Research (conditions)

This list is definitely not exhaustive. If there is a condition you would like to see added to this page, please contact me at chronicillnesscentral@hotmail.com with ‘New Condition’ as the subject line.

Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is a disorder that occurs when your body produces insufficient amounts of certain hormones produced by your adrenal glands. In Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands produce too little cortisol and often insufficient levels of aldosterone as well. Also called adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease occurs in all age groups and affects both sexes. Addison’s disease can be life-threatening. Treatment for Addison’s disease involves taking hormones to replace the insufficient amounts being made by your adrenal glands, in order to mimic the beneficial effects produced by your naturally made hormones. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis (ad-uh-no-my-O-sis) occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — thickening, breaking down and bleeding — during each menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus and painful, heavy periods can result. Symptoms most often start late in the childbearing years after having children. The cause of adenomyosis remains unknown, but the disease typically disappears after menopause. For women who experience severe discomfort from adenomyosis, certain treatments can help, but hysterectomy is the only cure. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Allergies

An allergy is the response of the body’s immune system to normally harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, and house dust mite. Whilst in most people these substances (allergens) pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a’ threat’ and produces an inappropriate response. When a person comes into contact with a particular allergen they are allergic to, a reaction occurs. This begins when the allergen (for example, pollen) enters the body, triggering an antibody response. When the allergen comes into contact with the antibodies, these cells respond by releasing certain substances, one of which is called histamine. These substances cause swelling, inflammation and itching of the surrounding tissues, which is extremely irritating and uncomfortable. (Description courtesy of Allergy UK)

ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a-my-o-TROE-fik LAT-ur-ul skluh-ROE-sis), or ALS, is a progressive nervous system (neurological) disease that destroys nerve cells and causes disability. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it. ALS is a type of motor neuron disease in which nerve cells gradually break down and die. Doctors usually don’t know why ALS occurs. Some cases are inherited. ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in a limb, or slurred speech. Eventually, ALS affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. There is no cure for ALS, and eventually the disease is fatal. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak. There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe. See your doctor if you suspect you have anemia because it can be a warning sign of serious illness. Treatments for anemia range from taking supplements to undergoing medical procedures. You may be able to prevent some types of anemia by eating a healthy, varied diet. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Arachnoiditis

Arachnoiditis is a chronic inflammation of the arachnoid layer of the Meninges. The symptoms of Arachnoiditis tend to vary from one patient to another and some are common features of other back disorders. It is therefore very important to report every symptom, no matter how embarrassing, to your doctor. Chronic back pain is the most frequent complaint. Sciatic pains in the legs are also reported as are deep muscle pains in back and limbs, uncontrollable muscle spasms and twitches occur. These can be accompanied by hypersensitivity and what some sufferers describe as “burning feet”. Joint pains are common. Even the weight of clothes can cause discomfort. I felt as if I had scraped a layer of skin from my thighs and the wound was still open. A lot of sufferers find it difficult to describe the pain they are experiencing and use the words, “throbbing”, “burning” and “stabbing”. Numbness and tingling sensations in the limbs also plague patients. Bladder and bowel problems also exist causing frequent visits to the toilet in the former with some embarrassing loss of control and in the latter constipation, though these may be caused by the medication required to cope with the pain. Another distressing feature is a lack of sexual drive, brought about by an absence of pleasurable sensations, medication, or, simply the pain experienced when attempting to make love. Another distressing problem is the feeling that insects are crawling about your skin causing incessant itching for which there is no remedy. Finally, one must not forget the psychological problems that arise as a result of arachnoiditis. (Description courtesy of arachnoiditis.co.uk)

Asthma

Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. Asthma can’t be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it’s important that you work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Back pain

Back pain is very common. Most people will suffer one or more episodes of back pain during their lives. In many cases, it starts suddenly and gets better quickly, without the need for any treatment. However, back pain can be painful, debilitating and persistent, and some people suffer repeated episodes. It can also be associated with other symptoms, such as leg pain or sciatica. It may start following a specific incident, such as bending awkwardly or lifting a heavy weight. Or it can develop gradually, perhaps as a result of poor posture, an uncomfortable work position or repetitive strain. (Description courtesy of the British Chiropractic Association)

Balance disorders

Balance problems are conditions that make you feel unsteady or dizzy. If you are standing, sitting or lying down, you might feel as if you are moving, spinning or floating. If you are walking, you might suddenly feel as if you are tipping over or generally unsteady. Many body systems — including your muscles, bones, joints, vision, the balance organ in the inner ear, nerves, heart and blood vessels — must work normally for you to have normal balance. When these systems aren’t functioning well, you can experience balance problems. Many medical conditions can cause balance problems. However, most balance problems result from issues in your balance end-organ in the inner ear (vestibular system). (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Bechet’s disease

Behcet’s (beh-CHETS) disease, also called Behcet’s syndrome, is a rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout your body. The disease can lead to numerous signs and symptoms that may seem unrelated at first. They may include mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes and lesions, and genital sores. The effects of Behcet’s disease vary from person to person and may clear up on their own. Treatment involves medications to reduce the signs and symptoms of Behcet’s disease and to prevent serious complications, such as blindness. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Bronchiectasis

When you breathe, air is carried into your lungs through your airways, also called bronchi. The bronchi divide again and again into thousands of smaller airways called bronchioles. Your airways contain tiny glands that produce a small amount of mucus. Mucus helps to keep your airways moist, and traps the dust and germs that you breathe in. The mucus is moved away by tiny hairs, called cilia, which line your airways. If you have bronchiectasis, your airways are scarred and inflamed with thick mucus, also called phlegm or sputum. Your airways become widened and cannot clear themselves properly. This means mucus builds up and your airways can become infected by bacteria. Pockets in the airways mean that mucus gets trapped and is likely to get infected. Sometimes, if the number of bacteria multiply, your airways won’t be able to clear themselves and you’ll get a chest infection or a flare-up of your symptoms. It’s important to recognise and treat chest infections. If you don’t get treatment, your airways may be damaged further. The scarring around your airways can’t be reversed, but there are ways you and your health care team can treat and manage bronchiectasis.

Cancer as a chronic illness

Cancer isn’t always a one-time event. Cancer can be closely watched and treated, but sometimes it never completely goes away. It can be a chronic (ongoing) illness, much like diabetes or heart disease. This is often the case with certain cancer types, such as ovarian cancer, chronic leukemias, and some lymphomas. Sometimes cancers that have spread or have come back in other parts of the body, like metastatic breast cancer or prostate cancer, also become chronic cancers. The cancer may be controlled with treatment, meaning it might seem to go away or stay the same. The cancer may not grow or spread as long as you’re getting treatment. Sometimes when treatment shrinks the cancer, you can take a break until the cancer starts to grow again. But in either of these cases the cancer is still there – it doesn’t go away and stay away – it’s not cured. (Description courtesy of the American Cancer Society)

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy (kahr-dee-o-my-OP-uh-thee) is a condition where the heart muscle is abnormal. The main types of cardiomyopathy include dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy makes it harder for your heart to pump and deliver blood to the rest of your body. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure. Cardiomyopathy can be treated. The type of treatment you’ll receive depends on which type of cardiomyopathy you have and how serious it is. Your treatment may include medications, surgically implanted devices or, in severe cases, a heart transplant. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Cervical syringomyelia

Syringomyelia (sih-ring-go-my-E-lee-uh) is the development of a fluid-filled cyst (syrinx) within your spinal cord. Over time, the cyst may enlarge, damaging your spinal cord and causing pain, weakness and stiffness, among other symptoms. Syringomyelia has several possible causes, though the majority of cases are associated with a condition in which brain tissue protrudes into your spinal canal (Chiari malformation). Other causes of syringomyelia include spinal cord tumors, spinal cord injuries and damage caused by inflammation around your spinal cord. If syringomyelia isn’t causing any problems, monitoring the condition may be all that’s necessary. But if you’re bothered by symptoms, you may need surgery. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Charcot-Marie tooth disease

Charcot (shahr-KOH)-Marie-Tooth disease is a group of inherited disorders that cause nerve damage. This damage is mostly in your arms and legs (peripheral nerves). Charcot-Marie-Tooth is also called hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease results in smaller, weaker muscles. You may also experience loss of sensation and muscle contractions, and difficulty walking. Foot deformities such as hammertoes and high arches are also common. Symptoms usually begin in your feet and legs, but they may eventually affect your hands and arms. Symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease typically appear in adolescence or early adulthood, but may also develop in midlife. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Chiari malformation

A Chiari malformation is when part of the cerebellum, or part of the cerebellum and part of the brainstem, has descended below the foramen magnum (an opening at the base of the skull). Usually the cerebellum and parts of the brainstem are located in a space within the skull above the foramen magnum. If this space is abnormally small, the cerebellum and brainstem can be pushed down towards the top of the spine. This can cause pressure at the base of the brain and block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to and from the brain. Chiari malformations are named after Hans Chiari, the pathologist who first described them. Chiari malformations are sometimes referred to as an Arnold-Chiari malformation (this name usually refers specifically to Type II Chiari malformation). Another term sometimes used is hindbrain hernia. (Description courtesy of Brain and Spine Foundation)

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by any underlying medical condition. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn’t improve with rest. Chronic fatigue syndrome has also been called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and, more recently, systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). Although CFS/ME and SEID share the same major symptom of chronic fatigue, there is variation between the definitions of these disorders. The symptom of chronic fatigue also may arise from more than one underlying condition. The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, although there are many theories — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress. Some experts believe chronic fatigue syndrome might be triggered by a combination of factors. There’s no single test to confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. You may need a variety of medical tests to rule out other health problems that have similar symptoms. Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome focuses on symptom relief. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body. In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired. Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Chronic migraine

There are four phases of migraine: prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome. Not every person experiences every phase with every migraine. Migraine is generally episodic, does not cause death and is not contagious. Consequently, migraine is the least publicly funded of all neurological illnesses relative to its economic impact. Migraine affects some cross sections of the population more than others. In particular, migraine is three times more common in women than in men. Although migraine affects all ages, it usually begins in adolescence and is most disabling for individuals between 35 and 45 years — typically a highly productive period of life. Migraine can be episodic, occurring only a few times a year, or chronic. In chronic migraine, headaches occur more than 15 days a month. Treatment of chronic migraine is problematic because when used more than a few days a week, acute therapies actually worsen the headaches in most people, underscoring the importance of effective prophylactic treatments that lower attack frequency. More than one-third of people with migraine experience the aura — one or more transient sensory disturbances that may include geometric visual hallucinations, loss of vision, spreading numbness and tingling on one side of the body, language disturbance, and muscle weakness on one side of the body that ranges from mild clumsiness to paralysis. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders

Abnormalities in length, timing, and/or rigidity of the sleep-wake cycle relative to the day-night cycle. The first four are chronic, with neurological causes. The last is temporary, with social and environmental causes: Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS) or Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD) is a condition characterized by an inability to fall asleep until very late at night, with the resulting need to sleep late in the morning or into the afternoon; but an ability to sleep reasonably well if sleep and wake times are much later than normal; Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non 24) is a condition in which a person’s day length is longer than 24 hours. Sleep times get progressively later and later, so the person is eventually sleeping during the day until they cycle back to a nighttime bedtime; Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS) is a condition characterized by a need to sleep and wake up much earlier than normal; Irregular Sleep-Wake Disorder (ISWD) is a condition characterized by irregular sleep and wake periods, at least three sleep periods per day; and Shift Worker Disorder is a condition in which circadian rhythms are disturbed due to working during the body’s natural sleep time, and the patient has serious difficulty in adjusting to the required schedule. (Description courtesy of Circadian Sleep Disorders Network)

Coeliac disease

Celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy), sometimes called sprue or coeliac, is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications. In children, malabsorption can affect growth and development, in addition to the symptoms seen in adults. There’s no cure for celiac disease — but for most people, following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Complex regional pain syndrome (Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome)

Complex regional pain syndrome is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. Complex regional pain syndrome typically develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack, but the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury. The cause of complex regional pain syndrome isn’t clearly understood. Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome is most effective when started early. In such cases, improvement and even remission are possible. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease. When plaque builds up, they narrow your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. Eventually, the decreased blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. Because coronary artery disease often develops over decades, you might not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. But there’s plenty you can do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. A healthy lifestyle can make a big impact. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. It’s caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD. Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. It’s characterized by daily cough and mucus (sputum) production. Emphysema is a condition in which the alveoli at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) of the lungs are destroyed as a result of damaging exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritating gases and particulate matter. COPD is treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve good symptom control and quality of life, as well as reduced risk of other associated conditions. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Crohn’s

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. With treatment, many people with Crohn’s disease are able to function well. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body. Cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These secreted fluids are normally thin and slippery. But in people with cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become sticky and thick. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas. Although cystic fibrosis requires daily care, people with the condition are usually able to attend school and work, and often have a better quality of life than people with cystic fibrosis had in previous decades. Improvements in screening and treatments mean people with cystic fibrosis now may live into their mid- to late 30s, on average, and some are living into their 40s and 50s. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Degenerative disc disease

A diagnosis of “degenerative disc disease” is alarming to many patients because it sounds like a progressive, threatening disease. However, it is not really a disease, and it is not strictly degenerative. For most people the term degenerative understandably implies that the symptoms will get worse with age. However, the term does not apply to the symptoms, but rather describes the process of the disc degenerating over time. While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better given enough time. Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc. Disc degeneration is actually a natural part of aging, and over time all people will exhibit changes in their discs consistent with a greater or lesser degree of degeneration. However, not all people will develop symptoms. In fact, degenerative disc disease is quite variable in its nature and severity. (Description courtesy of Spine Health)

Diabetes

Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems. Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes — when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes — and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Dysrhythmia

A cardiac dysrhythmia is an abnormal heart beat: the rhythm may be irregular in its pacing or the heart rate may be low or high. Some dysrhythmias are potentially life threatening while other dysrhythmias (such as sinus arrhythmia) and normal. Heart rate and origin (atria or ventricles) are used to help classify cardiac dysrhythmias: Tachycardia is a fast (over 100 beats per minute) heart rhythm; Bradycardia is a slow (under 60 beats per minute) heart rhythm; and a premature beat is an extra beat, occurring earlier than normal. Despite being an extra beat, patients may indicate feeling a skipped beat. (Descroption courtesy of Practical Clinical Skills)

Ehlers danlos syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provides strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body. People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin. This can become a problem if you have a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn’t strong enough to hold them. A more severe form of the disorder, called vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can cause the walls of your blood vessels, intestines or uterus to rupture. If you have vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, you may want to talk to a genetic counselor before starting a family. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Endometriosis

Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs. With endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other. Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may develop. Fortunately, effective treatments are available. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) in which nerve cell activity in the brain becomes disrupted, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of consciousness. Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. About 1 in 26 people in the United States will develop a seizure disorder. Nearly 10 percent of individuals may have a single unprovoked seizure. However, a single seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an epilepsy diagnosis. Even mild seizures may require treatment because they can be dangerous during activities such as driving or swimming. Treatment with medications or sometimes surgery can control seizures for about 80 percent of people with epilepsy. Some children with epilepsy may also outgrow their condition with age. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Failed back syndrome

Failed back surgery syndrome (also called FBSS, or failed back syndrome) is a misnomer, as it is not actually a syndrome – it is a very generalized term that is often used to describe the condition of patients who have not had a successful result with back surgery or spine surgery and have experienced continued pain after surgery. There is no equivalent term for failed back surgery syndrome in any other type of surgery (e.g. there is no failed cardiac surgery syndrome, failed knee surgery syndrome, etc.). There are many reasons that a back surgery may or may not work, and even with the best surgeon and for the best indications, spine surgery is no more than 95% predictive of a successful result. (Description courtesy of Spine Health)

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years. Your risk of developing frozen shoulder increases if you’re recovering from a medical condition or procedure that prevents you from moving your arm — such as a stroke or a mastectomy. Treatment for frozen shoulder involves range-of-motion exercises and, sometimes, corticosteroids and numbing medications injected into the joint capsule. In a small percentage of cases, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely. It’s unusual for frozen shoulder to recur in the same shoulder, but some people can develop it in the opposite shoulder. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Fructose malabsorption

Fructose Malabsorption really just means… not being able to absorb fructose. Fructose is a form of sugar and readily available in almost everything we eat, including fruit and vegetables. Both fructose and glucose are different forms of sugar and they are in the most simple form… but that’s the tricky part. Both forms of sugar require no digesting at all; they are already broken down into the most simple form for the body to soak right up. Therein lies the problem behind fructose malabsorption; the fructose is not being soaked right up into the body. When fructose doesn’t get soaked right up into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall like it’s supposed to, it is shipped further down the bowels and gobbled up by hungry bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria eat, they make by-products such as methane and hydrogen gas that cause bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and wicked bad breath. In fact, there is a test for Fructose Malabsorption that measures the level of hydrogen in the breath. This is because the bad bacteria release hydrogen after digesting fructose which gets absorbed into the bloodstream and removed by the lungs, finally expelled from the body through the breath. (Description courtesy of SCD Lifestyle)

Functional neurological disorder

Functional neurologic disorders — a newer and broader term that includes what some people call conversion disorder — feature nervous system (neurological) symptoms that can’t be explained by a neurological disease or other medical condition. However, the symptoms are real and cause significant distress or problems functioning. Signs and symptoms vary, depending on the type of functional neurologic disorder, and may include specific patterns. Typically these disorders affect your movement or your senses, such as the ability to walk, swallow, see or hear. Symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go or be persistent. However, you can’t intentionally produce or control your symptoms. The cause of functional neurologic disorders is unknown. The condition may be triggered by a neurological disorder or by a reaction to stress or psychological or physical trauma, but that’s not always the case. Functional neurologic disorders are related to how the brain functions, rather than damage to the brain’s structure (such as from a stroke, multiple sclerosis, infection or injury). Early diagnosis and treatment, especially education about the condition, can help with recovery. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the normal spontaneous movement of the muscles (motility) in your stomach. Ordinarily, strong muscular contractions propel food through your digestive tract. But if you have gastroparesis, your stomach’s motility is slowed down or doesn’t work at all, preventing your stomach from emptying properly. Certain medications, such as opioid pain relievers, some antidepressants, and high blood pressure and allergy medications, can lead to slow gastric emptying and cause similar symptoms. For people who already have gastroparesis, these medications may make their condition worse. Gastroparesis can interfere with normal digestion, cause nausea and vomiting, and cause problems with blood sugar levels and nutrition. The cause of gastroparesis is usually unknown. Sometimes it’s a complication of diabetes, and some people develop gastroparesis after surgery. Although there’s no cure for gastroparesis, changes to your diet, along with medication, can offer some relief. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital to good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults. The most common form of glaucoma has no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage. Vision loss due to glaucoma can’t be recovered. So it’s important to have regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have the condition, you’ll generally need treatment for the rest of your life. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Grave’s Disease

Graves’ disease is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Although a number of disorders may result in hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease is a common cause. Because thyroid hormones affect a number of different body systems, signs and symptoms associated with Graves’ disease can be wide ranging and significantly influence your overall well-being. Although Graves’ disease may affect anyone, it’s more common among women and before the age of 40. The primary treatment goals are to inhibit the overproduction of thyroid hormones and lessen the severity of symptoms. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Guillain Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre (gee-YAH-buh-RAY) syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body. In its most severe form Guillain-Barre syndrome is a medical emergency. Most people with the condition must be hospitalized to receive treatment. The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown. But it is often preceded by an infectious illness such as a respiratory infection or the stomach flu. There’s no known cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome, but several treatments can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness. Most people recover from Guillain-Barre syndrome, though some may experience lingering effects from it, such as weakness, numbness or fatigue. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hashimoto’s

Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions. Inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It primarily affects middle-aged women but also can occur in men and women of any age and in children. Doctors test your thyroid function to help detect Hashimoto’s disease. Treatment of Hashimoto’s disease with thyroid hormone replacement usually is simple and effective. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Haemophilia

Hemophilia is a rare disorder in which your blood doesn’t clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins (clotting factors). If you have hemophilia, you may bleed for a longer time after an injury than you would if your blood clotted normally. Small cuts usually aren’t much of a problem. The greater health concern is deep bleeding inside your body, especially in your knees, ankles and elbows. That internal bleeding can damage your organs and tissues, and may be life-threatening. Hemophilia is an inherited (genetic) disorder. There’s no cure yet. But with proper treatment and self-care, most people with hemophilia can maintain an active, productive lifestyle. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hemochromatosis

Hereditary hemochromatosis (he-moe-kroe-muh-TOE-sis) causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you eat. Excess iron is stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. Too much iron can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as liver disease, heart problems and diabetes. The genes that cause hemochromatosis are inherited, but only a minority of people who have the genes ever develop serious problems. Signs and symptoms of hereditary hemochromatosis usually appear in midlife. Treatment includes regularly removing blood from your body. Because much of the body’s iron is contained in red blood cells, this treatment lowers iron levels. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hereditary fructose intolerance

Hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI) is a metabolic disease caused by the absence of an enzyme called aldolase B. In people with HFI, ingestion of fructose (fruit sugar) and sucrose (cane or beet sugar, table sugar) causes severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and the build up of dangerous substances in the liver. HFI may be relatively mild or a very severe disease. The condition is caused by mutations in the ALDOB gene. It is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. Treatment involves eliminating fructose and sucrose from the diet. In the severe form, eliminating these sugars from the diet may not prevent progressive liver disease. (Description courtesy of National Centre of Advancing Translational Sciences)

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is the medical term for a hip socket that doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone. This allows the hip joint to become partially or completely dislocated. Most people with hip dysplasia are born with the condition. Doctors will check your baby for signs of hip dysplasia shortly after birth and during well-baby visits. If hip dysplasia is diagnosed in early infancy, a soft brace can usually correct the problem. If hip dysplasia is diagnosed after the age of 2, surgery may be necessary to move the bones into the proper positions for smooth joint movement. Milder cases of hip dysplasia might not start causing symptoms until a person is a teenager or young adult. Hip dysplasia can damage the cartilage lining the joint, and it can also hurt the soft cartilage (labrum) that rims the socket portion of the hip joint. This is called a hip labral tear. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

HIV

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS. There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease. These drugs have reduced AIDS deaths in many developed nations. But HIV continues to decimate populations in Africa, Haiti and parts of Asia. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is the buildup of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) deep within the brain. The excess fluid increases the size of the ventricles and puts pressure on the brain. Cerebrospinal fluid normally flows through the ventricles and bathes the brain and spinal column. But the pressure of too much cerebrospinal fluid associated with hydrocephalus can damage brain tissues and cause a large spectrum of impairments in brain function. Although hydrocephalus can occur at any age, it’s more common among infants and older adults. Surgical treatment for hydrocephalus can restore and maintain normal cerebrospinal fluid levels in the brain. A variety of interventions are often required to manage symptoms or functional impairments resulting from hydrocephalus. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis (hi-pur-hi-DROE-sis) is abnormally excessive sweating that’s not necessarily related to higher temperatures or exercise. You may sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes or drips off your hands. Besides disrupting normal daily activities, hyperhidrosis can cause social anxiety and embarrassment. Hyperhidrosis treatment usually involves prescription-strength antiperspirants on the affected areas. Rarely, an underlying cause may be found and treated. For persistent hyperhidrosis, you may need to try different medications or other therapies. In severe cases, your doctor may suggest surgery either to remove the sweat glands or to disconnect the nerves responsible for the overproduction of sweat. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hypertension

High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. High blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body’s main energy source. Hypoglycemia is commonly associated with the treatment of diabetes. However, a variety of conditions, many of them rare, can cause low blood sugar in people without diabetes. Like fever, hypoglycemia isn’t a disease itself — it’s an indicator of a health problem. Immediate treatment of hypoglycemia involves quick steps to get your blood sugar level back into a normal range — about 70 to 110 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL (3.9 to 6.1 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L) — either with high-sugar foods or medications. Long-term treatment requires identifying and treating the underlying cause of hypoglycemia. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones. Women, especially those older than age 60, are more likely to have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body. It seldom causes symptoms in the early stages, but over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. The good news is that accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism, and treatment of hypothyroidism with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually simple, safe and effective once you and your doctor find the right dose for you. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a chronic condition that you will need to manage long term. Even though signs and symptoms are uncomfortable, IBS — unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease — doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer. Only a small number of people with irritable bowel syndrome have severe signs and symptoms. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle and stress. Others will need medication and counseling. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) is a neurological condition of unknown cause defined by increased intracranial pressure (ICP) around the brain without the presence of tumour or disease. The space around the brain is filled with water like fluid (Cerebrospinal Fluid – CSF). If, due to a variety of factors, the pressure around the brain rises then the space containing the fluid cannot expand. It is this excessively high CSF pressure that produces the symptoms of IIH. IIH is also known by its earlier name: Benign Intracranial Hypertension (BIH) is little used because the condition can cause visual loss and therefore is not harmless or benign. You may also occasionally see it referred to as Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC) because some sufferers present with signs and symptoms of a brain tumour despite no tumour being present, (‘pseudo’ meaning false). (Description courtesy of IIH UK)

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (in-tur-STISH-ul sis-TIE-tis) — also called painful bladder syndrome — is a chronic condition causing bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain. The pain ranges from mild discomfort to severe. Your bladder is a hollow, muscular organ that stores urine. The bladder expands until it’s full and then signals your brain that it’s time to urinate, communicating through the pelvic nerves. This creates the urge to urinate for most people. With interstitial cystitis, these signals get mixed up — you feel the need to urinate more often and with smaller volumes of urine than most people. Interstitial cystitis most often affects women and can have a long-lasting impact on quality of life. Although there’s no cure, medications and other therapies may offer relief. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Ligamentous laxity

In generalized ligamentous laxity, the range of motion across various joints in an individual is increased compared to the mean range of motion in the general population. Although this could occur as a result of genetic disorders affecting the connective tissue, in most individuals there is no genetic aberrancy and it exists in isolation. The prevalence of generalized ligamentous laxity varies among different races from 5% to 57% of the general population. It is well known that generalized ligamentous laxity is implicated in various musculoskeletal injuries, especially in the lower extremities, such as cruciate ligament injuries, patellar instability, and ankle injuries. (Description courtesy of Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal)

Lumbar spinal stenosis

The term “stenosis” comes from the Greek word meaning “choking” and is often the result of degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and/or degenerative spondylolisthesis. When the spinal nerves in the lower back are choked, lumbar spinal stenosis occurs and most often leads to leg pain and other symptoms, as described in more detail below. The typical symptom is increased pain in the legs with walking (pseudoclaudication), which can markedly diminish one’s activity level. Patients with lumbar spinal stenosis are typically comfortable at rest but cannot walk far without developing leg pain. Pain relief is achieved, sometimes almost immediately, when they sit down again. For most people, symptoms of lumbar stenosis will typically fluctuate, with some periods of more severe symptoms and some with fewer or none, but symptoms are not always progressive over time. For each person, the severity and duration of lumbar stenosis symptoms is different and often dictates whether conservative (non-surgical) treatment or lumbar spinal stenosis surgery is more suitable. (Description courtesy of Spine Health)

Lupus

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus. Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is caused by four main species of bacteria: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii cause Lyme disease in the United States, while Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are the leading causes of Lyme disease in Europe and Asia. The most common tick-borne illness in these regions, Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. You’re more likely to get Lyme disease if you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks carrying the disease thrive. It’s important to take common-sense precautions in areas where ticks are prevalent. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes episodes in which you feel as if you’re spinning (vertigo), and you have fluctuating hearing loss with a progressive, ultimately permanent loss of hearing, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), and sometimes a feeling of fullness or pressure in your ear. In most cases, Meniere’s disease affects only one ear. Meniere’s disease can occur at any age, but it usually starts between the ages of 20 and 50. It’s considered a chronic condition, but various treatments can help relieve symptoms and minimize the long-term impact on your life. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Meningioma

A meningioma is a tumor that arises from the meninges — the membranes that surround your brain and spinal cord. Although not technically a brain tumor, it is included in this category because it may compress or squeeze the adjacent brain, nerves and vessels. Meningioma is the most common type of tumor that forms in the head. Most meningiomas grow very slowly, often over many years without causing symptoms. But in some instances, their effects on adjacent brain tissue, nerves or vessels may cause serious disability. Meningiomas occur most commonly in women, and are often discovered at older ages, but a meningioma may occur at any age. Because most meningiomas grow slowly, often without any significant signs and symptoms, they do not always require immediate treatment and may be monitored over time. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. Having more than one of these might increase your risk even more. If you have metabolic syndrome or any of its components, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Mixed Connective Tissue Disease

Mixed connective tissue disease has signs and symptoms of a combination of disorders — primarily lupus, scleroderma and polymyositis. For this reason, mixed connective tissue disease is sometimes referred to as an overlap disease. In mixed connective tissue disease, the symptoms of the separate diseases usually don’t appear all at once. Instead, they tend to occur in sequence over a number of years, which can make diagnosis more complicated. Early signs and symptoms often involve the hands. Fingers might swell like sausages, and the fingertips become white and numb. In later stages, some organs — such as the lungs, heart and kidneys — may be affected. There’s no cure for mixed connective tissue disease. The signs and symptoms are usually treated with certain medications, such as prednisone. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Multiple chemical sensitivity

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; in broad terms it means an unusually severe sensitivity or allergy-like reaction to many different kinds of pollutants including solvents, VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), perfumes, petrol, diesel, smoke, “chemicals” in general and often encompasses problems with regard to pollen, house dust mites, and pet fur & dander. Multiple chemical sensitivity unlike true allergies – where the underlying mechanisms of the problem are relatively well understood widely accepted, is generally regarded as “idiopathic” – meaning that it has no known mechanism of causation & it’s processes are not fully understood. The problem here is made more difficult still, due to the variable nature of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity from one patient to the next & this often makes treatment with conventional medicine & practices ineffective or inappropriate; for most sufferers with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the avoidance of pollutants/toxicants is the key. (Description courtesy of multiplechemicalsensitivity.org)

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged. Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms. There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Musculoskeletal pain

Musculoskeletal pain affects the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. It can be acute (having a rapid onset with severe symptoms) or chronic (long-lasting). Musculoskeletal pain can be localized in one area, or widespread. Lower back pain is the most common type of musculoskeletal pain. Other common types include tendonitis, myalgia (muscle pain), and stress fractures. Anyone can experience musculoskeletal pain. It is most often caused by an injury to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves. This can be caused by jerking movements, car accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle. Musculoskeletal pain can also be caused by overuse. Pain from overuse affects 33% of adults. (Description courtesy of Cleveland Clinic)

Myasthenia gravis

Myasthenia gravis (my-us-THEE-nee-uh GRAY-vis) is characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control. Myasthenia gravis is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. There is no cure for myasthenia gravis, but treatment can help relieve signs and symptoms, such as weakness of arm or leg muscles, double vision, drooping eyelids, and difficulties with speech, chewing, swallowing and breathing. Though myasthenia gravis can affect people of any age, it’s more common in women younger than 40 and in men older than 60. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Myofasial pain

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In myofascial pain syndrome, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain. Myofascial pain syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress-related muscle tension. While nearly everyone has experienced muscle tension pain, the discomfort associated with myofascial pain syndrome persists or worsens. Treatment options for myofascial pain syndrome include physical therapy and trigger point injections. Pain medications and relaxation techniques also can help. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Myositis

Myositis means inflammation of the muscles that you use to move your body. An injury, infection, or autoimmune disease can cause it. Two specific kinds are polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Polymyositis causes muscle weakness, usually in the muscles closest to the trunk of your body. Dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness, plus a skin rash. Other symptoms of myositis may include: Fatigue after walking or standing; Tripping or falling; and trouble swallowing or breathing. Doctors may use a physical exam, lab tests, imaging tests and a muscle biopsy to diagnose myositis. There is no cure for these diseases, but you can treat the symptoms. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are first treated with high doses of a corticosteroid. Other options include medications, physical therapy, exercise, heat therapy, assistive devices, and rest. (Description courtesy of Medline Plus)

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods of time, regardless of the circumstances. Narcolepsy can cause serious disruptions in your daily routine. Sometimes, narcolepsy can be accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle tone (cataplexy) that leads to weakness and loss of muscle control. Cataplexy is often triggered by a strong emotion, most commonly laughter. Narcolepsy is a chronic condition for which there’s no cure. However, medications and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms. Support from others — family, friends, employer, teachers — can help you cope with narcolepsy. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Nerve root entrapment

A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. A pinched nerve can occur at a number of sites in your body. A herniated disk in your lower spine, for example, may put pressure on a nerve root, causing pain that radiates down the back of your leg. Likewise, a pinched nerve in your wrist can lead to pain and numbness in your hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome). With rest and other conservative treatments, most people recover from a pinched nerve within a few days or weeks. Sometimes, surgery is needed to relieve pain from a pinched nerve. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Neuropathic pain (or peripheral neuropathy)

Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to your peripheral nerves, often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body. Your peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body. Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes mellitus. People with peripheral neuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing, burning or tingling. In many cases, symptoms improve, especially if caused by a treatable condition. Medications can reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine. Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be effectively managed, although the underlying process cannot be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression, or your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time. Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications may markedly improve your symptoms. In occasional cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Poly cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression, or your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time. Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications may markedly improve your symptoms. In occasional cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

PoTs

A diagnosis of postural tachycardia syndrome, commonly known as POTS, typically is based on symptoms, along with the results of an assessment called a tilt table test. Although there’s no cure for postural tachycardia syndrome, often it can be managed effectively with lifestyle changes and medication. And fortunately, teenagers — the group most often affected by POTS — usually outgrow the disorder by the time they reach their 20s.

Postural tachycardia syndrome affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary body functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. In postural tachycardia syndrome, the nerves that regulate blood flow are out of balance, so enough blood doesn’t go to the right place at the right time. The result is a variety of symptoms, including an overly rapid heartbeat when shifting from lying down to standing up.

A person’s heart rate is usually about 70 to 80 beats per minute when resting. Normally, the heart rate increases by 10 to 15 beats per minute when standing up, and then it settles down again. For people with postural tachycardia syndrome, the heart rate goes up considerably higher when they stand, often increasing 30 to 50 beats per minute or more. This can lead to lightheadedness, dizziness and fainting.

Other postural tachycardia syndrome symptoms may include chronic fatigue; headaches or other types of chronic pain; and digestive problems, such as nausea and cramping. These symptoms may vary considerably from one person to another. If symptoms seem to be pointing to postural tachycardia syndrome, the diagnosis usually is confirmed using a tilt table test.

For a tilt table test, you begin by lying flat on a table. Straps are put around your body to hold you in place. After about 30 minutes of lying flat, the table is quickly tilted to raise your body to a head-up position — simulating a change in position from lying down to standing up. Then, your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored for about 10 minutes. In people who have postural tachycardia syndrome, the heart rate goes up by more than 30 beats per minute when tilted up (40 beats per minute or more for teenagers). Blood pressure remains steady or changes only slightly.

Postural tachycardia syndrome begins in the teenage or early adulthood years. Although postural tachycardia syndrome is a chronic condition, about 80 percent of patients grow out of it. Until that happens, treatment can ease postural tachycardia syndrome symptoms. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Perineural cysts (Tarlov cyst)

Tarlov cysts are fluid-filled sacs that most often affect nerve roots at the lower end of the spine. Such cysts typically cause no symptoms and are found incidentally on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies done for other reasons. However, in some cases, the cysts expand, putting pressure on the affected nerve root. The results may include sharp, burning pain in the hip and down the back of the thigh, possibly with weakness and reduced sensation all along the affected leg and foot. Tarlov cysts sometimes enlarge enough to cause erosion of the surrounding bone, which is another way they may cause back pain. In most cases, Tarlov cysts require no treatment. For those that do, some surgical treatments — such as draining the cyst — have had promising results. Because symptomatic Tarlov cysts are uncommon, studies have been too small and too dissimilar to identify the most effective treatment procedure. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Post-surgical pain

Let’s start with some definitions – acute postoperative pain is the pain experienced immediately after an operation, usually lasting for days or sometimes weeks – this is entirely normal and expected. The surgical incision and surrounding area can be inflamed and tender – again this is fairly normal and is important for wound healing, where tissues and muscles repair themselves after injury. Chronic pain is normally considered to be pain that persists or keeps coming back for more than three months or for longer than the expected healing time. Chronic pain that develops after an operation is often known as ‘chronic post-surgical pain’. Knowing when pain becomes chronic after surgery is especially difficult because many people have had their surgery to treat a painful condition, such as a painful hernia, gallstones or a spinal disc problem. Is the pain simply a continuation of the old pain, or is it new? And, even if it is new, is it related to the surgery? Sometimes it is obvious that something has changed – nerve damage after an operation for gallstones is quite different from the original pain, for example. Another example is persistent tingling nerve pain in the chest wall after heart bypass surgery, which is very different from angina pain experienced before heart surgery. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell the pains apart, especially if the original pain (that the operation was done to treat) was not in fact helped by the surgery. However, these are the features that can allow doctors to tell if you have chronic post-surgical pain: the pain develops after a surgical operation; the pain lasts for at least three months; other causes of pain (such as an infection or cancer) are not present; or the pain is not pain continuing from the original condition. (Description courtesy of Pain Concern)

Primary immunodeficiency

Primary immunodeficiency disorders — also called primary immune disorders or primary immunodeficiency — weaken the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily. Many people with primary immunodeficiency are born missing some of the body’s immune defenses, which leaves them more susceptible to germs that can cause infections. Some forms of primary immunodeficiency are so mild they may go unnoticed for years. Other types are severe enough that they’re discovered almost as soon as an affected baby is born. Treatments can boost the immune system for many types of primary immunodeficiency disorders. Most people with the condition lead relatively normal, productive lives. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear. Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. They can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and can range from relatively mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission. No cure for psoriatic arthritis exists, so the focus is on controlling symptoms and preventing damage to your joints. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis may be disabling. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Referred pain

Referred pain occurs when activation of nociceptors in the viscera results in a perception of pain that is localized to the body surface. Only deep pain can be referred, not superficial. referred pain is presumed to occur because the information from multiple nociceptor afferents converges onto individual spinothalmic tract neurons. The brain therefore interprets the information coming from visceral receptors as having arisen from receptors on the body surface, since this is where nociceptive stimuli originate more frequently. (Description courtesy of University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth)

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition also can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is what can damage other parts of the body as well. While new types of medications have improved treatment options dramatically, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical disabilities. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Schnitzler syndrome

Schnitzler syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by a chronic reddish rash that resembles hives (urticaria) and elevated levels of a specific protein in the blood (monoclonal IgM gammopathy). Symptoms associated with Schnitzler syndrome may include repeated bouts of fever, joint inflammation (arthritis), joint pain (arthralgia), bone pain, and other findings such as enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy). A monoclonal IgM gammopathy refers to the uncontrolled growth of a single clone (monoclonal) of plasma cells, which results in the abnormal accumulation of M-proteins (also known as immunoglobulin M or IgM) in the blood. These proteins are supposed to fight foreign substances in the body such as viruses and bacteria, but researchers suspect that they play a role in the development of Schnitzler syndrome. However, the specific role these proteins play and the exact cause of Schnitzler syndrome is unknown. Schnitzler syndrome is difficult to classify and some researchers have suggested that it is an acquired autoinflammatory syndrome. Autoinflammatory syndromes are a group of disorders characterized by recurrent episodes of inflammation due to an abnormality of the innate immune system. They are not the same as autoimmune disorders, in which the adaptive immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. (Description courtesy of National Organization for Rare Disorders)

Scleroderma

Scleroderma (skleer-oh-DUR-muh) is a group of rare diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues — the fibers that provide the framework and support for your body. In some people, scleroderma affects only the skin. But in many people, scleroderma also harms structures beyond the skin — such as blood vessels, internal organs and the digestive tract. Signs and symptoms vary, depending on which structures are affected. Scleroderma affects women more often than men and most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 50. While there is no cure for scleroderma, a variety of treatments can ease symptoms and improve quality of life. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that occurs most often during the growth spurt just before puberty. While scoliosis can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, the cause of most scoliosis is unknown. Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some children develop spine deformities that continue to get more severe as they grow. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly. Children who have mild scoliosis are monitored closely, usually with X-rays, to see if the curve is getting worse. In many cases, no treatment is necessary. Some children will need to wear a brace to stop the curve from worsening. Others may need surgery to keep the scoliosis from worsening and to straighten severe cases of scoliosis. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Sjogren’s syndrome

Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome is a disorder of your immune system identified by its two most common symptoms — dry eyes and a dry mouth. The condition often accompanies other immune system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In Sjogren’s syndrome, the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth are usually affected first — resulting in decreased tears and saliva. Although you can develop Sjogren’s syndrome at any age, most people are older than 40 at the time of diagnosis. The condition is much more common in women. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Sleep apnoea

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly, and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. The main types of sleep apnea are: Obstructive sleep apnea,the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax; Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing; and Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. If you think you might have any form of sleep apnea, see your doctor. Treatment can ease your symptoms and may help prevent heart problems and other complications. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck. Some people with spinal stenosis may not have symptoms. Others may experience pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. Symptoms can worsen over time. Spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis. In severe cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may recommend surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it. The term is pronounced spondy-low-lis-thesis and is derived from the Greek language: spondylo means vertebra and listhesis means to slip. There are several types or causes of spondylolisthesis; a few are listed: Congenital spondylolisthesis means the disorder is present at birth; Isthymic spondylolisthesis occurs when a defect, such as a fracture occurs in a bony supporting vertebral structure at the back of the spine; and Degenerative spondylolisthesis is more common and is often associated with degenerative disc disease, wherein the discs (eg, due to the effects of growing older) lose hydration and resilency. (Description courtesy of Spine Universe)

Temporomandibular joint disorder

The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-mun-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth, although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders. In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Transverse myelitis

Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of both sides of one section of the spinal cord. This neurological disorder often damages the insulating material covering nerve cell fibers (myelin). Transverse myelitis interrupts the messages that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body. This can cause pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, sensory problems, or bladder and bowel dysfunction. Several factors can cause transverse myelitis, including infections and immune system disorders that attack the body’s tissues. It could also be caused by other myelin disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. Treatment for transverse myelitis includes medications and rehabilitative therapy. Most people with transverse myelitis recover at least partially. Those with severe attacks sometimes are left with major disabilities. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction. Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object penetrating the skull, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury. Mild traumatic brain injury may cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells. More serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain that can result in long-term complications or death. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UL-sur-uh-tiv koe-LIE-tis) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. Symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly. Ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and can sometimes lead to life-threatening complications. While it has no known cure, treatment can greatly reduce signs and symptoms of the disease and even bring about long-term remission. (Description courtesy of Mayo Clinic)