Sounding Off About Coughs
Coughs, those mini-explosions in your throat, are valuable weapons in your body's self-defense arsenal. Their assignment: keep airways clear by quickly expelling intruders from the lower respiratory system -- principally your throat and upper lungs. If dust, fluid, viruses, bacteria or even tumors block any part of this region, your cough reflex takes explosive action.
Allergies: Nothing to Sneeze At
Roughly one person in four has some kind of allergy. The most common is "allergic rhinitis," which includes seasonal hay fever and year-round allergies to dust, animal dander, mold and some foods.
Why the Doctor Treats Snoring Seriously
The movies and television depict snoring as funny, even hilarious. But snoring is no joke: It's a medical problem that can have serious health and social implications.
Periods, Pregnancy, Menopause—And Sleep
Researchers aren't sure why women seem to have more trouble sleeping than men, but they have noticed that women have the most difficulty when hormone levels fluctuate.
Why the Doctor Gives You an EKG or ECG
Did you know that electrical currents flow throughout your body? Because the strongest of these travels through your heart, doctors are able to monitor your heart by placing electrical sensors on the surface of your skin. They do this by giving you an electrocardiogram -- abbreviated either ECG or EKG (from the original German spelling of the word).
What Is Pertussis?
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract.
Is It an Allergy or a Cold?
This information from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) can help you determine if you're suffering from allergies or a cold.
The Many Causes of Insomnia
Anxiety and stress are the most common causes of insomnia. But sleeplessness can also be caused by a variety of medical conditions, medications and environmental factors.
What Is Motion Sickness?
Motion sickness occurs when your senses offer your brain conflicting reports about what you're doing.
For Young Women, What's Your Stroke Risk?
Women who are obese or who have gained more than 44 pounds since they were 18 years old are about two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke than lean women who have not gained a lot of weight.
Q and A: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Rituals such as hand washing, counting, checking or cleaning are often performed in hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these rituals, however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety. Left untreated, obsessions and the need to perform rituals can take over a person's life. OCD is often a chronic, relapsing illness.
All About Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps -- involuntary muscle contractions -- are common. But even though they can be quite painful, they don't cause damage.
Work and Cancer: How to Cope
Cancer survivors know how important a job can be to their psychological and financial well being. Here are tips to improve the ability to continue working, as well as some ways to handle workplace discrimination during treatment.
The Cluster Headache: Just Like Clockwork
Cluster headaches -- called "cluster" because of their pattern of striking in groups or clusters -- hit at the same time of day for a period of weeks or months, then vanish as suddenly and as mysteriously as they appeared.
Old Makeup Can Cause Serious Eye Infections
Most cosmetics have long shelf lives, but since they can be contaminated with bacteria after only one use, it is a good idea to keep track of how long you have been using products such as mascara and eyeliners.
Aging Eyes and Glasses
As your eyes age, their lenses become less flexible, and they slowly lose their ability to focus. It's an ongoing, lifelong process called presbyopia, which you begin to notice between ages 40 and 45.
Learning to Live with Heart Disease
Millions of people diagnosed with heart disease enjoy active, satisfying lives. Instead of looking on their diagnoses as sentences to be invalids, they have used them as catalysts to make positive changes in their lives.
Antibiotics Not the Cure for the Common Cold
Most of the time, however, a cold passes in a week, with or without the use of antibiotics. Taking these drugs does not help you get better faster. In fact, it can create problems.
Helping the Heart Through Cardiac Rehab
A rehabilitation program often can help heart patients live better with their disease and recover from medical procedures like surgery and angioplasty. But experts say that only 25 percent of those who could benefit from cardiac rehab are getting it.
Your Skin's Worst Enemies
As children, many of us were brought up with the notion that looking good meant lying out in the sun to achieve a tan. Little did we know the dangers of excessive sun exposure.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that involves the regulation of blood sugar and occurs in two different forms, type 1 and type 2.
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.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Still a Mystery
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 CFS.
Side Effects of Medicine May Increase With Aging
Sometimes medicines can cause side effects and actually make a person feel worse. Side effects are more common as people age, so it's important to understand how to identify and prevent side effects.
The 'Soft Teeth' Myth
Children who inherit the family trait of cavities don’t have “soft teeth,” as many people suspect. Instead, a mother’s dental history may be to blame. But with the right habits, you can help prevent cavities in your little one.
Don't Rush into Cataract Surgery
Surgery is necessary only when vision reaches a point that, even with prescription lenses, a person is unable to see well enough to do the things he or she wants to do.
When to Get a Colorectal Cancer Check
All women and men at average risk for colorectal cancer should have a screening test for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50. People who are at higher risk for colorectal cancer may need to begin screening tests at an younger age.
Facts About Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with more than a million new cases diagnosed each year.
Depression Not a Normal Part of Aging
In general, only about three percent of the elderly living independently in the community will experience depression. That figure increases to around 20 to 30 percent of persons in nursing homes or with chronic illnesses like emphysema, heart disease or diabetes.
Treating Teen Acne
Just about every teen will find at least one blackhead or whitehead on his or her skin by age 17, and some teens will develop more severe acne, which can leave scarring if not treated.
Experts aren't sure what causes most scoliosis, but if anyone in your family has it, your child has a 20 percent chance of developing it.
About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a sneaky ailment. The condition has no symptoms that you can see or feel. Having your blood pressure checked is the only way to know if it is high.
What You Need to Know About Strep Throat
Strep bacteria pass from one person to another through nose and throat fluids when an infected person coughs or sneezes or touches another person or object with a hand contaminated by these fluids.
Hypothyroidism and Depression
Chances are you know the difference between occasional sadness and depression. But here's a fact you may not know: Hypothyroidism, a common thyroid disorder, can cause depression.
A Fresh Look at Common Skin Problems
Skin problems such as pimples, blackheads, rashes, and oily skin are common in both teens and adults. But you don't necessarily need a dermatologist to treat them.
Getting Help for Impotence
Nearly all American men experience occasional impotence, and an estimated 30 million suffer from chronic impotence. But despite its prevalence, the condition is treatable in most cases.
On the Road to Recovery
Although you can get support from others, including doctors, friends, and family, you play the biggest role in your own recovery.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
If you are a man, you are at risk for prostate cancer. The risk for prostate cancer increases with age. Your risk is also higher if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that men over age 50 get tested for prostate cancer once a year.
A Closer Look at Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (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.
What Is Angioplasty?
When you feel chest pain from blocked arteries, you might see an interventional cardiologist for treatment.
What to Expect at Your Mammogram
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It can find changes in the breast when a lump is too small for you or your doctor to feel.
What You Need to Know About STDs
Your body usually tells you when you are in danger -- your heart races, you breathe hard, your palms sweat. But when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), you may not have any warning signs.
More Than Just the Baby Blues
As a new mom, your body is going through lots of changes—not just physically, but emotionally, too. If you can’t seem to shake the “baby blues,” there may be a bigger issue at hand than lack of sleep. Discover the warning signs that signal help is needed.
Protect Yourself Against Chlamydia
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States, but many people don't know about it.
Stroke Awareness for All Ages
Strokes occur when something interferes with the normal flow of blood to the central nervous system. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.
What Are Kidney Stones?
Many stones are as small as a grain of sand. Other stones may be pea- or marble-sized and more difficult to pass.
Why Doctors Remove Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens, a clear, soft structure behind the pupil that works much like a camera lens. The top cause of cataracts is aging. In fact, more people over 70 have cataracts than not.
Action Plan for Osteoarthritis
Taking arthritis medication is important, but what you do for yourself, including exercising, doing relaxation exercises and managing your emotions and attitudes, is just as crucial to your ability to lead an active, productive life.
Ministrokes Deserve Maximum Attention
A ministroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA), is a brief episode of stroke symptoms caused by temporary interruption of blood flow to the brain. Most people suffer TIAs without realizing it.
When a Child’s Tonsils Need to Come Out
While it doesn't take long -- about 20 to 30 minutes -- for an ear, nose and throat specialist to remove a child's tonsils, a tonsillectomy should be recommended only after careful consideration.
Middle Ear Infections in Children
Middle ear infections are the most common cause of earaches in children. Most youngsters have had at least one such infection by the time they are 3 years old.
What You Need to Know About AIDS
Homosexuals and heterosexuals alike are at risk. Infected people can pass HIV on to anyone with whom they have intimate contact. Men can infect female or male partners, as can women.
Why a Colonoscopy Is Important
Many people worry about having their large bowel examined with a colonoscope. While anxiety is normal, the colonoscope is an amazing instrument that gives gastroenterologists like me a very close view of the large bowel, also called the colon.
Why Measles Remains a Threat
Children still need immunization because measles remains a significant threat abroad. Worldwide, more than 800,000 children die each year from measles.
The Facts About Fibroids
Fibroid tumors may sound like a serious condition, but for many women who have them, they're just a fact of life.
Using Antibiotics Safely and Wisely
Antibiotics have been misused so much in recent years that doctors now face an alarming problem. Bacteria that once were easily controlled have become resistant to many antibiotics.
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?
How to Reduce the Risk for SIDS
The number of cases for sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, is starting to decline. A lot has to do with proactive steps parents are taking to lower their babies’ risk. Here are nine every parent should know and follow.
Caring for a Child With Type 1 Diabetes
If your child suddenly develops a fever and 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 (juvenile) diabetes.
Is It Time for a New Joint?
Millions of us struggle with pain and loss of motion because of joint damage caused by arthritis. If other treatments fail to offer relief, you may wonder about turning in your worn-out joints for new ones.
How to Fight Stress-Related Diseases
No one can avoid all stress -- and a certain amount actually is good for you. But it's always best to keep unhealthy levels in check when possible.
Soothe That Sore Throat
Sore throats abound in cold, flu, and allergy season. Do you know when you should put up with a sore throat, take a pain reliever, or see a doctor?
Bone Spurs Are a Thorny Problem
Scientists believe bone spurs occur because of osteoarthritis or when the body tries to heal itself after a trauma by replacing bone.
Six Facts on Obesity
We've all heard warnings, yet many of us keep gaining weight. More than half of American adults are overweight or obese, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why Your Doctor Tests Your Blood Sugar
In adults, a screening blood sugar test is generally used to determine if your blood sugar is too high. For adults, having an elevated blood sugar usually will not give you symptoms and may indicate a pending or current problem with type 2 diabetes.
Children and Cholesterol
If you, your parents or your parents' siblings had a heart attack before age 55, you should have your child's cholesterol tested.
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.
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.
Emphysema and AAT Deficiency
The first symptoms of AAT deficiency usually are shortness of breath, wheezing following activity, and a decreased ability to exercise.
Keeping Blood Sugar in Check
The official term for blood sugar is glucose, and having either too little or too much of it occupies the minds of people with diabetes daily -- even hourly. But keeping blood sugar at safe levels can be achieved by most patients through monitoring, diet, exercise and drug therapy.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
It is normal for men to experience changes in erectile function, such as taking longer to achieve an erection. When the problem becomes persistent, it can be a sign of a physical or emotional problem.
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.
Glasses Can Help Even Young Children
Doctors who specialize in children's eye care say children usually become near- or farsighted between ages 6 and 12. But even infants can wear glasses if they need help to see well.
Eating Disorders in Men
Boys and men have eating disorders, too. Males make up 5 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia and 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder.
Prevention of Heart Disease Starts in Childhood
By teaching your kids to follow a healthy lifestyle, you can help reduce their risk for heart disease later in life.
Although children and teens usually don't show the symptoms of heart disease, the silent buildup of plaque (fatty deposits) can start in childhood and can have a serious impact on their adult life.
Taking OTC Pain Relievers
At first glance, visiting the pain-reliever section of your drugstore might just give you a headache -- if you don't already have one. After all, there are more than 150 products on the market to choose from.
Incontinence: A Fairly Common Problem
Bladder and bowel control are complex processes that involve the brain, spinal cord and muscles of the bladder, bowel and pelvis. Loss of bladder or bowel control can be caused by problems with any of these components.
It's not the dust mite itself that causes trouble for people, but its shed skin and fecal matter. These substances bring misery to millions of allergy sufferers.
It’s hard to think positive when you’re feeling sick and nauseous. But those common pregnancy symptoms can benefit your baby. Find out how, and what it takes to ease your symptoms.
PMDD: Debilitating but Treatable
The most severe form of premenstrual syndrome, called PMDD, is marked by a depressed mood, increased anxiety and difficulty with interpersonal relationships.
When Your Child Has a Fever
Most medical professionals agree a fever by itself is not an illness; it is a symptom of an underlying problem. Fevers actually can be a positive sign the body is fighting an infection. However, a fever can cause discomfort for a child.
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.
Thriving After a Heart Attack
Over the long term, your quality of life is tied to how severe your heart attack was and how it was treated. Beyond that, any change will depend largely on you.
Ease the Pain of Muscle Cramps
Cramps do not mean there is a problem with the muscle itself; rather, experts believe they happen when the fluid and electrolyte imbalance catches up to you or when a nerve overstimulates a muscle.
Indoor Air Can Cause Health Problems
Don't assume you're safe just because you're inside. The air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.
AEDs: High-Tech Help for Heart Attacks
Technology has given us the automated external defibrillator (AED), which is turning up far from hospitals. Some schools and public buildings already have AEDs.
Understanding Teenage Depression
The medical community once thought depression affected only adults. The risk for the condition begins in the early teens, however, and increases steadily through the mid-20s.
Managing Prehypertension Without Drugs
Even if your blood pressure is normal or high-normal, you're still at increased risk for hypertension (high blood pressure), the condition in which your heart works too hard and the resulting forceful blood flow harms arteries.
Get Help to Get Around
Many people see canes and walkers as a badge of advancing years and frailty, and go to great lengths to resist using them.
Low Back Pain
Low back pain can range from mild, dull, and annoying to persistent, severe, and disabling pain. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning.
Living Better with Low Vision
If you have low-vision symptoms, talk to your eye-care professional, who can help you find resources and visual devices to make the most of your remaining vision.
When You Have an Eye Allergy
Eye allergies usually affect both eyes. The main symptoms of an eye allergy include itchy eyes, increased tearing, red or pink eyes, and mild swelling of the eyelids.
COPD: More of Us Are Out of Breath
You take an average of 16 breaths every minute. It's a reflex—you don't pay attention unless there's a problem. But a rising number of us literally can't catch our breath.
Living with Eczema
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin that can have a variety of causes. There are acute and chronic forms of eczema. Two common types of eczema are atopic and contact dermatitis.
In Children: Corticosteroids for Asthma
Daily inhaled corticosteroids are a key part of the treatment for children with mild, moderate or severe persistent asthma. "The possible side effects of medication are far less important than the known effects of untreated asthma," says William E. Berger, M.D., president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Pneumonia and Influenza
Flu and pneumonia are respiratory illnesses that should not be taken lightly. In the United States, pneumonia and the flu combined are the sixth leading cause of death. Older adults are at greater risk than younger adults for contracting pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common bacterial form of the disease.
Rosacea and Adult Acne
Rosacea causes redness, tiny bumps or pimples and small blood vessels to appear on the cheeks and nose.
How to Stick With Your Treatment Plan
Many Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, and most rely on regular tests and treatments to be healthier, more comfortable and more productive. But many people with chronic illnesses find it daunting to keep up with prescribed treatments.
What to Do After Your Diagnosis
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with a serious or chronic condition, you likely have a lot of questions regarding treatment and long-term health. Here are some suggestions on how to find accurate information.
Managing Arthritis with Exercise
Exercise has important health benefits for everyone -- regardless of age and physical condition. But for people with arthritis, working out regularly, and within their limits, is critical.
Getting the Most From Physical Therapy
Physical therapists teach people recovering from surgery or with injuries, sprains or arthritis how to perform exercises that will help them gain strength and mobility and prevent recurring injury. Here are suggestions to help you get the most from physical therapy.
Celiac Disease Can Harm Digestion
Celiac disease, or celiac sprue, is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
Keeping Depression at Bay
It's important not to underestimate the dangers associated with depression, especially if you've had multiple episodes or lingering symptoms. For example, people who don't get treated for their depression have a higher risk for suicide.
Smoking and Asthma Don't Mix
One of the major triggers for asthma attacks is cigarette smoke. Cigarette, pipe or cigar smoke is especially harmful to people with asthma because it damages the cells in the lungs that make the protective coating lining the bronchial tubes.
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 are some answers.
When to Seek Help for Your Mental Health
What distinguishes mental illness from problems of daily living is its severity or persistence over time. Mental illness includes mental disorders of thought, mood or behavior. People with a mental illness may have great difficulty with daily routines and tasks, responsibilities of family, work or school, or personal relationships.
Essential Self-Care for Arthritis
If you have arthritis, taking your medication and following your doctor's orders are essential. But self-care can be just as important in your daily and long-term management of the disease.
Help for Inguinal Hernias
A hernia doesn't occur overnight. The most common kind is actually set in motion right before you're born.
Chlamydia Can Lead to Infertility
A lot of us don't realize that chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause no symptoms, meaning you could have an STD and not know it.
How to Manage Prehypertension
Prehypertension is a new term that alerts people to the very real risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don't take timely steps to improve their lifestyle habits.
COPD Remains Widely Undetected
COPD develops slowly, and people are often not diagnosed with it until their 50s, when the disease has greatly affected their lung function.
Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis
The treatment goals include reducing joint swelling, relieving stiffness, preventing joint damage and maintaining joint function.
What's Up With Sinusitis?
Millions of Americans are affected by sinusitis every year. Even so, it's often misdiagnosed and misunderstood by people with the condition.
Your Child's Diabetes Care Team
Having a child with diabetes can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a team of experts can guide you now and in the years to come.
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous
Some treatment programs teach problem drinkers to reduce their drinking, an approach that appeals to people who otherwise might not seek treatment.
Osteoporosis: Evaluate Your Risk
Many people are unaware they have osteoporosis until they have advanced symptoms, which may include a broken hip or wrist, low back pain or a hunched back.
Medication Strategies During Pregnancy
No one can say for sure that a medication is safe to use while you're pregnant. But, avoiding medicines may not be a good idea, either. It may be wiser to treat an illness than ignore it.
Managing Adult Acne
Shifting hormone levels make women prone to breakouts. This is especially true if you have ovarian cysts, are pregnant or are starting or stopping birth control pills.
Planning for End of Life
You need to understand your options and take time to consider what will help you reach the end of your life with dignity, comfort and a sense of control.
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.
Beating an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have risen steadily to affect nearly 10 million women (and 1 million men).
Your Asthma Health Care Team
An entire team of health care experts is on hand to help people with asthma manage their symptoms and continue to live normal, active lives.
Coping with PMS
PMS symptoms occur one to two weeks before your period and may be severe enough to interfere with your normal daily activities.
Your Arthritis Health Care Team
No matter what form of arthritis you have, your role as part of your health care team can make the difference in how well you function with pain, stiffness or inflammation.
How Much of a Threat Is Bird Influenza?
Influenza, with its fever, aches, fatigue and threat of complications, seems a uniquely human illness. But the flu, caused by a virus, can infect animals and birds, as well.
Depressed Kids Need Help
Teen depression is a serious illness. The benefits of getting help, including taking medications if needed, far outweigh the potential risks.
The Quest for Whiter Teeth
The experts say most of us can have whiter teeth. What's more, many of us can do it ourselves with an over-the-counter (OTC) tooth-whitening product.
Helping Someone with a Mental Illness
Caring for someone you love who is sick or disabled is never easy. When the illness affects your loved one’s state of mind, the demands placed on you can be especially difficult.
SAD: Let the Light In
During the dark days of winter, many people develop signs of depression that are tied to the changing amount of daylight.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress?
For some people, frightening memories of a terrible event can resurface months or even years after the ordeal. In reliving the event, people become fearful and unable to cope with daily life.
Caring for Your Sick Child
You should always call a doctor if you have any doubts or questions about how to take care of your sick child at home.
The Word on Talk Therapy
Talk therapy helps people gain insight into and resolve their problems through verbal exchanges with the therapist.
Male menopause is a condition caused when testosterone levels decrease in aging men.
What Is Rotavirus?
Rotavirus is a viral infection that causes severe diarrhea in children. A vaccine is now available to help protect youngsters against this illness.
Babies Need 'Tummy Time'
Putting babies to sleep on their backs has dramatically reduced the incidence of SIDS. One unexpected side effect: Many infants now have a flattened head.
With Diabetes and Insulin, Carbohydrates Count
Carbohydrates are one of the three main parts of food; fats and proteins are the other two. All three components can affect your blood sugar level, but carbohydrates do so more quickly.
Oral Health and Asthma
If you have asthma, does your dentist know? This is important for good oral health, especially if you use a corticosteroid inhaler.
Twins and Premature Birth
If you’re pregnant with twins, you’ll want to carefully consider this advice. It can help increase your chances for a full-term pregnancy.
Helping Someone with Memory Loss
In older people, it's easy to mistake memory problems for the everyday forgetfulness that some people experience as they grow older.
Diuretics help your blood pressure go down by helping your body to get rid of extra water and salt by producing more urine.
Lifestyle Choices for Cancer Survivors
Life as a cancer survivor can be as rich and rewarding as you decide to make it. In fact, increased awareness of mortality is all some people need to feel more alive than ever.
Arthritis and Exercise: Q and A
Doctors and physical therapists say people with arthritis can improve their health and fitness through exercise without damaging their joints.
Infectious Diseases in the 21st Century
Infectious diseases have always caused illness and death, but in the last decade, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has noticed a disturbing trend: The number of new infectious agents has been on the rise. These include the West Nile virus, monkey pox and hantavirus.
Help Your Children Breathe Easier
Air pollution hurts infants and children more than adults, studies show. Kids' lungs are still developing, they breathe faster and they spend more time outdoors.
Sleep and Your Child
Without enough shut-eye, children are more likely to struggle with their school studies, do poorly on the playing field, and suffer depression.
Take Care With Nasal Sprays
A medicated nasal decongestant spray may offer fast relief when your nose is congested and running. It can reduce swelling and clear mucus from your nasal passages quickly.
If your child often has a sore throat, you may wonder whether he or she has tonsillitis, or inflamed tonsils.
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.
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?
Keeping Your Liver Healthy
The liver is a multitasking organ, with many functions. Nearly all the blood that leaves the stomach and intestines passes through the liver for processing.
What You Need to Know About Vomiting
Although nausea and vomiting can make you feel miserable, it's important to remember that these are not diseases, but rather symptoms of many illnesses.
What Do You Know About Mono?
Often called "mono" for short, mononucleosis is an infection by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), one of the herpes viruses.
Phobias Are Common, But Treatable
Most of us worry or get nervous every now and then. But, for people with anxiety disorders, these feelings occur all too often, and they may be overwhelming.
What Is Scalp Ringworm?
Scalp ringworm isn’t caused by a worm. The infection is the result of a fungus, the same one that leads to athlete’s foot.
Self-Treat? Or See a Doctor?
When you’re sick, knowing whether you should treat yourself at home or see your doctor can save you time and hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars a year.
Heart Attacks and Women
For many women, a heart attack may feel like a strange discomfort in the back or some other easily ignored sign, instead of crushing chest pain.
Real-Life Ways to Manage Diabetes
If managing diabetes seems like a full-time job, keep in mind it’s a task that can’t be taken lightly. Diabetes is the fifth-leading cause of death by disease in the United States.
High Blood Pressure Glossary
Knowing the definitions of terms your doctor may use when talking with you about your blood pressure is important.
Understanding Joint Pain
Sprained ankles and wrists, arthritic knees and hips and torn rotator cuffs all have one thing in common: They result in joint pain.
Prehypertension is a new term that alerts people to the risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don’t take timely steps to improve their lifestyle habits.
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?
Second Opinions for Cancer
Whether you’re facing major surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, a second opinion can help ensure you’re getting the most targeted, effective treatment for your condition.
Stop the Spread of Germs at Work
Illnesses such as the flu and colds are caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. They’re usually spread from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Know Your Peak Flow
You and your health care provider can use information from a peak-flow meter to help stop a flare-up in its tracks.
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.
How to Manage Diabetes During Illness
The stress of illness or injury can cause blood sugar to rise and make insulin less effective. This can lead to serious problems, including diabetic coma. That’s why it’s important to know what to do when illness strikes.
Understanding Kidney Disease
Too often, diabetes leads to kidney disease. But it doesn’t have to. When kidney problems are caught early, you can take steps to prevent more serious kidney disease.
Traveling with Asthma
Whether you pack a suitcase every week or once a year, you probably know that traveling takes a little extra preparation when you have asthma.
What Is Nocturnal Asthma?
Nocturnal asthma, also called sleep-related asthma, can happen at any hour during sleep, but symptoms worsen at night.
Help Your Teen Take Charge of Asthma
Having asthma isn’t easy, and for most kids, neither is being a teen. Here are some common teen issues and suggestions for easing your child’s concerns.
Insulin and Type 2 Diabetes
Many people with diabetes need to change their treatment plan at some point. There are advantages to this. For example, taking insulin can make it easier to manage your blood sugar.
Diabetic Skin Troubles
About one-third of people with diabetes get a skin problem sooner or later. Fortunately, most problems can be prevented or easily treated.
Atherosclerosis can start as early as childhood and can lead to many health conditions, including heart disease and stroke.
Metabolic Syndrome: Managing Salt
A key way to reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome is to lower high blood pressure. Reducing the amount of sodium and salt in your diet is a great start.
What Is Cardiac Asthma?
Cardiac asthma can the same symptoms as true asthma, but the symptoms are caused by heart failure, which leads to buildup of fluid in the lungs.
Migraines and Endometriosis
Women who have endometriosis may also be more likely to have migraines, according to a recent Italian study.
Migraines and Auras
Auras may include visual disturbances (jagged lines with bright spots or flashes); temporary, partial vision loss; numbness; and tingling sensations.
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.
Help for COPD and Depression
Having a chronic condition such as COPD can lead to depression. You can get help. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms.
Understanding Status Asthmaticus
Asthma can be unpredictable, but it is important to recognize the difference between a minor flare-up and an attack that could be life-threatening.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and pinches the nerves, resulting in back and leg pain.
Smoking Hurts Your Back
Smoking damages your arteries, and it’s thought that the damaged arteries in the discs and joints in your back may lead to pain and injury.
Stages of Substance Abuse
People who become addicted to drugs or alcohol typically go through predictable stages of abuse. Understanding these stages can help you recognize a problem and seek help before substance use becomes an addiction.
What to Do About a Pain in the Neck
Most neck pain is caused by sleeping on a bed that’s too soft, poor posture, stress, neck strains or degenerative joint disease that occurs when the joints of the neck become inflamed or a disc pushes outward from its normal position.
What Are the Health Effects of Air Pollution?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tracks five major air pollutants that cause significant health effects: ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide and microscopic particles called particulate matter.
Don't Ignore Dry Eyes
The condition called dry eyes may feel a sand-like grittiness that can range from mild to severe.
Secondhand Smoke, Firsthand Problems
Breathing even a little smoke can be harmful, because there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke. The only way to protect yourself and the people you love is to provide a 100 percent smoke-free setting.
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.
Facing Up to Alcohol in the Workplace
Alcohol-dependent employees incur twice the health care costs of the average employee, are more likely to steal from their employers, are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents and are five times more likely to file worker’s compensation claims.
Allergies on Vacation
If you’re heading out of town, and you or your child has allergies or asthma, proper planning can help you keep sneezes, sniffles, wheezing and attacks under control.
Mental Health Glossary
Knowing the definitions of terms relating to mental health can help you recognize a disorder and seek help for yourself or someone you love.
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.
Age and Asthma
Many people think of asthma as a childhood disease, but it often occurs as a new condition in older adults.
Taking Care with Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a tick-borne bacterial infection that most often targets the skin, joints, brain, and heart, although any part of the body can be affected.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex, often misunderstood illness. Its symptoms are chronic pain, sleep problems, and fatigue. There’s no known cure for the condition, but symptoms can be eased through lifestyle changes and possibly medication.
Help for Tension Headaches
Almost everyone has a tension headache from time to time. These headaches aren’t caused by disease. They are so common they are considered to be “normal” headaches.
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.
Why Quit Smoking?
You know you should quit smoking. But you just haven't gotten around to it yet. Here are some reasons to help you commit to quitting.
Hepatitis C: A Threat from the Past
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Over time, HCV can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Most people who have hepatitis C don’t have any symptoms for years. Many don’t know that they are infected until their liver is already damaged.
Coping with Miscarriage
A pregnancy ended by miscarriage can be a traumatic loss. Unfortunately, it’s one that many women experience. Knowing how to deal with your feelings and find support can help you cope during this difficult time.
HIV Prevention Is Still Important
New drug treatments can delay the effects of AIDS and are helping patients live longer. But the reality is that no medicine can cure AIDS or the virus that causes it, HIV. Once inside the body, HIV destroys immune system cells, making it difficult to fight off illness.
Introduction to Menopause
When a woman permanently stops having menstrual periods, she has reached the stage of life called menopause. This stage signals the end of a woman's ability to have children.
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 other body parts. With advances in technique and an aging population, plastic surgery is more popular than ever.
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.
When a Family Member Is in Recovery
The person in recovery may seem to have a different personality—more serious, more careful, more private—and the family may feel uncertain about how to relate.
Turning Prediabetes Around
Having prediabetes means that you are likely to develop full-blown diabetes within 10 years. But lifestyle changes can prevent that from happening.
Say Goodbye to Dry Skin
What can you do to avoid scratching and flaking your way through the winter months? Here are some tips to try.
Stay Healthy After Breast Cancer
Now that your treatment is over, you may be tempted to stop going to the doctor for a while. But, it’s more important than ever to have regular checkups.
New Rules for OTC Cold Relief
You'll face new hassles as you sneeze and sniffle. You'll have to ask your pharmacist or a store worker for medications that include pseudoephedrine.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Half of Americans experience some degree of hair loss. Hair loss affects both men and women, but with different results.
What to Do After a Stroke
Stroke may cause physical and mental difficulties. But the good news is that you can recoup some or all of your previous abilities.
Bacteria resistant to antibiotics are causing a growing number of infections, both in hospitals and in schools and other community settings.
Make Your Dentist Your Partner
One of the most important things you can do to ensure great oral health care is to develop a good relationship with your dentist.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease refers to more than one disease. It's a large collection of diseases involving your gums and the bones inside your mouth.
Men and Depression
Instead of asking for help, men who are depressed are likely to drink alcohol to excess, take drugs, or become frustrated, discouraged, and irritable.
Give Bad Breath the Brush-Off
Although it's rarely a sign of a major medical problem, bad breath can cause embarrassment, low self-esteem and even social isolation.
The High Cost of Smoking
When people consider the cost of smoking, they usually focus on the cost of the cigarettes alone. But that's only the first step.
Caring for an Ill Loved One
Caring for anyone is difficult, even in the best of circumstances. Here are tips to help make the task easier.
COPD: Coping with Stress
Life can be full of stress sometimes, especially when you’re managing a health condition like COPD.
Asthma: HFA Inhalers
Your new inhaler is better for the environment and just as good for your asthma as your old inhaler.
Asthma: A Worsening of Symptoms
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.
COPD: Good Nutrition Is Important
Eat several small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals. Big meals fill up your stomach, which can press on your lungs and make breathing harder.
Coping with Chronic Pain
Effective pain treatments are available. You can also take steps yourself to ease ongoing discomfort.
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.
About Balance and Safety
A balance disorder is a disturbance of the inner ear that can make you feel unsteady or like you’re moving or spinning.
Teens and Prescription Drugs
Many young people take prescription drugs because they believe they are safer than street drugs, but they can be just as dangerous if taken improperly.
Women and Substance Abuse
When a woman has a substance-abuse problem, her whole family is affected because she’s often the key to family stability.
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorders, which include autistic disorder, affect children in different ways. Some children have mild symptoms, others have severe limitations.
How to Stay Healthy at Work
Because the 2009 H1N1 flu virus spreads from person to person, it is possible to catch the virus at work. Here are measures you can take to protect yourself at the office.
Protect Yourself This Flu Season
What’s different about this year’s flu season is that you need two different vaccinations—one to protect against the three seasonal flu strains that are circulating and a second vaccination to protect against 2009 H1N1 influenza.
Genetics and Illness: What's Your Fate?
Although inheriting certain genes might boost your chances of contracting a disease, it's rarely a sure thing. Often, your lifestyle and environment can join with disease-prone genes to make a potential disease a reality.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Range of Treatment
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be a frustrating condition to deal with because it doesn’t have an easily identifiable cause. It’s an autoimmune disorder, which means your immune system literally attacks your body—in this case, your joints.
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. Hair loss can be difficult emotionally because of the way it alters your appearance.
What Is Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm?
Exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) used to be called exercise-induced asthma. The term bronchospasm means tightening and narrowing of the tubes that bring air in and out of your lungs.
Lymphedema After Breast Cancer
After you have been successfully treated for breast cancer, you face another potential problem—lymphyphedema, a swelling that occurs in the arm, breast, or chest area after breast cancer treatment.
When Rest Doesn't Relieve Fatigue
Everyone feels fatigued now and then, but when lifestyle changes don't ease your tiredness, it's time to talk with your health care provider.
Cancer Caused by Chemotherapy or Radiation
the likelihood of chemotherapy or radiation treatment causing a second cancer is rare. Nevertheless, cancer can occur in some instances, so it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved before undergoing these cancer treatments.
Prevention of Heart Disease Starts in Childhood
You may think of heart disease as a problem for adults, not your young children. But diet and exercise habits started in childhood can begin a lifetime of heart health, or a lifetime of heart damage.
Does Ageism Exist in Cancer Care?
Older adults are less likely to be screened for cancer in the first place. And if they are diagnosed with cancer, it's less likely that their doctors will recommend treatment to cure the cancer.
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.
Why Childhood Immunizations Are Important
Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that used to spread from child to child.
Older Adults and the Common Cold
Cold and flu season is hard on everyone, but for older adults who may have chronic health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it’s especially challenging.
When Sadness Is Seasonal
If you feel depressed during fall and winter months, you may have a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Cancer of the endometrium is a disease in which cancerous cells are found in the lining of the uterus. It is highly curable when found early.
Twelve Weeks to a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Heart disease is a killer, but you can do plenty to reduce your risk and prolong your life. Research shows that making lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of cardiovascular heart disease and help you control it if you already have it.
Wound Care Critical for Diabetes
Because a person with diabetes has poor blood circulation, wounds of all kinds heal slowly and are easily infected. In addition, high blood glucose leads to high levels of sugar in body tissues, causing bacteria to grow and infections to develop more quickly.
All About Color Blindness
Most people with color blindness -- also called color vision deficiency -- can see certain colors. Usually, the difficulty involves distinguishing between shades of red and green.
Stress and Older Adults
Studies show that long-term stress can damage brain cells, leading to depression. Depression is one of the most dangerous effects of stress in older people.
Understanding Eating Disorders
At least 8 million people in the U.S. are living with an eating disorder. The overwhelming majority – about 90 percent – are female.
Keep an Eye on These Symptoms
It’s important to be aware of a number of signs that can alert you to a serious health problem. Check out these symptoms that shouldn't be ignored.
Living with Parkinson’s Disease
You have a number of tools at your disposal for better managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and living a healthy, enjoyable life.
Help for Hair Loss
When hair loss becomes excessive, resulting in thinning hair or bald patches on the scalp, factors other than the natural cycle of hair growth and loss are responsible.
Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Health Issues
people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender may be at greater risk for health problems because they don’t always see a doctor when they need to. This may be because they feel embarrassed, have had a bad experience, fear judgment, or have a health care provider who is uninformed.
What's Your Cancer Risk?
Certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop cancer. Many of these factors, such as smoking or eating an unhealthy diet, can be avoided. Others, such as family history and aging, can't, but everyone can benefit by avoiding known cancer risks.
How to Beat Serious Stress
When you're faced with a highly stressful event in your life, the strategies outlined here will help you cope.