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    Housecall: Genetic testing — is it right for you?

a graphic representation of a strand of DNA, highlighting the four base letters - G, C, A and TTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Genetic testing: What is it, and do you need it?
By examining your DNA, genetic testing can provide important information for diagnosing, treating and preventing illness. Genetic testing plays a vital role in determining the risk of developing certain diseases. Find out more about different types of genetic testing, the reasons for doing each, and whether genetic testing might be right for you.

Stress relievers: 12 tips to tame tension 
Stress is a normal part of everyone's life. It's an automatic physical, mental and emotional response to a challenging event. When channeled positively, stress can lead to growth, action and change. But too much stress can negatively affect your quality of life. Stress relievers can help restore calm and serenity to your chaotic life. If your stress is getting out of control and you need relief, here are some strategies to consider.

Is a thyroid guard needed during a mammogram?
A thyroid guard or thyroid shield is a lead collar that wraps around your neck to block the radiation that's generated during X-rays. There is little chance that the radiation exposure from a mammogram will cause thyroid cancer. In addition, a thyroid guard could interfere with the accuracy of your mammogram. Learn more from Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, a Mayo Clinic general internal medicine physician and past director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Diagnostic Clinic.

Is craving and chewing ice a sign of anemia? 
Health care providers use the term "pica" to describe craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value, such as ice, clay, soil or paper. Craving and chewing ice, known as pagophagia, often is associated with iron deficiency — with or without anemia — although the reason is unclear. Learn more from Dr. Rajiv Pruthi, a Mayo Clinic hematologist.

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Spinach and mushroom souffle
Pickled asparagus
Sesame-crusted tofu
Creole-style black-eyed peas

Prevent night leg cramps
Nighttime leg cramps often strike just as you're falling asleep or waking up. To prevent these involuntary contractions of your leg muscles, usually in the back of your lower leg, stretch your legs before you climb under the covers. Wear shoes with proper support. Untuck the covers at the foot of your bed. And drink plenty of fluids during the day.

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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