Acromegaly is an uncommon hormonal disorder caused by the overproduction of growth hormone. It typically causes signs such as enlarged hands and feet.
Acute kidney failure is the sudden loss of your kidneys' ability to filter waste from your bloodstream. Correcting the underlying cause increases the likelihood of recovery.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia is a type of leukemia that affects immature white blood cells. It's the most common cancer in children and adolescents.
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), a form of cancer that affects the blood cells, is the most common type of leukemia.
Acute sinusitis occurs when your sinus cavities become inflamed. Antibiotics, decongestants and corticosteroids may relieve pain and congestion and prevent development of chronic sinusitis.
Amyloidosis causes an abnormal protein buildup in various organs, which can include your heart and kidneys, and can permanently damage them and disrupt their functions.
Anaphylaxis is the most serious type of allergic reaction. It often occurs rapidly after exposure to an allergen and may be life-threatening.
Anemia occurs in many forms, but all involve a shortage of healthy red blood cells. Treatment depends on what's causing your anemia.
Angina is a common type of chest pain caused by coronary artery disease. Unstable angina can be a warning sign of a heart attack.
Find out what's behind this life-threatening eating disorder and how to treat it.
Anthrax is a deadly bacterial illness that normally affects animals. But in rare instances, humans can contract the disease.
Persistent apprehension, worry and other anxiety symptoms can put you at risk of serious health problems. Take steps to ease your mind sooner rather than later.
In aortic valve regurgitation, the aortic valve doesn't close tightly, causing blood to leak back into your heart.
In aortic valve stenosis, the aortic valve narrows, blocking blood flow. The aortic valve connects your heart to the aorta, your body's main artery.
Aplastic anemia occurs when your bone marrow stops producing new blood cells. It's a serious problem, but treatments are available for this rare blood disease.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a sudden and serious lung failure that develops in people who are critically ill or have major injuries.
An arteriovenous fistula is a treatable blood vessel condition in which your blood doesn't flow normally through your capillaries. Untreated, it can lead to complications.
Ascariasis is a common type of roundworm infection found worldwide. It's spread by poor hygiene and improper sanitation. Infections are effectively treated with medication.
Aspergillosis is a group of illnesses caused by a common mold. It mainly affects people with a weakened immune system, another lung disease or asthma.
Atrial septal defect (ASD) is an abnormal opening between the heart's upper pumping chambers. It's common and readily treated.
Atrioventricular canal defect is a congenital heart defect involving a hole in the center of the heart and abnormal valves between the heart's chambers.
Autoimmune hepatitis — Early detection, medications can help.
Managing bipolar disorder can be a challenge. Stick to your treatment plan to keep mood swings under control.
A microscopic parasite causes Blastocystis hominis infection. Experts disagree as to whether this infection causes diarrhea and other associated signs and symptoms.
Bone cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that begins in a bone. It can affect both adults and children.
Bradycardia, a slower than normal heart rate, can cause the heart to pump too little oxygen-rich blood to the body.
Bronchitis often develops after a cold. Learn how to prevent this potentially serious lung infection.
Brucellosis is an infectious disease that spreads from animals to people, mainly via unpasteurized dairy products. Travelers should take special care to avoid infection.
Brugada syndrome is a serious, genetic disorder that can cause life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances. It's treatable with medical devices.
Learn about cancer, what it looks like and what causes it.
Cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease. Treatment options depend on what type of cardiomyopathy you have.
Castleman disease is a rare illness that affects your lymph nodes and other immune-cell structures of your body.
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in certain foods. As a result, the body is unable to absorb some important nutrients.
Chagas disease, a condition caused by a parasite, usually is transmitted to humans through feces of the infected triatomine bug.
Chemo brain causes thinking and memory problems in cancer survivors. Find out how to cope.
Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can kill in a matter of hours, yet can be easily treated with oral or intravenous fluids.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disorder characterized by extreme, prolonged fatigue. Although its cause is unknown, its symptoms may be relieved.
Chronic kidney disease, often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, is the gradual loss of kidney function. Early detection and treatment can help.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Unlike other cancers, this form of leukemia doesn't always initially require treatment.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a rare type of blood cancer. New treatments may be improving the prognosis for many people with CML.
Chronic sinusitis involves long-term inflammation or infection of the sinus cavities. Medications can help, and in rare cases surgery can treat this painful condition.
Churg-Strauss syndrome is a rare disorder marked by blood vessel inflammation that affects organs throughout the body. Asthma is the most common sign.
Alcohol abuse and hepatitis C infection are the leading causes of cirrhosis — a life-threatening condition that leads to irreversible liver scarring.
Colon cancer and rectal cancer combined are the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Regular screening tests can help reduce your risk.
You've got a cold, or you're trying to prevent getting one. Here are some timely tips.
Concussions can be serious injuries that need sufficient time to heal.
Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — a serious inflammation of the digestive tract that can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Cushing syndrome is caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol, originating from your adrenal glands or from corticosteroid medications you're taking for another illness.
Cyclospora infection is an uncommon foodborne intestinal infection that causes diarrhea. Outbreaks have been linked to contaminated water and produce.
Cyclothymia may be a mild form of bipolar disorder, but your fluctuating moods can have serious consequences. Learn about treatment options.
Take control of your mood and health. Explore the many depression treatment options and learn coping skills.
Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes muscle weakness as well as a skin rash. Treatment improves both problems.
Diabetes affects how your body uses blood sugar. Too much blood sugar over long periods can cause serious health problems, but treatments are available.
A diabetic coma is a medical emergency. Minimize the effects with prompt treatment.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious diabetes complication. Learn the warning signs — and know when to seek emergency care.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart in which the heart's main pumping chamber becomes enlarged and doesn't pump blood efficiently.
Dysthymia is a mild but long-term form of depression that can greatly reduce your quality of life. Learn about dysthymia symptoms and treatment options.
Ebstein's anomaly is a rare heart defect. Some people may not have any symptoms, but others may need treatment, including surgery.
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain usually caused by a viral infection. Severe cases can cause brain damage, even death.
Endocarditis is an infection of the heart's inner lining. Find out who's at risk.
Endometriosis is a common and often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus.
You can get an enlarged liver from a number of medical problems or personal habits. Treatment depends on what's causing the enlargement.
An enlarged spleen is usually a sign of an underlying problem. Treatment varies, depending on what's causing the enlargement.
Reduce your risk of esophageal cancer by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Fatigue and widespread pain are common with fibromyalgia, a condition affecting mainly women. Treatment often focuses on managing symptoms with medication and self-care.
Gaucher's disease is an inherited disorder in which fatty substances accumulate in abnormal amounts in your body, affecting the functioning of organs.
Don't be a captive of your worries and fears. Control your anxiety by seeking treatment and learning coping skills.
Giardia infection is a common waterborne illness. Learn the symptoms and reduce your risk.
Glomerulonephritis affects your kidneys' filtering function. Complications include high blood pressure and kidney failure.
A grand mal seizure is characterized by loss of consciousness and convulsions.
In Graves' disease, your body produces too much thyroid hormone, which can speed up your metabolism and lead to numerous health problems.
Hairy cell leukemia is a rare blood cancer that has no cure. However, treatments can keep hairy cell leukemia at bay for years.
Hangovers are the unwelcome result of drinking too much alcohol. However unpleasant, most hangovers go away on their own within eight to 24 hours.
Hashimoto's disease (chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis) causes thyroid gland inflammation and often an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Treatment may involve thyroid hormone replacement medication.
A heart arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. Arrhythmias can be a byproduct of damage to the heart from disease or age.
A heart attack is an injury to heart muscle caused by reduced blood supply. Heart attack symptoms and treatments are discussed here.
Heart disease, usually thought of as blockages in the arteries that can cause a heart attack, can describe any medical condition affecting your heart.
Heart failure means your heart can't efficiently pump blood throughout your body. Medications, and sometimes devices or surgery, can help you manage this condition.
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body overheats, usually as a result of hot, humid weather. It's preventable, but can be dangerous if not treated.
Hemochromatosis causes your body to store large amounts of iron, which can cause life-threatening complications. The simple treatment is to regularly remove blood.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is an uncommon condition that can cause life-threatening kidney failure, especially for children and older adults.
Hemophilia occurs when your body lacks one of several clot-forming proteins called clotting factors. The result is prolonged bleeding, which can be life-threatening.
Hepatitis A virus causes a highly contagious liver infection. Find out how to recognize it and when treatment is required.
Having hepatitis B increases your risk of serious liver disease. Protect yourself with a hepatitis B vaccine.
Hepatitis C is a highly infectious disease that's usually contracted from contaminated blood.
Most cases of hiatal hernia are small and don't require treatment. A larger hiatal hernia can cause heartburn and other symptoms.
Hirschsprung's disease, a disease of the colon, is present at birth and can cause serious problems passing stool.
More than 39 million people are living with HIV — the virus that causes AIDS. Millions more are lipkely to become infected in the next decade. More than 39 million people are living with HIV — the virus that causes AIDS. Millions more are likely to become infected in the next decade.
Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease) is cancer of the lymphatic system. Many early symptoms of this cancer resemble those of the flu.
Huntington's disease — an inherited disease that causes the degeneration of brain cells — results in movement, psychiatric, cognitive disorders and eventual death.
Hypercalcemia is a higher than normal calcium level in your blood. The most common causes are an overactive parathyroid gland and certain cancers.
Hyperglycemia in diabetes — Comprehensive overview covers causes, symptoms and treatments of high blood sugar.
Hyperparathyroidism, or overactivity of one or more parathyroid glands, raises blood-calcium levels. The disorder can weaken bones and lead to other serious complications.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine — speeding up your metabolism and sometimes leading to serious complications.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic disorder in which heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. It's the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people.
Hyponatremia is an abnormally low concentration of sodium in the blood. One cause is drinking too much water.
Hypoparathyroidism is a disorder in which your parathyroid glands secrete abnormally low levels of parathyroid hormone, causing symptoms such as muscle aches.
In hypopituitarism, your pituitary gland produces too little — or none — of one or more hormones. Disruption of any number of routine body functions can result.
Hypothermia, a lower than normal body temperature, requires first aid and medical care to lessen heat loss, warm the body and prevent death.
Although low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) can leave you feeling tired and depressed, medications can help you live a normal life.
Inflammatory bowel disease can be painful and debilitating, and it can cause life-threatening complications. Find out more about treating this digestive system disorder.
Don't let the flu set you back. Find out how to protect yourself from getting sick with the flu.
Sleepless nights? Insomnia includes difficulty going to sleep, staying asleep or going back to sleep after you awaken. Insomnia may be temporary or chronic.
Iron deficiency anemia may leave you feeling sapped of energy. This condition is especially common in women. Iron supplements usually help.
Flying across multiple time zones disrupts your natural body rhythms, leading to sleep problems and other symptoms. Learn how to put jet lag to rest.
When kidney cancer is diagnosed and treated early, the chances for recovery are better.
Even small amounts of lead in the body can cause serious health problems. Reducing exposure is essential, especially for infants and young children.
Legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia, is caused by bacteria that can live in water in air conditioning systems, showers and spas.
Leukemia is a cancer in which abnormal white blood cells proliferate. Although it's often perceived as a children's disease, leukemia also occurs in adults.
The risk of liver cancer may be reduced by protecting yourself from serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis B and C.
Long QT syndrome is an electrical disturbance that can cause sudden, rapid heart rates. It can be genetic or a side effect of medication.
Low blood pressure (hypotension) can be a sign of good health or of a life-threatening condition. Find out more about hypotension's causes and treatment options.
Lupus is a chronic disease that can affect your skin, joints and organs. With proper care, most people with lupus live relatively active, healthy lives.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness. Left untreated, it can lead to serious and lingering complications — including arthritis.
Male hypogonadism (testosterone deficiency) affects the development of male physical characteristics, sex drive, fertility and sense of well-being. Treatment may involve testosterone replacement therapy.
Your kidney's filtering system is damaged and valuable proteins leak from the body.
Menorrhagia — heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding — can be a worrisome problem. Treatment options include medications and surgery.
There are more than 200 types of mental illnesses. Learn about risk factors, symptoms, treatments and coping.
Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the valve separating two of your heart's chambers malfunctions. The disorder usually isn't serious and often doesn't require surgical treatment.
Mitral valve regurgitation occurs when blood flows backward in your heart because the mitral valve closes improperly.
In mitral valve stenosis, the mitral valve is narrowed, obstructing blood flow between the chambers on the left side of the heart.
Mixed connective tissue disease features signs and symptoms of a combination of disorders — primarily lupus, scleroderma and polymyositis.
Mononucleosis — also called kissing disease because it can be spread by kissing — causes fatigue, fever and swollen lymph glands.
Multiple myeloma is cancer of your bone marrow plasma cells. The disease can make you prone to infections and damage your bones and kidneys.
Mumps is a viral illness marked by swollen cheeks. Vaccination is important in preventing mumps.
Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of blood cell disorders that can cause anemia, fatigue, serious bleeding problems and recurrent infections.
In myelofibrosis, healthy bone marrow is replaced with scar tissue, leading to severe anemia and fatigue.
Myocarditis is a disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and swollen, often as the result of an infection.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with obesity and diabetes. Lifestyle changes may prevent it from becoming serious.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer originating in the lymphatic system. It's caused by abnormal white blood cells, and often the only sign is swollen lymph nodes.
Parvovirus infection is a common childhood illness with a distinctive cheek rash. In some adults, including some pregnant women, it can be serious.
Pectus excavatum — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, complications of this deformity of the chest.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the most common preventable cause of infertility in the United States, but some women don't find out soon enough.
Pericarditis, a condition that can cause chest pain, occurs when the sac that surrounds the heart becomes inflamed. Treatment often includes anti-inflammatory drugs.
Peritonitis is an infection of the membrane that lines your inner abdominal wall and covers the organs within your abdomen (peritoneum).
Plague is a disease carried by rats and other rodents. The risk of developing plague is low, and most cases occur in Africa.
There are at least 50 kinds of pneumonia — a serious lung infection that takes the lives of more than 60,000 Americans every year.
Pneumonitis is a general term for lung inflammation. It can cause difficulty breathing, often accompanied by a cough.
One of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, polio has been eradicated from the developed world but remains a threat in less developed nations.
Polycythemia vera is a rare blood disorder in which a person's bone marrow makes too many blood cells.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder that causes pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, upper arms, hips and thighs.
Polymyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes muscle weakness. Treatment can improve your muscle strength and function.
Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which concussion symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness — can last for more than a year.
Postpartum depression can interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Prompt treatment can help.
Some people who've had polio may experience effects of the illness decades later, including new muscle weakness and fatigue, as a condition called post-polio syndrome.
Learn how healthy eating, exercise and getting enough sleep can help you keep prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can make you miserable in the days before your monthly period. Here's how to handle it — bloating, depression and all.
Primary biliary cirrhosis begins with inflammation in the liver's small bile ducts, but eventually can lead to damage and scarring in the liver itself.
Primary sclerosing cholangitis causes inflammation and scarring within the bile ducts of your liver, eventually affecting your liver's ability to do its job properly.
Pulmonary atresia is a heart defect that you're born with. Fortunately, treatment soon after birth and ongoing throughout childhood and adulthood greatly improve your prognosis.
Pulmonary edema occurs when air sacs in the lungs fill with fluid. It's often a life-threatening emergency.
Pulmonary fibrosis results from scar tissue that forms in your lungs. This affects your ability to breathe and obtain enough oxygen.
High blood pressure affecting only the arteries in your lungs is known as pulmonary hypertension. Discover the symptoms, risk factors and treatment for this condition.
Pulmonary valve stenosis is a narrowing of the valve that controls blood flow from your heart to your lungs. It's usually present at birth.
Q fever is a rare bacterial infection causing flu-like symptoms and sometimes harmful consequences. Most at risk are those who work with farm animals.
Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease triggered by untreated or poorly treated strep throat, can cause permanent heart damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint pain and swelling. Find out how it's treated and how to cope.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a potentially serious bacterial infection transmitted to humans by tick bites. Prompt medical treatment is necessary.
Roseola is a common infection of childhood. The condition causes a fever that lasts several days, followed by a rash on the trunk and neck.
Sarcoidosis starts in your lungs but can cause inflammation in any part of your body. It can last a lifetime, or disappear in a few years.
Sheehan's syndrome is a rare pituitary gland disorder that occurs in women usually as a result of severe blood loss during childbirth.
Vaccination may prevent this painful, but treatable, condition. Learn about shingles symptoms and how treatments can help.
Sick sinus syndrome is the name for a group of heart rhythm problems in which the heart's natural pacemaker isn't working properly.
Sinus headaches are often confused with migraines. Proper diagnosis and treatment are the keys to relief.
Sjogren's syndrome is a disorder of the immune system often defined by its two most common symptoms — dry eyes and dry mouth.
If you have symptoms of heart disease, but your doctor doesn't see any blocked major arteries, small vessel disease may be the cause.
Smallpox, one of the oldest and most devastating of human diseases, was eradicated worldwide by 1980.
Reduce your risk of stomach cancer by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection. It typically causes a very sore throat and is treated with antibiotics.
Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. Rapid treatment improves your chances of survival.
Long hours in the sun and unprotected skin mean one thing: sunburn. Here's what you can do for comforting sunburn relief.
Swine flu — Comprehensive overview covers swine flu symptoms, tests, treatment and prevention.
Takayasu's arteritis is an uncommon form of vasculitis that affects the large arteries.
All teens feel down from time to time. But if negative feelings persist or start to interfere with daily life, it might be depression.
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder, characterized by less hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells than normal. When necessary, treatment includes blood transfusions.
Toxic hepatitis is liver damage that occurs when your liver isn't able to break down certain toxins — including common pain relievers such as Tylenol.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite. It doesn't make most people ill, but infants and people with HIV/AIDS are at risk of complications.
Although trench mouth is much less common than in years past, some people still get this painful gum infection. Brushing and flossing are keys to prevention.
A heart with tricuspid atresia doesn't have a tricuspid valve. This heart defect prevents blood flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle.
Tuberculosis (TB) is making an alarming comeback. You're especially at risk if you have a weakened immune system.
Type 1 diabetes destroys your body's ability to produce insulin. Learn how you can live an active, healthy life with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong — sometimes frightening — condition, but it doesn't need to slow your child down. Learn more about managing type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise — but here's information that may help you stop diabetes in its tracks.
The obesity epidemic is fueling a growing problem — type 2 diabetes in children. Make prevention a family affair.
Although rare in industrialized nations, typhoid fever is a serious threat in many parts of the world. Learn how to stay safe when you travel.
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — a serious inflammation of the digestive tract that can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Valley fever — This common fungal infection in America's desert regions causes few, if any, problems for most people, but for some it can be life-threatening.
Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels. It can affect people of any age. Treatment depends on the type of vasculitis.
Ebola and Marburg viruses and yellow fever belong to a group of potentially deadly illnesses called viral hemorrhagic fevers. Find out about risk.
Lacking certain vitamins can lead to vitamin deficiency anemia. Find out which vitamins are linked to this condition.
Von Willebrand disease is an inherited bleeding condition caused by a deficit in or impairment of a protein essential for blood clotting.
Wegener's granulomatosis is an uncommon disease that causes blood vessel inflammation that can damage lungs, kidneys and other organs. Untreated, it can be fatal.
West Nile virus infection usually resolves on its own, but occasionally it can be serious.
Whiplash is a neck injury often linked to auto accidents. Discover which treatments work and which don't.
Whipple's disease is a rare bacterial infection that affects primarily the gastrointestinal system, and can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
Whooping cough is a serious lung infection that's especially dangerous in young infants.
In Wilson's disease, the body doesn't metabolize copper properly, causing excess amounts to accumulate in the liver and other organs.
Feb. 27, 2013
- Walsh D, et al. Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/205836455-3/0/2038/166.html?tocnode=57251146&fromURL=166.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05674-8..50165-1_2909. Accessed Dec. 28, 2012.
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