Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. Ankylosing spondylitissymptoms include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. The spine’s bones (vertebrae) fuse together, resulting in a rigid spine. These changes may be mild or severe, and may lead to a stooped-over posture. Early diagnosis and treatment helps control pain and stiffness and may reduce or prevent significant deformity.

Who Is Affected by Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis affects about 0.1% to 0.5% of the adult population. Although it can occur at any age, spondylitis most often strikes men in their teens and 20s. It is less common and generally milder in women and more common in some Native American tribes.

What Are the Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

The most common early symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include:

  • Pain and stiffness. Constant pain and stiffness in the low back, buttocks, and hips that continue for more than three months. Spondylitis often starts around the sacroiliac joints, where the sacrum (the lowest major part of the spine) joins the ilium bone of the pelvis in the lower back region.
  • Bony fusion. Ankylosing spondylitis can cause an overgrowth of the bones, which may lead to abnormal joining of bones, called “bony fusion.” Fusion affecting bones of the neck, back, or hips may impair a person’s ability to perform routine activities. Fusion of the ribs to the spine or breastbone may limit a person’s ability to expand his or her chest when taking a deep breath.
  • Pain in ligaments and tendons. Spondylitis also may affect some of the ligaments and tendons that attach to bones. Tendonitis(inflammation of the tendon) may cause pain and stiffness in the area behind or beneath the heel, such as the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease, which means symptoms may not be limited to the joints. People with the condition also may have fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Eye inflammation (redness and pain) occurs in some people with spondylitis. In rare cases, lung and heart problems also may develop.

What Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Although the cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown, there is a strong genetic or family link. Most, but not all, people with spondylitis carry a gene called HLA-B27. Although people carrying this gene are more likely to develop spondylitis, it is also found in up to 10% of people who have no signs of the condition.

How Is Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is based on several factors, including:

  • Symptoms
  • Findings of a physical exam
  • X-rays of the back and pelvis
  • Measurements of the chest when breathing
  • Results of lab tests

Anxiety

Everyone feels anxious now and then. It’s a normal emotion. For example, you may feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.

Anxiety disorders are different, though. They are a group of mental illnesses, and the distress they cause can keep you from carrying on with your life normally.

For people who have one, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be disabling. But with treatment, many people can manage those feelings and get back to a fulfilling life.

Types of Disorders

Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term that includes different conditions:

  • Panic disorder. You feel terror that strikes at random. During a panic attack, you may also sweat, have chest pain, and feel palpitations(unusually strong or irregular heartbeats). Sometimes you may feel like you’re choking or having a heart attack.
  • Social anxiety disorder. Also called social phobia, this is when you feel overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. You fixate about others judging you or on being embarrassed or ridiculed.
  • Specific phobias. You feel intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights or flying. The fear goes beyond what’s appropriate and may cause you to avoid ordinary situations.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder. You feel excessive, unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason.

Symptoms

All anxiety disorders share some general symptoms:

  • Panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Sleep problems
  • Not being able to stay calm and still
  • Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness

Causes

Researchers don’t know exactly what brings on anxiety disorders. Like other forms of mental illness, they stem from a combination of things, including changes in your brain and environmental stress, and even your genes. The disorders can run in families and could be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that control fear and other emotions.

Cervical Osteoarthritis (Cervical Spondylosis)

What Is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is also called cervical osteoarthritis. It is a condition involving changes to the bones, discs, and joints of the neck. These changes are caused by the normal wear-and-tear of aging. With age, the discs of the cervical spine gradually break down, lose fluid, and become stiffer. Cervical spondylosis usually occurs in middle-aged and elderly people.

As a result of the degeneration of discs and other cartilage, spurs or abnormal growths called osteophytes may form on the bones in the neck. These abnormal growths can cause narrowing of the interior of the spinal column or in the openings where spinal nerves exit, a related condition called cervical spinal stenosis.

Cervical spondylosis most often causes neck pain and stiffness. Although cervical spondylosis is rarely progressive, corrective surgery can be helpful in severe cases.

What Are the Risk Factors for Cervical Spondylosis?

Aging is the major factor for developing cervical osteoarthritis (cervical spondylosis). In most people older than age 50, the discs between the vertebrae become less spongy and provide less of a cushion. Bones and ligaments get thicker, encroaching on the space of the spinal canal.

Another factor might be a previous injury to the neck. People in certain occupations or who perform specific activities — such as gymnasts or other athletes — may put more stress on their necks.

Poor posture might also play a role in the development of spinal changes that result in cervical spondylosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis?

The symptoms of cervical spondylosis include:

  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Headache that may originate in the neck
  • Pain in the shoulder or arms
  • Inability to fully turn the head or bend the neck, sometimes interfering with driving
  • Grinding noise or sensation when the neck is turned

Symptoms of cervical spondylosis tend to improve with rest. Symptoms are most severe in the morning and again at the end of the day.
If cervical spondylosis results in pressure on the spinal cord (cervical stenosis), it can put pressure on the spinal cord, a condition called cervical myelopathy. Symptoms of cervical spondylosis with myelopathy include:

  • Tingling, numbness, and/or weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Lack of coordination and difficulty walking
  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of control over bladder and bowel (incontinence)

Another possible complication of cervical spondylosis is cervical radiculopathy, when bone spurs press on nerves as they exit the bones of the spinal column. Pain shooting down into one or both arms is the most common symptom.

Eczema

Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skinto become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema. Atopic refers to a group of diseases with an often inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.

Eczema affects about 10% to 20% of infants and about 3% of adults and children in the U.S. Most infants who develop the condition outgrow it by their tenth birthday, while some people continue to have symptoms on and off throughout life. With proper treatment, the disease often can be controlled.

What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?

No matter which part of the skin is affected, eczema is almost always itchy. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, but when it does, the rash most commonly appears on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. It may also affect other areas as well.

Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.

In infants, the itchy rash can produce an oozing, crusting condition that happens mainly on the face and scalp, but patches may appear anywhere.

What Causes Eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it’s thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant. It is this response that causes the symptoms of eczema.

In addition, eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma. Also, defects in the skin barrier could allow moisture out and germs in.

Some people may have “flare-ups” of the itchy rash in response to certain substances or conditions. For some, coming into contact with rough or coarse materials may cause the skin to become itchy. For others, feeling too hot or too cold, exposure to certain household products like soap or detergent, or coming into contact with animal dander may cause an outbreak. Upper respiratory infections or colds may also be triggers. Stress may cause the condition to worsen.

Although there is no cure, most people can effectively manage their disease with medical treatment and by avoiding irritants. The condition is not contagious and can’t be spread from person to person.

How Can Eczema Flare-ups Be Prevented?

Eczema outbreaks can sometimes be avoided or the severity lessened by following these simple tips.

Anal Fissure Expanded Information

An anal fissure (fissure-in-ano) is a small, oval shaped tear in skin that lines the opening of the anus.  Fissures typically cause severe pain and bleeding with bowel movements.  Fissures are quite common in the general population, but are often confused with other causes of pain and bleeding, such as hemorrhoids.

Anal fissures can occur at any age and have equal gender distribution.  Most (85-90%) fissures occur in the posterior (back) midline of the anus with about 10-15% occurring in the anterior (front) midline.  A small number of patients may actually have fissures in both the front and the back locations.  Fissures located elsewhere (off to the side) should raise suspicion for other diseases (see below) and will need to be examined further.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AN ANAL FISSURE?

The typical symptoms of an anal fissure include pain and bleeding with bowel movements.  Patients note severe pain during, and especially after a bowel movement, lasting from several minutes to a few hours.  Patients often notice bright red blood from the anus that can be seen on the toilet paper or on the stool.  Between bowel movements, patients with anal fissures are often relatively symptom-free.  Many patients are fearful of having a bowel movement and may try to avoid defecation secondary to the pain.

WHAT CAUSES AN ANAL FISSURE?

Fissures are usually caused by trauma to the inner lining of the anus.  A hard, dry bowel movement is typically responsible, but loose stools and diarrhea can also be the cause.  The inciting trauma to the anus produces severe anal pain, resulting in anal sphincter spasm and a subsequent increase in anal sphincter muscle pressure.  The increase in anal sphincter muscle pressure results in a decrease in blood flow to the site of the injury, thus impairing healing of the wound.  Ensuing bowel movements result in more pain, more anal spasm, diminished blood flow to the area, and the cycle is propagated.  Treatment strategies are aimed at interrupting this cycle to promote healing of the fissure.

Anal fissures may be acute (recent onset) or chronic (typically lasting more than 8-12 weeks).  Acute fissures may have the appearance of a simple tear in the anus, whereas chronic fissures may have swelling and scar tissue present. Chronic fissures may be more difficult to treat and may also have an external lump associated with the tear, called a sentinel pile or skin tag, as well as extra tissue just inside the anal canal, referred to as a hypertrophied papilla.

Quite commonly, anal fissures are misdiagnosed as hemorrhoids by the patient or the primary care physician due to some similar symptoms between the two.  This delay in diagnosis may lead to an acute fissure becoming a chronic one and, thus, more difficult to treat.  Misdiagnosis of an anal fissure may also allow other conditions to go undetected and untreated, such as serious infections or even cancer.  These less common causes of fissures include inflammatory conditions and certain anal infections or tumors, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, syphilis, tuberculosis, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, or anal cancer.  These diseases cause atypical fissures that are located off the midline, are multiple, painless, or non-healing after proper treatment. 

Hair Loss

What Is Hair Loss?

Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, but many hairs are so fine they’re virtually invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells. The average adult head has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 of them a day; finding a few stray hairs on your hairbrush is not necessarily cause for alarm.

At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing. Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. This life cycle is divided into three phases:

  • Anagen — active hair growth that lasts between two to six years
  • Catagen — transitional hair growth that lasts two to three weeks
  • Telogen — resting phase that lasts about two to three months; at the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.

As people age, their rate of hair growth slows.

There are many types of hair loss, also called alopecia:

  • Involutional alopecia is a natural condition in which the hair gradually thins with age. More hair follicles go into the resting phase, and the remaining hairs become shorter and fewer in number.
  • Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Men with this condition, called male pattern baldness, can begin suffering hair loss as early as their teens or early 20s. It’s characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp. Women with this condition, called female pattern baldness, don’t experience noticeable thinning until their 40s or later. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
  • Alopecia areata often starts suddenly and causes patchy hair loss in children and young adults. This condition may result in complete baldness (alopecia totalis). But in about 90% of people with the condition, the hair returns within a few years.
  • Alopecia universalis causes all body hair to fall out, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
  • Trichotillomania , seen most frequently in children, is a psychological disorder in which a person pulls out one’s own hair.
  • Telogen effluvium is temporary hair thinning over the scalp that occurs because of changes in the growth cycle of hair. A large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing hair shedding and subsequent thinning.
  • Scarring alopecias result in permanent loss of hair. Inflammatory skin conditions  (cellulitis, folliculitis, acne), and other skin disorders (such as some forms of lupus and lichen planus) often result in scars that destroy the ability of the hair to regenerate. Hot combs and hair too tightly woven and pulled can also result in permanent hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Doctors don’t know why certain hair follicles are programmed to have a shorter growth period than others. However, several factors may influence hair loss:

  • Hormones, such as abnormal levels of androgens (male hormones normally produced by both men and women)
  • Genes, from both male and female parents, may influence a person’s predisposition to male or female pattern baldness.
  • Stress, illness, and childbirth can cause temporary hair loss. Ringworm caused by a fungal infection can also cause hair loss.
  • Drugs, including chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment, blood thinners, beta-adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, and birth control pills, can cause temporary hair loss.
  • Burns, injuries, and X-rays can cause temporary hair loss. In such cases, normal hair growth usually returns once the injury heals unless a scar is produced. Then, hair will never regrow.
  • Autoimmune disease may cause alopecia areata. In alopecia areata, the immune system revs up for unknown reasons and affects the hair follicles. In most people with alopecia areata, the hair grows back, although it may temporarily be very fine and possibly a lighter color before normal coloration and thickness return.
  • Cosmetic procedures, such as shampooing too often, perms, bleaching, and dyeing hair can contribute to overall hair thinning by making hair weak and brittle. Tight braiding, using rollers or hot curlers, and running hair picks through tight curls can also damage and break hair. However, these procedures don’t cause baldness. In most instances hair grows back normally if the source of the problem is removed. Still, severe damage to the hair or scalp sometimes causes permanent bald patches.
  • Medical conditions. Thyroid disease, lupus, diabetes, iron deficiency, eating disorders, and anemia can cause hair loss. Most times, when the underlying condition is treated, the hair will return unless there is scarring as in some forms of lupus, lichen planus or follicular disorders.
  • Diet. A low-protein diet or severely calorie-restricted diet can also cause temporary hair loss.

Hepatitis C?

This infection of the liver is caused by the hepatitis C virus. About 3.5 million people in the U.S. have the disease. But it causes few symptoms, so most of them don’t know.

There are many forms of the hepatitis C virus. The most common in the U.S. is type 1. None is more serious than any other, but they respond differently to treatment.

What Are the Symptoms?

Many people with Hepatitis have no symptoms. But you could notice these:

  • Jaundice (a condition that causes yellow eyes and skin, as well as dark urine)
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

How Do You Get It?

The virus spreads through the blood or body fluids of an infected person.
You can catch it from:

  • Sharing drugs and needles
  • Having sex, especially if you have an STD, an HIV infection, several partners, or have rough sex
  • Being stuck by infected needles
  • Birth — a mother can pass it to a child

Who Gets It?

The CDC recommends you get tested for the disease if you:

  • Received blood from a donor who had the disease.
  • Have ever injected drugs.
  • Had a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before July 1992.
  • Received a blood product used to treat clotting problems before 1987.
  • Were born between 1945 and 1965.
  • Have been on long-term kidney dialysis.
  • Have HIV.
  • Were born to a mother with hepatitis C.

Causes

Hepatitis C is a liver disease that is caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus, a virus that lives in your liver cells.

How it spreads

You cannot get hepatitis C from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or water with someone. You can get hepatitis C if you come into contact with the blood of someone who has hepatitis C.

The most common way to get hepatitis C is by sharing needles and other equipment (such as cotton, spoons, and water) used to inject illegal drugs.
Before 1992, people could get hepatitis C through blood transfusions and organ transplants. Since 1992, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C, so it is now rare to get the virus this way.

In rare cases, a mother with hepatitis C spreads the virus to her baby at birth, or a health care worker is accidentally exposed to blood that is infected with hepatitis C.

The risk of getting hepatitis C through sexual contact is very small.1 The risk is higher if you have many sex partners.

If you live with someone who has hepatitis C or you know someone who has hepatitis C, you generally don’t need to worry about getting the disease from that person. You can help protect yourself by not sharing anything that may have blood on it, such as razors, toothbrushes, and nail clippers.

Symptoms

Most people who are infected with hepatitis C-even people who have been infected for a while-usually don’t have symptoms.
If symptoms do develop, they may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Joint pain.
  • Belly pain.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Dark urine.
  • Jaundice, a condition in which the skin and the whites of the eyes look yellow.

A hepatitis C infection can cause damage to your liver (cirrhosis). If you develop cirrhosis, you may have:

  • Redness on the palms of your hands caused by expanded small bloodvessels.
  • Clusters of blood vessels just below the skin that look like tiny red spiders and usually appear on your chest, shoulders, and face.
  • Swelling of your belly, legs, and feet.
  • Shrinking of the muscles.
  • Bleeding from enlarged veins in your digestive tract, which is called variceal bleeding.
  • Damage to your brain and nervous system, which is called encephalopathy. This damage can cause symptoms such as confusion and memory and concentration problems.

Many other health problems are linked with long-term cirrhosis. For more information, see the topic Cirrhosis. There also are many other conditions with similar symptoms, such as other liver infections and liver damage caused by drinking too much alcohol.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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.

The signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can vary widely from person to person and often resemble those of other diseases. Among the most common are:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • A bloated feeling
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
  • Mucus in the stool

For most people, IBS is a chronic condition, although there will likely be times when the signs and symptoms are worse and times when they improve or even disappear completely.

Causes

It’s not known exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome, but a variety of factors play a role. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract and relax in a coordinated rhythm as they move food from your stomach through your intestinal tract to your rectum. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, the contractions may be stronger and last longer than normal, causing gas, bloating and diarrhea. Or the opposite may occur, with weak intestinal contractions slowing food passage and leading to hard, dry stools.

Abnormalities in your gastrointestinal nervous system also may play a role, causing you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can make your body overreact to the changes that normally occur in the digestive process. This overreaction can cause pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Risk factors

Many people have occasional signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but you’re more likely to have IBS if you:

  • Are young. IBS tends to occur in people under age 45.
  • Are female. Overall, about twice as many women as men have the condition.
  • Have a family history of IBS. Studies suggest that people who have a family member with IBS may be at increased risk of the condition.
  • Have a mental health problem. Anxiety, depression, a personality disorder and a history of childhood sexual abuse are risk factors. For women, domestic abuse may be a risk factor as well.

The influence of family history on IBS risk may be related to genes, shared factors in a family’s environment or both.

Migraine

Migraines and other types of headaches, such as tension headache and sinus headache, are painful. Migraine symptoms include a pounding headache, nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity and are treated with antinausea drugs and abortive or preventive medications. Headache remedies include pain relievers.

Migraine Headaches - Symptoms

The most common symptom of a migraine headache is a throbbing pain on one side of your head . You also may have other symptoms before, during, and after a migraine. Different people have different symptoms.

Symptoms before the migraine begins

A day or two before a migraine starts, you may feel:

  • Depressed or cranky.
  • Very happy, very awake, or full of energy.
  • Restless or nervous.
  • Very sleepy.
  • Thirsty or hungry, or you may crave certain foods. Or you may not feel like eating.

Symptoms of an aura

About 1 out of 5 people has a warning sign of a migraine called an aura. It usually starts about 30 minutes before the headache starts. During an aura, you may:

  • See spots, wavy lines, or flashing lights.
  • Have numbness or a “pins-and-needles” feeling in your hands, arms, or face.

Symptoms when the headache starts

Symptoms can include:

  • Throbbing pain on one side of the head. But you can have pain on both sides.
  • Pain behind one of your eyes .
  • Moderate to very bad pain. The pain may be so bad that you can’t do any of your usual activities.
  • Pain that gets worse with routine physical activity.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or both.
  • Pain that gets worse when you’re around light, noise, and sometimes smells.

Less common symptoms include:

  • Problems speaking.
  • Tingling in your face, arms, and shoulders.
  • Short-term weakness on one side of your body.

If you have these less-common symptoms and have not had them before, call your doctor right away so that he or she can make sure you aren’t having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), stroke, or other serious problem. Without treatment, a migraine headache can last from 4 to 72 hours.

Symptoms after the headache

After the headache stops, you may have muscle aches or feel very tired. These symptoms may last up to a day after your migraine ends.

Types of migraines and their symptoms

You may have one or more types of migraine headache. Each type has its own features. For example, some people get migraines with an aura. Some get them without an aura. Some women get menstrual migraines, which happen before, during, or shortly after their menstrual period.

It can be hard to tell the difference between a migraine and another type of headache, such as a tension or sinus headache. You may think that you have sinus headaches. But it’s more likely that they are migraine headaches if they happen often and interfere with your daily life.

Migraines can occur along with many other health problems, such as asthma or depression. More serious conditions, such as tumors or infections, can also cause migraine symptoms. But most headaches are not caused by serious health problems.

ADHD

ADHD Overview

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition with symptoms such as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The symptoms differ from person to person. ADHD was formerly called ADD, or attention deficit disorder. Both children and adults can have ADHD, but the symptoms always begin in childhood. Adults with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, and holding down a job.
Could someone you know have ADHD? Maybe they’re inattentive. Or they might be hyperactive and impulsive. They might have all those traits.

Symptoms of ADHD

There are three groups of symptoms:

  1. Inattention
  2. Hyperactivity
  3. Impulsivity

Get the facts on all of them, and learn examples of behaviors that can come with each.

Inattention

You might not notice it until a child goes to school. In adults, it may be easier to notice at work or in social situations.

The person might procrastinate, not complete tasks like homework or chores, or frequently move from one uncompleted activity to another.

They might also:

  • Be disorganized
  • Lack focus
  • Have a hard time paying attention to details and a tendency to make careless mistakes. Their work might be messy and seem careless.
  • Have trouble staying on topic while talking, not listening to others, and not following social rules
  • Be forgetful about daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
  • Be easily distracted by things like trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others.

Hyperactivity

It may vary with age. You might be able to notice it in preschoolers. ADHD symptoms nearly always show up before middle school.
Kids with hyperactivity may:

  • Fidget and squirm when seated.
  • Get up frequently to walk or run around.
  • Run or climb a lot when it’s not appropriate. (In teens this may seem like restlessness.)
  • Have trouble playing quietly or doing quiet hobbies
  • Always be “on the go”
  • Talk excessively

Toddlers and preschoolers with ADHD tend to be constantly in motion, jumping on furniture and having trouble participating in group activities that call for them to sit still. For instance, they may have a hard time listening to a story.

School-age children have similar habits, but you may notice those less often. They are unable to stay seated, squirm a lot, fidget, or talk a lot.

Hyperactivity can show up as feelings of restlessness in teens and adults. They may also have a hard time doing quiet activities where you sit still.

Impulsivity

Symptoms of this include:

  • Impatience
  • Having a hard time waiting to talk or react

The person might:

  • Have a hard time waiting for their turn.
  • Blurt out answers before someone finishes asking them a question.
  • Frequently interrupt or intrude on others. This often happens so much that it causes problems in social or work settings.
  • Start conversations at inappropriate times.

Impulsivity can lead to accidents, like knocking over objects or banging into people. Children with ADHD may also do risky things without stopping to think about the consequences. For instance, they may climb and put themselves in danger.

Many of these symptoms happen from time to time in all youngsters. But in children with the disorder they happen a lot — at home and school, or when visiting with friends. They also mess with the child’s ability to function like other children who are the same age or developmental level.

Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that can affect a child’s basic skills, such as socialising or forming relationships, communication and using imagination. A child with autism may also have a limited range of interests.

The world around them will appear very different to a child with autism than the way it is seen by children without the condition.

Symptoms

Symptoms typically appear before a child is three years old and last throughout life. Children with autism can display a wide range of symptoms, which can vary in severity from mild to disabling. General symptoms that may be present to some degree in a child with autism include:

  • Difficulty with verbal communication, including problems using and understanding language.
  • Inability to participate in a conversation, even when the child has the ability to speak.
  • Difficulty with nonverbal communication, such as gestures and facial expressions.
  • Difficulty with social interaction, including relating to people and to his or her surroundings.
  • Inability to make friends and preferring to play alone.
  • Unusual ways of playing with toys and other objects, such as only lining them up a certain way.
  • Lack of imagination.
  • Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or familiar surroundings, or an unreasonable insistence on following routines in detail.
  • Repetitive body movements, or patterns of behaviour, such as hand flapping, spinning and head banging.
  • Preoccupation with unusual objects or parts of objects.

People with a form of autism, called savantism, have exceptional skills in specific areas such as music, art, and numbers. People with savantism are able to perform these skills without lessons or practise.

What are the warning signs that a child may have autism?

Babies develop at their own pace, some more quickly than others. However, you should consider an evaluation for autism if any of the following apply:

  • Your child does not babble or coo by 12 months of age.
  • Your child does not gesture, such as point or wave, by 12 months of age.
  • Your child does not say single words by 16 months.
  • Your child does not say two-word phrases on his or her own (rather than just repeating what someone else says) by 24 months.
  • Your child has lost any language or social skills (at any age).

What causes autism?

The exact cause of autism is not known, but research has pointed to several possible factors, including genetics (heredity) and environmental factors.
Studies strongly suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism, meaning that a susceptibility to develop the condition may be passed on from parents to children. Researchers are looking for clues about which genes contribute to this increased vulnerability. In some children, environmental factors may also play a role. Studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several regions of the brain, which suggest that autism results from a disruption of early brain development while still in the uterus.
Other theories suggest:

  • The body’s immune system may inappropriately produce antibodies that attack the brains of children causing autism.
  • Abnormalities in brain structures cause autistic behaviour.
  • Children with autism have abnormal timing of the growth of their brains. Early in childhood, the brains of autistic children grow faster and larger than those of children without autism. Later, when the brains of children without autism get bigger and better organised, autistic children’s brains grow more slowly.

Depression: What Is It?

It’s natural to feel down sometimes, but if that low mood lingers day after day, it could signal depression. Major depression is an episode of sadness or apathy along with other symptoms that lasts at least two consecutive weeks and is severe enough to interrupt daily activities. Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality. It is a major public health problem and a treatable medical condition.

Depression Symptoms: Emotional

The primary symptoms of depression are a sad mood and/or loss of interest in life. Activities that were once pleasurable lose their appeal. Patients may also be haunted by a sense of guilt or worthlessness, lack of hope, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression Symptoms: Physical

Depression is sometimes linked to physical symptoms. These include:

  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia, especially early-morning waking
  • Excessive sleep
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Depression can make other health problems feel worse, particularly chronic pain. Key brain chemicals influence both mood and pain. Treating depression has been shown to improve co-existing illnesses.

Depression Symptom: Appetite

Changes in appetite or weight are another hallmark of depression. Some patients develop increased appetite, while others lose their appetite altogether. Depressed people may experience serious weight loss or weight gain.

Impact on Daily Life

Without treatment, the physical and emotional turmoil brought on by depression can derail careers, hobbies, and relationships. People with depression often find it difficult to concentrate and make decisions. They turn away from previously enjoyable activities, including sex. In severe cases, depression can become life-threatening.

Suicide Warning Signs

People who are depressed are more likely to attempt suicide. Warning signs include talking about death or suicide, threatening to hurt people, or engaging in aggressive or risky behavior. Anyone who appears suicidal should be taken very seriously. Do not hesitate to call one of the suicide hotlines: 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).If you have a plan to commit suicide, go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

Causes of Depression

Doctors aren’t sure what causes depression, but a prominent theory is altered brain structure and chemical function. Brain circuits that regulate mood may work less efficiently during depression. Drugs that treat depression are believed to improve communication between nerve cells, making them run more normally.

Experts also think that while stress — such as losing a loved one — can trigger depression, one must first be biologically prone to develop the disorder. Other triggers could include certain medications, alcohol or substance abuse, hormonal changes, or even the season.

Fibroadenoma

If your doctor has told you that you have a “fibroadenoma” in your breast, don’t panic. It’s not cancer.

These lumps are the most common breast lump in young women. Many times, they will shrink and disappear with no treatment. In other cases, doctors can remove it with a quick procedure in their office.

You Might Not Know It's There

A fibroadenoma is a benign, or noncancerous, breast tumor. Unlike a breast cancer, which grows larger over time and can spread to other organs, a fibroadenoma remains in the breast tissue.

They’re pretty small, too. Most are only 1 or 2 centimeters in size. It’s very rare for them to get larger than 5 centimeters across.

Usually, a fibroadenoma won’t cause any pain. It will feel like a marble that moves around beneath your skin. You may describe the texture as firm, smooth, or rubbery. In some cases, though, you won’t even be able to feel it at all.

Causes

Doctors don’t know what causes fibroadenomas. They may be related to changing levels of hormones, since they often appear during puberty or pregnancy and go away after menopause.

Symptoms

Since they’re usually painless, you might not notice one until you feel a lump while you’re in the shower or if you do a breast self-exam.

Other times, a doctor may notice a fibroadenoma before you do, either during a routine physical or a mammogram or other scan.

Unlike breast cancer, a fibroadenoma does not cause nipple discharge, swelling, redness, or skin irritation around the breast.

Who Gets Them?

Fibroadenomas are very common. About 10% of women have one of these breast lumps, often without ever knowing.

They most often appear in women between the ages of 15 and 35, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some researchers have found that women with a family history of breast cancer are more likely to get fibroadenomas.

Most women only have one. But about 10% to 15% of women who get them have more than one, either simultaneously or over time.