• By Laurel J. Kelly

Housecall: Breast self-exam for breast awareness

August 20, 2018

a smiling middle-aged woman, with her arms crossed, leaning on a railingTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Breast self-exam for breast awareness 
Most medical organizations don't recommend routine breast self-exams as part of breast cancer screening. That's because breast self-exams haven't been shown to be effective in detecting cancer or improving survival for women who have breast cancer. Still, health care providers believe there is value in women being familiar with their own breasts, so women understand what's normal and what is not. Though most breast changes detected during a self-exam for breast awareness have benign causes, some changes may signal something serious, such as breast cancer. Learn more about breast self-exam and when you need to seek medical care.

Over-the-counter weight-loss pills 
There's no magic bullet for losing weight. The most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is by eating a healthy, low-calorie diet and being more physically active. But the appeal of using over-the-counter weight-loss pills to lose weight fast is hard to resist. Do these products lighten anything but your wallet? And are they safe? Here's what you need to know.

EXPERT ANSWERS
What are the risks of vitamin D deficiency? 
Vitamin D deficiency can cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen. Vitamin D also may play a role in insulin production and immune function — and how this relates to chronic disease prevention and cancer. Learn more from Katherine Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist.

Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
Eating more whole-grain foods regularly may reduce your chance of developing high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, eating more whole-grain foods may lower your blood pressure. Learn more from Dr. Sheldon Sheps, an emeritus Mayo Clinic hypertension and peripheral vascular diseases specialist.

PLUS ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
Proper walking technique
Sclerotherapy
Treating pain

HEALTHY RECIPES
Pickled onion salad
Fava beans with garlic
Spicy beef kebabs
Fruit and nut bar

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
Heart-healthy sources of protein
Does your diet include unhealthy sources of protein, such as an excess of burgers, hot dogs and fried chicken? Do your heart a favor, and choose your proteins wisely. Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils, are a great source of heart-healthy protein. Legumes typically are low in fat and contain no cholesterol. Legumes also contain soluble and insoluble fiber.

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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