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

Defend yourself from diverticulitis

About half of Americans ages 60 to 80 have diverticulosis, a condition in which pea-sized pouches, called diverticula, bulge outward from the colon. Most of the time the pouches don’t cause any problems, but if the diverticula become inflamed or infected, the result is diverticulitis, which produces symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, and pain or tenderness in the lower left abdomen. Drinking plenty of fluids and eating a high-fiber diet can help prevent the problem. More »

Are you at risk for COPD?

COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, severe asthma, or a combination of these conditions. They cause inflammation, destruction or abnormal repair of airways and lung tissue, which reduces airflow. Even though most cases of COPD are linked to smoking, about a fifth of all cases are linked to other causes, such as poorly controlled asthma, abnormal lung development, and air pollution. Treatment may involve inhaled medications to reduce inflammation and to open the airways, antibiotics, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation (exercise, education, and support), and surgical or nonsurgical procedures to improve lung function. More »

Putting the brakes on a racing heart

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a rapid heart rhythm caused by an electrical glitch in the upper part of the heart. During an episode, the heart may beat 250 times or more per minute. With a doctor’s approval, people with long-lasting SVT episodes can try coughing, gagging, or other special maneuvers that sometimes help slow down the heart. Some people with frequent, bothersome episodes take medication or opt for catheter ablation. This procedure detects and destroys the area of tissue causing the problem, using instruments passed through a leg vein up to the heart. (Locked) More »

What to do for a sprained ankle

It takes less force to sprain an ankle as we age, but there are steps you can take to prevent sprains and minimize their effects when you have them. It’s important to get medical attention if symptoms don’t improve after a few days. More »

Whatever happened to CRISPR?

CRISPR technology enables a scientist to edit any piece of any DNA more easily and precisely than before. This may lead to treatments for disease. While no condition has yet been cured by CRISPR, doctors believe cures are coming. (Locked) More »

Are you at risk for gout?

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. It’s caused by a buildup of uric acid, a waste product from the breakdown of natural chemicals in the body. Symptoms—such as excruciating pain, warmth, redness, and swelling—often appear suddenly, especially in the toes (mainly the big toe), feet, and ankles. Medications can decrease severity and pain and help to lower uric acid levels. Other ways to treat gout include losing weight, staying hydrated, treating underlying conditions that may be linked to gout, and avoiding foods that increase uric acid. (Locked) More »

Does your heart need a valve job?

In aortic stenosis, calcium deposits build up on the aortic valve, causing it to stiffen and narrow. Symptoms include shortness of breath during activity, feeling lightheaded or faint, and sometimes chest pain. About three to four of every 100 people ages 75 and older have severe aortic stenosis. Replacing the valve, which is usually done with minimally invasive surgery, is the only treatment option. (Locked) More »

New thinking about urinary tract infections

Treating a urinary tract infection (UTI) in an older adult can be complicated. Symptoms may include a burning feeling with urination, a sense of urgency to urinate, increased frequency of urination, and confusion. But some UTI symptoms are similar to those of other conditions in older age. Doctors say that anyone with new classic symptoms should probably be treated for a UTI. However, if the only symptom is confusion, considering other causes or waiting a day or two to see if the UTI resolves may be appropriate. More »