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Wellness Library   - Your Body

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  • A Question of Taste--Or Is It Smell?

    A Question of Taste--Or Is It Smell? Sometimes when we talk about taste, we're really talking about smell. Much of our experience of the "taste" of food is what we smell of the food in our mouths, ex...

  • A Quick Look at Reflexes

    A Quick Look at Reflexes What happens when your health care provider taps on your knee with a rubber mallet? Your leg kicks forward, seemingly on its own. And in a sense, your leg has a mind of its o...

  • A Strategy for Scars

    A Strategy for Scars You may think they're unsightly, but scars serve a purpose. They show that your body has repaired a wound. But while you're healing, you can help lessen scarring. Scars form afte...

  • Alcohol and Older Adults

    Alcohol and Older Adults Many older adults enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching the game on TV. Having a drink now and then is fine—as long as you don’t overdo it. When you’re o...

  • All About Endocrine Hormones

    All About Endocrine Hormones When you say hormones , you may be thinking of estrogen and testosterone. But these complex chemicals govern far more than sexuality. Hormones, which are chemical signals...

  • All About Hair

    All About Hair As a child, the only trouble your glossy mane gave you was when it hung in your eyes. Otherwise, you rarely gave it a second thought. Flash forward a few decades, and you've gone from ...

  • All About Melatonin

    All About Melatonin Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm, or the 24-hour cycle of biological processes called your "internal body clock." It helps oversee sleep, hormone produc...

  • All About the Stomach

    All About the Stomach Your stomach is as an organ essential for digestion, the process of breaking down food into its smallest particles so your body can absorb nutrients. The process of digestion in...

  • Andreas Vesalius, Father of Modern Anatomy

    Andreas Vesalius, Father of Modern Anatomy Today we take for granted our knowledge of human anatomy. We can thank early scientists such as the 16th-century anatomist Andreas Vesalius, who struggled t...

  • Appendicitis: Children and Teens

    Appendicitis: Children and Teens Appendicitis is an inflammation that can lead to infection of the appendix. It affects 7 percent of Americans and is the most common reason for a child to need emerge...

  • Artificial Teeth

    Artificial Teeth Not long ago, most people assumed they would need dentures someday. But because of modern dental techniques, dentures are no longer inevitable. Instead, they're an option for people ...

  • As You Age, Be Aware of B12 Deficiency

    As You Age, Be Aware of B 12 Deficiency Are you short on stamina? Is your memory fuzzy? Don't assume it's just part of aging. Feeling tired, in a funk, or confused can point to problems you can solve...

  • Basics About Your Newborn’s Body

    Basics About Your Newborn’s Body For the past nine months, you’ve been getting ready for your baby’s arrival. But now that you’re bringing home your bundle of joy, you’re a little worried. How will y...

  • Blood Transfusion Quiz

    Take the Blood Transfusion Quiz Each year, millions of Americans roll up their sleeves to donate blood, helping accident victims, surgical patients, and others in need. How much do you know about blo...

  • Blood Vessels: Your Internal Superhighway

    Blood Vessels: Your Internal Superhighway Driving to work every day, you may hear the radio traffic person talking about another clogged artery in the far-flung road system. But no mere highway grid ...

  • Boning Up on Marrow

    Boning Up on Marrow You may think of your bones as similar to the girders that support a skyscraper. Like I-beams, they're rigid and strong. But though bones may appear dense and solid, inside there'...

  • Checking Your Own Blood Pressure

    Checking Your Own Blood Pressure Blood pressure checks are a common reason for doctor visits. Yet, for less than the cost of a single appointment, you may be able to purchase your own blood pressure ...

  • Contraception: Many Options

    Contraception: Many Options About half of all pregnancies in this country are unplanned, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For a woman who wants to plan when she b...

  • 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...

  • 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 thi...

  • Debunking 10 Aging Myths

    Debunking 10 Aging Myths Many older Americans lead healthy, interesting, and productive lives well into their later years. But that’s not what we usually hear about. Instead, the emphasis is often on...

  • 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 ol...

  • 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...

  • Don't Forget to Remember

    Don't Forget to Remember Do you remember what you had for dinner last night? What about dinner last week? How about the name of your second-grade teacher? Your memory is built in three basic steps. B...

  • Don't Take Your Eyes for Granted

    Don't Take Your Eyes for Granted Imagine what life would be like if you couldn't see well. Reading might not be possible. Watching a movie could be tough. Focusing on the face of a loved one could dr...

  • Dress for Success--and Your Health

    Dress for Success—and Your Health Are you a slave to fashion? You might be doing damage to more than just your pocketbook. For women, ill-fitting, irritating, or otherwise inappropriate clothing and ...

  • Dry Mouth: It's a Warning Sign

    Dry Mouth: It's a Warning Sign A dry mouth may not sound like a health threat. But that parched feeling can cause tooth decay and gum trouble, as well as discomfort when eating or speaking. Dry mouth...

  • 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 America...

  • Exercise and Target Heart Rate

    Exercise and Target Heart Rate The fitness world is full of exercise gadgets, some good, but many more trouble than they are worth. Regardless of what shape you are in, one device you might find usef...

  • Exercise Ideas for Older Adults

    Exercise Ideas for Older Adults Finding ways to get exercise as you get older is a smart and easy way to stay fit and improve your health. Exercise is just as important in your older years as when yo...

  • Eye Quiz

    The Eye Quiz Don't sit too close to the TV. Don't watch TV without a light on in the room. Don't use over-the-counter eyedrops. Are these statements true? Find out by taking the following quiz. 1. Si...

  • Five Myths About Water

    Five Myths about Water About 60 percent of an average adult man's weight is water. About 50 percent of an average adult woman's weight is water. But is the water you drink giving you something you do...

  • Five Steps to Better Memory

    Five Steps to Better Memory You've met her before. You can even remember where. But her name? It eludes you, taunting you, just out of reach. Has this happened to you? Do you accept it as part of gro...

  • Give Bad Breath the Brush-Off

    Give Bad Breath the Brush-Off It happens to the best of us. At one time or another, we suffer from bad breath, also called halitosis. While it's rarely a sign of a major medical problem, bad breath c...

  • Good Night, Sleep Tight

    Good Night, Sleep Tight Dim the lights, lower the shades, breathe deeply, and slide under the covers. It's bedtime. But as your body begins to relax, your mind starts to race. Did you get everything ...

  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

    Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow Many Americans experience some degree of hair loss—alopecia, in medical terms. The results are far from life-threatening. "Hair loss patients are some of my most stressed pa...

  • Hair: The Long and Short of It

    Hair: The Long and Short of It Some hair on your head falls out every day, no matter what your age. And that is perfectly normal. Each hair strand goes through two phases: a growing phase and a resti...

  • Hearing Hazards in Everyday Life

    Hearing Hazards in Everyday Life According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), nearly 28 million Americans are experiencing hearing loss, and 500,000 to 7...

  • Help for Hair Loss

    Help for Hair Loss Hair loss is a natural part of the cycle of hair growth. Each hair on your head will grow for two to three years before it starts a resting phase. At that time, it begins to fall o...

  • Help for Heel Pain

    Help for Heel Pain Heel pain has many possible causes. Learning about the symptoms can help you take care of your heels and prevent problems. Plantar fasciitis This condition occurs when the plantar ...

  • How Much Do You Know About Kidney Health?

    How Much Do You Know About Kidney Health? 1. How much blood do your kidneys filter daily? a. 15 gallons b. 25 gallons c. 50 gallons d. 125 gallons 2. Your kidneys are what part of the body? a. centra...

  • How the Nose Works

    How the Nose Works The nose on your face is just the tip of an iceberg. The important functions--breathing and smelling--actually happen mostly inside your head, in your nasal cavity. The air inhaled...

  • How to Prevent and Relieve Digestive Problems

    How to Prevent and Relieve Digestive Problems Just as simple things can upset your digestive system, simple changes can help. The following tips can help prevent or relieve digestive ills. See your h...

  • How to Tell if Your Child Needs Braces

    How to Tell if Your Child Needs Braces Q: So many children have braces. How can I tell if my child is heading toward needing braces? A: Children should have a checkup with an orthodontist no later th...

  • How Your Lungs Work

    How Your Lungs Work Your lungs are made of a spongy tissue divided into sections or lobes: The right lung has three lobes, and the left has two. A thin lining called the pleura encases the lungs. Eac...

  • How Your Lymph System Works

    How Your Lymph System Works Every day, your body’s immune system protects you from legions of invaders that attempt to infiltrate your body. A major part of your immune system is the lymph system. Th...

  • Keep Your Kidneys Working Well

    Keep Your Kidneys Working Well Your kidneys are your body's filters. They remove waste and excess fluid from your blood. People who have high blood pressure and diabetes are at higher risk for kidney...

  • Keeping Your Liver Healthy

    Keeping Your Liver Healthy Some parts of your body provide constant reminders that they're on the job. You can feel your heart beating and your lungs filling with air when you take a breath. One of y...

  • Lead and Lipstick: What’s the Story?

    Lead and Lipstick: What's the Story? Wondering whether it's safe to use lipstick? Unless you plan to eat it, the answer is "yes." Concern about lead in cosmetics—especially lipstick—motivated the U.S...

  • Legs Aid Heart in Pumping Blood

    Legs Aid Heart in Pumping Blood Your heart has the gargantuan task of pushing blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels. Still, it may come as a surprise to learn that your heart doesn't do the job...

  • Living Well to Reach Age 100

    Living Well to Reach Age 100 An American born in 1970 can expect to reach the age of about 71. For a baby born today, life expectancy is about 78 years old, and for babies born in 2020, it will be ab...

  • Lymphedema After Breast Cancer

    Lymphedema After Breast Cancer A diagnosis of breast cancer is difficult enough, even with the better outcomes commonly seen today. Yet after you have been successfully treated for breast cancer, you...

  • Male Menopause

    Male Menopause Male menopause is an informal term used for a condition caused when testosterone levels decrease in aging men. Experts disagree on how widespread the condition is. Some say only around...

  • Paybacks for Lost Sleep

    Paybacks for Lost Sleep Are you getting enough sleep? Do you have sleep debt? Lack of sleep, or "sleep debt," can leave you feeling tired, listless and sleepy on a daily basis. Until your body starts...

  • Practicing Better Posture

    Practicing Better Posture Good posture improves your appearance and reduces stress on muscles, joints and ligaments. So, you’re less likely to have strains and pain, especially in your neck and lower...

  • Pregnancy: What’s Normal … and What's Not

    Pregnancy: What’s Normal … and What's Not No one said there’d be days like this, when your whole body seems out of control. Is this a normal part of pregnancy? Or should you call the doctor? You will...

  • Preparing Your Daughter for Changes

    Preparing Your Daughter for Changes If your daughter had grown up 150 years ago, she could have expected her first period around age 16. Today, the average age for that milestone is 12. Nutrition, ev...

  • Q and A: Blood Sugar

    Q and A: Blood Sugar Q. I hear the term blood sugar a lot, but I don't really know what it means. How do you define it? A. Blood sugar is a term that describes the simple form of sugar called glucose...

  • Relaxation Techniques That Really Work

    Relaxation Techniques That Really Work Everyone experiences stress and its effects. Short-term effects of stress include headaches, shallow breathing, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and upset stomach....

  • Say Goodbye to Dry Skin

    Say Goodbye to Dry Skin Does your smooth skin head south as soon as winter sets in? The combination of cold, less-humid air outside and artificial heating indoors may leave you dry and itchy. What ca...

  • Special Foot Care for Diabetes

    Special Foot Care for Diabetes It's not high blood sugar, heart disease, or stroke that most often puts people with diabetes in the hospital. It's their feet. Foot wounds are the most common diabetes...

  • Sweet Dreams as You Age

    Sweet Dreams as You Age Poor sleep is not a normal part of aging. But if you can’t sleep, remember that you’re not the only one. Many adults 60 and older say they suffer from insomnia, according to t...

  • Taking Care of Your Throat

    Taking Care of Your Throat Perhaps it's because you feel a bit hoarse, perhaps it's because your throat feels dry. Whatever the reason, you've probably often felt the urge to clear your throat. The p...

  • The Lowdown on Low Blood Pressure

    The Lowdown on Low Blood Pressure Most people worry about having high blood pressure. For a few people, however, low blood pressure, or hypotension, is a major concern. Current guidelines identify op...

  • The Pituitary Gland

    The Pituitary Gland The pituitary gland is one of the body’s endocrine glands. It is sometimes called the “master gland,” because it controls the functions of other endocrine glands. Endocrine glands...

  • The Power of Meditation

    The Power of Meditation Worry, anxiety and stress can be more than distractions. Continually replaying in your mind daily problems and fears can affect your mental and physical health. By controlling...

  • The Quest for Whiter Teeth

    The Quest for Whiter Teeth You'd like whiter teeth. It seems a lot of people -- from movie stars to the folks next door -- are whitening their teeth. So, you say, "Why not me too?" The experts say mo...

  • The Skinny on Skin

    The Skinny on Skin The skin is your body's largest organ. It protects you against bacteria, viruses, dirt, wind, heat and cold. And it serves as a "window" to the body, alerting doctors when somethin...

  • Thirst and Dehydration

    Thirst and Dehydration Thirsty? Then your body is on its way to becoming dehydrated. For the average adult, water accounts for 60 percent of body weight. That water plays a critical role in nearly ev...

  • Thyroid Trouble Is Tough to Pin Down

    Thyroid Trouble Is Tough to Pin Down "Foot power" is the standard mode of transport for a lot of Manhattan workers. But attorney Diane Wolf grew so tired that walking to the end of a block "felt like...

  • Using a Surgeon's Tools to Erase the Years

    Using a Surgeon's Tools to Erase the Years It's called plastic surgery, but there's no plastic involved. In this case, "plastic" refers to the ability of the surgeon to reshape the skin, the face, or...

  • Wanted: The Free Radical

    Wanted: The Free Radical If you've never heard of a free radical, you will before long. Today more and more medical researchers are saying that, if present in excess, they may harm your body in numer...

  • What Are the Kidneys?

    What Are the Kidneys? Your kidneys are located near the back of your torso, about even with the lowest ribs. One kidney is on either side of the spine. Their main job is to clean the blood of waste p...

  • What Do You Really Know About Sleep?

    What Do You Really Know About Sleep? A good night's sleep -- everyone needs it, but not everyone gets it. We stay up late and get up early, and then wonder why we always feel tired. Why is sleep impo...

  • What Is the Gallbladder?

    What Is the Gallbladder? The gallbladder is a four-inch, olive-shaped muscular sac that lies under the liver in the right side of the abdomen. It acts as a reservoir for bile, a fluid made in the liv...

  • What Is the Sense of Taste?

    What Is the Sense of Taste? Your sense of taste is brought to you by more than 10,000 little taste buds on your tongue that turn eating into a pleasurable experience. Your taste buds are on the papil...

  • What Is the Thyroid Gland?

    What Is the Thyroid Gland? The thyroid gland is a bowtie-shaped organ in your neck, below the larynx. It secretes hormones that control how fast your heart beats, how quickly you digest food, how muc...

  • What to Do About a Pain in the Neck

    What to Do About a Pain in the Neck The neck is the most flexible part of the spine, but because it isn’t well-protected by muscles, it’s also easy to injure. Neck pain can result from many different...

  • Where's the Wisdom in Wisdom Teeth?

    Where's the Wisdom in Wisdom Teeth? For many people, wisdom teeth may seem to be misnamed. Often these teeth are troublemakers that decide to turn crooked, refuse to grow in completely, or become mis...

  • Where's Your Body Fat?

    Where's Your Body Fat? A lot of attention has focused lately on how heavy Americans are becoming. In fact, 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk for cardiovasc...

  • Why Do We Sneeze?

    Why Do We Sneeze? Everybody sneezes. You can try to hold it back, but a sneeze usually just can't be stopped. And that's a good thing, because it's actually one of the body's natural defenses, design...

  • Why Fat Cells Are Important

    Why Fat Cells Are Important Excess body fat is bad for your health, but we all need at least a little fat. Experts note that fat plays an important role in maintaining good health, so we should all u...

  • Why the Doctor Examines the Neck and Throat

    Why the Doctor Examines the Neck and Throat When your doctor gently presses on the outside of your throat and neck during an office visit, it may seem like a brief and unimportant part of your examin...

  • Why the Doctor Looks at Your Fingernails

    Why the Doctor Looks at Your Fingernails Did you know that certain medical problems can be detected when your health care provider examines your fingernails? Their color, shape and condition can tell...

  • Why the Doctor Presses Your Abdomen

    Why the Doctor Presses Your Abdomen For those trained in such touching, pressing on your abdomen can provide significant clues to potential problems. The external examination with the hands gives doc...

  • Why the Doctor Takes a Blood Sample

    Why the Doctor Takes a Blood Sample You probably don't enjoy giving a blood sample, but it's an important part of a physical exam. From a small sample of your blood, your health care provider can ord...

  • Why the Doctor Uses a Stethoscope

    Why the Doctor Uses a Stethoscope You'll see a stethoscope wrapped around the neck of practically every physician. But you may not be aware that this wonderfully useful instrument had its origins not...

  • Why You Need Water

    Why Your Body Needs Water Need a reason to drink water? Water is essential to good health—and life. Up to 60 percent of an adult’s body weight and about 74 percent of a newborn’s body weight is water...

  • You Can Sleep Better as You Age

    You Can Sleep Better as You Age A good night’s sleep is as important to your health as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. As we age, however, it can become more difficult to get deep...

  • Your Immune System's Constant Battle

    Your Immune System's Constant Battle Every day, you're at war. The enemy? Bacteria. Viruses. Even cancer cells. Usually, you're not even aware this battle is taking place. Your immune system carries ...

  • Your Pancreas

    Your Pancreas The pancreas is an oblong flat gland, about six inches long, located below the liver, deep in the abdomen, between the stomach and the spine. It is about as long as your hand in an irre...

  • Your Voice Is Unique

    Your Voice Is Unique You've talked to the guy on the telephone several times. His deep, confident voice conjures up an image of someone tall, slim and distinguished. Surprise. When you meet him he's ...