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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »