FOR YOUR HEALTH: When Dealing With Diabetes, See The Doctor About Your Eyes

(NAPSI)—According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in 10 Americans can expect to be diagnosed with diabetes. If you or someone you care about is ever among them, you may be surprised to learn that one of the most important ways your doctor can help detect the condition is with an eye exam.

The Problem

That’s because a serious complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. The disease causes damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye. It can affect up to 80 percent of patients living with diabetes and is the leading cause of blindness amongst working age adults. It can affect up to 80 percent of people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy has no early warning signs, and symptoms such as blurred vision do not occur until diabetic retinopathy is in an advanced state.

What Can Be Done

Fortunately, early detection and timely treatment can reduce the risk of vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy by 95%. Primary Care physicians now have access to a simple and affordable solution called the Welch Allyn® RetinaVue® Care delivery model, available from Henry Schein. The RetinaVue care delivery model is a turnkey solution that consists of three core components, including the RetinaVue 700 Imager, RetinaVue Network software for secure transfer of patient images and Professional Medical Services to analyze and diagnose patient images and networks the doctors already have. The imager’s ease of use and lightweight, portable design make it well-suited for use across clinics, at the bedside or even in the home. In a fast and non-invasive procedure, your primary care physician can take a photo of your retina and send it to an ophthalmologist to analyze the blood vessels there. Thanks to this technology, you won’t even need to leave the doctor’s office and may not need to make another appointment with the ophthalmologist, although doctors do recommend that anyone living with diabetes get an annual retinal exam.

What Else You Can Do

Managing your diabetes is the best way to lower your risk of diabetic retinopathy, advises the National Institutes of Health. That means keeping your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. You can do this by:

  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Eating healthy
  • Carefully following your doctor’s instructions about taking insulin or other diabetes medicines.

Treatments include injections of drugs that can slow or even reverse the damage; laser treatment to shrink retinal blood vessels; and a type of eye surgery called vitrectomy that replaces the vitreous humor with another clear fluid.

Learn More

For further facts on diabetic retinopathy, you can visit the National Institutes of Health at Doctors and patients can find more information on the RetinaVue care delivery model at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Restoring Plasticity Could Be The Secret To Reversing Brain Damage

White matter refers to areas of the central nervous system that are mainly made up of myelinated axons, also called tracts.Long thought to be passive tissue, white matter affects learning and brain functions, modulating the distribution of action potentials, acting as a relay and coordinating communication between different brain regions.

Your brain may be better able to heal itself than was once thought.

(NAPSI)—For the world’s leading neuroscientists, unlocking the brain’s capacity to stimulate neural plasticity has become something of a Holy Grail.

That’s because enhancing plasticity is perhaps the most important step towards repairing central nervous system (CNS) damage. In fact, it can have a profound impact across multiple neurological functions, including improving motor, sensory and cognitive abilities such as memory.

People marvel at how children are able to learn things so quickly and easily. This ability is mediated by their brains’ nimble neural plasticity. Neuroscientists once believed that neuroplasticity manifested predominately during childhood. However, research in the mid-20th century demonstrated that many aspects of the brain can be altered, even in adulthood. Still, the developing brain has a significantly higher degree of plasticity than the adult brain.

The human brain consists of enormous networks of neurons. They act as messengers that use electrical impulses and chemical signals to transmit information between different areas of the brain, and between the brain and the nervous system. Even a very simple task, such as standing or sitting, typically involves millions of interconnected neurons. Damage to these interconnected systems can be catastrophic.

Enhancing plasticity could be a potential treatment option for any condition where there is extensive damage to CNS tissue. Enhancing plasticity results in ‘axonal sprouting’ – a process where surviving neurons produce fine collateral sprouts from the intact remaining axons. In other words, healthy surviving neurons become fortified and form new connections in areas of the brain or spinal cord where most neurons are damaged or have died.

“Regeneration of damaged neurons, along with sprouting, together lead to plasticity,” says Dr. Jerry Silver, a professor in the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine and co-inventor and advisor at NervGen Pharma. “Medical science already knows how to promote axonal regeneration, which involves getting neurons to grow across an injury site. But what’s also needed to ensure significant recovery is sprouting.”

Dr. Silver discovered the novel peptide—NVG-291—which has been shown in animal studies to promote plasticity.

NervGen is developing NVG-291, the novel drug candidate that could revolutionize treatment for conditions associated with central nervous system damage, including Alzheimer’s disease. It promises to be a world’s first—a drug candidate that appears to be able to unlock the central nervous system’s ability to repair itself. Medical science will learn if NVG-291 is a prospective wonder drug by 2023 when Phase 2 clinical trials are expected to be well underway.

Existing drugs can only limit or contain the extent of the damage that is the root cause of the world’s hardest to treat neurodegenerative diseases. For instance, existing drug therapies that target Alzheimer’s disease – the most pervasive of them all – have only succeeded in marginally decelerating its progression. This offers little comfort to the afflicted or to their loved ones.

“NVG-291 presents a new paradigm for treating Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. George Perry, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and member of NervGen’s Alzheimer’s Clinical Advisory Board. “Nobody else in medical research is taking this same approach. It is essentially enabling the brain to repair itself.”

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Experiencing a Higher Level of Fatigue May Predict Death in Older Adults

Study finds older people reporting feeling run down were more likely to die within the following 3 years.

by Becky Upham

Fatigue may be a sign of an underlying health issue if it does not improve with rest and good nutrition.

How fatigued activities like walking, light housework, or heavy gardening make an older person feel may be a predictor of how likely they are to die in the next few years, according to a new study.

The research, published on January 24 in The Journal of Gerontology, is the first to establish higher levels of perceived physical fatigability as an indicator of earlier death, said lead author Nancy W. Glynn, PhD, associate professor in the department of epidemiology at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, in Pittsburgh, in a release. “Conversely, lower scores indicate greater energy and more longevity.”

What Exactly Does Fatigue Mean?

Fatigue is different than feeling sleepy. Instead, it’s a feeling of tiredness or lack of energy and motivation. However, drowsiness and apathy can sometimes accompany fatigue, according to StatPearls.

Although fatigue can be a perfectly normal response to stress or a hard day of work or play, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue if it’s not improved by getting plenty of rest or good nutrition.

Participants Reported How Fatigued They Would Be From Walking, Gardening, or Watching TV

Historically, measuring fatigue has been challenging for researchers. It could be costly and require an in-person visit and dedicated space and staff.

In an effort to standardize the definition of fatigue and make it less costly, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh developed the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale in 2011. The 10-item scale has been validated in many subsequent studies as a way to accurately capture physical and mental tiredness.

To find out if there was a relationship between reported fatigue and mortality, investigators recruited a total of 2,906 people who were enrolled in the Long Life Family Study, an international study that follows family members across two generations. The mean age of participants was 73.5 years old, 54.2 percent were women, and 99.7 percent were white.

Participants completed the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale, which asked them to rate how much physical and mental fatigue they would experience as a result of participating in activities such as walking, light housework, watching television, hiking or biking, and hosting a social event, with 0 being no fatigue and 5 being extreme fatigue. Scores could range from 0 to 50, with a higher score indicating greater fatigability.

Subjects were followed for an average of 2.7 years until the end of 2019, thereby avoiding any increased mortality as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. After controlling for several factors that could contribute to the likelihood of death, including depression, preexisting or underlying terminal illness, age, and gender, investigators found that participants with the highest level of reported fatigue (with a score of 25 or higher) were over twice as likely to die during the follow-up period compared with people who had less fatigue (with a score below 25).

“There has been research showing that people who increase their physical activity can decrease their fatigability score,” said Dr. Glynn, a physical activity epidemiologist. “And one of the best ways to increase physical activity — which simply means moving more — is by setting manageable goals and starting a routine, like a regular walk or scheduled exercise,” she added.
Glynn points out that this time of year is known to be the time when people make and break resolutions to be more active. “I hope our findings provide some encouragement to stick with exercise goals,” she said.

It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising

Most adults over the age of 65 can safely exercise, even if they have a chronic illness, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). If you haven’t been physically active in a while or if you aren’t sure if exercise would be recommended for someone with your health conditions, check in with your doctor first.

When it comes to which type of exercise is best, experts recommend including all four types:

  • Endurance activities, such as walking or dancing;
  • Strength training, which can be done with body weight or a resistance band;
  • Balance moves, like standing on one foot;
  • Flexibility, which can be improved with yoga or stretching.

Current guidelines recommend that people ages 65 and older get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise (like walking) or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (like jogging) every week. Include strength training at least two days a week and practice short bouts of balance and flexibility moves every day.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Keeping Your Kids Covered Finding Health Insurance Post-Graduation

There are a number of ways the new grads in your family can get the healthcare coverage they need.

(NAPSI)—When your children graduate, there are two things you should know. First, congratulations. Second, consider their health insurance needs. Perhaps this is the last thing you ask yourself but it may be among the most significant. About one in five people in their 20s do not have health insurance, according to recent studies. However, one unexpected illness or accident could have long-lasting health and financial consequences.

“Choosing the right health coverage for your child may seem difficult as many people have never shopped for their own health insurance or worry they cannot afford it,” said Mark Smith, president of HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, one of the largest health insurance agencies in the United States. “A wide range of coverage options are available to meet your child’s unique care needs and financial situation post-graduation.”

And now is the time to start. Many colleges and universities require undergraduate and graduate students to have health care coverage while enrolled. While some may have coverage under parents’ health insurance, others choose health plans offered by health insurers through the school. Students have until their plan expiration dates, which vary by plan, to enroll in new ones. So “Step One,” know when that is.

Health Care Coverage Guidance and Enrollment Support

Families can find support through health care marketplaces, insurance carriers, insurance brokers and other licensed insurance agents to help determine what plan is best for them.

For example, GetCovered, powered by HealthMarkets, is a free service that provides guidance for people who need health coverage. Call (877) 650-1065 or visit to get started. Working with licensed insurance agents, individuals can learn what they are eligible for that best meets their needs. Agents can also help them enroll in these plans, where they are able.

Questions to Ask

To find the right coverage, it’s important to know what’s available, what to ask and what information is needed to enroll. To narrow the options, know:

•When your child’s current coverage ends?

•Is coverage under my plan an option? Under the Affordable Care Act’s “Age 26” rule, parents and guardians may maintain or add their children to their plans until their 26th birthday or another date that year, if you are enrolled, and ­additional premiums are paid. Go to Also, be sure to check state regulations as some have extended eligibility beyond age 26.

•What benefits does my child need or want?

•What can we afford? Think about what portion of his or her monthly budget can be used for health coverage or other insurance. Young adults may be eligible for additional options based on their specific financial situation.

Health Coverage Options

If coverage under the “Age 26” rule is not an option, consider:

•Medicaid/Medicare—While Medicare coverage is primarily available to individuals over age 65, Medicaid eligibility is based on income, disability, and other circumstances.

•Individual exchange/marketplace plans—These ACA plans are available through federal or (Affordable Care Act) state enrollment sites. Based on income, your graduate may be eligible for plan subsidies—making one of these plans more affordable. Graduation would be a “qualifying life event” to enroll in an ACA plan outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period.

•Short-term plans—Short-term limited duration insurance plans provide temporary coverage to bridge the gap between longer-term insurance coverage. These plans have a fixed duration of a few months to even several years and offer different levels of coverage than ACA plans.

“Health coverage decisions can be made simpler—and there are resources to help,” Smith said. “Whether your family chooses to do its own research and enrollment or engage outside services, determining what your graduate may need and can afford will help you find health coverage that ensures your child has access to care now.”

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Connecting The Community To Fight An Epidemic

Too many kids take breath-taking risks by vaping—but they can be helped.

by Marcella Bianco

(NAPSI)—According to recent research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million middle- and high-school students use e-cigarettes. With the study conducted fully during the COVID-19 pandemic, this places U.S. youth in a pandemic and an epidemic.

Nicotine hurts the developing brain and this addiction can lead to others. What’s more, vaping increases a person’s chance of experiencing complications from upper respiratory illnesses, and some researchers believe a relationship exists between vaping and serious respiratory impacts, such as those from COVID-19. While a network of solutions is required to overcome this epidemic, there are actions people can each take today.

Families play a critical role in influencing a child’s decision-making. Parents and guardians can help keep their kids healthy by having thoughtful, factual conversations about the dangers of vaping. For assistance getting started, parents and guardians can turn to no-cost digital tools from Be Vape Free—a nationwide initiative, built around the evidence-based CATCH My Breath program, that provides standards-aligned e-cigarette prevention resources for educators teaching grades 5-12 and families. Be Vape Free was created in partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, CATCH Global Foundation, and Discovery Education.

The parent toolkit is designed to give parents, guardians, educators, and community members the opportunity to learn more about the vaping epidemic, gauge a child’s risk of trying e-cigarettes and find the best strategy to talk to kids about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Chock-full of facts and research, these resources have just about everything families need to empower students to live a healthy life. With the toolkit, families can answer key questions related to vaping including:

• What is vaping?

• Why do teens vape?

• What do vapes look like?

• What are in vapes?

• What are the effects of vaping?

• What are signs of vaping?

With this informational foundation, parents and guardians can connect with their kids to initiate conversations about the dangers of e-cigarettes based on facts. Together—one conversation, one day, and one student at a time—we can end the vaping epidemic by arming young people with the tools they need to make healthy, smart decisions, and impart lessons that last a lifetime.

Ms Bianco is the National Program Director for the CATCH My Breath youth e-cigarette prevention program. She has 18 years of experience working in tobacco prevention and control with government and non-profit organizations. 

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Monitor Your Sleep And Easily Detect Sleep Apnea With AI Technology

Built with industry-leading AI technology, Mintal Tracker is able to detect sleep apnea—no wearable devices needed.

(NAPSI)—Roughly 20 percent of U.S. adults have sleep apnea, and as many as 90 percent of those cases go undiagnosed. The condition occurs when people stop breathing periodically throughout the night, potentially leading to severe health issues.

Conventional methods for diagnosing sleep apnea can get expensive and are known to be uncomfortable, requiring medical professionals to administer tests at a doctor’s clinic or hospital or needing the patient to purchase at-home monitoring devices.

With this knowledge, Mintal—a wellness-focused technology brand—developed Mintal Tracker (available to download for free on iOS and Android), an AI-driven sleep analysis app that doesn’t require any hardware or external devices to generate thorough sleep reports and detect warning signs for sleep apnea.

Detect Sleep Apnea From Home, Free

Leveraging industry-leading AI technology, the Mintal R&D team developed a sophisticated deep learning model that can maintain high accuracy with low hardware performance and storage requirements. Mintal Tracker can analyze your sleep sounds in real time, accurately identifying when you snore and/or display signs of OSAHS (Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome) to generate analysis reports in seconds and enable you to quickly understand your sleep habits.

Setup is easy; you just need to place your phone by your bed, and the app will record and analyze your sleep sounds throughout the night. Through testing, the app was found to be highly accurate in diagnosing moderate to severe sleep apnea, offering a starting point for further medical diagnosis. As such, users call this app “life saving”:

• “An excellent app. Did not expect the level of diagnosis provided. I was really impressed. I will be recommending this app to family and friends. I will also make sure my PCP is aware this app exist. Thank you for a very useful and possibly life saving app.”—Phillip M**, 12/05/2021, Google Play
• “This app help me see that I have issues when I sleep, especially with snoring, that I may have sleep apnea. This is a great app to have if you worry about why you are still tired when you wake up, you may not be getting a good quality of sleep.”—Nay N**, 12/06/2021, App Store
• “I love this because it is the alarm that has worked for me. It really knows when to wake me so I’m less moody… My sleep has only improved in all this time.”—Foran E** 12/23/2021, Google Play

After a night of sleep tracking, the app generates a summarized sleep report highlighting key metrics including how long and how frequently you snored and sleep talked, your risk of apnea and provides sleep cycle analysis and personalized sleep tips, which gives you or your doctor a whole picture of your sleep conditions. Moreover, you can listen to your snoring, dream talking and environment noises in the report.

Finally, Mintal Tracker goes beyond sleep tracking and sleep apnea detection—the app offers users hundreds of soothing sounds, anxiety relief exercises, a sleep encyclopedia and personalized advice for developing healthier sleep habits.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Three Tips To Help Seniors Kickstart A Spring Fitness Routine

Exercising with a partner can help you both get fit and have fun.

(NAPSI)—Spring is here, and with it comes warmer weather, longer daylight hours, and for many, a desire to spring into new activities, including exercise. If you’re ready to kickstart a new fitness routine, here are three tips to help you get started.

1. Find What Motivates You 

Are you itching to get out into the sunshine for a walk? Are you eager to set up some friendly competition on the tennis or pickle-ball court? With warmer weather, there are so many outdoor options. But, if there’s still too much “brrr” in the air for you or if you’re motivated by more structured exercise options, such as strength training or cardio classes, there are many online workouts you can enjoy in the comfort of your home. For example, the Silver&Fit® Healthy Aging and Exercise program offers 54 free Facebook Live or YouTube classes each week. Thousands of people participate in these beginner, intermediate, and advanced dance, yoga, tai chi, cardio, strength, and flexibility classes.

If you’ve got a hankering to get back to the gym for the rowing, cycling, running, weight training, or stair stepper machines that most gyms offer, now is a great time to take the leap. Being around others who are working out can be motivating. If you aren’t a gym member but want to find one, look into the affordable, subsidized gym memberships available to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement members. Thousands of top-name gyms, fitness centers, YMCAs, and boutique fitness clubs across the country belong to fitness networks that honor Medicare memberships. Call your Medicare Advantage plan directly to learn what fitness programs they offer and what gyms near you participate.

2. Set Your Goals

Are you ready to kick spring off with a goal to gain more muscle, lose a few pounds or improve your flexibility and balance? Setting a goal and finding a workout that supports it is a key to success. For greater flexibility and balance, try yoga or tai chi, for example. To build muscle, you could alternate between strength training classes and free weights. To get started, write down a few simple goals and cross them off your list as you achieve them. Don’t be afraid to start small. Try 10 minutes of a video workout, walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes or do 10 bicep curls with light weights. Achieving small successes improves your motivation and your fitness level. As you progress, increase your workout intensity.

3. Join Forces with a Workout Partner

Kickstarting something new can be easier and more fun with a friend or accountability partner. Set a regular time to take a walk or jog together. Join a tennis group or meet a friend at the gym. Ask your gym about working with a personal trainer who can help you plan an exercise routine. Some programs even offer members healthy aging coaching, so you can connect with a personal health coach via phone sessions. Your health coach can help you plan and achieve various health goals.

Always remember to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine and to discuss what types of exercises are safest for you.

Whether you want to work out at home, get fit at the gym or attend online classes, there are many types of fitness programs that can help you kick start your spring fitness routine.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Vaccines Continue To Be Essential To Our Safety

Protect yourself and your family from COVID with a vaccine.

By We Can Do This COVID-19 Public Education Campaign

 (NAPSI)—After a few weeks without rain, most people don’t throw out their umbrella. Just because someone has driven thousands of accident-free miles, that doesn’t mean seatbelts should be abandoned. Similarly, health officials encourage people to think about such prevention measures as wearing masks in the same way that we think about our umbrellas. People shouldn’t stop taking steps to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, even if there is a lull in cases.

“COVID changes over time, and what we know about the virus causing it has expanded, providing effective tools for preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said Dr. David Banach, associate professor of medicine at UConn School of Medicine and hospital epidemiologist at UConn Health/John Dempsey Hospital. “It is vital that we continue to layer prevention strategies based on local COVID transmission rates coupled with individualized measures for high-risk populations to reduce the impact of the virus on individuals and the larger community.”

The most effective ways to prevent COVID are simple and widely available to all Americans.

Stay up to date on vaccines. Vaccines and boosters protect people from the worst outcomes of COVID and help reduce the spread of the virus in communities, further reducing risks for the most vulnerable populations. Boosters provide extra protection. Like seatbelts prevent injuries in accidents, vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID, but they don’t work if you don’t use them. Vaccination is the best way to slow the spread of COVID and prevent hospitalizations and deaths. COVID vaccines are available to anyone age 5 and older in the United States.

Wear a mask. After vaccines, wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to help reduce the spread of COVID. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, especially in areas where community transmission is high. A mask should fit closely on the face, covering the nose and mouth, without any gaps along the edges or around the nose. Masks are still required on most methods of public transportation.

Keep your distance. If you are not up to date on COVID vaccines, stay at least six feet away from other people, especially if you are at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID. In areas where community levels are high, it is best to avoid crowded places where it is difficult to stay distanced from others who may not be vaccinated. When spending time with people who don’t live with you, outdoors is the safer choice. Holding gatherings outdoors decreases the chance of COVID exposure.

Layering these proven prevention strategies in line with your personal health risk and current community levels of COVID transmission, is the best way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Don’t throw away that umbrella, keep wearing a seatbelt, and stay current on COVID vaccines even when cases are lower in your community.

For accurate, science-based information about vaccines, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Nine Questions To Ask Your Ophthalmologist

It’s smart to see your way clear to getting regular eye exams.

(NAPSI)—If you’re like most people, this is a familiar scene: You’re nearing the end of your appointment with your physician, and they ask, “Do you have any questions?” You want to take advantage of the short amount of time you have with the one person who can decipher tests and explain medical issues specific to you, but you blank.

Getting the most out of your regular eye exam depends on asking good questions. Not sure where to begin? Here’s a list of smart questions to ask your ophthalmologist at your next eye exam:

Am I at risk for eye disease? There are several risk factors for eye disease, including family history, ethnicity, age and so on. Take the time with your ophthalmologist to identify your own eye health risks.

Can my other health issues affect my eyes? Several systemic diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, can affect eyesight. Your ophthalmologist is the best person to discuss how your medical history can lead to potential eye disease.

Why is this test being done? During a routine eye exam, your ophthalmologist will run tests to screen for eye diseases and visual impairment. This can include checking how your pupil responds to light, measuring your eye pressure to screen for diseases such as glaucoma or dilating your eye to check the health of your retina.

Would you have this procedure yourself? Some eye surgeries are urgently required to protect your vision but others are optional, such as laser eye surgery or just one of a range of treatment options for your condition. An ophthalmologist will be able to help you decide if you are a good candidate for surgery, walk you through the latest data, and discuss potential risks.

Is this normal? Dealing with dry eyes? Noticing new floaters in your vision? Share these symptoms with your ophthalmologist. They can determine whether this is a normal part of aging or a sign of eye disease.

I can’t see well while reading or driving. What should I do? Usually, declining vision means you just need new glasses. But in some cases, there are alternatives to glasses that can improve your quality of life. If you’re having a difficult time enjoying your favorite hobbies and activities, ask your ophthalmologist if you’re a good candidate for newer vision correction options.

Will COVID-19 affect my eyes? Your ophthalmologist is your best resource for the latest information on diseases related to the eye, including eye-related symptoms linked to COVID-19. If you’re recovering from COVID-19, you may have concerns about how your eye health could be affected.

Should I buy blue light-blocking glasses? What about eye vitamins? There are lots of myths out there about eyes and vision. Before buying blue light-blocking glasses or other over-the-counter products that are advertised to save your sight, get the facts straight from your ophthalmologist.

My eyesight seems fine. Do I really need to come back? Your ophthalmologist can tell you how often you should be seen based on your age, risk factors and overall health.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends all adults get a comprehensive eye exam by age 40 and every year or two after age 65, even if your vision seems fine. That’s because leading causes of blindness can begin without any noticeable symptoms. An ophthalmologist—a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care—can help save your vision before it’s too late.

EyeCare America Can Help

If the cost of an eye exam is a concern, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. This national public service program provides eye care through volunteer ophthalmologists for eligible seniors 65 and older and those at increased risk for eye disease.

Learn More

For further information regarding EyeCare America and to see if you or someone you care for qualifies, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Do You Know Your OQ? Time To Promote Your Healthier Future

Just as you may know your IQ or EQ—cognitive and emotional intelligence—it’s wise to know your OQ or oral health quotient and the links between oral health and overall health.

(NAPSI)—The most common disease in the world is right under your nose—here’s what you can do.

The Problem

Right now nearly half the world’s population is suffering from oral diseases like cavities and gum disease. This global crisis has major health consequences, since oral health is connected to your overall well-being. Beyond mouth pain and tooth loss, oral diseases are linked to heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, among other conditions. In addition to your physical health, oral health can impact mental health and emotional well-being. Research shows childhood cavities lead to worry, anxiety, sadness and embarrassment in both kids and their parents.

The Answer

Fortunately, oral diseases such as cavities and gum disease are largely preventable. If you Know Your OQ™—your oral health quotient—you’ll learn the simple steps for taking care of your mouth, the signs and symptoms for oral diseases, and where to go to seek help, and in doing so, take care of the rest of you.

Just as you might know your IQ or EQ, Colgate-Palmolive wants you to Know Your OQ™. You can go to and take a free, interactive assessment to determine your oral health quotient on a scale from 1 to 10. After just two to three minutes, you’ll understand how oral health is the gateway to your overall health and well-being and be on your way to a healthier future. Once you know your OQ score, you can share the quiz and your oral health knowledge with your friends and family to promote healthier communities.

At, you can also find tips for improving your oral health, gain a better understanding of oral diseases, learn preventive strategies, and discover opportunities to seek professional help.

A healthier future starts with a healthy mouth. Here are some quick tips to boost your oral health quotient and help prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath:

1.Brush your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes with a fluoride-based toothpaste to prevent cavities. Night-time brushing is especially essential for an impactful oral care routine.

2.Brush properly using circular motions, and at a 45 degree angle to the gum-line, to remove plaque (bacteria) on all tooth surfaces. You can use powered and connected technologies to help guide you for the most effective tooth brushing. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis (early gum disease) which can progress to more advanced forms of the disease such as periodontitis, if not addressed. Once plaque hardens to calculus, professional removal is necessary to scrape it off of the tooth surface.

3.Floss your teeth at least once daily to clean in between your teeth, use mouthwash as needed, and remember to brush your tongue, too.

4.See a dentist twice a year and whenever you have tooth troubles. Many oral diseases do not have obvious signs or symptoms so regular checkups are essential to detect and prevent diseases from progressing.

Experts Step In

To address the global oral health crisis, Colgate-Palmolive, the worldwide leader in oral care with a brand, Colgate, in more homes than any other, launched Know Your OQ™—a comprehensive public health initiative and educational campaign—to teach people about the links between oral health and their physical health and mental wellbeing. The company understands that education is the first step for driving action and making an impact, and is empowering people to understand why it’s so important to take care of your mouth.

“Research has consistently shown that oral health is a window to overall health, yet oral health literacy is very low,” said Maria Ryan, DDS, PhD, Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Colgate-Palmolive. “That’s why we’re on a mission to help people increase their oral health knowledge. If we all understand the importance of oral health and embrace simple, proven preventative strategies, we can help decrease risk for oral diseases and empower people worldwide to join in the fight against oral diseases that impact overall health and well being.”

Oral health is often overlooked, even though an estimated 3.5 billion people currently suffer from oral diseases—and these diseases don’t just cause a pain in your mouth. Studies have found that oral diseases are linked to diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as other health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory diseases, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. What’s more, childhood cavities cause children to miss up to three days of school per year, requiring their parents to lose the same amount of time at work.

Learn More

To test your OQ, go to The website also provides helpful information for consumers to improve their oral health and educational resources for healthcare professionals.