Question: How often should I check my skin for suspicious skin growths or changes?
Answer: It’s important to perform a skin self-exam once a month. Regular exams put you in a better position to spot skin cancer. If caught and treated in its early stages, skin cancer can be cured.
To conduct a proper skin self-exam, you’ll need a full-length and handheld mirror to check your skin from front to back. Give special attention to your head, face, neck, hands and arms. Skin cancer often develops in these areas. Skin cancer may appear as a:
In addition to looking at your skin, it’s important to examine it with your hands. Sometimes precancers can feel like rough, flesh-colored plaques before they are seen. A spot that feels tender should also be checked.
The most lethal form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, usually begins in a mole but can also arise on normal skin. When examining moles for melanoma signs, look for:
Regular professional skin exams are important, too. If you have a family history of skin cancer, many large moles or other melanoma risk factors, your doctor can help you decide how often to schedule exams.
Question: Can lack of sleep sabotage my weight-loss efforts?
Answer: A number of studies have found a connection between lack of sleep and increased weight gain. Researchers found that getting too little sleep actually boosts your appetite and changes your metabolism, which may affect your cortisol (stress hormone) and insulin levels.
When the body is deprived of sleep, it reduces leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite. The body also boosts production of an appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin. These changes can cause sleep-deprived people to experience food cravings. What’s more, the body may see the drop in leptin as a signal that it is starving and may slow its metabolism to conserve calories.
So how much sleep is enough? Studies show that getting less than seven hours each night can affect weight gain. Although the amount of sleep people need varies somewhat, most experts recommend adults get seven to nine hours every night.
If you have trouble sleeping, try these tactics:
If these tips don’t help get your sleep back on track or if you still feel sleepy during the day despite a full night’s rest, call your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder.
If you snore or have other signs of a sleep disorder, the Botsford Sleep Therapy Clinic may be able to help. Discover how and get the facts about sleep disorders at the Botsford Sleep Therapy Clinic or call (248) 473-8411.
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For a free referral to a Botsford doctor, call HealthMatch at 1 (877) 477-3621 (DOC1).