We work with our partner organizations to create resources for writers and producers on a wide variety of compelling health topics. Tip sheets include basic information such as who’s at risk, typical symptoms and case examples for storylines, and additional resources on the topic. Many are also in Spanish. You can access the CDC's list of health topics (A to Z), or by using the link at the very bottom of this page. In addition, see our list of featured tip sheets below.
Vote by mail was first used to allow Civil War soldiers to vote from the battlefield and has now expanded to allow more people who cannot physically be at the polls to mail in or drop off their ballot. Access has further expanded recently due to the safety concerns of in-person voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-six states now allow some form of mail voting to all voters according to the Open Source Election Technology Institute. (Posted 7/28/20)
Medication abortion care is a safe, FDA-approved, non-invasive option for ending an early pregnancy. It involves taking two different prescribed medications: mifepristone is taken first, and misoprostol is taken 24 to 48 hours later. Medication abortion does not affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant in the future and is not associated with any long-term negative health effects. (Posted 5/22/20)
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect the body’s joints and organs. It causes the immune system to see the body’s healthy cells as foreign and attack. No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. It strikes without warning, has unpredictable and sometimes fatal effects, and has no known cause or cure. (Posted 4/21/20)
Each year, more than 600,000 people in the U.S. are released from state and federal prisons. However, more than 450,000 are arrested again within five years, often due to technical violations or non-criminal behavior. In many cases recidivism is a direct result of the collateral consequences of having a criminal conviction. For example, justice involved people often face barriers to finding housing and employment when they re-enter into society. (Posted 2/24/20)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a broad range of disorders that affect a child’s communication and social behaviors. The effects of these disorders on the autism spectrum can range from mild to severe. One common autism spectrum disorder is called Asperger’s syndrome. Autism occurs in people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and no two individuals with autism are the same. (Posted 7/11/19)
1 in 5 adults suffer from a mental health condition, and such conditions are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for all Americans and the second leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 15 and 34. Persons with serious mental illnesses struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from the disease and are challenged by the stereotypes and prejudice that result from misconceptions about mental illness. (Posted 6/24/19)
In the throes of addiction, people may engage in illegal acts that result in incarceration. At least a quarter of people in US prisons and jails have an addiction to opioids, compared to 1% in the general US population. (Posted 6/13/19)
It is estimated that more than 228,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019. The low 5-year survival rates for lung cancer (19%) is particularly striking when compared with the 5-year survival rates for prostate (98%), breast (90%), and colorectal (65%) cancers. (Posted 5/29/19)
Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States, with one in every sixteen Americans expected to receive a diagnosis of lung cancer in their lifetime. Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer and almost three times as many men as prostate cancer. (Posted 3/29/19)
Opioids are a group of chemicals that include natural opiates derived from the poppy (morphine and codeine) and synthetic opioids made in labs—oxycodone (brand Oxycontin), hydrocodone (brands Norco and Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone, and fentanyl. Fentanyl is used in medicine and surgery; it is also manufactured by drug dealers. Two opioids (methadone and buprenorphine) are also used in addiction treatment, because they are long-acting (one dose lasts all day) and they decrease cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms. These medications cut overdose rates in half and increase the chance of staying in treatment long-term. (Re-posted 6/13/19)
Opioid addiction has increased at alarming rates for both men and women in the United States. Opioids include both illicit drugs, such as heroin and street fentanyl, and prescription medications such as oxycodone, codeine and morphine. They work by dulling emotional and physical pain signals to the brain, giving their user an immense sense of both emotional and physical relief, calm and pleasure. After the first dose, it takes higher and higher doses to replicate this sensation. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain. People with addiction continue to use despite substantial physical and social harms, like life-threatening overdose, loss of jobs, housing, and family. (Re-posted 6/13/19)
Film and TV have a history of being less than exemplary when it comes to showcasing diverse characters—characters with disabilities are no exception. While people with disabilities are the largest minority in America, the disability community still lacks major representation on TV. According to a 2018 study by GLAAD, just 2.1 percent of scripted characters on primetime TV have disabilities in the 2018-2019 season. Although TV portrayals of people with disabilities are slowly increasing, it still trails behind portrayals of other minority groups. (Posted 2/12/19)
Arthritis includes more than 100 diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint, and other connective tissue. Each type of arthritis has a different set of unique signs and symptoms. However, nearly all types of arthritis are marked by joint pain, stiffness and swelling, along with loss of flexibility and range of motion. (Posted 8/24/18)
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that can affect the body’s joints and any organ, including the skin, kidneys, brain, heart and lungs. The disease causes the immune system to see the body’s healthy cells as foreign invaders and attacks them. No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to kidney failure. There is currently no cure. (Updated 12/20/19)
56 million Americans have a disability, and the market size of this extended community— when you include family members, those with close friends with disabilities and those who work on behalf or volunteer for a disability cause— is 63 percent, and worth an estimated $1 trillion. However, few companies today are fully reaching out to the disability market. (Posted 7/30/18)
Maternal death is the pregnancy-related mortality of a mother during or after pregnancy—for up to a year postpartum (after birth), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This can include conditions related to the pregnancy, such as hemorrhaging, hypertension, heart disease, and mental health issues such as suicide. While maternal mortality rates around the world decreased by more than one-third from 2000 to 2015, the rate of maternal deaths in the U.S. increased 100% since 1987. (Posted 07/17/18)
Según los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC), la mortalidad materna se refiere a la muerte relacionada con el embarazo durante o después del embarazo, hasta un período de un año tras el parto. Esta puede incluir afecciones relacionadas con el embarazo, como hemorragias, hipertensión, enfermedad cardíaca y problemas de salud mental, como el suicidio. Si bien las tasas de mortalidad materna en todo el mundo han disminuido más de una tercera parte del año 2000 al 2015, la tasa de mortalidad materna en los EE. UU. ha aumentado en un 100% desde 1987.
For 95% of women who have had an abortion, feelings of relief outweigh any negative emotions. Studies show that women do not regret their decision to terminate a pregnancy—and these feelings are maintained three years later, reports the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UC San Francisco’s School of Medicine. Other research has found that most women express “decisional certainty” about choosing an abortion. (Posted 06/27/18)
As people age, their mobility and physical strength diminish and many aspects of a home that were once functional become difficult. For many older adults, living well means living comfortably at home. As people age, physical challenges can make it hard to get around the house. One solution is to remodel the space to accommodate these challenges. (Re-posted 06/25/19)
Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans including some low-income adults, families and children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with disabilities. Medicaid currently covers 74 million people, or 1 in 5 Americans. More than 1 in 7 low-income older adults with Medicare (or 6.9 million people aged 65+) also rely on Medicaid for their health and long-term care. (Posted 04/27/18)
Ionizing radiation has sufficient energy to cause chemical changes in human cells and damage them. Fortunately, our bodies are extremely efficient at repairing cell damage. The extent of the damage to the cells depends upon the amount and duration of the exposure, as well as the organs exposed. A lot of radiation over a short period, such as from a radiation emergency, can cause burns or radiation sickness. If the exposure is large enough, it can cause premature aging or even death. (Posted 08/29/17)
Childbirth has been a normal and natural life process for women and society for centuries. Yet today, one-third of babies are surgically born, and interventions (e.g., episiotomy, fetal monitoring) are often used contrary to best evidence, when they are known to offer no benefit and have the potential to cause harm. Childbirth is the top reason for hospitalization in the U.S., with both maternity care providers (e.g. obstetricians, family physicians, midwives) and hospitals playing a significant role in childbirth. (Reposted 12/9/19)
Maternal mental health (MMH) disorders (e.g., major depressive disorder, anxiety) are the most common medical complications affecting women during the perinatal period (pregnancy through the infant’s first year). Undetected and untreated, these conditions are associated with negative health outcomes for the mother and the child’s long-term physical, emotional, and developmental health. (Reposted 02/05/20)
The majority of states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion—either by notification or consent. Since the Supreme Court ruled that states may not give parents a veto over a daughter’s choice, 36 states allow a minor to petition a judge to waive the requirement to notify parents, or obtain one or both parents’ permission. But the judicial bypass process for minors is fraught with difficulties—the various restrictions and requirements in different states can be complicated and unclear—which make the procedure a humiliating or risky experience. (Posted 07/21/17)
The Trump Administration is enthusiastically supporting a vast and expensive “modernization” of our nuclear stockpile, a plan that began under President Obama. A recent report in The New York Times describes how the plan’s costs have recently ballooned from $1 trillion over 30 years to more than $1.2 trillion. The program will not build new nuclear weapons, but instead replace the missiles, submarines and bombers that would deliver them. (Posted 06/20/17)
Since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade provided women with safe and legal abortion, subsequent decisions have resulted in states having enacted a total of 1,142 restrictions to abortion access. This has created a patchwork of laws that impact women’s health inconsistently and impose financial hardship. Just in the first three months of 2017, state legislators introduced 1,053 measures related to reproductive health, including 431 restrictions to abortion services. Like a game of whack-a-mole, each new restriction is met with a counter lawsuit. (Posted 06/12/17)
For the handful of nations that possess nuclear weapons, how they are controlled and managed has been a fundamental issue since the dawn of the nuclear age. North Korea—a country steeped in secrecy—raises many questions in this regard. How does it ensure its weapons and facilities are safe and secure? The world has no assurances. North Korea's nuclear program remains a source of deep concern for the international community. It is rapidly increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons material with little pushback from the United States. (Posted 05/03/17)
Currently over 29 million adults in the United States are living with diabetes, and about 1 in 4 of these people are unaware they have the disease. About 40% of U.S. adults are expected to develop type 2 diabetes over their lifetimes; for Latino/Hispanic adults, it is predicted that over 50% will develop type 2 diabetes (CDC, 2016). Addressing this particular disease burden on the Latino/Hispanic community will require a variety of efforts, including increasing Latino/Hispanic representation in clinical trials. (Posted 02/14/17)
The medications and treatments that we use to deal with different illnesses and injuries have been studied using clinical trials. Unfortunately, the people who often participate rarely include those from underrepresented backgrounds—African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and people living in rural areas. This lack of diversity in clinical trials hinders opportunities for discovering medication and treatment effects that may only occur in underrepresented populations. (Posted 02/14/17)
With heart disease, we see major differences among different groups of people. It’s the leading cause of death for most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, and is especially common among vulnerable populations, such as ethnic minority groups and low-income populations. Understanding the cause of these differences is critical for developing effective treatments, and clinical trials, with volunteers from diverse groups, can provide vital information. (Posted 02/14/17)
With the increase in longevity and our society’s expansive aging population, more people are living with chronic health conditions. While longer life is seemingly positive, it does come with its detriments. Chronic illness can affect one in their day-to-day life and can make it difficult to perform activities of daily living. (Posted 12/15/16)
More than half of adults who reach age 65 will – at some point – need a high level of support with basic daily activities, such as walking, eating, bathing and getting out of bed. People needing help with basic daily activities may also have a range of additional support that is needed, such as help with paying bills, taking medications regularly, and scheduling and getting to appointments and social activities. (Posted 12/15/16)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau report, the older adult population will continue to grow significantly in the coming years as a result of the aging “baby boom” generation. This will affect families, businesses and health care providers. However, there are steps that can be taken by aging adults to help prepare for their future. (Posted 9/12/16)
Health care today is designed to serve the medical system and providers rather than putting people with care needs first. Health care that puts people first means helping those with significant health conditions live the life they want to live – and not spend all their time inside a doctor’s office or hospital. This is especially true for older adults who have multiple health conditions and difficulty living independently. (Posted 9/12/16)
The face of American society is changing with people living longer than ever before. Yet right now our nation lacks a system of care and support that enables older adults to age with dignity, independence and choice in the face of increasing health and daily needs. Vulnerable older adults need more affordable and accessible options for receiving care and support in their homes so that they don’t have to end up in a nursing home. Fulfilling this need will take unprecedented levels of public involvement, including being engaged in our daily lives, our neighborhoods, our communities and at the state and federal levels. (Posted 9/12/16)
Young African American women under the age of 35 have breast cancer rates that are two times higher than Caucasian women of the same age. Furthermore, young African American women are three times as likely to die from breast cancer as Caucasian women of the same age.
Every day, nearly 4,200 Americans get the terrifying news from their doctor that they have cancer, and the numbers are increasing. Although cancer strikes people of every age, older people have the highest risk—and America’s population is aging.
People diagnosed with epilepsy have had more than one seizure, and they may have more than one kind of seizure. About 2.9 million people in the United States have some form of epilepsy. A seizure happens when abnormal electrical activity in the brain results in an involuntary change in body movement or function, sensation, awareness, or behavior. It can last from a few seconds to minutes.
African American women are disproportionately affected by HIV. Of all the women living with AIDS in the U.S., 60% are African American and two out of three African American women got HIV from having unprotected sex with a man. In 2002, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death for African American women aged 25–34 years.
Traditional efforts promoted by CDC to prevent HIV infections have depended on changing people’s behaviors: using condoms for sex, clean needles for injecting drugs, and standard precautions (formally called “universal precautions”) to prevent HIV exposures in the workplace. CDC increasingly recommends the use of PrEP and PEP to prevent HIV infection in these kinds of situations.