July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month. Cleft palate or craniofacial defects affect thousands of infants, children, teens, and adults in the United States each year—4400 infants are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate and 2700 are born with a cleft palate alone. While some people are born with congenital anomalies, others are burned or otherwise injured in accidents or diagnosed with various diseases that affect the mouth, head, neck, or skin.

Craniofacial defects are conditions present at birth that affect the structure and function of a baby’s head and face. Treatments and services for children with craniofacial defects can vary depending on the severity of the defect, the presence of associated syndromes or other birth defects, as well as the child’s age and other medical or developmental needs. Children with certain craniofacial defects are at a greater risk for physical, learning, developmental, or social challenges.  Recent studies suggest that the health care use and average medical cost for children with craniofacial conditions are much higher than children without

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Last month, we had National Women’s Health Week. For the month of June there is Men’s Health Week, designed to encourage men to make their health a priority. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has many tips for men to improve their health, and we at NeedyMeds have resources for a number of conditions that predominantly affect men.

The CDC offers many ways to observe National Men’s Health Week, such as taking a bike ride, aim to eat healthier, or quit unhealthy habits.  Men can improve their health by getting a good night’s sleep, quitting tobacco and avoiding second hand smoke, being more active in daily life, eating healthier, and managing stress. Being aware of your own health is important as well. Be sure to see your doctor for regular check-ups and get tested for diseases and conditions that may not have symptoms until there is an imminent health risk. Testicular and prostate cancers are easily detected with regular checks.

In a previous blog post we featured the

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June is National Scleroderma Awareness Month, meant to raise understanding of the chronic autoimmune disease. Scleroderma attacks a patient’s connective tissue with one’s own immune system.  First diagnosed in 1754, scleroderma affects women, men, and children. An estimated 300,000 people in the United States have scleroderma. For many, it can be a life-threatening disease. There is no known cause or cure.

Symptoms of scleroderma include the tightening, swelling, stiffness, or pain in fingers, toes, hands, feet, or face; puffy or discolored skin; and fatigue or feeling tired. Fingers and toes may react strongly to cold, appearing white and hurt, as well as red spots or ulcers on affected joints and areas. Scleroderma can also affect internal organs—occurring in roughly a one-third of cases—causing shortness of breath or problems digesting food, including heartburn, trouble swallowing, or food moving slower than usual through your system.  The symptoms vary greatly for each person, and can all range from mild to severe. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, be sure to consult a doctor.

Though life-threatening, the five-year

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This past Mother’s Day launched the 16th annual National Women’s Health Week.  Led by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, the goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and raise awareness of the steps one can take to improve their health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends many common measures, such as proper health screenings, staying physically active, eating healthy, and promoting other healthy behaviors such as getting enough sleep, washing your hands, or wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet when appropriate.  There are also many resources for women in need.

In a previous blog post, we detailed the National Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Information for the local offerings from the program can be found in the NeedyMeds State Sponsored Programs section.  There are other government programs for women’s health to be found on our site, including WISEWOMAN, a program that provides low-income, uninsured/under-insured women with blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes screenings.

NeedyMeds has a database

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Since 1927, May has been Better Hearing and Speech Month. Established by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the month of May is used to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems, encouraging people to analyze their own hearing and speech, and take action if they think there might be a problem.  Knowing the signs of hearing loss and speech-language disorders is important for individual adults as well as parents of young children.

There are many signs of hearing loss in both adults and children. Adults may notice a buzzing or ringing in their ears, persistent ear discomfort after hearing a loud noise, or muffled hearing as indication they may be losing their hearing. Their peers may notice inattentiveness or failure to respond when spoken to, or that a person avoids conversation, is isolated, or depressed. Children experiencing hearing loss may display lack of attention to sounds such as not responding to their name or following directions, pulling or scratching at their ears, or difficulty in school.

Recognizing the

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