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Birth Weight

What is birth weight?

Birth weight is the first weight of your baby, taken just after being born. A low birth weight means that the baby is less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. A high birth weight means that the baby is more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

What can cause low birth weight?

A baby with a low birth weight can be born too small, too early (premature), or both. This can happen for many different reasons. They include:

  • Health problems in the pregnant parent
  • Taking certain medicines during pregnancy
  • Substance use during pregnancy
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Being pregnant with multiple babies
  • Problems with the placenta, the organ that brings oxygen and nutrients to the baby
  • Having small parents
  • Genetic conditions in the baby
  • Birth defects
What problems can low birth weight cause?

Babies with low birth weight may be more at risk of certain health problems. They include immediate problems, such as:

  • Breathing problems
  • Infections
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Jaundice
  • Trouble keeping warm

There is also a higher risk of longer-term problems, including:

  • Delayed motor and social development
  • Learning disabilities
  • Certain health conditions as an adult, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity
What can cause high birth weight?

Causes of high birth weight can include:

  • Having big parents
  • Diabetes in the pregnant parent
  • Certain genetic conditions
  • Too much weight gain during pregnancy
What problems can high birth weight cause?

High birth weight can be a concern because it can make delivery of the baby difficult and raise the risk of birth injuries. The baby is at higher risk of problems with:

  • Blood sugar
  • Breathing problems
  • Jaundice
Can birth weight problems be prevented?

You may be able to prevent some birth weight problems by:

  • Getting regular checkups during pregnancy
  • Getting the right amount of nutrition and calories during pregnancy
  • Controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes
  • Avoiding substance use during pregnancy

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an immune disease in which people can't eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine. If you have celiac disease and eat foods with gluten, your immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It may also be in other products like vitamins and supplements, hair and skin products, toothpastes, and lip balm.

Celiac disease affects each person differently. Symptoms may occur in the digestive system, or in other parts of the body. One person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person may be irritable or depressed. Irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children. Some people have no symptoms.

Celiac disease is genetic. Blood tests can help your doctor diagnose the disease. Your doctor may also need to examine a small piece of tissue from your small intestine. Treatment is a diet free of gluten.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


If you are overweight or have obesity, losing weight can improve your health. It might also help you prevent weight-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and some cancers. A healthy diet is an important part of a weight-loss program. It:

  • May include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • May include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts
  • Goes easy on saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars

The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you eat and drink. A diet can help you to do this through portion control. There are many different types of diets. Some, like the Mediterranean diet, describe a traditional way of eating from a specific region. Others, like the DASH eating plan or a diet to lower cholesterol, were designed for people who have certain health problems. But they may also help you to lose weight. There are also fad or crash diets that severely restrict calories or the types of food you are allowed to eat. They may sound promising, but they rarely lead to permanent weight loss. They also may not provide all of the nutrients your body needs.

In addition to a diet, adding exercise into your daily life can help you to lose weight.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Endocrine Diseases

Your endocrine system includes eight major glands throughout your body. These glands make hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers. They travel through your bloodstream to tissues or organs. Hormones work slowly and affect body processes from head to toe. These include:

  • Growth and development
  • Metabolism - digestion, elimination, breathing, blood circulation and maintaining body temperature
  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Mood

If your hormone levels are too high or too low, you may have a hormone disorder. Hormone diseases also occur if your body does not respond to hormones the way it is supposed to. Stress, infection and changes in your blood's fluid and electrolyte balance can also influence hormone levels.

In the United States, the most common endocrine disease is diabetes. There are many others. They are usually treated by controlling how much hormone your body makes. Hormone supplements can help if the problem is too little of a hormone.

Enlarged Prostate (BPH)

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It lies just below the bladder. It makes fluid that is part of semen.

What is an enlarged prostate (BPH)?

An enlarged prostate is when your prostate gland becomes larger than normal. It's also called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH for short. Benign means not cancer. And hyperplasia means too much cell growth. BPH isn't cancer and it doesn't increase your risk of getting prostate cancer.

Usually, the prostate gland continues to grow during adult life. That's why BPH is the most common prostate condition in people over age 50. As the prostate gets bigger, it may press against the bladder and pinch the urethra. This can slow or block the flow of urine out of your bladder.

Over time, the bladder muscle may become weak from trying to pass urine through a narrow urethra. When this happens, your bladder may not empty completely when you urinate. A narrowed urethra and weak bladder cause many of the urinary problems you may have with BPH.

What causes an enlarged prostate (BPH)?

Researchers aren't sure why the prostate keeps growing. Some researchers think changes in hormones with aging may cause the prostate to get bigger.

Who is more likely to develop BPH?

You're more likely to develop BPH if you:

  • Are age 40 or older. The chance of getting BPH increases as you get older.
  • Have family members who have had BPH.
  • Have certain health conditions such as:
    • Obesity.
    • Heart disease and problems with blood circulation.
    • Type 2 diabetes.
    • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Don't get enough physical activity.
What are the symptoms of BPH?

Symptoms of BPH include:

  • Having a frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Waking up many times to urinate
  • Having problems with urine flow, such as:
    • Trouble starting to urinate
    • A stream that's weak, slow, or stops and starts
    • Dribbling after urination
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Feeling that you can't completely empty your bladder
  • Pain after ejaculation or during urination
  • Urine with an unusual color or smell

It's important to see your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms because they could be from a more serious health problem.

You should get medical help right away if you:

  • Can't urinate at all
  • Have fever and chills with urination that's painful, frequent, and urgent
  • Have blood in your urine
  • Have pain in your lower abdomen (belly) and urinary tract
What other problems can BPH cause?

For most people, BPH doesn't cause other problems. But BPH increases your chance of developing serious conditions, including:

  • Acute urinary retention. With this condition, you suddenly can't urinate at all. This a medical emergency. Acute urinary retention is common in older males and the chance of having it increases with age. It may be triggered by:
    • Taking certain over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Cold temperatures
    • Not moving enough over a long period of time
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Bladder damage and bladder stones
  • Kidney damage
How is BPH diagnosed?

To find out if you have BPH, your provider will:

  • Ask about your medical history. Be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you take, because certain medicines can make BPH symptoms worse.
  • Ask about your family health history.
  • Examine you. The exam may include a digital rectal exam (DRE) of your prostate. In a DRE, your provider inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to check if your prostate is large, tender, or irregular in any other way.
  • Order medical tests, if needed, such as:
    • Urine tests.
    • A PSA blood test (prostate-specific antigen test).
    • Urodynamic testing to see how well you can hold and release urine.
    • Cystoscopy to look inside your urethra and bladder.
    • Ultrasound pictures of your prostate and urinary tract.
    • A prostate biopsy to diagnose or rule out prostate cancer.
What are the treatments for BPH?

Not everyone needs treatment for BPH. Treatment options depend on how much your symptoms bother you, your health, age, and the size of your prostate:

  • Lifestyle changes may improve mild symptoms. They include:

    • Drinking less before bedtime or going out
    • Avoiding or cutting back on beverages with caffeine and alcohol
    • Bladder training and exercising the muscles that control urine flow
    • Preventing or treating constipation
  • Medicines can help mild to moderate symptoms by:

    • Stopping the prostate from growing
    • Shrinking the prostate
    • Relaxing muscles to improve urine flow

    Sometimes combining 2 types of medicine helps more than taking just one type of medicine.

  • Medical procedures can help improve moderate to severe BPH symptoms when medicines don't help enough. There are several different types of procedures. They all use an instrument inserted into the urethra to either:

    • Widen the urethra
    • Destroy part of the prostate with heat
  • Surgery may be helpful when symptoms are severe, other treatments haven't helped, or you have another problem, such as bladder damage. Different types of surgery are used to:

    • Remove part or all of the prostate
    • Make cuts in the prostate to take pressure off the urethra

    Most BPH surgery is done with tools inserted into the urethra.

Your provider can explain the possible benefits and side effects of your treatment options so you can decide what's best for you.

Can BPH be prevented?

Researchers haven't found ways to prevent BPH. You can take care of your prostate health by:

  • Talking with your provider about your risk for developing an enlarged prostate
  • Getting regular checkups
  • Paying attention to your symptoms so you can get treatment early if you see signs of BPH

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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