A - Z of Health

ACNE

DESCRIPTION Acne is a skin condition that affects most people. It is very common and often develops as spots on the face,back and chest. The spots can be mild in nature, often referred to as whiteheads or blackheads. In some cases, the spots can be severe and often inflamed or pus-filled pustules and cyst and can result to scaring of the face. DIAGNOSIS Acne rosacea: usually presents in middle age or later in life. Folliculitis and boils: may present with pustular lesions similar to those seen in acne. Milia: small keratin cysts that may be confused with whiteheads. They …...

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BAD BREATH OR HALITOSIS

DESCRIPTION Bad breath is a common problem that can affect anyone at any age. About one in four people are thought to have bad breath (halitosis) on a regular basis. WHAT CAUSES BAD BREATH Bad breath can be the result of numerous things, but it's usually caused by poor oral hygiene. If bacteria builds up in your mouth, it can cause your breath to smell. Bacteria break down pieces of food in the mouth, releasing unpleasant-smelling gas. Any food trapped in your teeth will be broken down by bacteria, causing bad breath. Persistent bad breath can sometimes be a sign of gum disease. Eating strongly…...

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CONSTIPATION

DESCRIPTION What is Constipation Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week. Some of the symptoms of constipation include lower abdominal discomfort, infrequent bowel movements, straining to have a bowel movement, hard or small stools, rectal bleeding and/or anal fissures caused by hard stools, and physiological distress and/or obsession with having bowel movements. Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of stool through the colon. There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low fiber diets, abuse of laxatives, hormonal disorders, and diseases primarily of…...

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DANDRUFF

Dandruff is a common skin condition that causes dry white or grey flakes of dead skin to appear in the scalp or hair. The flakes are often noticeable if they fall from your scalp on to your shoulders. Your scalp may also feel dry and itchy. It's not contagious and doesn't usually pose a threat to health, but can be unpleasant and embarrassing. Dandruff can range from mild to severe. What causes dandruff? The body continually sheds dead skin cells as new cells are formed. In most cases, this is a gradual process that goes unnoticed. However, this process can speed up, producing excessive…...

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DIARRHOEA

Diarrhoea will usually clear up without treatment after a few days because the immune system fights off the infection. In children, the symptoms of diarrhoea will usually pass within five to seven days. In most cases, diarrhoea does not last more than two weeks. In adults, diarrhoea usually improves within two to four days. However, it can last longer depending on the particular type of infection involved. For example: •rotavirus – three to eight days •norovirus – about two days •campylobacter and salmonella infections – two to seven days •giardiasis – several weeks While waiting for your diarrhoea to pass, you…...

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ECZEMA

Atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is the most common form of eczema. It mainly affects children, but can continue into adulthood. Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. It is a long-term, or chronic, condition. Atopic eczema commonly occurs in areas with folds of skin, such as: behind the knees the inside of the elbows on the side of the neck around the eyes and ears Atopic eczema can vary in severity and most people are only mildly affected. Severe symptoms…...

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ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Erectile dysfunction (also known as ED) is a common condition that affects many men. It may begin in the bedroom, but it can also get in the way in other areas of your life, from your relationships to your self-esteem. The technical definition for ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. In other words, the penis doesn't get hard (erect) enough to allow you to have sex. An erection is a complex process that involves changes in the muscles, nerves and blood vessels in the penis. However, put simply, ED happens because not…...

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FUNGAL INFECTION

Fungal skin infections are caused by different types of fungi, including dermatophytes and yeasts. Fungi invade and grow in dead keratin. Keratin is a protein that makes up your skin, hair and nails. There are several different types of fungal infections. They are divided into different groups depending on what type of fungus is involved. Types of fungal skin infections Some common fungal skin infections are listed below. Dermatophyte infections Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis) Around one in five people in the UK have athlete’s foot. It's caused by a fungus that grows in warm, damp areas of skin, such as between your toes. The fungal…...

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HAIR LOSS (ALOPECIA)

Alopecia is the general medical term for hair loss. Types of hair loss There are many types of hair loss with different symptoms and causes. Some of the more common types of hair loss are described below. Male- and female-pattern baldness Male-pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss. As well as affecting men, it can sometimes affect women (female-pattern baldness). It can be particularly difficult for both men and women to cope with. Male-pattern baldness follows a pattern of a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples. During female-pattern baldness, hair usually only thins on top…...

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HEAD LICE

It’s the call from the school nurse that no parent likes to hear: “Your child has head lice.” Head lice can be difficult to treat due to the time-consuming and precise nature of treatment and high re-infestation rate. In the past, traditional insecticides were used to treat head lice infestations but head lice would often develop resistance to them. Therefore, these types of treatments have virtually been replaced with silicone and oil-based preparations which have a physical rather than a chemical action on lice. After a head lice infestation has been confirmed you can treat the lice at home by wet combing the…...

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HAEMORRHOIDS

Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swellings that contain enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the bottom (the rectum and anus). Most haemorrhoids are mild and sometimes don't even cause symptoms. When there are symptoms, these usually include: . bleeding after passing a stool (the blood will be bright red) . itchy bottom . a lump hanging down outside of the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool Should I see my GP? The symptoms of haemorrhoids often clear up on…...

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INCONTINENCE

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It is a common problem and is thought to affect millions of people worldwide. It's not clear exactly how many people are affected, but it's estimated that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK may have some degree of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence affects both men and women, but it tends to be more common in women overall. Signs and symptoms The symptoms of urinary incontinence depend on the type you have. There are several types of urinary incontinence, but the most common are: Stress incontinence – when urine leaks out at times when your bladder…...

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PSORIASIS

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back but can appear anywhere on your body. Most people are only affected in small patches. In some cases, the patches can be itchy or sore. Psoriasis affects around 2% of people in the UK. It can start at any age, but most often develops in adults under 35 years old. The condition affects men and women equally. The severity of psoriasis varies greatly from person to person. For some people, it is just…...

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SNORING

Snoring occurs when a person makes a snorting or rattling noise when they breathe during sleep. The noise comes from vibration of the soft palate and tissue in the mouth, nose or throat. Some people snore infrequently and the sound they make is not particularly loud, while others may snore every night, loud enough to be heard in the next room. Healthcare professionals use grading systems to assess a person’s snoring. The higher the grade, the more severe the snoring is. When to see your GP You should see a GP if your snoring is affecting aspects of your life, such as causing excessive…...

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THRUSH

Most women experience occasional bouts of a common yeast infection known as vaginal thrush. It causes itching, irritation and swelling of the vagina and surrounding area, sometimes with a creamy white cottage cheese-like discharge. Vaginal thrush is fairly harmless, but it can be uncomfortable. It can also keep returning – this is known as recurrent (or complicated) thrush. When to see your GP If you display the symptoms of vaginal thrush for the very first time, it is recommended that you visit a GP, especially if you experience pain. This is because the symptoms of vaginal thrush are sometimes similar to those of a number…...

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WEIGHT PROBLEMS

Weight gain occurs when you regularly eat more calories than you use through normal bodily functions and physical activity. But the lifestyle habits that contribute to this aren't always obvious. Losing weight means eating fewer calories and burning more energy through physical activity. It sounds simple. But more than 60% of adults in England are overweight or obese. Our lifestyles see many of us eating more calories than we need and doing too little physical activity. Do you recognise some of the causes of your weight gain in any of the following? Food that's labelled 'low-fat' Lots of foods in the supermarkets today…...

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WORMS

Threadworms, also known as pinworms, are tiny parasitic worms that hatch eggs in and infect the large intestine of humans. Threadworms are the most common type of worm infection in the UK, and they are particularly common in young children under the age of 10. Threadworms are white and look like small pieces of thread. You may notice them around your child's bottom or in your or your child's stools. They don't always cause symptoms, but people often notice itchiness around their bottom or vagina. This can be worse at night and can sometimes disturb sleep. When to see your…...

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