Acute coronary syndrome occurs when there isn't enough blood flowing through your heart. It can be felt as chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
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 liver failure occurs when your liver rapidly loses its ability to function. A liver transplant may be necessary to make a recovery.
Addison's disease occurs when your adrenal glands produce insufficient amounts of certain important hormones. Treatment may include taking corticosteroids.
Do you feel trapped in your own home? Do you worry about having a panic attack? Find out how agoraphobia can be treated.
Airplane ear, a problem with air pressure in the middle ear, can cause pain and muffled hearing. It can usually be treated with self-care techniques.
Think you have alcohol intolerance? Here's what might be causing your reaction to wine, beer or other beverages.
Alcohol poisoning occurs when you drink large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Potentially fatal, alcohol poisoning requires emergency medical care.
Alcohol can severely damage your liver — even moderate drinkers aren't immune. Learn more about this serious liver disease.
Alcoholism is a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol that can cause serious health and social problems. But treatment can help.
Allergy symptoms can make you miserable and in some cases, they're life-threatening. Here's some information about allergies — and tips on treating allergy symptoms.
Amniotic fluid embolism — Overview covers definition, symptoms and treatment of this pregnancy or post-pregnancy condition.
Anaphylaxis is the most serious type of allergic reaction. It often occurs rapidly after exposure to an allergen and may be life-threatening.
Angina is a common type of chest pain caused by coronary artery disease. Unstable angina can be a warning sign of a heart attack.
Anthrax is a deadly bacterial illness that normally affects animals. But in rare instances, humans can contract the disease.
Antibiotics save lives, but they can also have side effects. The most common are mild to severe diarrhea and a serious type of colitis.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed and filled with pus, creating potentially serious complications if not promptly treated.
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.
Autoimmune hepatitis — Early detection, medications can help.
Bee stings — Comprehensive overview covers prevention, treatment of bee stings.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo involves brief episodes of dizziness when your head is placed in particular positions. The condition is easily treated.
Bile reflux — the backwash of bile from the small intestine into the stomach and esophagus — can cause ongoing inflammation and lead to serious complications.
A type of influenza normally found in birds, bird flu first appeared in humans in 1997. Experts worry it could lead to a flu pandemic.
A microscopic parasite causes Blastocystis hominis infection. Experts disagree as to whether this infection causes diarrhea and other associated signs and symptoms.
Blind loop syndrome occurs when a portion of bowel is bypassed. The condition is most often a complication of abdominal surgery.
Botulism, a rare and dangerous condition, is usually the result of eating food — often canned goods contaminated by bacteria that release a powerful toxin.
A brain aneurysm is a bulge in an artery in the brain. A ruptured aneurysm causes bleeding in the brain and potentially fatal cell damage.
C. difficile can be a life-threatening infection. It typically develops when antibiotics destroy other bacteria in your intestines, allowing C. difficile to flourish.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. But the danger it poses is real. Consider simple tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carcinoid tumors are rare, slow-growing cancerous tumors that most often occur in the gastrointestinal tract or in the lungs.
Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening complication usually of a heart attack. Cardiogenic shock treatments can be effective, but must be provided immediately.
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.
Chest pain can be frightening, but it doesn't always indicate a heart attack.
Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder that's often linked to gallstones.
Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can kill in a matter of hours, yet can be easily treated with oral or intravenous fluids.
Chronic daily headaches strike nearly every day. Aggressive initial treatment and steady, long-term management can help reduce pain and lead to fewer headaches.
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 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 polyps — small clumps of cells on your colon lining — are usually harmless, but some may become cancerous over time.
Concussions can be serious injuries that need sufficient time to heal.
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a genetic condition affecting the adrenal glands and interfering with normal growth and development in boys and girls.
Constipation in children is common. Often, simple changes in diet and routine are helpful.
Cryptosporidium infection may cause diarrhea in healthy people, but for people with HIV/AIDS and weakened immune systems, the illness can cause serious complications.
Cyclic vomiting syndrome can last for hours or days and shares many triggers with migraines.
Cyclospora infection is an uncommon foodborne intestinal infection that causes diarrhea. Outbreaks have been linked to contaminated water and produce.
Dengue fever is a sometimes fatal viral disease spread by mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Learn how to protect yourself.
Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition characterized by intense thirst and the excretion of large amounts of urine.
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.
Diabetes can damage nerves throughout your body — a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Nerve damage can cause pain, disability and other serious complications.
Having bulging pouches (diverticulosis) in your digestive tract isn't necessarily a concern. But infected pouches (diverticulitis) can be a serious problem.
Drug allergy can occur with many medications. Find out what you can do to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous reactions.
Difficulty swallowing can be painful and may indicate a serious medical problem.
E. coli bacteria normally live harmoniously in your gut. But when you eat food contaminated with a nasty strain of E. coli, serious illness may follow.
Ear infections are common in children. These bacterial or viral infections of the middle ear can cause mild to severe ear pain.
Ebola virus and Marburg viruses cause hemorrhagic fevers, serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses.
An ectopic pregnancy can't continue normally — but prompt treatment can help prevent life-threatening blood loss.
Egg allergy can cause a serious reaction in children and adults. Here's how to recognize egg allergy symptoms, and what to do if a severe reaction occurs.
Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease that causes flu-like symptoms. When you're outdoors, be aware of steps to prevent tick bites.
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain usually caused by a viral infection. Severe cases can cause brain damage, even death.
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.
Several conditions can cause esophagitis. Learn what they are and how to get relief.
You know exercise is good for you. But did you know that exertion can leave you with a pounding headache?
Food poisoning has many forms, and some can be serious. Here's how to recognize food poisoning and ways to prevent getting sick.
Gallbladder cancer is an uncommon cancer that begins in your gallbladder.
Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of your stomach. This sometimes painful condition may lead to stomach ulcers.
In gastroparesis, the abnormally slow movement of food from your stomach can cause digestive problems.
Giardia infection is a common waterborne illness. Learn the symptoms and reduce your risk.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that, left untreated, can seriously damage your optic nerve and lead to blindness.
H. pylori infection, a common bacterial infection, can cause ulcers, inflammation of the stomach lining and some stomach cancers.
Hangovers are the unwelcome result of drinking too much alcohol. However unpleasant, most hangovers go away on their own within eight to 24 hours.
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is initiated by a rodent-carried virus that infects the lung tissues, bringing on flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems and even death.
Children of all ages experience headaches, but the causes aren't all the same. Here's how to help your child.
A heart attack is an injury to heart muscle caused by reduced blood supply. Heart attack symptoms and treatments are discussed here.
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.
Heatstroke is the dangerous escalation of two other heat-related conditions, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Seek immediate medical attention if you have this condition.
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.
Henoch-Schonlein purpura causes inflammation of small blood vessels (vasculitis) and often a purplish rash. It's most common in children ages 2 to 6.
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.
Hirschsprung's disease, a disease of the colon, is present at birth and can cause serious problems passing stool.
A hydrocele is a generally harmless fluid-filled sac that surrounds a testicle, causing scrotal swelling. However, it may indicate a more serious condition.
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.
Hyponatremia is an abnormally low concentration of sodium in the blood. One cause is drinking too much water.
Indigestion can ruin meals and make you feel uncomfortable. Take steps to prevent symptoms like upset stomach, bloating and pain.
Spit up happens. Often, changes in feeding technique help keep reflux under control.
Intestinal ischemia occurs when the blood supply to your digestive system is reduced. Abdominal pain is a common symptom. Several treatment options are available.
Intestinal obstruction — a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention — occurs when a blockage of the intestine prevents food or fluid from passing through.
Intracranial hematoma occurs when a blood vessel ruptures between your skull and brain or within your brain.
A rare but serious disorder, intussusception occurs when one part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part, often causing intestinal obstruction.
With warm weather, the water's fine for swimmers — and also for jellyfish. Here's how to keep them from spoiling your time at the beach.
Kawasaki disease — the leading cause of acquired coronary disease in children — causes artery wall inflammation throughout the body. It affects children younger than age 5.
Kidney stones often recur. Find out what causes kidney stones and how to prevent them.
Krabbe disease is a rare, inherited disorder that impairs functioning of the central nervous system, and most often affects infants, leading to early death.
Lactose intolerance means you can't fully digest milk sugar (lactose). Though it's generally not dangerous, the symptoms can be uncomfortable.
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.
Most people exposed to listeria don't become ill. But for those at risk of a listeria infection — a foodborne illness — the consequences can be severe.
The risk of liver cancer may be reduced by protecting yourself from serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis B and C.
Find out how to prevent common liver problems.
Liver hemangioma is the most common type of noncancerous (benign) liver mass. Learn how doctors treat liver hemangioma.
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.
Malaria is one of the oldest diseases on Earth and is still one of the leading killers.
Fever, headache and stiff neck are common signs and symptoms of meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
A monthly period is bad enough. Add in painful menstrual cramps, and you may be cursing this thing called "womanhood." How do you get relief?
Mesenteric lymphadenitis is an inflammation of the lymph nodes in the tissue that attaches various organs to your abdominal wall (mesentery). It mainly affects children.
A migraine isn't an ordinary headache. In addition to severe head pain, it can cause nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Milk allergy can cause hives, wheezing and gastrointestinal problems. Avoidance is the primary treatment, but the good news is that many children outgrow milk allergy.
Molar pregnancy — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this tumor in the uterus.
Morning sickness is common in pregnancy. Learn what to expect and how to relieve your symptoms.
Multiple myeloma is cancer of your bone marrow plasma cells. The disease can make you prone to infections and damage your bones and kidneys.
Myocardial ischemia is a heart problem that occurs when blood flow to your heart muscle is decreased, reducing the heart's oxygen supply.
Summertime freshwater swimming may put you at risk of this rare but often fatal infection. Learn more about your risks and how to protect yourself.
Nonulcer stomach pain, a type of indigestion, commonly causes pain or discomfort in your upper abdomen.
Noroviruses cause an intestinal flu-like illness that typically resolves within days. Norovirus infection is highly contagious, especially in closed settings like hospitals and cruise ships.
Orchitis, a painful inflammation of one or both testicles, may be caused by the mumps virus or a bacterial infection.
Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension) is a form of low blood pressure that occurs when you stand up.
Recognizing the early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and exploring new treatment options may increase your chances of surviving this deadly disease.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs or pockets within or on the surface of an ovary. Although ovarian cysts are common, most are noncancerous and harmless.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this complication of infertility treatment.
Most cysts in the pancreas aren't malignant, but tests are needed to determine the best course of treatment.
The pain of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, can last for days, or in chronic cases, for years. Pancreatitis can lead to serious complications.
Panic attacks can make you feel like you're having a heart attack. Learn how to manage these intense bursts of fear.
Parvovirus infection is a common childhood illness with a distinctive cheek rash. In some adults, including some pregnant women, it can be serious.
Peanut allergy can be serious. Find out what you need to know to prevent a life-threatening reaction.
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.
Peptic ulcers are painful sores that commonly affect the lining of your stomach and upper small intestine. The most frequent cause is a treatable infection.
Peritonitis is an infection of the membrane that lines your inner abdominal wall and covers the organs within your abdomen (peritoneum).
Pinworms are intestinal parasites common in children and easily spread within families. Effective treatments include medications and good hygiene.
Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths in the pituitary gland in the brain. Most are noncancerous (benign). Some may cause overproduction of hormones and associated problems.
Plague is a disease carried by rats and other rodents. The risk of developing plague is low, and most cases occur in Africa.
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.
Polymorphous light eruption is a sun-induced skin rash affecting people who develop a sensitivity to sunlight.
Porphyria is a group of inherited disorders that cause buildup of natural chemicals (porphyrins), which can result in nervous system and skin problems.
Postpartum preeclampsia — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms and treatment of this post-pregnancy condition.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication defined by high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. The only cure is delivery of your baby.
Pseudomembranous colitis is an inflammation of the colon that occurs most often in people using antibiotics.
Pseudotumor cerebri — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of increased pressure inside the skull.
Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this uncommon digestive condition in infants.
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.
Radiation sickness is the effect of high doses of radiation on the body. The severity of illness depends on how much radiation the body absorbs.
Recurrent breast cancer — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer recurrence.
Reye's syndrome is a rare but serious condition linked to giving children aspirin to treat viral infections.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a potentially serious bacterial infection transmitted to humans by tick bites. Prompt medical treatment is necessary.
Rotavirus causes severe diarrhea in infants and children. Most cases can be treated at home with extra fluids.
A ruptured eardrum causes hearing loss and can give bacteria easy access to your middle ear. A ruptured eardrum usually heals without treatment.
Salmonella infection will cause only diarrhea and stomach pain in some people, but for infants and immunocompromised people, this bacterial illness can cause life-threatening complications.
Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that causes a rash, fever and sore throat and usually affects children and adolescents.
A scrotal mass is a lump or other abnormality in the scrotum that may affect the health of testicles. A scrotal mass may be cancerous.
Shaken baby syndrome — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this serious brain injury.
Shellfish allergy can cause serious reactions. Discover what you can do to avoid them.
Smallpox, one of the oldest and most devastating of human diseases, was eradicated worldwide by 1980.
Intense fear and avoidance of social situations can be debilitating. Take action to avoid long-term consequences caused by worry and isolation.
Spider bites — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, complications, treatment of spider bites.
Spinal headaches may occur after a spinal tap or spinal anesthesia. The pain can be severe, but treatment is available.
Find out about this rare cause of heart attack in young, healthy people.
The bacteria that cause staph infections are everywhere, including on your skin and in your nose. Learn how to protect yourself from these potentially dangerous germs.
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.
Swine flu — Comprehensive overview covers swine flu symptoms, tests, treatment and prevention.
Tapeworms most commonly enter your body through contaminated food or water. Symptoms aren't always present, but the prognosis is good with prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Testicular torsion blocks blood flow to a testicle. Know the signs of this painful condition — and when to see a doctor.
Thunderclap headaches strike suddenly. Immediate medical attention is essential. Some thunderclap headaches signal a life-threatening condition.
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.
Toxic shock syndrome is a life-threatening infection often associated with the use of superabsorbent tampons. But it can also occur in men and children.
While mild traumatic brain injury generally results in few long-term problems, more severe injury can cause several physical, emotional, behavioral, communication and cognitive problems.
Traveler's diarrhea is unpleasant. Find out how to avoid this travel-related health problem.
Tularemia is a rare, highly infectious disease spread by insects and wild animals. Landscapers, hunters and laboratory workers are especially at risk.
Vasovagal syncope (fainting) is a sudden and brief loss of consciousness that occurs when the blood flow to your brain is markedly reduced.
Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening heart rhythm disturbance that requires immediate treatment. Find out more.
Wheat allergy, an abnormal immune system reaction to wheat proteins, requires a diet free of all wheat products.
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.
A vaccine can protect you against yellow fever — a sometimes deadly mosquito-borne disease found in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.
In Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, tumors in the pancreas or duodenum secrete a hormone called gastrin that leads to excessive stomach acid and ulcers.
May. 14, 2011
- Longstreth GF. Approach to the adult with nausea and vomiting. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Scorza K, et al. Evaluation of nausea and vomiting. American Family Physician. 2007;76:76.
- Di Lorenzo C. Approach to the infant or child with nausea and vomiting. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Shakil A, et al. Gastrointestinal complications of diabetes. American Family Physician. 2008;77:1697.
- Smith JA, et al. Treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum and morning sickness). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.