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LifeCare's Health Information Library

Search our database of hundreds of health information articles. They are current, constantly updated, and authoritatively sourced!

International Health

The spread of a disease doesn't stop at a country's borders. With more people traveling to other countries and living in crowded cities, it's easier for germs to spread. Infectious diseases that start in one part of the world can quickly reach another. Resistance to medicines such as antbiotics is on the rise. This makes it harder to treat certain diseases. Natural and man-made disasters create refugee populations with immediate and long-term health problems.

Some of the major diseases currently affecting countries around the globe include HIV/AIDS, malaria, Zika, and tuberculosis. Climate change is also an international problem which can affect people's health. Many countries and health organizations are working together and sharing information on these and other health issues.

Prenatal Testing

Prenatal testing provides information about your baby's health before he or she is born. Some routine tests during pregnancy also check on your health. At your first prenatal visit, your health care provider will test for a number of things, including problems with your blood, signs of infections, and whether you are immune to rubella (German measles) and chickenpox.

Throughout your pregnancy, your health care provider may suggest a number of other tests, too. Some tests are suggested for all women, such as screenings for gestational diabetes, Down syndrome, and HIV. Other tests might be offered based on your:

  • Age
  • Personal or family health history
  • Ethnic background
  • Results of routine tests

Some tests are screening tests. They detect risks for or signs of possible health problems in you or your baby. Based on screening test results, your doctor might suggest diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests confirm or rule out health problems in you or your baby.

Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health

Calcium

You have more calcium in your body than any other mineral. Calcium has many important jobs. The body stores more than 99 percent of its calcium in the bones and teeth to help make and keep them strong. The rest is throughout the body in blood, muscle and the fluid between cells. Your body needs calcium to help muscles and blood vessels contract and expand, to secrete hormones and enzymes and to send messages through the nervous system.

It is important to get plenty of calcium in the foods you eat. Foods rich in calcium include

  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Leafy, green vegetables
  • Fish with soft bones that you eat, such as canned sardines and salmon
  • Calcium-enriched foods such as breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soy and rice drinks, and tofu. Check the product labels.

The exact amount of calcium you need depends on your age and other factors. Growing children and teenagers need more calcium than young adults. Older women need plenty of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. People who do not eat enough high-calcium foods should take a calcium supplement.

NIH: National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Uncommon Infant and Newborn Problems

It can be scary when your baby is sick, especially when it is not an everyday problem like a cold or a fever. You may not know whether the problem is serious or how to treat it. If you have concerns about your baby's health, call your health care provider right away.

Learning information about your baby's condition can help ease your worry. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your baby's care. By working together with your health care provider, you make sure that your baby gets the best care possible.

Obesity

Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height.

Obesity happens over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might affect your weight include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods, and not being physically active.

Obesity increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers. If you have obesity, losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases. For example, that means losing 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases