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Diseases & Conditions Archive

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Progress toward over-the-counter hearing aids

Published January 1, 2022
In October 2021, the FDA proposed rules to create a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids that would require special regulations and FDA approval. Approval of the rules is expected sometime in 2022.

What is "walking pneumonia"?

Published January 1, 2022
Walking pneumonia means a person with pneumonia is highly likely to get well at home and not develop complications. Still, walking pneumonia is considered a significant infection and requires prompt and appropriate treatment. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics and rest.

The dos and don’ts of managing diverticular disease

Published January 1, 2022
People who have diverticular disease have tiny pouches (diverticula) in the lining of the colon that can bleed or perforate and develop infection (called diverticulitis). People with diverticular disease should eat a healthy diet rich in fiber, drink lots of water, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke, avoid straining in the bathroom, and report bleeding or pain to a doctor. However, it’s not necessary to avoid eating nuts, seeds, or popcorn, which were once believed to lodge in diverticula and cause problems. That old advice turned out to be wrong.

The heel problem that threatens your mobility

Published January 1, 2022
Thick, dead skin patches (calluses) on the heels sometimes become cracked. The condition, known as cracked heels, makes it hard to walk and increases the risk for infection, since cracks open the door for bacteria to enter the body. If infected, cracked heels can turn into foot wounds that become hard to heal, especially in people with diabetes or peripheral artery disease who have poor circulation in their legs and feet.

Tinnitus: Ringing or humming in your ears? Sound therapy is one option

Published December 8, 2021

Millions of people have tinnitus, a condition where a person hears a sound inside the head that does not come from any external source. There are many possible causes and no cure, but there are ways to ease the symptoms, one of which is sound therapy, which uses external sound to alter a person’s perception of or reaction to tinnitus.

Vaccination still recommended after a shingles infection

Published December 1, 2021
The CDC recommends people ages 50 and older get the Shingrix vaccine to protect against shingles. But those who haven’t been vaccinated and get shingles for the first time should still receive the shot to reduce their risk of future attacks.

Should we use rapid COVID tests before gatherings?

Published December 1, 2021
Rapid COVID tests aren’t foolproof, but can provide an added layer of assurance if people take them before a planned gathering, in addition to following other preventive strategies.

Tough to swallow

Published December 1, 2021
Losing the ability to properly swallow should not be attributed to older age. If older adults have persistent trouble swallowing, like the sensation something is stuck in their throat, or if it’s painful to swallow, it could be a sign of an underlying problem and should be checked out. Treatment depends on the source of the swallowing problem, but might include medication, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, surgery.

Sore throat soothers

Published December 1, 2021
Most sore throats are caused by non-life-threatening conditions or certain behaviors. But sometimes a sore throat may be an indication of COVID-19. One should call the doctor if experiencing difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, a high fever, or a cough that produces blood. Ways to relieve sore throat pain include staying hydrated, using over-the-counter painkillers, drinking warm liquids, using cough drops, using a spray or lozenge that contains an oral anesthetic to numb the throat, and treating an underlying condition causing sore throat pain.

What’s new in diabetes drugs

Published December 1, 2021
Two classes of diabetes drugs—GLP-1 receptor agonists and SGLT-2 inhibitors—have received much attention lately. They not only lower blood sugar, they also help with weight reduction and may lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and chronic kidney disease. The drugs can be taken as daily oral tablets or in some cases weekly injections, both of which are preferable over daily insulin shots.

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