Health A-Z

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Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition that causes redness, inflammation, dryness and itching of the skin. The exact cause of eczema is not known but with the most common form of eczema – called atopic dermatitis – there is often a family history of eczema, hay fever and/or asthma.

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Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction means a man is unable to maintain an erect penis sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Many men have erection problems at times, and the likelihood increases with age.

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Eyes & ageing

Changes that occur in our eyes as we grow older can have a big effect on our vision.

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Falls prevention

A fall at any age can be dangerous, but falls become increasingly common and far more likely to cause injury after the age of 55.

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Folic acid

Easy-to-read medicine information about folic acid – what is it, how to take folic acid safely and possible side effects.

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Food allergies

A food allergy is when the body's immune system reacts to a harmless food as if it were toxic. In most cases, the allergic reaction may cause mild to moderate symptoms such as a rash or an upset tummy. In rare cases, it can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis.

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Fungal nail infections

Onychomycosis is a common fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails. It can cause discolouration and thickening of one or more nails over a long period of time.

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Fussy eaters

Fussy eating is normal in young children and can be stressful for parents. But, as long as your child is growing and developing healthily, then they're eating enough.

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Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis (tummy bug, food poisoning, traveller's diarrhoea, viral enteritis or intestinal flu) is a gut infection that causes stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.

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Gastro-oesophageal reflux

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease describes inflammation of the lining of the oesophagus due to stomach acid leaking up (refluxing) from the stomach. It is commonly referred to as GORD or GERD (American spelling).

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Glue ear

If your child has glue ear, it means there is fluid in the space behind the ear drum. The main symptom of glue ear is reduced hearing.

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Gout

Gout is a common and painful form of arthritis. It causes severe joint pain and swelling, especially in your toes, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers. If left untreated, gout can cause serious damage to your joints, kidneys and quality of life.

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Gum disease

Gum disease is common and ranges from mild to severe. If not treated, it can lead to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.

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Hair loss - normal or hereditary

While men experience "male pattern baldness" (vertex balding and/or receding frontal hairline), women generally experience female pattern baldness, which is a thinning over the top of the head or crown while maintaining a frontal hairline.

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Hair loss - temporary or abnormal

Abnormal hair loss is non-hereditary and usually temporary. It can be due to many causes, including nutritional deficiencies, disease, medications, reactions to hair products, stress, (also for women, pregnancy).

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Hand washing

Everyday, we come in contact with thousands of microscopic germs which have the potential to make us sick. Keeping your hands clean is vital for helping you stay well and preventing the spread of illnesses

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Hay fever

Hay fever is the inflammation of the lining of the nose and eyes due to allergy. Many people experience it as seasonal allergy to grass pollens.

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HbA1c testing

The HbA1c test measures your average blood glucose over the previous 8 to 12 weeks and gives an indication of your longer-term blood glucose control. It is used as a screening test to identify diabetes and regular monitoring tool if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.

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Head lice

Head lice are small parasitic insects that live clinging onto our hair and feed from our scalps.

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Healthy eating for children

Tips for parents, family/whānau and caregivers on the kinds of food – and how much of each – children need to eat to be healthy.

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Hearing loss in babies and children

Infants and children can have temporary or permanent hearing loss that may vary from slight to profound in its severity.

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Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to keep enough blood moving around the body. It does not mean the heart is about to stop, but it does mean that there is a problem with the heart’s pumping action.

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Heartburn

Heartburn is a burning feeling that rises from the stomach or lower chest up towards the neck. It can occur at any time but usually it happens after eating.

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High blood pressure

High blood pressure is a common condition in which the force of your blood against your artery walls is too high, too often. Ongoing high blood pressure, or hypertension, puts stress on the heart and can lead to health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

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High cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. Most cholesterol is made by your body, but eating fatty foods can lead to high cholesterol levels. Your arteries may clog up with the fatty cholesterol and which increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

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How food & drink affects sleep

If you've noticed you feel particularly sleepy or energised after eating or drinking certain things, that's because what you consume can have an impact on how well you sleep and how awake you are during the day.

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How much sleep is enough?

Most adults need around 7–9 hours of sleep each night. If you feel tired during the day, you might need to sleep more.

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Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) is a condition in which the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone.

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Hypothyroidism

Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.

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Indigestion

Indigestion is a word used to describe stomach pain or discomfort after eating. It is not a disease on its own, but a group of symptoms (such as stomach pain, bloating, or a sense of fullness) you feel soon after eating.

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Infant colic

Infant colic is ongoing crying without an obvious cause in otherwise healthy babies. It can be very stressful to manage but usually passes by 16 weeks of age.

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Influenza

Influenza is a viral infection of your nose, throat and sometimes your lungs, but it can affect your whole body. It is a serious viral infection that carries the risk of hospitalisation or even death.

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Insomnia

If you have trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or sleeping for long enough, you may have insomnia. This is a common problem and can be caused by many things. However, there are things you can do to help improve your sleep and there are treatments available if you need them.

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Iron supplements

Easy-to-read medicine information about iron supplements – what are they, how to take iron supplements safely and possible side effects.

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Irritable bowel disease

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Kidney disease

Kidney disease is any disease or condition that affects the function of the kidneys, which is to filter and remove wastes and water from the bloodstream.

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Knee arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most is the most common type of knee arthritis. It causes pain and stiffness in the joint.

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Liver disease

Liver disease can be inherited or caused by damage to the liver such as from infection, alcohol use and obesity. Over time, damage to the liver causes scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to life-threatening liver failure.

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Mammogram

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of your breast tissue. It can show changes and abnormalities in your breasts before anything can be seen or felt.

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Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of cancer that occurs in your skin. It often appears as a new spot on normal skin or develops from an existing mole.

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Meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can lead to serious illnesses including meningitis (inflammation of the brain membranes) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). These illnesses can develop quickly over a few hours and can cause serious disability or even death, so it’s important to get medical help immediately. Meningococcal disease can be treated with antibiotics. Early treatment is very important. Don't wait – take action!

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Mental illness

Mental illness is any disease or condition that influences the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and/ or relates to others.

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Nappy rash

Nappy rash is a red, irritating skin rash in the area covered by the baby's nappy.

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Obesity

Obesity is a medical term used to describe being too heavy for your height so that your health is affected. Obese children and adults are at much greater risk of acute and long-term health problems. The World Health Organisation describes the worldwide prevalence of obesity as an epidemic.

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Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting people as they get older. It causes pain, swelling, and reduced movement in the joints and is often called 'wear and tear' arthritis.

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to be thinner and weaker than normal. This means, they can break easily, such as after a small bump or fall.

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Parkinson's

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement and coordination. Symptoms of Parkinson’s usually take many years to develop. The first sign of Parkinson's is sometimes a tremor or slowness of movement. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but its symptoms can be treated with medication, surgery and lifestyle changes.

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Prediabetes

Prediabetes means the amount of glucose, a type of sugar, in your blood is higher than normal and you are at much higher risk of getting diabetes.

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Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that tends to run in families. The most common form causes red, flaky patches of skin covered with raised silvery scales, known as plaques.

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Raynaud's syndrome

Raynaud's (pronounced 'ray-nose') is an extreme response to cold, usually affecting the hands and feet.

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Reactive arthritis

Reactive arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes pain, stiffness, and sometimes swelling in the joints. It usually occurs as a reaction to an infection and normally goes away on its own within a few months without causing ongoing problems.

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Rheumatic fever

Rheumatic fever is a serious illness that affects the valves of the heart. It mainly affects children or teenagers, after a specific type of sore throat called Group A streptococcal (GAS) infection.

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