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Diseases & Conditions Archive


Harvard Health Ad Watch: An upbeat ad for a psoriasis treatment

Published November 29, 2021

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease characterized by rough, inflamed patches. There are a number of treatment options available, including a medication called Skyrizi that is given as an injection. Does an upbeat, frequently-run ad on TV clearly deliver all the information people need to know about this drug –– or just some of it?

What it takes to achieve world-changing scientific breakthroughs

Published November 16, 2021

In science, true breakthroughs are rare. Some are the result of fortunate accidents, while others come from scientists with the will to pursue a dream despite challenges and obstacles. And when such breakthroughs do happen –– think of penicillin or COVID vaccines –– the whole world benefits from them.


Less may be more when treating urinary tract infections

Published November 1, 2021
Researchers found that treating urinary tract infections with antibiotics for seven days was just as effective as treatment lasting 14 days. The shorter duration also can reduce the risk of medication side effects like diarrhea and nausea.

Taming the chronic inflammation of psoriasis

Published November 1, 2021
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the immune system attacks the skin. It causes painful skin lesions and may also lead to psoriatic arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or coronary artery disease. Psoriasis treatments include topical steroids, gentle exfoliant lotions, emollients that keep the skin hydrated, ultraviolet light (phototherapy), laser therapies, vitamin A (retinoid creams), and medications (for moderate-to-severe psoriasis). People with psoriasis are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with an mRNA vaccine (from either Pfizer or Moderna) as soon as possible, if they haven’t already done so.

4 reasons for tingling or numbness in the arms and legs

Published November 1, 2021
There are lots of reasons for numbness or tingling in the limbs. Constant or recurrent symptoms point to a potentially serious cause. One possibility is peripheral neuropathy, which damages nerves throughout the body. Another is peripheral artery disease—a narrowing of the arteries in the limbs that reduces blood flow. Another is nerve compression, which might be caused by sciatica (irritation of the sciatic nerve in the legs) or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). When numbness or tingling persists, one should report the symptoms to a doctor right away.

Casing the joints

Published November 1, 2021
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis among older adults. Often called the "wear and tear" disease, osteoarthritis doesn’t occur because of overusing or stressing one’s joints. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, people can lower their risk or better manage the condition by losing excess weight, strengthening the muscles surrounding joints, and using over-the-counter pain medication as needed.

Should I be worried about fatty liver disease?

Published November 1, 2021
People with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is fatty liver not caused by high alcohol intake, should refrain from most drinking and lose weight to avoid cirrhosis and lower their risk of liver cancer.

Gastroparesis: A slow-emptying stomach can cause nausea and vomiting

Published October 27, 2021

Gastroparesis is a condition that causes delay in the emptying of food from the stomach. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, and can affect nutrition and quality of life. Treatment may involve medication or a procedure, but a correct diagnosis is necessary first.

What to do when elective surgery is postponed

Published October 20, 2021

When hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients, elective surgeries need to be postponed. If your elective surgery is temporarily derailed, what steps can you take to help yourself cope and be prepared for when the surgery is rescheduled?

Icy fingers and toes: Poor circulation or Raynaud’s phenomenon?

Published October 15, 2021

Some people have poor circulation, but if your fingers pale and go numb when exposed to quick changes in temperature, it could be Raynaud’s phenomenon, a different kind of circulation problem. Generally, avoiding sudden exposure to cold and other factors that cause blood vessels to constrict, and being prepared with gloves and extra layers of clothing, helps.

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