Health Topics

Symptoms

Dual Diagnosis
National Library of Medicine
What is dual diagnosis?

A person with dual diagnosis has both a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem. These conditions occur together frequently. About half of people who have a mental disorder will also have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and vice versa. The interactions of the two conditions can worsen both.

Why do substance use disorders and mental disorders occur together?

Although these problems often occur together, this does not mean that one caused the other, even if one appeared first. In fact, it can be hard to figure out which came first. Researchers think that there are three possibilities as to why they occur together:

  • Common risk factors may contribute to both mental disorders and substance use disorders. These factors include genetics, stress, and trauma.
  • Mental disorders can contribute to drug use and substance use disorders. For example, people with mental disorders may use drugs or alcohol to try to feel better temporarily. This is known as self-medication. Also, mental disorders may change the brain to make it more likely you will become addicted.
  • Substance use and addiction can contribute to the development of a mental disorder. Substance use may change the brain in ways that make you more likely to develop a mental disorder.
What are the treatments for dual diagnosis?

Someone with a dual diagnosis must treat both conditions. For the treatment to be effective, you need to stop using alcohol or drugs. Treatments may include behavioral therapies and medicines. Also, support groups can give you emotional and social support. They are also a place where people can share tips about how to deal with day-to-day challenges.

NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse


Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
Mental Health and Behavior
Substance Abuse Problems
What is dual diagnosis? A person with dual diagnosis has both a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem. These conditions occur ... mental disorder. What are the treatments for dual diagnosis? Someone with a dual diagnosis must treat both ...
Chronic Bronchitis
National Library of Medicine
Bronchitis
What is chronic bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse over time. The other main type of COPD is emphysema. Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.

Chronic bronchitis is inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are the airways that carry air to and from the air sacs in your lungs. The irritation of the tubes causes mucus to build up. This mucus and the swelling of the tubes make it harder for your lungs to move oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of your body.

What causes chronic bronchitis?

The cause of chronic bronchitis is usually long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause chronic bronchitis, especially if you inhale them.

Exposure to other inhaled irritants can contribute to chronic bronchitis. These include secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dusts from the environment or workplace.

Rarely, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can play a role in causing chronic bronchitis.

Who is at risk for chronic bronchitis?

The risk factors for chronic bronchitis include

  • Smoking. This the main risk factor. Up to 75 percent of people who have chronic bronchitis smoke or used to smoke.
  • Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes and dusts from the environment or workplace.
  • Age. Most people who have chronic bronchitis are at least 40 years old when their symptoms begin.
  • Genetics. This includes alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is a genetic condition. Also, smokers who get chronic bronchitis are more likely to get it if they have a family history of COPD.
What are the symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

At first, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include

  • Frequent coughing or a cough that produces a lot mucus
  • Wheezing
  • A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Tightness in your chest

Some people with chronic bronchitis get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, chronic bronchitis can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.

How is chronic bronchitis diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your medical history and family history
  • Will ask about your symptoms
  • May do lab tests, such as lung function tests, a chest x-ray or CT scan, and blood tests
What are the treatments for chronic bronchitis?

There is no cure for chronic bronchitis. However, treatments can help with symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and improve your ability to stay active. There are also treatments to prevent or treat complications of the disease. Treatments include

  • Lifestyle changes, such as
    • Quitting smoking if you are a smoker. This is the most important step you can take to treat chronic bronchitis.
    • Avoiding secondhand smoke and places where you might breathe in other lung irritants
    • Ask your health care provider for an eating plan that will meet your nutritional needs. Also ask about how much physical activity you can do. Physical activity can strengthen the muscles that help you breathe and improve your overall wellness.
  • Medicines, such as
    • Bronchodilators, which relax the muscles around your airways. This helps open your airways and makes breathing easier. Most bronchodilators are taken through an inhaler. In more severe cases, the inhaler may also contain steroids to reduce inflammation.
    • Vaccines for the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia, since people with chronic bronchitis are at higher risk for serious problems from these diseases.
    • Antibiotics if you get a bacterial or viral lung infection
  • Oxygen therapy, if you have severe chronic bronchitis and low levels of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen therapy can help you breathe better. You may need extra oxygen all the time or only at certain times.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems. It may include
    • An exercise program
    • Disease management training
    • Nutritional counseling
    • Psychological counseling
  • A lung transplant, as a last resort for people who have severe symptoms that have not gotten better with medicines

If you have chronic bronchitis, it's important to know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You should get emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. Call your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have signs of an infection, such as a fever.

Can chronic bronchitis be prevented?

Since smoking causes most cases of chronic bronchitis, the best way to prevent it is to not smoke. It's also important to try to avoid lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Bronchitis, Chronic
Infections
Lungs and Breathing
What is chronic bronchitis? Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it ...
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
National Library of Medicine
CFS
ME/CFS
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
SEID
Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease
What is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems. Another name for it is myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). CFS can often make you unable to do your usual activities. Sometimes you may not even be able to get out of bed.

What causes chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

The cause of CFS is unknown. There may be more than one thing that causes it. It is possible that two or more triggers might work together to cause the illness.

Who is at risk for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

Anyone can get CFS, but it is most common in people between 40 and 60 years old. Adult women have it more often that adult men. Whites are more likely than other races to get a diagnosis of CFS, but many people with CFS have not been diagnosed with it.

What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

CFS symptoms can include

  • Severe fatigue that is not improved by rest
  • Sleep problems
  • Post-exertional malaise (PEM), where your symptoms get worse after any physical or mental activity
  • Problems with thinking and concentrating
  • Pain
  • Dizziness

CFS can be unpredictable. Your symptoms may come and go. They may change over time - sometimes they might get better, and other times they may get worse.

How is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) diagnosed?

CFS can be difficult to diagnose. There is no specific test for CFS, and other illnesses can cause similar symptoms. Your health care provider has to rule out other diseases before making a diagnosis of CFS. He or she will do a thorough medical exam, including

  • Asking about your medical history and your family's medical history
  • Asking about your current illness, including your symptoms. Your doctor will want to know how often you have symptoms, how bad they are, how long they have lasted, and how they affect your life.
  • A thorough physical and mental status exam
  • Blood, urine, or other tests
What are the treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

There is no cure or approved treatment for CFS, but you may be able to treat or manage some of your symptoms. You, your family, and your health care provider should work together to decide on a plan. You should figure out which symptom causes the most problems and try to treat that first. For example, if sleep problems affect you the most, you might first try using good sleep habits. If those do not help, you may need to take medicines or see a sleep specialist.

Strategies such as learning new ways to manage activity can also be helpful. You need to make sure that you do not "push and crash." This can happen when you feel better, do too much, and then get worse again.

Since the process of developing a treatment plan and attending to self-care can be hard if you have CFS, it is important to have support from family members and friends.

Don't try any new treatments without talking to your health care provider. Some treatments that are promoted as cures for CFS are unproven, often costly, and could be dangerous.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Infections
What is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)? Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems. Another name for ...
COPD
National Library of Medicine
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
What is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse over time.

Normally, the airways and air sacs in your lungs are elastic or stretchy. When you breathe in, the airways bring air to the air sacs. The air sacs fill up with air, like a small balloon. When you breathe out, the air sacs deflate, and the air goes out. If you have COPD, less air flows in and out of your airways because of one or more problems:

  • The airways and air sacs in your lungs become less elastic
  • The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed
  • The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed
  • The airways make more mucus than usual and can become clogged
What are the types of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

COPD includes two main types:

  • Emphysema affects the air sacs in your lungs, as well as the walls between them. They become damaged and are less elastic.
  • Chronic bronchitis, in which the lining of your airways is constantly irritated and inflamed. This causes the lining to swell and make mucus.

Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.

What causes COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

The cause of COPD is usually long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause COPD, especially if you inhale them.

Exposure to other inhaled irritants can contribute to COPD. These include secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dusts from the environment or workplace.

Rarely, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can play a role in causing COPD.

Who is at risk for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

The risk factors for COPD include

  • Smoking. This the main risk factor. Up to 75 percent of people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke.
  • Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes and dusts from the environment or workplace
  • Age. Most people who have COPD are at least 40 years old when their symptoms begin.
  • Genetics. This includes alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is a genetic condition. Also, smokers who get COPD are more likely to get it if they have a family history of COPD.
What are the symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

At first, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include

  • Frequent coughing or a cough that produces a lot mucus
  • Wheezing
  • A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Tightness in your chest

Some people with COPD get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, COPD can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.

How is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your medical history and family history
  • Will ask about your symptoms
  • May do lab tests, such as lung function tests, a chest x-ray or CT scan, and blood tests

Your doctor will diagnose COPD based on your signs and symptoms, your medical and family histories, and test results.

What are the treatments for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)?

There is no cure for COPD. However, treatments can help with symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and improve your ability to stay active. There are also treatments to prevent or treat complications of the disease. Treatments include

  • Lifestyle changes, such as
    • Quitting smoking if you are a smoker. This is the most important step you can take to treat COPD.
    • Avoiding secondhand smoke and places where you might breathe in other lung irritants
    • Ask your health care provider for an eating plan that will meet your nutritional needs. Also ask about how much physical activity you can do. Physical activity can strengthen the muscles that help you breathe and improve your overall wellness.
  • Medicines, such as
    • Bronchodilators, which relax the muscles around your airways. This helps open your airways and makes breathing easier. Most bronchodilators are taken through an inhaler. In more severe cases, the inhaler may also contain steroids to reduce inflammation.
    • Vaccines for the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia, since people with COPD are at higher risk for serious problems from these diseases
    • Antibiotics if you get a bacterial or viral lung infection
  • Oxygen therapy, if you have severe COPD and low levels of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen therapy can help you breathe better. You may need extra oxygen all the time or only at certain times.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems. It may include
    • An exercise program
    • Disease management training
    • Nutritional counseling
    • Psychological counseling
  • Surgery, usually as a last resort for people who have severe symptoms that have not gotten better with medicines:
    • For COPD that is mainly related to emphysema, there are surgeries that
      • Remove damaged lung tissue
      • Remove large air spaces (bullae) that can form when air sacs are destroyed. The bullae can interfere with breathing.
    • For severe COPD, some people may need lung transplant

If you have COPD, it's important to know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You should get emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. Call your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have signs of an infection, such as a fever.

Can COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) be prevented?

Since smoking causes most cases of COPD, the best way to prevent it is to not smoke. It's also important to try to avoid lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
Older Adults
Lungs and Breathing
What is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)? COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe ...
Crohn's Disease
National Library of Medicine
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Regional Enteritis
Regional Ileitis
What is Crohn's disease?

Crohn's disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in your digestive tract. It can affect any part of your digestive tract, which runs from your mouth to your anus. But it usually affects your small intestine and the beginning of your large intestine.

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis are other common types of IBD.

What causes Crohn's disease?

The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. Researchers think that an autoimmune reaction may be one cause. An autoimmune reaction happens when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body. Genetics may also play a role, since Crohn's disease can run in families.

Stress and eating certain foods don't cause the disease, but they can make your symptoms worse.

Who is at risk for Crohn's disease?

There are certain factors which can raise your risk of Crohn's disease:

  • Family history of the disease. Having a parent, child, or sibling with the disease puts you at higher risk.
  • Smoking. This may double your risk of developing Crohn's disease.
  • Certain medicines, such as antibiotics, birth-control pills, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. These may slightly increase your chance of developing Crohn's.
  • A high-fat diet. This may also slightly increase your risk of Crohn's.
What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

The symptoms of Crohn's disease can vary, depending where and how severe your inflammation is. The most common symptoms include

  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping and pain in your abdomen
  • Weight loss

Some other possible symptoms are

  • Anemia, a condition in which you have fewer red blood cells than normal
  • Eye redness or pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain or soreness
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Skin changes that involve red, tender bumps under the skin

Stress and eating certain foods such as carbonated drinks and high-fiber foods may make some people's symptoms worse.

What other problems can Crohn's disease cause?

Crohn's disease can cause other problems, including

  • Intestinal obstruction, a blockage in the intestine
  • Fistulas, abnormal connections between two parts inside of the body
  • Abscesses, pus-filled pockets of infection
  • Anal fissures, small tears in your anus that may cause itching, pain, or bleeding
  • Ulcers, open sores in your mouth, intestines, anus, or perineum
  • Malnutrition, when your body does not get the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs
  • Inflammation in other areas of your body, such as your joints, eyes, and skin
How is Crohn's disease diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your family history and medical history
  • Will ask about your symptoms
  • Will do a physical exam, including
    • Checking for bloating in your abdomen
    • Listening to sounds within your abdomen using a stethoscope
    • Tapping on your abdomen to check for tenderness and pain and to see if your liver or spleen is abnormal or enlarged
  • May do various tests, including
    • Blood and stool tests
    • A colonoscopy
    • An upper GI endoscopy, a procedure in which your provider uses a scope to look inside your mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine
    • Diagnostic imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an upper GI series. An upper GI series uses a special liquid called barium and x-rays. Drinking the barium will make your upper GI tract more visible on an x-ray.
What are the treatments for Crohn's disease?

There is no cure for Crohn's disease, but treatments can decrease the inflammation in your intestines, relieve symptoms, and prevent complications. Treatments include medicines, bowel rest, and surgery. No single treatment works for everyone. You and your health care provider can work together to figure out which treatment is best for you:

  • Medicines for Crohn's include various medicines that decrease the inflammation. Some of these medicines do this by reducing the activity of your immune system. Medicines can also help with symptoms or complications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-diarrheal medicines. If your Crohn's causes an infection, you may need antibiotics.
  • Bowel rest involves drinking only certain liquids or not eating or drinking anything. This allows your intestines to rest. You may need to do this if your Crohn's disease symptoms are severe. You get your nutrients through drinking a liquid, a feeding tube, or an intravenous (IV) tube. You may need to do bowel rest in the hospital, or you may be able to do it at home. It will last for a few days or up to several weeks.
  • Surgery can treat complications and reduce symptoms when other treatments are not helping enough. The surgery will involve removing a damaged part of your digestive tract to treat
    • Fistulas
    • Bleeding that is life threatening
    • Intestinal obstructions
    • Side effects from medicines when they threaten your health
    • Symptoms when medicines do not improve your condition

Changing your diet can help reduce symptoms. Your provider may recommend that you make changes to your diet, such as

  • Avoiding carbonated drinks
  • Avoiding popcorn, vegetable skins, nuts, and other high-fiber foods
  • Drinking more liquids
  • Eating smaller meals more often
  • Keeping a food diary to help identify foods that cause problems

Some people also need go on special diet, such as a low-fiber diet.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Crohn Disease
Digestive System
What is Crohn's disease? Crohn's disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in your digestive tract. It can affect any part of your digestive ...
Dementia
National Library of Medicine
Senility
What is dementia?

Dementia is a loss of mental functions that is severe enough to affect your daily life and activities. These functions include

  • Memory
  • Language skills
  • Visual perception (your ability to make sense of what you see)
  • Problem solving
  • Trouble with everyday tasks
  • The ability to focus and pay attention

It is normal to become a bit more forgetful as you age. But dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is a serious disorder which interferes with your daily life.

What are the types of dementia?

The most common types of dementia are known as neurodegenerative disorders. These are diseases in which the cells of the brain stop working or die. They include

  • Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common form of dementia among older people. People with Alzheimer's have plaques and tangles in their brain. These are abnormal buildups of different proteins. Beta-amyloid protein clumps up and forms plaques in between your brain cells. Tau protein builds up and forms tangles inside the nerve cells of your brain. There is also a loss of connection between nerve cells in the brain.
  • Lewy body dementia, which causes movement symptoms along with dementia. Lewy bodies are abnormal deposits of a protein in the brain.
  • Frontotemporal disorders, which cause changes to certain parts of the brain:
    • Changes in the frontal lobe lead to behavioral symptoms
    • Changes in the temporal lobe lead to language and emotional disorders
  • Vascular dementia, which involves changes to the brain's blood supply. It is often caused by a stroke or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in the brain.
  • Mixed dementia, which is a combination of two or more types of dementia. For example, some people have both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Other conditions can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms, including

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare brain disorder
  • Huntington's disease, an inherited, progressive brain disease
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), caused by repeated traumatic brain injury
  • HIV-associated dementia (HAD)
Who is at risk for dementia?

Certain factors can raise your risk for developing dementia, including

  • Aging. This is the biggest risk factor for dementia.
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Having close family members who have dementia
What are the symptoms of dementia?

The symptoms of dementia can vary, depending on which parts of the brain are affected. Often, forgetfulness is the first symptom. Dementia also causes problems with the ability to think, problem solve, and reason. For example, people with dementia may

  • Get lost in a familiar neighborhood
  • Use unusual words to refer to familiar objects
  • Forget the name of a close family member or friend
  • Forget old memories
  • Need help doing tasks that they used to do by themselves

Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions and their personalities may change. They may become apathetic, meaning that they are no longer interested in normal daily activities or events. They may lose their inhibitions and stop caring about other peoples' feelings.

Certain types of dementia can also cause problems with balance and movement.

The stages of dementia range from mild to severe. In the mildest stage, it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning. In the most severe stage, the person is completely dependent on others for care.

How is dementia diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your medical history
  • Will do a physical exam
  • Will check your thinking, memory, and language abilities
  • May do tests, such as blood tests, genetic tests, and brain scans
  • May do a mental health evaluation to see whether a mental disorder is contributing to your symptoms
What are the treatments for dementia?

There is no cure for most types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia. Treatments may help to maintain mental function longer, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down the symptoms of disease. They may include

  • Medicines may temporarily improve memory and thinking or slow down their decline. They only work in some people. Other medicines can treat symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and muscle stiffness. Some of these medicines can cause strong side effects in people with dementia. It is important to talk to your health care provider about which medicines will be safe for you.
  • Occupational therapy to help find ways to more easily do everyday activities
  • Speech therapy to help with swallowing difficulties and trouble speaking loudly and clearly
  • Mental health counseling to help people with dementia and their families learn how to manage difficult emotions and behaviors. It can also help them plan for the future.
  • Music or art therapy to reduce anxiety and improve well-being
Can dementia be prevented?

Researchers have not found a proven way to prevent dementia. Living a healthy lifestyle might influence some of your risk factors for dementia.


Dementia
Mental Health and Behavior
Older Adults
Brain and Nerves
What is dementia? Dementia is a loss of mental functions that is severe enough to affect your daily life and activities. These functions include Memory ...
Eating Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Anorexia Nervosa
Binge Eating
Bulimia
Pica
What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders. They involve severe problems with your thoughts about food and your eating behaviors. You may eat much less or much more than you need.

Eating disorders are medical conditions; they are not a lifestyle choice. They affect your body's ability to get proper nutrition. This can lead to health issues, such as heart and kidney problems, or sometimes even death. But there are treatments that can help.

What are the types of eating disorders?

Common types of eating disorders include

  • Binge-eating, which is out-of-control eating. People with binge-eating disorder keep eating even after they are full. They often eat until they feel very uncomfortable. Afterward, they usually have feelings of guilt, shame, and distress. Eating too much too often can lead to weight gain and obesity. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.
  • Bulimia nervosa. People with bulimia nervosa also have periods of binge-eating. But afterwards, they purge, by making themselves throw up or using laxatives. They may also over-exercise or fast. People with bulimia nervosa may be slightly underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
  • Anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods. They may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. Anorexia nervosa is the least common of the three eating disorders, but it is often the most serious. It has the highest death rate of any mental disorder.
What causes eating disorders?

The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. Researchers believe that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of factors. These include genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors.

Who is at risk for eating disorders?

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, but they are more common in women. Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood. But people can also develop them during childhood or later in life.

What are the symptoms of eating disorders?

The symptoms of eating disorders vary, depending on the disorder:

The symptoms of binge-eating include

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as a 2-hour period
  • Eating even when you're full or not hungry
  • Eating fast during binge episodes
  • Eating until you're uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
  • Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

The symptoms of bulimia nervosa include the same symptoms as binge-eating, plus trying to get rid of the food or weight after binging by

  • Purging, making yourself throw up or using laxatives or enemas to speed up the movement of food through your body
  • Doing intensive and excessive exercise
  • Fasting

Over time, bulimia nervosa can cause health problems such as

  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
  • Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth. This is caused by the exposure to stomach acid every time you throw up.
  • GERD (acid reflux) and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Severe dehydration from purging
  • Electrolyte imbalance, which could be too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

The symptoms of anorexia nervosa include

  • Eating very little, to the point of starving yourself
  • Intensive and excessive exercise
  • Extreme thinness
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image - seeing yourself as overweight even when you are severely underweight

Over time, anorexia nervosa can cause health problems such as

  • Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  • Mild anemia
  • Muscle wasting and weakness
  • Thin, brittle hair and nails
  • Dry, blotchy, or yellowish skin
  • Growth of fine hair all over the body
  • Severe constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing and pulse.
  • Feeling cold all the time because of a drop in internal body temperature
  • Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Infertility
  • Damage to the structure and function of the heart
  • Brain damage
  • Multiorgan failure

Anorexia nervosa can be fatal. Some people with this disorder die of complications from starvation, and others die of suicide.

Some people with eating disorders may also have other mental disorders (such as depression or anxiety) or problems with substance use.

How is eating disorders diagnosed?

Because eating disorders can be so serious, it is important to seek help if you or a loved one thinks that you might have a problem. To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will take a medical history and ask about your symptoms. It is important to be honest about your eating and exercise behaviors so your provider can help you.
  • Will do a physical exam
  • May do blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms
  • May do other tests to see whether you have any other health problems caused by the eating disorder. These can include kidney function tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG).
What are the treatments for eating disorders?

Treatment plans for eating disorders are tailored to individual needs. You will likely have a team of providers helping you, including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and therapists. The treatments may include

  • Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy. Individual therapy may include cognitive behavioral approaches, which help you to identify and change negative and unhelpful thoughts. It also helps you build coping skills and change behavioral patterns.
  • Medical care and monitoring, including care for the complications that eating disorders can cause
  • Nutrition counseling. Doctors, nurses, and counselors will help you eat healthy to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Medicines, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers, may help treat some eating disorders. The medicines can also help with the depression and anxiety symptoms that often go along with eating disorders.

Some people with serious eating disorders may need to be in a hospital or in a residential treatment program. Residential treatment programs combine housing and treatment services.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health


Feeding and Eating Disorders
Mental Health and Behavior
Food and Nutrition
What are eating disorders? Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders. They involve severe problems with your thoughts about food and your eating ...
Emphysema
National Library of Medicine
Pulmonary Emphysema
What is emphysema?

Emphysema is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse over time. The other main type of COPD is chronic bronchitis. Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.

Emphysema affects the air sacs in your lungs. Normally, these sacs are elastic or stretchy. When you breathe in, each air sac fills up with air, like a small balloon. When you breathe out, the air sacs deflate, and the air goes out.

In emphysema, the walls between many of the air sacs in the lungs are damaged. This causes the air sacs to lose their shape and become floppy. The damage also can destroy the walls of the air sacs, leading to fewer and larger air sacs instead of many tiny ones. This makes it harder for your lungs to move oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of your body.

What causes emphysema?

The cause of emphysema is usually long-term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and the airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause emphysema, especially if you inhale them.

Exposure to other inhaled irritants can contribute to emphysema. These include secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dusts from the environment or workplace.

Rarely, a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can play a role in causing emphysema.

Who is at risk for emphysema?

The risk factors for emphysema include

  • Smoking. This the main risk factor. Up to 75 percent of people who have emphysema smoke or used to smoke.
  • Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes and dusts from the environment or workplace.
  • Age. Most people who have emphysema are at least 40 years old when their symptoms begin.
  • Genetics. This includes alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is a genetic condition. Also, smokers who get emphysema are more likely to get it if they have a family history of COPD.
What are the symptoms of emphysema?

At first, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, your symptoms usually become more severe. They can include

  • Frequent coughing or wheezing
  • A cough that produces a lot mucus
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Tightness in your chest

Some people with emphysema get frequent respiratory infections such as colds and the flu. In severe cases, emphysema can cause weight loss, weakness in your lower muscles, and swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs.

How is emphysema diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your medical history and family history
  • Will ask about your symptoms
  • May do lab tests, such as lung function tests, a chest x-ray or CT scan, and blood tests
What are the treatments for emphysema?

There is no cure for emphysema. However, treatments can help with symptoms, slow the progress of the disease, and improve your ability to stay active. There are also treatments to prevent or treat complications of the disease. Treatments include

  • Lifestyle changes, such as
    • Quitting smoking if you are a smoker. This is the most important step you can take to treat emphysema.
    • Avoiding secondhand smoke and places where you might breathe in other lung irritants
    • Ask your health care provider for an eating plan that will meet your nutritional needs. Also ask about how much physical activity you can do. Physical activity can strengthen the muscles that help you breathe and improve your overall wellness.
  • Medicines, such as
    • Bronchodilators, which relax the muscles around your airways. This helps open your airways and makes breathing easier. Most bronchodilators are taken through an inhaler. In more severe cases, the inhaler may also contain steroids to reduce inflammation.
    • Vaccines for the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia, since people with emphysema are at higher risk for serious problems from these diseases
    • Antibiotics if you get a bacterial or viral lung infection
  • Oxygen therapy, if you have severe emphysema and low levels of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen therapy can help you breathe better. You may need extra oxygen all the time or only at certain times.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a program that helps improve the well-being of people who have chronic breathing problems. It may include
    • An exercise program
    • Disease management training
    • Nutritional counseling
    • Psychological counseling
  • Surgery, usually as a last resort for people who have severe symptoms that have not gotten better with medicines. There are surgeries to
    • Remove damaged lung tissue
    • Remove large air spaces (bullae) that can form when air sacs are destroyed. The bullae can interfere with breathing.
    • Do a lung transplant. This is might be an option if you have very severe emphysema.

If you have emphysema, it's important to know when and where to get help for your symptoms. You should get emergency care if you have severe symptoms, such as trouble catching your breath or talking. Call your health care provider if your symptoms are getting worse or if you have signs of an infection, such as a fever.

Can emphysema be prevented?

Since smoking causes most cases of emphysema, the best way to prevent it is to not smoke. It's also important to try to avoid lung irritants such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dusts.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Emphysema
Lungs and Breathing
What is emphysema? Emphysema is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and ...
Eosinophilic Esophagitis
National Library of Medicine
EoE
Eosinophilic Oesophagitis
What is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic disease of the esophagus. Your esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from your mouth to the stomach. If you have EoE, white blood cells called eosinophils build up in your esophagus. This causes damage and inflammation, which can cause pain and may lead to trouble swallowing and food getting stuck in your throat.

EoE is rare. But because it is a newly recognized disease, more people are now getting diagnosed with it. Some people who think that they have reflux (GERD) may actually have EoE.

What causes eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

Researchers are not certain about the exact cause of EoE. They think that it is an immune system/allergic reaction to foods or to substances in your environment, such as dust mites, animal dander, pollen, and molds. Certain genes may also play a role in EoE.

Who is at risk for eosinophilic esophagitis(EoE)?

EoE can affect anyone, but it is more common in people who

  • Are male
  • Are Caucasian
  • Have other allergic diseases, such as hay fever, eczema, asthma and food allergies
  • Have family members with EoE
What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

The most common symptoms of EoE can depend on your age.

In infants and toddlers:

  • Feeding problems
  • Vomiting
  • Poor weight gain and growth
  • Reflux that does not get better with medicines

In older children:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trouble swallowing, especially with solid foods
  • Reflux that does not get better with medicines
  • Poor appetite

In adults:

  • Trouble swallowing, especially with solid foods
  • Food getting stuck in the esophagus
  • Reflux that does not get better with medicines
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain
How is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) diagnosed?

To diagnose EoE, your doctor will

  • Ask about your symptoms and medical history. Since other conditions can have the same symptoms of EoE, it is important for your doctor to take a thorough history.
  • Do an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end of it. Your doctor will run the endoscope down your esophagus and look at it. Some signs that you might have EoE include white spots, rings, narrowing, and inflammation in the esophagus. However, not everyone with EoE has those signs, and sometimes they can be signs of a different esophagus disorder.
  • Do a biopsy. During the endoscopy, the doctor will take small tissue samples from your esophagus. The samples will be checked for a high number of eosinophils. This is the only way to make a diagnosis of EoE.
  • Do other tests as needed. You may have blood tests to check for other conditions. If you do have EoE, you may have blood or other types of tests to check for specific allergies.
What are the treatments for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)?

There is no cure for EoE. Treatments can manage your symptoms and prevent further damage. The two main types of treatments are medicines and diet.

Medicines used to treat EoE are

  • Steroids, which can help control inflammation. These are usually topical steroids, which you swallow either from an inhaler or as a liquid. Sometimes doctors prescribe oral steroids (pills) to treat people who have serious swallowing problems or weight loss.
  • Acid suppressors such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which may help with reflux symptoms and decrease inflammation.

Dietary changes for EoE include

  • Elimination diet. If you are on an elimination diet, you stop eating and drinking certain foods and beverages for several weeks. If you are feeling better, you add the foods back to your diet one at a time. You have repeat endoscopies to see whether or not you are tolerating those foods. There are different types of elimination diets:
    • With one type, you first have an allergy test. Then you stop eating and drinking the foods you are allergic to.
    • For another type, you eliminate foods and drinks that commonly cause allergies, such as dairy products, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and fish/shellfish.
  • Elemental diet. With this diet, you stop eating and drinking all proteins. Instead, you drink an amino acid formula. Some people who do not like the taste of the formula use a feeding tube instead. If your symptoms and inflammation go away completely, you may be able to try adding foods back one at a time, to see whether you can tolerate them.

Which treatment your health care provider suggests depends on different factors, including your age. Some people may use more than one kind of treatment. Researchers are still trying to understand EoE and how best to treat it.

If your treatment is not working well enough and you have narrowing of the esophagus, you may need dilation. This is a procedure to stretch the esophagus. This makes it easier for you to swallow.


Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Digestive System
Blood, Heart and Circulation
Immune System
What is eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)? Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic disease of the esophagus. Your esophagus is the muscular tube that carries ...
Fibromyalgia
National Library of Medicine
FMS
Fibro
What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is chronic condition that causes pain all over the body, fatigue, and other symptoms. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people who don't have it. This is called abnormal pain perception processing.

What causes fibromyalgia?

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Researchers think that certain things might contribute to its cause:

  • Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Illnesses such as viral infections

Sometimes, fibromyalgia can develop on its own. It can run in families, so genes may play a role in the cause.

Who is at risk for fibromyalgia?

Anyone can get fibromyalgia, but it is more common in

  • Women; they are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia
  • Middle-aged people
  • People with certain diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis
  • People who have a family member with fibromyalgia
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include

  • Pain and stiffness all over the body
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration (sometimes called "fibro fog")
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw know as temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
  • Sleep problems
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia can be hard to diagnose. It sometimes takes visits to several different health care providers to get a diagnosis. One problem is that there isn't a specific test for it. And the main symptoms, pain and fatigue, are common in many other conditions. Health care providers have to rule out other causes of the symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. This is called making a differential diagnosis.

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will take your medical history and ask detailed questions about your symptoms
  • Will do a physical exam
  • May do x-rays and blood tests to rule out other conditions
  • Will consider the guidelines for diagnosing fibromyalgia, which include
    • A history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months
    • Physical symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive (memory or thought) problems
    • The number of areas throughout the body in which you had pain in the past week
What are the treatments for fibromyalgia?

Not all health care providers are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment. You should see a doctor or team of health care providers who specialize in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is treated with a combination of treatments, which may include medicines, lifestyle changes, talk therapy, and complementary therapies:

  • Medicines
    • Over-the-counter pain relievers
    • Prescription medicines that were specifically approved to treat fibromyalgia
    • Prescription pain medicines
    • Certain antidepressants, which may help with pain or sleep problems
  • Lifestyle changes
    • Getting enough sleep
    • Getting regular physical activity. If you have not already been active, start slowly and gradually increase how much activity you get. You may want to see a physical therapist, who can help you create a plan that is right for you.
    • Learning how to manage stress
    • Eating a healthy diet
    • Learning to pace yourself. If you do too much, it can make your symptoms worse. So you need to learn to balance being active with your need for rest.
  • Talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can help you learn strategies to deal with pain, stress, and negative thoughts. If you also have depression along with your fibromyalgia, talk therapy can help with that too.
  • Complementary therapies have helped some people with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. But researchers need to do more studies to show which ones are effective. You could consider trying them, but you should check with your health care provider first. These therapies include
    • Massage therapy
    • Movement therapies
    • Chiropractic therapy
    • Acupuncture

Fibromyalgia
Bones, Joints and Muscles
What is fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is chronic condition that causes pain all over the body, fatigue, and other symptoms. People with fibromyalgia may ...