People at average risk for type 2 diabetes should be tested every 3 years after age 40. You may need to be tested more frequently if you are at higher risk. Find out your risk with the Canadian Diabetes Risk Assessment Questionnaire (link in this resource).
Colorectal testing every 1-2 years is recommended for people between ages 50 and 74. Your doctor may recommend screening before age 50 and more often if you have an increased risk of this type of cancer (eg. family history of colon cancer, polyps or Crohn's disease).
If you have allergic rhinitis, there are medications you can purchase as tablets, nose drops or sprays. These include: antihistamines, steroids, leukotriene receptor antagonists, chromones, and decongestants. Research shows these are all effective treatments.
Educational videos, exercise, and neck mobilization were more beneficial for treating neck pain or whip lash than ultrasound or electrical stimulation. Laser therapy, exercise and massage or acupuncture may help with chronic pain. Hard or soft collars did not work.
Some alternative herbal medicines may help to relieve back pain. Devil's Claw, Willow Bark and cayenne may help reduce pain in the short term. However, there is no evidence that these substances are safe or useful in the long-term.
There are many arthritis treatment options such as rest, weight loss, physical therapy, assistive devices, heat and cold therapies, medications or surgery. Learn about proven and unproven treatments and talk to your doctor about the best treatments options for you.
Decision aids can help patients choose between different healthcare options. Decision aids can improve people's knowledge about treatment options and help them feel clearer about their health priorities.
Women who are not at risk for ovarian cancer should avoid ovarian screening. Ovarian screening can give false-positive results which can lead to unnecessary surgery. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk factors and preferences before making a decision about cancer screening.
The evidence recommends that you do not use long-term hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause. Hormone therapy may reduce your risk of bone fractures but it can also increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, heart attack, breast cancer and gallbladder problems.
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care does not recommend men get screened for prostate cancer with a PSA test because the harms outweigh the benefits. The harms of screening include: false positives, over-diagnosis, infection, erectile dysfunction, urine leakage and biopsy complications.
The Canadian Task Force on Prevent Health Care does not recommend men get screened for prostate cancer with a PSA test. The potential harms of screening and follow-up treatment do not outweigh the small benefits.
Gauze dressings should not be used to treat pressure ulcers (bed sores). Other options include alginate dressings, hydrogel dressings, and negative pressure wound therapy. More evidence is needed about which options are best to improve pain and reduce complications. Research should measure outcomes that matter to patients and carers as well as health professionals.
You may need surgery to treat mitral valve regurgitation. Surgery options include repairing the valve or replacing with an artificial valve. Speak with your doctor to determine which surgery may be right for you.
Mitral stenosis is a heart disease caused by the narrowing of a heart valve which stops it from opening properly. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, and pounding heart. If left untreated, mitral valve stenosis may cause serious heart damage.
Mitral valve replacement is done by open-heart surgery to treat heart valve problems such as mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis. Depending on the cause of your condition and how severe it is, your doctor may recommend this surgery. Details about risks and benefits of this surgery in this resource.
Aortic valve regurgitation is a heart disease caused when your heart valve does not close properly allowing backflow of blood. Symptoms include chest pain, a rapid heart beat and lightheadedness. Medication or surgery are common treatments. If left untreated, aortic valve regurgitation can lead to heart failure.
The cause of tinnitus is not known and few treatments have been proven to work. Some research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could help. This treatment helps you deal with distress caused by the condition.
Antiphospholipid syndrome is an immune disorder affecting the blood cells which can cause blood clots. Medicines such as anticoagulants (blood thinners) are often prescribed for this condition. Details about symptoms and treatment in this resource.
Carotid endarterectomy surgery aims to reduce risk of stroke for people who have already had one. Ask your doctor if the benefits of this surgery outweigh the risks. Risks include: stroke, heart attack, breathing problems, high blood pressure, infection and nerve injury.
DMARDs are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. They work to decrease pain and inflammation and keep the joint working. They can take weeks or months to provide relief. This resource provides details about this medicine.
Gout is a painful condition that develops in some people who have high blood levels of urate. This condition can be prevented with anti-inflammatories and by lowering urate with diet changes. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain.
If you are between 50 and 74 years of age, you should have regular mammograms to test for breast cancer every 2-3 years. If you are over the age of 75, talk to your doctor before going for breast cancer screening.
Opioids are a type of medicine that can be prescribed by your doctor for chronic pain. Not everyone gets adequate pain relief from opioids and many people can become addicted to this type of medication. Most people should not take opioids for a long time.
Over-the-counter painkiller medications are a simple, inexpensive and effective treatment option for acute pain (such as toothache or sprain). Ibuprofen/paracetamol combinations are especially effective.
Your risk of dying from breast cancer is slightly reduced if you have regular screening. However, regular screening increase your chance of a false positive result, a biopsy and having part or all of a breast removed unnecessarily.
Heart failure means that your heart is not working as well as it should. Symptoms of heart failure include running out of breath easily or swollen ankles. Healthy lifestyle choices and medications can help treat heart failure. Details in this resource.
Shared decision-making is when patients and their doctors make choices together considering the best available information and the patient's preferences. This website gives a patient's story of shared decision-making and Graves Disease.
70% of bladder cancer cases are not invasive. Surgery to remove the bladder is the most common treatment for invasive bladder cancer. This resource provides details, including answers to the common question, "Where will the urine go?"
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommends women between 50 and 74 years old who are not at high risk get screened for breast cancer every 2 to 3 years. Talk to your doctor about screening options if you are at high risk or over 74 years old.
This resource includes frequently asked questions about breast cancer, including: Who is considered high risk? What are the harms associated with mammography? and Why is routine screening NOT recommended for women 40-49 years?
Low-dose aspirin can help reduce the risk of blood clots, heart attack, stroke and some cancers. Side effects include bleeding in the stomach. Talk to your doctor before deciding to take aspirin regularly.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common problem that can cause bloating, pain, and changes in stools. Eat more soluble fiber and drink water to help relieve symptoms. Also try exercise and stress management. More details and a video in this resource.
A Pap test screens for cervical cancer. It recommended that sexually active women under the age of 70 have one every 3 years. Screening is not recommended for those older than 70 if your last 3 Pap tests were negative.
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommends women over the age of 25 get a Pap test every three years to screen for cervical cancer. This resource includes information about the Pap test and what an abnormal test result means.
A peak flow meter measures lung function and the severity of asthma symptoms. It is an inexpensive, easy way to monitor asthma symptoms at home. Regular measurements can help guide treatment. This website gives tips on how to use it.
Warfarin is often prescribed for people with high risk of blood clots. Take care to prevent injury and falls while taking this medication and report any abnormal bleeding, bruising or pain to your doctor. More in this resource about foods and medication to avoid while taking warfarin.
Nonsteroidal antiinflammatories (NSAIDS) help relieve pain and swelling and are some of the most commonly used medicines. NSAIDS may cause complications for people with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications. Read this resource for details and discuss with your doctor.
Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to joint stiffness, pain and swelling. Medications and physical therapy can help improve symptoms. Also try exercise, rest and diet changes. Herbal and nutritional supplements are not recommended.
Osteoporosis causes bones to become thin, weak and brittle. Women are at a higher risk after menopause because of lower levels of estrogen. Prevent osteoporosis with vitamin D, calcium, exercise and not smoking. Some medications can also help.
Combination painkillers and fast-acting drugs (eg. ibuprofen and paracetamol) can give good pain relief. Serious side effects are rare. Different people react differently to painkillers - even the most effective drugs may not work for you, but another one might.
There has been an improvement in survival of patients with multiple myeloma over the past 30 years. Treatment can include chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. Treatment recommendations are often related to a person's age - details in this resource.
Little high quality information is available about whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women with type 1 diabetes affects management of blood sugar and menopause symptoms. This resource provides one woman's perspective on the issue.
Symptoms of sinusitis include blocked nose, nose or face pain and thick, abnormal nose discharge. Get immediate treatment if you have a high fever, severe pain, double vision or swelling around your eyes.
Testosterone levels will naturally decline with age. Talk to your doctor if you have a medical condition that affects testosterone. Testosterone therapy has risks and is not recommended as a treatment for normal aging.
Treatment options for breast cancer include medications, chemotherapy and surgery. Recent evidence shows the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin®) can reduce cancer progression by more than one third. Speak with your doctor about treatment options, talk to other patients about their experiences, understand the latest evidence on breast cancer treatments and use a decision aid (links in this resource).
Surgery is not usually needed for benign enlarged prostate. It may be an option, however, if the enlarged prostate is causing urinary tract infections or bladder stones, or if other treatments are not helping. The transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is considered to be the standard surgical approach. There are other variations of TURP, as well as laser treatments and heat therapy. Talk to your doctor to find out what treatment is right for you.
If you have foot pain due to an injury, it might respond well to rest and cold. Put ice on your foot for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day. You can also try anti-inflammatory medication. See a doctor right away if it is serious.
A cataract causes blurry vision. Cataract surgery removes the cloudy lens from your eye and replaces it with an artificial one. Cataract surgery usually takes an hour or less to complete, and you go home the same day.
There is class of type 2 diabetes medication that can improve blood sugar control and also lead to weight loss. Depending on the exact medication and dose, weight loss could be 3 to 5.5 pounds, or more if you are actively trying to lose weight.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help treat mental health disorders. CBT works best if you are honest with your therapist and stick to your treatment plan. Also, do not expect immediate results.
Studies suggest medications containing memantine can help to slow the loss of activities of daily life and mental ability (memory, learning). More research is needed to know whether memantine works better or worse than other Alzheimer's treatments.
Hormone therapy for menopause can help in the short-term to treat menopause symptoms like hot flashes and sweats. Long-term hormone therapy is not recommended because of serious side-effects like increased risk of blood clots, stroke and breast cancer.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often difficult to treat. Treatments include: soluble fiber (eg. psyllium), peppermint oil capsules, probiotics, anti-cramping medications, medications for diarrhea/constipation, antibiotics, antidepressants and acupuncture. All have varying rates of success and side effects.
COPD can cause a cough and makes it difficult to breath. There are many different ways to diagnose and treat COPD. To prevent COPD, do not smoke cigarettes. If you currently smoke, quitting can still help prevent COPD.
This patient decision aid helps women at high risk for breast cancer to decide on whether or not to get preventative (prophylactic) mastectomy by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options. It includes other options for reducing the risk such as medication, breast cancer screening, surgery to remove the ovaries, and healthy lifestyle.
This patient decision aid helps women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations decide on whether or not to have a prophylactic oophorectomy by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options. It includes alternative options such as increasing screening for ovarian cancer and birth control pills.
Hormone therapy can treat menopause symptoms but may also increase your risk of cancer. It does not decrease risk of heart disease. Consider your medical history, preferences, and concerns when deciding if you will use hormone therapy.
Signs of colon polyps include abdominal pain, blood in stool or a change in bathroom habits. It is important to get screened if you are at risk since some polyps can develop into colon cancer. Many polyps can be removed during screening.
Heartburn is a symptom of GERD. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicine and surgery. This resource includes tips for lifestyle changes, including elevating your bed, avoiding certain foods and eating smaller meals. If lifestyle changes do not work, your doctor may recommend medication. Serious cases may require surgery.
Symptoms of GERD are heartburn and regurgitation. To treat symptoms, try changing your diet and avoid eating in the evening. Medications and surgery can help, but increase the risk of side effects or serious complications.
DLBCL is a cancer of the lymphocytes. It is more common in women and older adults. You may be treated with chemotherapy and immunotherapy. This resource provides detailed information about the disease.
Follicular lymphoma is a cancer of the white blood cells. Older adults, women, and certain ethnicities are at a higher risk. Symptoms include swelling in your lymph nodes like the neck, armpit and groin. If you find swelling, ask your doctor about screening.
A stroke can damage the brain. A surgical procedure may be recommended to prevent or stop bleeding or reduce the pressure inside the skull. It is important to get medical help right away to limit complications. Details in this resource.
Primary brain tumours are cancers that develop in the brain. Symptoms can include seizures, headaches and difficulty concentrating. Treatment includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Detailed information about gliomas in this resource.
Some medications (detailed in this resource) can help bladder control problems and urinary incontinence. Talk to your doctor to see which medication is right for you, and to learn about possible side effects.
One study recommends that people age 60+ start treatment for high blood pressure when their blood pressure is 150/90. This is different than the current recommendation to start treatment at 140/90. Talk to your doctor about the best time to for you to start blood pressure treatment.
Bisphosphonates are commonly prescribed to treat osteoporosis. They slow bone breakdown and lower your risk of breaking bones. Side effects may include heart burn and upset stomach. Talk to your doctor to find the right type of bisphosphonates for you. Exercising, eating well and avoiding alcohol and tobacco can also help treat osteoporosis.
A new guideline suggests that most healthy women do not need a pelvic exam every year. If you are pregnant or have symptoms (eg. pain), you may need more frequent pelvic exams. Decisions about having a pelvic exam should consider a woman's needs and preferences.
Levels of the hormone DHEA decrease as your age, causing symptoms such as lower muscle mass, bone density and cognitive impairment. However, DHEA supplements do not seem to slow aging and may increase your risk of certain cancers and other health problems. More research is needed.
Women with cancer can now opt for contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM). This option is for women with cancer who choose to remove their healthy breast. Details about the pros and cons of this approach in this resource.
There is no conclusive research about how diet choices, exercise, relaxation techniques, herbal supplements or alternative therapies affect menopause symptoms. Use caution if you try herbal supplements and alternative therapies to treat menopause symptoms; some of these can have serious side effects.
This patient decision aid helps women at high risk for breast cancer to decide what to do. It outlines options such as getting extra checkups and testing, take medicine, have surgery to remove both breasts and have surgery to remove your ovaries and compares the benefits, risks, and side effects of each option.
Hip replacement surgery is usually only recommended for people who are unable to control their pain with other treatments. Risks include need for repeat surgery or joint infections. This decision tool includes questions to discuss with your doctor.
Knee replacement surgery is usually only recommended for people who are unable to control their pain with other treatments. Risks include blood clots, unstable joints and a dislocated kneecap. This resource includes frequently asked questions to help you make a decision about knee replacement.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two main causes of chronic kidney disease. Changes in how much you urinate, fatigue, sleep problems and nausea are all signs of loss of kidney function. Avoid long term use of medications that may damage your kidneys, exercise regularly and eat a diet low in protein, sodium and fat to reduce your risk of kidney disease.
Probiotics are good bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy. They are available supplements and certain foods. Details in this resource about when to avoid taking probiotics, and considerations to ask your doctor.
Treatment for a stroke depends on whether it is an ischemic or a hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot and treated with clot-busting medication. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding in your brain and treated with a surgical procedure. After a stroke, your doctor will usually recommend rehabilitation to help speed your recovery.
Rehabilitation after stroke can help you relearn any skills lost as a result of the stroke. It is important to start rehabilitation as soon as possible after a stroke. This resource provides details about rehabilitation, including frequently asked questions.
Chronic kidney disease results in a slow loss of kidney function. Treatment is meant to slow down this process. You may not notice symptoms until the disease is advanced. Complications include high blood pressure, anemia and retaining fluids.
In acute kidney failure, your kidneys stop working over a few hours or days. You may notice swelling and decreased amount of urine. It is most common among people who are critically ill, although otherwise healthy people can recover.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of your peptic ulcer. If tests show that you have an H. pylori infection, your doctor may recommend a combination of antibiotics and medication to help reduce stomach acid. Otherwise, acid blockers may be prescribed to reduce stomach acid and ulcer pain. If your ulcer does not heal, your doctor may recommend more tests to find another possible cause of your symptoms.
Most peptic ulcers are caused by an infection with a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. Use of painkillers, excessive alcohol use and smoking can increase your risk. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, heartburn or nausea. Treatments include lifestyle changes and medications.
There are many types of liver disease, which can be caused by genetics, viruses, obesity and alcohol abuse. Abdominal pain, a yellowing of the skin or eyes and chronic fatigue are all signs of liver disease. If left untreated, the damage to your organ can lead to liver failure. Speak to your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms of liver disease.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain) range from numbness to severe pain. Some evidence suggests alternative treatments may help with pain such as exercise, capsaicin skin cream or dietary supplements such as alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the US. The death rate has declined, partly due to increased screening and improved treatment. When found and treated early it is often curable. This website gives information about diagnosing and treating breast cancer.
Access to support and reliable information about menopause can help women prepare for this time in their lives. This resource provides links to interviews and blogs in which women share their personal experiences.
Vaccines have risks and side effects. However, you are more likely to catch a disease or illness if you are not vaccinated against it. More outbreaks occur when more people choose not to vaccinate, and people are often contagious before they realize they are sick.
This resource discusses ways to treat and prevent arthritis of the shoulder. Avoid putting strain on the joint; for example, put that arm in your shirt or coat first when getting dressed. Try applying heat, stretching, shoulder exercises and nonprescription pain relievers to help ease pain. Details in this resource.
A family history of breast or ovarian cancer can increase your risk of getting the disease. Consider genetic counseling and testing if you are at high risk. Women with BRCA gene mutations are often advised to have more frequent cancer screening.
Palliative care focuses on providing relief from symptoms and stress you may experience during treatment for a serious illness. Read more to learn about whether or not palliative care may be right for you.
Certain medication may improve thinking and memory for people with dementia. Other drug treatments can help with related symptoms, such as depression, sleeping problems and agitation. Details about these medications in this resource.
Many people do not take their medication as prescribed by their health care provider. There are many ways to encourage people to take their medication, including encouragement by health providers, family and friends, but these do not always lead to improvements. More research is needed on this topic.
It can be difficult to keep track of all of your medications, particularly if you are taking multiple prescriptions. Any medication is dangerous if not taken properly. Keep your schedule simple, put your pills in easy-to-use packages, and set reminders to help you better manage your long-term medication. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your medication.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Chronic pain is mild to severe pain that lasts longer than six months. Some alternative approaches (acupuncture, yoga, herbal supplements), used in addition to conventional medicine, may help people manage chronic pain. Speak with your doctor before you begin any alternative health approach to make sure it is safe for you.
Heart valve replacement surgery is performed to repair or replace a valve that is not working properly. In most cases, a surgeon will operate to remove the damaged valve and replace it with a new one. This is a common type of surgery with a low risk of complications.
There are many different types of hearing aids available. They may fit behind the ear, in the ear, or are an open fit. Details in this resource including pictures of different options. Ask for a trial period before you buy.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a problem in the inner ear that can cause you to feel dizzy. Canalith repositioning can help with BPPV. This resource includes pictures of how to do this manoeuver.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may help you cope with tinnitus in everyday life and help reduce symptoms of depression. It is important to remember that this kind of treatment requires patience and motivation.
It is common to have gradual hearing loss with age. Being around loud noise and a family history of hearing loss increases your risk. Removing ear wax, surgery and hearing aids are common treatments, depending on the cause of hearing loss.
Intracranial stents are designed to keep the blood vessels open and prevent strokes. Stents can actually increase the risk of stroke for people who have had a stroke. The most common way to prevent stroke is to use medication.
Recognize signs of eye floaters, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration which can occur with age. Speak with your doctor about changes in your eyesight. Some problems can be prevented or treated.
An eye exam is a series of tests performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist to check your general eye health. Your age, health and risk of developing eye diseases affect how frequently you will need an eye exam. If you wear glasses or contact lenses or if you have a family history of eye disease you will need to have your eyes checked more often.
Low dose CT scans may help find early signs of lung cancer in people who are at high risk of developing the disease. If you are between 55 to 80 and have a history of smoking, speak to your doctor about medical tests used to diagnose lung cancer.
Lower your risk of cataracts by not smoking, limiting alcohol, controlling diabetes and wearing sunglasses. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can help correct vision. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective treatment. Pictures in this slideshow.
Cholinesterase inhibitors are medications that may help to slow the loss of mental abilities for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness or diarrhea. It is unclear if these medications work better or worse than other Alzheimer's treatments.
Medications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease help with symptoms. Some of the medicines prescribed to help with breathing are bronchodilators, steroids and anti-inflammatories. Details about medication options for COPD in this resource.
The IQCODE questionnaire can be used to find out whether you have a memory disorder. The test can lead to false dementia diagnosis for healthy patients. A single tool is likely not the best approach for diagnosing dementia.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy is designed to reduce allergy symptoms in the medium to long term by repeatedly exposing the person to an allergy extract over a long period of time. Research has shown it is effective for treating hay fever and year-round (perennial) allergic rhinitis. Talk with your doctor to see if allergen-specific immunotherapy is right for you.
Identifying and avoiding triggers of your asthma is important. This website gives a list of asthma treatments, side effects, and how to treat an asthma attack. Visit your healthcare provider to discuss an effective treatment plan.
If you choose to donate blood, you will first be asked about your medical history, age and weight. Vital signs and a blood test will be done. Currently, the risk of getting an infection from blood donation is very low.
Your risk of developing osteoporosis is higher if you take prednisone. To limit the risk of osteoporosis while on this medication, try weight bearing exercises and avoid alcohol and tobacco. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may help lower your risk.
It is important that doctors and patients work together to make decisions about advanced heart failure. Developing an end-of-life care plan that meets your values, goals and preferences will help to simplify decisions later on.
Dietary supplements are unlikely to help treat diabetes and some may be harmful. Chromium, ginseng and cinnamon are somewhat promising options but further study is needed. Discuss any medications or herbal supplements with your doctor before taking them.
Acute sinusitis is most often caused by the common cold and can last up to a few weeks. Symptoms include a blocked or runny nose, severe facial pain and a high fever. Treatment options include nasal sprays and antibiotics.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a therapy that includes exercise, education, and support to help you make choices that will improve your heart health. This therapy can help lower your chance of going to the hospital.
Exercise and speech therapy can help relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in addition to medication. These therapies aim to improve patients’ movement, speech, mental health and independence in daily life.
Blood in your faeces (poop) can come from anywhere in the gut. Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal bleeding. If you notice any bleeding or have black faeces, see a doctor. They will perform tests to find the cause.
Food allergies can cause serious or even life-threatening reactions. Adults and parents of kids with food allergies can learn how to read food labels to avoid eating these foods. Read this resource for other tips to avoid allergic reactions from food.
LASIK surgery can help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Risks include dry eyes, vision disturbance and problems healing. Before surgery, talk with your eye doctor about risks and benefits of treatment options (details in this resource).
Arthroscopic knee surgery involves small incisions to remove damaged tissue. This procedure helps provide short term pain relief, but not long term benefits and there are risks involved. Researchers do not recommend it for middle aged or older adults.
There is no reliable evidence that muscle rub creams ease pain, or that cough medicines are helpful for coughs. Honey may be a better choice for coughs. Over-the-counter cold medications may help relieve symptoms, but have side effects. Ask your pharmacist for their advice.
Hormone therapy treatment does little to prevent heart disease in post-menopausal women, although the benefits might be greater for women who start sooner after menopause. It does increase risk of stroke. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of this treatment option.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a blood cancer. Chemotherapy is a common treatment - side effects include hair loss, vomiting, and infection. More information related to treatment and specific medications for ALL is available in this resource.
There is not enough research to deny hormone therapy to women who have had their ovaries removed. However, there is also no evidence that hormone therapy helps decrease pain or lower the risk of more surgery. More research is needed.
Many of the leading causes of death among men (heart disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory disease) can be prevented. A healthy diet, staying physically active, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol, managing stress and getting recommended health screenings will all help improve your health.
There are no treatments that fight common cold viruses directly. Painkillers and nasal sprays may help relieve symptoms, but the benefits of many treatments are not well studied or have no proven effect. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections.
Bisphosphonates are normally taken for 3 to 5 years. Side effects may include stomach upset, jawbone problems and thighbone fractures. If after 5 years you still have a high risk of fractures, your doctor may recommend you continue to take bisphosphonates or another osteoporosis medication.
A low-dose of penicillin every day for up to a year may prevent cellulitis from recurring, with few side effects. It is important, however, to use the penicillin properly to prevent bacterial resistance.
Parkinson disease is a movement disorder. Medication, education, exercise (such as Tai Chi, swimming, walking), physical and speech therapy, and diet changes may help ease or manage symptoms. Details in this resource.
Wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches help adults with arthritis keep mobile. This resource includes details about other devices, therapies, rehabilitation and health professionals to help you choose the support you need.
There are several drugs that can help prevent or slow vision loss for people wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but there is no cure. The drug Lucentis has been shown to delay vision loss in around 30 out of 100 people.
Fire ants can sting and cause an allergic reaction. Kill the ant and wash the sting site with soap and cool water. Antihistamines can help reduce itching. Get emergency treatment if you show signs of anaphylaxis (trouble breathing or swallowing, fainting).
The "more is better" mentality about treatment and testing can do more harm than good. Learn how to effectively communicate with health professionals about your healthcare and make informed decisions. Music video on the topic included.
"Clot busters" (thrombolytic drugs) and aspirin are often used for early treatment of ischemic stroke. Anticoagulants (blood thinners) are seldom recommended. Longer term treatment after a stoke includes eating well and preventing clots, infections, bleeding ulcers and falls.
Alternative cancer treatments such as exercise, yoga, acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy, hypnosis, music therapy, and meditation may offer relief from your symptoms. They may help with anxiety, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, difficulty sleeping, and stress.
People with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin can monitor their blood sugar levels at home. More research is needed to find out if self-monitoring of blood sugar helps prevent diabetes-related illnesses.
Talk to your doctor about other options for severe enlarged hemorrhoids if treating the symptoms does not give you relief. Treatment options include sclerotherapy, rubber band ligation (banding), hemorrhoid removal and stapling.
Advanced heart failure occurs when heart therapies and symptom management no longer work. Consider the American Heart Association recommendations (in this resource) when you make decisions about advanced heart failure treatments and care plans.
Screening tests are more useful if the disease is serious, if the test is reliable, if the test is not harmful and if the disease has better treatment options when detected early. Screening is not a diagnosis and can sometimes lead to a false alarm. This resource includes questions to ask your doctor.
This patient decision aid helps women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer and are thinking of having their ovaries removed to prevent it decide on whether or not to have surgery by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
Probiotics may help to keep your digestive system healthy. Prebiotics act as food for probiotics. There is some evidence that probiotics may help treat diarrhea, yeast infections and irritable bowel syndrome. More research is needed on the role that probiotics and prebiotics play in digestive health.
Get tested for diabetes if you are over 45 years old. People who are overweight, have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes or other risk factors should get tested earlier. Early detection of diabetes may help you avoid using medication.
Hormone therapy does not prevent heart disease and may increase your risk of a heart attack, stroke or blood clots. Reduce your risk by being active and not smoking. Manage your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
Hormone therapies are unlikely to prevent wrinkles, skin dryness or sagging. The estrogen in hormone therapies can actually cause a dark spotting on the skin. Quit smoking and use sunscreen to help prevent early skin aging.
Heart disease can be prevented. Ask your doctor if your family history and body mass index put you at risk, and about cardiovascular screening tests, aspirin safety and other ways you can lower your risk.
CT scans can expose you to radiation that causes cancer. If your doctor orders a CT, discuss other options (suggestions in this resource). Ask for a radiation shield for your breasts, neck and pelvis if you need a CT scan.
There are medications that can help control Alzheimer's symptoms and other treatments to help manage agitation, depression or psychotic symptoms that may occur as the disease progresses. Talk to your doctor to discuss whether medication for Alzheimer's is right for you.
Adjuvant therapy is a treatment meant to keep cancer from coming back. Some forms of this therapy include chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation therapy. Talk to your doctor about risks and side effects.
Plan your recovery ahead of time when having heart valve surgery. Watch the video on this webpage to learn about how to best communicate with your doctor, what to expect for recovery and how to plan for surgery.
Make a list of what you want to discuss before seeing your health care provider. Bring up what's important to you, including your emotions and concerns. Stick to the topic, be honest and make sure you understand everything. Ask about different options.
A hysterectomy may be recommended for life-threatening conditions such as invasive cancers, severe pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine bleeding or childbirth complications. Many conditions can be better treated with other therapies.
After heart failure, you may require surgery to replace your heart valve and increase blood flow. For serious cases, doctors may recommend an implanted defibrillator to help the heart beat at a normal rhythm.
Detecting colorectal cancer early gives you a better chance of being cured. Cancer Care Ontario recommends that all Ontarians between the ages of 50 and 74 receive screening for colorectal cancer every 2 years.
There is a better chance of curing colorectal cancer if it is found early. Cancer Care Ontario recommends you get screened for colectoral cancer every 2 years starting when you are 50 years old. Read more about risk factors, prevention, screening and treatment in this resource.
Pain is experienced differently by each person. Some strategies to manage pain include muscle relaxation, imagery, distraction, biofeedback, accupuncture, massage, heat or cold therapy. There are also medications that can help manage pain.
Surgery to treat Parkinson's disease can help with symptoms. There are two types of surgery: brain lesioning surgery and deep brain stimulation. Best candidates for surgery are patients with symptoms that cannot be managed by medication. Avoid surgery if you have other serious medical problems.
Many women experience hot flashes and night sweats during menopause. If you are suffering from your own personal heat wave, find comfort in the fact that there are options available to help cool you down.
Dealing with chronic disease isn’t easy. Personalized care planning is a proactive approach to managing chronic illness that empowers patients to participate in their own care, helping to enhance their health.
If you are facing cataract surgery, your thoughts about which artificial lens to choose might be as cloudy as the lens in your eye. Multifocal and monofocal lenses are both good options, but each comes with pros and cons. Find out which lens choice is best for you.
Erectile dysfunction may be an awkward topic of discussion for some, but it’s a very common condition that affects up to half of all men over the age of 40. Find out what the research says about erectile dysfunction treatment options.
Heart failure is serious but people can live with the condition successfully. Giving people information about how to care for themselves is important, but additional support is necessary to promote effective self-care.
Managing diabetes can be challenging for anyone, but for older adults with multiple health and age-related conditions, it can be especially difficult. Dr. Diana Sherifali weighs in on how self-management programs can be adapted to best support older adults with diabetes.
One study suggests that patients receiving follow-up care for diabetic foot or leg ulcers via telemedicine (online or by phone) may spend less time travelling without any negative effect on their health and lower costs to the healthcare system. Dr. Perry Mayer – an expert in diabetic foot care – offers his perspective on the issue.
You’ve been given a diagnosis and told of a few treatment options. Now you have a tough choice to make and there’s too much at stake for “eenie, meanie, miny mo.” Patient decision aids are free, easy-to-use tools that can guide you through the process of making important decisions.
For years hormone therapy was the “go to” for relieving symptoms of menopause; it was also believed to protect against age-related diseases. Recent evidence sheds a clearer light on how hormone therapy impacts heart health.
Specialized, designated stroke centres help reduce death and disability due to stroke. However, in an emergency, is it worth bypassing closer local hospitals to take stroke victims to a designated centre?
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, finding out the best ways to diagnose the condition early may help people to access the best available treatments and support and maintain control and independence for as long as possible.
Lower urinary tract symptoms (problems urinating) could be caused by an obstruction. The usual procedure for detecting an obstruction is invasive and uncomfortable. Evidence shows a simpler method is just as accurate.
Depression is a common – but potentially serious – mood disorder that affects how you feel, think and behave. There are choices for treatment, including antidepressants and psychological therapy. Read the latest research about these options.
It isn’t something we tend to talk about, or even think about, until there’s a problem. Lower urinary tract symptoms are annoying at best and debilitating at worst. New research shows that combination drug treatment can offer improved long-term symptom relief for this common condition.
Many suffer from multiple chronic conditions and clinical practice guidelines may not consider the unique needs of older adults. An individualized approach that incorporates values and goals may be the best plan.
If you have 3 or more health conditions, ask your family doctor about better ways to coordinate your care with other health professionals, and how you might decrease important health risks or improve key functional activities.
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