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Wellness Library- Diseases & Conditions
2 Flu Types = 2 Shots
Protect Yourself This Flu Season Protect yourself against the seasonal flu by following the same advice you followed last year: Get vaccinated. Everyone who is at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccine this season. The 2009-2010 flu season saw the emergence of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, previously called "novel H1N1" or "swine" flu. As a result, everyone had to receive two different vaccines – one to protect against the three seasonal flu strains that were circulating, and a second to protect a...
5 Ways to Avoid Colds and the Flu
5 Ways to Avoid Colds and the Flu You don't want to spend this winter battling a runny nose, a nagging cough, or a fever. But colds and flu come with the season, right? They don't have to. Try this advice from the CDC. Get a flu shot The best time to get the flu vaccine is when it becomes available in your community, but getting the vaccine later is better than not getting it. The young, those older than age 65, and the chronically ill are most at risk for complications from seasonal flu. The CDC recomm...
8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make
8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make If you've already been through one heart attack, you're at increased risk for another, but with a few smart moves you can reduce that risk. Unfortunately, many heart patients have mistaken ideas about what's good for them. Mistake 1: Thinking all heart attacks are the same. If your Aunt Mary had a heart attack even after a lifetime of eating low-fat foods and jogging every day, you may think changing your own lifestyle is not worth the trouble. Or, your friend the construc...
A Checklist to Help You Spot Hearing Loss
A Checklist to Help You Spot Hearing Loss Although most states now have mandatory requirements for hearing tests while a newborn is still in the hospital, some hearing-impaired children slip by the safeguards and aren't diagnosed by age 3, says the National Association of the Deaf. The reason: A lot of parents don't know the signs of hearing loss. Hearing loss also can accompany other disabilities and could be overlooked. Hearing impairment can occur in the frequencies detected and in loudness of sound ...
A Closer Look at Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
A Closer Look at Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) IBS is not a disease; it is a disorder that interferes with the normal function of the large intestine (colon) and is characterized by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. In the past, it has been called colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, or spastic bowel. IBS involves how the muscles in the intestines work and how pain is perceived in the bowel, but it does not permanently damage the colon, and does not lead to bleeding or ...
A Fresh Look at Common Skin Problems
A Fresh Look at Common Skin Problems Skin problems such as pimples, blackheads, rashes and oily skin aren't just for teens. They're also common in adults. But you don't necessarily need a dermatologist to treat them. "You may be able to treat all of these conditions at home," says Marsha Lynn Gordon, M.D., coauthor of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beautiful Skin . Here's her advice on how to solve common skin problems using home remedies. Cleanse and tone away acne If you're prone to acne, rest assured ...
A Kids' Asthma Journal
A Kids' Asthma Journal Do you want to gain better control over your asthma? Put it in writing! By following the examples below, you can use a journal to track day-to-day changes in your asthma. This may be something you can do with a parent's or guardian's help. If your parent or guardian has asthma, he or she can also use a journal to track his or her own symptoms, too. Make copies of this page before you write on it so you can use it again! Starting date: ____________________ Symptoms Check the boxes ...
A Red Face Could Signal Rosacea
A Red Face Could Signal Rosacea Most of us have seen someone with rosacea, a chronic skin condition that can cause facial redness, bumps, pimples, thick skin, and even bloodshot eyes. But we're often not sure just what we're seeing when we look this problem in the face. About 13 million Americans, mostly ages 30 to 50, have rosacea to some degree, the National Rosacea Society estimates. Many people mistake the flushing and appearance of pimples as a recurrence of a skin condition from their teen years. ...
A Simple Way to Keep the Flu Away
A Simple Way to Keep the Flu Away You can avoid the flu this season by taking one simple step: Get a flu vaccination. Unfortunately, some people think that getting a flu immunization is too much trouble or costs too much. Or, they swear that a flu immunization will make them sick or make them more likely to catch the flu—or even colds. Seasonal influenza—the flu—is caused by one of several strains of influenza viruses (type A or B) that infect the nose, throat and lungs, making life miserable for a week...
A Woman's Guide to Beating Heart Disease
A Woman's Guide to Beating Heart Disease Surveys show fewer than one in 10 women perceive heart disease as their greatest health threat. But it's the nation's number one killer, and women are its prime target. Over one-third of the women who die in the U.S. each year die of heart disease. Five times more women die from heart attacks than from breast cancer. More women than men die of heart disease each year. The risk of heart attack and stroke increases with age, especially after menopause. But atherosc...
A Woman's Guide to Cancer Screenings
A Woman's Guide to Cancer Screenings You run two miles every other day and lift weights twice a week. You've been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat. You don't smoke. When it comes to your health, you figure you've got everything covered. But when was the last time you saw your doctor for a health screening? Preventive care screenings are vital to everyone's health. For women, Pap tests with or without human papillomavirus (HPV) tests, clinical breast exams, and mammograms are import...
Ability to Concentrate Isn't What It Used to Be
Ability to Concentrate Isn't What It Used to Be When you are rolled into the operating room at the hospital, you want to know that the surgeon is ready to concentrate on your procedure. When you board a jetliner for your next vacation destination, you want to know that the tower crew is rested and ready to direct the pilot through dense airport traffic. Concentration is vital in some professions. Even in our everyday lives, though, we all need to concentrate—to avoid traffic accidents, to get the job fi...
About Balance and Safety
About Balance and Safety Having good balance means you’re able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you’re in motion or remaining still. Learning about the causes of balance problems can help you prevent falls and a loss of independence. Your medications Balance problems can result from taking certain medications. For example, some medicines that lower blood pressure can make you feel dizzy. Check with your health care provider if you notice a balance problem while taking a medication t...
About High Blood Pressure
About High Blood Pressure High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that may not cause any noticeable symptoms for years. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that may not cause any noticeable symptoms for years. Having your blood pressure checked is the only way to know if it is high. Yet, untreated hypertension can result in serious illnesses, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Diet and...
Action Plan for Osteoarthritis
Action Plan for Osteoarthritis Stiff, painful joints are typical symptoms of osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease. Joint pain is caused by a breakdown and destruction of cartilage that allows the bones in a joint to glide over one another, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. With the cartilage no longer there, pain, swelling, and loss of joint motion results. To relieve pain and increase function, joint replacement surgery is an incre...
Acupuncture Can Help Relieve Headache Pain
Acupuncture Can Help Relieve Headache Pain A recent study confirms what some migraine sufferers already know: Acupuncture may help relieve chronic headache pain. Acupuncture typically involves inserting thin needles into particular areas of the body. Acupuncture was developed in China more than 2,000 years ago. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health published a Consensus Statement on Acupuncture, citing the possible benefits of its use in treating a variety of conditions, including headache. Althoug...
ADHD Drugs Safe, Experts Say
ADHD Drugs Safe, Experts Say Parents of kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face a tough choice: whether to medicate their children or not. And this affects a lot of families. Experts say 6 to 8 percent of school-age kids have ADHD. It's a touchy subject, and it got even thornier after recent reports linked popular ADHD drugs to increased health risks, especially risks for heart problems. But the top experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as at other professional gr...
AEDs: High-Tech Help for Heart Attacks
AEDs: High-Tech Help for Heart Attacks You've seen it time and again on television shows: After someone suffers a sudden heart attack, emergency room doctors grab the paddles and deliver an electric shock to the patient to help restore a normal rhythm. Such scenes may play out for real at airports, malls, sports arenas, health clubs, golf courses and even some businesses -- and you could be holding the paddles. That's because technology has given us the automated external defibrillator (AED), which is t...
Age and Asthma
Age and Asthma Many people think of asthma as a childhood disease, but it often occurs as a new condition in older adults. Asthma in older adults presents some special concerns because the normal effects of aging can make asthma harder to diagnose. It also can be hard to distinguish asthma from heart failure, which can cause wheezing, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which in turn can cause a chronic cough. A correct diagnosis is critical because the treatment of these diseases is very differe...
Aging Eyes and Glasses
Aging Eyes and Glasses As your eyes age, their lenses become less flexible, and they slowly lose their ability to focus on nearby objects. It's an ongoing, lifelong process called presbyopia, which you begin to notice between ages 40 and 45, when the condition starts to affect close-up tasks such as reading. It requires some attitude adjustment, especially if have to start wearing glasses for the first time. Presbyopia affects almost everyone over the age of 50. Until now, you could choose your own work...
Air Pollution Can Break Your Heart
Air Pollution Can Break Your Heart Most people know air pollution can hurt your lungs and make it tough to breathe. But a growing body of research shows air pollution can be as bad or worse for your heart. "The groups of people who are most vulnerable are those already at risk for heart disease. This would include elderly individuals and also people who have other risk factors for heart disease, including people who are overweight, smoke cigarettes, people who have a poor diet -- particularly high in fa...
All About Age-Related Macular Degeneration
All About Age-Related Macular Degeneration Age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people older than 60. What it is Macular degeneration is a chronic, progressive and painless condition that causes the death of cells in the macula, the small central part of the retina that allows you to see fine detail. It blurs the sharp, central vision needed for activities that require straight-ahead vision, such as reading, sewing, and driving. There are two...
All About Aging Eyes
All About Aging Eyes Do you know the difference between normal changes in vision that occur with age and abnormal changes caused by age-related eye disease? Here's a look at some common eye problems associated with getting older. Presbyopia This is the slow loss of ability to see close objects or small print. It happens gradually after age 40 and is considered a normal consequence of aging. The lens of the eye slowly stiffens with age, and the muscles that control the curvature of the lens become unable...
All About Blood Pressure Medication
All About Blood Pressure Medication Your doctor may prescribe antihypertension medication if your blood pressure is high. There are several kinds of medication commonly taken alone or in combination, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Types of medication Diuretics Thiazide diuretics are often the first medications your doctor will try to treat your high blood pressure. They help to lower blood pressure by eliminating excess fluid and salt that accumulate in the body. The excess fluid is ...
All About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
All About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Making healthy lifestyle changes alone is enough to help some people reach the cholesterol goals prescribed by their doctor. Others, however, need to take a cholesterol-lowering medication, as well. According to the American Heart Association, there are five main types: Statins (atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin, pitavastatin). These drugs work mainly by lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol. They typically reduce LDL by 30 to 4...
All About Color Blindness
All About Color Blindness People often use the term color blind to describe trouble seeing certain colors. The medical term for this problem is color vision deficiency. Most people with color vision deficiency can see certain colors. Usually, the difficulty involves distinguishing between shades of red and green. Less often, the condition causes problems with blues and yellows. Very rarely, people with color blindness see the world in black, white, and gray. Facts about color vision deficiency In most c...
All About Gallstones
All About Gallstones Gallstones are rocklike substances that form inside the gallbladder, a sac-shaped organ that is on your right side, just under the liver. About 80 percent of gallstones are made of cholesterol, with the remaining 20 percent made of bilirubin, or a combination of bilirubin, cholesterol, and other substances. Gallstones can be small or as large as a golf ball. They occur more commonly in women, in older people, overweight people who lose weight suddenly, American Indians, and people w...
All About Hip Replacements
All About Hip Replacements If hip pain limits your ability to walk, work, or perform simple activities, you may want to talk to your doctor about a hip replacement. In hip replacement surgery, the diseased parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced with artificial parts, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The aim of hip replacement surgery is to make it less painful to move the joint, as well as improve its function. Today, total hip repl...
All About Kidney Stones
All About Kidney Stones A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney out of substances normally dissolved in the urine. Each year, about 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with the disorder. Kidney stones are more common in Caucasians than in African-Americans. They typically strike between age 20 and 40. Once a person gets one stone, he or she is more likely to develop others. Repeated stone attacks can affect kidneys. How stones form The urinary tract consists ...
All About Muscle Cramps
All About Muscle Cramps Most of us have experienced the pain of a muscle cramp. Maybe you called it "charley horse," especially if the cramp was in your calf. Muscle cramps--involuntary muscle contractions--are common. But even though they can be quite painful, they don't cause damage. Any muscle can cramp, but the muscles of the calf, back of the thigh and front of the thigh are most commonly affected, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Cramps are also common in the feet, hands, ...
All About Viruses
All About Viruses Viruses are familiar from the common diseases they cause: colds and flu, for instance. But what are they, and how do they cause sickness? A virus is a tiny, infectious particle made up of an outer layer called a capsid that's wrapped around a strand of DNA or RNA. DNA and RNA are chains of genetic material that contains instructions for the virus to reproduce. Some viruses also have a lipid (fatty) membrane surrounding their outer layer. Some have enzymes, a type of chemical that helps...
All About Work-Related Asthma
All About Work-Related Asthma Occupational asthma is a lung disease in which the airways overreact to dust, vapors, gases, smoke or fumes that exist in the workplace. Occupational asthma is more likely to develop in someone who has a family history of allergies, especially to certain substances, latex, animals and flour, for example. Also, cigarette smoking increases the likelihood of developing asthma. A few of these irritants and allergens are: Chemical fumes. Workers in certain manufacturing and proc...
All About Your Nails
All About Your Nails Did you know that fingernails grow faster than toenails? Or, that nails grow faster in the summer than in the winter? Nails are made of a protein called keratin that's also part of your skin and hair. Although the part of the nail you keep trimmed isn't living, the nail originates in living cells in the matrix, the area where the nail joins the finger or toe, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Nail problems Minor problems can be treated at home; more serious pro...
All Kinds of Problems Beset Your Nails
All Kinds of Problems Beset Your Nails Paronychia. Onychomycosis. Surely, these are the names of six-armed Greek monsters that might attack Jason and the Argonauts. In fact, they're microscopic monsters that will gladly attack your nails -- and may cause damage if you don't do something about them. Rarely do people hold forth about the condition of their nails while co-workers are gathered around the office coffeepot. But nail problems do cause considerable pain and embarrassment. As many as 10 percent ...
Allergies on Vacation
Allergies on Vacation If you or your child has allergies or asthma, planning can help you keep sneezes, sniffles, wheezing, and attacks under control while you're on vacation. Tips for travel The following steps can help you and your family travel safely: Meet with your doctor before you go. Let him or her know where you’re going and what medical care is available there. Work with your doctor to make sure you have what you need. Know what to do in case of an emergency reaction. Pack your allergy medicin...
Allergies: Nothing to Sneeze At
Allergies: Nothing to Sneeze At Like other allergy symptoms, hay fever's watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and itching mean your immune system is overreacting to an otherwise harmless substance you've inhaled, swallowed or touched. But the chemical weapons your immune system unleashes on these allergens have powerful inflammatory properties. The result? Those runny noses and eyes, or a variety of other symptoms from hives to itchy skin. Roughly one person in four has some kind of allergy. The most comm...
Allergy Medications and Vaccinations for Older Adults
Allergy Medications and Immunizations for Older Adults Older adults face more risks than young adults when they take medication. Some of these risks are simply because many older adults have several chronic conditions and take different medications for each. Taking multiple medications—both prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC)—increases the risk that the medications will interact in a way that causes problems. Remembering when to take multiple medications also can be a challenge. Other risks are becaus...
Allergy Terms to Know
Allergy Terms to Know Allergen. A substance, such as pollen, mold, dust mites, or animal dander, that can cause an allergic response. Bronchoconstriction. A tightening of the muscles around the airways, narrowing the airways and making breathing difficult. Inflammation. A swelling and irritation in the airways of the lungs common in asthma. Inhaler. A device that delivers asthma medication to the lungs. Mucus. A wet, sticky substance that is produced by the airways when inflamed or infected. Peak flow. ...
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous Although Alcoholics Anonymous and other abstinence-based 12-step programs are the primary form of treatment for alcoholism in the United States, many people are unable to stick with them and return to dependence on alcohol. Today there are alternatives to 12-step programs. Some treatment programs teach problem drinkers to reduce their drinking, an approach that appeals to people who otherwise might not seek treatment. These programs are based on the belief that peopl...
Alzheimer's Disease Quiz
What Do You Know About Alzheimer's Disease? Find out more about this degenerative disease of the brain by taking this quiz. 1. Alzheimer's is the most common form of which of these? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is It is a collection of symptoms characterized by decreasing intellectual and social abilities. A. Malnutrition B. Dementia C. Fatigue D. Psychosis 2. How is Alzheimer's diagnosed? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is No single t...
An Rx for RSV
An Rx for RSV This cold-like virus hits some infants hard As a child, you probably never heard of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). But today, doctors believe RSV is one of the most common cause of respiratory infections in young children. RSV infection may be life-threatening for premature infants and other high risk infants, such as infants with congenital heart disease or other serious chronic illnesses in the first and sometimes second year of life. Parents can help prevent their high-risk child fr...
What Do You Know About Anemia? Anemia is a condition that affects the number of red blood cells in your body. A number of medical diseases and conditions can cause anemia. Find out more by taking the following quiz. 1. Anemia is a common condition. What happens when a person has anemia? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is These cells carry oxygen and iron to nourish all the cells in the body. Anemia isn't a single disease but a condition that has many different causes. A....
Answers to Questions About HPV
Answers to Questions About HPV The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, with more than 20 million Americans currently infected, according to the CDC. HPV is most common in women and men in their late teens and early 20s. HPV is so common that at least 50 percent of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. Learning about HPV can help you avoid infection and seek treatment, if necessary. What are the symptoms of ...
Answers to Questions About Your Child's Mental Health
Answers to Questions About Your Child's Mental Health Children can have mental health disorders that interfere with the way they think, feel, and act. Although some behavior problems can be attributed to normal child development, some require professional help. Children's mental health is as important as their physical health. Great care should be taken to help a child who has a mental health problem because mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders can affect the child's future. The following answers ...
Antibiotics Not the Cure for the Common Cold
Antibiotics Not the Cure for the Common Cold You can catch a cold at any time during the year. And often, you and your family may find yourselves seeking your health care provider's help in battling the misery that the illness can cause. You may even be hoping for a miracle drug that will provide an instant cure. It's easy to mistake antibiotics as a magic remedy for a cold. For a long time, antibiotics have dutifully treated the conditions they were intended to be used for, like bacterial pneumonia, si...
Are Feet at Fault for Back, Hip, and Knee Woes?
Are Feet at Fault for Back, Hip, and Knee Woes? If you are having problems with back pain, shin splints, knees, or hips, look to your feet. Although these ailments might seem totally unrelated to one another, they can sometimes be linked to problems that start with your feet and how they're built, foot experts say. When you walk, you put the force of as much as five times your body weight on each foot. If the foot doesn't absorb that shock or redistribute it properly, you can develop problems elsewhere....
Arthritis and Exercise: Q and A
Answers to Your Questions About Arthritis and Exercise If you have arthritis, you may think you shouldn’t exercise because it could make your condition worse. But doctors and physical therapists insist that people with arthritis can improve their health and fitness through exercise, without damaging their joints, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Q. Why is exercise beneficial if you have arthritis? A. Exercise can help you keep your joints moving, keep the muscles around your joints strong, keep yo...
Ascites Ascites is a condition in which fluid collects in spaces within your abdomen. Although the most common cause of ascites is cirrhosis of the liver, for about 10 percent of people with ascites, the cause is cancer. Facts about ascites Ascites caused by cancer most often occurs with advanced or recurrent cancer of the ovary, bladder, colon, breast, pancreas, or lung, and with lymphomas. If severe, ascites may be painful, and the problem may keep you from moving around comfortably. Ascites can set t...
Asthma on Campus
Asthma on Campus College can pose challenges for the student with asthma. New and unfamiliar living quarters, school and social stresses, and other factors can trigger a flare-up. As always, prevention is important: Do your best to avoid triggers and to stay healthy. Update your asthma action plan, including how to deal with emergencies. These tips can help. Your new space Before you leave for college, review your triggers with your allergist or primary care provider. Then review this list to see what a...
Asthma Terms to Know
Asthma Terms to Know Stepwise. A “stepwise” approach to managing asthma means stepping up (increasing) or stepping down (decreasing) your number and doses of medicines, based on how well your asthma is under control. Under this approach, you use medicine aggressively at first to get asthma under control. The goal, however, is to gradually find and use the fewest number and lowest doses of drugs that will control your asthma. Exacerbation (ex-sass-er-bay-shun) . This means that your asthma symptoms have ...
Asthma: A Worsening of Symptoms
Asthma: A Worsening of Symptoms You can do a lot to control your asthma. Avoiding triggers, taking controller medicines, and monitoring your symptoms can help keep problems at bay. Occasionally, though, your symptoms may still take a turn for the worse. When that happens, it’s important to act right away. By recognizing the early warning signs and talking with your health care provider, you can help keep little flare-ups from turning into big ones. Watch for red flags These warning signs tell you that y...
Asthma: Dealing with Your Child's School
Asthma: Dealing with Your Child's School If your child has asthma, you probably worry about how he or she copes with asthma at school. Having this disease can have a big impact on your child’s grades and learning—in fact, asthma is one of the chief causes of school absences. Research shows that informed, supportive teachers and staff can play a big role in helping students manage their asthma. A+ strategies The CDC has identified six key strategies that teachers and staff can use to help children with a...
Asthma: Exercising Indoors
Asthma: Exercising Indoors When you have asthma, it’s a good idea to work out inside if the weather turns cold. People tend to breathe through their mouth during vigorous activity. When chilly, dry air goes into the airways without first warming up in the nose, it can worsen asthma symptoms. Here’s how you can avoid flare-ups and stay active this winter: Walk the mall. Put on your walking shoes and do laps, and take the stairs instead of the escalator. Go swimming. Many communities have an indoor pool w...
Asthma: First Doctor Visit for Your Child
Asthma: First Doctor Visit for Your Child Your child has been coughing or wheezing, and you’re wondering whether it might be asthma. The first step toward finding out is scheduling a visit to your child’s health care provider. As you prepare for this visit, you may be wondering what questions the provider will ask or what tests and exams your child will need. Below are some brief descriptions. With this information, you and your child can go to that first visit knowing more about what to expect. Medical...
Asthma: HFA Inhalers
Asthma: HFA Inhalers Hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) inhalers are the only type available today. If you've had asthma for a long time, you may wonder how these compare with your old inhalers. Here's what you need to know: HFA inhalers are better for the environment and just as good for your asthma. Out with the old Old-style inhalers use chemicals called CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) to push the medicine out of the container. When released, they reduce the amount of ozone in the atmosphere's stratosphere layer. Th...
Asthma: Out of Breath at a Meal
Asthma: Out of Breath at a Meal If you have asthma and feel short of breath during meals, take these steps to help catch your breath: Eat when you feel rested and relaxed. Don’t wait until you’re exhausted or starving to eat. Try to breathe evenly while chewing. If you begin feeling short of breath, take a break between bites. Eat six small meals a day instead of three big ones. Your diaphragm—the muscle at the base of your lungs that helps with breathing—doesn’t work as well when your stomach is full. ...
Asthma: When to Get an Allergy Test
Asthma: When to Get an Allergy Test If you often have allergy symptoms—such as itchy, watery eyes; a runny nose; wheezing; sneezing; and hives or itchy skin—an allergy test can help determine what you’re allergic to. Sometimes you can tell the allergic substance because of the time that your symptoms happen--in the spring or fall, for instance. But you may need specific allergy testing to figure out other allergies. These tests can be done for adults and children of any age. Your health care provider wi...
Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults Restless. Messy. Easily distracted. These are just some of the words used to describe people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), approximately 4 to 6 percent of the U.S. population has ADHD, amounting to 8 to 9 million adults. Experts estimate that one-half to two-thirds of children with the disorder will continue to have symptoms and behaviors of ADHD as adults. Some adul...
Avoiding Fall Allergy Triggers
Avoiding Fall Allergy Triggers Many people associate allergies with springtime, but ragweed pollen and outdoor molds that arrive in the fall bring just as much misery. More than 35 million Americans endure burning, itchy eyes; sneezing; sniffles; and chapped nostrils caused by allergic rhinitis or hay fever, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). People who have asthma often have allergies that trigger asthma attacks. If allergies bother you in the fall, you’re most...
Babies Need 'Tummy Time'
Babies Need 'Tummy Time' Nearly 15 years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first recommended that parents put their babies to sleep on their back. That simple piece of advice cut the death rate from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by more than half. An unexpected result has occurred, however: flattened heads. The flattening—a result of babies' spending so much time on their back—most often occurs on the back of the infant's head and is usually more pronounced on one side. This flattening...
Beating an Eating Disorder
Beating an Eating Disorder With eating disorders affecting girls at ever-younger ages, a surprisingly simple tactic might help: Dine as a family. Since society has so much influence on adolescents because of the high prevalence of obesity and the pressure to be skinny, many girls are turning to unhealthy ways of controlling their weight. Prioritizing structured family meals that take place in a positive environment can protect girls from destructive eating habits. It doesn't have to be a home-cooked mea...
Bed-Wetting: Help Your Child Stay Dry at Night
Bed-Wetting: Help Your Child Stay Dry at Night Bed-wetting is a common event in young children. It is normal for a child up to age 6 to wet the bed once in a while. As children get older, they can control night urination better. That's because their bladders are larger and more developed. Do not become angry if your child can't stay dry during the night. Never punish or tease your child for bed-wetting. It will only make things worse. Support and patience are the keys in helping your child. Here's what ...
Beware of Diarrhea Dehydration in Infants, Toddlers
Beware of Diarrhea Dehydration in Infants, Toddlers We all dread diarrhea. But when the patient is your infant or toddler, diarrhea can range from a minor annoyance to a medical emergency. The stools of healthy breast- or formula-fed infants usually have the consistency of oatmeal or cream of wheat, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When diarrhea occurs, the stools become more frequent and watery. The cause can include viruses, bacteria, parasites, medications, such as antibiotics or food...
Beyond Cholesterol Cholesterol is a household word, synonymous with coronary artery disease. But a growing body of research shows that this fat-like substance in your blood is just the tip of the iceberg. Scientists have learned that other substances may give you and your doctor new clues about your heart disease risk. And that's good news. Coronary heart disease, in which fatty deposits build up in your arteries, is the nation's top killer. There are more predictors of coronary artery disease and the s...
Biofeedback: Another Way to Manage Pain
Biofeedback: Another Way to Manage Pain You probably don't give much thought to whether your muscles are tense, how fast you're breathing or the number of times your heart beats in a minute. These things occur whether you're aware of them or not. They're beyond your control. Or, are they? Actually, you may be able to learn how to regulate these types of bodily functions using biofeedback, a noninvasive technique that's been around since the early 1990s. In 1908, a Harvard doctor first started studying p...
Blood Pressure Rising Among Children
Blood Pressure Rising Among Children The next time you hear folks talking about their blood pressure, take a look. They may be kids. Yes, children can have high blood pressure, and experts say the number of kids with the problem is on the rise. "We estimate about 10 percent of children between 2 and 18 have high blood pressure," says pediatric heart specialist Reginald Washington, M.D., co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Obesity. "A lot of these kids have not even been diagnose...
Bone Spurs Are a Thorny Problem
Bone Spurs Are a Thorny Problem If you wonder what that stabbing pain is in your heel, it may be a bone spur. "Bone spur" is a general term used to describe a knobby, abnormal bone growth. Bone spurs are also known as osteophytes. Scientists believe bone spurs occur because of osteoarthritis or when the body tries to heal itself after a trauma by replacing bone. The growth is usually small and often undetected. Although bone spurs can form on any bone, they usually occur on joints where two bones come t...
Break Through the Alcoholic's Psychological Defenses
Break Through the Alcoholic's Psychological Defenses For the millions of Americans who must watch their loved ones struggle with a dependence on alcohol, they wonder: How can family and friends break through the alcoholic's psychological defenses—what some experts call the "wall of denial"—so that healing can begin? An alcoholic can't be forced to get treatment or help, and challenging an alcoholic's defenses about his or her drinking is a formidable assignment, says the National Institute on Alcohol Ab...
Breaking the Habit: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Breaking the Habit: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder If you've ever caught an episode of the TV series Monk, you know about the strange behavior of Adrian Monk, the Defective Detective. The title character has obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. Without treatment, OCD is crippling and disabling. The average person with OCD suffers more than seven years before seeking help, often because he or she is embarrassed or unaware that this mental disorder can be treated. Understanding OCD People with OCD suffer...
Cancer Caused by Chemotherapy or Radiation
Cancer Caused by Chemotherapy or Radiation Fortunately, the likelihood of chemotherapy or radiation treatment causing a second cancer is rare. And in most cases, the potential benefits of the treatment far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, cancer can occur in some instances, so it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved before undergoing these cancer treatments. Cancer caused by chemotherapy Chemotherapy drugs are effective in the treatment of many cancers, but these powerful drugs also ...
Cancer Survivor Tips
Cancer Survivor Tips Learning how to take care of your physical and mental health after a cancer diagnosis is the key to living your life to the fullest. These steps from the National Cancer Institute can help cancer survivors do just that. Understand your plan of care Make sure your health care provider clearly explains what to expect: How often will you need to return for checkups? What tests will you need? What major physical and emotional issues can you expect to face in the next year or two, and ho...
Caring for a Child With Type 1 Diabetes
When Your Child Has Type 1 Diabetes If your child suddenly grows weak, tired, and nauseated, the youngster probably has the flu or some other virus. But the symptoms could also be warning signs of type 1 diabetes. Although there's no cure for type 1 diabetes, the disease can be managed. Don't blame yourself Parents need to know that they have done nothing wrong and that there is nothing they could have done that could have prevented type 1 diabetes from occurring. Genetics are thought to play a role in ...
Caring for an Ill Loved One
Caring for an Ill Loved One Caring for anyone is difficult, even in the best of circumstances. If you’ve been called on to care for a chronically ill loved one, the following recommendations can help you fulfill your responsibilities and care for yourself: Be practical Get organized. File paperwork under key topics: medical care, benefits, resources, assisted living, and nursing homes. Keep the person’s medical history and medication list handy. Store them in a binder in which you log conversations—to w...
Caring for Your Sick Child
Caring for Your Sick Child Parents know they have choices when their child is sick. They can treat the child at home, make a doctor's appointment, go to the emergency room, or call 911. But at times, knowing which choice to make isn’t always clear. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many childhood illnesses, such as colds, stomachaches, headaches, and even fevers, can be safely treated at home. But parents need to know they should always call a doctor if they have any doubts or questions a...
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: It's All in the Wrist
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: It's All in the Wrist Do you spend your days using a computer, sorting mail, or assembling small parts? If your workplace duties put stress on your wrists, you may be at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS occurs when the median nerve, which travels through the wrist from the forearm to the hand, becomes squeezed. The median nerve is protected at the wrist by the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway of ligament and bone. If tendons, which also pass through the carpal tunnel,...
Celiac Disease Can Harm Digestion
Celiac Disease Can Harm Digestion Suppose you or a friend has frequent abdominal distress, bloating, and other symptoms that seem to puzzle doctors. Today, experts believe those doctors should consider celiac disease. Also known as celiac sprue, this illness can cause a range of symptoms and problems. Among them: diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, irritability, infertility in women, depression, and anemia. Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and...
CHF and Physical Activity
Heart Failure and Physical Activity If you have heart failure (HF), you may wonder if physical activity is good for you. How could putting more strain on your heart and making it work harder be a good thing? The truth is, moderate physical activity can actually help the heart become stronger. Regular and moderate physical activity, such as walking, swimming or biking, can improve HF symptoms, reduce stress and increase energy levels. It can also decrease blood pressure, improve circulation and help you ...
Children and Cholesterol
Children and Cholesterol If you, your parents, or your parents' siblings had a heart attack before age 55 and you have a child, this advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) might surprise you: Have your child's cholesterol tested. Under certain circumstances, the AAP says, cholesterol-lowering diets, under a pediatrician's supervision, are safe for children. Which children need testing? The AAP recommends that all children be screened for high cholesterol between ages 9 and 11, and again be...
Chlamydia Can Lead to Infertility
Chlamydia Can Lead to Infertility A lot of us don't realize that some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause no symptoms, meaning you could have an STD and not know it. And some STDs can silently lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or chronic pelvic pain. Chlamydia is one of those diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 2.8 million people are infected each year. Chlamydia is most common in sexually active young adults. More than half of all inf...
Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome The illness was once known as "yuppie flu" and chronic Epstein-Barr syndrome because of its suspected link to that viral disease. But more than 15 years after chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) entered the public eye, researchers learned the disorder is more than burnout among young urban professionals, and it's not clearly linked to any specific viral infection. Even though the cause is still unknown, CFIDS still carries a stigma, whi...
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Still a Mystery
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Still a Mystery Imagine feeling bone-tired for months, no matter how much sleep you get. Picture being able to accomplish only half as much each day as you used to--with nothing obvious to account for your exhaustion. That's life for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Prolonged fatigue Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition marked by excessive, prolonged fatigue that is not lessened with rest or caused by another condition. It is three to four times more comm...
Cleft Palates Can Be Repaired, Overcome
Cleft Palates Can Be Repaired, Overcome Cleft palates and lips are the most common birth defect in the United States, affecting one in 600 births, according to the Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF). The birth defect occurs early in a woman's pregnancy, within the first 10 weeks, when the lips and palate are formed. It can affect both the palate and lips, or just the palate itself. A cleft lip means that the two sides of the upper lip have not joined; this defect often includes the bones of the upper jaw and...
Clinical Guidelines for Heart Failure
Clinical Guidelines for Heart Failure To receive the best care for heart failure, talking frankly with your health care team is a good place to start. It’s also helpful to know about a resource published by health experts that outlines treatment plans recommended for patients with chronic heart failure. Since 1980, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have jointly published clinical guidelines to help health care providers create good care plans for their patients. The g...
Cold Sores: A Common Complaint
Cold Sores: A Common Complaint Even if you don’t get cold sores, you probably know someone who does. An estimated 50 to 80 percent of people are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), the virus that most often causes them. This virus is a close relative of the virus that causes genital herpes, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2). How sores spread Most people who get cold sores were infected with HSV1 before age 20, usually by kissing someone with the virus, according to the National Institute ...
Concussions: Caution Is a No-Brainer
Concussions: Caution Is a No-Brainer It's better to miss a game than a whole season. That's the key message of a campaign by the CDC aimed at an underrated health threat: sports-related concussions. Concussions are a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow or jolt to the head that causes the soft tissue of the brain to knock against the skull's bony surface. Although they range from mild to severe, they're all serious injuries that can harm the way the brain works. For many of these injuries, the athlet...
COPD Remains Widely Undetected
COPD Remains Widely Undetected According to the American College of Chest Physicians, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the world. In the U.S., the CDC lists chronic low respiratory disease as the third leading cause of death among U.S. adults ages 55 and older. COPD encompasses several lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, all of which make it difficult to breathe. In the majority of COPD cases, smoking is the main culprit. COPD de...
COPD: A Quit-Smoking Plan
COPD: A Quit-Smoking Plan You’ve probably heard that one of the best ways to manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is to stop smoking. It’s no secret that it’s a tough habit to break. The average smoker makes about four attempts to quit smoking before breaking the habit for good. To make things easier, you need a plan. Taking these steps can help you quit for good: Choose a quit date and mark it on your calendar. See your health care provider before that date if you think medication might ...
COPD: Boost Your Strength with Exercise
COPD: Boost Your Strength with Exercise Regular exercise can make it easier for you to breathe. It strengthens the muscles you use to inhale and exhale. It can also help your body use oxygen more efficiently. Both are important benefits for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Strength training done two or three times a week can improve your overall fitness level. Strength training builds muscles by using your own body weight, free weights, or exercise machines. The goal is to gradu...
COPD: Coping with Stress
COPD: Coping with Stress Life can be full of stress, especially when you’re managing a health condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Just living every day with the symptoms of COPD and adjusting to limitations because of symptoms can cause anxiety, depression, and stress, which can make breathing more difficult. These can be in addition to things that would trigger stressful feelings in anyone, such as family arguments, rush-hour traffic, or too many bills to pay. The first step...
COPD: End-of-Life Care
COPD: End-of-Life Care Most people have never talked with their loved ones about how they’d like to be cared for at the end of their life. It’s an important talk to have, especially for those living with a chronic disease. What kind of care would you want if you were no longer able to speak for yourself? If you developed severe breathing problems, would you want to be placed on a ventilator? Is it important to you to be independent and live in your own home as long as possible? Talking about end-of-life...
COPD: Good Nutrition Is Important
COPD: Good Nutrition Is Important How much do you know about eating well with COPD? Put your knowledge to the test and see whether you know the answers to these questions. Does sodium intake affect COPD? Yes. If you eat too much sodium, your body may retain fluid. This can make it harder to breathe. Limit salt and other sources of sodium in your diet by not adding salt to foods when cooking or eating, ordering unsalted foods at restaurants, and buying low-sodium foods. Why does good nutrition help lower...
COPD: Heartburn Is Common
COPD: Heartburn Is Common Many people have symptoms of heartburn after eating. They may experience nausea, feel as though food is coming back up the throat, or vomit. When these symptoms occur often, it can be a sign of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other signs of GERD include sore throat, hoarseness, belching, coughing and wheezing, and trouble swallowing. This condition is common in people with advanced COPD. It's possible to take medications that control stomach acid to help relieve the s...
COPD: Home from the Hospital
COPD: Home from the Hospital If you’ve been in the hospital for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recently, you may have questions about how to care for yourself now that you’re back at home. By understanding your treatment plan, you can help prevent another flare-up—and stay out of the hospital. Here are some important factors that you and your health care provider can review together. Managing your medications Part of being able to control the symptoms of COPD means knowing how to use your ...
COPD: Managing Sodium and Potassium Intake
COPD: Managing Sodium and Potassium Intake When you have COPD, healthy eating habits are critical for feeling your best. Two nutrients you should be aware of are sodium and potassium. Below are the whys and hows of watching these nutrients. Sodium Sodium helps regulate the normal flow of fluids in and out of body cells. Too much sodium and salt (sodium chloride) can cause the body to retain too much fluid. This makes breathing more difficult. The excess fluid in the blood makes the heart work harder, wh...
COPD: Medicines for Maintenance
COPD: Medicines for Maintenance People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may need to use several types of medicines to control their symptoms. Maintenance medicines work for an extended time after you take them. For sustained benefits, such as improved control over shortness of breath or less-frequent need for quick-relief medicines, maintenance medicines must be taken on time. Types of medicines Each person's treatment for COPD must be tailored to that person's condition--mainly the sev...
COPD: More of Us Are Out of Breath
COPD: More of Us Are Out of Breath The average person takes 12 breaths every minute while at rest. It's a reflex--you don't pay attention unless there's a problem. However, a rising number of us literally can't catch our breath because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. The main types of COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These two conditions account for most cases of COPD, which affects million...
COPD: Safe Oxygen Tips
COPD: Safe Oxygen Tips If you use oxygen to help manage the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), be sure to handle it with care. It’s essential to follow these safety tips: Don’t smoke while using oxygen, and don’t let anyone smoke near you. Put up no smoking signs in your home where you most often use the oxygen. Stay at least 5 feet away from any open flame, such as a gas stove, candle, or cigarette lighter. Don’t use oil-based products such as creams and lotions that contain petr...
COPD: Tips for Easier Dressing
COPD: Tips for Easier Dressing When you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), even getting dressed can sometimes seem like a challenge, especially in the morning when symptoms can be the worst. These pointers can help: Select clothes that don’t restrict your breathing. Choose loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. Try wearing drawstring pants instead of pants with a tight waistband or belt. Women can try wearing a soft sports bra or camisole instead of a regular bra. Avoid socks or pantyhose w...
COPD: When Symptoms Get Worse
COPD: When Symptoms Get Worse When the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) get worse, it’s important not to ignore them. Your goal is to keep your lungs working as well as possible. Talk with your health care provider about whether these steps can help you control COPD. To help control worsening symptoms of COPD, be aware of the early warning signs of change, such as more frequent symptoms or the onset of a new symptom. This could include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or ...
Coping with Chronic Pain
Coping with Chronic Pain Chronic pain can be the result of an injury, illness, or medical condition, or its cause may be unknown. Some people with chronic pain can develop emotional problems or physical limitations that impair their relationships, hamper job performance, and limit their activities. Effective pain treatments are available. You can also take steps yourself to ease ongoing discomfort. Treatment ideas Find a health care provider who understands chronic pain, has experience treating pain sim...
Coping with Dry Mouth During Cancer Therapy
Coping with Dry Mouth During Cancer Therapy Dry mouth is a common complaint during some types of cancer treatments. The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia . Xerostomia is not a disease; it’s a symptom. Some types of cancer medications can cause dry mouth symptoms, but the most common cause is radiation treatment for cancer of the head and neck area. Radiation treatment is the use of X-ray beams to destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, these beams can also damage some normal tissue. If some of your ...
Coping with Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment
Coping with Hair Loss During Cancer Treatment Hair loss, known medically as alopecia, is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, the drugs used to attack the cancer cells in your body. It’s normal for both men and women to worry about losing their hair during cancer treatment. Hair loss can be difficult emotionally because of the way it alters your appearance. It’s hard to predict exactly how much hair loss you will have. Some people lose all the hair on their body, even their eyebrows and ...
Coping with Miscarriage
Coping with Miscarriage Miscarriage is common, but that knowledge may be cold comfort if you’re coping with a recent loss. In fact, many women are surprised by the intensity of their emotions after a miscarriage. The feelings can run from shock and sadness to irrational guilt and anxiety about future pregnancies. Men, too, may struggle with feelings of loss and inadequacy. This is especially true if they’re unsure about how to help their partner through this difficult period. Such feelings are perfectly...
Coping with PMS
Coping with PMS Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of symptoms related to a woman's monthly menstrual cycle, according to the National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC). As many as 85 percent of all women who have menstrual periods experience at least one PMS symptom. A small percentage of women, between 3 and 8 percent, have a more severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Symptoms PMS has many physical symptoms, though many of them have other possible causes. PMS s...
Could That Stomachache in Your Child Be Appendicitis?
Could That Stomachache in Your Child Be Appendicitis? "My tummy hurts!" This common childhood cry can mean almost anything, from anxiety about school to a serious illness. Usually, it's nothing to worry about. But how do you know when it might be appendicitis or something else that needs immediate attention? "Determine the severity of the pain. If the child is complaining about stomach pain, but is still playing, laughing and eating, chances are it's nothing serious," says Pennsylvania pediatrician Will...
Could This Be Perimenopause?
Could This Be Perimenopause? A generation ago, hot flashes, irregular periods, and mood swings would have been labeled menopause or “the change of life.” Today, your doctor is more likely to call this perimenopause , a new term for the transitional years leading up to the end of menstruation. Perimenopause often begins around age 47 and lasts for about five years. During this time, the ovaries gradually become smaller and fertility declines. At the same time, the levels of the hormones estrogen and prog...
Cut Your Cholesterol, Without Drugs
Cut Your Cholesterol, Without Drugs Regarding the troublesome fat your body makes called cholesterol: Chances are good that you may not need drugs to keep it in check. True, people with a strong genetic predisposition to high cholesterol often need medication to control cholesterol. But a lot of people don't. For most people, lifestyle changes are the key to maintaining a healthy balance between bad cholesterol, which clogs the arteries, and good cholesterol, which combats the clogging process. High cho...
Dental Implants Can Last a Lifetime
Dental Implants Can Last a Lifetime Dental implants have been around a very long time. Anthropologists working at the pyramids have discovered crude implants in Egyptian mummies thousands of years old. But modern implant dentistry was born in Sweden about four decades ago. Since then, researchers have made great strides, resulting in a procedure with an extremely high success rate. "Implants survive very well. They're successful in the high-90-percentile range," says Dean Morton, B.D.S., M.S., associate...
Depressed Kids Need Help
Despite Antidepressant Fear, Depressed Kids Need Help A new label on some antidepressants, a so-called black box warning, cautions that they may make kids feel more suicidal. But that warning shouldn't stop parents from considering their use for depressed teens, psychiatrists say. In short, teen depression is a serious illness. The benefits of getting help, including taking medications if needed, far outweigh the potential risks. Keeping watch A specific group of antidepressants called selective seroton...
Depression Not a Normal Part of Aging
Depression Not a Normal Part of Aging Depression is not a natural part of growing old but rather a medical condition that should be treated aggressively. Depression in older adults, or in anyone, should not be thought of as normal. Some groups are at higher risk, but the average older person is not depressed any more than a young person. Depression is an illness that affects around 14 of every 100 adults over age 65 in the U.S. Non-Hispanic white men older than 85 have the highest rates of suicide in th...
Diabetes and Sensitive Topics
Diabetes and Sensitive Topics Diabetes affects every part of your life, and it can create problems that aren't easy to talk about with your health care provider. It's important, however, to bring them up, because most problems are treatable. And though you might feel embarrassed, it may help to know that providers see these problems every day. Here are some common sensitive topics that people with diabetes deal with and suggestions for how to talk about them. Depression Depression refers to feelings of ...
Diabetes Tops Child Obesity's Health Risks
Diabetes Tops Child Obesity's Health Risks According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children who weigh too much face a broad array of health problems, with type 2 diabetes leading the list. Closely linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes was once so rare among children that it was called adult onset diabetes. According to the AAP Executive Committee on Endocrinology and doctors nationwide, health professionals are seeing many 12- and 13-year-olds with type 2 diabetes. Doctors estimate that half...
Diabetes: Take Care from Head to Toe
Diabetes: Take Care from Head to Toe Most of us could use a head-to-toe checkup now and then. For people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, however, it is important to get a head and toe checkup at least once a year. Nearly 26 million people in this country have diabetes, according to the latest statistics from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). For them, eyes and feet can be potential trouble spots. The ADA recommends an eye exam and a foot exam by a medical professional each year. Diabetes can cau...
Diabetic Skin Troubles
Diabetic Skin Troubles We often take our skin for granted, but if you’ve ever had an itchy rash or a boil, you know how painful even a small skin problem can be. About one-third of people with diabetes get a skin problem sooner or later. Fortunately, most problems can be prevented or easily treated. Here are three common problems and how to prevent them. Dry, itchy skin When blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid. Diabetic nerve damage can also decrease sweating. Both can lead to dry skin. To prev...
Discovering Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy
Discovering Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy Nearly 26 million Americans deal with the challenges of diabetes every day, according to the latest statistics from the CDC. A percentage of people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes also face a challenge called diabetic autonomic neuropathy and never know it until the complication becomes severe. Diabetic autonomic neuropathy is a subgroup of diabetic neuropathy, a group of nerve diseases affecting the peripheral nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. There are ...
Diseases from Your Pets, Both Common and Exotic
Diseases from Your Pets, Both Common and Exotic Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), monkeypox, and a host of diseases can find their way into people from animals. Truth is, almost any critter can infect us. So the huge growth in the popularity of exotic pets--snakes, lizards, monkeys, birds--is cause for concern. Handle with care According to the American Pet Products Association 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey, about 6.5 percent of U.S. homes house a reptile. You may like turtles, snakes, an...
Does Ageism Exist in Cancer Care?
Does Ageism Exist in Cancer Care? You have many things to enjoy about getting older. Maybe you’re retired and enjoying travel and hobbies and spending time with grandchildren. But you might also have issues related to aging that are difficult to contend with, such as increasing health problems. As you get older, you're at greater risk of developing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Although terrifying at any age, a cancer diagnosis is of special concern to olde...
Don’t Let Asthma Triggers Dampen Spring Fever
Don't Let Asthma Triggers Dampen Spring Fever The arrival of springtime and warm weather means that the time is ripe for asthma triggers, such as pollen or air pollution. But don't let these triggers dampen spring fever. You can still enjoy the season by managing your exposure: Try to exercise indoors, if possible, or complete outdoor activities in the morning, when pollution levels tend to be lower. Pay attention to pollen levels. These are often noted in your local weather report. Try to spend less ti...
Don't Ignore Dry Eyes
Don't Ignore Dry Eyes You might feel a sand-like grittiness in your eyes that can range from mild to severe. People describe the feeling as a lack of lubrication -- and that's exactly what it is. Your body isn't making enough tears, or the chemicals in your tears are out of balance. When this happens, you have dry eye. Dry eye is a medical diagnosis that at times is not taken seriously, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA). According to the AAO a...
Don't Rule Out Adult-Onset Asthma
Don't Rule Out Adult-Onset Asthma Approximately 25 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with asthma as of 2009, according to the CDC. It is often thought of as a childhood condition, but asthma affects more adults than children. In some cases, asthma may not be diagnosed until adulthood. Asthma is a chronic disease marked by wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. These symptoms are caused by chronic inflammation of the airways, increased mucus, and thickening and narrowing of...
Don't Rush into Cataract Surgery
Don't Rush into Cataract Surgery People shouldn't panic and rush into surgery when cataracts are first diagnosed. In most cases, cataracts are something people can live with for a long time after diagnosis, eye experts say. That's because cataracts, which are a clouding of the lens inside the eye, usually start small and develop slowly. The exceptions are cataracts caused by an eye injury or disease or those present at birth, which are rare. Most people with cataracts can benefit from an annual eye exam...
Don't Sell a Short Kid Short
Don't Sell a Short Kid Short Your child seems short next to other children of the same age. Should you worry? The short answer is, maybe. Some children grow more slowly than others. Height in the low normal range is still normal, doctors say. If you and your spouse are short, your child will likely join you. Ask the doctor Although being short is common, serious growth disorders are not. But don't ignore your concerns—talk with your child's doctor. If you follow guidelines for routine well-baby and well...
Ease the Pain of Muscle Cramps
Ease the Pain of Muscle Cramps You're on the final leg of your daily run when a cramp strikes your lower leg. Your stride shortens and you begin to limp, hands reaching toward your calf. What causes this painful problem that's sometimes called a Charley Horse? Experts aren't exactly sure. Cramps can occur during exercise when a muscle becomes tired from repeated activity and when there's a salt/fluid imbalance. The muscle suddenly contracts, often causing a very tight ball or knot. Some cramps occur at ...
Eating Disorders in Men
Eating Disorders in Men Most people think it is women who believe their bodies must look a certain way because of the body types portrayed on TV, runway models, movie stars, magazines, coaches, parents, friends, classmates, heroes, and Barbie dolls. They think it is women who try to achieve these body types and may suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, or binging. And until recently, they were right. The majority of those seeking treatment for these disorders were women. Not an...
Eczema in Kids: Annoying, but Treatable
Eczema in Kids: Annoying, but Treatable A scaly, red, itchy, dry rash can show up in the first weeks of life. It signals a vexing but treatable skin problem called atopic dermatitis (AD), often known as eczema. The main symptom of AD is itching. When the child chronically scratches or rubs the area, this can lead to inflamed, rough, thickened skin. Skin areas affected by AD can become red and oozing. In younger children, the rash usually occurs on the face, scalp and on the outer areas of the arms and l...
Emergency Symptoms for People Who Use Insulin
Emergency Symptoms for People with Diabetes Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas either produces no insulin (type 1 diabetes) or too little or ineffective insulin (type 2 diabetes). Type 2 diabetes may also be related to insulin resistance, a condition that arises when the body's cells become less sensitive to the effects of insulin. Insulin is a substance needed to regulate blood sugar levels. People can manage diabetes with insulin, diet, exercise, and possibly other medications...
Emphysema and AAT Deficiency
Emphysema and AAT Deficiency Emphysema is a lung disease that affects the walls of the alveoli, the small sacs in the lungs that exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. Emphysema causes the alveolar walls to lose their elasticity. This causes small pockets of dead air to remain in the lungs and makes it difficult to exhale air from the lungs. Most emphysema cases are caused by smoking, but about 3 percent of cases are caused by an inherited deficiency in a protein that normally protects the alveoli. This pr...
End-of-Life Concerns for Cancer Patients
End-of-Life Concerns for Cancer Patients In the course of cancer treatment, some cancer patients and their families will face difficult, end-of-life decisions. Many thoughts may race though your mind: What will happen to my family? How long will I live? How do I maintain control? Hearing your doctor suggest that you plan and prepare for the end of life can be overwhelmingly emotional and confusing. Talking about end-of-life care may not only be extremely difficult, it may also catch you by surprise. Acc...
Endometrial Cancer Click Image to Enlarge What is endometrial cancer? The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Cancer of the endometrium, the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the endometrium. Endometrioid cancer is a specific type of endometrial cancer. Cancer of the endometrium is different from cancer of the muscle of the uterus, which is called uterine sarcoma. About 80 percent of all endometrial cancers ar...
Essential Eye Care for Diabetes
Essential Eye Care for Diabetes People with diabetes are at a higher risk for conditions that cause vision loss or blindness than other people, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). If you have diabetes, you can take steps to reduce your risk for vision loss or blindness. Diabetes can cause the following eye disorders: Diabetic retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina, the light sensitive area at the back of the eye. The damage is caused by changes in the blood vessels th...
Essential Foot Care
Essential Foot Care Years of wear and tear can be hard on your feet, as can shoes that don’t fit properly. Injuries and disorders of the feet can affect your mobility. Here are ideas from the American Podiatric Medical Association on how to take good care of your feet: Inspect your feet regularly. Look for any changes in color, discoloring, or thickening of the nails, or peeling or scaling on the soles. See your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms. Shop wisely for shoes. If you play t...
Essential Self-Care for Arthritis
Essential Self-Care for Arthritis If you have arthritis, taking your medication and following your doctor's recommendations are essential. But self-care can be just as important in your daily and long-term management of the disease. Other important parts of treatment include exercise, rest and relaxation, a healthy diet, and instruction on how to use your joints and conserve energy (no wasted motion). The following medical and self-care steps can make living with arthritis easier and less painful. Medic...
Evaluating Complementary Cancer Cures
Evaluating Complementary Cancer Cures No one wants a cure for cancer more than someone with the disease. Because of this, many people are willing to try treatments outside the mainstream of traditional medicine. But while some complementary and alternative methods (CAM) have been scientifically proven to promote healing or reduce symptoms, many have not. Understand CAM treatments A small number of CAM therapies originally considered to be purely alternative approaches are finding a place in cancer treat...
Exercise Can Ease Fatigue of Chemotherapy
Exercise Can Ease Fatigue of Chemotherapy If you're diagnosed with cancer, it's normal to have questions, fears, and a feeling of being out of control of your life. Fortunately, there's something you can do. You can start an exercise program. Chemo effects Each person responds differently to cancer treatment. Your reaction depends on the particular chemotherapy drug you are given. It also depends on your health, as well as the type and extent of cancer. Some people are able to continue with their work a...
Facing Up to Alcohol in the Workplace
Facing Up to Alcohol in the Workplace Alcoholism is often called a family disease because it affects the family as well as the individual with alcoholism. However, alcoholism is also a workplace disease. Costly and dangerous Employees who are dependent on alcohol have higher health care costs than the average worker. In addition, workers who drink on the job or heavily after work may take chances that may affect the safety, productivity, and morale of coworkers. Symptoms on the job Frequent absences, es...
Facts About Skin Cancer
Facts About Skin Cancer Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than two million new cases diagnosed each year. Up to 50 percent of Americans who reach age 65 will have some type of skin cancer. It's also increasing in young people. The skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis (outer layer); the dermis (middle layer); and the subcutis (the deepest layer). The epidermis has three different types of cells: squamous cells form the top level; basal cells form...
Feeling 'Pins and Needles' Is a Circulation Problem
Feeling 'Pins and Needles' Is a Circulation Problem A tingling or numb sensation in the muscles is a condition called paresthesia. It's a sign that a nerve is irritated. Think of that pins-and-needles feeling as a traffic jam in your nervous system. When traffic is running smoothly, tiny electrical impulses move along the nerves that run from your spine to your arms and legs. These sensations then move up the spinal cord to the brain. But if sustained pressure is placed on a nerve, you create a roadbloc...
Finding the Right Rehab Program for Substance Abuse
Finding the Right Rehab Program for Substance Abuse The biggest myth about drug and alcohol rehabilitation is that treatment doesn’t work. And believing that myth may be one reason that finding the right rehabilitation program seems so hard. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, of the 23.2 million people who need alcohol or drug treatment, only 3.9 million make it into a rehab facility. Another myth that persists despite overwhelming evidence is that substance abuse is just a matter of cho...
For a Smile That Dazzles Think Veneers
For a Smile That Dazzles Think Veneers Professional models do it. Actors and actresses do it. Even politicians do it. They're changing their smiles—and they have influenced a growing number of people to take the same step by asking dentists to give them veneers. Simply put, a veneer is a covering, something like the thin layer on a piece of furniture that gives it the look of natural wood. When it comes to your teeth, a veneer refers to a thin covering usually made of porcelain. How thin? "Porcelain ven...
For More Babies, Birth Comes Too Soon
For More Babies, Birth Comes Too Soon Full-term babies are born between 37 and 42 completed weeks of pregnancy. Babies born prior to 37 weeks gestation are considered premature. More than half a million babies are born before they have reached 37 weeks of maturity. Premature babies have an increased risk for complications, such as respiratory distress syndrome and infections. Most preterm babies spend weeks or months in a hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A NICU has a specialized team of n...
For Obese Teens, Surgery Is the Last Resort
For Obese Teens, Surgery Is the Last Resort Extreme obesity plagues more than 5 million teens and young adults, experts estimate. These youths tend to be at least 100 pounds or 100 percent above their ideal body weight. Teens who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater are considered extremely obese. BMI is a way of calculating whether a teen or adult is overweight or obese. It is based on a measure of weight and height. A teen is overweight if his or her BMI is 25 to 29.9. Moderate obesity is 30 ...
For Seniors: Is It More Than the Blues?
For Seniors: Is It More Than the Blues? Everyone has feelings of sadness or unhappiness now and then. When feelings of sadness or despair don't go away and interfere with daily life, depression may be the reason. Although anyone can suffer from depression, it is particularly common among older adults. Depression affects 15 out of every 100 adults older than 65, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Depression has an impact on all aspects of a person's life, taking a toll on physical and me...
For Young Women, What's Your Stroke Risk?
For Young Women, What's Your Stroke Risk? Although most strokes occur in people older than 50, about one in 5,000 women ages 15 to 49 suffers a stroke each year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). A stroke occurs when brain cells die because the brain is deprived of oxygen. The most common cause of stroke is a blockage in an artery, a blood vessel that brings oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This type of stroke is called an ischemic stroke. The blockage is n...
Free Your Home of Asthma Triggers
Free Your Home of Asthma Triggers Many of the things that trigger asthma symptoms can be found in your home. So the first step to controlling asthma is finding and removing these triggers. This will help you feel better. You may even need to take less medicine. Common asthma triggers are dust mites, pets and pet dander, cockroaches, mold, tobacco smoke and pollen, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). With a little detective work, you can identify triggers in your home and get rid of them. C...