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

Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, the small saclike organ located near the liver in the upper right side of the abdomen. It is attached to the main duct that carries bile from the liver into the intestine. Bile helps your body to break down and absorb fats. The gallbladder temporarily stores bile from the liver. When you eat, the gallbladder contracts, and squeezes extra bile into the intestine to aid digestion. There are two ways to remove the gallbladder: Over 90% of the time, laparoscopic surgery is used because it requires a shorter hospital stay, is less painful, and has a shorter recovery time compared to traditional surgery. Traditional surgery is usually used because the person has significant abdominal scarring from prior surgery, severe inflammation, unusual anatomy, or other factors that make surgery with a laparoscope very difficult and riskier. (Locked) More »

Corneal Transplant

The cornea is the clear, round, "window" of tissue that allows light to enter the front of the eye. If the cornea becomes severely diseased or damaged, it can distort or even block the normal path of light into the eye. When this happens, light does not focus normally on the retina, the layer at the back of the eye that is responsible for sight. As a result, there can be a significant loss of vision in the affected eye. When corneal conditions cause serious, irreversible vision problems, a corneal transplant often is the best solution. In a corneal transplant, an eye surgeon first removes the diseased or damaged area of cornea. The removed tissue then is replaced by a section of healthy cornea that has been taken from the eye of a dead donor. (Locked) More »

Cystoscopy

Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to look inside the bladder and the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. A cystoscope is a tube-like instrument with lenses, a camera and a light on one end and an eyepiece on the other. With a cystoscope, your doctor can examine the urethra and the lining of the bladder. If necessary, your doctor can pass surgical instruments through the cystoscope to perform specific procedures. In most cases, a simple cystoscopy lasts 5 to 10 minutes. Procedures that are more complex take longer. Cystoscopy checks inside the bladder for tumors, sites of bleeding, signs of infection, stones (calculi) and causes of bladder outlet obstruction. It also can be used to: Your doctor will review your medical and surgical histories, current medications and history of allergies. If you may be pregnant, tell your doctor before the procedure. (Locked) More »

Endoscopy

Endoscopy describes many procedures that look inside the body using some type of endoscope, a flexible tube with a small TV camera and a light on one end and an eyepiece on the other. The endoscope allows doctors to examine the inside of certain tube-like structures in the body. Many endoscopes transmit the doctor's view to a video screen. Most endoscopes have attachments that permit doctors to take fluid or tissue samples for laboratory testing. Upper endoscopy allows a doctor to see inside the esophagus, stomach and top parts of the small intestine. Bronchoscopy examines the large airways inside the lungs (bronchi). Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy examine different parts of the lower digestive tract. Each type of endoscopy uses a slightly different endoscope with a different name — an upper endoscope for upper endoscopy, a bronchoscope for bronchoscopy, a sigmoidoscope for sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscope for colonoscopy. Other endoscopes allow doctors to see inside the abdomen and inside joints through small incisions. (Locked) More »

Heart Transplant

A heart transplant is surgery in which a patient with a life-threatening heart problem receives a new, healthy heart from a person who has died. In a heart transplant, the patient who receives the new heart (the recipient) is someone who has a 30 percent or greater risk of dying within 1 year without a new heart. Although there is no absolute age limit, most transplants are performed on patients younger than 70 years old. The person who provides the healthy heart (the donor) is usually someone who has been declared brain dead and is still on life-support machinery. Heart donors are usually younger than 50, have no history of heart problems, and do not have any infectious diseases. The recipient and donor must be a good match, meaning that certain proteins on their cells (called antigens) are similar. A good match will reduce the risk that the recipient's immune system will see the donor heart as a foreign object and attack it in a process called organ rejection. (Locked) More »

Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is surgery in which a person who has permanent kidney failure receives a healthy kidney from another person. This single, healthy kidney takes on the workload of both of the person's failed kidneys. The failed kidneys usually are left in place. The new kidney is added to the abdomen. The new kidney can come from a living or dead donor. A living donor is often a close blood relative of the person who receives the new kidney (the recipient). However, in certain cases, a recipient's spouse or friend can be a kidney donor. Most people are born with two kidneys, but really need only one of them: the second kidney is like an "insurance policy". Therefore, there is little risk in a living donor giving up one of his or her two kidneys. (Locked) More »

Lung Transplant

In lung transplant surgery, someone with life-threatening respiratory problems is given one or two healthy lungs taken from a person who has died. If one lung is transplanted, the procedure is called a single-lung transplant. If both lungs are transplanted, it is a bilateral or double-lung transplant. Lungs for transplantation usually come from young, healthy people who have had severe brain damage because of trauma or cardiac arrest (a stopped heart). Their lungs and other organs are maintained with life-support machinery. Under certain circumstances, two living people can donate small parts of their lungs to one person in desperate need of a transplant. Each person donates one lobe (section) of a lung. This rare use of living donors is done in some cases because of a great shortage of suitable lungs from donors who have died. Entire lungs are never transplanted from a healthy living donor because of the high risk of complications. Living donor lung transplants are very uncommon. (Locked) More »

Pneumonectomy

A pneumonectomy is the surgical removal of a lung. Pneumonectomy is usually done as a treatment for cancer in carefully selected patients who have no evidence of cancer spread outside the lung and who are otherwise healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Compared to other treatments of lung cancer, pneumonectomy is considered high-risk surgery. Traditional pneumonectomy — Only the diseased lung is removed. (Locked) More »

Pulmonary Function Testing

Your doctor can get a great deal of information about your lungs and lung function by doing a series of tests called pulmonary function testing. These tests can tell your doctor what quantity of air you breathe with each breath, how efficiently you move air in and out of your lungs, and how well your lungs are delivering oxygen to your bloodstream. No preparation is necessary. This testing is done in a special laboratory. During the test, you are instructed to breathe in and out through a tube that is connected to various machines. (Locked) More »

TB (Tuberculosis) Skin Test

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that most often involves the lungs, but can involve many other organs. Although antibiotics can treat most cases, TB remains one of the most common causes of death worldwide. The TB skin test, also called the purified protein derivative (PPD) test or Mantoux test, shows if you've ever been infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. Infections with these bacteria can be active or inactive. In active infections, the bacteria are reproducing rapidly, and the person is contagious when he or she coughs. In people with inactive infections, the bacteria are alive deep within the lungs, but "asleep." Because inactive infections can later "wake up" and become active, it is important to recognize and treat both types of TB infections. Vaccinations, corticosteroids such as prednisone and other drugs that suppress the immune system such as biologic agents can affect the results of the test. So, tell your doctor if you've recently been vaccinated for an infectious disease or if you're taking a corticosteroid or other immune suppressant. (Locked) More »