Health Library A-Z

Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging often required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Different types of arthritis exist, each with different causes including wear and tear, infections and underlying diseases.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion and stiffness.
Medication, physiotherapy or sometimes surgery helps reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging often required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Asthma can be minor or it can interfere with daily activities. In some cases, it may lead to a life-threatening attack.
Asthma may cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough and wheezing. The symptoms may sometimes flare up.
Asthma can usually be managed with rescue inhalers to treat symptoms and controller inhalers that prevent symptoms. Severe cases may require longer-acting inhalers that keep the airways open, as well as oral steroids.
Usually self-treatable
Usually self-diagnosable
Lab tests or imaging rarely required
Low back pain is caused by injury to a muscle (strain) or ligament (sprain). Common causes include improper lifting, poor posture, lack of regular exercise, a fracture, a ruptured disc or arthritis.
Often, the only symptom is pain in the lower back.
Most low back pain goes away on its own in two to four weeks. Physiotherapy and pain relievers can help. A few cases may require surgery.

CT scan, also known as computed tomography scan, makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual “slices”) of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting. Other terms include computed axial tomography (CAT scan) and computer aided tomography.

Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging not required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Most cataracts develop slowly over the course of years.
The main symptom is blurry vision. Having cataracts can be like looking through a cloudy window.
When a cataract interferes with someone’s usual activities, the cloudy lens can be replaced with a clear, artificial lens. This is generally a safe, outpatient procedure.
Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging often required
Causes include bacteria, snacking, sipping sugary drinks and poor teeth cleaning.
There may be no symptoms. Untreated cavities can cause toothache, infection and tooth loss.
Treatments include fluoride, fillings and crowns. Severe cases may need a root canal or removal.

Dandruff can have several causes, including dry skin, seborrhoeic dermatitis, not cleaning/scrubbing often enough, shampooing too often, scalp psoriasis, eczema, sensitivity to hair care products, or a yeast-like fungus. Dry skin is the most common cause of flaking dandruff.

Dehydration is a condition that can occur when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of individual cells and then out of the body than the amount of water that is taken in through drinking.

Common Dental Issues Include

  • tooth decay (cavities)
  • fractured teeth.
  • worn fillings.
  • gum disease.
  • worn tooth enamel.
  • exposed tooth root.
An inflammation of the inner, middle or outer ear, often with infection.
Most common types
  • Middle ear infection

    An infection of the air-filled space behind the eardrum (the middle ear).
  • Swimmer’s ear

    An infection of the outer ear canal.
  • Labyrinthitis

    Inflammation of the inner ear or the nerves that connect the inner ear to the brain.

Fainting, which medical professionals call syncope (pronounced SIN-ko-pea), is a temporary loss of consciousness. Fainting is caused by a temporary loss of the brain’s blood supply and can be a sign of a more serious condition. People of any age can faint, but elderly persons may have a serious underlying cause.

A vision condition in which nearby objects are blurry.
Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging not required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Hyperopia is a common vision condition in adults.
People with hyperopia must squint to see nearby objects. Reading, writing, computer work or drawing for long periods of time may cause eye strain and headache.
Treatment options include glasses, contact lenses and surgery such as LASIK.
A sore that develops on the lining of the oesophagus, stomach or small intestine.
Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging often required
Medium-term: resolves within months
Ulcers occur when stomach acid damages the lining of the digestive tract. Common causes include the bacteria H. Pylori and anti-inflammatory pain relievers including aspirin.
Upper abdominal pain is a common symptom.
Treatment usually includes medication to decrease stomach acid production. If it is caused by bacteria, antibiotics may be required.
Hair loss from the scalp or elsewhere on the body.
Most common types
  • Male or Female pattern baldness

    Permanent hair loss from the scalp, causing baldness.
  • Alopecia areata

    Sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap.
  • Telogen effluvium

    A reversible condition in which hair falls out after a stressful experience.
  • Anagen effluvium

    An abnormal loss of hair during the first phase (anagen) of the hair’s growth cycle.

Headache is the symptom of pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It occurs in migraines (sharp, or throbbing pains), tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches. Frequent headaches can affect relationships and employment. There is also an increased risk of depression in those with severeheadaches.

A blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle.
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging often required
Treatable by a medical professional
Short-term: resolves within days to weeks
A heart attack is a medical emergency. A heart attack usually occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the heart. Without blood, tissue loses oxygen and dies.
Symptoms include tightness or pain in the chest, neck, back or arms, as well as fatigue, lightheadedness, abnormal heartbeat and anxiety. Women are more likely to have atypical symptoms than men.
Treatment ranges from lifestyle changes and cardiac rehabilitation to medication, stents and bypass surgery.
An inflammation of the liver.
Most common types
  • Hepatitis B

    A serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus that’s easily preventable by a vaccine.
  • Hepatitis C

    An infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis

    Liver inflammation caused by drinking too much alcohol.
  • Autoimmune hepatitis

    Inflammation in the liver that occurs when the immune system attacks the liver.
  • Hepatitis D

    A serious liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis D virus.
  • Hepatitis A

    A highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.
  • Hepatitis E

    A liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus.
Not getting pregnant, despite having carefully timed, unprotected sex for one year.
Treatable by a medical professional
Usually self-diagnosable
Lab tests or imaging often required
Medium-term: resolves within months
The cause of infertility may be difficult to determine but may include inadequate levels of certain hormones in both men and women, and trouble with ovulation in women.
The main symptom is an inability to get pregnant. In many cases, there are no additional symptoms.
Many treatments significantly improve the chances of getting pregnant. They include hormone treatments, fertility drugs and surgery. In addition, assisted reproduction uses various medical techniques to fertilize an egg.
Persistent problems falling and staying asleep.
Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
Usually self-diagnosable
Lab tests or imaging rarely required
Most cases of insomnia are related to poor sleeping habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, chronic illness or certain medication.
Symptoms may include difficulty falling or staying asleep and not feeling well-rested.
Treatment for insomnia consists of improving sleep habits, behavior therapy and identifying and treating underlying causes. Sleeping pills may also be used, but should be monitored for side effects.

Joint pain can be caused by injury affecting any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint. …Pain is also a feature of joint inflammation (arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis) and infection, and extremely rarely it can be a cause of cancer of the joint.

A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging always required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
It typically appears in adolescence.
Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision.
Treatment aims at maintaining normal blood sugar levels through regular monitoring, insulin therapy, diet and exercise.
A small, hard deposit that forms in the kidneys and is often painful when passed.
Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging often required
Short-term: resolves within days to weeks
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and acid salts that stick together in concentrated urine. They can be painful when passing through the urinary tract, but usually don’t cause permanent damage.
The most common symptom is severe pain, usually in the side of the abdomen, that’s often associated with nausea.
Treatment includes pain relievers and drinking lots of water to help pass the stone. Medical procedures may be required to remove or break up larger stones.

The most common knee injuries include fractures around the knee, dislocation, and sprains and tears of soft tissues, like ligaments. … Pain and swelling are the most common signs of knee injury. In addition, your knee may catch or lock up. Manyknee injuries cause instability — the feeling that your knee is giving way.

The inability to fully digest sugar (lactose) in dairy products.
Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
Usually self-diagnosable
Lab tests or imaging rarely required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Lactose intolerance is usually caused by a deficiency of an enzyme in the body called lactase.
Symptoms can include abdominal cramps, bloating and diarrhoea.
Treatment focuses on avoidance of dairy products, use of lactose-free products or the use of lactase supplements.
A cancer of blood-forming tissues, hindering the body’s ability to fight infection.
Treatable by a medical professional
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging always required
Leukaemia is cancer of blood-forming tissues, including bone marrow. Many types exist such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
Many patients with slow-growing types of leukaemia don’t have symptoms. Rapidly growing types of leukaemia may cause symptoms that include fatigue, weight loss, frequent infections and easy bleeding or bruising.
Treatment is highly variable. For slow-growing leukaemias, treatment may include monitoring. For aggressive leukaemias, treatment includes chemotherapy that’s sometimes followed by radiation and stem-cell transplant.
Any condition that damages the liver and prevents it from functioning well.
Most common types
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

    The accumulation of liver fat in people who drink little or no alcohol.
  • Hepatitis C

    An infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation.
  • Hepatitis B

    A serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus that’s easily preventable by a vaccine.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver

    Chronic liver damage from a variety of causes leading to scarring and liver failure.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis

    Liver inflammation caused by drinking too much alcohol.
  • Hepatitis A

    A highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus.
  • Hemochromatosis

    An inherited condition caused by excessive absorption of iron, leading to high blood iron levels and iron deposits in multiple joints.

What’s considered low blood pressure for you may be normal for someone else. Most doctors consider blood pressure too low only if it causes symptoms. Some experts define low blood pressure as readings lower than 90 mm Hg systolic or 60 mm Hg diastolic. If either number is below that, your pressure is lower than normal.

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