Think you might be struggling with depression? It’s not always easy to recognize, but identifying the symptoms is the first step toward getting the help you need. Depression is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In the United States alone, an estimated 21 million adults had at least one major bout of depression in 2020, representing about 8.4% of the adult population, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but some are more commonly experienced than others. Exploring the most common symptoms will help you know what to look for if you suspect that you or someone you know may be struggling with depression. What are symptoms of depression? Craig Sawchuk, a clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said “understanding the basics of depression can help you take the next step.” In a Mayo Clinic video, he noted: “Depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness that won’t go away … and people who experience depression can’t just snap out of it.” Depression can show up in many ways and can affect each person differently. But some common symptoms are associated with this condition. They can range from feeling persistently sad or hopeless to losing interest in activities you once enjoyed. Other symptoms may…  read on >  read on >

Receiving a diagnosis of asthma may be frightening, but learning what the treatment options are can help alleviate the anxiety that comes with diagnosis. Depending on the severity, certain asthma medications may help you manage your symptoms. Here, experts break down the most common long-term and quick-acting medications for asthma, how they work and potential side effects. Long-term medications These drugs are ones the patient takes daily as a means of controlling asthma and preventing asthma attacks. These can be in pill form or used as inhalers. Bronchodilators: Long-acting beta-2 agonists (LABA) relax the muscle bands around your airway (bronchi), making it easier to get air in and mucus out. These medications for asthma are taken twice a day through an inhaler and last up to 12 hours, according to the Cleveland Clinic. LABA medications should be given with a corticosteroid. (See combination medications below.) The main side effects of LABA medications are nervous or shaky feelings, hyperactivity, overexcitement, increased heart rate, upset stomach and trouble sleeping. Salmeterol (Serevent) Formoterol (Foradil) Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA) also relax the muscle bands around your airway, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says. This asthma medication is used if the steroid/LABA combination doesn’t give enough relief. Do not use this medication if you have glaucoma or are at risk of urinary retention. Tiotropium bromide (Respimat) Theophylline.…  read on >  read on >

Asthma can be a tough disease to control, but to control it you first need to know if you have it. A chronic condition, there are telltale symptoms that crop up when an asthma attack strikes and knowing what those are could help you avoid a life-threatening emergency. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma affects 7.8% of Americans. Asthma occurs when the airways become inflamed and narrow, which hinders airflow. More mucus is produced, which further blocks the air from moving in and out of the lungs. When something in the environment causes irritation, tiny muscles squeeze the airways, narrowing them even more. This is called an asthma attack, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While the effects of asthma vary from minor to severe, here are the most common symptoms of asthma. Shortness of breath One of the most common asthma symptoms, shortness of breath can be quite frightening, Mount Sinai says. When the airways narrow and more mucus is produced you have trouble pulling enough air in, as well as pushing it out. When this happens, you become short of breath, breathe faster and more shallowly, and use more muscles to get enough air in. This shortness of breath can come on suddenly, with exercise, or even when you are…  read on >  read on >

Maintaining a healthy weight may be important for reducing the risk of gastrointestinal cancer, a new study suggests. The research adds to the evidence that excess weight and weight increases in adulthood increase the risk for colon and other gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. “In a time when obesity rates are rising globally and 70% of the U.S. population alone is considered overweight or obese, understanding the association between obesity and long-term disease risk, such as cancer, is critical for improving public health,” said study lead author Holli Loomans-Kropp, a cancer control researcher and epidemiologist with the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Columbus. “Our study suggests that being overweight or obese during several phases of life can increase a person’s risk for gastrointestinal cancers in later adulthood,” she added in a university news release. A body mass index (BMI) that reached levels for obese or overweight in early, middle and late adulthood increased the risk of GI cancer. Frequent aspirin use did not change this increased risk in overweight and obese people. Obesity and overweight are linked to at least 13 types of cancer, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. For the new study, researchers evaluated previously collected data from more than 131,000 patients enrolled in the multicenter Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial between 1993 and 2001. Participants were aged 55…  read on >  read on >

Severely obese people may need more frequent COVID-19 booster shots to keep their immunity going, new research suggests. Protection from the shots declines more rapidly in those who are severely obese compared to those at a normal weight, according to scientists at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. “Because of the high prevalence of obesity across the globe, this poses a major challenge for health services,” study co-author Sadaf Farooqi said in a Cambridge news release. She is from the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at Cambridge. Past research has shown that COVID vaccination has been highly effective at reducing symptoms, hospitalization and death, including for people with obesity. Yet antibody levels may be lower in vaccinated obese people, potentially putting them at higher risk of severe disease and death, the researchers noted. To study this, a team from the University of Edinburgh, led by Aziz Sheikh, assessed data tracking the health of 3.5 million Scottish people as part of the EAVE II study. Specifically, they looked at hospitalization and death from COVID-19 in adults who received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine. (The AstraZeneca vaccine is not offered in the United States.) Those with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 — considered extreme obesity — had a 76% higher risk of severe…  read on >  read on >

An asthma attack can literally leave you gasping for breath, so having treatments that relax your airways is critical. Asthma strikes nearly 8% of Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so if you have asthma, you are not alone. A chronic condition, asthma occurs when the airways become inflamed and narrow, which hinders airflow. “The prevention of asthma as a condition is quite difficult. What you can prevent is the frequency and severity of attacks by the use of regular treatment,” Dr. John Costello, a pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic Healthcare in London, said in a recent article. Here, experts discuss the most common asthma treatments that physicians use when creating an individualized treatment plan. Non-medication treatments for asthma Your physician will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan. It is important to follow this plan diligently and check in with your physician regularly. Avoid triggers: Because asthma is triggered by many things in the environment, one of the most important treatments for asthma does not involve medication, but rather awareness of what those triggers are. It is important for you to keep a journal in which you record when you have an attack and what triggered it. By noticing what your individual triggers are, you are more prepared to avoid them in the future. According to the Allergy…  read on >  read on >

There’s a glimmer of good news when it comes to the mental health of America’s adolescents: Visits to U.S. emergency departments for psychiatric troubles declined among kids aged 12 to 17 by the fall of 2022, compared to a year prior. Overall, mean weekly adolescent emergency department (ED) visits for mental health conditions fell by 11% last fall, compared to higher levels in the fall of 2021, when the pandemic was still keeping many kids out of school and in lockdown at home. According to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, similar year-on-year declines were also seen for adolescent ED visits linked to thoughts of suicide (down 12%) and drug overdoses (down 10%). Why the improvement in teens’ mental health? “Many adolescents have returned to prepandemic-like school and community environments, which might have improved social engagement, reduced isolation and supported mental and behavioral health,” wrote a team led by CDC investigator Kayla Anderson. The researchers also believe that “familial stressors” might also have ebbed as kids were released from lockdowns and remote schooling. The report wasn’t all good news, however. Boys seem to be benefiting more than girls, the researchers noted, and ED visits for mental health conditions “remain similar to or higher than already concerningly high prepandemic baselines among females into 2022,” the team reported. There was also one…  read on >  read on >

People who use a Peloton exercise bike at home should check their model number immediately. A recall of 2 million bikes with the model number PL01 was issued Thursday. People should stop using them immediately because of fall and injury hazards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The new recall follows reports of seat posts that break and detach from the bike during use. Peloton has received 35 reports of this problem, including 13 involving injuries. The reported injuries include a fractured wrist, cuts and bruises from falling off the bike. Customers who have the recalled bike can contact Peloton for a free seat post and instructions on installing it. The PL01 model number is displayed on the bike’s inside front fork, near the flywheel. The recalled bikes were sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide and online at, and from January 2018 through May 2023. They retailed for about $1,400. For recall information, contact Peloton toll-free at 866-679-9129 from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. ET, seven days a week or online. For information on how to request the free seat post and installation instructions, visit and click “Product Recalls” at the bottom of the page. More information The U.S. National Library of Medicine has tips for avoiding exercise injuries. SOURCE: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, May 11, 2023  read on >

Poor sleep brought on by sleep apnea may ultimately undermine the brain health of older men and women, new research suggests. The concern stems from a new brain scan investigation that involved 140 sleep apnea patients. “Sleep apnea is a medical condition in which patients … stop breathing during sleep, which can affect their sleep quality by causing multiple arousals and dropping oxygen levels,” said lead study author Dr. Diego Carvalho. He is an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, Minn. Sleep apnea “has been associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cognitive impairment and dementia,” Carvalho said. And, he noted, it is known to “cause a range of harmful effects in the brain,” as blood pressure and heart rate rise, oxygen levels drop and sleep is disrupted. Importantly, sleep apnea can limit a person’s ability to get and maintain “deep sleep.” Deep sleep, which begins about an hour after falling asleep, is essential to the body’s ability to repair and regenerate tissue, bolster the immune system, and build bone and muscle, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Getting enough of it is, therefore, considered a key indicator of good quality shut-eye. With that in mind, Carvalho and his team set out to see whether the impact of sleep apnea on deep sleep…  read on >  read on >

Understanding what causes asthma can help you better manage its causes and triggers. Whether you, your child or another loved one has asthma, you can feel more in control by knowing your options for reducing asthma symptoms and managing its underlying causes. What is asthma? Asthma is a chronic condition that causes swelling and inflammation in the airway tissues. This leads to a narrowing of your airways, making it more difficult to breathe, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). About 1 in 13 people in the United States have asthma. It affects people who are seniors, low-income, Hispanic, Black and Native Americans more than other groups, and can start either in childhood or adulthood. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightening. Different people have different triggers for these symptoms. What are the causes of asthma? Figuring out what causes asthma can be tricky because there are several reasons why it develops. According to the American Lung Association (ALA) and the AAFA, the main causes of asthma include: Allergies Obesity Smoking Air pollution Health conditions Family history of asthma Here, you can learn about each cause, plus some ways to manage them so that asthma isn’t triggered as easily. Allergies Certain substances can cause you to develop allergic asthma. The AAFA says the most common include:…  read on >  read on >