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Memory

Your mind works a lot like a computer. Your brain puts information it judges to be important into “files.” When you remember something, you pull up a file. Memory doesn’t always work perfectly. As people grow older, it may take longer to retrieve those files. Some adults joke about having a “senior moment.” It’s normal to forget things once in awhile. We’ve all forgotten a name, where we put our keys, or if we locked the front door. Seniors who forget things more often than others their age may have mild cognitive impairment. Forgetting how to use the telephone or find your way home may be signs of a more serious problem. These include Alzheimer’s disease or other types of …

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Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a problem affecting a woman’s uterus – the place where a baby grows when she’s pregnant. Endometriosis is when the kind of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows somewhere else. It can grow on the ovaries, behind the uterus or on the bowels or bladder. Rarely, it grows in other parts of the body. This “misplaced” tissue can cause pain, infertility, and very heavy periods. The pain is usually in the abdomen, lower back or pelvic areas. Some women have no symptoms at all. Having trouble getting pregnant may be the first sign. The cause of endometriosis is not known. Pain medicines and hormones often help. Severe cases may need surgery. There are also treatments to improve …

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Food Allergy

Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system. In adults, the foods that most often trigger allergic reactions include fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, such as walnuts. Problem foods for children can include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat. Symptoms of food allergy include Itching or swelling in your mouth Vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain Hives or eczema Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing Drop in blood pressure Your health care provider may use a detailed history, elimination diet, and skin and blood tests to diagnose a food allergy. When you have food allergies, you must be prepared to treat an accidental exposure. Wear a medical alert …

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Growth Disorders

Does your child seem much shorter – or much taller – than other kids his or her age? It could be normal. Some children may be small for their age but still be developing normally. Some children are short or tall because their parents are. But some children have growth disorders. Growth disorders are problems that prevent children from developing normal height, weight, sexual maturity or other features. Very slow or very fast growth can sometimes signal a gland problem or disease. The pituitary gland makes growth hormone, which stimulates the growth of bone and other tissues. Children who have too little of it may be very short. Treatment with growth hormone can stimulate growth. People can also have too …

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Hay Fever

Each spring, summer, and fall, trees, weeds, and grasses release tiny pollen grains into the air. Some of the pollen ends up in your nose and throat. This can trigger a type of allergy called hay fever. Symptoms can include Sneezing, often with a runny or clogged nose Coughing and postnasal drip Itching eyes, nose and throat Red and watery eyes Dark circles under the eyes Your health care provider may diagnose hay fever based on a physical exam and your symptoms. Sometimes skin or blood tests are used. Taking medicines and using nasal sprays can relieve symptoms. You can also rinse out your nose, but be sure to use distilled or sterilized water with saline. Allergy shots can help …

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Is it hard for your child to sit still? Does your child act without thinking first? Does your child start but not finish things? If so, your child may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Nearly everyone shows some of these behaviors at times, but ADHD lasts more than 6 months and causes problems in school, at home and in social situations. ADHD is more common in boys than girls. It affects 3-5 percent of all American children. The main features of ADHD are Inattention Hyperactivity Impulsivity No one knows exactly what causes ADHD. It sometimes runs in families, so genetics may be a factor. There may also be environmental factors. A complete evaluation by a trained professional is the …

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Autoimmune Diseases

Your body’s immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body. No one is sure what causes autoimmune diseases. They do tend to run in families. Women – particularly African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American women – have a higher risk for some autoimmune diseases. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, and some have similar symptoms. This makes it hard for your health care provider to know if you really have one of these diseases, and if so, which one. Getting a diagnosis can be frustrating and stressful. Often, the first symptoms are …

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Teen Development

As a teenager, you go through many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. The biggest change is puberty, the process of becoming sexually mature. It usually happens between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys. As your body changes, you may have questions about sexual health. During this time, you start to develop your own unique personality and opinions. Some changes that you might notice include Increased independence from your parents More concerns about body image and clothes More influence from peers Greater ability to sense right and wrong All of these changes can sometimes seem overwhelming. Some sadness or moodiness can be normal. But feeling very sad, hopeless, or worthless could be warning …

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Blood Pressure Medicines

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, usually has no symptoms. But it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure. If you cannot control your high blood pressure through lifestyle changes such as losing weight and reducing sodium in your diet, you may need medicines. Blood pressure medicines work in different ways to lower blood pressure. Some remove extra fluid and salt from the body. Others slow down the heartbeat or relax and widen blood vessels. Often, two or more medicines work better than one. NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

Your autonomic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that controls involuntary actions, such as the beating of your heart and the widening or narrowing of your blood vessels. When something goes wrong in this system, it can cause serious problems, including Blood pressure problems Heart problems Trouble with breathing and swallowing Erectile dysfunction in men Autonomic nervous system disorders can occur alone or as the result of another disease, such as Parkinson’s disease, alcoholism and diabetes. Problems can affect either part of the system, as in complex regional pain syndromes, or all of the system. Some types are temporary, but many worsen over time. When they affect your breathing or heart function, these disorders can be life-threatening. …

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