Demystifying Your Health 2021

Dysphagia

Why is it hard to swallow? You’re eating dinner with your parents and notice that your dad seems to be having trouble swallowing. When you ask him about it, he says it hurts to swallow, and it feels like the food is getting stuck in his throat. You take him to the...

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Hay Fever

Is it why you’re sneezing? You’re visiting your grandmother in her suburban house, and she notices that you’re sneezing, have red eyes, and a runny nose. She says that you have hay fever. You tell her that’s not possible because you haven’t been around any hay. What...

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Bad Breath

What can you do about it? We’ve all been there…you’re talking to someone and get a whiff of their breath and feel like you’re going to pass out because it smells so bad. This is why most people are self-conscious about how their breath smells, and there are so many...

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Plantar Warts

What’s causing that bump on your foot? One day, you’re putting your socks on before heading out the door. You notice that there seems to be a spot on one of your toes that has a growth on it. It doesn’t hurt, so you don’t think much about it. A few days later, you’re...

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Burns

How do you know if it’s bad? You’re cooking dinner, and the water you’ve got on the stove starts to boil over, so you reach out to turn it down. In doing so, some of the water splashes on your arm. Immediately, you notice that it hurts. Quickly, you run some cool...

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Bursitis

What is this? All day long, you’ve been sitting at your desk and notice that your elbow looks red and swollen. When you move your arm, it hurts. This continues for the next few days, so you go to the doctor. He confirms that you have bursitis. What caused it to occur?...

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Ruptured Disc

Is this serious? The doctor decides to send you for some tests once she finds out that you’ve been having lower back and leg pain for the past few months. The results show you have a ruptured disc in your back. What does this mean? Is it fixable? Can you prevent it...

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Spinal Stenosis

Why are your hand and arm numb? After getting out of bed, your neck is hurting, and your right arm feels tingling and slightly weak. You figure you slept wrong and go about your routine. Your symptoms don’t get any better. In fact, they start to get worse. The doctor...

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Degenerative Disc Disease

What’s wrong with your back? Over the past few weeks, you notice that your back has become increasingly painful, especially if you’ve been sitting for a while. After you start experiencing numbness in your legs, you go to the doctor and find out you have degenerative...

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Tremors

What causes them? One day when you get up from a chair, you notice that your legs are shaking slightly. You slowly start walking, and the tremor goes away. This continues to happen over the next several days. What’s wrong with your body? Are there more than one type...

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Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Does it really come from cows? You might know that there was an outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the 1990s because people ate contaminated beef. The disease progresses rapidly and is fatal, so many people were very concerned about it. It hasn’t been prevalent...

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Trigeminal neuralgia

Why does your face hurt? One morning as you’re brushing your teeth before work, you experience a sudden, sharp, stabbing pain. It goes away quickly, so you figure it was some sort of fluke. A week later, you’re washing your face before going to bed, and the same thing...

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Dysautonomia

What’s wrong with your nervous system? You’re sitting on the couch, watching TV, and get up to go to the bathroom. Upon standing, you notice that you feel dizzy and lightheaded. After a moment, it passes. You don’t think much of it until it happens again the next day...

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Encephalitis

Why does your brain get inflamed? When you hear the word encephalitis, you probably think of mosquitoes or babies. However, it can impact anyone of any age, and the causes can vary widely. So, what exactly is it? How is treated? Can it be prevented? Definition...

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Huntington’s Disease

What impacts does it have? Unless you have a family history of or know someone with Huntington’s disease, you’ve probably never heard of it. Since it’s a rare genetic condition, this isn’t surprising. What type of problems does it cause? How likely is it to occur? Can...

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Galactosemia

Is it causing your baby to be sick? After feeding your newborn daughter, she starts vomiting. She also seems not to want to eat. You take her to the doctor. They run some blood work and inform you that she has galactosemia. What does this mean for your daughter? Will...

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Fragile X Syndrome

How often does it occur? Your son was just born, and the doctor says that his head looks larger than normal. You ask what that means. He says it could be a sign of Fragile X Syndrome. What is this condition? How could it affect your son? Is it treatable? Definition...

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Cystic Fibrosis

What causes it? You’re at a prenatal visit for your first child, and the doctor mentions that she’s concerned about the baby having cystic fibrosis. The doctor asks if you or your husband have any family history of the disease. You tell her not that you’re aware of....

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Thrush

What’s the white stuff in your child’s mouth? One day after bathing your son, you’re getting ready to feed him and notice that there are white patches on his tongue. You call his doctor, who tells you to bring your son in to be seen. After examining him, the doctor...

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Shaken Baby Syndrome

Why can it occur? One day, you’re visiting a friend and notice that her newborn baby is having trouble staying awake and seems to be easily irritated. You ask your friend if everything is okay. She says that it is, and the baby has been only acting this way since...

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Dyslexia

Why is it so difficult to read? Your school-aged daughter is “reading” her book to you out loud, but she seems to be struggling. You go to her teacher to see how she is progressing in class and find out that your daughter isn’t reading on grade level. You take her to...

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Cleft Lip

Why does it occur? The nurse hands you your newborn daughter after cleaning her up. As you look at her precious face, you realize there is a split in her lip that goes almost to her nose. You ask the doctor what happened, and he says that she has a cleft lip. Why did...

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Hydrocephalus

What does it mean to have too much fluid in the brain? One day, you go to check on your infant son in his crib and notice that the soft on his head seems to be bulging. When you pick him up, he’s very sleepy and easily irritated. You take him to the doctor, and she is...

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Heart Valve Disease

Why is this concerning? Heart valves play an essential role in your heart’s ability to function. When one or more of them don’t work, it can cause significant problems. Several things can place you at risk for developing heart valve issues. Do you have any of them?...

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Cardiomyopathy

What does it mean for your heart? You’re at the doctor’s because lately you’ve been feeling increasingly tired, and it frequently feels like your heart is pounding in your chest. The doctor is concerned that you might have cardiomyopathy and sends you for a bunch of...

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Mitral Valve Regurgitation

What’s going on with your heart? Lately, when you’ve been out for your daily run, you notice that you have been becoming short of breath. This hasn’t happened before, so you go to the doctor. When he listens to your chest, he tells you that you have a murmur. Based on...

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Fallot’s Tetralogy

How common is it? Your baby was just born and she’s perfect! The pediatrician examines your baby and tells you that it sounds like she has a heart murmur, so he wants to order some tests to see what’s going on. The results come back that your daughter has Fallot’s...

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Myasthenia Gravis

What’s going on with your eyes? You’re working at your computer when you start seeing double and it feels like one of your eyelids is drooping. Figuring your eyes are strained, you take a break, close your eyes, and everything is fine a few minutes later. Over the...

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Sjögren’s Syndrome

Why are your eyes and mouth so dry? Over the past several weeks, you notice that your eyes have been feeling gritty and burning. In addition, your mouth is dry to the point that it’s hard to swallow because you don’t have enough saliva. You decide to go to the doctor...

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Hashimoto’s Disease

Why do you have a lump on your neck? One morning, you’re getting dressed as you adjust your shirt, you notice that your neck seems swollen. It’s not hurting and your throat isn’t sore, so you decide to continue with your day. Over the next several weeks, you notice...

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Graves’ Disease

What does it have to do with your thyroid? For a couple of weeks, you notice that you have a slight tremor to your hands and have been feeling more anxious than usual. One morning after waking up, you realize that your neck seems to have a large lump in it, so you go...

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