Medical News Today: Does teething cause a baby to vomit?

Teething is a natural process that every infant goes through. It can be an uncomfortable experience, and it can be concerning for parents and caregivers to see the infant experiencing pain and discomfort.

The symptoms of teething vary from one infant to another. Some babies do not have any symptoms at all when their teeth come in. Others may become mildly irritable, begin to drool, lose their appetite, or cry more than usual. In some cases, vomiting and fever can accompany teething.

Many people believe that vomiting while teething is normal. However, most experts now agree that teething does not cause generalized symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, rash, and diarrhea.

The caregivers of infants who experience vomiting when teething should visit a doctor or pediatrician to determine the underlying cause of this symptom.

What is teething?

Teething and vomiting
Teething typically takes place between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

Teething occurs when an infant’s teeth first begin to break through the gums. This typically takes place between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

The two front teeth on the lower jaw usually appear first, with the other front teeth following. Molars are next to break through in most cases, with the canines arriving last.

By the age of 3 years, children usually have their full set of 20 baby teeth.

As it takes place over such a broad timespan, parents and caregivers often attribute many symptoms to teething. However, it is more likely that another condition, such as an infection, is causing these additional symptoms.

It can be helpful to understand which symptoms are normal and which are not when it comes to teething.

Typical symptoms of teething include:

  • chewing on objects
  • crying more than usual
  • mild difficulty sleeping
  • drooling more than usual
  • fussiness
  • loss of appetite
  • red, sore, tender, or swollen gums
  • a slight rise in body temperature (not over 101°F)

Research suggests that the symptoms of teething peak as the front teeth appear, which tends to occur between 6 and 16 months of age. As children get older, they are likely to experience fewer and milder symptoms when new teeth come through.

Teething does not typically cause the following symptoms:

  • congestion
  • a cough
  • diarrhea
  • high fever
  • increased number of stools
  • rash
  • refusal of liquids
  • vomiting

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Why might vomiting happen during teething?

Teething and vomiting ear infection
A bacterial or viral infection is often the cause of vomiting.

Vomiting can occur at the same time as symptoms of teething.

Parents and caregivers often attribute vomiting to the teething, but the symptoms are not usually related.

An analysis of research from eight countries reports that teething may make infants feel uncomfortable, but it is unlikely to make them vomit. By assuming that teething causes vomiting or fever, doctors or caregivers may be overlooking the real cause of the sickness.

A paper published in Pediatrics in Review emphasizes that an infant will be teething at the same point in their life that they begin to get exposure to many childhood illnesses. Also, the passive immunity that the mother passed on to them in the womb decreases at this time.

As a result, it is likely that vomiting during this time is due to a bacterial or viral infection. Several illnesses may cause an infant to vomit, including:

  • common cold or flu
  • ear infection
  • gastroenteritis or another stomach infection
  • urine infection

Sometimes, a food allergy or intolerance may cause vomiting. A doctor can help diagnose food sensitivities so that children can begin to avoid any foods that make them unwell.

Vomiting is not usually a cause for concern, and this symptom will generally pass quickly. However, people can aid recovery by:

  • keeping the child hydrated
  • letting them rest
  • resuming their typical diet once 12–24 hours have passed since they last vomited

It is essential to call a doctor if any of the following symptoms accompany vomiting:

  • fever
  • a persistent rash
  • refusal of liquids
  • severe irritability
  • shortness of breath
  • signs of dehydration, including dry mouth, lack of tears, and fewer wet nappies than usual
  • sleeping more than usual
  • a swollen stomach

People should also take a child to see the doctor if vomiting persists for more than 12 hours or if the child is vomiting with great force.

Managing the symptoms of teething

Teething and vomiting wiping drool
Using a clean cloth to remove excess drool from the chin may reduce skin irritation.

If an infant is experiencing the typical symptoms of teething, it is possible to treat them at home. Treatments include:

  • Drying off drool: Excessive drool can cause skin irritation. Use a clean cloth to remove excess drool from the chin and mouth area gently. Applying a fragrance-free cream or ointment may also soothe irritated skin.
  • Massage: Gently rub the gums with a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to alleviate pain, discomfort, and tenderness.
  • Cool temperatures: Apply a cold compress, chilled spoon, or teething ring to the gums. Never give an infant a frozen teething ring as this may cause more harm than good.
  • Hard foods: Infants who are on solid foods may get relief from chewing on a piece of chilled cucumber or carrot. Monitor them carefully while they are eating as small pieces of food are a choking hazard.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medication: Children who are particularly irritable may benefit from an OTC pain reliever. Options include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin). Do not use pain relievers for more than a day or two without a doctor’s advice.

It is advisable to avoid using topical pain relievers as these wash off the gums too quickly. Also steer clear of products containing belladonna, lidocaine, or benzocaine. These products can be harmful if the child swallows them.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not recommend any drugs, herbs, or homeopathic medications for teething due to their potential side effects.

If a child does have one of these products, seek immediate medical care if they experience:

  • agitation
  • breathing difficulties
  • constipation
  • difficulty urinating
  • excessive fatigue
  • lethargy
  • muscle weakness
  • seizures

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Takeaway and when to see a doctor

Parents and caregivers can usually treat teething at home using simple remedies, such as cold compresses and massage. A dentist, doctor, or pediatrician can provide further advice on how to alleviate symptoms.

It is vital to visit a doctor if the child has a high fever, is particularly distressed, or displays other symptoms that are not typical of teething.

It is also important to seek medical attention for vomiting that persists for more than 12 hours or is particularly forceful. In these cases, there is likely to be another underlying cause, such as an infection or food allergy.

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Medical News Today: Dementia: 10-year risk estimates may inform prevention

A large study provides 10-year absolute estimates for dementia risk. The scientists hope that by identifying people at high risk, specialists might be able to put in place early strategies for prevention.
dementia written on scrap of paper
What places a person at high risk of dementia?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every 3 seconds a new case of dementia is diagnosed.

It is characterized by cognitive impairment, such as having trouble recalling memories, solving problems, and reasoning logically.

Some of the main dementia risk factors include aging, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Recent studies have also found that biological sex and a particular variation in the APOE gene — the e4 allele — both affect a person’s overall risk.

The APOE gene encodes apolipoprotein E, a protein that plays a vital role in regulating cholesterol levels, and which may also be key in reducing the levels of the protein beta-amyloid, which can form toxic plaques in the brain.

A team at the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark believes that if we can identify people at the highest risk for dementia early on and understand what places them at such a high risk, we may also be able to implement appropriate preventive measures.

The researchers conducted a large population study in order to calculate the 10-year absolute risk estimates for dementia based on age, sex, and the existence of the e4 allele of the APOE gene.

Study co-author Prof. Ruth Frikke-Schmidt and colleagues published their results in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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The three factors that determine high risk

The researchers analyzed the medical data of 104,537 people from Copenhagen in Denmark. They obtained this information through the Copenhagen General Population Study (conducted in 2003–2014) and the Copenhagen City Heart Study (1991–1994 and 2001–2003).

“Recently,” explains Prof. Frikke-Schmidt, “it was estimated that one third of dementia [cases] most likely can be prevented. According to the Lancet Commission, early intervention for hypertension, smoking, diabetes, obesity, depression, and hearing loss may slow or prevent disease development.”

“If those individuals at highest risk can be identified,” she goes on, “a targeted prevention with risk-factor reduction can be initiated early before disease has developed, thus delaying onset of dementia or preventing it.”

Following their analysis, Prof. Frikke-Schmidt and her colleagues revealed that a combination of three factors — biological sex, advancing age, and the APOE gene variation — appear to mark groups that are at high risk of developing dementia.

In terms of age and sex, the scientists determined a 7 percent risk for women in their 60s and a 6 percent risk for men at the same age, while women in their 70s have a 16 percent risk and men experience a 12 percent risk at that point.

When people reach age 80 or older, risk increases even more for both women and men, arriving at 24 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

In their paper, the researchers conclude that:

The present absolute 10-year risk estimates of dementia by age, sex, and common variation in the APOE gene have the potential to identify high-risk individuals for early targeted preventive interventions.”

However, they also warn that the estimates provided in the recent study are only for individuals of white European descent and therefore may not apply to other populations.

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Medical News Today: Common painkiller poses risk to heart health

One of the most widely used painkillers may pose a threat to cardiovascular health. This is the main takeaway of new research, recently published in The BMJ.
Common painkillers may hide major risks, says a new study.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used to alleviate pain.

In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 30 million people in the United States take NSAIDs each year.

While NSAIDs are commonly recommended to treat inflammatory conditions, headaches, and fever, the drugs are thought to have some cardiovascular risks.

However, due to ethical concerns, these risks cannot be evaluated in clinical trials.

The European Society of Cardiology therefore carried out an extensive review of existing research that concluded that nonaspirin NSAIDs should not be prescribed to individuals at high risk of heart disease, nor should they be sold over the counter without issuing an “appropriate warning of their frequent cardiovascular complications.”

Now, a new study focuses on one NSAID in particular: diclofenac. Scientists led by Morten Schmidt, at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, set out to investigate the cardiovascular risks of taking this common painkiller, which some rank as “the most widely used […] NSAID in the world.

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Cardiovascular risk 50 percent higher

Schmidt and team examined 252 national studies for information on over 6.3 million Danish people over a period of 20 years in 1996–2016. On average, the participants were aged 46–56.

During the study period, the researchers examined the cardiovascular risks of taking up diclofenac and compared them with the risks of starting paracetamol, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

After accounting for potentially confounding factors, the researchers found that within 30 days of taking up diclofenac, the rate of major cardiovascular problems — such as arrhythmia, ischemic stroke, heart failure, and heart attack — was much higher compared with other NSAIDs.

Specifically, the risk of such adverse cardiovascular events was 50 percent higher among those who started taking diclofenac, compared with those who did not take it. Compared with taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, taking diclofenac raised cardiovascular risk by 20 percent.

Additionally, write the authors, “Diclofenac initiation […] increased the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding […] by approximately 4.5-fold compared with no initiation [and] 2.5-fold compared with initiation of ibuprofen or paracetamol.”

The cardiovascular threat also increased with the risk at baseline. In other words, the higher the risk of heart problems when the patients started taking the drug, the higher the risk of actually developing heart problems over the course of the treatment.

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“Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” explain the authors.

Although the study is observational, they say — which means that no conclusions can be drawn about causality — the large sample size and the quality of the research is sufficiently “strong evidence to guide clinical decision-making.”

“Treatment of pain and inflammation with NSAIDs,” explain the authors, “may be worthwhile for some patients to improve quality of life despite potential side effects.”

Considering its cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks, however, there is little justification to initiate diclofenac treatment before other traditional NSAIDs.”

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Medical News Today: What are the best positions for breastfeeding?

Although it is a natural activity, breastfeeding is also a skill that takes time to learn. It tends to get easier with practice, as both a woman and baby master the breastfeeding strategies that work for them.

The best breastfeeding positions enable a baby to latch on to the breast well and comfortably, do not strain the muscles, and reduce the risk of nipple injuries and pain.

The best breastfeeding position can also change as a baby grows and a woman gains confidence. No single position works for everyone.

Instead, try out a variety of positions to find the ones that work well in different situations.

Best breastfeeding positions

While not every woman will find the same positions comfortable or effective, some of the best breastfeeding positions include:

1. Cradle hold

Cradle hold<!--mce:protected %0A--><br>Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010</br>
Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010

The cradle hold is the classic breastfeeding position. In this position, the baby feeds with its stomach against the woman’s body.

To do the cradle hold:

  • Hold the baby with its stomach against your body.
  • Support the baby with the arm that is on the same side as the breast from which the baby is nursing.
  • Keep the baby’s head in line with the rest of their body to avoid straining their neck.
  • Try using a nursing pillow or an armrest to support your elbow to make this hold more comfortable.

However, some women find this position difficult to master with a newborn. Also, as babies grow, they may become too large to support in this position.

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2. Cross-cradle hold

Cross-cradle hold <br>Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010</br>
Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010

The cross-cradle is usually the best latch for newborns. The hold is similar to the cradle hold, but the woman supports the baby with the arm opposite to the breast the baby is feeding from.

To breastfeed in the cross-cradle position:

  • Hold the baby flush against your stomach, with their back and neck aligned.
  • Reach across the baby’s back and support their head with your hand, allowing their bottom to rest in the crook of your arm.

This hold can be tricky to master at first but allows the woman more control over the baby’s latch. This position can be helpful for babies who struggle with getting a deep latch.

3. Reclining or lying back

Reclining or lying back <br>Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010</br>
Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010

This position is sometimes called biological nursing because it stimulates a baby’s instinctive feeding reflexes, and allows the woman to feed from a comfortable, supported position.

It may require some shifts in positioning, but the reclining position can also be very comfortable for women struggling with muscle pain or recovering from surgery or childbirth.

To master this approach to breastfeeding:

  • Find a comfortable reclining position that supports your head and neck. Imagine watching TV or reading a book while reclining. A reclining chair can help.
  • Position the baby stomach down on your chest, with their head at breast level.
  • Ensure that nothing is covering the baby’s nose and that their neck is not bent.
  • The baby may find the breast by themselves, but feel free to help as much as necessary.

Some women put the baby in an upright position, with toes pointing down. Other women find it more comfortable with the baby slightly reclining against their bent arm.

Experiment with different options to find one that works.

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4. Sitting baby

Sitting baby <br>Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010</br>
Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010

When a baby is old enough to support their head, they can breastfeed in a sitting position. This position works well for breastfeeding on the go. Babies who squirm when they feel restrained may also like this position.

To feed a baby in an upright position:

  • Sit in an upright position and support the baby to sit. Younger babies can lean against your slightly bent arm for more support. Older babies may do better sitting up fully, with their legs wrapped around either side of your abdomen.
  • Support the baby’s back and neck until they can sit without assistance.
  • Ensure the baby’s neck and back are straight and aligned.
  • Make sure that nothing is covering the baby’s nose.

5. Side-lying

Side-lying <br>Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010</br>
Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010

Side-lying is an ideal breastfeeding position for women recovering from surgery, and for exhausted women feeding at night. Women who co-sleep with the baby tend to use this position.

Some women find that it is difficult to get into the right position at first. Very small newborns may struggle with side-lying.

To breastfeed in a side-lying position:

  • Lie on one side, facing the baby.
  • Place the baby so its nose is close to your nipple.
  • Hold the baby close to your side, and support its back with your lower arm or a rolled up blanket or towel.

Some babies find it easier to breastfeed from the top breast, while others can more easily reach the breast that is closest to the bed.

Women who try this position should note that while co-sleeping is popular, most organizations do not recommend it. This is especially true for newborns who have a high risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The safest way to breastfeed in a side-lying position is to remove all pillows and blankets near the baby. Avoid falling asleep before returning the baby to its crib.

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6. Clutch hold

Clutch hold <br>Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010</br>
Image credit: Al van Akker, 2010

The clutch hold is ideal for women recovering from abdominal surgery or dealing with pain after childbirth. It is also an excellent option for women who want to nurse two babies simultaneously.

Many women find this helps babies get a deeper latch, and that it reduces frustration associated with a forceful let-down reflex.

This hold is sometimes called the football hold because a woman holds the baby like a football.

To use the clutch hold position:

  • Place a pillow on one side of your body or both sides if breastfeeding two babies. The pillow will support the baby’s body.
  • Hold the baby face-upwards in your arm with their head near to your breast.
  • Align the baby’s head, neck and back support them with your arm and hand.
  • Cradle the baby close to your side with their legs and feet tucked under your arm.


Positioning is just one aspect of comfortable breastfeeding. These other strategies can make breastfeeding more comfortable and effective:

  • Using pillows or rolled blankets for extra support. This tactic can be especially helpful if holding the baby causes muscle strain. For example, putting a pillow under the elbow that supports the baby can help reduce shoulder and neck tension.
  • Creating a comfortable breastfeeding area. Stocking one area of the house or room with snacks, water, a nursing pillow, a blanket, burping supplies, a book or magazine, and other necessities can help women manage long breastfeeding sessions.
  • Relaxing the neck and shoulders. Some people tense their neck and shoulder muscles to support the weight of the baby. Try actively relaxing these muscles or use a pillow for support.
  • Supporting the breast. Depending on the breast’s size or position, it may cover much of the baby’s face. Supporting the weight of the breast with a free hand can make the position more comfortable and keep the baby’s nose uncovered.
  • Pumping after each breastfeeding session. To increase supply and build up a store of breast milk, a woman can pump after each breastfeeding session. This helps to empty the breasts. Some women prefer to save time by pumping on one breast while breastfeeding on the other.


The right position for breastfeeding can change with time as the woman and baby develop a routine and relationship. Be open to experimenting with different positions. While some positions may feel awkward at first, practice can make them easier and more comfortable.

Women who experience trouble with breastfeeding should seek help early. It is possible to resolve most breastfeeding problems, but waiting too long can be challenging and trigger frustration in the woman and baby.

For help, a breastfeeding woman can attend a La Leche League meeting, or speak to a lactation consultant or a doctor.

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Medical News Today: What are some low-carb bread alternatives?

Bread has been a staple food for humans for thousands of years and is a key component of many people’s diets. Modern bread usually contains refined wheat, which is relatively high in carbohydrates (carbs). Reducing the number of carbs in the diet by eliminating bread may help some people lose weight or reduce their risk of specific disorders.

People who are avoiding bread, for example, as part of a low-carb or ketogenic (keto) diet, will often wonder what they can use to replace it.

Many creative bread alternatives are now available. Some types are more complicated to prepare than others but provide a more bread-like mouthfeel. There are also many gluten-free bread alternatives for people who are intolerant to gluten.

Bread alternatives can allow people to continue enjoying some of their favorite foods, which can make sticking to a particular diet more manageable.

Sandwich bread alternatives

Bread alternatives that are suitable for making sandwiches include:

1. Ezekiel bread

Bread alternatives ezekiel
Ezekiel bread is a healthful option containing organic grains and legumes.

Ezekiel bread is a healthful bread that got its name from a Bible verse that mentions an ancient process of bread making.

Ezekiel bread contains organic grains and legumes, including:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • spelt
  • millet
  • lentils
  • soybeans

These grains are whole, unaltered grains. Some Ezekiel bread contains other ingredients, such as sorghum or sesame.

The grains in Ezekiel bread are allowed to sprout before the flour-milling process. The thinking is that sprouting increases the nutrients available in the bread, while also reducing the impact that the carbohydrates in the bread have on blood sugar.

One slice of this bread contains 15 grams (g) of carbohydrate so people could incorporate it into a low-carb diet plan.

However, as Ezekiel bread contains grains such as wheat and barley, it is unsuitable for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

2. Cloud bread

Cloud bread, or oopsie bread, is very popular with low-carb and keto dieters. Cloud bread is a protein-rich alternative to regular bread and makes an excellent sandwich base or English muffin replacement.

There are various recipes for cloud bread, but a simple version is as follows.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 ounces (oz) cream cheese
  • one-eighth of a teaspoon (tsp) sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.
  2. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form stiff, foamy mounds.
  4. In a second bowl, mix the egg yolks, cream cheese, and salt.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the second bowl, being careful not to knock the air out of them.
  6. Scoop the mixture into bun-sized dollops on the baking sheet and bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden.

Cloud bread is a versatile, simple alternative to bread that many people on low-carb diets eat every day.

3. Eggplant disks

A more straightforward alternative to sandwich bread is eggplant.

People can cut the large end of an eggplant into disks that are 1-inch thick, season them to their liking, and then grill or bake them. Once they have cooled, these disks can be the base for a burger.

For a deli-style sandwich, cut the eggplant lengthwise to form larger slices.

4. Portobello mushroom burger buns

People can also use large grilled or baked portobello mushrooms in place of bread.

They can add the mushrooms to the grill during barbecue season to make low-carb burger bun substitutes. These may have a more substantial mouthfeel than other bread alternatives.

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Wrap and tortilla alternatives

Alternatives for wraps and tortillas include the following:

1. Lettuce leaves

Bread alternatives lettuce wraps
People can use iceberg lettuce leaves as a tortilla substitute when making wraps.

Big iceberg lettuce leaves can make fresh, flexible wraps.

The outermost leaves of the lettuce are the largest, most flexible leaves, and they are often perfect for making mini burritos. People can break them gently off the head of lettuce to use them.

Many lettuces, such as iceberg, romaine, or red leaf, are suitable for use as low-carb taco shell alternatives.

Many people prefer romaine lettuce for this purpose, as the crisp ridge in the center of the lettuce provides a natural line along which to fold the taco in half.

2. Steamed collard greens

A gently steamed collard green leaf is a more durable option for wraps and may provide some extra nutrients.

Use collard greens when there is more filling for the wrap, or when the wrap needs to last a while before consumption. Collard greens are generally less likely to break than lettuce leaves.

To steam the collard green leaves:

  • Bring a small amount of water to boil in a large pot.
  • Fit a metal colander over the opening of the pot, and place the collard leaves in it.
  • Place the lid of the pot over the colander.
  • Steam the leaves for 1–2 minutes before removing them and letting them cool.

The leaves are now ready to make a delicious wrap.

Another option is to blanch collard leaves by adding them to boiling salt water for 30 seconds and then quickly cooling them in an ice bath.

3. Cabbage

Cabbage has a flavor that may be preferable for specific foods. A steamed or blanched cabbage leaf, prepared in the same way as collard greens, makes an ideal wrap for small, flavorful items, such as wontons, spring rolls, and dumplings.

4. Nori sheets

Nori sheets are easy to use to make a wrap. They have a slightly salty taste and pair well with a range of foods, including hummus and eggs. However, nori sheets can become soggy quickly, so it is best to keep them separate from the filling until it is time to eat the wrap.

Other alternatives for bread products

People who are avoiding bread and trying to stick to low-carb foods may miss eating their favorite comfort foods. The healthful replacements below may help satisfy any cravings.

1. Cauliflower pizza crust

Bread alternatives cauliflower pizza
It is possible to make a low-carb pizza crust using cauliflower and eggs.

A base of cauliflower and eggs can make a simple, low-carb pizza crust to satisfy people’s urge for this popular food.

Follow the recipe below to make a cauliflower pizza crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place a chopped head of cauliflower in the food processor and process it until it resembles rice.
  3. Steam the shredded cauliflower for 4 minutes and drain well.
  4. Thoroughly mix the cauliflower with 2 eggs, one-quarter of a cup of almond flour, a pinch of salt, and your choice of spices in a large bowl.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a pizza pan or lined baking sheet and shape it into a pizza crust shape.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.

This crust is now ready for toppings and sauces, just like a regular pizza.

2. Zucchini lasagna

Zucchini pasta is a low-carb alternative to pasta that people can also use to make lasagna.

Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise and use the strips instead of pasta sheets. The result is a filling, familiar dish that is much lower in carbohydrates.

3. Almond flour pancakes

Many people on low-carb diets like to satisfy their sweet tooth with a baked product. It is possible to make baked, flour-based products, such as muffins and pancakes, both low-carb and gluten-free.

For example, people can use the recipe below to make almond flour pancakes:


  • 2 cups of almond flour (use hazelnut or acorn flour instead if preferred)
  • 4 eggs
  • one-quarter cup coconut oil
  • half a cup water or almond milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • preferred low-carb sweetener, such as xylitol, erythritol, or stevia, to taste

Mix the ingredients in a bowl until smooth and allow the batter to sit while the pan heats up. Pour the batter into the pan and flip it when the edges become dry.

These pancakes will need to be a bit smaller than regular pancakes, as nut flours do not have the same elasticity as wheat.

4. Sweet potato toast

Sweet potato has become quite popular as an alternative to bread. People can use the following steps to make toast with it:

  1. Take a large sweet potato.
  2. Cut slices that are one-quarter of an inch thick and toast them 2 or 3 times or until they are brown on the outside and soft on the inside.

Sweet potato toast works well with a variety of savory and sweet toppings, including eggs and avocado or peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon.

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People who choose to remove bread from their diet may be losing a staple item from their favorite meals. However, there are many healthful bread alternatives that they can use in its place.

Bread alternatives can seem challenging to use initially, but people are generally quick to adjust to them. Once people are familiar with these bread alternatives, they may not notice the lack of regular bread in their diet.

Except for Ezekiel bread, the bread alternatives in this article are all appropriate for people who are intolerant to gluten.

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Medical News Today: Swelling in rheumatoid arthritis and where it occurs

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and swelling in the joints. These symptoms tend to affect the hands and feet and can weaken and restrict these parts of the body.

Fortunately, both at-home and medical treatments are available to help reduce swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

In this article, we take a look at how RA can lead to swelling, the areas it affects, and how best to treat this symptom.

How does RA cause swelling?

Rheumatoid arthritis swelling wrist
Inflammation is a common side effect of rheumatoid arthritis.

RA causes the body’s immune system to attack the synovium, which lines the joints. The synovium produces a fluid that helps the joints move more smoothly.

When the immune system attacks the synovium, it often results in inflammation and swelling. Sometimes inflammation of the synovium membrane leads to swelling, other times too much synovial fluid in the joints causes the problem.

Sometimes, swelling can be severe. For example, a person’s hand can become so swollen that it looks like a boxing glove. Excessive swelling can cause a reduced range of motion.

Over time, the continued swelling and inflammation can also weaken ligaments in the joints. This weakening can lead to deformities of the feet and hands, such as claw toe or hammer toe. However, these are late symptoms of RA.

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What areas does swelling affect?

Swelling caused by RA commonly affects joints in the following areas:

  • hands
  • wrists
  • feet
  • knees
  • ankles
  • hips
  • elbows
  • shoulders
  • neck

The swelling in RA usually occurs in joints on both sides of the body. This is different from osteoarthritis, which generally affects a single joint.

In 20 percent of cases, foot and ankle symptoms are the first to appear.

Treatments for RA swelling

If the swelling is severe, a doctor may recommend removing excess fluid from the affected joint. This procedure is called joint aspiration and is generally carried out under local anesthetic.

A doctor may also inject a substance called hydrocortisone into the joint. This is an anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce some of the symptoms that lead to swelling.

As well as these more immediate fixes, a doctor may prescribe medications to help a person control their RA.

Some people will take a combination of medications designed to prevent RA flare-ups and slow the disease’s progression.

Examples of these medications include:

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

Rheumatoid arthritis swelling doctor prescription
A doctor may suggest a person takes anti-inflammatory drugs for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

These medications help reduce how often symptoms occur as well as slow the disease’s progression.

Medications may include:

  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)

Many people will take DMARDs in combination with corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help to reduce inflammation.

Biologic agents

RA symptoms that do not respond to DMARDs may benefit from biologic response modifiers. These medications block immune system signals that can cause inflammation and swelling.

Examples of these medicines include:

Doctors may prescribe biologics alone or in combination with DMARDs.

It is important to note that medications can have side effects that cause complications on their own. For example, DMARDs and biologics are immunosuppressants that can leave people susceptible to infections.

Once damage to a person’s joints has occurred, it is irreversible. As a result, management of the disease is essential to a person’s quality of life and keeping their joints mobile.

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Home remedies

Rheumatoid arthritis swelling ice pack
Icing the affected area for up to 20 minutes can help reduce swelling.

A person can use several home remedies to help reduce RA-related swelling. Examples of these include:

  • Resting affected joints. Anyone experiencing pain with a particular exercise should avoid doing that exercise until a flare-up improves. Try low-impact exercises that do not place excess strain on the joints, such as cycling or swimming.
  • Icing affected areas. Applying a cloth-covered ice pack to an affected area may help minimize swelling. Apply the ice pack for no longer than 20 minutes and repeat between three and four times throughout the day.
  • Putting the feet or hands in a cool bath. Placing hands or feet in a tub or pan of cool water can help ease muscle tension and improve movement.
  • Taking NSAIDs. These drugs include naproxen and ibuprofen. Anyone who is currently taking other RA medications should check with their doctor that NSAIDs will not interact with them.

Giving the body time to heal and recover after a flare-up is essential for dealing with the swelling and discomfort that can accompany RA.


While some RA flare-ups that cause swelling are unpredictable, others may follow a pattern. Some known triggers of RA include:

  • illness
  • overexertion
  • poor sleep habits
  • stress

Some people may find it helpful to keep a journal of the foods they eat and the activities they do on a daily basis. Anyone who experiences a flare-up can check their journal to look for patterns.

Identifying these patterns may help a person avoid further episodes of RA swelling.

In addition to tracking flares, people with RA should also follow any treatment plans that their doctor recommends. Doing so can help a person manage their RA on a daily basis.


Ideally, a person and their doctor will find the right combination of medications and lifestyle changes that can help reduce swelling flare-ups caused by RA.

If a person has three or more swelling flare-ups in a month, they should see their doctor. They may need to try another type of medication or look at further treatment options.

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Medical News Today: Antibiotic resistance: 8,000 new drug combinations are effective

New research has revealed that, contrary to traditional beliefs in the medical community, four- or five-drug combinations can be effective in treating infection with treatment-resistant bacteria.
scientist using petri dish
Laboratory experiments and computational analyses reveal over 8,000 antibiotic combinations that can treat resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic, or antimicrobial, resistance occurs when bacteria or viruses — sometimes called superbugs — genetically mutate and become immune to drugs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) call the phenomenon “an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society.”

In the United States, antibiotic resistance is also a major public health concern. Every year, at least 2 million people in the U.S. contract a treatment-resistant bacterial infection, and more than 23,000 people die as a result.

Now, researchers may have come up with a strategy for tackling it. New research led by scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) reveals that combining four or five antibiotics can prove surprisingly effective in killing off or slowing down the progression of drug-resistant bacteria.

The findings go against the prevalent view that such drug combinations are ineffective, or that mixing different antibiotics leads to the drugs’ benefits canceling each other out.

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Pamela Yeh, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA, supervised the new study in collaboration with Van Savage, a professor of ecology, evolutionary biology, and biomathematics at UCLA.

Yeh comments on the findings, saying, “There is a tradition of using just one drug, maybe two.”

We’re offering an alternative that looks very promising. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to just single drugs or two-drug combinations in our medical toolbox. We expect several of these combinations, or more, will work much better than existing antibiotics.”

Pamela Yeh

The researchers published their findings in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications. Elif Tekin is the first author of the paper.

Discovering 8,000 effective combinations

The team carried out many experiments in the laboratory and designed a mathematical framework — called mathematical analysis for general interactions of components (MAGIC) — that enabled them to study multiple drug combinations and anticipate their results.

As Tekin explains, “We think MAGIC is a generalizable tool that can be applied to other diseases — including cancers — and in many other areas with three or more interacting components, to better understand how a complex system works.”

Using these tools, Tekin and colleagues examined how every possible combination of four and five antibiotics affected a strain of Escherichia coli. In total, the researchers tested 18,278 combinations.

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They expected some of these combinations to perform well against bacteria — but surprisingly, they also found 1,676 four-drug combinations and 6,443 five-drug combinations to be equally effective.

“I was blown away by how many effective combinations there are as we increased the number of drugs,” says Prof. Savage.

On the flip side, the researchers also found that 2,331 four-drug combinations and 5,199 five-drug combinations were less effective than predicted. Using an analogy, Prof. Savage explains why.

“Some drugs attack the cell walls, others attack the DNA inside,” he explains. “It’s like attacking a castle or fortress. Combining different methods of attacking may be more effective than just a single approach.”

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‘More promising antibiotic combinations’

Michael Kurilla, the director of the Division of Clinical Innovation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), comments on the significance of the findings in the context of the antibiotic resistance crisis.

He claims, “With the specter of antibiotic resistance threatening to turn back healthcare to the pre-antibiotic era, the ability to more judiciously use combinations of existing antibiotics that singly are losing potency is welcome.”

This work will accelerate the testing in humans of promising antibiotic combinations for bacterial infections that we are ill-equipped to deal with today.”

Michael Kurilla

Yeh cautions that taking the new findings from a laboratory setting and turning them into viable treatments in a clinical setting will likely take years.

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Medical News Today: How gut bacteria may help you diet and stay healthy

Studies in mice have revealed that animals with a lower calorie intake are likely to have less excess weight, stay healthier, and live longer. New research looks at why this may be, suggesting that it is due to gut bacteria and their influence on the immune system.
gut bacteria concept illustration
Gut bacteria indirectly influence weight loss and health outcomes.

A study led by Prof. Mirko Trajkovski, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, has been looking into how calorie-restricted diets can influence weight and overall health status.

More importantly, however, the scientists have been interested in finding out why restricting caloric intake can render a person healthier.

The study, conducted in mice and whose results were published in the journal Cell Metabolism, suggest that the populations of bacteria found in the gut have an important role to play when it comes to dieting and health outcomes.

In the future, the scientists hope that their findings may eventually lead to better treatments for people living with obesity.

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Gut bacteria and toxic molecules

The researchers worked with mice, whose feeding they controlled for a period of 30 days, so that their caloric intake was restricted by 40 percent.

After this period, the team noticed that the mice’s bodies were promoting the production of beige fat, a kind of fat tissue that is easily converted into energy, thus also leading to weight loss.

In order to see what role gut bacteria might play in the process of becoming healthier following a calorie-restricted diet, the scientists transferred some of these bacteria from the dieting mice to a group of mice bred not to have gut microbiota.

So, Prof. Trajkovski and team transferred the microbial communities from the dieting mice’s ceca — that is, the first sections of their large intestines — to the guts of the mice raised in sterile conditions.

The researchers found that simply performing this microbiota transfer allowed the mice to become leaner and produce more beige fat, despite staying on their regular diets.

After analyzing the composition and behavior of these microbiota, Prof. Trajkovski and team observed that they produced fewer toxic molecules known as lipopolysaccharides (LPS).

However, when the researchers tried to boost LPS levels so that they would reach their usual levels, they noticed that the mice with higher LPS saw fewer health benefits, despite dieting.

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‘A drug to simulate caloric restriction?’

The researchers point out that LPS actually trigger an immune response as they activate a protein known as toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).

In the recent study, they noticed that mice that had been genetically engineered not to express TLR4 actually enjoyed similar health benefits to the ones seen by the rodents on the calorie-restricted diet.

“Clearly the immune system not only combats infections, it also plays a key role in regulating metabolism,” notes Prof. Trajkovski.

Without activated TLR4, the mice not only produced more beige fat and thus saw more weight loss, but they also reacted better to insulin. These rodents’ livers were also more effective at processing sugar and fat, and the mice became better at adjusting to colder temperatures.

“This is turning into an entirely new field of research,” Prof. Trajkovski says.

After identifying these mechanisms, the team decided to test the effectiveness of two different compounds: one aimed at reducing LPS production, and the other aiming to block TLR4.

Both of these drugs were effective in mice and induced a similar health outcome as that produced by calorie-restricted dieting.

It may one day become possible to treat obese people with a drug that simulates caloric restriction. We are currently investigating the precise changes in bacterial communities, and we are also testing other compounds that reduce LPS production and signaling.”

Prof. Mirko Trajkovski

The team included investigators from the IMED Biotech Unit in Gothenburg, Sweden, Inselspital Bern in Switzerland, and from the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

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Medical News Today: Why do my arms go numb at night?

When one or both arms seem to fall asleep, it can feel as if they are going numb, or as if a person has pins and needles. The medical term for this feeling is paresthesia. A variety of causes may be responsible. Some are benign, while others require treatment.

The arms can feel as though they are falling asleep at any time of the day or night. If a person experiences this sensation frequently at night, some specific underlying issues may be responsible.

In this article, learn what can cause the feeling of the arms falling asleep at night, how to prevent the sensation, and what treatments are available.

What is paresthesia?

Sleeping woman with focus on arm
Paresthesia is sometimes known as having pins and needles.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the United States describes paresthesia as a “burning or prickling sensation” that most commonly occurs in the limbs, hands, and feet.

People also tend to describe paresthesia as a feeling of pins and needles, crawling skin, or numbness. Another common description is that the area has fallen asleep.

Paresthesia can occur at any time, with no warning. While the sensation may be uncomfortable, it is usually painless.

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Causes of the arms falling asleep at night

Most people experience occasional, brief episodes of paresthesia.

Often, a person’s position is the cause. For example, the arm may fall asleep because a person is lying in a way that puts pressure on a nerve in the limb.

Cases of positional paresthesia are harmless and generally occur when a nerve is under sustained pressure. The sensation should go away after a person changes positions.

The following medical conditions can also cause paresthesia in the arms:

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is very common. It occurs when activities that involve repetitive finger motion, like typing or playing the piano, put too much pressure on the median nerve. This nerve runs the length of the arm and passes into the hand through the wrist.

The syndrome can cause pain and numbness in the arms and hands, but one of the first symptoms is paresthesia that occurs in the hands and wrists more frequently at night.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms are likely to occur at night because people often sleep with their wrists bent.

People have a greater risk of carpal tunnel syndrome if they:

  • have a job that involves repetitive hand motions, such as typing or operating machinery
  • are pregnant
  • are retaining fluid


Diabetes in person measuring glucose levels
Diabetes can increase the risk of nerve damage.

People with diabetes have a risk of nerve damage, and the medical term for this complication is diabetic neuropathy.

It occurs when high levels of sugar and fats in the blood injure the nerve endings over time.

Diabetic neuropathy usually causes numbness and tingling in the feet and legs, though it can also affect the arms and hands.

Vitamin B deficiency

Vitamin B deficiencies can cause a variety of problems, including anemia and tingling in the extremities. It can be easy to mistake this tingling sensation for the arms falling asleep.

People at risk for vitamin B deficiencies include:

  • vegetarians and vegans
  • adults over 50 years old
  • people with certain digestive disorders, such as Celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Other causes of peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that affects extremities. Diabetic neuropathy is one type.

However, many other factors can cause nerve damage that results in a sensation of the arms, hands, legs, or feet falling asleep.

Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include:

  • some types of injury
  • alcohol use disorder, which was once called alcoholism
  • autoimmune disorders
  • certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs
  • bone marrow disorders
  • infections, including Lyme disease and HIV
  • tumors that press on certain nerves

Multiple sclerosis

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the U.S., numbness and tingling are often the first symptoms a person experiences.

These symptoms usually affect the face. However, depending on the location of the spinal lesions that occur with multiple sclerosis, a person may also feel numbness and tingling in the arms or legs.


Strokes and transient ischemic attacks can cause numbness and tingling in the arms.

A transient ischemic attack occurs when something temporarily blocks blood flow to the brain. The American Heart Association considers these attacks to be “warning strokes.”

Strokes and transient ischemic attacks can affect the functioning of the nerves, and they can cause changes in sensation, including paresthesia in the arms or legs, as well as heightened feelings of numbness or pain.

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Man sleeping on his back in bed
A sleeping position that does not restrict the limbs may prevent parasthesia.

It may be possible to prevent the issues that cause paresthesia in the arms at night.

For example, a person may benefit from learning to sleep in a less restrictive position. If a person is at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, it may help to wear a brace or do exercises.

If a vitamin B deficiency is causing the sensation of the arms falling asleep, a doctor can prescribe supplements or recommend changes to the diet.

Takeaway and when to see a doctor

It is common for the arms to fall asleep, especially at night, when a person may be lying in a position that places pressure on a nerve.

However, if a person notices this sensation frequently, they may require medical attention, especially if they also experience:

  • visual disturbances
  • facial numbness or tingling
  • difficulty speaking
  • difficulty with coordination, such as while walking
  • unexplained weakness or pain

Anyone who suspects that their paresthesia results from an underlying medical condition, a medication, or alcohol use disorder should speak with a doctor.

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Medical News Today: What are the complications of COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the term for a group of lung conditions that are progressive, meaning that they get worse over time. COPD prevents the lungs from working efficiently, which can lead to a range of complications.

In people with COPD, the air sacs in the lungs become damaged. This damage affects the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body and causes a variety of symptoms, including wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing.

In this article, we look at five possible complications of COPD. We also cover the outlook for this disease and provide some tips for preventing complications.

Complications of COPD

COPD often progresses slowly over several years, but complications may develop at any time. These complications can be severe and even life-threatening.

The five most common types of COPD complication include:

1. Pneumonia

Woman in bed due to pneumonia which may be a COPD complication
Symptoms of pneumonia include a cough, chest pain, and a fever.

Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation of the lungs. It can result from a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. People with lung diseases, such as COPD, are more likely to develop pneumonia and other lung infections.

According to a study of 179,759 adults who were in the hospital with COPD exacerbations, pneumonia developed in about 36 percent of those who were experiencing their first flare-up.

Another study found that older adults with COPD developed pneumonia six times more often than people without this condition.

People with COPD are also at risk of pneumonia becoming severe and leading to life-threatening problems, such as sepsis and respiratory failure.

The symptoms of pneumonia include:

2. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

ARDS is a life-threatening condition in which severe inflammation of the lungs causes fluid to leak into the blood vessels in the airways. The small air sacs, or alveoli, collapse as a result. ARDS usually develops in response to a severe chest injury or an infection, such as pneumonia.

According to the American Thoracic Society, the death rate from ARDS is higher in people with COPD than in the general population. Symptoms of ARDS include:

  • severe shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • confusion and extreme tiredness
  • fever

3. Depression

Having COPD can also lead to mental health issues, such as depression. In a study of 76,020 people, half of whom had a diagnosis of COPD, the rate of depression was almost two times higher in the people with COPD.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • loss of interest in activities
  • feelings of sadness
  • fatigue
  • trouble sleeping
  • changes in appetite

4. Heart failure

Heart failure is when the heart muscle cannot pump blood efficiently through the body. It is a progressive condition that can occur on the right or left side of the heart or on both sides. Heart failure that occurs in people with COPD is commonly right-sided.

When the lungs are not working as they should, this can place additional stress on other organs, including the heart.

For example, COPD can cause low oxygen levels in the body. The pressure in the pulmonary arteries will increase as the body tries to counter this, which puts a strain on the heart. The heart can become weak and less able to pump efficiently.

Heart failure is very common in people with COPD. Research suggests that 20–70 percent of people with COPD also develop heart failure.

The symptoms of heart failure include:

  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • swelling in the legs and feet
  • a cough

5. Frailty

Frailty is a term that refers to physical weakness and fragile health.

People with COPD can become frail for several reasons. Shortness of breath may make eating difficult, which can result in weight loss. Meanwhile, fatigue may result in decreased physical activity levels, which can lead to muscle wasting.

A study that used data from the National Health and Nutrition Evaluation Survey found that almost 58 percent of people with COPD had frailty. The participants who also had diabetes and reported shortness of breath had the highest risk of being frail.

Symptoms of frailty in people with COPD may include:

  • weight loss
  • a decrease in muscle mass
  • fatigue
  • low physical activity, decreased mobility, and a slow walking speed

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Is COPD deadly?

senior man coughing
COPD-related deaths may occur due to infections and respiratory failure.

COPD is a chronic condition that tends to worsen over time and can cause death. According to the American Lung Association, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

COPD-related deaths occur most often due to:

  • infections, such as pneumonia
  • respiratory failure
  • heart-related complications

The severity of COPD varies greatly, which can make it difficult for doctors to provide a life expectancy for people with this condition.

Several factors play a role in life expectancy, including the person’s age at the time of diagnosis and whether or not they have any additional health problems.

Some people with COPD live for many years after their diagnosis.

When to see a doctor

People with COPD should see their doctor routinely to monitor their condition.

However, it is particularly important that they seek medical advice if the condition worsens or new symptoms develop. A change in symptoms can indicate an infection or another complication.

The early detection and prompt treatment of complications can improve a person’s outlook. Individuals with COPD should see their doctor as soon as possible if they start having any of the following symptoms:

  • increased shortness of breath
  • change in the amount, color, or consistency of mucus
  • fever
  • increased coughing
  • increased fatigue
  • new or worsening swelling in the feet, legs, or ankles

It is vital to seek emergency care if any of the following signs and symptoms develop:

  • chest pain
  • bluish nails or lips
  • severe shortness of breath
  • coughing up pink, frothy mucus
  • confusion, speech difficulties, or extreme fatigue

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Tips for preventing complications

quitting smoking represented by broken cigarette on table
Quitting smoking may help prevent complications associated with COPD.

It is not possible to prevent all of the complications associated with COPD, but people can implement some lifestyle changes to reduce the risk. These include:

  • avoiding anything that can irritate the lungs, such as dust, fumes, cigarette smoke, and other chemicals
  • quitting smoking and other tobacco products
  • getting vaccinated for flu annually
  • getting vaccinated for pneumonia
  • washing hands frequently to prevent infection
  • taking all prescribed medications
  • maintaining healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthful diet, and exercising regularly


The outlook for people with COPD can vary considerably. COPD is a progressive condition with no cure, but medications, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation classes can help manage symptoms and improve a person’s quality of life.

Seeing a doctor regularly and making lifestyle changes, such as exercising, taking steps to prevent infection, and not smoking, may slow the progression of the disease and reduce the likelihood of complications.

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