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  • Abdomen - swollen 10/30/2010
    Swollen belly; Swelling in the abdomen; Abdominal distention; Distended abdomen Common Causes: Abdominal swelling, or distention, is more often caused by overeating than by a serious illness. This problem can be caused by: Air swallowing (a nervous habit) Buildup of fluid in the abdomen (this can be a sign of a serious medical problem) Gas in the intestines from eating foods that are high in fiber (such as fruits and vegetables) Irritable bowel syndrome Lactose intolerance Ovarian cyst Partial bowel blockage Pregnancy Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) Uterine fibroids Weight gain Home Care: A swollen abdomen that is caused by eating a heavy meal will go away when you digest the food.
  • Abdominal bloating 04/17/2012
    Bloating; Meteorism Considerations: Common Causes: Common causes include: Air swallowing (a nervous habit) Constipation Gastroesophageal reflux Irritable bowel syndrome Lactose intolerance and other food intolerances Overeating Small bowel bacterial overgrowth Weight gain The diabetes medication acarbose, as well as any medicine containing lactulose or sorbitol, may cause bloating.
  • Abdominal mass 10/30/2010
    Mass in the abdomen Considerations: An abdominal mass is usually found during a routine physical examination . Most of the time the mass develops slowly. You may not be able to feel the mass. Finding where the pain occurs helps the doctor make a diagnosis. For example, the abdomen is usually divided into four areas: Right-upper quadrant Left-upper quadrant Right-lower quadrant Left-lower quadrant Other terms used to find the location of abdominal pain or masses include: Epigastric -- center of the abdomen just below the rib cage Periumbilical -- area around the bellybutton The location of the mass and its firmness, texture, and other qualities can provide clues to its cause.
  • Abdominal pain 07/16/2011
    Stomach pain; Pain - abdomen; Belly ache; Abdominal cramps; Bellyache; Stomachache Considerations: Almost everyone has pain in the abdomen at one time or another. Most of the time, it is not caused by a serious medical problem. How bad your pain is does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing the pain.
  • Abdominal rigidity 10/30/2010
    Rigidity of the abdomen Considerations: When there is a sore area inside the belly or abdomen, the pain will get worse when a hand presses against muscles of the abdomen. Your fear or nervousness about being touched (palpated) may cause this symptom, but there should be no pain. If you have pain when you are touched and you tighten the muscles to "guard" against more pain, it is more likely caused by a physical condition inside your body.
  • Abdominal sounds 10/30/2010
    Bowel sounds Considerations: Abdominal sounds (bowel sounds) are made by the movement of the intestines as they push food through. Since the intestines are hollow, bowel sounds can echo through the abdomen much like the sounds heard from water pipes. Most bowel sounds are harmless and simply mean that the gastrointestinal tract is working. A doctor can check abdominal sounds by listening to the abdomen with a stethoscope ( auscultation ).
  • Abnormal posturing 02/05/2011
    Pathologic posturing; Evaluating a person in a coma Considerations: Abnormal posturing that occurs with little stimulation is a sign of serious central nervous system damage. Problems with or damage to the nervous system may appear as posturing when a person does certain tasks, such as walking on the sides of the feet, toes, or heels.
  • Agitation 02/11/2012
    Restlessness Considerations: Agitation can come on suddenly or over time. It can last for just a few minutes, or for weeksĀ or even months. Pain, stress, and fever can all increase agitation. Agitation by itself may not be a sign of a health problem. However, if other symptoms occur, it can be a sign of disease.
  • Alertness - decreased 04/03/2011
    Stuporous; Mental status - decreased; Loss of alertness; Decreased consciousness; Changes in consciousness; Obtundation; Coma; Unresponsiveness Common Causes: Many conditions can cause decreased alertness, including: Chronic kidney disease Extreme tiredness or lack of sleep High blood sugar or low blood sugar Infection that is severe or involves the brain Liver failure Thyroid conditions that cause low thyroid hormone levels or very high thyroid hormone levels Brain disorders or injury, such as: Dementia or Alzheimer's disease Head trauma Seizure Stroke Injury or accidents, such as: Diving accidents and near drowning Heat stroke Very low body temperature ( hypothermia ) Heart or breathing problems, such as: Abnormal heart rhythm ( arrhythmia ) Lack of oxygen ( hypoxia ) from any cause Low blood pressure (hypotension) Low sodium levels in the blood Severe heart failure Severe lung diseases Very high blood pressure Toxins and drugs, such as: Alcohol abuse (binge drinking or damage from long-term alcohol use) Exposure to heavy metals, hydrocarbons, or toxic gases Overuse of drugs such as opiates, narcotics, sedatives, and anti-anxiety or seizure medications Side effect of almost any medicine, such as those used to treat seizures, depression, psychosis, and other illnesses Home Care: Get medical help for any decrease in consciousness, even when it is due to alcohol intoxication , fainting , or a seizure disorder that has already been diagnosed.
  • Ambiguous genitalia 05/07/2012
    Genitals - ambiguous Considerations: The genetic sex of a child is determined at conception. The mother's egg cell (ovum) contains an X chromosome , while the father's sperm cell contains either an X or a Y chromosome. These X and Y chromosomes determine the child's genetic sex. Normally, an infant inherits one pair of sex chromosomes -- one X from the mother and one X or one Y from the father.
  • Anisocoria 04/30/2011
    Enlargement of one pupil; Pupils of different size; Eyes/pupils different size Considerations: Slight differences in pupil sizes are found in up to 1 in 5 healthy people. Usually, the diameter difference is less than 0.5 mm, but it can be up to 1 mm (0.05 inch). Babies born with different sized pupils may not have any underlying disorder.
  • Ankle pain 02/19/2011
    Pain - ankle; Sprain - ankle; Ankle sprain Common Causes: Ankle pain is often due to an ankle sprain. An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments, which connect bones to one another. In most cases, the ankle is twisted inward, causing small tears in the ligaments. The tearing leads to swelling and bruising, making it difficult to bear weight on the joint. In addition to ankle sprains, ankle pain can be caused by: Damage or swelling of tendons (which join muscles to bone) or cartilage (which cushions joints) Infection in the ankle joint Osteoarthritis , gout , rheumatoid arthritis , Reiter syndrome , and other types of arthritis Problems in areas near the ankle that can cause you to feel pain in the ankle include: Blockage of blood vessels in the leg Heel pain or injuries Nerve injuries (such as tarsal tunnel syndrome or sciatica ) Home Care: To treat an ankle sprain: Rest your ankle for several days.
  • Appetite - decreased 07/22/2010
    Loss of appetite; Decreased appetite; Anorexia Considerations: Any illness can affect a previously hearty appetite. If the illness is treatable, the appetite should return when the condition is cured. Loss of appetite can cause unintentional weight loss . Common Causes: A decreased appetite is almost always seen among elderly adults, and no cause may be found.
  • Appetite - increased 10/30/2010
    Hyperphagia; Increased appetite; Hunger; Excessive hunger; Polyphagia Considerations: An increased appetite can be a symptom of different diseases. For example, it may be due to certain mental conditions and endocrine gland disorders. An increased appetite can come and go (intermittent), or it can last for long periods of time (persistent), depending on the cause. It does not always result in weight gain.
  • Arachnodactyly 02/02/2012
    Dolichostenomelia; Spider fingers; Achromacria Considerations: Long, slender fingers can be normal and not associated with any medical problems. In some cases, however, spider fingers can be a sign of an underlying disease. Common Causes: Homocystinuria Marfan syndrome Other rare genetic disorders Note: Having long, slender fingers may be normal.
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