Tag Archives: prevention

10 Tips to Lower Your Risk Of Oral Cancer (Part 1)

There are nearly 50,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, and approximately 9,750 deaths caused by it. Some types of cancer are more preventable than others. Luckily, many of the risk factors for oral cancer are modifiable, so by changing certain lifestyle habits you can drastically lower your risk for this particular cancer. Let’s take a look at some of the preventative measures you can take:

  1. Practice good oral hygiene – It may seem like an obvious tip, but keeping your teeth clean by practicing a vigilant dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing will help your mouth remain free of infections and lessen your chances of developing disease.
  2. Limit drinking – While the light or social drinkers need not worry, heavy alcohol drinking is considered a major risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancer and has been linked with a large number of cases.
  3. Kick tobacco to the curb – Smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the top causes of oral cancer. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), approximately 80% of people diagnosed with oral cancer have used tobacco in some form. Chewing tobacco makes you even more likely to develop cancer than smoking cigarettes.
  4. Curb your diet – Unhealthy diets that don’t contain enough fruit and veggies have been linked to the development of oral cancer. It is important to ensure you’re getting plenty of leafy greens, other veggies and fruit and limiting saturated fats and processed meats.
  5. Keep an eye on your dentures – Sometimes people who wear dentures take their mouths for granted, because they don’t have to go to the dentist to get their teeth checked regularly or floss, so it can be easy to get a little complacent when it comes to mouth care. Unfortunately, ill-fitting dentures can irritate the gums and raise your risk of developing damage that may make your mouth more vulnerable to cancer. If you don’t keep your mouth clean enough or wash your dentures regularly it can lead to infection and other complications as well.

That concludes part 1 of our look at oral cancer prevention tips, stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

Are The Mumps Making a Comeback?

Do you remember seeing the pockets of hockey players becoming infected with the long-unheard-of mumps in the news recently? It’s true – according to the CDC, the mumps is making a vehement comeback, reaching a 10-year high. It is highly contagious and can spread through saliva or respiratory droplets. But if you were vaccinated against the mumps as a child, you have nothing to worry about, right? Not necessarily. Did you know the vaccine wears off after about 15 years? Therefor, it is important to go back and get that second one to ensure you keep this highly contagious illness at bay.

What Are the Symptoms to Look Out For?

Symptoms of the mumps include:

  • Aches and pains
  • A fever
  • A persistent headache
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the testicles or ovaries
  • The signature ‘chipmunk cheeks’ caused by swelling of the salivary glands.

The mumps often resolves itself after a period of significant discomfort, but sometimes there are unfortunate lasting effects such as infertility or deafness. It can also lead to an infection around the brain (meningitis), which can be deadly.

Who Is Primarily Affected by the Recent Outbreak, and Why?

The mumps can strike anyone (who isn’t already immune to the disease), but recent outbreaks appear to strike young adults more often. The reason? One of two. One: the infected young people weren’t vaccinated to begin with or, two: they happened to be born between the early 1970’s and 1994, before a second vaccination in adolescents became common practice. This age group comprised a small gap in the herd immunity that wouldn’t have received their second mumps vaccination. So, what’s the best way around this? To check out your medical record and see if you fell in the category of people who didn’t receive their second immunity shot, and if you did, go get yours today!

How Can the Mumps be Prevented?

Unlike some diseases, outbreaks can be rather silent and unpredictable because they are most contagious and spread quickly during their incubation period before symptoms even show up. So, how to protect yourself against an unpredictable disease? While the measles mumps vaccine isn’t 100% proof against the diseases, it does have a very high effectivity when both doses are taken appropriately. Therefor, getting yourself and your family vaccinated is simply the best protective measure you can take against diseases like the mumps or measles.

Thanks for visiting DocChat!


8 Things You Can do To Help Prevent a Stroke

According to the CDC, stoke is the fifth leading cause of death in America, claiming over 130,000 lives annually. While there is no sure-fire way to ensure you will never have a stroke, there are several things you can do to decrease your modifiable risk factors for stroke, drastically lessening your chance of experiencing one. Things like age, ethnicity and genetics cannot be changed, but let’s take a look at the things that are within your control to change in order to help lower your risk of having a stroke:

  1. Keep those numbers down – Are your blood pressure and cholesterol a little on the higher side? You should work at bringing those numbers down to the normal zone, as they can be key contributors to stroke, as well as heart attacks.
  2. Wine more (in moderation) – drinking too much alcohol (an average of 2 or more glasses daily), will significantly raise your risk of stroke. However, studies show that drinking one glass of red wine daily or a few times weekly may actually help lower your risk of stroke (a substance in red wine called resveratrol seems to play a part in stroke prevention).
  3. Get off the couch! Leading a sedentary lifestyle raises your risk of developing a stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, as well as other serious conditions. Activity is an integral part of any balanced, healthy lifestyle, so get out there and find your favorite exercise activity today!
  4. Shed those extra lbs – Carrying extra weight also compounds the risks of being sedentary, so if you have both those things going on, try to shed those pounds as you get more active!
  5. Quit smoking – Smoking is linked with many life-threatening conditions, and stroke is no exception. Your risk of having a stroke is also significantly raised if you are a smoker.
  6. Manage other health conditions – Uncontrolled diabetes or heart conditions can also lead to a stoke because of the added strain placed on the body when things like blood sugar or blood pressure aren’t controlled. Also, those with atrial fibrillation (a type of arrhythmia) should ensure their condition is well managed as it can also add to your risk of having a stroke.
  7. Lower your stress – Chronic stress isn’t good for anyone in any way. Perpetually spiking cortisol and adrenaline levels appear have a part to play when it comes to stroke risk as well as many other health conditions (as does depression). So, try to find a stress management plan that works best for you today, or talk to a doctor if you think you are depressed.
  8. Tweak your diet – Just as it is important to get enough exercise to help ward off scary medical emergencies like a stroke, your diet plays an equally as essential role. High cholesterol foods like burgers, cheese and heavy creams should only be eaten as treats, and you should concentrate more on produce, fish and whole grains to lower your health risks.

Thus concludes our look at stroke prevention, thanks for visiting DocChat!

Knowing the Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis Can Save Your Life

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is an acute, potentially dangerous condition whereby a blood clot abnormally forms in a vein found deep within the body, such as a major vein running through a leg or arm. They can also develop in other areas such as the groin or brain, but occur most commonly in the leg. The CDC estimates that approximately 900,000 Americans develop DVT annually, causing between 60,000 and 100,000 deaths each year. DVT can travel to the lung, leading to a life-threatening complication called a pulmonary embolism (PE) if it is not effectively treated in a timely manner.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT

  1. Persistent, worsening pain or tenderness in one of your legs (or arms)
  2. Swelling of the area (often leg swelling goes the length of your leg, right to your ankle)
  3. Warmth and redness or discoloration (particularly behind the knee)
  4. Leg cramps or trouble straightening the leg
  5. Worsening of pain when bending your foot in the direction of your knee (or bending the arm if the DVT is located in an arm vein).

Symptoms of a Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when the blood clot dislodges itself from the deep vein and travels through the system, reaching the blood vessels in a lung. It is important that you seek emergency medical treatment if you have DVT and suddenly experience the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate or hyperventilation
  • Sudden heavy perspiration
  • Sudden piercing chest pain that worsens when breathing in or exerting pressure (sneezing or coughing)
  • Signs of shock
  • A cough that produces blood or red-colored sputum
  • Syncope (fainting)

Other Potential Complications of DVT

Aside from the most serious complication (PE), other complications may include: an increased risk of developing another DVT in the future or post-thrombotic syndrome (long term symptoms in the affected area such as pain or tenderness). It is important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your doctor after going through DVT, to help minimize or catch any future consequences of the condition.

What Causes DVT?

There are many potential causes of deep vein thrombosis, but sometimes the cause is unknown. Some factors that increase a person’s risk of developing the condition include: a genetic predisposition, certain medications, pregnancy, obesity, smoking, being sedentary for long periods of time without moving enough to circulate the blood, injury or surgery or an abnormal immune response.

Treatment For DVT

There are different treatments and therapies for DVT, but the most common course of action includes medications called anticoagulants which thin the blood and slow or stop the clot’s growth. The clot will slowly go away with time, but some medications help prevent it from changing or moving to another area of the body such as the lungs. Often people are given injectable forms of blood thinners (such as Warfarin) for months after the initial clot. Patients may find the progress is slow. They may have swelling, discoloration and pain for a long time after the initial episode. Even though exercise is painful, it is of utmost importance that the person remain as active as the doctor suggests to help the clot pass more quickly and not get worse.

Prevention: The Best DVT Medicine 

Blood clots often develop because a person remains sedentary for long periods of time (such as sitting for a 12-hour plane flight) and doesn’t get enough circulation of the blood. Getting regular exercise (even standing to stretch every once in a while) will help lower your chances. Losing weight if you are obese and making other healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking will also serve as good preventative measures.

If you are experiencing some of the above-mentioned symptoms, seek medical treatment soon. Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Do You Know Enough About HPV?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the world. So much so, that the vast majority of sexually active men and women will contract it at some point during their lives. Most times the virus does not cause lasting health problems, but certain strains of the virus can cause genital warts or cancer so it is important to know the facts and get regular check-ups and pap smears to detect any abnormal developments.

HPV Fast Facts

  • More than half of all sexually active people will contract some form of HPV at some point, but many won’t even know it.
  • The CDC estimates over 79 million sexually active Americans are infected with HPV, with approximately 14 million new infections annually.
  • There are over 100 strains of HPV, most of which are relatively harmless and will pass through the system without causing any noticeable symptoms.
  • The longer certain high-risk strains of HPV stay in a person’s body, the more likely their chances of developing such types of cancer as anal, oropharynx, penis or cervical.
  • If you get regular pap smears, your tests will usually reveal abnormal HPV cells before they turn cancerous, so it is vital to get yearly pep smears if you are a sexually active woman. This is especially important since abnormal cells or cervical cancer likely won’t produce any warning signs.
  • If you spontaneously develop warts in your genital area, HPV (or herpes) is likely responsible.
  • Genital warts associated with HPV can be pink or reddish or skin colored and can be flat, raised or clustered together. They can develop on the thigh, groin, penis, cervix, vagina or anus.
  • HPV-related genital warts don’t necessarily make their presence known right away. They may show up weeks, months or even years after initial exposure, making the time and source from which you contracted HPV difficult to identify.
  • You may even have HPV if you’ve only been sexually active with one person (who has had previous sexual partners).
  • HPV can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person and can be passed from a person who has no visible signs or symptoms of an infection.
  • Approximately 70% of HPV-related cancer cases are caused by strain 16 and strain 18.
  • About 95% of anal cancer are caused by HPV (strain 16)
  • Strains 6 and 11 are responsible for over 90% of cases of HPV-related genital warts.
  • There are approximately 26,900 cases of cancer are caused by HPV annually.

What Can Be Done To Prevent HPV?

Because HPV is so widespread, it is difficult to protect yourself completely against contracting it, however there are measures you can take to minimize your chances of developing high-risk types of HPV. Some of which include:

  • Get vaccinated – The CDC recommends 11-12 year-olds get two HPV vaccines to protect against high-risk HPV in the future. Young men and women who haven’t been vaccinated should do so as well. Check out the CDC recommendations of who should and should not be vaccinated.
  • People who are sexually active should use a condom (properly) each time they have vaginal or anal sex, as well as using condoms or dental dams for oral sex.
  • You can decrease your chances of contracting it significantly by having mutually monogamous sex (neither you or your partner have other sexual partners besides each other).


That concludes our look at the need-to-know facts about HPV. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Must-Know Facts About Hypothermia

Whether you are not used to spending time in the cold or you’re a long-time cold warrior, you can still be affected by deadly hypothermia if temperatures drop too low and you spend time outside unprotected. Let’s take a look some key facts about hypothermia so you’ll know just how to avoid this winter danger:

  1. The process of hypothermia begins when the body cannot produce more heat than it loses (usually when the body’s temperature drops below 95’F).
  2. Hypothermia isn’t only a freezing weather danger – it can happen in temperatures as high as 50’F!
  3. Hypothermia often results from a culmination of cold temperatures, wind and wet weather or clothing.
  4. Alcohol can speed up the process of hypothermia as it tricks the body into feeling warm inside. In actuality, alcohol dilates the blood vessels causing the body to lose heat more rapidly.
  5. Dehydration can also contribute to hypothermia as the body is weaker and will become cold quicker while warming up slower.
  6. When body temperature drops too low, it systematically starts shutting down processes (and organs) in an attempt to conserve energy.
  7. Hypothermia is so dangerous because the victim will progressively become more confused, sleepy and immobile and may not even realize what is happening to them until it is too late to act on it.
  8. Symptoms of mild hypothermia include: shivering and confusion. Symptoms may then progress to slow shallow breathing, extreme drowsiness, bluish lips or skin, weak or irregular pulse and eventually bouts of unconsciousness.
  9. If you suspect someone is succumbing to hypothermia DO call for medical help and try to get them to a warm location asap. Lay them down horizontally and replace any wet clothing with dry clothing. Cover the person in blankets, towels or whatever material you can find. Try to get them to drink (non-alcoholic) hot liquids and consume high-energy foods if possible.
  10. If you suspect someone has hypothermia DO NOT: massage their limbs or put them in a hot bath as the blood vessels may dilate too quickly and cause blood pressure to drop fatally low.

Tips to Avoid Hypothermia

  • Dress warmly if you are spending any time outside in cold weather.
  • Always wear a warm hat (as much of your body’s heat escapes through your head).
  • Wear layers (with a wool innermost layer to trap heat but not sweat).
  • Carry a knapsack equipped with: extra clothing such as mittens, under garments and an extra jacket or sweatshirt (in case you get wet or cold), instant hand and foot warmers (you can by them for less than a dollar per pair) and high-energy foods like protein bars.
  • Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine or nicotine when in the cold.
  • Make sure you pack first aid materials in case of a potential emergency.
  • Bring a cell phone so you won’t be stranded for long.

So, there you have it – a hypothermia prevention guide! Thanks for visiting DocChat, be sure to drop back soon for more useful tips.

QUIZ: Could You Recognize Frostbite Before It’s Too Late?

Frostbite is a common winter danger that can lead to skin discoloration, dead tissue in the affected area, gangrenous infection or even amputation in severe cases. These are fates you certainly want to avoid while having your winter fun! So, how much do you know about frostbite? Let’s find out. Take a look at the statements below – are they true or false? Try to give the quiz a shot before looking at the answers below. You can write “T or F” for each number on a piece of paper and check your answers at the end. No scrolling down!

  1. You should put the frostbitten area in hot water to rewarm it quickly.
  2. The first stage of frostbite is called frostnip.
  3. Frostbite happens most commonly to the neck, arms and legs.
  4. Frostbitten areas usually change color drastically.
  5. Frostbite may feel like pins and needles in an area of your body.
  6. You must be exposed to freezing temperatures for at least an hour for frostbite to fully set in.
  7. The first visual sign of frostbite is hardened, bluish skin on the affected area.
  8. Frostbite can lead to blood-filled blisters.



Don’t peek!



Keep scrolling…




  1. If you are able to get to a warm place with running water, soak the affected are in warm (not hot) water for 30 minutes. This process will likely be painful, so taking OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Advil can help with the pain and inflammation. (Do not try to thaw the area unless you are safely in a warm environment and know it can’t refreeze).
  2. Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite that usually doesn’t change the skin permanently if it is caught and treated early enough. It starts with color changes to the skin (from pale to red) and discomfort in the area. If you are noticing pain or tingling in your fingers or toes and the skin appears to be changing color, it is time to go inside and warm up.
  3. Frostbite most often affects the extremities (fingers and toes) as well as the nose, ears or cheeks (however, any exposed area can potentially be affected).
  4. The skin will change color depending on the various stages of frostbite. Usually starting with paleness, progressing to redness and finally to black or blue (you should definitely strive to avoid the last stage as it means the tissue has died).
  5. While sensations may be different for everyone, usually the first thing you will feel is extreme coldness, pins and needles or pain in the area.
  6. Depending on the temperature and wind chill factor, frostbite can actually begin in as little as 5 minutes of exposure to extreme freezing temperatures.
  7. The first sign of frostbite is usually pale yellowish or red skin on the affected area. The skin won’t turn bluish or black until advanced stages of frostbite when circulation is extremely limited and the subcutaneous tissue becomes frostbitten and starts to die.
  8. In the more advanced stages of frostbite the skin may start to feel warm and when the skin thaws, blood-filled blisters may develop in the area. Medical treatment should be sought if you believe you have experienced the latter stages of frostbite.

We hope you scored well on the test and are now equipped to recognize the early signs of frostbite before it can progress any further. Remember to stay safe in the winter cold! Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Can An Apple a Day Really Keep the Doc Away?

We’ve all heard the old adage about apples keeping the doctor at bay, but what’s so special about apples versus any other fruit? The answer is: plenty! Let’s take a look at some of the many potential benefits a daily apple (when combined with an overall healthy diet) can bring you:

  1. Improve brain health – apples contain quercetin which has been associated with reducing cellular death and lowering neuron inflammation. Studies also show that routinely eating apples may even help prevent dementia!
  2. Lower cholesterol – One Florida study found that older women who ate apples daily for just 6 months showed a 23% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as an increase in good HDL cholesterol levels.
  3. Helping prevent cancer – research suggests that the plentiful and specific antioxidants found in apples may help prevent breast (and other types of) cancer.
  4. Trims the waistline – apples may actually help you lose weight when combined with other nutritious foods. Aside from containing helpful insoluble fiber, apples are also chock-full of compounds that help good bacteria flourish in the gut, which can promote weight loss.
  5. Helping regulate the digestive system – apples are rich in fiber that can help things moving smoothly in the digestive tract. Regular consumption of apples may help aid constipation or diarrhea.
  6. Aiding ocular health – studies show that people who ate foods rich in antioxidants, like apples, regularly were up to 15% less likely to develop age-related cataracts than those who did not.
  7. Helping naturally whiten teeth – Apples won’t singlehandedly whiten your teeth, but chewing the skin of an apple can help reduce decay and promote whiter teeth by stimulating your salivary glands and lowering levels of bad bacteria in the mouth.
  8. Warding off gallstones – the pectin found in apples can help stop or prevent the formation of gall stones when eaten regularly.

Other benefits include helping lower risk of type 2 diabetes, promoting a healthy heart and helping ward off Parkinson’s disease. So, you tell us – does an apple a day sound like a good plan for your health? Thanks for visiting DocChat!


15 Health Benefits Cycling Provides

All exercise is good exercise, but stationary and outdoor cycling has recently gained quite the reputation for being an extra healthful mode of fitness. Let’s check out just what proof is in the pudding:

  1. Biking is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise alternative.
  2. It works out many of the major muscle groups.
  3. It can improve stamina of the lungs and body.
  4. It is a highly adaptable activity. You can modify the speed and intensity according to your fitness level – you can even handcycle if you are handicapped!
  5. You can move it inside – with a stationary bike.
  6. Cycling helps build and firm muscles.
  7. Regular cycling can help lower stress levels and decrease anxiety.
  8. Regular cycling can help improve posture and balance as well as strengthen bones.
  9. It can improve joint health, and is a safe exercise choice for those with arthritis.
  10. Regular cycling can trim the fat – you can burn over 300 calories per hour session!
  11. Several studies conducted show a correlation between regular cycling and lower risk of cardiovascular disease. One particular Danish study surmised that 45,000 adults who regularly cycled had up to an 18% fewer heart attacks over a 20-year period than those who did not.
  12. Routine aerobic exercise like cycling can help lower your chances of developing various diseases such as bowel cancer and diabetes.
  13. Studies show it can help with many conditions, including mental health conditions such as ADHD.
  14. Studies show that cycling can actually help improve certain injuries and conditions, including knee injuries.
  15. While exercise in itself will help increase chances of a longer, healthier life, a specific study done on Tour De France riders showed an 17% increase in lifespan over the average 73.5 years!

So all in all, there are plenty of reasons to give cycling a shot if you’re looking for a new, adventurous way to workout! Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope to see you again soon.


9 Household Hazard Prevention Tips

Millions of Americans are injured or even killed by preventable household hazards annually. Sometimes it just takes a few safety tweaks to lower the danger level in your home. Some of those tweaks include:

  1. Go flameless – thousands of home fires are started each year by flames from candles that have tipped over or haven’t been properly extinguished. You may not like synthetic flames as much as the real thing, but such a small change could mean the safety of your family and home.
  2. Be step-safe – accidental falls affect over 1 million American adults annually. Many of these falls can be prevented by using extra caution when on the stairs or a ladder, as well as stepping on a dry mat when getting out of the bath or shower.
  3. Minimize the cargo – Falls also commonly happen when people carry too heavy a load of laundry or other items. Carrying lighter loads of laundry (especially when walking up or down stairs) can drastically reduce your chances of a nasty fall inside the home.
  4. Know the numbers – Does everyone in your family know the number for poison control? They should. How about the local fire station or health-line? Aside from 9-1-1, it is good to know (and teach your children) all the safety numbers that could help in a pinch. It is also a good idea to put these numbers in your child’s phone, if they have one.
  5. Childproof the kitchen – There are many measures you can undertake to ensure the safety of your children around the kitchen. Check them out in our post on Kitchen Safety!
  6. Have safety strategies in place – Your family should have emergency plans such as a household evacuation route in case of a fire or other emergency. You should practice these plans occasionally to ensure everyone knows exactly what to do.
  7. Watch the sockets – Unfortunately, around 2,400 children are shocked or burned by electrical outlets annually. So, if you have small children, you may want to invest in socket covers (spring-loaded electrical socket covers that help prevent tampering).
  8. Check water temp – According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3,800 Americans are scalded by too-hot tap water each year, many of whom are children. It is always a good idea to test the water before jumping into the bath or washing your hands. It is particularly important to test the water before bathing your child. A step further in scald-prevention would be to ensure your water heater is set below 120°F.
  9. Check your alarms – Most people have plenty of functioning fire alarms, but do you also have a carbon monoxide detector? If not, you should invest in a quality one soon to ensure those levels don’t silently (and fatally!) creep too high. You should also periodically ensure you have new batteries in all your detectors and that they are functioning optimally.

That concludes our look at household safety! Keep an eye out for medication safety next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!