Diseases & Conditions

The human body is a remarkable structure. It's designed to efficiently manage the wear and tear of everyday life and fend off all sorts of threats. Most of us are healthy for most of our lives. But we're also susceptible to hundreds of injuries, diseases, and conditions. Some are quite common, others are extremely rare. Here are some of the most common conditions that affect humans.


Diseases & Conditions Articles

Be alert to an increasingly common threat - tick-borne illnesses

Ticks are an increasingly common source of illness, especially in the summer months. While these illnesses used to be common only in certain areas of the country, today more people across the United States are at risk. These conditions typically produce nonspecific symptoms, such as fever, headache, and joint pain, and are treated using antibiotics. More »

Science Matters Video Series

These one-minute videos feature the remarkable science at Harvard Medical School and highlight the passion and personalities of our scientists as talk about what they do, why it matters, and why they love it. Chengua Gu, a professor at Harvard Medical School, explains her studies of the interaction between the human brain and its blood supply, and why this interaction is so important for brain function. More »

A leg up on peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the leg muscles have narrowed, almost always because of a buildup of fatty plaque. PAD can cause leg pain or fatigue after just a few minutes of walking or climbing stairs, and it increases a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke. Addressing risk factors, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, and adopting a regular walking program can help prevent PAD and manage symptoms if it occurs. (Locked) More »

How to deal with food sensitivity

Many people confuse food sensitivity with food intolerance or allergy. Food sensitivity, the most common of the three conditions, is often related to tiny leaks that develop in our intestine as we age. Adopting an elimination diet prescribed by a nutritionist or dietitian can help identify problem foods and determine if a person should stop eating those foods or simply manage portions better. (Locked) More »

Look out for Lyme

Summer is prime time for Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Common symptoms include a rash at the site of the tick bite, fever, chills, fatigue, and muscle and joint aches. People can protect themselves by properly treating their clothes before going outside, doing thorough body checks afterward, and removing attached ticks. Antibiotics such as doxycycline are very effective at killing the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. (Locked) More »

Shortness of breath: A common symptom with many possible causes

Shortness of breath can result from a range of problems, but heart or lung conditions are usually to blame. Sudden breathing problems may be a heart attack or pulmonary embolism, which require immediate attention. Breathing problems that come on more gradually and during physical activity may be caused by aortic stenosis or heart failure. Worsening breathing problems with coughing may be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which often coexists with heart disease. (Locked) More »

Why do I have a salty taste in my mouth?

The most common causes of a salty taste in the mouth are side effects from medication and dehydration. Besides increasing daily water intake, people should review their medications with their doctor or pharmacist. (Locked) More »

Recognizing a common cause of exercise-related leg pain

Peripheral artery disease, in which fatty deposits block blood flow in arteries outside the heart, particularly the legs, is as common in women as it is in men. The condition can be prevented and should be treated early to prevent serious complications, including amputation. (Locked) More »

Why do I get weak after a bowel movement?

Bowel movements can slow heart rate and lower blood pressure, which can make a person feel weak. This often is not a serious problem, and lying down for a few minutes can make the feeling go away. More »