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Diseases & Conditions Archive

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Constantly clearing your throat? Here’s what to try

Published April 5, 2022

When you have a cold, it’s normal to feel mucus sitting at the back of your throat, and to have the urge to clear it. Typically this sensation lasts just a few days, but what happens if it lingers for weeks or months?

Answers to common questions about shingles

Published April 1, 2022

Shingles is a painful condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus. People typically encounter this virus, which causes chickenpox, in childhood. The virus stays dormant in the body, sometimes for decades, and may re-emerge as shingles. The best way to prevent shingles is by getting vaccinated. People should get the vaccine even if they’ve had shingles in the past, because it is possible to get shingles more than once. Maintaining healthy habits, such as eating right, getting enough sleep, and managing stress, may also help to prevent shingles by keeping the immune system working well.

Vanquish your varicose veins

Published April 1, 2022

Varicose veins are a common, treatable condition. They occur when valves inside the veins weaken and allow blood to flow back toward the feet, instead of up to the heart. People may be more prone to develop them if there are others in their family who have them. Lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise and wearing compression stockings, can help prevent them. While varicose veins used to be treated surgically, today they are commonly addressed using less invasive office procedures. Treating veins early can help to prevent complications, such as skin pigmentation changes, leg swelling, and skin ulcers.

Why do I need to urinate right when I get home?

Published April 1, 2022

A sudden urge to use the bathroom when arriving home, sometimes called latchkey incontinence, occurs when the brain associates coming home with the need to urinate, whether the bladder is full or not. Bladder training may help address this pattern.

What can cause a persistent dry cough?

Published April 1, 2022

It’s common to have a cough for weeks after an upper respiratory infection. When a cough lasts six weeks or longer, doctors may order a chest x-ray to check for an underlying lung problem. Chronic coughing also can result from medications, postnasal drip, acid reflux, or asthma.

Feeling the burn of acid reflux

Published April 1, 2022

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease are two of the most common digestive-related problems, but they often get confused with each other because they share many of the same traits. While the two conditions are connected, they are quite different. Recognizing the difference can help a person adopt lifestyle changes to manage symptoms and know when to seek other options, like medication and surgery.

Can medication tame chronic inflammation?

Published April 1, 2022

Many medications are effective for managing (but not preventing) chronic inflammation. The most common medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics. These drugs can have dangerous side effects, so a physician must oversee their use. Other important ways to manage chronic inflammation include treating underlying causes of inflammation and living a healthy lifestyle, such as cutting out processed foods and taking a 10-minute walk each day. A healthy lifestyle may also help prevent chronic inflammation from developing in the first place.

Should you be tested for inflammation?

Published March 29, 2022

Our understanding of how chronic inflammation can impair health has expanded dramatically in recent years, causing some people to wonder if there is a test to identify it, and if they should have it. There are several tests that can detect inflammation, and they are useful in certain situations, but not universally.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: A blood thinner winner?

Published March 7, 2022

Medicines known as blood thinners are prescribed as long-term treatment to avoid initial or recurring blood clots that could cause serious complications. What does an ad in heavy rotation about the brand name blood thinner Eliquis get right and what else do you need to consider?

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