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Studies show link between good health and dental habits, but affordable care is limited

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To Your Good Health: The Role of Estrogen in Women with Migraine

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 73-year-old woman. I have had migraine headaches with aura since my late 30s. I haven’t suffered migraine pain in years, but I still experience the aura from time to time. The aura has increased in size and intensity in recent years; even without the horrible pain anymore, it is rather disturbing, as it blocks my vision while it expands and then dissipates. It usually begins and disappears inside of 20 minutes. What is happening? It is a bit frightening. I now take Premarin, but I did not when the migraines began. — L.C.S.

Answer: Acephalgic migraine — which refers to any migraine symptoms without headache — is seen more often in women than in men.

Migraine is thought to be a neurological condition (it was previously thought to be vascular, caused by dilation of blood vessels). The electrical activity of the brain cells produces the aura, and activation of the pain fibers in the fifth cranial nerve causes the pain sensation. If that nerve is not affected, then you can have the other symptoms of a migraine without experiencing pain. It can be confused with a transient ischemic attack, which is why it can be frightening.

Migraines can be triggered in women when estrogen levels drop. That’s why some women get migraines around the time of the period (called “catamenial migraine”), and some women have worsening of migraine or an increase in frequency around the onset of menopause.

The use of estrogen in women with aura is controversial. Certainly, high-dose estrogen, such as the doses used in some oral contraceptives (birth-control pills), increases stroke risk up to eight times, so high-dose estrogen is not recommended in women with any history of migraine with aura at any time.

Some studies also show an increase in stroke risk even with lower levels of estrogen. If your doctor is giving you estrogen to reduce headaches (which is not unreasonable in some cases of women with perimenopausal migraine), you may already have discussed this. Otherwise, taking estrogen (like your Premarin) may have more risks than benefits. I would be sure you have had a comprehensive discussion with your estrogen prescriber about continuing it.

Dear Dr. Roach: My partner has had Raynaud’s disease for years, and takes nifedipine extended release for it during the colder months. She routinely sits and reads or watches TV for a few hours in the evening and comes to bed freezing and layered up.

If she were to get up and move vigorously for five minutes every 30 minutes, I think that would alleviate the symptoms, but I know it would disturb her habit and create animosity. — M.M.

Answer: Disturbing habits and creating animosity are not recommended for domestic tranquility. Have her try an electric blanket (and maybe an extension cord).

Dear Dr. Roach: My 12-year-old granddaughter lives in the Northeast under fairly dry winter conditions. She usually develops multiple fine bumps all over her cheeks. Is there something you can recommend that we can do to correct this condition? — M.B.

Answer: Dry skin can cause many different appearances. She should use a mild soap (such as Dove or Olay) only once daily, and use a moisturizer specific for the face every day. A humidifier at night may be helpful. If these don’t help, she should see a dermatologist, since an experienced eye looking at a rash is key to proper diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to or at 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.

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When it comes to good health, don’t forget about your feet

Seeing a podiatrist regularly is important for maintaining foot health.

Seeing a podiatrist regularly is important for maintaining foot health.
Photo via Metro Creative Connection

If you wore a pedometer from the day you started walking, you’d have logged in more than 70,000 miles by the time you hit age 50. When you walk a good portion of those miles in improperly fitting shoes or otherwise neglect your feet, it’s little wonder why your feet hurt.

“Foot and ankle concerns are too often overlooked by the general public,” said Dr. Jodie Sengstock, Michigan Podiatric Medical Association director of professional relations. “Our feet are the foundation of our body.”

The 38 muscles in your feet make up approximately 25 percent of the muscles in your body and absorb 1,000 pounds of force each day. Bad foot health habits can quickly add up to major problems. Below, are 10 easy ways to keep your feet healthy.

• Inspect your feet daily

Look for any changes in the general appearance of the foot, like the color and the texture, unusual swelling and changes in the toenails.

• Practice good foot hygiene

Wash your feet well and dry them thoroughly afterward to help prevent issues with bacteria and fungi.

• Moisturize your feet

It is important to hydrate the skin in your feet to replenish all the lost moisture. Otherwise, fissures can develop. •

• Wear appropriate footwear

Make sure to purchase the right size of footwear to avoid bruising or tearing the skin surrounding the pressure points of the feet. Furthermore, buy appropriate shoes for your activities.

• Trim your toenails

Do not create deep curves at the edges, and trim to just above the skin. Nails should not extend over the tip of the toe. Cutting nails straight across helps to avoid ingrown nails.

• Change shoes often

It is important to avoid wearing the same shoes every day. Your feet have a lot of sweat glands, and wearing shoes will only absorb the moisture released from these glands. Make it a point to dry your shoes after each and every use.

• Exercise regularly

Exercising is good for your feet. However, make sure you wear the appropriate shoe for the activity. Simple exercises can be done at home, such as walking on a treadmill. Foot exercises improve good pedal circulation, preventing many disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

• Do not walk barefoot

Even when at home, always wear the appropriate footwear. There are a lot of harmful microorganisms that can easily enter the bloodstream through the feet.

• Apply sunscreen

Applying sunscreen with a considerable amount of SPF will help prevent painful sunburns and blisters.

• See an MPMA podiatrist regularly

If you notice or feel anything unusual in your feet, do not hesitate to see your MPMA podiatrist immediately.

Next Avenue content contributed to this report.

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Chaka Khan says she is in ‘good health’ following rehab stint

But as she embarks on a range of new shows and musical projects, including UK dates, the American star said she is now in a much better place.

“I am now in very good health,” she told the Press Association, “I am well.”

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China says detained Taiwan activist in good health

BEIJING The Chinese government said on Wednesday that a Taiwan rights activist detained on suspicion of endangering national security was in good health, and had reassured his family in a letter.

The detention has put a strain on ties between Taiwan and China, which have cooled since Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took power last year, because she refuses to concede that the self-ruled island is part of China.

The activist, Li Ming-che, is a community college worker known for supporting human rights. He went missing in China, which views neighboring Taiwan as a renegade province, on March 19, and China later confirmed his detention.

Li’s case is still being investigated and processed, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, told a regular news briefing.

“At present, Li Ming-che’s health is good, and there are no concerns about medical care. He has clearly explained the relevant situation to his family in a letter,” Ma said.

Li’s family and the Taiwan government have been frustrated at not being told where Li is being held, and Ma did not answer when asked his location or give further details of the charges Li could face.

Li’s wife was barred from traveling to China this month after saying she received the letter through unofficial channels and that she could not verify the letter was from her husband.

A potential diplomatic confrontation between China and Taiwan was averted last week, after a Chinese activist who had reportedly intended to seek asylum in Taiwan flew back home.

Taiwan immigration officials had apprehended and questioned Zhang Xiangzhong after he left his tour group, and authorities were deciding whether to deport him or risk fraying relations with Beijing by granting him sanctuary as a political refugee.

Ma confirmed that Zhang had arrived back in China, and that authorities were investigating the case, but he gave no details.

China regards Taiwan as a wayward province and it has never renounced the use of force to bring it back under its control, while proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by Communist Party rulers in Beijing.

Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the Communists, but since a thaw began in the 1980s, cross-Strait investment has flourished.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Good health is good for the economy. It’s time for Maine to expand Medicaid.

More needs to be done to improve access to affordable health care coverage. Mainers and people across the county made that loud and clear as they pushed back on the GOP’s proposed replacement of the Affordable Care Act. This failure amplifies the success of the Affordable Care Act in improving access to affordable and comprehensive coverage — it remains “the law of the land.”

Maine can take steps to improve affordability of health coverage. In fact, the Legislature is considering another bill to accept federal funds to expand the state’s Medicaid program, also known as MaineCare. There are several factors at work this year to allow lawmakers to garner the needed votes to overcome a likely veto by the governor, and if not Maine voters will have their say this November.

First, there is bipartisan support for Medicaid expansion. While some congressional GOP leaders and Gov. Paul LePage have remained fierce adversaries of the Affordable Care Act, the tide in Maine, as in most of the country, has turned. As the governor and his most ardent supporters object to expansion, the ground erodes beneath them faster than they can fabricate new arguments.

States that chose to expand Medicaid are faring quite well. None of the 31 states that expanded their Medicaid program have pulled out even though they can at any time. Republican governors from expansion states strongly urged Congress not to repeal Medicaid expansion. It seems that good health is good for the economy as well.

While some continue to argue Maine can’t afford expansion, New England states and other expansion states have found the benefits far outpace the costs. Millions have been given access to health care and state budgets have experienced a boost. The New Hampshire Hospital Association found that emergency room visits fell 30 percent after expansion, and new federal funds could be used to address the opioid epidemic, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Michigan has realized $235 million in savings from expansion as it uses new federal funds to replace state funding for community and correctional mental health services. Kentucky is forecast to see an estimated $819.6 million positive impact by 2021. Audrey Tayse Haynes, who served as secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said, “I don’t know any other way of describing it except as a win-win for us.”

The Maine Center for Economic Policy’s forecast tells a different story about the fiscal impact of Medicaid expansion than our governor’s dire warnings would indicate. It estimates Maine would receive more than $320 million in new federal funds annually once Medicaid expansion is fully implemented. Our state would also experience at least $26 million in budget savings. These figures don’t include additional tax revenue that would be generated by the more than 3,000 good paying jobs that would be created. More than 12,000 health care-related jobs were created in Kentucky during the first year it expanded its Medicaid program, and the job growth there continues. The ripple effect to Maine’s economy would likely be enormous. Since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the governor and his allies have left more than a billion tax dollars sitting in Washington, D.C., instead of being spent here in Maine.

One overarching issue can no longer be ignored. The opioid epidemic has focused attention on Maine’s lack of coverage for people in need. Expansion would provide Maine with much needed resources to build upon our treatment options and improve access to treatment for the many who have been left out in the cold.

The state also would save money in its criminal justice system. Other states, including Ohio and Illinois, are using expansion funds to provide drug and mental health treatment to prisoners once they are released, which in turn lowers relapse rates and recidivism. Medicaid expansion funds can be used to provide services through drug courts, which have proven effective in reducing recidivism and incarceration and in reducing health care costs.

Medicaid expansion would be an opportunity to provide affordable health care for nearly 70,000 Mainers, including 3,000 veterans and many others who work low-wage jobs who aren’t offered coverage or who can’t afford it. This truly would be a “win-win” for Mainers and the economy of our state.

Arthur Barry Adoff of Veazie is a writer and graduate student at the University of Maine School of Social Work. Jesse Call, Harry Ward, and Lu Ruyi, who are graduate students in the UMaine School of Social Work, also contributed to this piece.


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All 78 crew rescued from Russian navy ship, in good health

ISTANBUL – All 78 crew members of a Russian navy vessel that sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast on Thursday after colliding with a livestock ship have been rescued by the Turkish coast guard and are in good health, Turkish transport minister Ahmet Arslan said.

Speaking to broadcaster A Haber by telephone, Arslan said the navy ship sank after the collision which was caused by fog and poor weather. The other vessel only suffered minor damage.

The Russian personnel would be returned to Russian authorities, the minister said.

Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait, which cuts through Istanbul, is one of the world’s most important waterways for transit of oil and grains. The 17-mile waterway connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

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Chaka Khan says she is in ‘good health’ following rehab stint …

But as she embarks on a range of new shows and musical projects, including UK dates, the American star said she is now in a much better place.

“I am now in very good health,” she told the Press Association, “I am well.”

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To Your Good Health: There’s no getting ‘addicted to’ oxygen





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Here’s To Your Good Health! Carroll County Ranks As One Of The …

When it comes to good health, Carroll County has ranked as one of the healthiest counties in the state, coming in at number 11 in the 2017 County Health Rankings. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranked nearly every county in all 50 states on health factors, including: health behaviors; clinical care; social and economic factors and physical environment. Carroll County can also boast a 15th place ranking in health outcomes, which measure the length and quality of life. “I am proud of Carroll County’s top health ranking in 2017 and for Carroll County Public Health and St. Anthony Regional Hospital’s role in improving the health of our community members,” says Marcia Schaefer, St. Anthony Home Health, Hospice and Public Health Director. Schaefer adds that good health is the outcome of conscious efforts and it is a direct reflection of their collaboration with other partners, community organizations and community members who have fostered educational programs and opportunities for health and wellness. “This outstanding ranking is the result of our community members taking an active role in their health, and public health offering education, preventative care and affordable health options in Carroll County,” says St. Anthony CEO, Ed Smith. “But, our work doesn’t stop here,” he adds. “We will continue to challenge ourselves to help the residents in the surrounding counties improve their rankings through access, education and collaboration.”

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