Diseases & Conditions

The human body is a remarkable structure. It's designed to efficiently manage the wear and tear of everyday life and fend off all sorts of threats. Most of us are healthy for most of our lives. But we're also susceptible to hundreds of injuries, diseases, and conditions. Some are quite common, others are extremely rare. Here are some of the most common conditions that affect humans.

Diseases & Conditions Articles

Ask Dr. Rob about piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a painful condition that develops due to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve near the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle connects the lowermost vertebrae with the upper part of the leg after traveling the "sciatic notch," the opening in the pelvic bone that allows the sciatic nerve to travel into the leg. Here, the muscle and nerve are adjacent and this proximity is why trouble can develop. The condition is relatively common. Estimates suggest that about 5% of cases of sciatica (irritation of the sciatic nerve causing radiating pain from the back or buttock into the leg, calf and foot) are due to piriformis syndrome. It seems to be more common among women though the reason for this is not known. The typical patient with piriformis syndrome complains of "sciatica" — that is, sharp, severe, radiating pain from the lower back or buttock down the back of the leg and into the thigh, calf, and foot. Symptoms may seem to be due to hip bursitis or disc herniation ("slipped disc") but the doctor's examination helps sort out the true cause because with piriformis syndrome the person also has: More »

Overcoming resistant hypertension

Resistant hypertension is when blood pressure remains at or above 140/90 mm Hg despite taking the highest dosage of at least three different blood pressure medications, including a diuretic. An estimated 10% to 20% of people currently treated for hypertension will become resistant. Addressing issues like sleep apnea, excess alcohol intake, and use of over-the-counter pain medications can often help correct resistant hypertension. More »

Quick-start guide to headaches

There are several types of common headaches. Migraines typically begin on one side of the head, with pain stretching from the front to the back of the head. Tension headaches feel like a tight band around the head. Cluster headaches cause a terrible stabbing pain around the eye. Sinus headaches are usually behind the eyes and nose and feel more like pressure than pain. An occasional headache is probably nothing to worry about. But when pain is sudden or chronic—more than once a week— it’s time to tell a doctor. (Locked) More »

Shingles may raise heart attack risk

The painful, blistering rash known as shingles may increase a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke, especially in the first year after the onset of shingles. Most people over age 60 should get a shingles vaccine, which lasts about five years. More »

What should you do about those unpleasant eye floaters?

For some people, debris from the vitreous in the eye may wind up floating around. These “floaters” may interfere with vision and become bothersome. Options include getting used to them, which becomes easier over time, or undergoing surgery to remove them. Another option that’s not currently recommended is a laser procedure called YAG vitreolysis, which vaporizes floaters with heat. The procedure is controversial, mainly because some doctors have been offering it since the early 1990s without solid evidence about its safety and effectiveness. Recent research suggests YAG vitreolysis may deserve more investigation. More »