As this coronavirus affects the respiratory tract, common presenting symptoms include fever and dry cough, with some patients presenting with respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, malaise, headache and myalgia) or even struggling for breath.
In severe cases, the coronavirus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death
The case definition for COVID-19 is based on symptoms regardless of travel history or contact with confirmed cases. Diagnosis is suspected in patients requiring admission to hospital with signs and symptoms of pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome or influenza, and in those with a new, continuous cough or fever who are well enough to stay in the community (see Box 1). A new symptom, a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste (anosmia), was added on 18 May 2020. A diagnostic test has been developed, and countries are quarantining suspected cases
Box 1: Who qualifies as a suspected COVID-19 case?
Patients who meet the following criteria (inpatient definition):
A loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia) in isolation or in combination with any other symptoms.
Clinicians should consider testing inpatients with new respiratory symptoms or fever without another cause or worsening of a pre-existing respiratory condition.
Patients who meet the following criteria and are well enough to remain in the community:
Anosmia (a loss or changed sense of normal smell or taste)
Individuals with a cough, fever or anosmia who live alone should now stay at home for 7 days from the onset of symptoms. Households should all self-isolate for 14 days if one member shows symptoms.
Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of atypical presentations in patients who are immunocompromised. Alternative clinical diagnoses and epidemiological risk factors should be considered.
COVID-19 is mainly spread through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing or has other symptoms such as fever or tiredness. Many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true in the early stages of the disease. It is possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has just a mild cough and does not feel ill.
Some reports have indicated that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus. It is not yet known how often it happens. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the topic and will continue to share updated findings
Video: Five things to know about COVID-19 transmission
Quarantine means restricting activities or separating people who are not ill themselves but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal is to prevent spread of the disease at the time when people just develop symptoms.
Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and may be infectious to prevent the spread of the disease.
Physical distancing means being physically apart. WHO recommends keeping at least 1-metre distance from others. This is a general measure that everyone should take even if they are well with no known exposure to COVID-19.
Several dogs and cats (domestic cats and tigers) in contact with infected humans have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, ferrets appear to be susceptible to the infection. In experimental conditions, both cats and ferrets were able to transmit infection to other animals of the same species. However, there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to humans and spread COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
Minks raised in farms have also been detected with the virus. Most likely, they have been infected by farm workers. In a few instances, the minks that were infected by humans have transmitted the virus to other people. These are the first reported cases of animal-to-human transmission.
It is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 and people who are at risk limit contact with companion and other animals. When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing after handling animals, their food or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.
Your exercise and eating habits, age, gender, and health status all affect the number of bowel movements you experience in a given day. While there is no set number of bowel movements a person should have, it’s abnormal and possibly dangerous to go three or fewer times per week.
Often, constipation causes bowel movements that are not only infrequent, but also hard and difficult to pass. This leads to excessive straining and time spent on the toilet.
The causes of constipation vary. The condition may simply be due to such as things as dehydration or eating foods with too little fiber. In other, more serious cases, constipation can be the result of stress, hormonal changes, spinal injuries, muscle problems, cancers, and other structural problems affecting the digestive tract.
Quick ways to make yourself fight with constipation:
The following quick treatments can help induce a bowel movement in a few hours.
1. Take a fiber supplement
Fiber supplements are readily available and effective at inducing bowel movements if a low-fiber diet is the cause of your constipation. They work by adding bulk, or volume, to your stool. This helps push stool through your intestines and out of your body.
2. Eat a serving of high-fiber food
Try these foods that are high in fiber:
3. Drink a glass of water
Proper hydration — typically at least eight 8-ounce glasses of clear liquid per day — is necessary for normal bowel movements. If you’re constipated and haven’t been drinking an adequate amount of water, consuming a large glass of water or other clear liquid may trigger a bowel movement.
4. Take a laxative stimulant
Laxative stimulants are designed to force a bowel movement by squeezing the intestines. You can get stimulants over the counter at your local pharmacy. Or refer to one of ‘Abhicure’ doctors and get the prescription.
5. Take an osmotic
Osmotic laxatives work slightly differently than stimulant laxatives. They’re designed to help move fluids through the colon.
With an ‘Abhicure’ doctor’s prescription, you can obtain the necessary medicine.
6. Try a lubricant laxative
Lubricant laxatives such as mineral oil add a slick coat to your intestine’s walls, allowing stool to move through your colon and out of your body more easily. Take mineral oil no more than two hours after your evening meal. Expect results within six to eight hours.
7. Use a stool softener
One common cause of constipation is dehydration, which can cause hard stool. Using a stool softener, can moisten the stool by pulling water from your intestines. This allows the stool to exit your body more easily.
8. Try an enema
There are several types of enemas that you can try. Enemas work by softening stool enough to produce a bowel movement.
9. Try a suppository
Rectal suppositories also help encourage bowel movements by softening stool. Try a glycerin or bisacodyl suppository, which you can find at your local pharmacy.
10. Get in a squat position to ‘take a dump’
Bring a small footstool into your bathroom the next time you need to poop. Placing your feet on a stool in front of the toilet while you poop — so your body is essentially in a squatting position instead of in a seated position —can help you pass stool without straining.
11. Get some exercise
Light exercise, such as walking or jogging, can encourage bowel movements by increasing blood flow throughout your abdomen.
Heart disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide. Diet plays a major role in heart health and can impact your risk of heart disease.In fact, certain foods can influence blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Here are 15 foods that you should be eating to maximize your heart health.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens are well-known for their wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
In particular, they’re a great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote proper blood clotting. They’re also high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.
SUMMARY: Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function. Studies show that a higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains include all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain: germ, endosperm and bran.
Common types of whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat and quinoa.
Compared to refined grains, whole grains are higher in fiber, which may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
SUMMARY: Studies show that eating whole grains is associated with lower cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of heart disease.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are jam-packed with important nutrients that play a central role in heart health.
Berries are also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease.
SUMMARY: Berries are rich in antioxidants. Studies show that eating them can reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease.
Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease.
Avocados are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s essential to heart health. In fact, just one avocado supplies 975 milligrams of potassium, or about 28% of the amount that you need in a day.
SUMMARY: Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and potassium. They may help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of metabolic syndrome.
5. Fatty Fish and Fish Oil
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied extensively for their heart-health benefits.
If you don’t eat much seafood, fish oil is another option for getting your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce blood triglycerides, improve arterial function and decrease blood pressure.
Other omega-3 supplements like krill oil or algal oil are popular alternatives.
SUMMARY: Fatty fish and fish oil are both high in omega-3 fatty acids and may help reduce heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.
Walnuts are a great source of fiber and micronutrients like magnesium, copper and manganese.
Research shows that incorporating a few servings of walnuts in your diet can help protect against heart disease.
Interestingly, some studies have also found that regularly eating nuts such as walnuts is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
SUMMARY: Studies suggest that walnuts can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Beans contain resistant starch, which resists digestion and is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
According to some animal studies, resistant starch can improve heart health by decreasing blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
What’s more, eating beans has been linked to reduced blood pressure and inflammation, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
SUMMARY: Beans are high in resistant starch and have been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation.
8. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health.
Interestingly, several studies have associated eating chocolate with a lower risk of heart disease.
Keep in mind that these studies show an association but don’t necessarily account for other factors that may be involved.
Additionally, chocolate can be high in sugar and calories, which can negate many of its health-promoting properties.
SUMMARY: Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants like flavonoids. It has been associated with a lower risk of developing calcified plaque in the arteries and coronary heart disease.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a natural plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties
Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, preventing oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which can contribute to heart disease.
Low blood levels of lycopene are linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
SUMMARY: Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol.
Almonds are incredibly nutrient-dense, boasting a long list of vitamins and minerals that are crucial to heart health.
They’re also a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber, two important nutrients that can help protect against heart disease.
Remember that while almonds are very high in nutrients, they’re also high in calories. Measure your portions and moderate your intake if you’re trying to lose weight.
SUMMARY: Almonds are high in fiber and monounsaturated fats, and have been linked to reductions in cholesterol and belly fat.
Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds are all great sources of heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Numerous studies have found that adding these types of seeds to your diet can improve many heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Although more research is needed about the effects of chia seeds on heart health in humans, one study in rats found that eating chia seeds lowered blood triglyceride levels and boosted levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
SUMMARY: Human and animal studies have found that eating seeds may improve several heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
For centuries, garlic has been used as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments.
In recent years, research has confirmed its potent medicinal properties and found that garlic can even help improve heart health.
In one study, taking garlic extract in doses of 600–1,500 mg daily for 24 weeks was as effective as a common prescription drug at reducing blood pressure.
Be sure to consume garlic raw, or crush it and let it sit for a few minutes before cooking. This allows for the formation of allicin, maximizing its potential health benefits.
SUMMARY: Garlic and its components have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. They may also help inhibit blood clot formation.
13. Olive Oil
A staple in the Mediterranean diet, the heart-healthy benefits of olive oil are well documented.
Olive oil is packed with antioxidants, which can relieve inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic disease.
It’s also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, and many studies have associated it with improvements in heart health.
SUMMARY: Olive oil is high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. It has been associated with lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.
Edamame is an immature soybean frequently found in Asian cuisine.
Like other soy products, edamame is rich in soy isoflavones, a type of flavonoid that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
One study showed that decreasing total cholesterol levels by just 10% was associated with a 15% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease
SUMMARY: Edamame contains soy isoflavones, which have been shown to help decrease cholesterol levels. Edamame also contains fiber and antioxidants, which can also benefit heart health.
15. Green Tea
Green tea has been associated with a number of health benefits, from increased fat burning to improved insulin sensitivity
It’s also brimming with polyphenols and catechins, which can act as antioxidants to prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation and protect the health of your heart.
Taking a green tea supplement or drinking matcha, a beverage that is similar to green tea but made with the whole tea leaf, may also benefit heart health.
SUMMARY: Green tea is high in polyphenols and catechins. It has been associated with lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
As new evidence emerges, the link between diet and heart disease grows stronger.
What you put on your plate can influence just about every aspect of heart health, from blood pressure and inflammation to cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
Including these heart-healthy foods as part of a nutritious, well-balanced diet can help keep your heart in good shape and minimize your risk of heart disease.
Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good sleep hygiene. Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:
Anger is "an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage," according to Charles Spielberger, PhD, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes; when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. You could be angry at a specific person (such as a coworker or supervisor) or event (a traffic jam, a canceled flight), or your anger could be caused by worrying or brooding about your personal problems. Memories of traumatic or enraging events can also trigger angry feelings.
The instinctive, natural way to express anger is to respond aggressively. Anger is a natural, adaptive response to threats; it inspires powerful, often aggressive, feelings and behaviors, which allow us to fight and to defend ourselves when we are attacked. A certain amount of anger, therefore, is necessary to our survival.
On the other hand, we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us; laws, social norms, and common sense place limits on how far our anger can take us.
People use a variety of both conscious and unconscious processes to deal with their angry feelings. The three main approaches are expressing, suppressing, and calming. Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive—not aggressive—manner is the healthiest way to express anger. To do this, you have to learn how to make clear what your needs are, and how to get them met, without hurting others. Being assertive doesn't mean being pushy or demanding; it means being respectful of yourself and others.
Anger can be suppressed, and then converted or redirected. This happens when you hold in your anger, stop thinking about it, and focus on something positive. The aim is to inhibit or suppress your anger and convert it into more constructive behavior. The danger in this type of response is that if it isn't allowed outward expression, your anger can turn inward—on yourself. Anger turned inward may cause hypertension, high blood pressure, or depression.
Unexpressed anger can create other problems. It can lead to pathological expressions of anger, such as passive-aggressive behavior (getting back at people indirectly, without telling them why, rather than confronting them head-on) or a personality that seems perpetually cynical and hostile. People who are constantly putting others down, criticizing everything, and making cynical comments haven't learned how to constructively express their anger. Not surprisingly, they aren't likely to have many successful relationships.
Finally, you can calm down inside. This means not just controlling your outward behavior, but also controlling your internal responses, taking steps to lower your heart rate, calm yourself down, and let the feelings subside.
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. If you are involved in a relationship where both partners are hot-tempered, it might be a good idea for both of you to learn these techniques.
Some simple steps you can try:
Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation. If you have any questions – refer to the vast pool of ‘Abhicure’ doctors.
Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow."
Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse).
Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.
Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.
Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.
"Silly humor" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a coworker as a "dirtbag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt (or an amoeba) sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person. If you can, draw a picture of what the actual thing might look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury; and humor can always be relied on to help unknot a tense situation.
Changing Your Environment
Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap.
Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful. One example is the working mother who has a standing rule that when she comes home from work, for the first 15 minutes "nobody talks to Mom unless the house is on fire." After this brief quiet time, she feels better prepared to handle demands from her kids without blowing up at them.
Some Other Tips for Easing Up on Yourself
Timing: If you and your spouse tend to fight when you discuss things at night—perhaps you're tired, or distracted, or maybe it's just habit—try changing the times when you talk about important matters so these talks don't turn into arguments.
Avoidance: If your child's chaotic room makes you furious every time you walk by it, shut the door. Don't make yourself look at what infuriates you. Don't say, "well, my child should clean up the room so I won't have to be angry!" That's not the point. The point is to keep yourself calm.
Finding alternatives: If your daily commute through traffic leaves you in a state of rage and frustration, give yourself a project—learn or map out a different route, one that's less congested or more scenic. Or find another alternative, such as a bus or commuter train.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) includes a cluster of symptoms that begin and persist after a person has survived – or in some cases witnessed – a severely traumatic or life-threatening event. Because trauma puts us on high-alert, it can lead to neurochemical changes.
In some cases, memories of trauma become difficult to process while anxiety increases, all causing the individual to re-experience the feelings associated with trauma as if it were occurring in the present.
The 17 Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Signs of PTSD can range from flashbacks to nightmares, panic attacks to eating disorders and cognitive delays to lowered verbal memory capacity. Many trauma survivors also encounter substance abuse issues, as they attempt to self-medicate the negative effects of PTSD.
Just as not every trauma survivor will develop PTSD, not every individual with PTSD will develop the same signs – and rarely do all 17 exist in one individual.
Experts have created three categories (or “clusters”) of PTSD symptoms, falling into the categories of re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event and responses of hyperarousal. PTSD symptoms will generally persist for at least a month and for many survivors, these signs represent their first struggles with anxiety.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include the following:
All of these symptoms must have persisted at least one month, and they must be causing distress or functional impairment of some kind. These symptoms must not be related to any substance use, illness, or medications.
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend's face.
Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts include:
At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye's lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to more noticeable symptoms.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment for an eye exam if you notice any changes in your vision. If you develop sudden vision changes, such as double vision or flashes of light, sudden eye pain, or sudden headache, see your doctor right away.
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Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye's lens.
Some inherited genetic disorders that cause other health problems can increase your risk of cataracts. Cataracts can also be caused by other eye conditions, past eye surgery or medical conditions such as diabetes. Long-term use of steroid medications, too, can cause cataracts to develop.
How a cataract forms
The lens, where cataracts form, is positioned behind the colored part of your eye (iris). The lens focuses light that passes into your eye, producing clear, sharp images on the retina — the light-sensitive membrane in the eye that functions like the film in a camera.
As you age, the lenses in your eyes become less flexible, less transparent and thicker. Age-related and other medical conditions cause tissues within the lens to break down and clump together, clouding small areas within the lens.
As the cataract continues to develop, the clouding becomes denser and involves a bigger part of the lens. A cataract scatters and blocks the light as it passes through the lens, preventing a sharply defined image from reaching your retina. As a result, your vision becomes blurred.
Cataracts generally develop in both eyes, but not evenly. The cataract in one eye may be more advanced than the other, causing a difference in vision between eyes.
Types of cataracts
Cataract types include:
Cataracts affecting the center of the lens (nuclear cataracts). A nuclear cataract may at first cause more nearsightedness or even a temporary improvement in your reading vision. But with time, the lens gradually turns more densely yellow and further clouds your vision.
As the cataract slowly progresses, the lens may even turn brown. Advanced yellowing or browning of the lens can lead to difficulty distinguishing between shades of color.
These cataracts also may be due to certain conditions, such as myotonic dystrophy, galactosemia, neurofibromatosis type 2 or rubella. Congenital cataracts don't always affect vision, but if they do they're usually removed soon after detection.
No studies have proved how to prevent cataracts or slow the progression of cataracts. But doctors think several strategies may be helpful, including:
Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet ensures that you're getting many vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables have many antioxidants, which help maintain the health of your eyes.
Studies haven't proved that antioxidants in pill form can prevent cataracts. But, a large population study recently showed that a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals was associated with a reduced risk of developing cataracts. Fruits and vegetables have many proven health benefits and are a safe way to increase the amount of minerals and vitamins in your diet.
If you care for children, you likely know already how often they come down with earaches. Adults get them, too, but youngsters have them much more often. That’s because they don’t fight off viruses and bacteria as well, and their little ears aren’t good at draining fluids yet.
You or your child may have a sore throat, stuffy nose, or fever along with an earache. These are signs of a possible infection.
Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you’ve had. Be sure to come to the office with any notes you might need and questions on your mind.
She will look at the eardrum with an instrument called an otoscope for signs of infection. This is a tough task with a fussy infant, so be ready to help calm the little one if it’s your child with the earache.
Signs of infection include a red eardrum or a bulging eardrum with fluid behind it. The fluid may be thin like during a cold, or thick like pus. It is located in the middle ear, just behind the ear drum. Otitis media means inflammation of the middle ear. A puffer attached to the otoscope blows air to see if your thin eardrum moves. With fluid in the middle ear, the eardrum is more rigid and doesn't move back and forth.
Often, a virus causes an ear infection, in which case antibiotics won’t help. If, based on the history, your doctor suspects that bacteria may have caused the infection, she may prescribe an antibiotic.
You may also talk to your doctor about things you can do at home.
If a virus or bacteria are causing the infection and you have to wait for it to get better, you don’t need to live with the pain.
Pain can also be reduced by using low heat from a heating pad. Be very careful using a heating pad with children.
If your doctor decides to go with antibiotics, follow all the instructions. Take all of the doses even if you or your child are feeling better. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you skip a dose or feel sick from the medicine.
If you don’t take the whole course, your infection could come back and become resistant to more treatments.
When you have sensitive teeth, certain activities, such as brushing, eating and drinking, can cause sharp, temporary pain in your teeth. Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort is caused by other factors, such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease.
If you're bothered by sensitive teeth, visit your dentist. He or she can identify or rule out any underlying causes of your tooth pain. Depending on the circumstances, your dentist might recommend:
To prevent sensitive teeth from recurring, brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Use gentle strokes, rather than vigorous or harsh scrubbing, and avoid using an abrasive toothpaste. If you grind your teeth, ask your dentist about a mouth guard. Tooth grinding can fracture teeth and cause sensitivity.
You might also consider taking care when eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks, such as carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and wine — all of which can remove small amounts of tooth enamel over time. When you drink acidic liquids, use a straw to limit contact with your teeth. After eating or drinking an acidic substance, drink water to balance the acid levels in your mouth.
Get off to the best possible start on your weight loss plan with these 12 diet and exercise tips.
1. Do not skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.
2. Eat regular meals
Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
3. Eat plenty of fruit and veg
Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
4. Get more active
Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing lots of health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you cannot lose through diet alone.
5. Drink plenty of water
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.
6. Eat high fibre foods
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you feeling full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.
7. Read food labels
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
8. Use a smaller plate
Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it's full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
9. Do not ban foods
Do not ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There's no reason you cannot enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.
10. Do not stock junk food
To avoid temptation, do not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home. Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
11. Cut down on alcohol
A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.
12. Plan your meals
Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. You may find it helpful to make a weekly shopping list.
Confused by all the conflicting nutrition advice out there? These simple tips can show you how to plan, enjoy, and stick to a healthy diet.
What is a healthy diet?
Eating a healthy diet is not about strict limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. The truth is that while some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. The cornerstone of a healthy diet should be to replace processed food with real food whenever possible. Eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it can make a huge difference to the way you think, look, and feel.
By using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create—and stick to—a tasty, varied, and nutritious diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.
The Healthy Eating Pyramid
The Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid represents the latest nutritional science. The widest part at the bottom is for things that are most important. The foods at the narrow top are those that should be eaten sparingly, if at all.
The fundamentals of healthy eating
While some extreme diets may suggest otherwise, we all need a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in our diets to sustain a healthy body. You don’t need to eliminate certain categories of food from your diet, but rather select the healthiest options from each category.
Protein. gives you the energy to get up and go—and keep going—while also supporting mood and cognitive function. Too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, but the latest research suggests that many of us need more high-quality protein, especially as we age. That doesn’t mean you have to eat more animal products—a variety of plant-based sources of protein each day can ensure your body gets all the essential protein it needs.
Fat. Not all fat is the same. While bad fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, good fats protect your brain and heart. In fact, healthy fats—such as omega-3s—are vital to your physical and emotional health. Including more healthy fat in your diet can help improve your mood, boost your well-being, and even trim your waistline.
Fiber. Eating foods high in dietary fiber (grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans) can help you stay regular and lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also improve your skin and even help you to lose weight.
Calcium. As well as leading to osteoporosis, not getting enough calcium in your diet can also contribute to anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Whatever your age or gender, it’s vital to include calcium-rich foods in your diet, limit those that deplete calcium, and get enough magnesium and vitamins D and K to help calcium do its job.
Carbohydrates are one of your body’s main sources of energy. But most should come from complex, unrefined carbs (vegetables, whole grains, fruit) rather than sugars and refined carbs. Cutting back on white bread, pastries, starches, and sugar can prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar, fluctuations in mood and energy, and a build-up of fat, especially around your waistline.
Making the switch to a healthy diet
Switching to a healthy diet doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy, and you don’t have to change everything all at once—that usually only leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan.
A better approach is to make a few small changes at a time. Keeping your goals modest can help you achieve more in the long term without feeling deprived or overwhelmed by a major diet overhaul. Think of planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps—like adding a salad to your diet once a day. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.
Setting yourself up for success
To set yourself up for success, try to keep things simple. Eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, for example, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients whenever possible.
Prepare more of your own meals. Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food. You’ll eat fewer calories and avoid the chemical additives, added sugar, and unhealthy fats of packaged and takeout foods that can leave you feeling tired, bloated, and irritable, and exacerbate symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Make the right changes. When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it’s important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing dangerous trans fats with healthy fats (such as switching fried chicken for grilled salmon) will make a positive difference to your health. Switching animal fats for refined carbohydrates, though (such as switching your breakfast bacon for a donut), won’t lower your risk for heart disease or improve your mood.
Read the labels. It’s important to be aware of what’s in your food as manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats in packaged food, even food claiming to be healthy.
Focus on how you feel after eating. This will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. The healthier the food you eat, the better you’ll feel after a meal. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or drained of energy.
Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many of us go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Moderation: important to any healthy diet
What is moderation? In essence, it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. For many of us, moderation means eating less than we do now. But it doesn’t mean eliminating the foods you love. Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a sausage pizza.
Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods, it’s natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. Start by reducing portion sizes of unhealthy foods and not eating them as often. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, visual cues can help with portion sizes. Your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb. By serving your meals on smaller plates or in bowls, you can trick your brain into thinking it’s a larger portion. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy greens or round off the meal with fruit.
Take your time. It’s important to slow down and think about food as nourishment rather than just something to gulp down in between meetings or on the way to pick up the kids. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
Eat with others whenever possible. Eating alone, especially in front of the TV or computer, often leads to mindless overeating.
Limit snack foods in the home. Be careful about the foods you keep at hand. It’s more challenging to eat in moderation if you have unhealthy snacks and treats at the ready. Instead, surround yourself with healthy choices and when you’re ready to reward yourself with a special treat, go out and get it then.
Control emotional eating. We don’t always eat just to satisfy hunger. Many of us also turn to food to relieve stress or cope with unpleasant emotions such as sadness, loneliness, or boredom. But by learning healthier ways to manage stress and emotions, you can regain control over the food you eat and your feelings.
It’s not just what you eat, but when you eat
Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, while eating small, healthy meals keeps your energy up all day.
Avoid eating late at night. Try to eat dinner earlier and fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Studies suggest that eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day may help to regulate weight.
Add more fruit and vegetables to your diet
Fruit and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily amount of at least five servings of fruit and vegetables and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or veg or a small apple or banana, for example. Most of us need to double the amount we currently eat.
To increase your intake:
How to make vegetables tasty
While plain salads and steamed veggies can quickly become bland, there are plenty of ways to add taste to your vegetable dishes.
Add color. Not only do brighter, deeper colored vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but they can vary the flavor and make meals more visually appealing. Add color using fresh or sundried tomatoes, glazed carrots or beets, roasted red cabbage wedges, yellow squash, or sweet, colorful peppers.
Liven up salad greens. Branch out beyond lettuce. Kale, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are all packed with nutrients. To add flavor to your salad greens, try drizzling with olive oil, adding a spicy dressing, or sprinkling with almond slices, chickpeas, a little bacon, parmesan, or goat cheese.
Satisfy your sweet tooth. Naturally sweet vegetables—such as carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, bell peppers, and squash—add sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugar. Add them to soups, stews, or pasta sauces for a satisfying sweet kick.
Cook green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus in new ways. Instead of boiling or steaming these healthy sides, try grilling, roasting, or pan frying them with chili flakes, garlic, shallots, mushrooms, or onion. Or marinate in tangy lemon or lime before cooking.
Meditation is a word that has come to be used loosely and inaccurately in the modern world. That is why there is so much confusion about how to practice it. Some people use the word meditate when they mean thinking or contemplating; others use it to refer to daydreaming or fantasizing. However, meditation (dhyana) is not any of these.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.
In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent. When the mind is silent and no longer distracts you, meditation deepens.
From childhood onward, we have been educated only to examine and verify things in the external world. No one has taught us how to look within, to find within, and to verify within. Therefore, we remain strangers to ourselves, while trying to get to know others. This lack of self-understanding is one of the main reasons our relationships don’t seem to work, and why confusion and disappointment so often prevail in our life.
The goal of meditation is to go beyond the mind and experience our essential nature—which is described as peace, happiness, and bliss. But as anyone who has tried to meditate knows, the mind itself is the biggest obstacle standing between ourselves and this awareness. The mind is undisciplined and unruly, and it resists any attempts to discipline it or to guide it on a particular path. The mind has a mind of its own. That is why many people sit for meditation and experience only fantasies, daydreams, or hallucinations. They never attain the stillness that distinguishes the genuine experience of deep meditation.
We are taught how to move and behave in the outer world, but we are never taught how to be still and examine what is within ourselves. When we learn to do this through meditation, we attain the highest of all joys that can ever be experienced by a human being. All the other joys in the world are momentary, but the joy of meditation is immense and everlasting. This is not an exaggeration; it is a truth supported by the long line of sages, both those who renounced the world and attained truth, and those who continued living in the world yet remained unaffected by it.
Meditation is a practical means for calming yourself, for letting go of your biases and seeing what is, openly and clearly. It is a way of training the mind so that you are not distracted and caught up in its endless churning. Meditation teaches you to systematically explore your inner dimensions. It is a system of commitment, not commandment. You are committing to yourself, to your path, and to the goal of knowing yourself. But at the same time, learning to be calm and still should not become a ceremony or religious ritual; it is a universal requirement of the human body.
HOW TO CULTIVATE STILLNESS
Learning how to be still is the method of meditation. The process of cultivating stillness begins with the body. In the yoga tradition, you are guided by a competent teacher to keep your head, neck, and trunk straight while sitting in a meditative posture (asana). When you have learned to be comfortable in this posture, you should form a regular habit of practicing in the same posture at the same time and at the same place every day.
Find a simple, uncluttered, quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Sit on the floor with a cushion under you or in a firm chair, with your back straight and your eyes closed. Then bring your awareness slowly down through your body, allowing all of the muscles to relax except those that are supporting your head, neck, and back. Take your time and enjoy the process of letting go of the tension in your body. Meditation is the art and science of letting go, and this letting go begins with the body and then progresses to thoughts.
Once the body is relaxed and at peace, bring your awareness to your breath. Notice which part of your lungs are being exercised as you breathe. If you are breathing primarily with your chest you will not be able to relax. Let your breathing come primarily through the movement of the diaphragm. Continue to observe your breath without trying to control it. At first the breath may be irregular, but gradually it will become smooth and even, without pauses and jerks.
Meditation is a process of giving your full attention to whatever object you have chosen. In this case you are choosing to be aware of the breath. Allow yourself to experience your breathing in an open and accepting way. Do not judge or attempt to control or change it. Open yourself so fully that eventually there is no distinction between you and the breathing. In this process many thoughts will arise in your mind: “Am I doing this right? When will this be over? Perhaps I should have closed the window. I forgot to make an important call. My neck hurts.” Hundreds of thoughts may come before you and each thought will call forth some further response: a judgment, an action, an interest in pursuing the thought further, an attempt to get rid of the thought.
At this point, if you simply remain aware of this process instead of reacting to the thought, you will become aware of how restless your mind is. It tosses and turns like you do on a night when you cannot fall asleep. But that is only a problem when you identify with the mind and react to the various thoughts it throws at you. If you do, you will be caught in a never-ending whirlwind of restless activity. But if you simply attend to those thoughts when they arise, without reacting, or if you react and attend to the reaction, then they cannot really disturb you. Remember—it is not the thoughts that disturb you, but your reaction to them.
When you meditate, you give yourself an inner vacation.
Meditation is very simple. It is simply attending. You can begin by attending to your breath, and then if a thought comes, attend to it, notice it, be open to it—and it will pass. Then you can come back to the breath. Your normal response is to react to all your thoughts, and this keeps you ever busy in a sea of confusion. Meditation teaches you to attend to what is taking place within without reacting, and this makes all the difference. It brings you freedom from the mind and its meandering. And in this freedom you begin to experience who you are, distinct from your mental turmoil. You experience inner joy and contentment, you experience relief and inner relaxation, and you find a respite from the tumult of your life. You have given yourself an inner vacation.
This inner vacation is not a retreat from the world but the foundation for finding inner peace. You must also learn to apply the principle of attending in your worldly activities, so that you can apply yourself in the world more effectively. Through practicing meditation you can learn to be open to what comes before you in your daily life and give it your full attention.
In this way meditation is very therapeutic. It not only leads to inner balance and stability, it also exposes your inner complexes, your immaturities, your unproductive reflexes and habits.
In this way meditation is very therapeutic. It not only leads to inner balance and stability, it also exposes your inner complexes, your immaturities, your unproductive reflexes and habits. Instead of living in these complexes and habits and acting them out, they are brought to your awareness and you can give them your full attention. Only then will they clear.
SIGNS OF PROGRESS
Have patience and do your practice systematically. Every action has a reaction. It is not possible for you to meditate and not receive benefits. You may not notice those benefits now, but slowly and gradually you are storing the samskaras (impressions) in the unconscious mind that will help you later. If you sow a seed today, you don’t reap the fruit tomorrow, but eventually you will. It takes time to see results; be gentle with yourself.
Meditation means gently fathoming all the levels of your being, one level after another. Be honest with yourself. Don’t care what others say about their experiences—keep your mind focused on your goal. It is your own mind that does not allow you to meditate. To work with your mind, you’ll have to be patient; you’ll have to work with yourself gradually.
Some of the most important benefits of meditation make themselves known gradually over time and are not dramatic or easily observed.
At first you may see progress in terms of physical relaxation and emotional calmness. Later you may notice other, more subtle changes. Some of the most important benefits of meditation make themselves known gradually over time and are not dramatic or easily observed. Persist in your practice and you will find that meditation is a means of freeing yourself from the worries that gnaw at you. Then you are free to experience the joy of being fully present, here and now.
Sports injuries occur during exercise or while participating in a sport. Children are particularly at risk for these types of injuries, but adults can get them, too.
You’re at risk for sports injuries if you:
Read on to learn more about sports injuries, your treatment options, and tips for preventing them in the first place.
Types of sports injuries
Different sports injuries produce different symptoms and complications. The most common types of sports injuries include:
Sports injuries treatment
The RICE method is a common treatment regimen for sports injuries. It stands for:
This treatment method is helpful for mild sports injuries. For best results, follow the RICE method within the first 24 to 36 hours after the injury. It can help reduce swelling and prevent additional pain and bruising in the early days after a sports injury.
Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat sports injuries. Most of them provide relief from pain and swelling.
If your sports injury looks or feels severe, make an appointment to see your doctor. Seek emergency care if the injured joint shows signs of:
Many sports injuries cause immediate pain or discomfort. Others, like overuse injuries, might be noticed only after long-term damage. These injuries are often diagnosed during routine physical examinations or checkups.
If you think you have a sports injury, your doctor will likely use the following steps to get a diagnosis. These include:
If your doctor suspects you have a sprain or strain, they may recommend you follow the RICE method.
Follow these recommendations and keep an eye on your symptoms. If they get worse, that can mean you have a more serious sports injury.
Call your doctor
Call your doctor if there are signs of swelling or if it hurts to place weight on the affected area. If the problem is in the location of a previous injury, seek medical attention right away.
Contact a healthcare provider if you don’t see any improvement after 24 to 36 hours of RICE.
Because a child’s skeleton isn’t fully developed, the bones are weaker than an adult’s. Take extra precautions with a child’s sports injuries. What looks like a tissue injury may in fact be a more serious fracture.
Don’t ignore your symptoms. Remember, the earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment, the sooner you’ll recover and get back in the game.
Your skin has tiny holes called pores that can become blocked by oil, bacteria, dead skin cells, and dirt. When this occurs, you may develop a pimple or “zit.” If your skin is repeatedly affected by this condition, you may have acne.
Acne that appears on your face can affect your self-esteem and, over time, may cause permanent physical scarring.
There are many effective treatments for acne that reduce both the number of pimples you get and your chance of scarring.
What are the symptoms of acne?
Acne can be found almost anywhere on your body. It most commonly develops on your face, back, neck, chest, and shoulders.
If you have acne, you’ll typically notice pimples that are white or black. Both blackheads and whiteheads are known as comedones.
Blackheads open at the surface of your skin, giving them a black appearance because of oxygen in the air. Whiteheads are closed just under the surface of your skin, giving them a white appearance.
While whiteheads and blackheads are the most common lesions seen in acne, other types can also occur. Inflammatory lesions are more likely to cause scarring of your skin. These include:
What causes acne?
Acne occurs when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, or bacteria.
Each pore of your skin is the opening to a follicle. The follicle is made up of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland.
The oil gland releases sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin. The sebum keeps your skin lubricated and soft.
One or more problems in this lubrication process can cause acne. It can occur when:
These problems contribute to the development of pimples. A pimple appears when bacteria grows in a clogged pore and the oil is unable to escape.
What are the risk factors for developing acne?
Myths about what contributes to acne are quite common. Many people believe that foods such as chocolate or French fries will contribute to acne. While there’s no scientific support for these claims, there are certain risk factors for developing acne. These include:
People are most at risk for developing acne during puberty. During this time, your body undergoes hormonal changes. These changes can trigger oil production, leading to an increased risk of acne. Hormonal acne related to puberty usually subsides, or at least improves when you reach adulthood.
How is acne diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of acne, your doctor can make a diagnosis by examining your skin. Your doctor will identify the types of lesions and their severity to determine the best treatment.
Have medical questions? Connect with an experienced, board-certified dermatologist online or by phone. Pediatricians and other specialists also available 24/7.
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How is acne treated?
There are a few self-care activities you can try at home to prevent pimples and clear up your acne. Home remedies for acne include:
If self-care doesn’t help with your acne, a few over-the-counter acne medications are available. Most of these medications contain ingredients that can help kill bacteria or reduce oil on your skin. These include:
Sometimes, you may continue to experience symptoms. If this happens, you may want to seek medical advice. Your doctor can prescribe medications that may help reduce your symptoms and prevent scarring. These include:
Women with hormonal acne may be treated with birth control pills or spironolactone. These medications regulate hormones that can cause acne through a decrease in oil production.
Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a vitamin-A-based medication used to treat certain cases of severe nodular acne. It can cause serious side effects, and it’s only used when other treatments don’t work.
What is the outlook for someone with acne?
Treatment for acne is often successful. Most people can expect their acne to begin clearing up within six to eight weeks. However, flare-ups are common and may require additional or long-term treatment. Isotretinoin is the treatment most likely to provide permanent or long-term positive results.
Acne scarring can cause emotional distress. But, prompt treatment can help prevent scarring. Also, your dermatologist will have treatment options designed to treat scarring.
How can acne be prevented?
It’s difficult to prevent acne. But you can take steps at home to help prevent acne after treatment. These steps include:
Speak with your doctor to learn more about strategies to manage your acne.
You may hear the term “breakout” used to describe all forms of acne, but this isn’t always an accurate description. Not all types of acne spread across the skin.
Clogged pores cause acne itself. These may be attributed to:
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or a food that doesn't cause a reaction in most people.
Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify a particular allergen as harmful, even though it isn't. When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system's reaction can inflame your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system.
The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency. While most allergies can't be cured, treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.
Allergy symptoms, which depend on the substance involved, can affect your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can cause:
A food allergy can cause:
An insect sting allergy can cause:
A drug allergy can cause:
Atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition also called eczema, can cause skin to:
Some types of allergies, including allergies to foods and insect stings, can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. A life-threatening medical emergency, anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
When to see a doctor
You might see a doctor if you have symptoms you think are caused by an allergy, and over-the-counter allergy medications don't provide enough relief. If you have symptoms after starting a new medication, call the doctor who prescribed it right away.
For a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), call your local emergency number or seek emergency medical help. If you carry an epinephrine auto-injector (Auvi-Q, EpiPen, others), give yourself a shot right away.
Even if your symptoms improve after an epinephrine injection, you should go to the emergency department to make sure symptoms don't return when the effects of the injection wear off.
If you've had a severe allergy attack or any signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis in the past, make an appointment to see your doctor. Evaluation, diagnosis and long-term management of anaphylaxis are complicated, so you'll probably need to see a doctor who specializes in allergies and immunology.
An allergy starts when your immune system mistakes a normally harmless substance for a dangerous invader. The immune system then produces antibodies that remain on the alert for that particular allergen. When you're exposed to the allergen again, these antibodies can release a number of immune system chemicals, such as histamine, that cause allergy symptoms.
Common allergy triggers include:
You might be more likely to develop an allergy if you:
Having an allergy increases your risk of certain other medical problems, including:
Preventing allergic reactions depends on the type of allergy you have. General measures include the following:
What is hair loss?
Research indicates that480 million men and women globally have hereditary hair loss (alopecia).
It can affect just the hair on your scalp or your entire body. Although alopecia is more prevalent in older adults, excessive hair loss can occur in children as well.
It’s normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. With about 100,000 hairs on your head, that small loss isn’t noticeable.
New hair normally replaces the lost hair, but this doesn’t always happen. Hair loss can develop gradually over years or happen abruptly. Hair loss can be permanent or temporary.
It’s impossible to count the amount of hair lost on a given day. You may be losing more hair than is normal if you notice a large amount of hair in the drain after washing your hair or clumps of hair in your brush. You might also notice thinning patches of hair or baldness.
If you notice that you’re losing more hair than usual, you should discuss the problem with your doctor. They can determine the underlying cause of your hair loss and suggest appropriate treatment plans.
What causes hair loss?
First, your doctor or dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin problems) will try to determine the underlying cause of your hair loss. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary male- or female-pattern baldness.
If you have a family history of baldness, you may have this type of hair loss. Certain sex hormones can trigger hereditary hair loss. It may begin as early as puberty.
In some cases, hair loss may occur with a simple halt in the cycle of hair growth. Major illnesses, surgeries, or traumatic events can trigger hair loss. However, your hair will usually start growing back without treatment.
Hormonal changes can cause temporary hair loss. Examples include:
Medical conditions that can cause hair loss include:
Diseases that cause scarring, such as lichen planus and some types of lupus, can result in permanent hair loss because of the scarring.
Hair loss can also be due to medications used to treat:
A physical or emotional shock may trigger noticeable hair loss. Examples of this type of shock include:
People with trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) have a need to pull out their hair, usually from their head, eyebrows, or eyelashes.
Traction hair loss can be due to hairstyles that put pressure on the follicles by pulling the hair back very tightly.
A diet lacking in protein, iron, and other nutrients can also lead to thinning hair.
How is hair loss diagnosed?
Persistent hair loss often indicates an underlying health issue.
Your doctor or dermatologist can determine the cause of your hair loss based on a physical examination and your health history. In some cases, simple dietary changes can help. Your doctor may also change your prescription medications.
If your dermatologist suspects an autoimmune or skin disease, they might take a biopsy of the skin on your scalp.
This will involve carefully removing a small section of skin for laboratory testing. It’s important to keep in mind that hair growth is a complex process. It may take time to determine the exact cause of your hair loss.
Sometimes, medications aren’t enough to stop hair loss. There are surgical procedures to treat baldness.
Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery involves moving small plugs of skin, each with a few hairs, to bald parts of your scalp.
This works well for people with inherited baldness since they typically lose hair on the top of the head. Because this type of hair loss is progressive, you would need multiple surgeries over time.
In a scalp reduction, a surgeon removes part of your scalp that lacks hair. The surgeon then closes the area with a piece of your scalp that has hair. Another option is a flap, in which your surgeon folds scalp that has hair over a bald patch. This is a type of scalp reduction.
Tissue expansion can also cover bald spots. It requires two surgeries. In the first surgery, a surgeon places a tissue expander under a part of your scalp that has hair and is next to the bald spot. After several weeks, the expander stretches out the part of your scalp that has hair.
In the second surgery, your surgeon removes the expander and pulls the expanded area of scalp with hair over the bald spot.
These surgical remedies for baldness tend to be expensive, and they carry risks. These include:
Your graft might also not take, meaning that you would need to repeat the surgery.
How can I prevent hair loss?
There are things you can do to prevent further hair loss. Don’t wear tight hairstyles like braids, ponytails, or buns that put too much pressure on your hair. Over time, those styles permanently damage your hair follicles.
Try not to pull, twist, or rub your hair. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of iron and protein.
Certain beauty regimens can worsen or cause hair loss.
If you’re currently losing hair, use a gentle baby shampoo to wash your hair. Unless you have extremely oily hair, consider washing your hair only every other day. Always pat the hair dry and avoid rubbing your hair.
Styling products and tools are also common culprits in hair loss. Examples of products or tools that can affect hair loss include:
If you decide to style your hair with heated tools, only do so when your hair is dry. Also, use the lowest settings possible
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways to the lungs. It makes breathing difficult and can make some physical activities challenging or even impossible.
To understand asthma, it’s necessary to understand a little about what happens when you breathe.
Normally, with every breath you take, air goes through your nose or mouth and down into your throat and into your airways, eventually making it to your lungs.
There are lots of small air passages in your lungs that help deliver oxygen from the air into your bloodstream.
Asthma symptoms occur when the lining of your airways swell and the muscles around them tighten. Mucus then fills the airways, further reducing the amount of air that can pass through.
These conditions can then bring on an asthma “attack,” the coughing and tightness in your chest that’s typical of asthma.
The most common symptom of asthma is wheezing, a squealing or whistling sound made when you breathe.
Other asthma symptoms may include:
The type of asthma that you have can determine which symptoms you experience.
Not everyone with asthma will experience these particular symptoms. If you think the symptoms you’re experiencing could be a sign of a condition such as asthma, make an appointment to see your doctor.
The first indication that you have asthma may not be an actual asthma attack.
There are many different types of asthma. The most common type is bronchial asthma, which affects the bronchi in the lungs.
Additional forms of asthma include childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma. In adult-onset asthma, symptoms don’t appear until at least age 20.
Other specific types of asthma are described below.
Allergic asthma (extrinsic asthma)
Allergens trigger this common type of asthma. These might include:
Allergic asthma is often seasonal because it often goes hand-in-hand with seasonal allergies.
Nonallergic asthma (intrinsic asthma)
Irritants in the air not related to allergies trigger this type of asthma. These irritants might include:
Occupational asthma is a type of asthma induced by triggers in the workplace. These include:
These irritants can exist in a wide range of industries, including:
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) usually affects people within a few minutes of starting exercise and up to 10–15 minutes after physical activity.
This condition was previously known as exercise-induced asthma (EIA).
Up to 90 percent of people with asthma also experience EIB, but not everyone with EIB will have other types of asthma.
Aspirin-induced asthma (AIA), also called aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), is usually severe.
It’s triggered by taking aspirin or another NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), such as naproxen (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Advil).
The symptoms may begin within minutes or hours. These patients also typically have nasal polyps.
About 9 percent of people with asthma have AIA. It usually develops suddenly in adults between the ages of 20 and 50.
In this type of asthma, symptoms worsen at night.
Triggers that are thought to bring on symptoms at night include:
The body’s natural sleep cycle may also trigger nocturnal asthma.
Cough-variant asthma (CVA)
Cough-variant asthma (CVA) doesn’t have classic asthma symptoms of wheezing and shortness of breath. It’s characterized by a persistent, dry cough.
If it’s not treated, CVA can lead to full-blown asthma flares that include the other more common symptoms.
There’s no single test or exam that will determine if you or your child has asthma. Instead, your doctor will use a variety of criteria to determine if the symptoms are the result of asthma.
The following can help diagnose asthma:
Doctors don’t typically perform breathing tests in children under 5 years of age because it’s difficult to get an accurate reading.
Instead, they may prescribe asthma medications to your child and wait to see if symptoms improve. If they do, your child likely has asthma.
For adults, your doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator or other asthma medication if test results indicate asthma.
If symptoms improve with the use of this medication, your doctor will continue to treat your condition as asthma.
To help diagnose and treat asthma, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) classifies the condition based on its severity before treatment.
Asthma classifications include:
No single cause has been identified for asthma. Instead, researchers believe that the breathing condition is caused by a variety of factors. These factors include:
Treatments for asthma fall into three primary categories:
Your doctor will recommend one treatment or combination of treatments based on:
These exercises can help you get more air into and out of your lungs. Over time, this may help increase lung capacity and cut down on severe asthma symptoms.
Your doctor or an occupational therapist can help you learn these breathing exercises for asthma.
Quick-relief asthma treatments
These medications should only be used in the event of asthma symptoms or an attack. They provide quick relief to help you breathe again.
Bronchodilators work within minutes to relax the tightened muscles around your airwaves. They can be taken as an inhaler (rescue) or nebulizer.
First aid asthma treatment
If you think that someone you know is having an asthma attack, tell them to sit them upright and assist them in using their rescue inhaler or nebulizer. Two to six puffs of medication should help ease their symptoms.
If symptoms persist for more than 20 minutes, and a second round of medication doesn’t help, seek emergency medical attention.
If you frequently need to use quick-relief medications, you should ask your doctor about another type of medication for long-term asthma control.
Long-term asthma control medications
These medications, taken daily, help reduce the number and severity of your asthma symptoms, but they don’t manage the immediate symptoms of an attack.
Long-term asthma control medications include the following:
This treatment uses an electrode to heat the airwaves inside the lungs, helping to reduce the size of the muscle and prevent it from tightening.
Bronchial thermoplasty is intended for people with severe asthma. It isn’t widely available.
When your asthma symptoms get progressively worse, it’s known as an exacerbation, or an asthma attack.
It becomes increasingly difficult to breathe because your airways are swollen and your bronchial tubes have narrowed.
The symptoms of an exacerbation may include:
Although an exacerbation can end quickly without medication, you should contact your doctor because it can be life threatening.
The longer an exacerbation continues, the more it can affect your ability to breathe. That’s why exacerbations often require a trip to the emergency room.
Exacerbations can be prevented by taking medications that help manage your asthma symptoms.
Call your doctor immediately if you:
It’s important to educate yourself about your condition and its symptoms. The more you know, the more proactive you can be in improving your lung function and how you feel.
Talk with your doctor about:
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which your immune system destroys insulin-making cells in your pancreas. These are called beta cells. The condition is usually diagnosed in children and young people, so it used to be called juvenile diabetes.
A condition called secondary diabetes is like type 1, but your beta cells are wiped out by something else, like a disease or an injury to your pancreas, rather than by your immune system.
Both of these are different from type 2 diabetes, in which your body doesn’t respond to insulin the way it should.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
Signs are often subtle, but they can become severe. They include:
Signs of an emergency with type 1 diabetes include:
Type 1 Diabetes Causes
Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar, or glucose, into your body's tissues. Your cells use it as fuel.
Damage to beta cells from type 1 diabetes throws the process off. Glucose doesn’t move into your cells because insulin isn’t there to do the job. Instead, it builds up in your blood, and your cells starve. This causes high blood sugar, which can lead to:
There’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Doctors don't know all the things that cause it. But they know that your genes play a role.
They also know that you can get type 1 diabetes when something around you, like a virus, tells your immune system to go after your pancreas. Most people with type 1 diabetes have signs of this attack, called autoantibodies. They’re there in almost everyone who has the condition when their blood sugar is high.
Type 1 diabetes can happen along with other autoimmune diseases, like Graves’ disease or vitiligo.
Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factors
Only about 5% of people with diabetes have type 1. It affects males and females equally. You’re at higher risk of getting it if you:
Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis
If your doctor thinks you have type 1 diabetes, they’ll check your blood sugar levels. They may test your urine for glucose or chemicals your body makes when you don’t have enough insulin.
Type 1 Diabetes Treatment
People who have type 1 diabetes can live long, healthy lives. You’ll need to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will give you a range that the numbers should stay within. Adjust your insulin, food, and activities as necessary.
Everyone with type 1 diabetes needs to use insulin shots to control their blood sugar.
When your doctor talks about insulin, they’ll mention three main things:
Several types of insulin are available.
Your doctor may start you out with two injections a day of two types of insulin. Later, you might need more shots.
Most insulin comes in a small glass bottle called a vial. You draw it out with a syringe that has a needle on the end and give yourself the shot. Some kinds come in a prefilled pen. Another kind is inhaled. You can also get it from a pump, a device you wear that sends it into your body through a small tube. Your doctor will help you pick the type and the delivery method that’s best for you.
Exercise is an important part of treating type 1. But it isn’t as simple as going for a run. Exercise affects your blood sugar levels. So you have to balance your insulin dose and the food you eat with any activity, even simple tasks around the house or yard.
Knowledge is power. Check your blood sugar before, during, and after an activity to find out how it affects you. Some things will make your levels go up; others won't. You can lower your insulin or have a snack with carbs to keep it from dropping too low.
If your blood sugar is high -- above 240 mg/dL -- test for ketones, the acids that can result from high sugar levels. If they’re OK, you should be good to go. If they’re high, skip the workout.
You’ll also need to understand how food affects your blood sugar. Once you know the roles that carbs, fats, and protein play, you can build a healthy eating plan that helps keep your levels where they should be. A diabetes educator or registered dietitian can help you get started.
Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease that keeps your body from using insulin the way it should. People with type 2 diabetes are said to have insulin resistance.
People who are middle-aged or older are most likely to get this kind of diabetes, so it used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But type 2 diabetes also affects kids and teens, mainly because of childhood obesity.
It’s the most common type of diabetes. There are about 29 million people in the U.S. with type 2. Another 84 million have prediabetes, meaning their blood sugar (or blood glucose) is high but not high enough to be diabetes yet.
Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be so mild that you don't notice them. About 8 million people who have it don't know it. Symptoms include:
Dark rashes around your neck or armpits (called acanthosis nigricans) that are often a sign of insulin resistance
Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. It helps your cells turn glucose, a type of sugar, from the food you eat into energy. People with type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their cells don't use it as well as they should.
At first, your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get glucose into your cells. But eventually, it can't keep up, and the glucose builds up in your blood instead.
Usually, a combination of things causes type 2 diabetes. They might include:
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
Certain things make it more likely that you’ll get type 2 diabetes. The more of these that apply to you, the higher your chances of getting it are. Some things are related to who you are:
Risk factors related to your health and medical history include:
Other things that raise your risk of diabetes have to do with your daily habits and lifestyle. These are the ones you can do something about:
Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
Managing type 2 diabetes includes a mix of lifestyle changes and medication.
You may be able to reach your target blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance your liver makes to protect nerves and to make cell tissue and certain hormones. Your body also gets cholesterol from the food you eat. This includes eggs, meats, and dairy. Too much cholesterol can be bad for your health. There is “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol.
What is the difference between “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol?
Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad” cholesterol.
If your total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL level, you may be at higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if your total cholesterol level is high only because of a high HDL level, you’re probably not at higher risk.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. When you eat more calories than your body can use, it turns the extra calories into triglycerides.
Changing your lifestyle (diet and exercise) can improve your cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.
Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk for heart disease.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
Often, there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. These are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. Over time, plaque can become hard and make your arteries narrow. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break apart, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.
A blocked artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blocked artery to your brain can cause a stroke.
Many people don’t discover that they have high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. Some people find out through routine check-ups that include blood tests.
What causes high cholesterol?
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and aren’t active in general, it can lower your HDL (good cholesterol).
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL (good cholesterol).
How is high cholesterol diagnosed?
You can’t tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.
Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
Can high cholesterol be prevented or avoided?
Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.
Eat fewer foods with saturated fats (such as red meat and most dairy products). Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat (such as fried and packaged foods). Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.
Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.
High cholesterol treatment
If you have high cholesterol, you may need to make some lifestyle changes. If you smoke, quit. Exercise regularly. If you’re overweight, losing just five to 10 pounds can improve your cholesterol levels and your risk for heart disease. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
Depending on your risk factors, your doctor may prescribe medicine and lifestyle changes.
Living with high cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL “bad cholesterol” through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
Questions to ask your doctor
Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the body’s arteries, the major blood vessels in the body. Hypertension is when blood pressure is too high.
Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.
Hypertension is diagnosed if, when it is measured on two different days, the systolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥140 mmHg and/or the diastolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥90 mmHg.
What are the risk factors for hypertension?
Modifiable risk factors include unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables), physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight or obese.
Non-modifiable risk factors include a family history of hypertension, age over 65 years and co-existing diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.
What are common symptoms of hypertension?
Hypertension is called a "silent killer". Most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms. For this reason, it is essential that blood pressure is measured regularly.
When symptoms do occur, they can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.
The only way to detect hypertension is to have a health professional measure blood pressure. Having blood pressure measured is quick and painless. Individuals can also measure their own blood pressure using automated devices, however, an evaluation by a health professional is important for assessment of risk and associated conditions.
What are the complications of uncontrolled hypertension?
Among other complications, hypertension can cause serious damage to the heart. Excessive pressure can harden arteries, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. This elevated pressure and reduced blood flow can cause:
Hypertension can also burst or block arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, causing a stroke.
In addition, hypertension can cause kidney damage, leading to kidney failure.
How can the burden of hypertension be reduced?
Reducing hypertension prevents heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage, as well as other health problems.
Cancer comes from overproduction and malfunction of the body's own cells.
What Is Cancer & What Causes It?
When cells become cancerous
In the most basic terms, cancer refers to cells that grow out-of-control and invade other tissues. Cells become cancerous due to the accumulation of defects, or mutations, in their DNA. Certain:
Most of the time, cells are able to detect and repair DNA damage. If a cell is severely damaged and cannot repair itself it undergoes so-called programmed cell death or apoptosis. Cancer occurs when damaged cells grow, divide, and spread abnormally instead of self-destructing as they should.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. These abnormal cells are termed cancer cells, malignant cells, or tumor cells. These cells can infiltrate normal body tissues. Many cancers and the abnormal cells that compose the cancer tissue are further identified by the name of the tissue that the abnormal cells originated from (for example, breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer). Cancer is not confined to humans; animals and other living organisms can get cancer. Below is a schematic that shows normal cell division and how when a cell is damaged or altered without repair to its system, the cell usually dies. Also shown is what occurs when such damaged or unrepaired cells do not die and become cancer cells and show uncontrolled division and growth -- a mass of cancer cells develop. Frequently, cancer cells can break away from this original mass of cells, travel through the blood and lymph systems, and lodge in other organs where they can again repeat the uncontrolled growth cycle. This process of cancer cells leaving an area and growing in another body area is termed metastatic spread or metastasis. For example, if breast cancer cells spread to a bone, it means that the individual has metastatic breast cancer to bone. This is not the same as "bone cancer," which would mean the cancer had started in the bone.
The incidence of cancer and cancer types are influenced by many factors such as age, gender, race, local environmental factors, diet, and genetics. Consequently, the incidence of cancer and cancer types vary depending on these variable factors. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides the following general information about cancer worldwide:
Your thyroid creates and produces hormones that play a role in many different systems throughout your body. When your thyroid makes either too much or too little of these important hormones, it’s called a thyroid disease. There are several different types of thyroid disease, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid gland is a small organ that’s located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe (trachea). It’s shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.
When your thyroid doesn’t work properly, it can impact your entire body. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone, you can develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are serious and need to be treated by your healthcare provider.
What does the thyroid do?
Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body — releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your body’s systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.
The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones — T4 (thyroxine, contains four iodide atoms) and T3 (triiodothyronine, contains three iodide atoms). These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the body’s cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.
This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.
What is thyroid disease?
Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired — it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families (inherited).
Who is affected by thyroid disease?
Thyroid disease can affect anyone — men, women, infants, teenagers and the elderly. It can be present at birth (typically hypothyroidism) and it can develop as you age (often after menopause in women).
Thyroid disease is very common, with an estimated 20 million people in the Unites States having some type of thyroid disorder. A woman is about five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than a man.
You may be at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease if you:
What causes thyroid disease?
The two main types of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Both conditions can be caused by other diseases that impact the way the thyroid gland works.
Conditions that can cause hypothyroidism include:
Conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism include:
Is there a higher risk of developing thyroid disease if I have diabetes?
If you have diabetes, you’re at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease than people without diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. If you already have one autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to develop another one.
For people with type 2 diabetes, the risk is lower, but still there. If you have type 2 diabetes, you’re more likely to develop a thyroid disease later in life.
Regular testing is recommended to check for thyroid issues. Those with type 1 diabetes may be tested more often — immediately after diagnosis and then every year or so — than people with type 2 diabetes. There isn’t a regular schedule for testing if you have type 2 diabetes, however your healthcare provider may suggest a schedule for testing over time.
If you have diabetes and get a positive thyroid test, there are a few things to you can do to help feel the best possible. These tips include:
What common symptoms can happen with thyroid disease?
There are a variety of symptoms you could experience if you have a thyroid disease. Unfortunately, symptoms of a thyroid condition are often very similar to the signs of other medical conditions and stages of life. This can make it difficult to know if your symptoms are related to a thyroid issue or something else entirely.
For the most part, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups — those related to having too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and those related to having too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can include:
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can include:
Can thyroid issues make me lose my hair?
Hair loss is a symptom of thyroid disease, particularly hypothyroidism. If you start to experience hair loss and are concerned about it, talk to your healthcare provider.
Can thyroid issues cause seizures?
In most cases, thyroid issues don’t cause seizures. However, if you have a very severe cases of hypothyroidism that hasn’t been diagnosed or treated, your risk of developing low serum sodium goes up. This could lead to seizures.
How is thyroid disease diagnosed?
Sometimes, thyroid disease can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are easily confused with those of other conditions. You may experience similar symptoms when you are pregnant or aging and you would when developing a thyroid disease. Fortunately, there are tests that can help determine if your symptoms are being caused by a thyroid issue. These tests include:
Abdominal pain is pain that occurs between the chest and pelvic regions. Abdominal pain can be crampy, achy, dull, intermittent or sharp. It’s also called a stomachache.
Inflammation or diseases that affect the organs in the abdomen can cause abdominal pain. Major organs located in the abdomen include:
Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections that affect the stomach and intestines may also cause significant abdominal pain.
What causes abdominal pain?
Abdominal pain can be caused by many conditions. However, the main causes are infection, abnormal growths, inflammation, obstruction (blockage), and intestinal disorders.
Infections in the throat, intestines, and blood can cause bacteria to enter your digestive tract, resulting in abdominal pain. These infections may also cause changes in digestion, such as diarrhea or constipation.
Cramps associated with menstruation are also a potential source of lower abdominal pain, but more commonly these are known to cause pelvic pain.
Other common causes of abdominal pain include:
Diseases that affect the digestive system can also cause chronic abdominal pain. The most common are:
Causes of severe abdominal pain include:
When to see the doctor
Mild abdominal pain may go away without treatment. However, in some cases, abdominal pain may warrant a trip to the doctor.
Call emergency if your abdominal pain is severe and associated with trauma (from an accident or injury) or pressure or pain in your chest.
You should seek immediate medical care if the pain is so severe that you can’t sit still or need to curl into a ball to get comfortable, or if you have any of the following:
Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Call your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and you experience abdominal pain.
How is the cause of abdominal pain diagnosed?
The cause of abdominal pain can be diagnosed through a series of tests. Before ordering tests, your doctor will do a physical examination. This includes gently pressing down on various areas of your abdomen to check for tenderness and swelling.
This information, combined with the severity of the pain and its location within the abdomen, will help your doctor determine which tests to order.
Imaging tests, such as MRI scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays, are used to view organs, tissues, and other structures in the abdomen in detail. These tests can help diagnose tumors, fractures, ruptures, and inflammation.
Other tests include:
Blood, urine, and stool samples may also be collected to look for evidence of bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.
How can I prevent abdominal pain?
Not all forms of abdominal pain are preventable. However, you can minimize the risk of developing abdominal pain by doing the following:
If you have an intestinal disorder, such as Crohn’s disease, follow the diet your doctor has given you to minimize discomfort. If you have GERD, don’t eat within two hours of bedtime.
Lying down too soon after eating may cause heartburn and abdominal pain. Try waiting at least two hours after eating before lying down.
Back pain is a common reason for absence from work and for seeking medical treatment. It can be uncomfortable and debilitating.
It can result from injury, activity and some medical conditions. Back pain can affect people of any age, for different reasons. As people get older, the chance of developing lower back pain increases, due to factors such as previous occupation and degenerative disk disease.
Lower back pain may be linked to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles, abdominal and pelvic internal organs, and the skin around the lumbar area.
Pain in the upper back may be due to disorders of the aorta, tumors in the chest, and spine inflammation.
The human back is composed of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks, and bones, which work together to support the body and enable us to move around.
The segments of the spine are cushioned with cartilage-like pads called disks.
Problems with any of these components can lead to back pain. In some cases of back pain, its cause remains unclear.
Damage can result from strain, medical conditions, and poor posture, among others.
Back pain commonly stems from strain, tension, or injury. Frequent causes of back pain are:
Activities that can lead to strains or spasms include:
A number of structural problems may also result in back pain.
The following factors are linked to a higher risk of developing low back pain:
Lower back pain also tends to be more common in women than in men, possibly due to hormonal factors. Stress, anxiety, and mood disorders have also been linked to back pain.
The main symptom of back pain is an ache or pain anywhere in the back, and sometimes all the way down to the buttocks and legs.
Some back issues can cause pain in other parts of the body, depending on the nerves affected.
The pain often goes away without treatment, but if it occurs with any of the following people should see their doctor:
When to see a doctor
You should seek medical help if you experience any numbness or tingling, or if you have back pain:
A doctor will usually be able to diagnose back pain after asking about symptoms and carrying out a physical examination.
An imaging scan and other tests may be required if:
An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan can give information about the state of the soft tissues in the back.
The doctor may also order a blood test if infection is suspected.
Bottom of Form
Back pain usually resolves with rest and home remedies, but sometimes medical treatment is necessary.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication, usually nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, can relieve discomfort. Applying a hot compress or an ice pack to the painful area may also reduce pain.
Resting from strenuous activity can help, but moving around will ease stiffness, reduce pain, and prevent muscles from weakening.
If home treatments do not relieve back pain, a doctor may recommend the following medication, physical therapy, or both.
Medication: Back pain that does not respond well to OTC painkillers may require a prescription NSAID. Codeine or hydrocodone, which are narcotics, may be prescribed for short periods. These require close monitoring by the doctor. In some cases, muscle relaxants may be used.
Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, may be prescribed, but research is ongoing at to their effectiveness, and the evidence is conflicting.
Physical therapy: Applying heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation — as well as some muscle-release techniques to the back muscles and soft tissues — may help alleviate pain.
As the pain improves, the physical therapist may introduce some flexibility and strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles. Techniques for improving posture may also help.
The patient will be encouraged to practice the techniques regularly, even after the pain has gone, to prevent back pain recurrence.
Cortisone injections: If other options are not effective, these may be injected into the epidural space, around the spinal cord. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory drug. It helps reduce inflammation around the nerve roots. Injections may also be used to numb areas thought to be causing the pain.
Botox: Botox (botulism toxin), according to some early studies, are thought to reduce pain by paralyzing sprained muscles in spasm. These injections are effective for about 3 to 4 months.
Traction: Pulleys and weights are used to stretch the back. This may result in a herniated disk moving back into position. It can also relieve pain, but only while traction is applied.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can help manage chronic back pain by encouraging new ways of thinking. It may include relaxation techniques and ways of maintaining a positive attitude. Studies have found that patients with CBT tend to become more active and do exercise, resulting in a lower risk of back pain recurrence.
Complementary therapies may be used alongside conventional therapies or on their own.
Chiropractic, osteopathy, shiatsu, and acupuncture may help relieve back pain, as well as encouraging the patient to feel relaxed.
Studies on complementary therapies have given mixed results. Some people have experienced significant benefit, while others have not. It is important, when considering alternative therapies, to use a well qualified and registered therapist.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a popular therapy for patients with chronic back pain. The TENS machine delivers small electric pulses into the body through electrodes that are placed on the skin.
Experts believe TENS encourages the body to produce endorphins and may block pain signals returning to the brain. Studies on TENS have provided mixed results. Some revealed no benefits, while others indicated that it could be helpful for some people.
A TENS machine should be used under the direction of a doctor or health professional.
It should not be used by someone who is:
TENS is considered “safe, noninvasive, inexpensive, and patient friendly,” and it appears to reduce pain, but more evidence is needed to confirm its effectiveness in improving activity levels.
TENS machines and other pain relief methods can be purchased online.
Surgery for back pain is very rare. If a patient has a herniated disk surgery may be an option, especially if there is persistent pain and nerve compression which can lead to muscle weakness.
Examples of surgical procedures include:
Injecting cells to regenerate spine discs: Scientists from Duke University, North Carolina, developed new biomaterials that can deliver a booster shot of reparative cells to the nucleus pulposus, effectively eliminating pain caused by degenerative disc disease.
Steps to lower the risk of developing back pain consist mainly of addressing some of the risk factors.
Exercise: Regular exercise helps build strength and control body weight. Guided, low-impact aerobic activities can boost heart health without straining or jerking the back. Before starting any exercise program, talk to a health care professional.
There are two main types of exercise that people can do to reduce the risk of back pain:
Diet: Make sure your diet includes enough calcium and vitamin D, as these are needed for bone health. A healthful diet also helps control body weight.
Smoking: A significantly higher percentage of smokers have back pain incidences compared to non-smokers of the same age, height, and weight.
Body weight: The weight people carry and where they carry it affects the risk of developing back pain. The difference in back pain risk between obese and normal-weight individuals is considerable. People who carry their weight in the abdominal area versus the buttocks and hip area are also at greater risk.
Posture when standing: Make sure you have a neutral pelvic position. Stand upright, head facing forward, back straight, and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Keep your legs straight and your head in line with your spine.
Posture when sitting: A good seat for working should have good back support, arm rests and a swivel base. When sitting, try to keep your knees and hips level and keep your feet flat on the floor, or use a footstool. You should ideally be able to sit upright with support in the small of your back. If you are using a keyboard, make sure your elbows are at right-angles and that your forearms are horizontal.
Lifting: When lifting things, use your legs to do the lifting, rather than your back.
Keep your back as straight as you can, keeping your feet apart with one leg slightly forward so you can maintain balance. Bend only at the knees, hold the weight close to your body, and straighten the legs while changing the position of your back as little as possible.
Bending your back initially is unavoidable, but when you bend your back try not to stoop, and be sure to tighten your stomach muscles so that your pelvis is pulled in. Most important, do not straighten your legs before lifting, or you will be using your back for most of the work.
Do not lift and twist at the same time: If something is particularly heavy, see if you can lift it with someone else. While you are lifting keep looking straight ahead, not up or down, so that the back of your neck is like a continuous straight line from your spine.
Moving things: It is better for your back to push things across the floor, using your leg strength, rather than pulling them.
Shoes: Flat shoes place less of a strain on the back.
Driving: It is important to have proper support for your back. Make sure the wing mirrors are properly positioned so you do not need to twist. The pedals should be squarely in front of your feet. If you are on a long journey, have plenty of breaks. Get out of the car and walk around.
Bed: You should have a mattress that keeps your spine straight, while at the same time supporting the weight of your shoulders and buttocks. Use a pillow, but not one that forces your neck into a steep angle.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that regularly affects millions of people worldwide. In short, individuals with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. The effects can be devastating.
Insomnia commonly leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically. Mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are common associated symptoms.
Here, we will discuss what insomnia is, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and possible treatments.
Fast facts on insomnia:
Insomnia can be caused by physical and psychological factors. There is sometimes an underlying medical condition that causes chronic insomnia, while transient insomnia may be due to a recent event or occurrence. Insomnia is commonly caused by:
Media technology in the bedroom
Several small studies in adults and children have suggested that an exposure to light from televisions and smartphones prior to going to sleep can affect natural melatonin levels and lead to increased time to sleep.
In addition, a study conducted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute found that backlit tablet computers can affect sleep patterns. These studies suggest that technology in the bedroom can worsen insomnia, leading to more complications.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the following medications can cause insomnia in some patients:
Insomnia itself may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. However, there are many signs and symptoms that are associated with insomnia:
Some types of insomnia resolve when the underlying cause is treated or wears off. In general, insomnia treatment focuses on determining the cause.
Once identified, this underlying cause can be properly treated or corrected.
In addition to treating the underlying cause of insomnia, both medical and non-pharmacological (behavioral) treatments may be used as therapies.
Non-pharmacological approaches include cognitive behaviorlal therapy (CBT) in one-on-one counseling sessions or group therapy:
Medical treatments for insomnia include:
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety is a normal emotion. It’s your brain’s way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead.
Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.
Occasional anxiety is OK. But anxiety disorders are different. They’re a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming anxiety and fear. The excessive anxiety can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms.
With treatment, many people with anxiety disorders can manage their feelings.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several types of anxiety disorders: