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

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of the brain's electrical activity. Metal electrodes attached to the skin on the outside of the head transform electrical activity into patterns, commonly called brain waves. A polygraph machine records the brain waves. In some cases, the waves are transmitted to a computer screen. A basic EEG takes about 45 minutes, with a range of 30 minutes to 90 minutes. Lightweight EEG devices allow people to walk around and perform normal daily activities while the devices detect and record brain waves over longer periods of time. (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 »

Thyroid Nuclear Medicine Tests (Thyroid Scan and Uptake)

There are two types of thyroid nuclear medicine tests. Both assess the health of your thyroid, a gland in your neck. The first type, a thyroid scan, produces a picture of the gland. It can spot lumps or inflammation, or to investigate the cause of an overactive thyroid. The second type, a radioactive iodine uptake test, is performed to see if your thyroid is functioning normally and to determine why thyroid hormone levels may be elevated. For both types of test, a small amount of a weakly radioactive substance, known as a radionuclide, is either injected into a vein or given to you as a pill. A thyroid scan is usually ordered when a physical examination or laboratory finding suggests that the thyroid is enlarged or has a lump (called a thyroid nodule). If laboratory tests show an overactive thyroid, a radioactive iodine uptake test may be ordered at the same time to evaluate thyroid function. If there is any chance that you are pregnant, or if you are breast-feeding, let your doctor know: radionuclides could harm a developing fetus or your nursing baby. Your doctor has other ways of diagnosing the problem, such as ordering additional blood tests or a thyroid ultrasound. (Locked) More »

Are you at risk for a secondary cataract?

Sometimes a side effect of cataract surgery triggers the return of cataract symptoms. The side effect is called posterior capsule opacification, also known as a secondary cataract. It occurs when cells from the old cataract remain in the eye and continue to grow, blocking the light to the retina. An eye doctor can treat this problem with YAG laser capsulotomy, a simple, quick, and painless laser procedure that clears a pathway for light to travel to the retina. More »

Can I reverse prediabetes?

Prediabetes can be reversed in some cases through lifestyle changes, such as an improved diet, increased exercise, and modest weight loss of 5% to 7% of body weight. (Locked) More »

Are the new migraine medications working?

Three new medications—erenumab (Aimovig), fremanezumab (Ajovy), and galcanezumab (Emgality)—appear to be helping people with frequent, debilitating migraine headaches. Studies suggest that people taking the new drugs experience about 50% fewer migraine headache days per month, compared with people who aren’t taking the medications. However, clinical trials for the new medications have included relatively few older adults, so it’s not known if older adults might react differently to the medications than younger people. Doctors urge older adults to start out taking the lowest dose possible. (Locked) More »