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Trichomoniasis: Don't let the TRICH be on you, GET TESTED(July/Aug 2011)

Research finds that 13 percent of women 50+ have sexually transmitted parasite trichomonas vaginalis ...

Dr. Charlotte Gaydos has researched STDs for 30 years and was the lead investigator of this study. She is professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine and has joint appointments in the Emergency Medicine Department and Epidemiology and Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She is also the Director of the International Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Research Laboratory.

Dr. Charlotte Gaydos, a professor at John Hopkins University, was the principle investigator of a study which revealed that older black women are more than three times as likely to be infected with the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as 'trich', as are white women the same age. Disparities may be due to differences in income, education and employment. Findings of this study were presented in July at the annual meeting of the International Society for STD Research in Quebec City, Canada.

"Through education, we hope to empower women to look after their own sexual health," said Dr. Gaydos. "Women should be screened for STDs as part of their annual pelvic exam or if they are at risk. Risk factors include a new partner or multiple partners." Trichomoniasis is more prevalent than gonorrhea and chlamydia. It also increases susceptibility to HIV. Trich is easily cleared up with antibiotics. However, if left untreated, it can lead to other severe health problems.

Researchers recommend that all sexually active American women age 40 and older get tested for Trichomonas. Subscribe to BLACK WOMEN 50+ MAGAZINE to read the full story.


What is trichomoniasis?
(July/Aug 2011)

Trichomoniasis (trich·o·mo·ni·a·sis), also known as 'trich', is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite. Trich is primarily an infection of women's vaginal and urinary tracts. A woman is most susceptible to infection just after having her menstrual period. Men may carry the organism unknowingly, since infection in men may cause mild or no symptoms. Trichomoniasis occurs more often in individuals who have multiple sexual partners. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in sexually active women.

How do women get trichomoniasis? The parasite is spread through sexual contact. Women can get it by having penis-to-vagina intercourse with an infected man or vulva-to-vulva contact with an infected woman. Men usually get it only from infected women.

What are the symptoms of trich? Some women have no symptoms and carry the disease for years. For other women, symptoms usually appear 5 to 28 days after exposure and can include yellow-green (sometimes-frothy) foul smelling vaginal discharge - discomfort during sex and when urinating - irritation, burning or itching in the vaginal area – and lower abdominal pain in rare cases. If you have any symptoms, stop having sex and contact your doctor right away.

Is there a test for trichomoniasis? Pelvic exam or lab tests are common testing methods. During the pelvic exam, your doctor may be able to see small red sores inside the vagina or on the cervix. A fluid sample from the vagina to look for the parasite under a microscope is thought by many clinicians is to be the most effective testing procedure. Other tests, like a vaginal culture or DNA test can also be used for testing.

If you have trichomoniasis, ask your doctor if you should be tested for other STIs too.

NOTE: The terms sexually transmitted disease and sexually transmitted infection are used interchangeably and have the same meaning.
Source: Center for Disease Control, Wikipedia, WebMD Subscribe to BLACK WOMEN 50+ MAGAZINE to read the full story.

FAQ Trichomoniasis (May/June 2011)

TRICHOMONIASIS TRICH·O·MO·NI·A·SIS
What is trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis, also known as 'trich', is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a parasite. Trich is primarily an infection of women's vaginal and urinary tracts. A woman is most susceptible to infection just after having her menstrual period. Men may carry the organism unknowingly, since infection in men may cause mild or no symptoms. Trichomoniasis occurs more often in individuals who have multiple sexual partners. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in sexually active women.

How do women get trichomoniasis?
The parasite is spread through sexual contact. Women can get it by having penis-to-vagina intercourse with an infected man or vulva-to-vulva contact with an infected woman. Men usually get it only from infected women.
What are the symptoms of trich? Some women have no symptoms and carry the disease for years. For other women, symptoms usually appear 5 to 28 days after exposure and can include yellow-green (sometimes-frothy) foul smelling vaginal discharge - discomfort during sex and when urinating - irritation, burning or itching in the vaginal area – and lower abdominal pain in rare cases. If you have any symptoms, stop having sex and contact your doctor right away.

Is there a test for trichomoniasis?
Pelvic exam or lab tests are common testing methods. During the pelvic exam, your doctor may be able to see small red sores inside the vagina or on the cervix. A fluid sample from the vagina to look for the parasite under a microscope or to send to a lab is thought by many clinicians to be the most effective testing procedure. Other tests, like a vaginal culture or DNA test can also be used for testing. If you have trichomoniasis, ask your doctor if you should be tested for other STIs too.

Reduce Your Risk for Trichomoniasis (May/June 2011)

Do not have sex. Abstinence is the surest way to reduce your risk of trichomoniasis or any STI. This means not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Be faithful. Having sex with only one uninfected partner who only has sex with you will keep you safe from trichomoniasis and other STIs. The fewer sex partners you have, the lower your risk of being exposed to an STI.
Use condoms correctly and every time you have sex. Use condoms for all types of sexual contact, from the very beginning to the very end of each sex act, even if penetration does not occur. Latex condoms are generally recommended. For oral sex, use a dental dam. Do not use oil-based food products as oral sex aids when using latex condoms for protection. Oil and latex do not mix, as it can degrade the material - and leave you unprotected. Be clear that you will not have any type of sex, any time, without using a condom. Be comfortable saying NO.

Get tested for STIs. Get tested for STIs and insist that your partner does the same before becoming sexually active.

Have regular checkups and pelvic exams even if you are healthy. Give honest answers – that is the only way your doctor can give the care you need.
NOTE: The terms sexually transmitted disease and sexually transmitted infection are used interchangeably and have the same meaning.
Source: Center for Disease Control, Wikipedia, WebMD,

Finding a New Doctor(May/June 2011)

The doctor you have been seeing for years is retiring may be one of many reasons that you need to find a new doctor. Before beginning your search, gather you thoughts, make notes on what you are looking for in a doctor and ponder these questions...

1. Do you need day, evening or weekend appointments?
2. Is there a particular hospital you prefer?
3. What language do you want your doctor to speak?
4. Do you prefer a large or small practice?
5. How far are you willing to travel?
6. Is parking an issue for you?
7. Do you need the doctor's office to be on a bus line?
8. Do you want your doctor to be open to complementary or alternative treatments?
9. Is there a particular age range, gender or religion you want your doctor to be?
10. Do you prefer male or female doctors?
11. What kind of payment policy do you need?
12. Do you need a doctor that takes Medicare?
13. Do you want a doctor who believes in preventive treatments or one who will work with you 14. after you show signs of having a disease?
15. Do you need a specialist, internist or a general practitioner?

What is Thoracic Surgery(May/June 2011)

Purpose ... To treat diseased or injured organs in the thorax, including the esophagus (muscular tube that passes food to the stomach) trachea (windpipe that branches to form the right bronchus and the left bronchus), pleura (membranes that cover and protect the lung), mediastinum (area separating the left and right lungs), chest wall, diaphragm, heart, and lungs. General thoracic surgery is a field that specializes in diseases of the lungs and esophagus. The field also encompasses accidents and injuries to the chest, esophageal disorders (esophageal cancer or esophagitis), lung cancer, lung transplants , and surgery for emphysema.

Description ... The most common diseases requiring thoracic surgery include lung cancer, chest trauma, esophageal cancer, emphysema, and lung transplantation. Diagnosis/Preparation ... The surgeon may use two common incisional approaches: sternotomy (incision through and down the breastbone) or via the side of the chest (thoracotomy ). An operative procedure known as video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is minimally invasive. During VATS, a lung is collapsed and the thoracoscope and surgical instruments are inserted into the thorax through any of three to four small incisions in the chest wall. Another approach involves the use of a mediastinoscope or bronchoscope to visualize the internal anatomical structures during thoracic surgery or diagnostic procedures. Preoperative evaluation for most patients (except emergency cases) must include cardiac tests, blood chemistry analysis, and physical examination .

Source: Encyclopedia of Surgery. Thoracic Surgery - procedure, blood, tube, removal, pain, time, infection, operation, heart, cells, types, risk, cancer, rate, Definition, Purpose, Description

Phoenix Clinic Cares for Women with Cut Genitals
(May/June 2011)
By Katherine Rausch, WOMENSENEWS
Medical care in the United States for women with female genital cutting is lagging and many women don't trust doctors who appear to frown on their condition, say advocates. A specialized clinic in Phoenix provides a culturally sensitive approach. That's the finding of advocacy group Sauti Yetu Center for African American Women, a nonprofit based in the South Bronx that recently publicized research at a New York conference. They found that few New York clinicians were trained to handle women with the condition and many women felt uncomfortable in their care.

A Phoenix clinic, however, offers a way of doing things differently.The Refugee Women's Health Clinic cares for immigrants takes a culturally sensitive approach to female genital cutting. The clinic provides translators, counseling, education and transportation to the facility. It works with agencies that provide diapers, car seats and food stamps for the mothers.

During childbirth, women with cut genitals often need special attention. Some may need defibulation, a procedure to open the scar. Some suffer heavy bleeding, deficiency in amniotic fluid during childbirth and gestational diabetes.

Rights groups including Amnesty International urged Indonesia to revoke a regulation which they say legalizes female circumcision in the mainly Muslim country.
(Source: AFP REPORTS, Y NEWS, 6-24-11) FEMALE GENITAL CUTTING (FGC).

Female circumcision, and female genital mutilation (FGM) all describe the cultural practice of partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. The most severe form of FGC is when all external genitalia are removed and the vaginal opening is stitched nearly closed. Only a small opening is left for urine and menstrual blood. FGC is performed on infants, girls, and women of all ages and varies widely from country to country.
Subscribe to BLACK WOMEN 50+ MAGAZINE to read the full story.

Get A Second Opinion(March/April 2011)

Get a Second OpinionWhenever we need to make a difficult decision, it is usually helpful to get more than one point of view. Doctors may get similar medical training. However, they have their own opinions and thoughts about how to practice medicine and can have different ideas about how to diagnose and treat conditions or diseases. Some doctors take a more conservative or traditional, approach to treating their patients. Other doctors are more aggressive and use the newest tests and therapies. A second opinion may be beneficial when
  • you are faced with a serious illness that does not require immediate treatment
  • all of your questions have not been answered
  • you want reassurance that you are receiving the most
  • appropriate medical care
  • you have been offered more than one treatment alternative and do not know which one to choose
  • your doctor has recommended a controversial or experimental treatment
  • you have multiple medical problems, and are at higher risk for any medical or surgical treatment
  • you have been told you need surgery and want to confirm the treatment recommendation
  • you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness and want to confirm the treatment recommendation
  • your current treatment is not producing the results
  • you or your physician had expected
    Not every doctor can be skilled in using all the latest technology. Getting a second opinion from a different doctor might give you a fresh perspective and new information. It could provide you with new options for treating your condition. Then you can make choices that are more informed. If you get similar opinions from two doctors, you can also talk with a third doctor. What should you do?
  • Ask someone you trust for a recommendation. If you do not feel comfortable asking your doctor for a referral, then call another doctor you trust. Call university teaching hospitals and medical societies in your area for the names of doctors.
  • Check with your health insurance provider before you get a second opinion. Ask if they will pay for this office visit. Many health insurance providers do. Ask if there are any special procedures you or your primary care doctor needs to follow.
  • Ask your primary care doctor to send your medical records to the second doctor. You need to give written permission to your current doctor to send any records or test results to a new doctor. You can also ask for a copy of your own medical records for your files. Your new doctor can then examine these records before your office visit.
  • Learn as much as you can. Ask your doctor for information you can read. Go to a local library. Search the Internet. Find a teaching hospital or university that has medical libraries open to the public. The information you find can be hard to understand, or just confusing. Make a list of your questions, and bring it with you when you see your new doctor.
  • Do not rely on the Internet or a telephone conversation. When you get a second opinion, you need a face-to-face visit with a doctor. That doctor should perform a physical examination and perhaps other tests. The doctor will also thoroughly review your medical records, ask you questions, and address your concerns.
    Source: womenshealth.gov (The National Women's Health Information Center, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Learn About Heart Disease (March/April 2011)

Azure'De M. WilliamsAzure'De M. Williams, Health Equity Director
American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate
azurede.williams@heart.org

Heart disease and stroke are major health risks for all people, but African American and Hispanic communities are disproportionately affected.

Through continual effort via community channels and trusted sources the American Heart Association is striving to increase awareness of risk and to create health equity in cardiovascular disease and stroke as defined in relation to three key pillars:

1. INEQUALITY- Eliminating health disparities by coordinating our efforts to effect change in policy, patient care, quality of care, prevention and treatment of disease.
2. INJUSTICE- Ensuring cultural competency by assessing the organization's current competencies and developing and implementing an action plan to cultivate continued learning for staff, volunteers and supporters; addressing discrimination by race, ethnicity, gender or class exhibited through healthcare options or lack thereof
3.DISPARITIES- Executing targeted initiatives that reach specific population where there is a difference in prevalence of disease.

Four years ago I lost my father, Robert (Bobby) Crymes, to the "silent killer." Knowing what I know today, there were signs my family and I should have recognized to save his life.
Now, is the time to reduce health disparities among disproportionately affected communities through increased awareness, strategic collaborations and creative programming. Let's restore hope for the future by taking care of our health. What can you do to have hope for the future? Check out our website to learn more at www.heart.org

What you can do …

Accept the challenge. Regardless of your day-to-day responsibilities, you can make a difference in building health equity. We need everyone's efforts to drive needed change. 
Learn something new. The quest to become culturally competent is an ever-evolving goal. As America changes, so does the knowledge needed to be culturally competent. We should all embrace opportunities to learn and grow.

Embrace the change. The demographics of Americans are ever-evolving and changing. We should constantly identify new opportunities to expand our reach.

We need everyone's work, expertise and passion to eliminate health disparities. Together we can help all Americans to live healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Warning Signs of Heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest(March/April 2011)

CHEST DISCOMFORT

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 

  • DISCOMFORT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE UPPER BODY Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 
  • SHORTNESS OF BREATH with or without chest discomfort.
  • OTHER SIGNS may include breaking out in a cold sweat,nausea or lightheadedness.

STROKE WARNING SIGNS SUDDEN:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

CARDIAC ARREST WARNING SIGNS

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness
  • No response to tapping on shoulders.
  • No response to tapping on shoulders.
  • No normal breathing
  • The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.
Stats for Heart Disease and African American Women(March/April 2011)

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all American women. African American women are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease than any other ethnic group, yet they are less likely than white women to know that they may have major risk factors. Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, overweight/obesity and family history of heart disease are all greatly prevalent among African Americans and are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including stroke. Fewer than half of African American women (41%) consider themselves well informed about cardiovascular disease.*
African-Americans are at greater risk for heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD) than Caucasians. The prevalence of CVD in non-Hispanic black females is 49%, compared to 35% in non-Hispanic white females. 

High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. The rate of high blood pressure for non-Hispanic black females age 20 and older is 46.6%. 

The risk of heart disease and stroke increases with physical inactivity. Physical inactivity is more prevalent in women, African-Americans and Hispanics. For non-Hispanic black females age 18 and older, 33.9% are inactive, compared to 21.6% of non-Hispanic white females. 
Source: American Wisconsin Women

The single strongest predictor of health is our position on the class pyramid. Those at the top have the most power and resources, and on average live longer and healthier lives. Those on the bottom are exposed to many health threats over which they have little or no control including insecure and low-paying jobs, mounting debt, poor child care, poor quality housing, less access to healthy food, unreliable transportation, and noisy and violent living conditions- that increase their risk of chronic disease and early death.  Even among smokers, poor smokers face a higher mortality risk than rich smokers.  Those of us in the middle are still worse off than those at the top.

Source: Reaching for a Healthier Life: Facts on Socioeconomic Status and Health in the U.S.- Report from the Macarthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health

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