Dana Sparks @danasparks

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3 hours ago by @danasparks · View  

In the Loop: ICU care doesn't stop at the bedside

the Fitzpatrick family celebrating outside hospital
Cyrus Fitzpatrick was going to be 5 soon. And his parents, Paul and Paula, wanted to celebrate. But party planning wouldn't be the same as in year's past. That's because Paul was in the intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus and wouldn't be able to make it home for a party.

Paula asked the care team if it would be possible to bring Cyrus's party to Paul, perhaps by bringing a cake into his room. Paul's team thought the occasion called for something bigger. So with the family's approval, the team went into party-planning mode. The result: a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed celebration, complete with cupcakes, decorations, gifts and even a DJ. Among the guests were many of Paul's caregivers, some of whom came to the hospital on their day off to be there.

"They did so much for us," Paula says in a voice thick with emotion. "Cyrus was excited. And Paul loved that he got to participate." Read the rest of their story.
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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1 day ago by @danasparks · View  

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Brothers bond over kidney disease and transplant

the Berry brothers standing together by the Mayo Clinic sign

Scott Berry is one of five children. But he and his youngest sibling, David, share a very unique bond — a kidney, to be exact. On April 12, 2016, David gave his older brother a second chance at life by donating one of his kidneys to Scott for a transplant.

A challenging diagnosis

Fifteen years ago, when Scott moved to Florida, he was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the kidneys that affects the kidney’s ability to filter waste, excess water and electrolytes from the blood.

“IgA nephropathy is the most common form of glomerular disease in the world. It essentially is damage caused by abnormal immunoglobulin A in the kidneys’ filtering units, called glomeruli,” explains Martin Mai, M.D., a nephrologist and chair of the Division of Transplant Medicine at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus.

Although Scott didn’t have any major symptoms, the Fleming Island, Florida, resident experienced extreme fatigue on a regular basis. He saw his local nephrologist every six weeks and was given heavy doses ofprednisone. But over time, the disease progressed, and Scott was close to kidney failure.

Read the rest of the Berry brother's story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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3 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Home Remedies: What to do about bad breath

a couple sitting at a table and woman covering her mouth because of bad breath

There are many causes of bad breath, also called halitosis. Your mouth may be the source. The  breakdown of food particles and other debris by bacteria in and around your teeth can cause a foul odor.  If your mouth becomes dry, such as during sleep or after smoking, dead cells can accumulate and decompose on your tongue, gums and cheeks, causing odor. Eating foods containing oils with strong odor such as onions and garlic, can lead to bad breath. Foul-smelling breath also may be a symptom of illness, such as lung disease, diabetes or liver failure.

To reduce or prevent bad breath:

  • Brush your teeth after you eat. Keep a toothbrush at work to use after eating. Brush using a fluoride-containing toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals. Toothpaste with antibacterial properties has been shown to reduce bad breath odors.
  • Floss at least once a day. Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth, helping to control bad breath.
  • Brush your tongue. Your tongue harbors bacteria, so carefully brushing it may reduce odors. People who have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper. Or use a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner.

medial illustration of mouth and tongue for bad breath or halitosis

  • Clean dentures or dental appliances. If you wear a bridge or a denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist. If you have a dental retainer or mouth-guard, clean it each time before you put it in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend the best cleaning product.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dry mouth. To keep your mouth moist, avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water — not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol, which can lead to a drier mouth. Chew gum or suck on candy (preferably sugarless) to stimulate saliva. For chronic dry mouth, your dentist or physician may prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.
  • Adjust your diet. Avoid foods such as onions and garlic that can cause bad breath. Eating a lot of sugary foods also is linked with bad breath.
  • Regularly get a new toothbrush. Change your toothbrush when it becomes frayed — about every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups. See your dentist regularly — generally twice a year — to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.
  • Chew fresh parsley. Chewing parsley may improve bad breath temporarily.

Read more about self-management for bad breath.


The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides answers you need to take care of common health problems on your own. This reference covers 120 of today’s common health problems in an easy-to-follow A-to-Z format. Learn what you can do for yourself and when to seek medical attention. 

book cover of Home Remedies

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4 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Making Mayo's Recipes: Smoked Gouda vegetable risotto

Smoked gouda, crimini mushrooms and sweet grape tomatoes are a winning combination in this brown rice risotto. Change this risotto with the seasons. In summer, try asparagus and zucchini. In fall, butternut squash and peppers.

Each Thursday one of the 100+ tasty video recipes from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program is featured on the Mayo Clinic News Network, just in time for you to try at the weekend. You can also have the recipes delivered via the Mayo Clinic App.

Watch: Smoked Gouda vegetable risotto.

Journalists: The broadcast-quality video (1:42) is in the downloads.

Created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Find more recipes and other healthy-living insights on the Mayo Clinic App.


  1. 2 cups cooked brown sushi rice
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  3. 1 cup chopped onions
  4. 1 cup chopped carrots
  5. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  6. 1 cup white wine, Chablis or chardonnay
  7. 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  8. 3 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
  9. 3 cups cherry or sweet grape tomatoes, sliced
  10. 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  11. 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  12. 1/4 cup half-and-half
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  14. Pinch of ground black pepper


Cook brown rice according to package instructions. Set aside.

Heat a large saute pan to medium heat. Add olive oil. When oil becomes hot, add onions, carrots and garlic. Saute until vegetables are soft. Add cooked brown rice. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup white wine, stirring continuously. Once the liquid is absorbed by the rice, add 1/2 cup chicken stock. Continue to stir. Continue this process until all the liquid has been used and absorbed. (Once all the wine has been added, continue with chicken stock. Be careful not to turn on high heat, or you will create more evaporation than absorption.) Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, thyme and cheese. Stir until cheese is well-incorporated. Add half-and-half, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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5 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Something to Think About: Four flavors of honesty

different colored scoops of ice cream

Dr. Amit Sood says, "Be extraordinarily grateful today if you don’t have to be dishonest for bare survival."

Dear friend,

Honesty means speaking and living by the truth. With respect to honesty, people come in four different flavors. Some are habitually dishonest. Others choose to be honest as long as it serves their purpose. Still others are, barring extreme situations, committed to honesty, no matter whether it hurts or harms them. The fourth type of honesty is dumb or cruel honesty. If you know that your honesty is likely to start World War III or cause suffering for millions, then it might be best to keep your mouth shut.

The world is tired of habitual dishonesty. It doesn’t need dumb or cruel honesty either. Fortunately, both of these are rare. Most of us fit into the second or the third pattern, where we are honest as long as it serves our purpose or remain committed to honesty barring extreme situations.

Quite often, we shift between the second and third types depending on life’s happenings and the influence of role models. Consider yourself lucky today if you aren’t forced into dishonest thoughts, words, or actions. For example, imagine your child is crying from intense hunger and you can only get food by lying to someone. What would you do? Most likely you’d lie, wouldn’t you? I certainly would.

I have judged others for their dishonesty, not knowing their constraints. I shouldn’t judge that way. I should recognize that I can be honest today only because I am not challenged so. If I were placed in their precarious situation, I would likely slip. The intention, however, varies, and beyond a limit, it gets subjective. In the above example, if my two kids were crying from hunger and I hoarded food for twenty children just to be safe, despite knowing that the supplies were limited, then I am being dishonest.

Every twenty-four-karat-gold ornament is impure, because pure gold is too soft to become an ornament. So are we. The worthwhile impurity within us is that of altruistic dishonesty. When you are willing to let go of personal salvation for the larger good by not speaking a brutally honest and harmful truth, you are doing the righteous thing. Dishonesty, however, needs very careful judgment and utter selflessness.

Every day my circumstances do not force me to be dishonest is a day to be deeply grateful. I should not judge others if I find them dishonest until I know the details of what prompted them to act. I should also not gloat about my honesty. My honesty is a privilege, and I am deeply grateful for it.

May you never run into a situation where you are forced to be dishonest; may you not prematurely judge those you find dishonest.

Take care.
Dr. Sood 2

Read , Four flavors of honesty and previous blog posts.

Also, follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.
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5 days ago by @danasparks · View  

Infographic: Blood cancer awareness


Learn more about blood cancers.
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Tue, Sep 20 at 2:45pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

What do you know about the Listeria recall?

a plate of breakfast waffles

Check your freezer. The Kellogg Company has issued a voluntary recall for approximately 10,000 cases of Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles because of listeria concerns.

Recalled product was distributed to customers and retailers in 25 states (CO, CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA, VT, WI, WY). The affected product is:

Description: Kellogg's ® Eggo® Nutri-Grain® Whole Wheat Waffles
UPC Code: 38000 40370
Size: 12.3 oz (10 ct)
Better If Used Before Date: NOV21 17 and NOV22 17

A listeria infection usually doesn’t cause illness in healthy people. However, it can be fatal to unborn babies and newborns. Symptoms may begin a few days after you've eaten contaminated food, but it may take as long as two months before the first signs and symptoms of infection begin.

If you develop a listeria infection, you may experience:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Treatment of listeria infection varies, depending on the severity of the signs and symptoms. Most people with mild symptoms require no treatment. More serious infections can be treated with antibiotics.

More from Mayo Clinic about listeria.
More from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Tue, Sep 20 at 2:00pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Discovery's Edge: The rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease connection

a medical illustration for rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease graphic on Discovery's Edge

Physicians have long known that people with rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic conditions such as lupus are more likely to die at younger ages than are those without these conditions. Even with advances in treatment, the gap in life expectancy remains.

No one knew why until 15 years ago. That’s when researchers at Mayo Clinic helped establish that people with rheumatoid arthritis have a greater chance of developing various types of cardiovascular disease.

“We now know that rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an increased risk of heart and vascular disease,” says senior researcher Sherine E. Gabriel, M.D., a rheumatologist and epidemiologist previously in the Department of Health Sciences Research at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota. “What is less understood is why people with rheumatoid arthritis develop that increased risk.”

The evidence increasingly points to inflammation as a major contributor to that increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the synovium — the lining of the membranes around the joints. The resulting inflammation thickens the synovium, which can, in turn, eventually destroy cartilage and bone in the joint.

Inflammation can also cause the inner linings of arteries to swell. This narrows the arteries, raises blood pressure, and reduces blood flow to the heart and other organs.
Read the rest of the article on Discovery's Edge.

Find more research news on Discovery's Edge.

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Mon, Sep 19 at 5:34pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Don't give children codeine for a cough

a little girl looking sick and sad with adult trying to give her cough medicine

There are health risks for children who are given codeine for coughs or pain.

Dr. Randall Flick, director of Mayo Clinic Children's Center, says, "Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened an advisory panel to consider the use of codeine specifically for suppression of cough and found little evidence of benefit." The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees in a clinical report published in the September 2016 issue of Pediatrics.

Dr. Flick, who was a member of the FDA panel, adds, "The report went significantly farther and recommended that labeling of codeine use be eliminated for all indications and that codeine be removed from the list of medications for over the counter use. Over the past few years, several deaths have been associated with the use of codeine in children, typically, but not always, after tonsillectomy. In order to provide pain relief, codeine must be converted by the body into morphine," Dr. Flick continues,

"Depending on genetics, some people convert none of the codeine dose to morphine, while others convert a large amount very rapidly. As a consequence, some children receive no benefit and continue to have unrelieved pain. Perhaps more importantly, those that convert a large amount of codeine to morphine, called ultra-rapid metabolizers, are placed at risk for overdose, despite having received the recommended dose."

According to Dr. Flick, alternative pain medications include other opioids that do not share the same genetically based problems as codeine and non-opioid pain medicines such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or other similar medicines. "The issue of codeine use in children must also be part of any conversation regarding the use of opioids ... because, despite warnings, it remains among the most prescribed opioids for children."

Dr. Flick concludes with this reminder: "Parents should avoid using over-the-counter, codeine-containing products such as cough medicines. They should discuss alternatives with their doctor when prescribed codeine for pain or cough."

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Sun, Sep 18 at 7:05am EDT by @danasparks · View  

Sharing Mayo Clinic: 'We want Evie to reach her potential'


The night before 8-year-old Evie McLeish’s brain surgery, her Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon David Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., told her parents, "I don’t want you to think of this as the end. This is just the beginning of a marathon."

The procedure was the start of Evie’s long-term care plan for treatment of a brain tumor. Along with the brain surgery, that plan included chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Due to her age and the location of her tumor, though, her doctors recommended Evie receive proton beam therapy instead of conventional radiation therapy.

The timing was right. Mayo Clinic had just begun a new Proton Beam Therapy Program at its Rochester, Minnesota, campus. And not only was this unique treatment readily available to Evie, it was relatively close to her family’s home in Ankeny, Iowa, just a three-hour drive away.

"We were dealt a big blow with Evie’s tumor," says her mother, Ali McLeish. "But there have been silver linings in this whole thing, including that we could get proton beam therapy without having to travel across the country."

Read the rest of Evie's story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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Fri, Sep 16 at 4:00pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Home Remedies: Taking care of airplane ear

people sitting in their seats on a crowded airplane

It's worse for some more than others. That annoying and sometimes painful blockage in your ears when taking off or landing in an airplane. The medical name for airplane ear is ear barotrauma or barotitis media. It's when air pressure in your middle ear and air pressure in the environment are out of balance. Signs and symptoms may include pain in one ear, slight hearing loss or a stuffy feeling in both ears. This is caused by your eardrum bulging outward or retracting inward as a result of the change in pressure.


To prevent or reduce airplane ear:

  • Use a decongestant. Take a decongestant about 30 minutes to an hour before takeoff and 30 minutes to an hour before landing. This may prevent blockage of your Eustachian tube. If you have heart disease, a heart rhythm disorder or high blood pressure, or if you've experienced possible medication interactions, avoid taking an oral decongestant unless your doctor approves.
  • During the flight, suck candy or chew gum. This encourages swallowing, which helps open your Eustachian tube.
  • Don't sleep during ascents and descents If you're awake during ascents and descents, you can do the necessary self-care techniques.
  • Give infants and children fluid Drinking fluids during ascents and descents encourages swallowing. Do not sue decongestants in infants or young children.
  • Try the Valsalva maneuver to unplug your ears.  Gently blow, as if blowing your nose, while pinching your nostrils and keeping your mouth closed. Repeat several times, especially during descents, to equalize the pressure between your ears and the airplane cabin.
  • Look for specially designed filtered earplugs. These earplugs slowly equalize the pressure against your eardrum during ascents and descents.

Read more about self-management for airplane ear.

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides answers you need to take care of common health problems on your own. This reference covers 120 of today’s common health problems in an easy-to-follow A-to-Z format. Learn what you can do for yourself and when to seek medical attention. 


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Thu, Sep 15 at 5:00pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Making Mayo's Recipes: Grilled Salmon

fillet of salmon with cooked vegetables

Grill lemons, cut-side down, alongside salmon resulting in a sweeter, concentrated flavor and a fun presentation. Worried about overcooking fish? This video shows a simple technique for perfectly grilled salmon.

Each Thursday one of the 100+ tasty video recipes from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program is featured on the Mayo Clinic News Network, just in time for you to try at the weekend. You can also have the recipes delivered via the Mayo Clinic App.

Watch: Grilled Salmon.

Journalists: The broadcast-quality video (1:14) is in the downloads.

Created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Find more recipes and other healthy-living insights on the Mayo Clinic App.


  1. 2 fillets (4 ounces each) salmon
  2. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Heat a grill or cast-iron skillet to medium heat. Spray cooking spray on the cooking surface and on one side of the salmon fillets. Season the sprayed side of the fillets with salt and pepper. Lay the fillets, seasoned-side down, on the cooking surface and cook for about 3 minutes. Turn the fillets 90 degrees and cook for another 3 minutes.

Spray the top of the fillets with cooking spray and flip them over. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn 90 degrees, and cook for another 3 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

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Thu, Sep 15 at 3:00pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Something to Think About: Truth and Temptations

a businessman holding justice, weight scales in his handsDr. Amit Sood says, "Your version of truth is colored by your mind’s ignorance and the unfulfilled desires that create biases."

Dear friend,

Truth is sacred; it transcends time and isn’t limited by epochs or paradigms. Wisdom comes in knowing, internalizing, and living by the truth. The perception of the truth, however, varies depending on one’s state of mind and present motives. The ultimate truth for squirrels might lie in knowing the facts that lead them to the nuts; for dogs, truth is in the smells, and for an eagle, in discovering the slightest change in patterns that can take her to the prey. Truth, when looked at with limited lenses, becomes limited.

When I am hungry, because of biological hunger or from pure temptations, my version of truth is limited. An old expression I heard says that for a very hungry person, two plus two isn’t four—it is four pieces of bread. A hungry person searches for food in the world. In other words, I see the truth colored by my biases.

Biases are preconceived beliefs based on incomplete information. They are often guided by personal preference. Every aspect of life where individual opinions come into play, be it science, politics, economics, marketing, or sports, has biases.

Biases do not always reflect dishonesty or intentional wrongdoing. They reflect our four core inabilities—the inability of the human mind to integrate all the important variables, the inability to allocate appropriate weight to the considered variables, the inability to recognize personal limitations, and the inability to separate personal beliefs from personal preferences. Thousands of biases have been described in multiple disciplines. Racism, sexism, and classism are three classical biases that play out in society.

A crucial step to start seeing the truth is to remove personal preferences. Recognize that personal preferences aren’t easy to remove, because while my biological desires are few, the temptations of my mind are unquenchable. Unless I put a lid on my mind, the truth I see will be limited.

The next important step is to recognize my own limitations. I must accept that my mind might never be completely free of temptations, and hence I may never be able to see the complete truth bereft of any bias. Further, my brain has limited working memory (the equivalent of a computer’s RAM), and that limits my ability to perceive the full depth and breadth in any experience. I should try to free myself of my predispositions and be willing to listen and learn. That is my only hope to get closer to the reality.

As I work on myself, I hope the truth also finds me worthy and seeks me, for my days are finite and progress slower than desired.

May you seek the truth; may the truth seek you.

Take care.

Dr. Sood 2

Read Truth and Temptationsand previous blog posts.

Also, follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.
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Wed, Sep 14 at 5:37pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Infographic: What is the Pharmacogenomics Program?

medical illustration infographic describing the pharmocogenomics program


Learn more about pharmacogenomics.
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Tue, Sep 13 at 4:02pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Discovery's Edge: The art of science

art of science kidney stones

They’re not diamonds, but they are stones – kidney stone crystals – that are viewed microscopically and enhanced by polarized light. The wafer of stone shown here is only nanometers thick and was previously inaccessible with visible light microscopes.

The photo is by Mayandi Sivaguru and Bruce W. Fouke, and taken as part of a collaborative of the Mayo Clinic – University of Illinois Alliance for Technology-based Health Care research project on kidney stones. Image was collected on a Zeiss Inverted Apothem Microscope at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Find more research news on Discovery's Edge.

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Tue, Sep 13 at 1:00pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

In the Loop: Singing Social Worker Brings a Smile to Patient

singingsocialworker805Marci Kyle is not a singer. Or a songwriter. So she isn't sure what inspired her to tell one of her patients, Lester Healy, that she'd sing for him at his last chemotherapy appointment. "His wife told me, 'I'm going to hold you to that,'" Marci, a social worker in the Hematology/Oncology Department at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona, tells us. So she went back to her office with one question on her mind: "What am I going to do?"

After some head scratching (and internet searching), Marci came up with a plan. She decided to tweak the lyrics to the "Banana Boat Song"  — better known as "Day-O." Or, in Marci's version, "May-O." And on the day of Lester's last appointment, she was ready to serenade him with lines like, "The chemo is done and you want to go home." The rest of Marci and Lester's story.

This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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Mon, Sep 12 at 1:38pm EDT by @danasparks · View  

Dehydration can lead to serious complications

a middle-aged woman drinking a glass of water to stay hydratedDehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don't replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.

Common causes of dehydration include vigorous exercise, especially in hot weather; intense diarrhea; vomiting; fever or excessive sweating. Not drinking enough water during exercise or in hot weather even if you're not exercising also may cause dehydration. Anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk.

You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment. The safest approach is preventing dehydration in the first place. Keep an eye on how much fluid you lose during hot weather, illness or exercise, and drink enough liquids to replace what you've lost.


  • Heat injury If you don't drink enough fluids when you're exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
  • Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema) Sometimes, when you're getting fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. The consequences are especially grave when brain cells are affected.
  • Seizures Electrolytes — such as potassium and sodium — help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness.
  • Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock) This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
  • Kidney failure This potentially life-threatening problem occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood.
  • Coma and death When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.

Read about symptomscauses, treatments and more.

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Mon, Sep 12 at 9:49am EDT by @danasparks · View  

What do you know about pneumonia?

a sick man with cold or flu lying on sofa checking his temperature for a feverPneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.


Many germs can cause pneumonia. The most common are bacteria and viruses in the air you breathe. Your body usually prevents these germs from infecting your lungs. But, sometimes, these germs can overpower your immune system — even if your health is generally good.

Pneumonia is classified according to the types of germs that cause it and where you got the infection.

Community-acquired pneumonia

Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. It occurs outside of hospitals or other health care facilities. It may be caused by:

  • Bacteria The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in the U.S. is Streptococcus pneumoniae. This type of pneumonia can occur on its own or after you've had a cold or the flu. It may affect one part (lobe) of the lung, a condition called lobar pneumonia.
  • Bacteria-like organisms Mycoplasma pneumoniae also can cause pneumonia. It typically produces milder symptoms than do other types of pneumonia. Walking pneumonia is an informal name given to this type of pneumonia, which typically isn't severe enough to require bed rest.
  • Fungi This type of pneumonia is most common in people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems, and in people who have inhaled large doses of the organisms. The fungi that cause it can be found in soil or bird droppings, and vary depending on geographic location.
  • Viruses Some of the viruses that cause colds and the flu can cause pneumonia. Viruses are the most common cause of pneumonia in children younger than 5. Viral pneumonia is usually mild. But, in some cases, it can become serious.

a medical illustration of a person coughing and battling inflamed air sacs because of pneumonia


Treatment for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing complications. People who have community-acquired pneumonia usually can be treated at home with medication. Although most symptoms ease in a few days or weeks, the feeling of tiredness can persist for a month or more.

Specific treatments depend on the type and severity of your pneumonia, your age and your overall health. The options include:

  • Antibiotics These medicines are used to treat bacterial pneumonia. It may take time to identify the type of bacteria causing your pneumonia and choose the best antibiotic to treat it. If your symptoms don't improve, your doctor may recommend a different antibiotic.
  • Cough medicine This medicine may be used to calm your cough so that you can rest. Because coughing helps loosen and move fluid from your lungs, it's a good idea not to eliminate your cough completely. In addition, you should know that few studies have looked at whether over-the-counter cough medicines lessen coughing caused by pneumonia. If you want to try a cough suppressant, use the lowest dose that helps you rest.
  • Fever reducers/pain relievers You can take fever reducers/pain relievers as needed, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB and others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol and others).
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Sun, Sep 11 at 9:45am EDT by @danasparks · View  

Once a 9-11 firefighter, now Mayo Clinic physician

night skyline of New York City with two beams of light for 9-11 remembranceThe horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001 produced thousands of stories of tragedy and despair. Yet out of the wreckage also came stories of triumph, compassion and hope. The fireman you’re about to meet saw firsthand the destruction and loss of life at ground zero. At the time he was also a medical student, and the experience continues to shape his career in pulmonary and critical  care medicine today. (This News Network report with Dr. Richard Oeckler previously aired Sept. 11, 2011.)

Watch: Once a 9-11 Firefighter, Now a Mayo Clinic Physician:

Journalists: The video report [TRT 4:25] is in the downloads. News Network pkgs. can be edited into vo/sots and incorporated in your reporting.

Below: Interior of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City July 2016
JULY 2016: Interior of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City

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Sun, Sep 11 at 8:45am EDT by @danasparks · View  

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Pastry chef is ready for sweet smell of life

patient Jessie Brenholt smiling after treatment for a pituitary tumorJessie Brenholt is a certified pastry chef who would like to open a bakery one day. “If the ingredients were free, I’d give out cakes to everyone,” she says.

For a while, the 23-year-old's dream seemed to be in jeopardy. After months of being sick with weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and vision problems, Jessie found that the source of her symptoms was a tumor on her pituitary gland — a small gland located at the base of the brain that makes a variety of hormones.

A neurosurgeon near her hometown of Hill City, Minnesota, found that the walnut-sized tumor was wrapped around Jessie’s optic nerve and located close to a carotid artery. Treatment to get rid of it could affect Jessie’s sense of smell and vision. Due to the complexity of the situation, the surgeon referred Jessie to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus.

“A pastry chef needs to be able to smell and see,” says Jessie. “My doctors at Mayo Clinic understood my concerns and have been great about preserving my quality of life with surgery and proton beam therapy.” Read the rest of Jessie's story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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