make us all healthier. We benefit from that glorious communion. We will learn together how detailed, how medical, how general, we want these items to be and we will try and reach common denominator that suits the majority. We will not be perfect (who is?) but we will strive to the best education and information possible.

Very soon depending on who you are, you must engage your health care provider with the discussion: it is appropriate for me? my daughter? my significant other, to receive the HPV vaccine. This will be a difficult question. Wow, extremely difficult. Just imagine! Some of our daughters will be 11. The thought of vaccinating an 11 year old against a sexually transmitted disease is intuitively abhorrent, however, the reality is, a generation from not we may come close to eradicating one of the primary gynecologic cancers in women – using a vaccine. A cancer that strikes and kills women in their prime, as opposed to the other illesses whcih tend to have a higher prevalance as the individual gets older. This is not to be taken as it is a better cancer, but I suspect we are saddenned greatly when more of a potential life is snuffed, a mother taken from her daughter when she needs her most. The potential to rid ourselves of this monstrosity, now that is astonishing, I recommend you do your reading and education, as this is a big one.

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Keep Women Healthy

The majority of the women in the world are treated as property. In the United States, wonderful achievements have been brought to fruition, and obstacles have been overcome.

Yet we have much to do.

Here you will finding a continually growing repository of current and informative thoughts on the present state of being a women and keeping women healthy.

We deserve this, as do men. We are different. We need to address these issues clearly. Objectivity may lead us to a path which allows awareness to overcome thousands of years of subordination.

We are mothers, daughters, wives, significant others, friends, professionals, laborers. We are a slice of the cross section of life. We must be healthy, we owe it to ourselves and mandate it to ourselves. We have achieved so much. Join me and learn.

Comments, posts, replies – all are welcome. Join us as we journey through life to be the most wonderful persons we can be.

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