What You Need to Know about Dental Amalgam

Controversy surrounds dental amalgam, the material sometimes used to fill cavities, because about half of it is composed of elemental mercury. Amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of tin, copper and silver. Elemental mercury reacts with and binds together with the alloy particles to form an amalgam. These fillings are also referred to as “silver fillings” due to their silver appearance.1

Elemental mercury releases mercury vapor that is primarily absorbed through the lungs, harmfully affecting them. Coughing, difficulty breathing and headaches are just a few of the symptoms of inhaling mercury. It is also possible for mercury to be absorbed through the skin; however, it is a much slower process.2

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Type I and Type II Diabetes: What’s the Difference?

Many misconceptions exist about the differences between Type I and Type II Diabetes, a disease which affects 29.1 million people in the United States.1  Diabetes is a chronic disease, in which the pancreas produces less of or completely stops producing the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential in order to live. It breaks down the sugars in the body, converting them to energy.

Type I Diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. However, older adults can also contract Type I. It occurs when the pancreas completely stops producing insulin. The exact  cause of Type I is still unknown, but genetics and viral infections are thought to play a part.2 Treatment for Type I involves taking artificial insulin either by injections via a syringe or insulin pen or a pump, a device that delivers insulin through a catheter underneath the skin.3 Rapid-acting insulin begins decreasing blood  sugars within 10-30 minutes and is good to take before eating. Long-acting insulin helps stabilize sugars over a longer period of time (20-24 hours).4

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Part 2: Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

In our last blog post, we explored how prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. This week we will discuss how to prevent prescription drug abuse and what to do with any unused medications.

Many opioid abusers get the prescription drugs from friends or relatives for free, according to a study by JAMA Internal Medicine. Other sources include getting a prescription from one or more doctors, stealing or buying prescription drugs from friends or family and buying prescription drugs from drug dealers.1

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Part 1: The Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

Prescription drug abuse has become a growing epidemic in the United States. Fifty-two million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically at least once during their lifetime.1 Every day 44 people die from an overdose of painkillers.2 Prescription drug abuse occurs when drugs have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and are not taken as prescribed or are taken by someone to whom they were not prescribed.3 The most abused types of drugs are opioids, followed by tranquilizers and stimulants.4

Opioids are pain medications that decrease the strength of pain signals to the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which reduces the effects of a painful stimulus. Opioids include oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian) and hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin). Since these drugs affect the regions of the brain responsible for reward, some users may experience a euphoric reaction.5

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