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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Periodontal Disease: Linked to Breast Cancer in Post-Menopausal Women

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a relatively common condition that will affect many of us at some stage in our lives, and while it can be treated with antibiotics and online doctors that prescribe pain meds to ease toothache and inflamed gums, new research suggests it could lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast cancer if left untreated.

During a study on 73,737 postmenopausal women, scientists at the University at Buffalo's School of Public Health and Health Professions in New York, discovered that women with periodontal disease are 14% more likely to develop breast cancer than those women without gum disease.  This risk increased to over 30% in women who smoked or had smoked in the last 20 years.

This is not the first time that gum disease has been linked to cancer, previous studies found links between periodontal disease and oesophageal, head, neck, lung, and pancreatic cancers, but for the first time, the Women’s Health Initiative Observation Study has highlighted a risk between this chronic inflammatory condition and breast cancer, and it is postmenopausal women who are most at risk.

Smoking & Gum Disease

Toothache, bleeding gums, loose teeth and unpleasant breath are all signs of gum disease, and there is a plethora of scientific evidence to suggest that periodontal disease is made worse by smoking.

Tobacco and nicotine can lead to a variety of different dental problems including tooth discoloration, an increased build-up of plaque, loss of bone within the jaw, and stunted blood vessels, which can prevent the gums from bleeding, even when periodontal disease is present. This is why researchers took smoking into consideration during the study, and the results, although not statistically significant, are a clear warning to postmenopausal women who smoke.

The Link Between Gum Disease and Breast Cancer

While the link between gum disease and breast cancer is still unclear, some scientists believe that the blood stream could become infected with bacteria from the gums, which then spreads to breast tissue causing the formation of cancerous cells.

However, researchers who carried out the study confirmed that more research is needed to pinpoint a specific cause-and-effect link between the two, and that more evidence is required to establish a clear connection between periodontal disease and breast cancer.

Jo Freudenheim PhD, a distinguished professor and lead author of the Women’s Health Initiative Observation Study said, “These findings are useful in providing new insight into what causes breast cancer.” She continued, "We know that the bacteria in the mouths of current and former smokers who quit recently are different from those in the mouths of non-smokers."

"There is good evidence, though, that good dental care is important in any case and that treatment of periodontal disease is important for the health of the mouth," she said, “but more study is needed before there is enough evidence to say that gum disease causes breast cancer or other diseases”.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

In the early stages of gum disease, common symptoms include red swollen gums and bleeding when brushing the teeth.  If left untreated, the jaw bone and surrounding tissues may become affected, leaving sufferers with loose teeth, bad breath, painful gum abscesses, and in severe cases, tooth loss.  It is therefore essential that gum disease is diagnosed quickly.

One of the easiest ways to avoid gum disease is with good oral hygiene. By brushing twice per day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, and not smoking, you can reduce the risk of gum disease, and regular visits to the dentist (every 6 months), will keep toothache and dental problems at bay.

This is a guest post by Dr Anderson, a health physician.

Monday, December 14, 2015

What To Do If Your Doctor’s Prescribed Drug Worsens Your Condition?

Beth Botelho was shocked after finding out her newborn daughter had a chronic congenital heart defect. She revealed the baby needed open heart surgery and required life support. It was an extremely overwhelming situation for the mother.

According to her story, it was an “off-label” prescribed drug called Zofran she took during the first trimester that caused the defect. The first trimester is the time when the heart of the baby develops in the mother’s womb. But the drug was never approved to treat morning sickness.

Beth’s case shows that a healthcare provider’s negligence can worsen your condition, or affect you in an indirect way (like Beth suffered). If your personal health has been affected due to such negligence, there are certain steps you can take to get reimbursed. Mentioned below are some of these steps:

1. Know your professional options 

Preparing documentation to file a lawsuit is a complex process. While you can self-learn this process, a slight error could make it favorable for the doctor whose prescription led to the worsening of your condition.

Personal injury lawyers are a professional option that can offer their training, knowledge, and extensive experience to you while supporting your journey for a positive outcome. For individuals who’ve been injured by defective drugs, they will feel at ease with the prospect of taking on a large defendant. Such cases require the finely-tuned dedication of personal injury lawyers that remain determined to help you win the lawsuit case.

1. Know the damages you can claim 

While a professional lawyer will help you understand the damages you can claim, it is good to have an idea in advance. Apart from the medical and income damages, you can also get reimbursed for loss of enjoyment; personal injuries that stop you from enjoying daily activities like exercise and recreational activities.

Likewise, you can claim damages for loss of consortium. This happens when the injury impacts the relationship you have with your spouse. The loss of sexual health or companionship, for example, is considered in the list of damages. In some states, loss of consortium includes the impact on the relationship between children and parents if one suffers a personal injury. This is different from emotional damages because the latter could be considered as a part of “pain and suffering” damage.

1. Know the deadline

It is important to know the deadline by which the lawsuit can be filed. Only in rare cases can the lawsuit be filed shortly after the deadline has passed. Each state has different deadlines and requirements that should be met before the case is filed. Professional lawyers can help meet the lawsuit requirements before the deadline. There’s also a deadline to file an appeal if you lose the case because an appellate court may reverse it or refer it to the trial court with directions to solve legal errors. To avoid any twists and turns along the way, professional support can be blessing in disguise.

Also, if you apply for insurance, you should inform them as soon as you know about the lawsuit (many insurance companies list this as a strict requirement). Perhaps you could get the insurance company to pay for the professional lawyer or provide its own. Lastly, you should note that there is a deadline to inform the insurance company as well.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.