Blogs: Diseases

Medicine is one thing people use to help them feel better when they are ill.  Some medicines are taken once, some for a few days, and some for longer. For medicines that can't be swallowed, other methods like shots can help you stay healthy. 

Another common reason for getting a shot is vaccination. Vaccination, also called immunization, is one way that some people choose to prevent diseases and viruses and to stay healthy.  For more vaccination related information, you can:

More questions? You can always contact a librarian for all your library and information needs!

Diabetes is a disease that people have known about for thousands of years, even if they didn't call it by that name.  Wonderopolis has a simple, helpful overview of diabetes and a quick interview with a young diabetic about how he test his blood.  There are actually two types of diabetes with similar symptoms and treatments but different causes.  The American Diabetes Association website has information about Type 1 Diabetes, and they also have a free, dowloadable booklet about living with Type 2 diabetes.  You can even find statistics about the frequency of diabetes in the United States from the Center for Disease Control.  

 

Symptoms of the disease can be scary, but it helps to know more about what is happening inside the body.  Some people take medicine to help control their diabetes, and other people can control it through their diet, choosing recipes and foods that help control their blood sugar levels.

Once you've learned about the disease, you can test your knowledge with this crossword puzzle or one of these online games about making smart food choices.  

And as always you can contact a librarian for more information!

 

Ebola virions through an electron microscope.The word is enough to freeze your possibly hemorrhaging blood, isn’t it? Or make you glad you (or someone you know) aren’t in West Africa. My first thought when learning of the two U.S. citizens recently transported here for medical care was ‘I’m glad I’m not on that plane.’ But unlike SARS or the flu, the Ebola virus can’t be transmitted through the air; the only way to catch it is “through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions” (Q&A on Ebola from the Centers for Disease Control, which has much more information about the current outbreak on its website).

[Edited to add 11/28/14:] Multnomah County's Health Department has a page with resources and links providing information a little closer to home).

Comforting for those of us in the first world, but not much use to those on the front lines, who won’t even seek medical attention because the hospital is where people go to die.

If you’re in the mood for some not-so-light reading, here are some suggestions.

Your body is a pretty amazing place to be.  Every day things try to make you sneeze, make your nose run, make you cough, or even something worse.  Lucky for you, your immune system fights them off - most of the time.

So think of your immune system as the Immune Platoon, a bunch of superheroes battling so you can be as healthy as you can be.  Using some great online resources you can get an overview of the immune system, find out how your body responds to an attack on your immune system by playing a parasite game or an immune system game, and even quiz yourself to see what you know!

And you can always contact a librarian for even more info!

You listen to Radiolab, right? I know bunches of you do. We all stood shoulder-to shoulder late last year waiting to get into their live gig at The Keller Auditorium. (I was the short brunette with a glass of wine.) Anyway, did you hear their recent replay of the show on rabies? It blew my diabolical-virus-loving mind. And made me think back to a book I read a couple years ago, Rabid, by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy. If you loved that Radiolab show, read the book. It chronicles the Milwaukee protocol story, and tons of other cool stuff.   

Book cover, Rabid by Bill Wasik and Monica MurphySo. Rabies. Turns out that it is one smart virus, like so many of the super deadly ones are, and we can learn loads of valuable info from its four thousand year history. It spreads easily from animal to human, and exhibits pretty normal symptoms at first... headache, fever, sore throat. Makes you think twice about that cold you're fighting now, doesn't it? 

Where do you go to find a new doctor, or health care professional?  How do you know if your doctor is licensed or board certified?

Here are some resources to help you find information about health professionals.  These tools allow you to search in a variety of different ways - by physician name, by geographic area or by medical specialty.  You can find a doctor's education and training, area of specialty, licensing information, and even malpractice claims.

The Oregon Medical Board licenses physicians and other health professionals such as acupuncturists.  On this site, you can look up a physician or other healthcare provider,  and find out when they were licensed, if their license is active and if they have malpractice claims filed against them.   Be sure to read the information about what constitutes a claim against a physician.

DoctorFinder, sponsored by the American Medical Association, is a physician locator.  It also provides basic professional information on amost every licensed physician in the United States, including doctors of medicine and osteopathic medicine.

DocFinder from AIM, the Administrators in Medicine,  sponsors this site from which you can search for physicians anywhere in the United States.  This list is only as complete as those State Boards that make the information available, however.

MedlinePlus, from the National Library of Medicine offers a comprehensive list of directories on its website.  You can locate a physician by specialty or by geographic area.  You can also find organizations for almost anything medical or health related.  Organizations can be a good resource for information too.  For instance, the American Headache Society has a page to help you locate a headache specialist?

Remember to always evaluate the information you find on the Internet and use websites you trust when researching medical information!

 

Millions of consumers get health information from magazines, TV or the Internet. Some of the information is reliable and up to date; some is not. How can you tell the good from the bad?

First, consider the source. If you use the Web, look for an "about us" page. Check to see who runs or sponsors the site: Is it a branch of the government, a university, a health organization, a hospital or a business? Focus on quality. Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted? Be skeptical. Things that sound too good to be true often are.  Is the site current and has it been updated recently?  Scroll to the bottom of the page for update information.  Is the information factual or does it represent opinion?   You want current, unbiased information based on research.  And finally, ask who is the intended audience of the site—is it consumers like us, or health professionals. 

As you look through the following material about evaluating health information specifically, you will realize that you can use the same criteria to evaluate other information you find on the Web.  Think about bias when you are looking for consumer reports about a product;  think about currency of information when you are evaluating the purchase of a computer;  and think about sponsorship and authority of a site if you are trying to find a lawyer.  

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/evaluatinghealthinformation.html
MedlinePlus offers an overview of evaluating health information and also provides links to more articles to help you find reliable, authoritative health information.

http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/evaluating_health_information/

University of California San Francisco provides this overview of criteria to use when judging the reliability of health information, including red flags to watch for.

http://www.mlanet.org/resources/userguide.html

The Medical Library Association provides this comprehensive article about finding and evaluating good medical information and includes a selection of “Top 10 Most Useful Consumer Health Sites”.

If you have diabetes, diet and exercise are key to controlling the disease. Learn how following a meal plan and engaging in regular physical activity can help you manage your diabetes.

For more on specific exercises for older adults, check out Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The information on Diabetes was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health.

 

The following is a selective list of websites to help you find information about diseases and their treatment.    The sites are sponsored by well-respected associations and organizations.  You can also find information about specific diseases on the websites of organizations such as the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association.  The library subscribes to databases that contain articles from health and medical journals.   These are a good source of health information that is both current and authoritative.   You can find these databases on the health topics page under resources.

Cancer.gov

Comprehensive information about cancer and its treatment from the National Cancer Institute.   Information is available for both lay persons and health professionals.  You can also find statistics, clinical trials and the latest research on cancer.

CAPHIS

If you want to find even more health information, try this very helpful list of the Top 100 Health Websites You Can Trust, selected by The Consumer and Patient Health Information Section of the Medical Library Association.   

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A fabulous resource of health information with a focus on public health.   There is  information about diseases but also advice for traveling overseas, lots of statistical reports and epidemiological studies and reports.  If you search the CDC Wonder, you can find reports like Daily Air Temperatures by geographic area and period.  A fun and educational health site.

ClinicalTrials.gov

A clinical trial is a research study in which human volunteers are assigned to interventions based on a plan and are then evaluated for effects on biomedical or health outcomes.  This site lists publicly and privately supported clinical trials on a wide range of diseases and conditions and describes the trial’s purpose, who may participate and contact information.  Used by patients, health care professionals and researchers,  it lists trials from 50 states and 182 countries.

Family Doctor

Sponsored by the Association of Family Physicians, this site is geared for the lay person. It is easy to use, and organized so that you can search by a disease or an age group or a topic. It also includes a symptom checker but remember to check with your health care provider for the most authoritative information about your symptoms.

Kid’s Health

Information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years.  Kids can find information geared just for them, about their bodies and feelings, growing and developing, in age-appropriate language.  Parents can find information about pregnancy, parenting, kids' health and much more.

Lab Tests Online

Explains clearly and concisely the purpose of many blood tests and other laboratory tests. Searchable by specific test, by age category, and by condition or disease.

Mayo Clinic

Find health information for the whole family on this well-known organization’s site.  You can also watch yoga videos, shop for products or stay abreast of the latest research on diseases and conditions. 

MEDLINEplus

One of the best places to start your search for medical information.  Search by a specific disease or find information under body location, body system or by age group.   The site is a wealth of information,  including  lists of health organizations and associations, directories to help you locate a physician or hospital, information about drugs and health news, and social issues that can affect you and your family's health.  You can even watch a video about your upcoming surgery!   From the National Library of Medicine.

 

As you gather together this holiday season, why not set aside time to talk with close relatives about diseases and conditions that run in the family? Having a record of your family’s health history can be a valuable tool in helping to lower their risk for disease.

To help you get started, here are tips on approaching your relatives and questions to ask about their health histories.

Use these print and online tools to help you collect and organize this valuable information.

Also, take this short quiz to learn why it’s important to know your family’s health history.

The information on Creating a Family Health History was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Subscribe to