All posts by Laurel J. Kelly

Consumer Health Tips: Men’s health

two smiling men standing together on a beach, one holding a football in one hand with the other arm around his friend's shouldersMen’s health: Prevent the top threats
The biggest threats to men’s health — which include heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke — often are preventable. Take control by talking with your health care provider about your risk factors for these conditions. Then, get serious about reducing your risk. Here’s what you need to know to live a longer, healthier life.

***

Also in today’s tips …

Does having a vasectomy increase your risk of prostate cancer?
You may have heard having a vasectomy increases your risk of prostate cancer. Learn what the research shows, and if you’re concerned about your prostate cancer risk for other reasons, talk to your doctor about possible symptoms and screening tests.

What are the heart risks associated with testosterone therapy?
The connection between taking testosterone and an increased risk of heart disease isn’t clear. Learn what researchers have found and about other possible risks of testosterone therapy.

Mental health: Overcoming the stigma of mental illness
Negative attitudes and beliefs about mental illness are common and can be harmful. Fear of others’ reactions can be isolating for someone suffering from mental illness and can delay treatment. Here are some strategies and coping tips for overcoming the stigma of mental illness.

Save lives: Donate blood
Friday, June 16, is World Blood Donation Day. Millions of people need blood transfusions each year, whether during surgery, after an accident or because they have a disease that requires blood components. If you’re a healthy adult, you can usually donate a pint of blood without endangering your health. Within 24 hours of a blood donation, your body replaces the lost fluids, and, after several weeks, your body replaces the lost red blood cells. Learn more about the life-giving gift of blood donation.

Housecall: What causes an ice cream headache?

three ice cream cones in a wire basket rackTHIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES
Ice cream headaches
Does your favorite ice cream or frosty treat give you “brain freeze?” Ice cream headaches — officially known as cold stimulus headaches — are brief, stabbing headaches that can happen when you eat, drink or inhale something cold. Learn what’s behind this type of headache and the easy step that can help you avoid discomfort.

Sunscreen options: Learn what’s best
Are you confused about sunscreen? Do you know that sunscreen expires? Do you need to wear sunscreen when it’s cloudy? Here’s what you need to know about sunscreen ingredients, the different types of sunscreen and how to protect yourself from the harmful effects of sun exposure.

EXPERT ANSWERS
Are there long-term risks from kidney donation?
Donating a kidney can save someone’s life, and most kidney donors recover from the procedure with minimal complications. But are there long-term risks? Learn more from Dr. Erik Castle, a Mayo Clinic urologist.

What’s the difference between herniated and bulging disks?
Disks act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. Over time, disks dehydrate, and their cartilage stiffens and can crack. These changes may result in a bulging disc or a herniated disc. Find out more about these two conditions, and which one might be the cause of your back pain, from Dr. Randy Shelerud, a Mayo Clinic physical medicine specialist.

PLUS ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Heartburn or heart attack: When to worry
Video: Why is it so hard to stop smoking?
Scleroderma: Symptoms and causes
Hiccups: Lifestyle and home remedies

HEALTHY RECIPES
Spiced melon salad
Broccoli, garlic and rigatoni
Grilled chicken breasts with roasted yellow tomato sauce
Lemon pudding cakes

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
Do you know how to do a proper pushup?
Strength training includes exercises that use your own body weight for resistance. Pushups, for example, work your chest, arms, shoulders and upper body. Here’s how to do a proper pushup:

  1. Position yourself on your hands and feet with your eyes facing the floor.
  2. Place your hands slightly greater than shoulder-width apart and your feet comfortably apart.
  3. Keeping your back and legs straight, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest until your chin reaches the ground. You’ll feel tension in the muscles in your back, abdomen and upper arms.
  4. Then, slowly return to the starting position.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

Receive a free e-subscription to Housecall and other health newsletters.

Consumer Health Tips: Sexual identity and health care

a group of smiling people in a Gay Pride parade, holding a large rainbow bannerSexual identity and health care: The importance of communication
June is LGBT Pride Month, marked by celebrations, symposia and other events involving millions of people around the world. Among the challenges faced by LGBT individuals in their health care is feeling comfortable sharing their sexual identity and/or gender identity with health care providers for fear of negative reactions. This may mean some in the LGBT community don’t get regular care and miss important preventive care screenings. Learn more from Dr. John Knudsen, medical director of Mayo Clinic’s Office of Health Equity and Inclusion, about the importance of open and honest communication with your health care team.

***

Also in today’s tips …

Will a bedtime snack help me sleep better?
Everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time, but could your bedtime snack sometimes be the problem? Learn more about how what you eat and when can contribute to insomnia, and what you can do to get a better night’s sleep.

Video: Your heart and circulatory system
Did you know your heart pumps about 5 quarts of blood every minute? And it beats about 100,000 times in one day? Learn more about your heart and circulatory system and the life-giving work it quietly performs in the background all day, every day.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s: When symptoms begin before 65
Early-onset Alzheimer’s is an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than 65. Of all the people who have Alzheimer’s disease, about 5 percent develop symptoms before 65 — most in their 40s and 50s. Learn how early-onset Alzheimer’s is diagnosed and how to cope if this disease affects your family.

Colposcopy: What you can expect
Colposcopy is a procedure to examine your cervix, vagina and vulva closely for signs of disease. Your health care provider may recommend a colposcopy if your Pap test result is abnormal. Learn more about how a colposcopy is performed, and what you can expect during and after the procedure.

Housecall: What is male menopause?

a close-up of a serious-looking older man, holding his chin in his handTHIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES
Male menopause: Myth or reality?
Hormone changes are a natural part of aging, but the experience is different for men and women. Unlike the more dramatic plunge that occurs in women during menopause, sex hormone changes in men occur gradually. This is sometimes called male menopause. Learn about the signs and symptoms men can expect and the treatment options available.

Video collection: Desk stretches
If you sit at a desk or computer for long periods of time, your muscles may feel stiff and sore. Simple stretches and other physical activity can break up your day and keep you comfortable. Watch these videos to understand proper form and technique for desk stretches.

EXPERT ANSWERS
Is it safe to drink alcohol in moderation after being cured of hepatitis C?
While it’s impossible to say whether drinking alcohol is safe after being cured of hepatitis C, as a general rule, anyone concerned about liver health should avoid alcohol. Find out why this may be especially concerning if hepatitis C has been present in the past.

How accurate are the blood pressure machines in grocery stores and drugstores?
Public blood pressure machines may provide helpful information about your blood pressure, but they may have some limitations. Find out why the accuracy of these machines might be questionable and whether a home monitoring machine or more regular blood pressure measurement by your health care provider might be right for you.

PLUS ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Insect bites and stings: First aid
Cultivating contentment
Hearing aid styles
Mental health: What’s normal, what’s not

HEALTHY RECIPES
Strawberries and cream
Quinoa salad
Spicy beef kebabs
Caesar salad with grilled chicken

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK
Is there more to hydration than water?
Water is a great choice for staying hydrated. Water is calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available. But water isn’t your only option. Remember that food also contributes to your daily fluid needs. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent or more water by weight. Beverages such as milk and juice also are composed mostly of water. In moderation, even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages can contribute to your daily fluid needs.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

NOW BLOGGING
Living with diabetes: Tips for watching calories when eating out

Did you know that many restaurants serve meals that exceed the recommended calorie limit? This may make eating out a challenge for many people. Try these suggestions the next time you dine out.

Receive a free e-subscription to Housecall and other health newsletters.

Consumer Health Tips: World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day bannerQuit smoking: Strategies to help you quit
Today is World No Tobacco Day, an initiative of the World Health Organization and partners to educate on the health risks of tobacco use and advocate for reducing tobacco consumption. You may know that smokers have much higher rates of heart disease, stroke and cancer than nonsmokers, but you also may have tried to quit in the past without success. Here are some proven, practical strategies that can help you achieve your goal to quit smoking.

***

Also in today’s tips …

MS: Symptoms and causes
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged. Learn more about the symptoms and causes of MS.

Video: Squat exercise
The squat is a body resistance exercise that works the leg muscles. Specifically, the squat targets the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Strengthening these muscles can help protect your knees and boost your performance in a variety of sports. Watch this short video on the correct form to avoid injury and get maximum results.

What causes hiccups?
For most people, a bout of hiccups is an annoyance that lasts only a few minutes. Rarely, hiccups may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition and can persist for months. Find out what causes hiccups and when to seek medical care.

Fetal alcohol syndrome: Symptoms and causes
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition in a child that results from alcohol exposure during the mother’s pregnancy. This exposure causes brain damage and growth problems. If you suspect your child has fetal alcohol syndrome, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis may help to reduce problems, such as learning difficulties and behavioral issues. Here’s what you should know.