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    Housecall: Bedbugs 101

an unhappy man lying in bed, waking up but not well rested, with his hands clutching his headTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
If you're going on vacation this summer, unwanted guests the size of apple seeds may be hiding in your bed. Bedbugs are small, reddish-brown parasitic insects that bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and animals to feed on their blood. They hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards, bed frames and objects around a bed. The risk of encountering bedbugs increases if you spend time in places with high turnovers of nighttime guests, such as hotels, hospitals or homeless shelters. Know how to spot the telltale signs of a bite and what precautions you can take to prevent bites and infestations.

Alzheimer's dementia: Diagnosis
An accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia is an important first step to ensure appropriate treatment, care, family education and plans for the future. It's also important to check for health conditions that could be causing or contributing to the symptoms, such as signs of past strokes, Parkinson's disease, depression or other medical conditions. Learn about the early signs of Alzheimer's dementia, the tests and examinations used to make the diagnosis, and research underway.

How accurate are wrist blood pressure monitors?
Some wrist blood pressure monitors may be accurate if used exactly as directed. However, the American Heart Association recommends using a home blood pressure monitor that measures blood pressure in your upper arm and not using wrist or finger blood pressure monitors. Learn more from Dr. Sheldon Sheps, an emeritus Mayo Clinic hypertension and peripheral vascular diseases specialist.

When is menopause hormone therapy not recommended?
Health care providers prescribe hormone therapy to ease menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood disturbances. But hormone therapy isn't appropriate for some women. Learn more from Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso, a Mayo Clinic OB-GYN.

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Simple tips to prevent falls
Have you ever tripped down the stairs? Slipped on a rug? It may sound silly, but falls are nothing to take lightly. Here are some tips to fall-proof your home:

  1. Keep electrical cords out of walking paths.
  2. Securely fasten rugs, carpets and carpet runners to the floor.
  3. Keep walkways and stairways free of clutter.
  4. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub or shower.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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