Type 1 diabetes

What is type 1 diabetes? 

Learn more about type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition. In this condition, the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.

Different factors, such as genetics and some viruses, may cause type 1 diabetes. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults.

Even after a lot of research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment is directed toward managing the amount of sugar in the blood using insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications.


Type 1 diabetes symptoms can appear suddenly and may include:

  • Feeling more thirsty than usual
  • Urinating a lot
  • Bed-wetting in children who have never wet the bed during the night
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Feeling irritable or having other mood changes
  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Having blurry vision

When to see a doctor

Talk to your health care provider if you notice any of the above symptoms in you or your child.


The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. Usually, the body’s own immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses — destroys the insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. Other possible causes include:

  • Genetics
  • Exposure to viruses and other environmental factors

The role of insulin

Once a large number of islet cells are destroyed, the body will produce little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that comes from a gland behind and below the stomach (pancreas).

  • The pancreas puts insulin into the bloodstream.
  • Insulin travels through the body, allowing sugar to enter the cells.
  • Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.
  • As the blood sugar level drops, the pancreas puts less insulin into the bloodstream.

The role of glucose

Glucose — a sugar — is a main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues.

  • Glucose comes from two major sources: food and the liver.
  • Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin.
  • The liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen.
  • When glucose levels are low, such as when you haven’t eaten in a while, the liver breaks down the stored glycogen into glucose. This keeps glucose levels within a typical range.

In type 1 diabetes, there’s no insulin to let glucose into the cells. Because of this, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. This can cause life-threatening complications.

Risk factors

Some factors that can raise your risk for type 1 diabetes include:

  • Family history. Anyone with a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes has a slightly higher risk of developing the condition.
  • Genetics. Having certain genes increases the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • Geography. The number of people who have type 1 diabetes tends to be higher as you travel away from the equator.
  • Age. Type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, but it appears at two noticeable peaks. The first peak occurs in children between 4 and 7 years old. The second is in children between 10 and 14 years old.


Over time, type 1 diabetes complications can affect major organs in the body. These organs include the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Having a normal blood sugar level can lower the risk of many complications.

Diabetes complications can lead to disabilities or even threaten your life.

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes increases the risk of some problems with the heart and blood vessels. These include coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and high blood pressure.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Too much sugar in the blood can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that feed the nerves. This is especially true in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain. This usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and spreads upward. Poorly controlled blood sugar could cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs over time.

    Damage to the nerves that affect the digestive system can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.

  • Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys have millions of tiny blood vessels that keep waste from entering the blood. Diabetes can damage this system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or end-stage kidney disease that can’t be reversed. End-stage kidney disease needs to be treated with mechanical filtering of the kidneys (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina (part of the eye that senses light) (diabetic retinopathy). This could cause blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of some foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections. These infections may need to be treated with toe, foot or leg removal (amputation).
  • Skin and mouth conditions. Diabetes may leave you more prone to infections of the skin and mouth. These include bacterial and fungal infections. Gum disease and dry mouth also are more likely.
  • Pregnancy complications. High blood sugar levels can be dangerous for both the parent and the baby. The risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects increases when diabetes isn’t well-controlled. For the parent, diabetes increases the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, diabetic eye problems (retinopathy), pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and preeclampsia.


There’s no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. But researchers are working on preventing the disease or further damage of the islet cells in people who are newly diagnosed.

Ask your provider if you might be eligible for one of these clinical trials. It is important to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of any treatment available in a trial.

What is Obesity? How to prevent Obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition characterized by an excess amount of body fat, which presents a risk to health. It is typically defined and measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a calculation based on height and weight. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Obesity increases the likelihood of developing various health issues, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. It’s caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, dietary habits, physical activity levels, and environmental and psychological factors. Managing and preventing obesity involves a holistic approach, including dietary changes, increased physical activity, and sometimes medical intervention. 

Preventing obesity involves a multifaceted approach focusing on diet, physical activity, and behavioral changes. Here are some key strategies:

1. **Healthy Eating Habits:**

   – **Eat Balanced Meals:** Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

   – **Control Portions:** Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid consuming too many calories.

   – **Limit Sugar and Processed Foods:** Reduce intake of foods high in added sugars and processed foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients.

2. **Regular Physical Activity:**

   – **Stay Active:** Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days a week.

   – **Incorporate Activity into Daily Life:** Take the stairs, walk or bike instead of driving, and stand up regularly if you have a sedentary job.

3. **Behavioral Changes:**

   – **Mindful Eating:** Pay attention to what and when you eat. Try to eat slowly and only when you’re actually hungry.

   – **Sleep Well:** Ensure adequate sleep as lack of sleep can affect hormones that regulate hunger and appetite.

   – **Stress Management:** Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or hobbies, rather than eating.

4. **Preventive Healthcare:**

   – **Regular Check-ups:** Regular visits to a healthcare provider can help monitor your health status and prevent the onset of obesity-related conditions.

   – **Health Education:** Understanding the risks of obesity and being informed about healthy lifestyles can empower individuals to make healthier choices.

5. **Community and Environment:**

   – **Supportive Environments:** Advocate for environments that support healthy living, such as safe parks for physical activity and access to healthy foods.

   – **Policy and Public Health Initiatives:** Support policies that promote nutritional education, physical activity, and equitable access to healthy food options.

Combating obesity is not just about individual actions; it also requires support from communities and policymakers to create environments that facilitate healthy choices and lifestyles.

Heart Disease

Heart disease refers to a range of conditions that affect the heart’s structure and function. These conditions include coronary artery disease, arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems), heart valve disease, heart infections, and congenital heart defects (heart problems present at birth). Below are key points about heart disease:

### Types of Heart Disease

1. **Coronary Artery Disease (CAD):** The most common type, caused by the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries, which can lead to heart attacks.

2. **Arrhythmias:** Abnormal heart rhythms that can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly.

3. **Heart Failure:** A condition in which the heart can’t pump blood effectively to meet the body’s needs.

4. **Valvular Heart Disease:** Involves dysfunction of one or more of the heart valves that regulate blood flow through the heart.

5. **Congenital Heart Defects:** Heart abnormalities present at birth.

6. **Cardiomyopathies:** Diseases of the heart muscle that make it harder for the heart to pump blood to the body.

### Causes and Risk Factors

– **Lifestyle Factors:** Poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption.

– **Medical Conditions:** High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and chronic kidney disease.

– **Genetics:** Family history of heart disease.

– **Age:** The risk increases with age.

– **Sex:** Men are generally at higher risk at a younger age, but the risk for women increases and can surpass that of men after menopause.

### Symptoms

Symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease but may include chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, and swelling in the legs (edema).

### Prevention and Treatment

Prevention focuses on lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, and managing stress. Treatment options depend on the type and severity of heart disease and can range from lifestyle changes and medications to invasive procedures like angioplasty or surgery, including heart bypass or valve repair/replacement.

### Importance of Regular Check-ups

Regular medical check-ups can help detect heart disease early. Health professionals can recommend preventive measures and treatments to manage risk factors effectively.

Heart disease remains a leading cause of death globally, but many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices and medical interventions.

What is Listeriosis?

Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems.

Signs and symptoms of Listeria infection vary depending on the person infected and the part of the body affected.

The bacteria are most likely to sicken people who are pregnant and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill.

Invasive illness

Invasive means bacteria have spread beyond the intestines (gut). Invasive listeriosis happens when Listeria have spread beyond the intestines.

Symptoms of invasive illness usually start within 2 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria.

Symptoms of invasive illness

People who are pregnant

Symptoms typically include

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue

People who are not pregnant

Symptoms typically include

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures

Severity of invasive illness

People who are pregnant

  • Symptoms in pregnant people are usually mild. Some pregnant people never have symptoms.
  • However, infection during pregnancy usually leads to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

People who are not pregnant

  • Symptoms in non-pregnant people can be severe.
  • Almost 1 in 20 non-pregnant people with invasive listeriosis die.

Intestinal illness

Listeria can also cause an intestinal illness. This kind of illness is rarely diagnosed because laboratories do not regularly test patient stool (poop) samples for Listeria.

Symptoms of intestinal illness usually start within 24 hours after eating food contaminated with Listeria and usually last 1–3 days.

Symptoms of intestinal illness

Symptoms typically include

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Severity of intestinal illness

  • Symptoms are usually mild.
  • However, some people with intestinal illness develop invasive illness.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Listeriosis is usually diagnosed when a bacterial culture (a type of laboratory test) grows Listeria from a body tissue or fluid, such as blood, spinal fluid, or the placenta.


Invasive illness: People with an invasive illness are treated with antibiotics. 

Intestinal illness: Most people recover from intestinal illness without antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics are needed only for patients who are very ill or at risk of becoming very ill. People who have an intestinal illness should drink extra fluids while they have diarrhea.

Prevent Listeria

Listeria is a harmful germ that can be in food. Find out which foods are more likely to be contaminated with Listeria and ways you can protect your health and the health of your loved ones.

Choose safer foods

Listeria is especially harmful for some people:

If you are in any of these groups, choose safer foods to protect your health or your pregnancy:

Do not eat Choose these instead

Eat this, not that

• Unpasteurized soft cheeses, such as queso fresco and brie

•Unheated cheeses sliced at a deli

• Hard cheeses, such as cheddar and parmesan

•Cottage cheese, cream cheese, string cheese, feta, and mozzarella

•Pasteurized soft cheeses heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot

•Deli-sliced cheeses heated to 165°F or until steaming hot

• Unheated deli meat, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages • Deli meat, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages reheated to 165°F or until steaming hot
• Premade deli salads, such as coleslaw and potato, tuna, or chicken salad • Homemade deli salads
• Refrigerated pâté or meat spreads • Pâté or meat spreads in sealed, airtight containers that don’t need to be kept refrigerated before opening
• Refrigerated smoked fish • Smoked fish in sealed, airtight packages or containers that don’t need to be kept refrigerated before opening

•Smoked fish cooked in a casserole or other cooked dishes

• Raw or lightly cooked sprouts • Sprouts cooked until steaming hot
• Cut melon left out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if it’s exposed to temperatures hotter than 90°F, such as a picnic or hot car)

•Cut melon in refrigerator for more than a week

• Melon that has just been cut
• Raw (unpasteurized) milk, yogurt, and ice cream • Pasteurized milk, yogurt, and ice cream

Because of recent outbreaks, CDC is currently working to understand the risk of Listeria infection from enoki mushrooms. While this work is happening, CDC advises people who are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system to not eat raw enoki mushrooms. Instead, cook enoki mushrooms thoroughly, and ask that restaurants cook them thoroughly.

Foods more likely to be contaminated with Listeria

Listeria is a hardy germ that can be difficult to fully remove from food processing facilities. If a facility has Listeria germs, the germs can spread to food that touches contaminated equipment or surfaces. Listeria can also spread from contaminated food to surfaces. It can even grow on foods kept in the refrigerator. The good news is that Listeria is easily killed by heating food to a high enough temperature.

Find out why some foods are more likely to be contaminated with Listeria and learn about recent outbreaks linked to these foods.

Soft cheeses, such as queso fresco and brie

Soft cheeses are more likely than hard cheeses to be contaminated with Listeria because of their high moisture, low salt content, and low acidity. These conditions support the growth of Listeria. Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk or made in facilities with unclean conditions are even more likely to be contaminated. Although pasteurizing milk kills germs, cheese made with pasteurized milk can still get contaminated during cheese-making.

Soft cheeses include queso fresco, queso blanco, queso panela, brie, camembert, and blue-veined.

Hard cheeses include asiago, cheddar, emmental, gruyere, parmesan, and swiss cheese.

Meats, cheeses, and salads from the deli

Products sold at the deli, especially those sliced or prepared at the deli, can be contaminated with Listeria. Listeria spreads easily among deli equipment, surfaces, hands, and food. Deli products are kept refrigerated, but refrigeration does not kill Listeria.

Examples of deli salads include coleslaw, potato salad, tuna salad, and chicken salad.

Deli meats, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages

Deli meats, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages can be contaminated with Listeria when they are made or prepared at facilities where Listeria persists. Although cooking, fermenting, or drying kills germs, these meats can get contaminated afterwards if they touch surfaces with Listeria. Refrigeration does not kill Listeria, but reheating before eating will kill any germs that may be on these meats.

Examples of fermented or dry sausages include chorizo, pepperoni, salami, and summer sausage.

Pâté or meat spreads

Refrigerated pâté or meat spreads can become contaminated with Listeria when they are made in a facility where Listeria persists. Refrigeration does not kill Listeria.

A safer choice is “shelf-stable

” pâté or meat spreads. These are heat-treated to kill any germs and sealed in airtight containers (such as cans, tins, or glass jars). They don’t need to be refrigerated before opening.

Cold-smoked fish

Cold-smoked fish can become contaminated with Listeria when it is made in a facility where Listeria persists. The cold-smoking process does not kill Listeria. Refrigeration also does not kill Listeria.

Safer choices are “shelf-stable

” smoked fish or cooked smoked fish. Shelf-stable smoked fish are heat-treated to kill any germs and sealed in airtight containers or packages that don’t need to be refrigerated before opening. Cooking smoked fish also kills any germs that may be in it.

Cold-smoked fish products are often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.”


Sprouts need warm and humid conditions to grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of Listeria and other harmful germs. Germs can grow on the inside and outside of sprouts, so washing them does not remove all germs. Homegrown sprouts can also have germs because they need the same conditions to grow.


Melons are more likely than many other fruits to be contaminated with Listeria. This is because they have low acidity and can be kept in the refrigerator for a long time. Both these conditions support the growth of Listeria.

Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk products

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization heats milk to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill germs that can make you sick.

Raw milk and products made from it – including ice cream and yogurt – can contain Listeria and other harmful germs. These germs can get into raw milk in multiple ways, including unclean conditions at the dairy farm and contact with animal poop.

CDC recommends that everyone choose pasteurized milk and dairy products.

People at Risk

CDC estimates that Listeria is the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness, or food poisoning, in the United States. An estimated 1,600 people get sick from Listeria each year, and about 260 die.

Listeria is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill.

Who has a greater chance of Listeria infection?

Pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more likely than the general population to get Listeria infection.

Las mujeres hispanas embarazadas tienen 24 veces mayor que la población general de contraer la infección por Listeria.


Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer often has the ability to spread throughout your body.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the world. But survival rates are improving for many types of cancer, thanks to improvements in cancer screening, treatment and prevention.


Signs and symptoms caused by cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected.

Some general signs and symptoms associated with, but not specific to, cancer, include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
  • Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Persistent cough or trouble breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs or symptoms that concern you.

If you don’t have any signs or symptoms, but are worried about your risk of cancer, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Ask about which cancer screening tests and procedures are appropriate for you.


Cancer is caused by changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells. The DNA inside a cell is packaged into a large number of individual genes, each of which contains a set of instructions telling the cell what functions to perform, as well as how to grow and divide. Errors in the instructions can cause the cell to stop its normal function and may allow a cell to become cancerous.

What do gene mutations do?

A gene mutation can instruct a healthy cell to:

  • Allow rapid growth. A gene mutation can tell a cell to grow and divide more rapidly. This creates many new cells that all have that same mutation.
  • Fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth. Normal cells know when to stop growing so that you have just the right number of each type of cell. Cancer cells lose the controls (tumor suppressor genes) that tell them when to stop growing. A mutation in a tumor suppressor gene allows cancer cells to continue growing and accumulating.
  • Make mistakes when repairing DNA errors. DNA repair genes look for errors in a cell’s DNA and make corrections. A mutation in a DNA repair gene may mean that other errors aren’t corrected, leading cells to become cancerous.

These mutations are the most common ones found in cancer. But many other gene mutations can contribute to causing cancer.

What causes gene mutations?

Gene mutations can occur for several reasons, for instance:

  • Gene mutations you’re born with. You may be born with a genetic mutation that you inherited from your parents. This type of mutation accounts for a small percentage of cancers.
  • Gene mutations that occur after birth. Most gene mutations occur after you’re born and aren’t inherited. A number of forces can cause gene mutations, such as smoking, radiation, viruses, cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens), obesity, hormones, chronic inflammation and a lack of exercise.

Gene mutations occur frequently during normal cell growth. However, cells contain a mechanism that recognizes when a mistake occurs and repairs the mistake. Occasionally, a mistake is missed. This could cause a cell to become cancerous.

How do gene mutations interact with each other?

The gene mutations you’re born with and those that you acquire throughout your life work together to cause cancer.

For instance, if you’ve inherited a genetic mutation that predisposes you to cancer, that doesn’t mean you’re certain to get cancer. Instead, you may need one or more other gene mutations to cause cancer. Your inherited gene mutation could make you more likely than other people to develop cancer when exposed to a certain cancer-causing substance.

It’s not clear just how many mutations must accumulate for cancer to form. It’s likely that this varies among cancer types.

Risk factors

While doctors have an idea of what may increase your risk of cancer, the majority of cancers occur in people who don’t have any known risk factors. Factors known to increase your risk of cancer include:

Your age

Cancer can take decades to develop. That’s why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. While it’s more common in older adults, cancer isn’t exclusively an adult disease — cancer can be diagnosed at any age.

Your habits

Certain lifestyle choices are known to increase your risk of cancer. Smoking, drinking more than one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men, excessive exposure to the sun or frequent blistering sunburns, being obese, and having unsafe sex can contribute to cancer.

You can change these habits to lower your risk of cancer — though some habits are easier to change than others.

Your family history

Only a small portion of cancers are due to an inherited condition. If cancer is common in your family, it’s possible that mutations are being passed from one generation to the next. You might be a candidate for genetic testing to see whether you have inherited mutations that might increase your risk of certain cancers. Keep in mind that having an inherited genetic mutation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get cancer.

Your health conditions

Some chronic health conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, can markedly increase your risk of developing certain cancers. Talk to your doctor about your risk.

Your environment

The environment around you may contain harmful chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer. Even if you don’t smoke, you might inhale secondhand smoke if you go where people are smoking or if you live with someone who smokes. Chemicals in your home or workplace, such as asbestos and benzene, also are associated with an increased risk of cancer.


Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications, including:

  • Pain. Pain can be caused by cancer or by cancer treatment, though not all cancer is painful. Medications and other approaches can effectively treat cancer-related pain.
  • Fatigue. Fatigue in people with cancer has many causes, but it can often be managed. Fatigue associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments is common, but it’s usually temporary.
  • Difficulty breathing. Cancer or cancer treatment may cause a feeling of being short of breath. Treatments may bring relief.
  • Nausea. Certain cancers and cancer treatments can cause nausea. Your doctor can sometimes predict if your treatment is likely to cause nausea. Medications and other treatments may help you prevent or decrease nausea.
  • Diarrhea or constipation. Cancer and cancer treatment can affect your bowels and cause diarrhea or constipation.
  • Weight loss. Cancer and cancer treatment may cause weight loss. Cancer steals food from normal cells and deprives them of nutrients. This is often not affected by how many calories or what kind of food is eaten; it’s difficult to treat. In most cases, using artificial nutrition through tubes into the stomach or vein does not help change the weight loss.
  • Chemical changes in your body. Cancer can upset the normal chemical balance in your body and increase your risk of serious complications. Signs and symptoms of chemical imbalances might include excessive thirst, frequent urination, constipation and confusion.
  • Brain and nervous system problems. Cancer can press on nearby nerves and cause pain and loss of function of one part of your body. Cancer that involves the brain can cause headaches and stroke-like signs and symptoms, such as weakness on one side of your body.
  • Unusual immune system reactions to cancer. In some cases the body’s immune system may react to the presence of cancer by attacking healthy cells. Called paraneoplastic syndromes, these very rare reactions can lead to a variety of signs and symptoms, such as difficulty walking and seizures.
  • Cancer that spreads. As cancer advances, it may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Where cancer spreads depends on the type of cancer.
  • Cancer that returns. Cancer survivors have a risk of cancer recurrence. Some cancers are more likely to recur than others. Ask your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence. Your doctor may devise a follow-up care plan for you after treatment. This plan may include periodic scans and exams in the months and years after your treatment, to look for cancer recurrence.


Doctors have identified several ways to reduce your risk of cancer, such as:

  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smoking is linked to several types of cancer — not just lung cancer. Stopping now will reduce your risk of cancer in the future.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer. Limit your sun exposure by staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing or applying sunscreen.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Select whole grains and lean proteins. Limit your intake of processed meats.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, start out slowly and work your way up to 30 minutes or longer.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of cancer. Work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if you choose to drink. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
  • Schedule cancer screening exams. Talk to your doctor about what types of cancer screening exams are best for you based on your risk factors.
  • Ask your doctor about immunizations. Certain viruses increase your risk of cancer. Immunizations may help prevent those viruses, including hepatitis B, which increases the risk of liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the risk of cervical cancer and other cancers. Ask your doctor whether immunization against these viruses is appropriate for you.

Common Cold

The common cold is an illness affecting your nose and throat. Most often, it’s harmless, but it might not feel that way. Germs called viruses cause a common cold.

Often, adults may have two or three colds each year. Infants and young children may have colds more often.

Most people recover from a common cold in 7 to 10 days. Symptoms might last longer in people who smoke. Most often, you don’t need medical care for a common cold. If symptoms don’t get better or if they get worse, see your health care provider.

Illnesses of the nose and throat caused by germs are called upper respiratory tract infections.


Most often, common cold symptoms start 1 to 3 days after someone is exposed to a cold virus. Symptoms vary. They can include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Sore or scratchy throat.
  • Cough.
  • Sneezing.
  • Generally feeling unwell.
  • Slight body aches or a mild headache.
  • Low-grade fever.

The mucus from your nose may start out clear and become thicker and yellow or green. This change is normal. Most often, it doesn’t mean that you have a bacterial illness.

When to see a doctor

For adults. Most often, you don’t need medical care for a common cold. But see your health care provider if you have:

  • Symptoms that get worse or do not get better.
  • Fever greater than 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit (38.5 degrees Celsius) that lasts more than three days.
  • Fever returning after a fever-free period.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Wheezing.
  • Intense sore throat, headache or sinus pain.

For children. Most children with a common cold don’t need to see a health care provider. Get medical care right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in newborns up to 12 weeks.
  • Rising fever or fever lasting more than two days in a child of any age.
  • More-intense symptoms, such as headache, throat pain or cough.
  • Trouble with breathing or wheezing.
  • Ear pain.
  • Fussiness or drowsiness that isn’t typical.
  • No interest in eating.


Many viruses can cause a common cold. Rhinoviruses are the most common cause.

A cold virus enters the body through the mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can spread by:

  • Droplets in the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • Hand-to-hand contact with someone who has a cold.
  • Sharing objects with the virus on them, such as dishes, towels, toys or telephones.
  • Touching your eyes, nose or mouth after contact with the virus.

Risk factors

These factors can increase the chances of getting a cold:

  • Age. Infants and young children have a greater risk of colds than other people, especially if they spend time in child care settings.
  • Weakened immune system. Having a long-term illness or weakened immune system increases your risk.
  • Time of year. Both children and adults are more likely to get colds in fall and winter.
  • Smoking. Smoking or being around secondhand smoke increases the risk of catching a cold.
  • Exposure. Being in crowds, such as at school or on an airplane, increases the chance of getting a cold.


These conditions can occur along with your cold:

  • Middle ear infection. This is the swelling and build-up of fluids in the space behind the eardrum. It may be caused by a virus or bacteria. Typical signs and symptoms include earaches or the return of a fever following a common cold.
  • Asthma. A cold can trigger wheezing, even in people who don’t have asthma. For people with asthma, a cold can make it worse.
  • Sinusitis. In adults or children, a common cold that lasts a while can lead to swelling and pain in the sinuses. These are air-filled spaces in the skull above the eyes and around the nose. A virus or bacteria may cause sinusitis.
  • Other illnesses. A common cold can lead to illnesses of the lungs, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. People with asthma or weakened immune systems have an increased risk of these conditions.


There’s no vaccine for the common cold. You can take these steps to slow the spread of the virus and prevent illness:

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Teach your children the importance of hand-washing. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often. These include doorknobs, light switches, electronics, and kitchen and bathroom countertops. This is especially important when someone in your family has a cold. Wash children’s toys often.
  • Cover your cough. Sneeze and cough into tissues. Throw away used tissues right away, and then wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow, and then wash your hands.
  • Don’t share. Don’t share drinking glasses or silverware with other family members.
  • Stay away from people with colds. Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold. Stay out of crowds when possible. Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth when you’re in crowds.
  • Review your child care center’s policies. Look for a child care setting with good hygiene practices and clear policies about keeping sick children at home.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep to help you stay healthy.

Common cold symptoms cartoon style infographic illustration

What is WART?

Common warts are small, grainy skin growths that occur most often on your fingers or hands. Rough to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots, which are small, clotted blood vessels.

Common warts are caused by a virus and are transmitted by touch. It can take a wart as long as two to six months to develop after your skin has been exposed to the virus. Common warts are usually harmless and eventually disappear on their own. But many people choose to remove them because they find them bothersome or embarrassing.


Common warts usually occur on your fingers or hands and may be:

  • Small, fleshy, grainy bumps
  • Rough to the touch
  • Sprinkled with black pinpoints, which are small, clotted blood vessels

When to see a doctor

See your doctor for common warts if:

  • The growths are painful or change in appearance or color
  • You’ve tried treating the warts, but they persist, spread or recur
  • The growths are bothersome and interfere with activities
  • You aren’t sure whether the growths are warts
  • You are an adult and numerous warts begin to appear, which may indicate the immune system is malfunctioning


Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is quite common and has more than 150 types, but only a few cause warts on your hands. Some strains of HPV are acquired through sexual contact. Most forms, however, are spread by casual skin contact or through shared objects, such as towels or washcloths. The virus usually spreads through breaks in your skin, such as a hangnail or a scrape. Biting your nails also can cause warts to spread on your fingertips and around your nails.

Each person’s immune system responds to the HPV virus differently, so not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops warts.

Risk factors

People at higher risk of developing common warts include:

  • Children and young adults, because their bodies may not have built up immunity to the virus
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or people who’ve had organ transplants


To reduce your risk of common warts:

  • Avoid direct contact with warts. This includes your own warts.
  • Don’t pick at warts. Picking may spread the virus.
  • Don’t use the same emery board, pumice stone or nail clipper on your warts as you use on your healthy skin and nails. Use a disposable emery board.
  • Don’t bite your fingernails. Warts occur more often in skin that has been broken. Nibbling the skin around your fingernails opens the door for the virus.
  • Groom with care. And avoid brushing, clipping or shaving areas that have warts. If you must shave, use an electric razor.

16 Ways to stay healthy

Keys to Good Health

You hear lots of advice from many sources about what it takes to live well and keep your body in good working order. Sorting out what that means for you could seem like an overwhelming task. Let’s break it down into a few simple, easy-to-remember ways for adults to stay on a healthy path.

Become a flexitarian.

Numerous studies have shown that a plant-based diet is healthiest, but you can still get many of the benefits even if you don’t go full-on vegetarian. Following a semi-vegetarian diet that includes fewer animal products but doesn’t completely cut them out may help you keep your weight in check as well as lower your chances of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Swipe to advance

Expand your palate’s palette.

Dietary guidelines recommend that half of what’s on your plate at any meal be vegetables or fruits. But it’s also important to mix things up. While all fruits and veggies are healthy, they don’t all have the same nutrients. Give yourself the widest range of benefits by eating different-colored produce throughout the day.

Less sugar, more water.

It’s a good idea to avoid added sugar in whatever you eat, yet soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks may be a bigger source than you realize. Some studies show that just a soft drink or two a day makes you 26% more likely to get type 2 diabetes. Sugary drinks have also been tied to heart attacks, gout, and obesity. Stay hydrated with water or, if you miss the fizz and taste, naturally flavored seltzer.

Move more, sit less.

That’s the physical activity guidelines in a nutshell. While at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise is ideal, experts say that any movement is better than nothing. So make it a point to stand up more often and stretch, park a bit farther from your destination for extra steps, and explore new pastimes that will help put you in motion.

Get enough rest.

Sleep is often low on the list in our nonstop society, but it’s a must for good health. Chronic sleep deprivation raises the odds for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and many other sicknesses. Getting your ZZZs also helps keep you safe: Driving while sleepy is just as bad as driving drunk. If you don’t usually wake up feeling refreshed, try slipping into bed 15 minutes earlier every week until you do.

Tame your stress.

Everyone has stress; it’s how you react to it that matters. When you often explode in anger, get stomachaches because you’re nervous, or have trouble sleeping because you’re anxious, it’s time to make a change. Find a way to blow off steam, whether that’s through exercise, meditation, or laughing with good friends. Still feeling overwhelmed? Make an appointment with a counselor or other mental health professional.

Wash your hands.

It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid catching whatever contagious bugs are going around. The key is to be thorough: After you lather up with soap, scrub your palms, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails for at least 20 seconds. That’s about how long it should take you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

Limit your drinking.

It’s true that moderate amounts of alcohol have been tied to some health benefits, like a lower risk of heart disease, but there are also serious downsides to drinking, such as a higher risk of cancer and liver disease. So you shouldn’t start drinking for the sake of good health. When you do have alcohol, keep it to one drink per day if you’re a woman or two if you’re a man.

Steer clear of smoke.

Smoking doesn’t just hurt your lungs. It harms almost every organ in your body, making you a more likely target for cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. Secondhand smoke is dangerous, too, and there’s no amount that’s “safe.” If you live with a smoker, support them in quitting or at least ask them to take it outside.

Map your family tree of health.

A history with a disease doesn’t guarantee your fate, but your genes do offer a clue about the health issues you might face. You may need to be screened more often or earlier for conditions that run in the family, especially when close relatives developed them at unusually young ages or several family members had them. Let your doctor know about any serious ailments your parents, siblings, and children have been diagnosed with.

Check in with your doctor.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all time frame for seeing your primary care doctor (anywhere from annually to every 3 years might be OK), don’t go AWOL. Regular visits can help you catch problems early, when they’re easier to treat and often cure. Stay on top of tests like cholesterol checks, mammograms, and prostate cancer screenings.

Use prescriptions correctly.

Missing doses or taking your medication at the wrong time can have serious consequences. According to the CDC, so-called “non-adherence” leads to 125,000 deaths every year. If you aren’t taking your prescribed medicine because of side effects or other issues, talk to your doctor. Having trouble remembering? Put notes on your calendar or set alarm reminders on your phone or watch.

Stay up to date on vaccines.

Grownups need shots, too. You should get a flu shot every year, but you may also be due for a tetanus booster, a shingles vaccine, or a shot to protect against pneumonia. Ask your doctor what you might be missing and when you should get it.COVID-19 vaccine recommendations will be updated as needed, so it is important to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.

Take baby steps.

It’s tempting to overhaul your entire lifestyle at once. But tackling too many health goals at once often backfires because change can be hard. To better your odds of getting — and staying — healthier, make a series of small changes and work your way up to a bigger end game. For instance, if you’d like to eat a more nutritious diet, focus on breakfast. Once you get used to that, think about how to improve your lunch menu.

Don’t go it alone.

Whatever your health goals are, it will be far easier to reach them if someone has your back. That might mean finding an exercise buddy who meets you at the gym, asking a friend to go with you to doctor’s appointments, or simply confiding in someone you trust about your current struggles so they can cheer you on along the way.


Why exercise is key to living a long and healthy life

Research shows there are a few lifestyle interventions that can effectively prolong our life and health span. One of these is exercise, but what kind, and in what combinations, and why does it help add years to our lives? Find out in our latest podcast episode.

Seemingly since times immemorial, humankind has been, metaphorically speaking, seeking the path that leads to the “Fountain of Youth” — that is ways to ensure a longer, healthier life.

And while we may not yet benefit of any “miracle” medicines or technologies to prolong our life spans well over the hundred-year mark, many recent studies have provided strong evidence in support of the notion that simple, achievable lifestyle changes can help us stay healthy for longer and decrease our risk of premature death.

Research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2023, for example, suggested that eight healthy habits can slow down biological aging by as much as 6 years.

These habits are related to diet, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, maintaining good sleep hygiene, managing cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, and, no less importantly, staying physically active.

Dr. del Pozo Cruz is principal researcher in Applied Health Sciences at the University of Cadiz in Spain, and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark.

In collaboration with other researchers, Dr. del Pozo Cruz has conducted various studies exploring the link between different forms of exercise and the risk of death from different causes.

Dr. Brocklesby has gained fame under the nickname “Iron Gran,” as at the age of 72, she was the oldest British woman to complete an Ironman Triathlon. 

What types of exercise lower death risk?

in August 2023, Dr. del Pozo Cruz and his colleagues analyzed data from 500,705 participants followed up for a median period of 10 years to see how different forms of exercise related to a person’s mortality risk.

The study looked at the effect of moderate aerobic physical activity, such as walking or gentle cycling, vigorous aerobic physical activity, such as running, and muscle-strengthening activity, like weight lifting.

Its findings indicated that a balanced combination of all of these forms of exercise worked best for reducing mortality risk.

More specifically, around 75 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, plus more than 150 minutes of vigorous exercise, alongside at least a couple of strength training sessions per week were associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.

When it came to reducing the risk of death linked to cardiovascular disease specifically, Dr. del Pozo Cruz and his collaborators suggested combining a minimum of 150–225 minutes of moderate physical activity with around 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, and two or more strength training sessions per week.

Dr. Brocklesby, who goes by “Eddie,” is herself an example of the importance of combining different forms of exercise. Indeed, training and participating in a triathlon — which is an endurance multisport race where participants compete in swimming, cycling, and running — involves achieving a balanced “diet” of moderate and vigorous exercise, as well as strength training.

How little exercise is enough?

But what about people who are not nearly as athletic? What is the minimum “amount” of exercise that could help fend off some of the conditions that pose the highest threat to health?

This research suggested that engaging in vigorous exercise for only 2 minutes a day could help slash the risk of death related to cancer or cardiovascular events.

The researchers found that study participants who never engaged in vigorous exercise had a 4% risk of dying within 5 years, but introducing less than 10 minutes of vigorous activity weekly halved this risk. Moreover, their risk of death halved again for those who engaged in at least 60 minutes of exercise per week.

“A substantially lower risk of mortality was observed among individuals who had adequate levels of both long-term leisure time moderate and vigorous physical activity”, the study says, noting that higher levels of vigorous physical activity were associated with lower mortality among those with insufficient levels of moderate physical activity each week.

But this was not the case for those who already had high levels of moderate physical activity—more than 300 minutes each week.

With that, the study notes that “any combination of medium to high levels” of vigorous (75 to 300 minutes per week) and moderate physical activity (150 to 600 minutes per week) “can provide nearly the maximum mortality reduction,” which is about 35% to 42%.

Additionally, people who are insufficiently active—meaning less than 75 minutes per week of vigorous or less than 150 minutes of moderate physical activity—could get greater benefits in mortality reduction by adding in modest levels of either exercise. This means 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or 150 to 300 minutes each week of moderate physical activity. Doing so can reduce mortality by 22% to 31%.


Artificial sweeteners: ‘Sweet taste in itself’ may affect metabolism

“Sweetness should be consumed in moderation, regardless of the calories,” 

caution researchers, as a new study reveals the impact of consuming artificial sweeteners on metabolism and glucose control.

New research suggests that artificial sweeteners also have metabolic effects.

Lately, we have been hearing a lot in the media about the dangers of sugar consumption. Added sugar raises the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, not to mention having an addictive effect on the brain. 

Therefore, in an attempt to avoid sugar, many people have turned to low calorie sweeteners instead. Artificial sweeteners provide the sweet taste with none of the side effects, so it appears to be a welcome and healthful “trick.” 

So, many people have bought into the idea that, according to some estimates, about a quarter of children in the United States, and more than 40% of adults, are currently consuming low calorie sweeteners.

But, are artificial sweeteners as harmless as people seem to think? Research from a few years ago suggested that artificial sweeteners can still promote diabetes and obesity. And now, a new study adds to the evidence that sweeteners may have undeniable metabolic effects. 

In fact, the latest study suggests that merely tasting something sweet could alter our metabolism and glucose control.

People should consume sweetness in moderation

By contrast, when people with obesity swallowed the sweetener, their insulin levels spiked a lot more compared with when they drank distilled water or when they only tasted the sweetener. 

“While insulin responses to either tasting or swallowing the sucralose were similar in those of normal weight, those responses were very different in people with obesity. “Therefore, we hypothesize that some post-ingestive effects of sucralose may occur only in people with obesity.”

The researcher cautions, however, that different sweeteners have different chemical structures, so the findings of this study, regarding the “post-ingestive effects,” may apply exclusively to sucralose. Nevertheless, the effect of sweet taste alone may be more generalizable.

Intriguingly, and contrary to what the researchers expected, the study also found that merely tasting the sweetener had a metabolic effect, as well.

“Interestingly, we found that in both groups of people — those with obesity and those of normal weight — there was a reduction in insulin response to the glucose tolerance test when they just tasted sweetness before drinking the glucose solution.

The researchers acknowledge the limits of their results, saying, “What our data suggest is that there are mechanisms that we don’t understand clearly about how the human body regulates glucose, and the potential metabolic effects of tasting something sweet beyond providing a sense of pleasure.”

However, they stress the importance of eating sweet foods in moderation.

“Even though the sample population in our study was small, the findings add to a body of evidence that suggests sweetness should be consumed in moderation, regardless of the calories.

Will I get cancer from using artificial sweeteners like sucralose?

The first topic we delved into was that of the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer. This particular piece of research found that a chemical in a commonly used artificial sweetener may cause DNA damage.

The chemical in question was sucralose-6-acetate, a metabolite of the sweetener sucralose. The study findings showed that sucralose harms gut health and may lead to oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage, and hence increase the risk of cancer.

Dr. Hilary Guite, our presenter, pointed out the most common food items that contain this sweetener: “It’s in chewing gum, salad dressings, barbecue sauces, sugar-free jams…”

One important nuance here was that this study was done on human blood cells. To see the same DNA-damaging effect in humans, an average human weighing 70 kilograms would have to consume 18 liters of sucralose-sweetened beverages daily.