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F: Conditions & Diseases

 

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Febrile Seizure
Fecal Incontinence
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Fever
Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Fibromyalgia
Fifth Disease
Flat Feet
Frostbite

Febrile Seizure
Febrile seizures are a loss of consciousness accompanied by a convulsion that occurs among children. The seizures, which are very brief, usually occur on the first day that the child has a high fever.

Children who experience febrile seizures have no related difficulties with their performance at school and most do not develop epilepsy. During a febrile seizure, family members should remain calm and place the child on the floor away from any hard or sharp objects. To prevent choking and help with breathing, place the child on his or her side. When possible, remove any objects in the child’s mouth. If the seizure lasts more than 10 minutes, seek immediate medical care. With shorter seizures, once the seizure is over, take the child to the physician. This is particularly important if the child has a stiff neck or is vomiting.

Diagnosis of febrile seizures may involve ruling out other possible causes, such as meningitis or dehydration. Hospitalization is not usually necessary. The child could be given over-the-counter medication to lower the fever. Applying cool washcloths to the forehead and neck and lukewarm washcloths to the rest of the body may also help lower the fever. Some physicians may order a prescription medication to treat recurrent febrile seizures. Most children who have febrile seizures stop having them around the age of 5.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Fecal Incontinence
Other name: Bowel incontinence

Fecal incontinence is an inability to control the passing of gas or feces. The severity of this condition varies from person to person, but advances in medicine make it possible to restore bowel control or at least reduce the severity of the condition.

Fecal incontinence may occur at any age but is most common among those 65 years of age or older. About 2 percent of adults experience fecal incontinence on a weekly basis, and the percentage increases to about 7 percent among those 65 and older. Women are more likely than men to have this condition.

A number of factors may cause fecal incontinence including child birth, surgical removal of hemorrhoids, rectal infections, dementia and nervous system problems. However, one of the most common causes is constipation. Constipation causes the muscles of the anus and intestines to weaken and prevents the rectal sphincter from closing tightly to prevent leakage.

To diagnose fecal incontinence your physician will conduct a physical exam of the anal area and test for normal anal and rectal function. He or she also will probably order a series of tests, which may include a stool culture, blood test, anorectal manometry, anal ultrasound probe and MRI.

Fecal incontinence usually improves with dietary changes and professional medical treatment. Treatment tends to include the use of oral medications that often may be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy. If medical management of fecal incontinence does not improve the condition, surgery may be required.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Other names: Fetal alcohol abuse syndrome (FAAS), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a group of birth defects caused when a woman drinks alcohol while she is pregnant. The possibility, severity and type of birth defect caused depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and baby’s stage of development.

Fetal alcohol syndrome may result in birth defects ranging from growth retardation and physical abnormalities to mental retardation, behavioral and learning disabilities. The more alcohol that is consumed, the more severe the birth defects.

It is best not to drink alcohol at all if:

  • You are pregnant
  • You are trying to get pregnancy
  • A chance exists that you may be pregnant

The effects of fetal alcohol syndrome cannot be reversed. Children with birth defects resulting from fetal alcohol syndrome may benefit from hearing aids, prescription eyeglasses or special assistance with school work.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Fever
A fever occurs when your body temperature rises above its normal range. A fever is not really a disease or condition, but a symptom that your body is responding to an infection.

Normal body temperature varies from person to person, but the average is 98.6°F. A significant fever is when your temperature is 101°F or higher.

For adults, a high fever may be uncomfortable, but it’s not usually dangerous. For young children and infants, slight fevers may indicate a serious illness. If your child has a fever, talk to a doctor about whether you should take your child in for an examination or what you should do at home. Avoid giving a child aspirin. It can cause a serious liver disease called Reye’s syndrome.

Fevers may occur as a symptom of any number of diseases and conditions, so your physician may ask about other symptoms that accompany a fever. For instance, a fever with a sore throat, cough, fatigue and mild headache may indicate a cold or flu, while a fever with body aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea may indicate gastroenteritis.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Other names: Mammary dysplasia, mastopathy, chronic cystic mastitis, indurative mastopathy, mastalgia, lumpy breasts

Fibrocystic breast disease refers to changes in the breast tissue that primarily occur due to changes in hormone levels because of such factors as aging, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy and menstruation. However, other changes in breast tissue can occur that are related to hormones but caused by trauma, a breast biopsy or bodily reaction to certain medications.

Fibrocystic breast disease is very common, and the related lumps are not cancerous. In addition, both breasts are affected by the symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease and the symptoms are usually worse before menstruation. Symptoms include:

  • Breast pain and tenderness
  • Pain in shoulders and upper arms
  • Swelling in breasts
  • Lumps that do not feel anchored to tissue
  • Nipple discharge

Diagnosis of fibrocystic breast disease may involve a review of your medical history, symptoms and physical exam. A mammogram, ultrasound and ductography may be ordered as well as a breast biopsy, in some cases.

Once a specific disorder has been identified, your physician can prescribe appropriate treatment. Potential treatments may include monitoring the condition for any changes, draining fluid from painful cysts or surgically removing cysts. In some cases, your physician may recommend the use of over-the-counter medications or prescription medications, such as birth control pills, that contain hormones or hormone blockers.

Lifestyle changes, such as reducing or eliminating caffeine from the diet, may also be recommended for several months prior to any other type of treatment. Other lifestyle changes that may have a positive effect include decreasing salt intake before and during menstruation, eating a low-fat diet, eliminating dairy products and adding certain dietary supplements to your diet.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain, stiffness and tenderness of muscles, tendons and joints. It is one of the most common diseases that affect the muscles, and the cause is currently unknown.

Fibromyalgia primarily affects women between the ages of 5 and 55. Those who suffer from fibromyalgia seem to have a heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli that normally would not cause pain. The pain associated with this disease affects most of the body. Symptoms include:

  • Restless sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Pain
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Migraine and tension headaches
  • Numbness
  • Painful and frequent urination

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are easily mistaken for another condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Lyme disease. Currently, no specific tests are available to diagnose fibromyalgia, but tests are often conducted to rule out other causes of the symptoms. Sometimes physicians make the diagnosis based on widespread pain and tenderness in key areas related to fibromyalgia, such as the base of the neck, backbone, elbow, hip, back of the knee and shoulder.

Those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are usually referred to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist may recommend applying warm compresses to affected areas, an exercise program or special diet. Stress reduction techniques also may be beneficial. If diet, exercise and rest do not relieve the symptoms, medications such as antidepressants and muscle relaxants may be prescribed.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Fifth Disease
Other names: Slapped cheek, erythema infectiosum, parvovirus

Fifth disease is a contagious viral illness caused by the human parvovirus B19. It most often affects young school-age children during the spring, but it also can affect adults.

Fifth disease is usually spread through coughs and sneezes. The disease lasts about five days, but the rash may last several weeks, and recurring episodes may be triggered by exercise, fever, emotional stress and exposure to heat or sunlight. Symptoms, which usually begin with bright red cheeks that give the appearance of being slapped on both cheeks, include:

  • Bright red cheeks
  • Rash
  • Aching and inflamed joints
  • Headache
  • Fever

When contracted by a pregnant woman, fifth disease can harm the unborn baby. In adults, this disease may also cause an infectious form of arthritis and a form of anemia among those with AIDS or weakened immune systems.

Fifth disease is diagnosed based on the appearance of the rash and blood tests for the antibodies that fight parvovirus B19. No treatment is usually required for children or adults with mild cases of fifth disease. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen may help reduce discomfort, along with rest and increased fluid intake.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Flat Feet
Other names: Posterior tibial tendon insufficiency, adult-acquired flatfoot, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

Flat feet is a condition in which more of the bottom of the foot’s surface comes in contact with the floor than a foot with a normal arch. Flat feet may be either congenital or acquired later on in life. Most people who suffer from flat feet have an arch, but it is flexible and collapses under the normal weight of the body. Flat feet typically is not painful, but adult-acquired flat feet can be painful, because it is the result of injury.

Adult-acquired flat feet is a progressive condition that occurs most often among women between the ages of 50 and 70. The foot pain that results from normal activity may lead people to avoid exercise, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Symptoms of flat feet include:

  • Sore, tired feet
  • Related knee, hip and back pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes or mallet toes

Adult-acquired flat feet is diagnosed by evaluating the feet. An X-ray, MRI or ultrasound also may be helpful. Treatment is most effective if it is started as soon as possible after the condition begins to develop. A custom-made orthotic or brace may be required depending on the stage and severity of the condition. In extreme cases, surgery may be required.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Frostbite
Frostbite occurs when skin is exposed to and damaged from temperatures below 32° F. The most common sites of frostbite are on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, feet, hands and cheeks. The severity depends on a number of factors, such as the temperature, length of exposureand wind chill factor.

To help prevent frostbite, dress warmly, change clothes if they become wet and drink warm beverages. Factors that may increase your likelihood of developing frostbite include taking certain medications, smoking, atherosclerosis, diabetes and working in extremely cold areas. Symptoms of frostbite include:

  • Red skin that becomes hard, white and swollen
  • Burning sensation or numbness
  • Blisters
  • Gangrene

If you suspect you have frostbite, get to a warm area and put on warm, dry clothing. Apply clean gauze to the affected area and drink warm beverages. Do not rub the skin, rub snow on the skin or touch any blisters.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)