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Hands or feet asleep? What to do - harvard

Hands or feet asleep? What to do

It’s happened to all of us: a hand or leg temporarily “falls asleep,” usually from being in one position for too long. Why does it happen? Are there times when you should be concerned about it? The post Hands or feet asleep? What to do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 days ago
C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat - harvard

C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat

The bacteria known as C. diff has become a leading cause of infection among hospitalized patients. The infection is more common following antibiotic therapy, and it is challenging to treat because of a high relapse rate. The post C. difficile (C. diff): An urgent threat appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 days ago
Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? - harvard

Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder?

One approach to treating bipolar disorders is manipulation of the body’s circadian rhythms. A recent review of research found that such therapies may help, often in combination with medications and psychotherapy. The post Can light therapies help with bipolar disorder? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters - harvard

Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters

Lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event, but can they also help those with diabetes? A recent study found a positive association between healthy lifestyle choices and reduced cardiovascular risk for those with type 2 diabetes. The post Good news for those with type 2 diabetes: Healthy lifestyle matters appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 6 days ago
Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma  - web md

Rethinking Milk: Science Takes On the Dairy Dilemma

Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein, and they have long been promoted as important for helping kids grow and helping kids and adults build and maintain strong bones. Now a new study questions whether diary deserves its health halo.
web md - 1 week ago
What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? - harvard

What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia?

When people with dementia start exhibiting agitated behaviors, doctors often prescribe medications, but these have risks of serious side effects. A new study found that nondrug interventions were more effective than medications in reducing agitation. The post What’s the best way to manage agitation related to dementia? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? - harvard

Good for your teeth, bad for your bones?

Could an ingredient in toothpaste be harmful to your bones? Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, has been banned from soaps and hand sanitizers by the FDA, and researchers have found that women with the highest levels of triclosan in their urine had low bone density measurements. The post Good for your teeth, bad for your bones? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
When is a heavy period too heavy? - harvard

When is a heavy period too heavy?

Girls and their parents often wonder when bleeding with a period is too heavy. It's normal for periods to be irregular and occasionally heavy in the first few years after menstruation starts, but some signs of heavy bleeding merit a call to your child’s doctor. The post When is a heavy period too heavy? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use - harvard

Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use

Researchers looking for ways to help people manage pain without drugs found that the practice of mind-body therapies was associated with reduced pain intensity, and may also assist some people in reducing their use of opioid medications. The post Mind-body therapies can reduce pain and opioid use appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind - harvard

Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind

Because skin color affects the presentation of skin conditions, dermatologists must consider skin color in making diagnoses. Because of this, people of color may want to seek out a dermatologist who understands their specific needs and concerns. The post Skin care shouldn’t be colorblind appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 1 week ago
What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US - harvard

What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US

Between 1959 and 2014, average life expectancy in the United States rose astoundingly by nearly a decade. Then it began declining. A recent report examining this situation raises tough questions about that unexpected change. The post What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
More Patients Turning to

More Patients Turning to 'Direct Primary Care'

DPC Frontier, which tracks the number of direct primary care practices nationally, estimates there are 1,219 practices in 48 states and Washington, D.C. They range in size from solo practitioners to corporate, multisite direct primary care organizations with thousands of doctors.
web md - 2 weeks ago
With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice - harvard

With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice

There is ample evidence to support the healthfulness of a vegan diet. However, those who choose vegan eating may not get enough of some nutrients unless they pay careful attention to their food intake, or choose to take supplements. The post With a little planning, vegan diets can be a healthful choice appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Coronavirus: What parents should know and do - harvard

Coronavirus: What parents should know and do

It’s natural for parents to be worried about whether their children could be at risk from the novel coronavirus. While there is much that is still not known, common sense and simple public health precautions will help protect everyone. The post Coronavirus: What parents should know and do appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Infertility the second time around - harvard

Infertility the second time around

If you have a child and wish for more but are struggling with fertility issues, you may have many feelings and concerns. Here are some steps and strategies you may find helpful. The post Infertility the second time around appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma - harvard

Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma

Though only about 1% of skin cancers are melanomas, they are responsible for 90% of skin cancer deaths. Recent advances in treatment options have improved survival rates for melanoma, but it’s still best to take preventive steps to protect your skin. The post Newer skin cancer treatments improve prognosis for those with cutaneous melanoma appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus - harvard

Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus

New information about the spread of coronavirus is coming at us seemingly every minute from many sources. But how much of this information is trustworthy? And which sources should you believe? The post Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Hearing loss may affect brain health - harvard

Hearing loss may affect brain health

Research into a possible connection between age-related hearing loss and brain function found that there is an association, with subjects 50 or older showing signs of cognitive decline even before reaching clinically defined hearing loss. The post Hearing loss may affect brain health appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity: What’s the difference, and why does it matter? - harvard

Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity: What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Many people have experienced unpleasant symptoms related to food, but such a reaction does not necessarily mean that you have a food allergy. The symptoms could indicate a food intolerance, food insensitivity, or possibly celiac disease. The post Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity: What’s the difference, and why does it matter? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk - harvard

Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk

Could sleeping too much be bad for you? Possibly. A study found that people who slept more than nine hours a night and took long daytime naps, or who reported poor-quality sleep, were much more likely to have a stroke than those who slept eight hours or less a night. The post Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 3 weeks ago
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harvard
Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss

Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss

harvard - 1 month ago

Over 30 million people in the United States live with diabetes, and approximately 7.7 million people have diabetic retinopathy, making it the most common cause of vision loss in working-aged adults. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy has increased significantly over the past 20 years, due to the rise in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes.

How does diabetes affect the retina?

The retina is the light-sensing component located in the back of the eye. It is composed of blood vessels, nerve cells (neurons), and specialized cells called photoreceptors that are involved in directly sensing light. The ability of the retina to sense light requires energy, which is dependent on the oxygen supplied by blood circulating through blood vessels.

In diabetes, elevated blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels of the retina. These damaged blood vessels leak fluid, bleed, and do not provide adequate oxygen to the retina, leading to retinal ischemia. As a result, retinal cells begin to die and the retina is unable to function properly. In addition, diabetes also damages the neurons of the retina directly. Together, these effects cause diabetic retinopathy.

Vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy may initially affect central vision due to a condition called diabetic macular edema. This swelling of the macula, a portion of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision, can lead to blurry vision and distortion of images.

Advanced diabetic retinopathy is characterized by the formation of irregular blood vessels that can bleed inside the eye, causing a rapid loss of vision. This results in a sudden, curtain-like vision loss as blood fills up the inside of the eye. Further worsening of advanced diabetic retinopathy can lead to retinal detachment, which requires urgent surgical intervention and can result in permanent, irreversible vision loss if not promptly treated.

What can I do to prevent diabetic retinopathy?

The American Diabetes Association recommends that most people with diabetes keep their A1c level (a measure of average blood sugar levels over the previous two to three months) below 7% to prevent the risk of complications. As blood glucose directly damages retinal blood vessels, there is strong epidemiological evidence that blood sugar control translates to decreased incidence and severity of diabetic retinopathy.

In order to reduce the cardiovascular and microvascular complications of diabetes, which include retinopathy, nephropathy (kidney disease), and neuropathy (nerve damage), it is recommended that people achieve and maintain a normal blood pressure. Blood pressure reduction can delay the onset of diabetic retinopathy, but it is unclear if controlling blood pressure can alter the course of established diabetic retinopathy. Similarly, managing cholesterol is advocated for overall diabetes management, but it is not clear whether doing so reduces the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

How can I find out if I have diabetic retinopathy?

An ophthalmologist can diagnose and begin to treat diabetic retinopathy before sight is affected. In general, people with type 1 diabetes should see an ophthalmologist once a year, beginning five years after the onset of their disease. People with type 2 diabetes should see an ophthalmologist for a retinal examination soon after their diagnosis, and then schedule annual exams after that. You may need to see an ophthalmologist more frequently if you are pregnant or have more advanced diabetic retinopathy.

What can I do to prevent or slow down vision loss if I have diabetic retinopathy?

As mentioned above, damage to the blood vessels deprives the retina of oxygen. Insufficient oxygen leads to production of a signal protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF and its role in eye disease were first discovered at Harvard Medical School.

Currently, there are medications that can bind VEGF and subsequently improve the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy. These anti-VEGF agents are injected directly into the eye and can improve diabetic macular edema, and can even improve the severity of diabetic retinopathy. In some people, steroids injected directly into the eye may also improve diabetic macular edema. In some advanced cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (the most advanced form of diabetic retinopathy), patients may require retinal laser therapy or retinal surgery to stop or slow bleeding and leakage, to shrink damaged blood vessels, or to remove blood and scar tissue.

The post Diabetic retinopathy: Understanding diabetes-related eye disease and vision loss appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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