Diseases & Conditions Archive


Reframing hospice and palliative care

People who choose hospice care forego aggressive medical interventions, but still receive symptom relief and comfort measures. Palliative care differs by offering symptom-focused relief for people who are seriously ill at any stage. Routine hospice care supports patients in their home with medication and visits, while patients who need round-the-clock care can be cared for in either a hospital-based hospice unit, dedicated hospice facility, or nursing home. Patients who choose hospice receive support to carry out end-of-life priorities.

Why are my heels cracked?

Cracks in the heels occur when the skin on the bottom of the heel becomes hard and parched. Applying thick moisturizers often helps. If it doesn't, other causes may include athlete's foot, hypothyroidism, Sjogren's syndrome, or bone spurs in the heels.

Why does the flu cause body aches?

The flu virus triggers bodywide aches and pain by causing inflammation. People can ease flu aches by staying hydrated; taking warm showers; and using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).

CPAP machines and masks: Which ones are right for you?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a first-line treatment for people with obstructive sleep apnea. The CPAP keeps the airway open by pushing a forceful stream of air through a tube and into a mask worn during sleep. The air comes from a small bedside pump (an air compressor). Other forms of positive airway pressure (PAP) may be helpful for people with central sleep apnea. Doctors determine which type of PAP therapy and device someone needs. Patients select the type of PAP mask to use with the system.

Holiday joy can bring painful joint inflammation

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and feasting on foods high in natural compounds called purines may trigger gout in some people. Purine-rich foods that might be found on a holiday buffet include roast beef, brisket, lamb or pork chops, veal, chicken liver, turkey, trout, haddock, scallops, oysters, mussels, lobster, shrimp, or crab. While it's not necessary to completely shun alcohol and foods high in purines, doctors advise limiting them and sticking to a plant-based diet when possible, even during the holidays.

Cellulitis: How long does it take to heal on legs?

Cellulitis, a skin infection that often occurs on the lower leg, develops when bacteria enter the body through a cut, bite, or other wound. A new study shows key aspects of healing typically occur within 10 days of treatment, but symptoms can linger for some time after that.

Long-lasting C. diff infections: A threat to the gut

Virtually everyone carries the bacteria Clostridioides difficile, or C. diff. But half a million Americans a year develop a serious C. diff infection due to a gut microbiome imbalance. It disproportionately strikes people in hospitals and nursing homes, and can recur repeatedly.

Study links a sugar-heavy diet to a higher risk of kidney stones

According to a 2023 study, people who consumed 25% or more of their daily calories from added sugars had an 88% higher risk of developing kidney stones compared with those who kept their added sugar intake to less than 5% of their daily calories.

Can we fix Alzheimer's genes?

Some doctors feel it's unlikely that editing people's genes will help prevent them from getting Alzheimer's disease. It's not just because attempts to edit genes inside the cells of living animals are in their infancy. It's also because most cases of Alzheimer's disease occur in older adults, and those cases do not appear to be caused just by a few defective genes. Lifestyle—particularly exercise, diet, and the amount of high-quality sleep—affects the risk of developing Alzheimer's at least as much as genes.

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