Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions About Your Health.

If we fail to ask questions when we have an appointment with a medical professional, we may not be getting the full value from the visit. Asking direct, relevant questions of a doctor is not an imposition. It is our right and is also in the best interests of the doctor to provide all of the information we need.

Forgetting to ask questions during an office visit is a common occurrence. This can be a stressful and hectic time and being distracted is normal, especially if we are not feeling well. It is helpful to write down any questions that you may have before your appointment so that you do not forget to ask. You may also want to discuss these questions with a friend or family member. Another person may be able to add insight by seeing things more clearly than we can at the time.

Don’t assume that you are causing a problem by asking questions. Most doctors appreciate patients who ask good questions. Feelings of fear, embarrassment or inadequacy are not good reasons for failing to ask the about things you really want to know. If you don’t ask, your doctor may assume that you understand, or that you do not care to know more. He or she cannot guess what your concerns are.

As you know, television and magazines are saturated with advertising for various medications. Such conditions as high blood pressure, depression, arthritis, high cholesterol and even erectile dysfunction are being targeted by pharmaceutical companies with new medications. The information supporting these products encourages viewers and readers to “ask your doctor about (name of product).”

Essentially, these companies are putting pressure on doctors to prescribe their medications. But, in a way, the pharmaceutical companies have made it much easier to initiate a dialogue with your doctor. It is no longer unusual for patients to ask doctors about something they have read or heard about. Consequently, the dynamic between patient and doctor is changing. Doctors are becoming conditioned to hearing questions from patients and they are obliged to respond.

Finally, if you forget to ask a question or think of one later, call back and ask! Your doctor should prefer, if you do have health questions, that you get the proper answer rather that guess. Guessing could be hazardous to your health.

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Does Laser Hair Removal Hurt?

Permanent hair removal has been available in some form for 125 years; the first electrolysis machine was invented in the late 1800s by an ophthalmologist who used the device to treat ingrown eyelashes (trichiasis). Since then, numerous electrolysis machines have been patented, but no new hair removal technology appeared until lasers entered the consumer market in the 1960s.

While electrolysis is undeniably effective, it can only target one hair at a time. The holy grail of permanent hair removal has always been the bulk treatment of many hair follicles at once. This reduces the time needed to treat an area of skin by a factor of several hundred.

The first lasers used in dermatology in the mid to late 1960s emitted a continuous wave, an impractical feature for hair removal since the beam also damaged adjacent tissue. The development of the Q-switch, similar to a camera shutter, allowed the beam to be emitted in timed pulses.

In the late 60s, early laser hair removal devices targetted individual follicles through a wire-thin fiberoptic probe, later modified into a penlight-type device. These devices were difficult to use, just as electrolysis probes are, and in addition were ineffective at destroying the hair follicle. The FDA forced the removal of these devices from the marketplace due to false advertising.

In a repeat of history, the late 70’s saw the introduction of a laser device to treat ingrown eyelashes. This led to the introduction of argon laser equipment to treat unwanted hair elsewhere on the body, but this device also proved to be useless for body hair.

Other dermatologists noticed that lasers used to treat tatoos and vascular lesions produced hair loss in the adjacent tissue, which led to more experiments.

1995 the first FDA-approved laser hair removal device was introduced, the SoftLight by ThermoLase. However, FDA approval does not mean that a device is effective; it just means that according to the FDA’s inspectors, it is not acutely dangerous and makes no medicinal claims that have not been substantiated by research.

The SoftLight used a carbon-based lotion which was rubbed into the skin immediately following hair removal by waxing. Theoretically, the lotion would penetrate into the open hair follicle, and then the laser would be applied to heat the accumulated carbon and destroy the follicle. However, this device proved less effective than light devices that targeted the hair follicle pigments naturally present in skin.

The company which produced SoftLight initially made an excellent profit by offering what they claimed was permanent hair removal through a chain of proprietary clinics called Spa Thira. However, by 1997, a medical study which followed treated patients found full hair regrowth, and in 1998 and 1999 successful lawsuits against the company forced it to cease manufacturing the devices.

In 1997, the FDA approved several more devices which target the melanin in the hair follicle. These devices have better results than the earlier versions; however, some are still so new it is difficult to tell if the hair removal is permanent. Of the 9 laser or light-based systems currently being used, 2 of these use non-laser light. The non-laser technologies use columnated light of many wavelengths which the system operator filters to select the wavelength most likely to be absorbed by the melanin in the patient’s follicles.

Some consumers claim they have experienced long-lasting hair removal with the newer lasers. The treatments are safe if performed properly, and are useful for large areas such as the back or legs, where electrolysis would be a tedious, painstaking process. Even when hair is not completely removed, it grows back finer and lighter. Light-skinned patients with dark hair have the best results. The treatments are said to be more comfortable than electrolysis, and patients can usually tolerate them without analgesics.

3-4 year results are available for some systems such as pulsed light, but most of the newer machines have not been around long enough for long-term data to be available. Also, light-based devices do not work well on blondes or redheads, or people with dark skin. Untrained technicians can cause burns, lesions, skin discolorations and in some cases scars.

It is important to remember that any permanent hair removal treatment must be repeated several times, over a period of at least 1-2 years. At any given time, most hair follicles are in the dormant stage, not producing any hairs, and if there is no dark hair in a follicle, laser/light systems will not have any effect. However, after a year or two, most follicles will have restarted their growth cycle.

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Choosing Fitness Equipment Like A Treadmill

A treadmill is a great investment in fitness so when thinking about choosing a piece of fitness equipment, a treadmill is often a popular choice. Studies have shown that people get more out of a treadmill than other fitness equipment, because it is natural to walk or run and you are more apt to stick with it for longer each session and keep using the equipment itself over a sustained period of time.

You get what you pay for when it comes to treadmills, but for most of us choosing fitness equipment of any type is going to be a significant investment. When you shop by price you must be even more careful to select the best in that price range. The price ranges generally break down into three groups – Budget $500-$1500, Mid-Range $1500-$3000 and Superior $3000 onwards. There are often significant sales and discounts though so you should keep an eye out.

The motor is what is important in a treadmill as it gets the heaviest workout. The figure you want to look at is the “continuous duty rating” and shop for 1.5 to 2.5 HP “continuous duty”. The “peak duty” rating is less valuable. The “treadmill duty” rating falls between continuous and peak but you will spend less time in peak.

You should test treadmills – just as you when choosing fitness equipment of any type – by wearing your workout shoes and clothes. A shaky or jerky ride is not acceptable. The hand rails should feel sturdy enough to support you and be in a good position to grip easily and not block your arm motion. The belt must be wide enough and long enough for your stride.

Choose a model that has the most pre-set and programmable workouts to vary pace and incline. The incline and speed should be easily adjustable from the console. A pulse monitor is good. A water bottle holder and book rack are essential for many people too – but this is a matter of personal choice.

The treadmill needs to work in your space too so think about where you will put it when you get it home. If you plan to watch TV or listen to music, you need to be able to hear those over the treadmill itself. A model that looks small in the store can turn into an elephant in your spare room. Check its size when folded or stored and test how easy it is to move after all, you will be the one who is moving it.

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