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Health Information Encyclopedia Abdomen - swollen 10/14/2012
Swollen belly; Swelling in the abdomen; Abdominal distention; Distended abdomen Common Causes: Abdominal swelling, or distention, is more often caused by overeating than by a serious illness. This problem can be caused by: Air swallowing (a nervous habit) Buildup of fluid in the abdomen (this can be a sign of a serious medical problem) Gas in the intestines from eating foods that are high in fiber (such as fruits and vegetables) Irritable bowel syndrome Lactose intolerance Ovarian cyst Partial bowel blockage Pregnancy Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) Uterine fibroids Weight gain Home Care: A swollen abdomen that is caused by eating a heavy meal will go away when you digest the food.
Health Information Encyclopedia Abdominal bloating 04/17/2012
Bloating; Meteorism Considerations: Common Causes: Common causes include: Air swallowing (a nervous habit) Constipation Gastroesophageal reflux Irritable bowel syndrome Lactose intolerance and other food intolerances Overeating Small bowel bacterial overgrowth Weight gain The diabetes medication acarbose, as well as any medicine containing lactulose or sorbitol, may cause bloating.
Health Information Encyclopedia Abdominal mass 10/14/2012
Mass in the abdomen Considerations: An abdominal mass is usually found during a routine physical examination . Most of the time the mass develops slowly. You may not be able to feel the mass. Finding where the pain occurs helps the doctor make a diagnosis. For example, the abdomen is usually divided into four areas: Right-upper quadrant Left-upper quadrant Right-lower quadrant Left-lower quadrant Other terms used to find the location of abdominal pain or masses include: Epigastric -- center of the abdomen just below the rib cage Periumbilical -- area around the bellybutton The location of the mass and its firmness, texture, and other qualities can provide clues to its cause.
Health Information Encyclopedia Abdominal pain 07/16/2011
Stomach pain; Pain - abdomen; Belly ache; Abdominal cramps; Bellyache; Stomachache Considerations: Almost everyone has pain in the abdomen at one time or another. Most of the time, it is not caused by a serious medical problem. How bad your pain is does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing the pain.
Health Information Encyclopedia Abdominal pain - children under age 12 09/19/2011
Stomach pain in children; Pain - abdomen - children; Abdominal cramps in children; Belly ache in children Considerations: Almost all children experience pain in the abdomen at one time or another. Most of the time, it is not caused by a serious medical problem.
Health Information Encyclopedia Abdominal rigidity 10/14/2012
Rigidity of the abdomen Considerations: When there is a sore area inside the belly or abdomen, the pain will get worse when a hand presses against your belly area. Your fear or nervousness about being touched (palpated) may cause this symptom, but there should be no pain. If you have pain when you are touched and you tighten the muscles to "guard" against more pain, it is more likely caused by a physical condition inside your body.
Health Information Encyclopedia Abdominal sounds 10/14/2012
Bowel sounds Considerations: Abdominal sounds (bowel sounds) are made by the movement of the intestines as they push food through. Since the intestines are hollow, bowel sounds can echo through the abdomen much like the sounds heard from water pipes. Most bowel sounds are harmless and simply mean that the gastrointestinal tract is working. A doctor can check abdominal sounds by listening to the abdomen with a stethoscope ( auscultation ).
Health Information Encyclopedia Agitation 02/11/2012
Restlessness Considerations: Agitation can come on suddenly or over time. It can last for just a few minutes, or for weeks or even months. Pain, stress, and fever can all increase agitation. Agitation by itself may not be a sign of a health problem. However, if other symptoms occur, it can be a sign of disease.
Health Information Encyclopedia Alertness - decreased 04/03/2011
Stuporous; Mental status - decreased; Loss of alertness; Decreased consciousness; Changes in consciousness; Obtundation; Coma; Unresponsiveness Common Causes: Many conditions can cause decreased alertness, including: Chronic kidney disease Extreme tiredness or lack of sleep High blood sugar or low blood sugar Infection that is severe or involves the brain Liver failure Thyroid conditions that cause low thyroid hormone levels or very high thyroid hormone levels Brain disorders or injury, such as: Dementia or Alzheimer's disease Head trauma Seizure Stroke Injury or accidents, such as: Diving accidents and near drowning Heat stroke Very low body temperature ( hypothermia ) Heart or breathing problems, such as: Abnormal heart rhythm ( arrhythmia ) Lack of oxygen ( hypoxia ) from any cause Low blood pressure (hypotension) Low sodium levels in the blood Severe heart failure Severe lung diseases Very high blood pressure Toxins and drugs, such as: Alcohol abuse (binge drinking or damage from long-term alcohol use) Exposure to heavy metals, hydrocarbons, or toxic gases Overuse of drugs such as opiates, narcotics, sedatives, and anti-anxiety or seizure medications Side effect of almost any medicine, such as those used to treat seizures, depression, psychosis, and other illnesses Home Care: Get medical help for any decrease in consciousness, even when it is due to alcohol intoxication , fainting , or a seizure disorder that has already been diagnosed.
Health Information Encyclopedia Ambiguous genitalia 05/07/2012
Genitals - ambiguous Considerations: The genetic sex of a child is determined at conception. The mother's egg cell (ovum) contains an X chromosome , while the father's sperm cell contains either an X or a Y chromosome. These X and Y chromosomes determine the child's genetic sex. Normally, an infant inherits one pair of sex chromosomes -- one X from the mother and one X or one Y from the father.
Health Information Encyclopedia Anisocoria 04/30/2011
Enlargement of one pupil; Pupils of different size; Eyes/pupils different size Considerations: Slight differences in pupil sizes are found in up to 1 in 5 healthy people. Usually, the diameter difference is less than 0.5 mm, but it can be up to 1 mm (0.05 inch). Babies born with different sized pupils may not have any underlying disorder.
Health Information Encyclopedia Ankle pain 01/17/2013
Pain - ankle Causes: Ankle pain is often due to an ankle sprain. An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments, which connect bones to one another. In most cases, the ankle is twisted inward, causing small tears in the ligaments. The tearing leads to swelling and bruising, making it difficult to bear weight on the joint. In addition to ankle sprains, ankle pain can be caused by: Damage or swelling of tendons (which join muscles to bone) or cartilage (which cushions joints) Infection in the ankle joint Osteoarthritis , gout , rheumatoid arthritis , Reiter syndrome , and other types of arthritis Problems in areas near the ankle that can cause you to feel pain in the ankle include: Blockage of blood vessels in the leg Heel pain or injuries Nerve injuries (such as tarsal tunnel syndrome or sciatica ) Home Care: Home care for ankle pain depends on the cause and what other treatment or surgery has taken place.
Health Information Encyclopedia Appetite - decreased 08/14/2012
Loss of appetite; Decreased appetite; Anorexia Considerations: Any illness can affect a previously hearty appetite. If the illness is treatable, the appetite should return when the condition is cured. Loss of appetite can cause unintentional weight loss . Common Causes: A decreased appetite is almost always seen among elderly adults, and no cause may be found.
Health Information Encyclopedia Appetite - increased 10/14/2012
Hyperphagia; Increased appetite; Hunger; Excessive hunger; Polyphagia Considerations: An increased appetite can be a symptom of different diseases. For example, it may be due to certain mental conditions and endocrine gland disorders. An increased appetite can come and go (intermittent), or it can last for long periods of time (persistent), depending on the cause. It does not always result in weight gain.
Health Information Encyclopedia Arachnodactyly 02/02/2012
Dolichostenomelia; Spider fingers; Achromacria Considerations: Long, slender fingers can be normal and not associated with any medical problems. In some cases, however, spider fingers can be a sign of an underlying disease. Common Causes: Homocystinuria Marfan syndrome Other rare genetic disorders Note: Having long, slender fingers may be normal.
Health Information Encyclopedia Armpit lump 08/14/2012
Lump in the armpit; Localized lymphadenopathy - armpit; Axillary lymphadenopathy; Axillary lymph enlargement; Lymph nodes enlargement - axillary; Axillary abscess Considerations: An armpit lump in a woman should be checked by a health care provider immediately, as it may be a sign of breast cancer. Common Causes: Lumps in the armpit may have many causes. Lymph nodes are filters that can catch germs or cancerous tumor cells.
Health Information Encyclopedia Babinski reflex 01/22/2013
Reflex - Babinski; Extensor plantar reflex; Babinski sign Common Causes: When the Babinski reflex is present in a child older than 2 years or in an adult, it is often a sign of a brain or nervous system disorder.
Health Information Encyclopedia Bed wetting at home 02/01/2012
Enuresis - bedwetting Home Care: Do not punish a child who wets the bed.
Health Information Encyclopedia Belching 11/13/2011
Burping; Eructation; Gas - belching Considerations: Belching is most often a normal process. The purpose of belching is to release air from the stomach. Every time you swallow, you also swallow air, along with fluid or food. As the air builds up in the upper stomach, it causes stretching of the stomach that triggers the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax.
Health Information Encyclopedia Binge eating 02/26/2013
Eating - binge; Overeating - compulsive; Compulsive overeating Considerations: A binge eater often: Eats 5,000 to 15,000 calories in one sitting Snacks, in addition to eating three meals a day Overeats throughout the day Binge eating by itself usually leads to becoming overweight.
Health Information Encyclopedia Blackheads 11/20/2012
Blackheads are tiny, dark spots on the skin. They are caused by a small plug in the opening of a follicle (pore).  Blackheads are also called open comedomes . Related conditions include: Acne Whiteheads Considerations: Blackheads can be treated with creams containing salicylic acid or tretinoin. Common Causes: Home Care: Call your health care provider if: What to expect at your health care provider's office: References: Habif TM.
Health Information Encyclopedia Bleeding gums 02/22/2012
Gums - bleeding Considerations: It is important to follow the instructions from your dentist in order to maintain healthy gums. Improper brushing and flossing technique may actually irritate or traumatize the gum tissue. Common Causes: Bleeding gums are mainly due to inadequate plaque removal from the teeth at the gum line.
Health Information Encyclopedia Bleeding into the skin 04/14/2013
Ecchymoses; Skin spots - red; Pinpoint red spots on the skin; Petechiae Considerations: Aside from the common bruise, bleeding into the skin or mucous membranes is a very significant sign and should always be checked out by a health care provider.
Health Information Encyclopedia Blindness and vision loss 09/03/2012
Blindness is a lack of vision. It may also refer to a loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Partial blindness means you have very limited vision. Complete blindness means you cannot see anything and do not see light. (Most people who use the term "blindness" mean complete blindness.) People with vision that is worse than 20/200 with glasses or contact lenses are considered legally blind in most states in the United States.
Health Information Encyclopedia Blood in the semen 09/16/2011
Semen - bloody; Blood in ejaculation Considerations: Symptoms that may occur with this condition include: Blood in urine Fever or chills Lower back pain Pain with bowel movement Pain with ejaculation Pain with urination Swelling in scrotum Swelling or tenderness in groin area Tenderness in the scrotum Common Causes: Blood in the semen is usually caused by inflammation of the seminal vesicles.
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