Dr. Charles WANG, M.D.  

Health is the most valuable asset in your life. Health information seems all complicated, because both life sciences and medicine are complicated. However, you don’t have to understand all these in order to keep your life healthy. All you need are some basic information plus a trusted doctor.

The following information is written in plain language so that it could be understood by non-medical people. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical consultation but to complement and reinforce the advice of you doctor.

1. Asthma and Allergy

Asthma occurs when the airways of your lungs are swollen and there is increased mucus that blocks the airways. It is hard then for you to breathe and could be fatal in some extreme case. Patients with Asthma may suffer from recurrent attacks in their life and the severity and frequency vary from person to person. Although the causes of Asthma are not totally understood, fortunately, the attacks could be controlled by utilizing medicated inhalers.

2) Allergy
Allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to a normally harmless substance that you happen to eat, inhale or touch. This substance could be chemicals, tobacco smoke, medicines, grass pollen, feather and even certain foods.

2. Brain and Nervous system
The nervous system is divided into the Central System, which is composed of the Brain and Spinal Cord, and the rest is the Peripheral System. The nervous system helps to coordinate and control the interactions and communications among various parts of the body by transmitting chemical or electrical signals so that the synergy of the body could be achieved.

Sleep disorder is a disorder of sleep patterns. Some sleep disorders, such as insomnia and apnea (or sleep apnea), are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, and emotional functioning. The causes of insomnia can include anxiety, back pain, chronic pain, pregnancy, incontinence, and various drugs.

Mental health is a term used to describe either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder, which may include ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, body image disorders, and depression.

Anxiety can include feelings of helplessness, confusion, and extreme worry that are out of proportion with the likelihood of feared events. Anxiety can cause physical and emotional symptoms, including panic attacks, and can sometimes be treated with appropriate stress management techniques and drugs.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that causes extreme mood changes that switch from manic episodes of very high energy to the extreme lows of depression. It is also called manic-depressive disorder. This illness can cause behavior so extreme that you cannot function at work, in family or social situations, or in relationships with others.

3. Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT)
Ears, nose and throat disorders are common and the most common one is sore throat. Others include hearing loss caused by infections, Ménière's disease, nasal obstruction and sinusitis.

4. Lungs and Respiratory system
Respiratory system is the air-breathing passages which include the nasal passages, the bronchi and the lungs. The main problems with this system are infections, which could be acute infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis or chronic ones such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

5. Heart and Circulation
The main function of the heart is to pump blood so that blood flows through the blood vessels reaching all parts of the body, which is called the circulation. The circulation may slow down because of the weakening power of the heart’s pumping function or because of the blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels caused by fatty deposits or spasm.

Coronary Artery Disease (also called CAD) is the most common type of heart disease or cardiovascular disease. CAD occurs when fatty deposits called plaque build up inside the coronary arteries. When plaque builds up, it narrows the arteries and reduces the amount of blood that gets to your heart.

High Blood Pressure: Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries and veins. If the pressure is persistent and excessive, it qualifies as high blood pressure, and can damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. Most of the time, there are no hypertension symptoms. But symptoms that may occur include chest pain, ear noise or buzzing, and an irregular heartbeat.

6. Liver, Gallbladder, Pancreas and Digestive system
The Digestive system include the pathway for food which consist of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine and the organs involving in the digestion of food such as the Liver, Gallbladder and Pancreas.

7. Kidneys and Urinary System
The kidneys regulate blood volume and composition and the passage of Urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder the Urethra.

8. Infectious Diseases
Germs are everywhere; there are bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and helminthes. These germs are not always bad but sometimes, some of them invade people and cause Infectious diseases. These diseases can spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another because germs are so tiny that they can easily get into your body without being noticed and then reproduce within your body to cause infections. The diseases and conditions of the infections vary depending on which part of the body is affected and by which germs. It could be sore throats, pneumonia, polio, flu, AIDS, athlete’s foot, diarrhea, etc.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), also known as venereal diseases, are spread by sexual contact involving the genitals, mouth, or rectum, and can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus before or during delivery. STDs -- which include gonorrhea, herpes, and AIDS.

AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection, which is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Even without treatment, it takes a long time for HIV to progress to AIDS -- usually 10 to 12 years. If HIV is diagnosed before it becomes AIDS, medicines can slow or stop HIV symptoms and the damage to the immune system. Many new AIDS treatments are being developed.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E.

1) Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water;

2) Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur by infected body fluids such as blood transfusions. Hepatitis B is also transmitted by sexual contact;

Common symptoms of hepatitis include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

9. Hormones and Metabolism
Food is converted into usable energy (Carbohydrate, Lipid and Protein) within the body through the metabolic process. The metabolic process consists of a series of chemical reactions regulated and balanced by hormones of the Endocrine system, especially Thyroxin and Insulin. Therefore, the deficiency or excess of hormones production will result in metabolic disorders. Common disorders include: High Cholesterol (LDL) and Triglycerides, Type 2 Diabetes and Hyperthyroidism.
Diabetes is a condition characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce sufficient levels of insulin to prevent hyperglycemia. There are 3 main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. All have similar signs, symptoms, and consequences but different causes.

Cholesterol: two forms of cholesterol: Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL). LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol and HDL is the good cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can attach to the walls of your arteries causing atherosclerosis. This can lead to the hardening of the arteries and reduces the blood flow to the heart. Over time heart disease will develop in the form of chest pain (angina) and eventually a total blockage will cause a heart attack. HDL cholesterol seeks out the bad cholesterol and removes it from your body. It is important to maintain low levels of LDL and high levels of HDL cholesterol. Screening and cholesterol testing with regularity is vital for monitoring your cholesterol health.

Triglycerides: the most common type of fat in your body. If you've had your blood tested for cholesterol, you also should have your triglyceride score. A person with high triglycerides often has other risk factors for heart disease, such as a low HDL level or diabetes. Very high levels of triglycerides are associated with inflammation of the pancreas. People who are overweight or obese frequently have higher than normal levels of triglycerides. All these conditions may increase your risk for developing heart disease or of having a heart attack or stroke.

10. Bones, Muscles, Joints and the Movement
All body movements, no matter it is standing, walking or sitting, involve the bones, muscles and joints. Together with tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, they form the Musculoskeletal System, which enable the body to do all physical activities with efficiency.
Common problems in this category include Back pain, Arthritis, Gout, Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a silent disease that makes your bones more likely to break. As many as 50% of all women and 25% of all men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Osteoarthritis often affects joints including the hips and knees, plus the hands, neck, and low back. With osteoarthritis, even simple everyday movements can hurt.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes tissues lining the joints to become swollen, stiff, and painful (inflamed). Over time, this inflammation may destroy the joint tissues. This can limit your daily activities and make it hard for you to walk and use your hands.

11. Skin
Skin is the largest organ of the body. It covers and protects everything inside your body and also helps in maintaining the right temperature of the body. Most of the skin disorders are not too serious but could be embarrassing because it is easily visible. Common problems are Acne, Eczema, Sun-damage and Psoriasis.

Many skin medications are plenty same as the skin care products but it is advisable to consult with a medical doctor for proper use. 

12. Tumor
Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in one or both breasts. They can invade nearby tissues and form a mass, called a malignant tumor. The cancer cells can spread (metastasize) to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. Early breast cancer detection significantly increases treatment success rate so it is vital for women to conduct self-exams, get regular mammograms and consult with your physician.

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer treatment is most often effective when cervical cancer symptoms are found early. It is usually found at a very early stage through a Pap test. Some strains of the HPV virus have been strongly linked to cervical cancer.

Colon cancer develops in the large intestine when cells change and grow out of control. Colon cancer is also called colorectal cancer because it can occur in both the colon and in the lowest section of the colon, which is called the rectum. Colon cancer almost always begins as small growths on the inner wall of the colon called polyps. A doctor can find and remove polyps during a colonoscopy, a test in which a doctor uses a flexible video camera or scope to look at the inside of the colon.

Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in a man's prostate gland. Prostate cancer is common in men older than 65. It usually grows slowly and can take years to grow large enough to cause any problems. Most cases are treatable, because they are found with screening tests before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

13. Infertility
Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile.
To get pregnant: A woman must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation); the egg must go through a Fallopian tube toward the uterus (womb); a man's sperm must join with (fertilize) the egg along the way; and finally, the fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus (implantation). Infertility can happen if there are problems with any of these steps. Therefore, both women and men can have problems that cause infertility. About one-third of infertility cases are caused by women's problems. Another one third of fertility problems are due to the man. The other cases are caused by a mixture of male and female problems or by unknown problems.

14. Women’s health
Women sexuality is complex, and involves emotional, physical and interpersonal issues. It takes in issues such as birth control and level of libido. Women often recognize a sexual problem when they notice a change in desire or sexual satisfaction. When this happens, it helps to look at what is and isn't working with your body and your life.

Menstrual disorders.
Irregular menstruation and abnormal menstrual bleeding fall into several different categories.

Amenorrhea is the failure to start menstruation during puberty or cessation of menstruation. Some of the normal causes of amenorrhea are pregnancy, lactation and menopause.

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for menstrual cramps. "Primary dysmenorrhea" is not caused by an underlying medical condition and generally begins when a girl first starts having her period. "Secondary dysmenorrhea" typically occurs later in life and is the result of a problem with the woman's reproductive system; and

Menorrhagia is excessive, dysfunctional uterine bleeding that occurs as a normal part of a woman's menstrual cycle. Blood flow may be high in volume (over 80 milliliters—about 1/3 cup) and may last longer than a normal period (usually eight to ten days).

Premenstrual Disorders
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the latter half of the menstrual cycle following ovulation. Symptoms, which can include backache, bloating, irritability and headache, are typically most intense during the seven days prior to the start of menses;

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of PMS that also includes a psychological component. For a PMDD diagnosis certain symptomatic criteria must be met and the symptoms must interfere with daily living; and

Menopause is the point in a woman's life when she has not had a menstrual period for one year, and marks the end of the childbearing years. For most women, menopause happens around age 50, but every woman's body has its own timeline. Some women stop having periods in their mid-40s. Others continue well into their 50s. Early menopause is generally considered to be menopause that occurs before the age of 40. Perimenopause marks the interval in which the body begins its transition into menopause. Symptoms may include changes in the menstrual cycle, headaches, heart palpitations, hot flashes, and night sweats.

15. Men’s health
Male sexual dysfunction is a problem with one of these components of male sexual function (libido, erection, ejaculation, orgasm) that interferes with interest in or ability to engage in sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) and premature ejaculation (PE) are the two main complaints in male sexual medicine

Prostate disorders: tend to fall into three common categories: Prostatitis (inflammation of the gland); Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), which results in an enlarged prostate that can narrow the urethra; and Cancer.