Cold vs. Flu–Their Symptoms and How They Spread

A sick couple sitting on the couch in sweaters blowing their noses and coughing

Every year we hear the admonishments to get out and get a flu shot, and to watch out for the common cold, but how many of us really know the difference between the two?  The answer is, sadly, not many and that means that its possible that we’re treating a cold like the flu, which can be counterproductive at worst, and ineffective at best.  So how do you tell the difference between these two conditions and what can you do to treat them? We’ve put together this handy guide to help you find your way through this cold and flu season a little better informed, and hopefully a little healthier.

What Is The Flu?
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the flu.  Every year we know people who faithfully get their flu-shot and yet wind up coming down with it anyway, perhaps leaving you wondering why they bother.  To understand this phenomenon it’s important to understand that the flu is not one disease, but a family of diseases and the flu shot only immunizes you against four or five of the ones that the CDC suspects will be the biggest problem in any given year.  However, all of these cases of flu share one thing in common, they’re caused by a virus and can be classified as either a Type A or a Type B Flu strain.

  • Type A – This type of flu is either exclusive to the animal kingdom, or can be found crossing the boundary to both humans and animals alike.  You may remember the Avian flu scare from some time ago, this was the example of a Type A flu that infected birds, but could be contracted by humans.
  • Type B – This type of flu is significantly rarer than Type A cases of flu and exclusively appear in humans.


So why doesn’t the flu vaccine work on all flu if there are only two types?  Within these types, there are countless varieties, and the flu is known for its remarkable ability to adapt and become immune to vaccines and medication.

So What About The Common Cold?
Just like we experience with  “The Flu”, the “Common Cold” isn’t so common, nor is it a single strain of a virus.  In fact, there are over 200 virus strains that bear the blame for the ‘common cold’, and that’s one of the reasons there’s no magic bullet to prevent it from setting in.  The cold affects sinuses, larynx, throat, and is mostly centered on the nose. In those patients who have a weak immune system or are already sick the cold can become pneumonia.

Don’t let the cold or flu ruin your day, pick up the phone and give the professionals at Conroe Family Doctor a call today.  When you make an appointment with Dr. Trang Nguyen or one of their associates you’ll be seeing a respected family doctor in the Conroe, Texas area.  They take pride in helping their patients through life’s little illnesses and are there to help your family survive the cold and flu season without a sniffle.

What You Need to Know About Diabetes

Diabetes diet

 

There’s a lot of misinformation out there surrounding diabetes, which is absolutely no help at all when you’re living with it or know someone who is. Confusion over Type 1, Type 2, what it means to be diagnosed as pre-diabetic or to be hypoglycemic, and if they have anything to do with diabetes at all has served to muddle what information there is. For those who are living with diabetes or have family members who are, we’ve put together this document to help clarify some common misconceptions.

What Is Diabetes?
First off, it will help to explain exactly what diabetes is, to begin with. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body has malfunctions pertaining to the processing and utilization of glucose. The core of this issue is insulin, a substance the body produces naturally to aid glucose’s journey into your cells. Without insulin, your body isn’t capable of getting sufficient levels of glucose into your cells, and that can cause significant problems, including high blood sugar. Elevated levels of blood sugar can lead to a host of complications related to diabetes, including:

  • Damage to Eyes, Kidneys, Skin, and the Heart
  • Nerve Damage
  • Wounds not healing properly
  • Blurry Vision
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Breathing problems
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Falling Unconscious
  • Death


These conditions are caused either when the body has insufficient blood sugar (Hypoglycemia) or experiences ketoacidosis, which happens when your body isn’t able to properly utilize sugar.

Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 – What are they?
These terms are used to specify precisely what your body’s insulin issue is. In those who are suffering from Type 1 Diabetes, the body is incapable of producing insulin, making it extremely difficult for your body to get sufficient fuel to the cells to keep them running. Type 2 diabetes speaks of a failure of your body to produce appropriate levels of insulin, or that it doesn’t react to insulin like it should. Both of these conditions can be extremely dangerous if left untreated, and type 2 diabetes has the potential to become type 1 over a long enough time span in some patients.

What Causes Diabetes?
There’s a lot of rumors out there surrounding what can cause diabetes, and parents, in particular, like to warn against the consumption of too much sugar as a leading cause. While there is some truth to that in that being overweight can increase your likelihood of getting diabetes, sugar itself and the consumption thereof are not directly causal factors. What does cause diabetes isn’t well understood, but in Type 1 the body destroys the cells that produce insulin as an autoimmune response. Type 2 diabetes has no direct known cause, though inactivity and weight gain are thought to contribute heavily.

If you have more questions about diabetes then you should pick up the phone and make an appointment to speak to Dr. Trang D Nguyen at Conroe Family Doctor.

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