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Dollar General Shoppers Get Help Choosing Pain Relievers

(NewsUSA) - When shoppers are already in pain, navigating the huge selection of products in the over- the-counter (OTC) pain reliever aisle can feel overwhelming. There’s a lot to choose from, and while different medicines might treat similar ailments, shoppers should be aware that some OTC pain relievers could be a better choice for them based on their personal risk factors or other medications they are already taking.     

To help inform and empower shoppers’ decision-making at the time of purchase, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association Educational Foundation (CHPAEF) -- in partnership with healthcare companies Haleon (formerly GSK Consumer Healthcare), Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., and Perrigo -- launched a first-ever nationwide pilot program to help educate Dollar General shoppers at the shelf, using QR code technology.     

Consumers scan a code that takes them to an online OTC Pain Relief Interactive Quiz, available in both English and Spanish. The quiz asks shoppers to answer a short set of questions to determine individual symptoms as well as pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, liver disease, or stomach problems to name a few. Based on the shopper’s responses, the assessment then provides a personalized report on the most appropriate pain relief products that may be right for them.    

The pilot program will be available at nearly 19,000 Dollar General stores in 47 states.     

“Our research showed that QR code technology is a preferred way to access information, and we believe our OTC Pain Relief Quiz is the perfect solution to help support shoppers in the pain category, given the myriad of choices available on the shelf,” says Anita Brikman, executive director of the CHPA Educational Foundation.     

“As people grow more proactive about their health and well-being, manufacturers and retailers have a critical window of opportunity to address consumers’ needs by bridging health literacy gaps in a way that enables safe use and better self-care,” Brikman adds. The pilot program launched on November 6, 2022, and will continue for eight weeks through December 31, 2022.   

Visit KnowYourOTCs.org for more information.

Four Things Seniors Need to Know About Dental Coverage

(NewsUSA) -  

By Dr. John Yamamoto, Dental Director of Clinical Innovations, Humana

There are far more benefits to healthy teeth and gums than a bright smile. In fact, your oral health greatly impacts your overall health, and that’s especially true for seniors.     

Gum disease affects over two-thirds of adults aged 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and bacteria and inflammation associated with poor gum health and tooth decay raises the risk of developing heart disease and pneumonia, as well as other serious health conditions. Additionally, losing teeth can lead to difficulty eating and nutritional deficiencies.       

Despite the importance of good oral health, dental care often falls by the wayside. According to the Healthy Aging Poll, one in five older adults delayed getting dental care or went without it in the past two years, with cost and lack of dental coverage being major factors.     

Although dental coverage is a highly desired supplement for seniors, Original Medicare does not cover routine dental care and procedures. However, many Medicare Advantage plans do. During this year’s Annual Election Period, which began Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, people eligible for Medicare should consider the following when comparing dental benefits available on Medicare Advantage plans:     

• Will the Plan Meet Your Dental Needs? Carefully review the dental services covered under the plan to ensure they cover the care and procedures you may need in the coming year based on the state of your oral health. If possible, get a dental check-up to learn what your dentist anticipates will be the level of care you’ll require.     

• Is Your Dentist a Network Provider? Even if the plan allows you to receive care from any dentist, it may cost you less to use those within the plan’s network of providers. Check to see if your dentist is on the list of the plan’s network providers; if not, look to see if there are other dentists in your area who are in network.     

• Are Visits Limited? Some plans limit the number of dental visits covered while others allow you to make as many visits as needed until you reach the maximum dollar amount your plan will pay. Not having limits on the frequency of visits will allow you more flexibility to get the services you need, when you need them.     

• Can You Get Care Outside Your State? It’s especially important for those who travel often or are snowbirds spending part of the year in another state to make sure that their dental coverage will cross state lines. For example, Humana’s Medicare Advantage plans offer members in-network care inside and outside of their home state.     

When choosing a Medicare plan, make dental coverage a high priority. Good dental care doesn’t just benefit your teeth, it can improve your health and quality of life.     

Visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY: 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can learn about Humana Medicare Advantage plans by going to www.Humana.com/Medicare or calling 1-888-372-2614 (TTY: 711) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week, to speak with a licensed sales agent.

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP AND PFFS organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. 

Shoot for the Stars When It Comes to Medicare Advantage

(NewsUSA) - By Alan Stewart, SVP, Medicare Divisional Leader, Humana - If you’re one of the nation’s 58.6 million people with Medicare, you understand the importance of selecting a health plan during the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period (AEP) -- running from Oct. 15 - Dec. 7 -since the plan you select is the plan you’ll likely have for all of the coming year.     

There’s a lot to think about when looking at plan options and, fortunately, reliable resources are available to help you, like Medicare.gov and licensed insurance sales agents. Another trusted resource is the Star Ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Significance of the Star Ratings     

The Star Ratings Program is an annual assessment using about 40 measures to rate all Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans and drive health care quality improvement. One of the ways CMS determines ratings is through patient-satisfaction surveys. Medicare members receive questionnaires which aim to gather information about their health, experiences with their insurance, and the care they received from doctors and specialists. CMS takes this information, along with information submitted by the health plans on things like preventive care screenings, health condition management, and medication adherence, and calculates a rating for each plan, where one star is the lowest and five stars is the highest.   

Information from these surveys helps the government and various Medicare plans identify areas that can be enhanced, while also providing information that can be used in improvement activities, public reporting and health plan accountability. Star Ratings can also be a key factor for people who have Medicare to consider as they look at Medicare plans since there are several benefits to choosing a 4 or 5-star rated plan for healthcare coverage. Importantly, it provides insights into the strengths and weaknesses of plans based on the experiences shared from other Medicare members and physicians. Higher rated plans often include additional benefits, like dental, vision, and hearing coverage, and offer reduced premiums, co-pays, or deductibles.

What You Should Consider     

While you are looking at plan options to identify the best plan for your health needs, you may want to take into account the Star Ratings available on CMS.gov. Licensed sales agents can also provide the plan options in your area, answer your questions, and advise on the Star Ratings.     

While seeing what the ratings are this year, it’s also important to look at previous years’ scores to see how plans may have improved. For example, Humana received a 5 out of 5-star rating for three of its contracts for 2023 --which include HMO plans in Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky -- 96 percent of the company’s Medicare members are in plans rated 4 stars and above for 2023. This is a testament to the company’s focus on ensuring high quality of care, members getting their preventive care and reliable customer service for its members.

Looking Ahead     

If you enroll in a plan you aren’t happy with during the AEP, eligible individuals have the opportunity to switch to a 5-star plan during the 5-star Special Enrollment Period, which runs from Dec. 8, 2022 - Nov. 30, 2023.     

Finally, keep in mind that following health care appointments and throughout the year you could receive surveys from your physician, from Humana and from CMS. These surveys are all important, and, while similar, are used for different purposes and are your opportunity to provide feedback that will help improve the future of healthcare.

More Information

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system.   

Rock alternativo, accesorios para el cabello y varicela: Una de estas cosas NO debería regresar

(José R. Romero, MD) - Es divertido ver el regreso de algunas tendencias retro de los años 90, como las canciones clásicas del rock que vuelven a la lista de las favoritas, los peinados y hasta los zapatos de la época de los 90. Otras tendencias es mejor dejarlas en el pasado, como los millones de casos de varicela que ocurrían en los Estados Unidos cada año antes de que tuviéramos una vacuna eficaz.     

Lo que alguna vez se consideró un rito de iniciación, algo que había que tolerar en la niñez con baños de avena y tener que faltar a la escuela, ahora es inusual. Muchas personas pensarán: “Ay, si solo es varicela”. Si bien es cierto que la mayoría de los niños se recuperan, los médicos y pediatras, como yo, con frecuencia veíamos casos muy graves de varicela que podían convertirse rápidamente en una enfermedad invasiva, neumonía o incluso causar la muerte. La realidad es que la varicela puede ser muy grave, y no solo afecta a la persona enferma, sino a toda la familia y la comunidad. Debido a la varicela, los padres pueden faltar al trabajo, los hermanos faltar a la escuela, y las mujeres embarazadas y las personas con el sistema inmunitario debilitado puede que tengan una probabilidad mayor de tener infecciones graves por varicela.     

Una vez que alguien se infecta por el virus de la varicela, este permanece en el cuerpo incluso después de que la persona se mejora. Debido a este virus, generalmente alrededor de 1 de cada 3 personas que tuvieron varicela durante la niñez tendrá culebrilla a una edad más avanzada. La culebrilla es una afección muy dolorosa que ocurre cuando el virus de la varicela que está escondido se activa otra vez en el cuerpo. Puede alterar la vida CDC diaria durante meses o hasta más.     

Los Estados Unidos fue el primer país en incluir la vacuna contra la varicela en el programa de vacunación infantil de rutina, y la vacuna ha demostrado ser muy eficaz. Durante los primeros 25 años del programa de vacunación (1995 - 2019) vimos un asombroso descenso del 97 % en las hospitalizaciones por varicela y un descenso de más del 99 % en las muertes. Hoy día es sumamente raro que hospitalicen a los niños por varicela, y las muertes por varicela casi se han eliminado en los EE. UU.     

Pero todavía hay más buenas noticias. Los expertos anticipan que la protección de la vacuna contra la varicela se extenderá también en el futuro para ayudar a proteger contra la culebrilla en la edad adulta. Así que, los niños vacunados están protegidos ahora contra la varicela, y la mayoría no tendrá que preocuparse de contraer culebrilla más adelante en la vida. Si usted no está seguro de que sus hijos estén al día con las vacunas, pregúntele al médico o personal de enfermería y programe cualquier cita que necesiten.     

Algunas cosas, como la varicela, nunca deberían regresar.

Grunge, Scrunchies, and Chickenpox: One of These Things Should NOT Come Back

(By José R. Romero, MD) - Some 90’s retro trends are fun to see come around again, like classic songs returning to the playlist, hairstyles, and even fun 90s’ shoes. Other trends are better left in the past -- like the millions of cases of chickenpox that happened in the United States each year before we had an effective vaccine.       

What was once considered a rite of passage, something that just had to be tolerated during childhood with oatmeal baths and missing school, is now unusual. A lot of people might think, ‘Oh, it’s just chickenpox.’ While it’s true that most children recover, doctors and other pediatricians like me frequently saw very serious cases of chickenpox that could turn quickly into invasive disease, pneumonia, or even death. The fact is, chickenpox can be very serious, and it affects not just the person who is sick, but the entire family and community. Because of chickenpox, parents can miss work, brothers and sisters can miss school, and pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems have a higher chance of having serious chickenpox infections.     

Once someone is infected with the chickenpox virus, it stays in the body even after the person feels better. Because of this virus, about 1 in 3 people who had chickenpox as children will get shingles, usually later in life. Shingles is a very painful condition that happens when the hidden chickenpox virus becomes active in the body again. It can disrupt daily life for months or even longer.     

The United States was the first country to include the chickenpox CDC vaccine in the routine childhood vaccination program, and the vaccine has proven to be very effective. During the first 25 years of the vaccination program (1995 - 2019), we saw a staggering 97% drop in chickenpox hospitalizations and more than a 99% drop in deaths. For young people today, being hospitalized from chickenpox has become a rare event -- and chickenpox deaths are nearly eliminated in the U.S.   

There’s even more good news -- experts anticipate that protection from the chickenpox vaccine will also extend into the future to help protect them as adults against shingles. So kids who are vaccinated  now are protected from chickenpox, and most won’t have to worry about suffering from shingles later. If you’re not sure if your kids are caught up on their vaccines, just ask their doctor or nurse -- and go ahead and schedule any appointment they might need.     

Some trends, like chickenpox disease, should never come back.

Questions Veterans Should Ask About Medicare

(NewsUSA) - The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period is underway, running from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Whether you are new to Medicare or are re-evaluating your options for a health care plan, navigating the abundance of choices can feel overwhelming. This is especially true for Veterans who also may be covered by other government-sponsored benefits, like those offered by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), depending on their time in service and disability rating. With there being so many options to choose from, the biggest challenge is often knowing where to begin.     

To select the best plan for your health needs, it’s important that all Medicare eligible individuals, including Veterans, conduct a personal needs assessment. To start, consider your unique needs, such as:     

• What health coverage will I need in 2023? Medicare Advantage plans often offer all-in-one features for beneficiaries to receive dental, vision and hearing all in one plan, in addition to other benefits such as access to urgent care and prescription drugs. Also consider if you may need to see a specialist or have a surgery planned so you can ensure your preferred doctor is in network.     

• What additional benefits would I use? Plans with additional benefits that support mental health services, increase access to fitness programs, or even transportation services to doctor appointments can help Veterans maintain their health. There are also plans that can provide allowances for eligible members to help pay for healthy foods, rent and utilities, pet supplies and more.     

• How can my VA benefits work with a Medicare Advantage plan? Although VA and Medicare Advantage benefits do not coordinate coverage, they work alongside one another. Veterans can enroll into any MA plan, but Humana has designed some plans with Veterans in mind, like the Humana Honor plan.  Humana Honor Plans are available to anyone eligible for Medicare and they provide coverage that can complement healthcare benefits from the VA. All Humana Medicare Advantage plans are recommended by USAA     

If you are eligible for Medicare, take the time to evaluate your options to find the one that best fits your health needs. While these questions can serve as a starting point for Veterans to identify plans that will best suit their needs, there are additional resources available. Medicare.gov allows you to compare plans and estimate costs based on what a typical enrollee experiences.     

Additionally, you can visit www.Humana.com/Medicare/Veterans or call toll-free 1-888-372-2614, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week, to speak to Humana licensed sales agents. In addition, current Humana members can call toll-free 1-888-372-2614, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week to speak with Customer Care specialists that are Veterans themselves and have collaborated with USAA to receive special training to serve the unique healthcare needs of Veterans. H

umana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP, and PFFS organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal. The Humana Honor plans are available to anyone eligible for Medicare and veterans should consider all their health plan options. USAA and the USAA logo are registered trademarks of the United Services Automobile Association. All rights reserved. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change. 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Learning from a Survivor

(NewsUSA) - For Julie Lycksell, a wife, a mother and retired operating room nurse from Long Island, NY, Feb. 6, 1998, is a date she will never forget. On that day, only two days after her actual birthday, Julie celebrates her “re-birthday” -- marking the day she nearly died from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).     

Luckily, when Julie experienced SCA and lost consciousness at a local restaurant, she benefited from having the right people with the right equipment help her at just the right time. From the doctor and nurse dining near Julie who performed CPR, to the police officer who used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock her heart back into rhythm, Julie is here today because of their quick action. At the hospital, doctors inserted an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in her chest to prevent future life-threatening heart events. ICDs have given Julie the gift of more than 20 extra years of life following that fateful episode.     

Julie’s story sounds remarkable because it is. If not treated immediately, SCA can be fatal. Approximately 95% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest event and are not treated by defibrillation within 10 minutes will die.

What Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?     

SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. Unlike other heart conditions, SCA can impact people off all ages, races and ethnicities, and often with no warning -- in fact, 1,000 people each day experience SCA. Different from a heart attack, SCA is an electrical issue that stops the heart, leading to lack of blood flow to the body. Cardiac arrest remains a public health crisis, claiming more lives than breast cancer, AIDS and lung cancer combined.

Who is at Risk?     

People who have had a heart attack, heart failure or a low ejection fraction, or people who previously experienced SCA or come from a family with a history of heart disease are at higher risk. If a family member experiences any of these events, it’s important to talk to a doctor about potential risk. In Julie’s case, several family members received an ICD to ensure their hearts beat properly and protect them should an abnormal heart rhythm strike.     

Julie’s career as an OR nurse gave her a forum to offer firsthand advice about the lifesaving benefits of ICDs and the reassurance they can bring: “This is your insurance policy for your heart -- it offers added protection … you are safer with this.”

How Does an ICD Work?     

An ICD is a small device, the size of a pocket watch, placed under the skin below the collarbone, requiring a two-to-four-inch incision, with leads (thin wires) to monitor your heart rhythm 24 hours a day and deliver therapy if needed. Its battery lasts nearly a decade, as seen in Julie’s case. If the heart beats irregularly, the device sends low-energy electrical pulses to correct it. If the fast rate continues, the defibrillator will deliver a shock to restore the heart to a normal rate.     

If you have experienced or are at risk for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) called ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation, you may be eligible for an ICD.     

If you or a loved one have questions regarding ICDs or other implanted heart devices, visit Medtronic.com/SuddenCardiacArrest

Five Ways to Make the Most of Your Prescription Drug Plan

(TJ Gibb, VP, Medicare Part D, Humana) - While inflation is forcing many people to cut back on purchases, spending on your health is not where you want to trim your budget. However, if you have a prescription drug plan (PDP), now is a good time to take a closer look at how you can get the most out of your PDP, including ways to make your medications more affordable and accessible.     

Here are six considerations to keep in mind for your medications:     

Smart Shoppers Compare Costs: Many seniors take multiple medications to treat chronic conditions, which can get expensive. If you’re taking a brand-name drug, you can likely reduce costs by either taking a generic or an alternative medication that treats the same condition but is less expensive. For instance, some pharmacies like CenterWell Pharmacy will let you know if there’s a lower-cost option available and how much it will save you annually.     

• Carefully Choose Your Pharmacy: It is best to select a pharmacy that is in your plan’s network. Some pharmacies, referred to as preferred pharmacies, might offer prescriptions at a lower cost. Check with your PDP to see if there’s another pharmacy in your area that could save you money.       

• Need a Refill? There’s an App for That: Another good way to make sure you refill prescriptions on time and easily manage your medications is to use mobile applications. For example, Humana members have access to MyHumana, a secure and easy-to-use web and mobile application designed to help members get the most out of their PDP benefits.     

• The Pharmacy is Ready to Help: While doctors prescribe your medication, pharmacists are most knowledgeable about them. Many PDPs have pharmacists available to speak with you. If you have any questions or concerns about the medicine you’re taking, make that call rather than wait in line at a pharmacy or for your next doctor’s visit.     

• Get Extra Assistance When Needed: There are low-income subsidies that can further reduce copays and help you afford your medication if you qualify. Additionally, there are patient assistance programs offered through drug manufacturers, foundations and state-based assistance programs that can help cover medication costs.     

• There’s No Place Like Home for Getting Your Medications: Transportation can be costly and not always accessible, making it difficult to get to the pharmacy for needed medications. And you could make a trip to the pharmacy, only to find out your medication is out-of-stock. Instead, take advantage of home delivery options to help ensure medications are received on time. Reduce your costs with home delivery by getting a 90-day supply of the medicine, which often has a lower copay than filling it each month, and by signing up for auto-refills to ensure you don’t miss a dose.       

These options are especially important for seniors to consider since research shows they take an average of 15 prescriptions per year. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage or a stand-alone prescription drug plan, check to see what’s included so you can start using these services.

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP and PFFS organization and a stand-alone PDP prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. Other pharmacies are available in the Humana network. 

4 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Medicare Advantage Plan

(George Renaudin, Medicare President, Humana) - As inflation causes us all to stretch our dollars, the majority of Americans are likely focused on finding the best prices without sacrificing quality. Healthcare is no exception, so picking the right insurance plan that meets your needs can be critical to maintaining a balanced budget.       

During the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Election Period, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, people eligible for Medicare have the opportunity to select a plan that provides the affordability, convenience and benefits they want as well as the quality healthcare they deserve.     

When evaluating Medicare Advantage plans, here are four key questions to consider:     

• Are your preferred doctors and hospitals in-network? If you have a doctor you trust or limited hospitals in your area, make sure they are in your network before selecting a plan.     

• Do you need dental, vision or hearing coverage? Evaluate your health needs. Some people will just need dental insurance, while others may need vision and hearing coverage.     

• What about prescription drug coverage? Prescription drug coverage is included in many Medicare Advantage plans, and some plans even offer $0 copays. Make a list of your medications and compare estimated prescription costs as you evaluate plans.     

• What additional benefits do you need? Some plans include transportation assistance to and from doctors’ offices; fitness programs; mental health services; or allowances for out-of-pocket dental, vision or hearing costs. Medicare Advantage members may also consider getting healthcare in the home from in-network providers, such as Heal for primary care or CenterWell Home Health for acute care and chronic health issues.     

There are many new Medicare Advantage offerings this year, so it is worth taking the time to evaluate your options to find the best plan for your healthcare needs --  and your wallet. In fact, consumers who select Medicare Advantage save nearly $2,000 per year compared with what beneficiaries pay with original Medicare.     

For more information, visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY: 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, you can learn about Humana Medicare Advantage plans, which are recommended by USAA, by going to www.Humana.com/Medicare or calling 1-888-372-2614 (TTY: 711) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week, to speak with a licensed sales agent.

Additional Information
Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, HMO SNP, PPO, PPO SNP AND PFFS organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal. Other providers are available in the Humana network.  

USAA and the USAA logo are registered trademarks of the United Services Automobile Association. All rights reserved. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Use of the term “member” or “membership” refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change.   

Understanding Common Kidney Diseases

(NewsUSA) - Did you know that one in seven Americans lives with a kidney disease? As a nephrologist, I see the range of emotions patients experience when they are first diagnosed. Anxiety, fear and guilt are all common feelings that may be accompanied by physical aches and pains stemming from their condition. While these emotions may be overwhelming, I encourage my patients to take charge of their diagnosis by educating and empowering themselves to learn more about a management strategy that works for them.     

I also try to educate my patients on the nuances between kidney diseases, as some variants -- such as autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) -- can be inherited and easily masked by another condition, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and the sickle cell trait. The following are common kidney diseases you should be aware of so that you can discuss them with your family and your healthcare provider:     

• Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by kidney damage or a decrease in kidney function for at least three months. People living with CKD lose their ability to filter extra salt and fluid from the blood properly due to loss of kidney function. CKD is common in the United States, with more than 37 million adults potentially living with this disease. Individuals are at a higher risk for CKD if they already have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or a family history of kidney failure.     

• Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder and a form of chronic kidney disease that causes cysts to form and grow in the kidneys; as cysts grow, kidneys enlarge and damage progresses, reducing kidney function and potentially leading to kidney failure.   

 • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is an inherited, rare disease that affects more than 140,000 Americans. ADPKD, the most common form of PKD, causes cysts to form and grow in the kidneys. As the cysts grow, kidneys enlarge, with some kidneys growing to the size of a football. As a result, kidney function progressively declines and may lead to kidney failure.     

ADPKD may be diagnosed by clinical imaging such as an ultrasound, computed tomography  scan or magnetic resonance imaging. Genetic testing may also be used to diagnose ADPKD. While ADPKD is considered a rare disease, it frequently occurs in families impacted by the condition -- with a child of a parent with ADPKD having a 50 percent chance of inheritance.     

• Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) is often detected before a baby is born due to ultrasound images showing the unborn baby’s kidneys larger than normal. A child is only born with ARPKD if both parents are carriers of the gene that causes it.   

 There are a variety of healthy lifestyle changes and management strategies that may help to delay disease progression such as maintaining a kidney-friendly diet, drinking a certain amount of water and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s also important to utilize educational resources, such as ADPKDQuestions.com, to ensure you’re educated about the disease so you can have open conversations with your doctor and family.

Dr. Dahl is a paid consultant of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

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