Diseases & conditions

Kidney Diet Information...

March 1, 2014 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Ever wonder what you can eat when you have kidney problems? While there is no standard 'kidney diet', the dietitians at the Kidney Foundation of Canada have lots of helpful suggestions. They can help you plan your meals, track your daily intake, provide mouthwatering dietitian approved recipes and answer your kidney related health questions.

Here are some sample fact sheets you can browse...

For more information on kidney disorders check out our earlier blog or peruse one of TPL's books on the subject.

   Handbook of nutrition and the kidney  Handbook of chronic kidney disease management  Kidney disease - a guide for living  Eating well, living well with kidney disease

   100 questions & answers about kidney disease and hypertension  100 questions & answers about kidney cancer  100 questions and answers about kidney dialysis  Handbook of kidney transplantation

    Urinary tract and kidney diseases and disorders sourcebook  The encyclopedia of kidney diseases and disorders  The renal system at a glance   Williams' basic nutrition and diet therapy




World AIDS Day -- December 1st

November 30, 2013 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


The Canadian AIDS Society's motto this year is to remind everyone, that the fight against HIV/AIDS is not over... Even if there has been a steady decline in HIV infections among newsborns and overall fewer AIDS-related deaths were reported due to improved antiretroviral therapies... the AIDS clock is still ticking.

According to the UNAIDS Report on the global AIDS epidemic 2013, an estimated 35.3 million people around the world were living with HIV and 1.6 million people worldwide died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2012.

In Canada, an estimated 71,300 Canadians were living with HIV, and an estimated 3,175 new HIV infections occurred in 2011. (source: CATIE)

For more information on the background, diagnosis and prevention of HIV and AIDS check out some of our earlier blogs or peruse one of our many books on the subject from your library.

  The origins of AIDS  AIDS at 30 - a history  Piecing the puzzle - the genesis of AIDS research in Africa  AIDS - taking a long-term view

  AIDS sourcebook - basic consumer health information about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)...  AIDS - science and society  What nurses know -- HIV and AIDS  Achieving an AIDS transition - preventing infections to sustain treatment

  A woman's guide to living with HIV infection    Birth in the age of AIDS - women, reproduction, and HIV and AIDS in India  HIV prevention and bisexual realities  AIDS

Keep track of your height for signs of osteoporosis

November 2, 2013 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Osteoporosis_month_2012November is Osteoporosis month and Osteoporosis Canada recommends that everyone over the age of 50 should take a height measurement annually. Why? While it's normal to lose a little height as we get older, losing 2cm or more may be a warning sign of a possible spine fracture due to osteoporosis. 

So how can you tell the difference between normal height loss and height loss due to osteoporosis?  By keeping track of your height! For most accurate measurements, ask your healthcare provider to measure and record your height. Check out the Osteoporosis Canada website for a template to record your measurements. And if the height loss is more than 2cm or 3/4" in height, ask your healthcare provider to be checked for osteoporosis. 

By the way, osteoporosis is not just a woman's disease. While more women than men will suffer a broken bone from osteoporosis, it is also a serious health issue for men. According to Osteoporosis Canada, approximately 30,000 hip fractures occur in Canada each year. From these, over a quarter occur in men and proportionally more men than women die as a result of a hip fracture within a year and/or will require care in a long-term facility.

For more information on prevention and treatments of osteoporosis check out the wide array of books at the Toronto Public Library.

  The Cleveland Clinic guide to osteoporosis   The complete book of bone health   100 questions & answers about osteoporosis and osteopenia   Exercises for osteoporosis - a safe and effective way to build bone density and muscle strength 3rd ed.

  Dr. Lani's No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide - The Truth about Density Testing, Osteoporosis Drugs, and Building Bone Quality at Any Age.   Gentle yoga for osteoporosis   The intelligent patient guide to osteoporosis   The whole-body approach to osteoporosis - how to improve bone strength and reduce your fracture risk

  Your bones - how you can prevent osteoporosis & have strong bones for life naturally  Yoga for osteoporosis - the complete guide Whole-food guide to strong bones - a holistic approach Unbreakable - a woman's triumph over osteoporosis


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

June 15, 2013 | Mariam | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada!

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is one among many common neurological conditionsALS attacks the nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.  These motor neurons degenerate and die, eventually leading to a loss of the ability to start and control any voluntary movements including swallowing.  There is no known cure or cause for ALS; however the disease has been linked to a genetic defect in 1 out of 10 cases. 

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Head drop due to weakness of the neck muscles
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle contractions called fasciculations
  • Muscle weakness that slowly gets worse
  • Paralysis
  • Speech problems, such as a slow or abnormal speech pattern (slurring of words)
  • Voice changes, hoarseness
  • Weight loss

Famous people with ALS: Lou Gehrig, Stephen HawkingDavid Niven, Mao Zedong

For more information on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis check out the following titles available at the Toronto Public Library:

 Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a guide for patients and families   Motor neuron disease    Treating the brain - what the best doctors know   Lou Gehrig's Disease

Do you know the five signs of stroke?

June 1, 2013 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Each year 50,000 strokes occur in Canada... that is one stroke every 10 minutes. While stroke can be fatal, most people survive, however many are left with a range of disabilities. A lot depends on how soon treatment is commenced. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, treatment within the first 3 1/2 hours can make all the difference. So don't delay, learn to recognize the five warning signs of stroke and call immediately  9-1-1 or your local emergency number. It can significantly improve survival and recovery.

What are the five signs of stroke?

If any of these signs occur, call 9-1-1 immediately. There is life after stroke... but you have to act fast! 

For more information on stroke and stroke prevention check out one of these titles from your local Toronto Public Library branch:


              Stroke sourcebook - basic consumer health information about stroke, including ischemic, hemorrhagic, and mini strokes, as well as risk factors...   100 questions and answers about stroke - a Lahey Clinic guide    Stroke

              When your spouse has a stroke - caring for your partner, yourself, and your relationship    Recognizing and surviving heart attacks and strokes - lifesaving advice you need now    After a stroke - 300 tips for making life easier


World AIDS Day... the clock is still ticking

December 1, 2012 | marietta forster-haberer | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


December 1st is World AIDS Day. According to UN reports, there has been a significant drop in new HIV infections across 25 countries... there has also been a steady decline in HIV infections among newsborns... and overall fewer AIDS-related deaths were reported due to improved antiretroviral therapies. While this is welcome news, the AIDS clock is still ticking signaling that every 6 and a half seconds someone contracts HIV while every 10 seconds another person dies of AIDS.

There is renewed optimism that a safe and effective HIV vaccine is within reach to stop the virus that has killed more than 30 million people worldwide. Canada is playing an important role in this research but global collaboration is needed for the successful development of the HIV vaccine.

To read more about HIV and AIDS check out the following blog or put a hold on one of TPL's books on the subject.

  AIDS sourcebook - basic consumer health information about HIV - AIDS...  The AIDS conspiracy - science fights back  HIV - AIDS  The origins of AIDS

  What nurses know - HIV - AIDS  Viral mothers - breastfeeding in the age of HIV- AIDS  Achieving an AIDS transition - preventing infections to sustain treatment  A woman's guide to living with HIV infection 2nd ed.

Where to find reliable health information in other languages?

May 3, 2012 | sylvia | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

HealthInformationInMultipleLanguagesLiving in an information explosion age like today, our challenge is not having limited access to information, but "separating the wheat from the chaff". For example, googling "diabetes", yields up 333 millions hits (as of May 3rd, 2012). So which ones can you trust?  If you are looking for a recipe for banana cake, it is ok to just take a look at the first couple of them. But if it's your health, you can't take it so lightly. Fortunately, there is help! Sites like MedlinePlus, and the Medical Library Association's website_ tell you how to find and evaluate health information on the web.

As for reliable free online health information in other languages than English, here are some useful sites:

Moreover, don't forget your Toronto Public Library! To find out which branches have your language collection, click here.

Or you can search our catalogue and order the materials you want before you go. Here is how to search the Toronto Public Library website for multilingual materials.

There are two different ways to search.

HealthInformationInMultipleLanguagesThe easiest way is to search in your own language. For example, to find some Chinese diabetes materials, _ simply type Hanyu Pinyin Tang Niao Bing in the search box from our library home page, and click Search. 20 results turn up (as of May 3rd, 2012).

Another way is to search in English for materials in your language, here is how to:

  1. click Advanced search (it's on top of our home page, right next to the Search button)
  2. type keywords/subject in the search box (leave All fields unchanged),
  3. select Type of material that you prefer (books, movies & video, audiobooks, etc.)
  4. select Language 
  5. select appropriate branch from At library branch (we have 98 branches) You can select any one from the list but since we have limited multilingual materials, it's better not to limit this at all. If an item is not available in your branch, _ it can be transferred to your local branch for pick-up. So it's best to select any branch
  6. select Age level (children/Teen/Adult)
  7. select Include [Reference Materials (in-library only)/Circulating Materials (take-home)/Fiction-Books/ Non-Fiction Books]
  8. click Search

Here is an example: a customer wants to find some Chinese materials on diabetes in the Toronto Public Library that she/ he can borrow.

Go to Advanced search, type "diabetes" (leave All fields unchanged), choose "any type" from Type, choose "Chinese" from Language, choose "any branch" from At library branch,  choose "Adult+Teen+Children" from Age level, choose "Circulating Materials (take-home)+Non-Fiction Books", then click Search. Viola! 17 items (as of May 3rd, 2012) show up.

Look through the 17 items and choose the one you want to borrow. Then click the green button Place Hold under each item to reserve them (If you didn't log in to your account before the search, you will be asked for your library and PIN number), then choose the branch from which you want to pick up the materials, finally click Place Hold again.

Then just relax and wait for the Library's notification (phone/email). Normally it takes 4-5 business days for the material to be transferred from branch to branch (if the material is available in the branch). Upon the notification, you got 7 days to pick-up your items.

Thyroid Disease

February 23, 2012 | carolyn | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Thyroid_01Are you one of the many people with an undiagnosed thyroid disorder?  It is estimated that 1 in every 3 Canadians has a thyroid disease but as many as half don't know it.

Thyroid diseases include:

  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Graves' Eye Disease
  • Thyroiditis including Hashimoto's Disease
  • Thyroid cancer

For more information, read About Thyroid Disease from the Thyroid Foundation of Canada. 

Also read about thyroid conditions at MyThyroid.com, a site maintained by Dr. Daniel Drucker, University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital.

Check out the Library's recent books about thyroid disease.  To see which branch has a copy of the book and to place a hold, click on the title or cover link;


Complete Thyroid Book

Everything Guide to Thyroid Disease

Quickfacts Thyroid Cancer

The Complete Thyroid Book

The Everything Guide to
Thyroid Disease

Quickfacts Thyroid Cancer
Complete Idiot's Guide to Thyroid Disease

Cooking Well.  Thyroid Health

Thyroid Diet Revolution

The Complete Idiot's Guide
to Thyroid Disease

Cooking Well. Thyroid Health
The Thyroid Diet Revolution

Rare Diseases

October 20, 2011 | carolyn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Medical Lab

What is a rare disease?

  • >Rare diseases are diseases that affect a small number of people, usually fewer than 1 in 2,000
  • >A rare disease may be more common in some parts of the world, among certain populations and at different time periods
  • >They are often genetic diseases, but could also be infectious or auto-immune diseases
  • >They are often serious chronic or life-threatening diseases



Some rare diseases such as Legionnaires' disease, listeriosis (contaminated food), rabies, sickle cell disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Stephen Hawking's disease), Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ("mad cow disease")have a higher profile than others among the general population as they are often covered by the media.

To see a full list of rare diseases, go to the Encyclopaedia for Patients alphabetical list from Orphanet.  Click on a disease to get the information sheet.  Limited information including abstract, synonyms, general discussion and organizations can also be accessed for free through the Rare Disease Database compiled by NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders).

If you know someone who has been diagnosed with a rare disease, a good first place to go is For Patients and Families by NORD.  Read patient stories, connect with others who have the same rare disease, get news about clinical trials, or ask a nurse or a genetic counselor in the Patient Information Center.

For news, events and current issues in Canada, go to the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders.

Check out the Library's recent books about specific rare diseases.  To see which branch has a copy of the book and to place a hold, click on the title or cover link;  

100 Q&Ss About Crohn's Disease
Amyotrophic Lateral
Cystic Fibrosis
100 Questions & Answers
About Crohn's Disease
and Ulcerative Colitis
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis:
a Guide for Patients and Families
Cystic Fibrosis: the Facts
Guillan-Barre Syndrome
Huntington's Disease
Guillain-Barré Syndrome:
From Diagnosis to Recovery
Huntington's Disease Thalassaemia: the Biography

Let's Talk About Speech Disorders

August 18, 2011 | carolyn | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...



For many, trying to say words and be understood is difficult and frustrating.  In Canada, up to 10% of children and up to 6% of adults have a speech disorder.  For more information read the Speech, Language and Hearing Fact Sheet from the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists.


Speech disorders are common to both children and adults and are characterized by an inability to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently.  Examples of speech disorders are stuttering and apraxia.

For information about speech disorders in children and teens, go to MedLinePlus or KidsHealth.  Find links to specific speech disorders in adults at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association site.

Stuttering is a disfluency disorder where a person repeats words or parts of words or has trouble getting the word out altogether.  Famous people who have had problems with stuttering or stammering include King George VI who was depicted in the film, The King's Speech, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Tiger Woods, Marilyn Monroe and Nicole Kidman.  For a more complete list, read Famous People Who Stutter from The Stuttering Foundation.

Read a fact sheet about stuttering from the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists or from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.  Watch Stuttering and Your Child: Help for Parents a streaming video on YouTube from The Stuttering Foundation. 

Find a self-help group to join from the Canadian Stuttering Association

Early detection is important for overcoming a speech disorder.  To find a professional speech-language pathologist in your area, go to Find a Professional at the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists web site.

Check out the Library's recent books about speech disorders for more information.  To see which branch has a copy of the book and to place a hold, click on the cover or title link;

Childhood Speech, Language and Listening Problems

The Child and Adolescent Stuttering Treatment

Yoga for Stuttering

Childhood Speech, Language
and Listening Problems

The Child and Adolescent
Stuttering Treatment and
Activity Resource Guide

Yoga for Stuttering

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