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

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) causes a slow degeneration of nerve cells that control muscle movements. As a result, people with ALS gradually lose the ability to control their muscles. Fortunately, their capacity to think and remember things usually is not affected. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, after the famous U.S. baseball player who developed the disease.   (Locked) More »

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder. It causes: Chronic destruction of red blood cells Episodes of intense pain Vulnerability to infections Organ damage In some cases, early death Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. People with sickle cell anemia inherit a defective type of hemoglobin. When oxygen levels inside a red blood cell get low, the defective hemoglobin forms long rods. These rods stretch the red blood cells into long, abnormal "sickle" shapes. In contrast, normal red blood cells are disc-shaped. (Locked) More »

Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a puzzling bladder condition, in which the bladder wall becomes irritated or inflamed, causing pain and frequent or painful urination. The symptoms of interstitial cystitis are often similar to the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. However, in interstitial cystitis, there is no infection, and the symptoms do not respond to antibiotic treatment. The exact cause of interstitial cystitis remains a mystery, although researchers continue to investigate possible causes, such as unidentified bacteria, an allergic or immune system reaction, a toxic substance in the urine, or a neurological problem in the bladder wall. There also is some evidence that interstitial cystitis may not be just one illness, but several illnesses that share similar symptoms. Interstitial cystitis usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 50. Approximately 90% of people with interstitial cystitis are women. It is unknown why interstitial cystitis is more common in women. The disease is not known to be genetic (inherited) or caused by toxins in the environment. (Locked) More »

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a small, fingerlike tube that hangs from the lower right side of the large intestine. The purpose of the appendix is not known. It usually becomes inflamed because of an infection or an obstruction in the digestive tract. If untreated, an infected appendix can burst and spread the infection throughout the abdominal cavity and into the bloodstream. (Locked) More »

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is skin inflammation. It occurs because the skin has been exposed to a substance that irritates it or causes an allergic reaction. (Locked) More »

Dandruff

Dandruff is a condition in which dead skin cells are shed from the scalp in large enough amounts to be noticeable. When these dead cells stick together, often because of surface debris and oil in the hair, they are noticeable as flakes in the scalp and on clothing. Dandruff is a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis of unknown cause. It is more of a nuisance and a cosmetic problem than a medical one. (Locked) More »

Epidemic Pleurodynia

The lining around your lungs is called the pleura. Pleurodynia is a general term for pain from this lining — pain in the chest or upper abdomen when you breathe. Epidemic pleurodynia is an infection caused by one of several viruses. This type of infection can cause a similar type of pain as the pain that comes from the lining around the lungs. However, in epidemic pleurodynia, the pain comes from the muscles in the chest that join ribs together. Epidemic pleurodynia also is called Bornholm disease, Sylvest's disease, devil's grip and epidemic benign dry pleurisy. It usually is caused by one of the group B coxsackieviruses and is less often caused by a group A coxsackievirus or an echovirus. Group B coxsackieviruses are transmitted from person to person by fecal-oral contamination or direct mouth to mouth contact. Other people become infected with the virus if they touch contaminated items then put their fingers in their mouths before washing them properly. Contaminated items can include soiled diapers, shared toys and toilets. Epidemic pleurodynia is contagious and occurs in clusters, meaning many people in an area get it around the same time. Up to 90% of epidemics occur in the summer and early fall. The illness most commonly strikes people younger than age 30, although older people also may be affected. (Locked) More »

Female Infertility

Most couples who have unprotected sex at least twice per week are able to become pregnant within one year. If pregnancy does not occur after one year, the man and woman are diagnosed as having an infertility problem. Infertility can stem from the man, the woman or both partners. In some couples, no cause of infertility can be found. In other couples, more than one cause exists. Normal aging reduces a woman's ability to become pregnant. Ovulation is the process of forming and releasing an egg. With age, ovulation becomes slower and less effective. Aging begins to reduce fertility as early as age 30. Pregnancy rates are very low after age 44. This is true even when fertility medications are used. (Locked) More »

Panic Disorders

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. A person with panic disorder has panic attacks. These are repeated, unexpected episodes of intense fear and anxiety accompanied by physical symptoms that are similar to the body's normal response to danger. If you are truly in danger (for example, if you are confronted by a criminal with a gun), your body readies itself for "fight or flight." Heart rate increases. Blood rushes to arm and leg muscles, causing a trembling or tingling sensation. You may sweat and become flushed. You become intensely fearful, aroused and very alert. For people having a panic attack, these changes occur even though there is no danger. At the height of a panic attack, there may be a frightening feeling that the environment has somehow become unreal or detached. The person may worry about dying, having a heart attack, losing control or "going crazy." (Locked) More »

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is an infection caused by Group A Streptococcus ("strep") bacteria. It causes a finely textured rash that can appear like sandpaper along with other symptoms. It usually occurs after a strep infection of the throat (strep pharyngitis, or strep throat), but occasionally after a strep skin infection. The rash of scarlet fever is caused by a toxin that the strep bacteria produce. Scarlet fever once was common among children ages 2 to 10, but now it is relatively rare. The reason for this remains a mystery, especially because there has been no decrease in the number of cases of strep throat or strep skin infections. (Locked) More »