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Gallbladder Cancer
Gallstones
Gangrene
Gas
Gastric Cancer
Gastritis
Gastroenteritis
Genital Herpes
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Giant Cell Arteritis
Gingivitis
Glaucoma
Glomerulonephritis
Goiter
Gonorrhea
Gout
Grand Mal Seizure

Graves' Disease
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)

Gallbladder Cancer
Other names: Cancer of the gallbladder

Gallbladder cancer is usually found when a physician is examining a patient for gallbladder disease. Gallbladder cancer tends to progress slowly but with little indication until it is in an advanced stage.

Gallbladder cancer occurs more frequently among women than men, and the median age of those diagnosed with the disease is between 62 and 66. This form of cancer is often hard to diagnose because the gallbladder is hidden behind other organs in the abdomen. Symptoms include:

  • Yellow skin
  • Yellow eyes
  • Pain in right upper abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The survival rate for gallbladder cancer depends largely on the stage of the disease when it is identified. Survival rates are high if the cancer is caught early. The survival rate is considerably lower in the advanced stages. Treatment includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

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)

Gallstones
Gallstones occur when bile, the substance that aids in the digestion and absorption of fats in the small intestine, contains excessive amounts of certain substances. Gallstones may be very tiny or as large as a golf ball, and a person may have a single gallstone or many of them.

Gallstones are a concern because they may block the normal flow of bile and cause swelling in the gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas. Factors that may increase one’s risk of developing gallstones include: obesity; excess estrogen in the system due to pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills; diabetes; and fasting and rapid weight loss. Symptoms, which may not be present, include:

  • Sharp pain in the abdomen that may last up to several hours
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Intolerance of fatty foods
  • Belching, gas and indigestion
  • Clay colored stool
  • Heartburn

Symptoms of gallstones that require immediate attention include sweating, chills, fever and jaundice.

Gallstones are often discovered when a person is being treated by a physician for other health concerns. When gallstones are suspected, the physician may order an ultrasound, blood test or CT scan to verify the diagnosis.

Treatment usually requires surgical removal of the gallbladder through a procedure called cholecystectomy or a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. When surgery is prohibitive, the physician may recommend various types of drug therapy.

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)

Gangrene
Gangrene is the death of tissue that occurs when blood supply is cut off and the affected body part doesn’t get the oxygen supply it needs. It usually affects extremities such as the fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet and legs.

Gangrene may be categorized as either wet, dry or gas. Dry gangrene occurs when the lack of oxygen causes tissue to dry up and flake off; wet gangrene occurs when tissue is infected with bacteria; and gas gangrene occurs when a specific type of bacteria makes gas bubbles in the affected tissue.

Gangrene may be caused by a variety of factors, including infection after injury or surgery, diabetes or other conditions such as atherosclerosis, which may cut off blood flow to tissue. Symptoms of gangrene include:

  • Severe pain and inflammation
  • Numbness
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Smelly discharge from affected area
  • Fever and chills
  • Skin that cracks open

A physician diagnosing gangrene will typically ask about symptoms and medical history and will perform a physical exam. Tests may include blood tests, X-rays, a CT scan or MRI and tests of the discharge or tissue from the affected area.

If you think you have gangrene, call your physician immediately. Treatment varies based on the severity of the condition. Gangrene may be treated with antibiotics, blood thinners and pain medications. Surgical procedures may be used to remove dead tissue and reduce the likelihood of it spreading. In extreme cases, surgery may be used to amputate the affected area.

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)

Gas
Other names: Flatus, flatulence

Gas, which is a combination of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane, is usually odorless. The odor is a result of sulfur that develops from bacteria in the large intestine. It is estimated that the average person passes gas 12 or more times each day. Not everyone experiences symptoms relating to gas. Symptoms, which vary from person to person, may include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Odor

You may be able to reduce the amount of gas you experience by varying your diet and the amount of certain foods that you consume. Beans, vegetables, fruit, whole grain foods, milk products, soft drinks and sugar-free foods have been known to increase the amount of gas your body produces. Eating slower to reduce the amount of air you swallow helps control gas, as well as not chewing gum, eating hard candy or smoking.

If you are experiencing regular gas pain and have tried altering your diet, you may want to check with your physician to see if you have an underlying condition.

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)

Gastric Cancer
Other names: Cancer of the stomach, stomach cancer

Gastric cancer is abnormal cell development in the digestive tract that is fairly common and occurs most often among men 40 years of age or older. Symptoms include:

  • Indigestion
  • A bloated feeling after eating
  • Excessive gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heartburn
  • Breath odor
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Difficulty swallowing

Risk factors, which are not causes but common factors that those diagnosed with the disease often share, include:

  • Chronic gastritis
  • A diet high in salted or smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables
  • A family member who has had gastric cancer
  • Smoking cigarettes

A variety of tests may be performed to diagnose gastric cancer, including a complete blood count, a fecal occult blood test to check for blood in the stool, a barium swallow test in which the patient swallows a liquid containing barium, which shows up on X-rays, a CT scan and a biopsy.
Treatment options and the prognosis for those with this disease depend on how advanced the cancer becomes. Treatment may include surgery, biologic therapy, chemotherapy and radiation.

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)

Gastritis
Other names: Idiopathic chronic gastritis, erosive gastritis, varioliform gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining that occurs when the stomach’s normal protective mechanisms become overwhelmed. Drinking too much alcohol, extended use of anti-inflammatory drugs, stress or an infection may cause the condition. The condition also may occur after surgery or a traumatic injury or as a result of diseases such as autoimmune disorders and chronic bile reflux.

Gastritis that occurs suddenly and lasts only a short period of time is called acute gastritis. Chronic gastritis lasts longer and may reoccur. Left untreated, gastritis may lead to an ulcer. Symptoms, which vary from person to person, include:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Burping
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting blood
  • Blood in the stool

Gastritis may be diagnosed using several different tests including a blood test, stool test and upper GI endoscopy.

Treatment usually involves the use of antacids or prescription medication to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach and dietary changes to avoid foods and beverages that may irritate the stomach. If your gastritis is caused by an infection, an antibiotic 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)

Gastroenteritis
Other name: Stomach flu

Gastroenteritis is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. The condition usually only lasts about 24 to 48 hours. The condition is often referred to incorrectly as the flu. Symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Body aches
  • Nausea and vomiting

You can help prevent the spread of the condition by washing your hands frequently.

Treatment includes getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of clear liquids. A clear liquid diet may also help with the diarrhea. Foods containing fat should be avoided. As symptoms subside, you may resume your normal diet. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen may be used to reduce fever and body aches. In some cases, your physician may prescribe antibiotics for the infection.

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)

Genital Herpes
Other names: Herpes simplex II

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a virus spread through sexual intercourse.   Genital herpes is characterized by recurrent eruptions of small, painful blisters on the genitals and surrounding areas.

Genital herpes may be spread through any type of sexual contact. Often people have genital herpes and do not realize it because they have either no symptoms or symptoms that are mild. Symptoms of genital herpes include:

  • Small fluid-filled sores in the genital area
  • Pain in the affected area
  • Tingling or burning in the genital area
  • Fever
  • Sick feeling

The symptoms of genital herpes may go away and reappear at a later date. Recurrence may be triggered by factors such as stress, illness, menstruation or sunburn.

Genital herpes is diagnosed by a physical examination and lab tests that determine the type of virus causing the symptoms. It is treated with antiviral medication that shrinks and dries up the sores.

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)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Other names: Anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobia

Generalized anxiety disorder occurs when one worries a great deal about daily activities and ordinary things, such as work, finances and health. Those with GAD may become so overcome with fear that they have difficulty sleeping or going to work. They may avoid social situations and have difficulty concentrating. An estimated 4 million people in the US have GAD.

The cause of GAD may vary from person to person. In some cases, GAD is genetic and in other cases it may be caused by a chemical imbalance, psychological trauma or even a dramatic change that has recently occurred. Specific types of generalized anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorders and phobias. Symptoms of GAD include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension

GAD is diagnosed when symptoms of the disorder have been present for at least six months. Diagnosis includes a complete physical exam and various diagnostic tests to rule out possible causes such as depression, substance abuse, thyroid disease and other conditions.

GAD is commonly treated with anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications. The medications help ease the anxiety and are tapered off to prevent addiction. Psychotherapy may help patients identify the source of the anxiety. In some cases, relaxation techniques and biofeedback may also be recommended.

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)

Giant Cell Arteritis
Other names: Temporal arteritis, cranial arteritis

Giant cell arteritis is a disorder that causes arteries in the head to swell and restrict blood flow. The disorder is related to polymyalgia rheumatica, which is associated with moderate to severe muscle pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders and hip area.

Physicians diagnosing polymyalgia rheumatica usually also look for symptoms of giant cell arteritis also, due to a risk of blindness. Polymyalgia rheumatica may go away without treatment in a year or more, but giant cell arteritis can still develop after this has occurred. These diseases most often occur in women 50 years of age or older. Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica include:

  • Muscle pain near neck, shoulders or hips that lasts 30 minutes or longer and is usually more pronounced after a period of inactivity
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of giant cell arteritis include:

  • Intense, localized headache
  • Pain in temples, jaw (especially when chewing) or tongue
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Scalp tenderness
  • Sore throat

Both conditions respond well to corticosteroid treatment. However, if treatment ends, polymyalgia rheumatica may reappear. If untreated, giant cell arteritis can lead to vision loss and stroke.

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)

Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a painless infection of the gums that eventually causes normally firm, pink gums to become inflamed and swollen due to bacteria in plaque. Many people never realize they have the condition until a dentist or hygienist tells them.

Gingivitis can be prevented with daily oral hygiene. Removing plaque at least once every 24 hours before it can begin to create an infection in the gums is crucial to prevention. Usually the infection develops along teeth that are hard to clean (such as at the back of the mouth). Symptoms of gingivitis may include:

  • Swelling of gums
  • Gum pain
  • Redness of gums
  • Bleeding along gums
  • A bad taste in the mouth

Gingivitis is diagnosed by an oral examination that includes checking on the health of the gums and dental X-rays.

Treatment may vary based on the patient’s situation and the severity of the condition. It may range from a thorough cleaning at the dentist’s office and improved oral hygiene to periodontal surgery, which may be required if the disease is well advanced.

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)

Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when the fluid that normally bathes the interior of the eye accumulates and builds pressure that may damage the optic nerve and cause blind spots. Normally, the fluid in the eye is constantly being produced and absorbed, but with glaucoma, the flow of this fluid is obstructed.

Glaucoma occurs most frequently among those with a family history of the condition. It can be prevented with regular eye exams that include a pressure reading. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you should get a pressure test during your eye exam every few years. Symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Severe eye pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tearing
  • Halo rings around lights at night

Glaucoma is suspected where a high level of pressure in the eye can be found as well as when an exam shows an abnormal optic nerve. Treatment of glaucoma usually includes prescription eye drops or oral medications that either decrease fluid production in the eye or open the fluid drainage system. Some types of glaucoma may also be managed with laser treatment directed at the drainage spot. In a few cases, surgery may be required to control the pressure.

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)

Glomerulonephritis
Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease in which the inner workings of these organs become inflamed and cease to function as the blood’s filters. The condition may be acute and come on suddenly or may be chronic, developing gradually over several years. Glomerulonephritis may be short-lived and reversible or may progress to chronic kidney failure.

Since the symptoms of glomerulonephritis develop gradually, the disease is often discovered when a urinalysis test comes back abnormal. The exact cause of glomerulonephritis is not known but it may be caused by problems relating to the body’s immune system. Glomerulonephritis also can cause hypertension, which may be difficult to control. Symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite
  • Decreased volume during urination
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps

Diagnosis of glomerulonephritis may include a urinalysis; an ultrasound, CT scan or X-ray; or a kidney biopsy.

Treatment varies based on the type and severity of the symptoms. Sometimes acute glomerulonephritis will go away without treatment. Sometimes medication or temporary treatment with an artificial kidney machine may be required. A number of medications may be used to treat glomerulonephritis. Dietary changes that limit the intake of salt, protein and other substances may be recommended to control hypertension or renal failure. Dialysis and kidney transplantation may be necessary in some cases.

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)

Goiter
Goiter is any visible enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck. The thyroid gland controls the rate of the body’s metabolism. A Goiter is often just a symptom of a more serious thyroid condition such as hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

Goiters tend to develop regardless of whether the thyroid gland is producing excessive amounts of hormones or not enough. Other conditions, such as cysts or tumors, may cause a goiter. The only symptom of a goiter is swelling above the breastbone. In rare cases it may affect the windpipe and esophagus and cause difficulty with breathing or swallowing.

Diagnosis of a goiter may be made by examining swelling in the neck and through simple blood tests to determine the amount of thyroid hormone. Treatment depends on the cause of the goiter.

Most goiters get smaller as the underlying condition is treated; however, thyroid function may not return to normal. If normal thyroid function is not restored, a physician may recommend hormone replacement therapy. In extreme cases, surgical removal or radiation therapy may be the only way to relieve symptoms.

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)

Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacteria that can infect the genital tract, mouth and rectum. In women, the bacteria tends to infect the cervix, the opening to the uterus, first, but it can spread and cause pelvic inflammatory disease and ultimately lead to infertility.

Approximately 600,000 people are infected with gonorrhea in the US each year. Gonorrhea, which is curable, is spread through contact between the penis, vagina, mouth or anus. Infected women may also pass the disease along to newborn babies during delivery. Some women may not experience any symptoms. Symptoms, which appear within two to 10 days after infection, include:

  • Bleeding during vaginal intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Yellow or bloody vaginal discharge
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Bleeding between periods

Gonorrhea is diagnosed using laboratory tests on urine, cervical swabs or samples of discharge. If you have gonorrhea, your sexual partners will need to be notified and tested. Physicians typically prescribe antibiotics to treat gonorrhea. Several mediations may be used, and your physician will prescribe the best one for you.

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)

Gout
Gout is a common form of arthritis that typically occurs overnight and results in severe pain and swelling of the affected joint. Gout usually affects only one or two joints at a time, and those are usually in the toes, feet or ankles. Attacks of gout tend to subside after a week or two but recur later. The condition is caused by tiny crystals that form in joints as a result of a high level of uric acid in the blood. The crystals cause the pain associated with gout.

High levels of uric acid in the blood may be attributed to genetics, obesity, high alcohol consumption, drugs used to treat high blood pressure, kidney disease and consumption of large quantities of food containing purines. Foods that contain purines include red meat, shellfish, legumes and other foods such as liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads and tongue. Symptoms include:

  • Joint pain and tenderness
  • Joint inflammation
  • Redness in the affected area
  • Fever
  • Limited movement in the affected area

Gout may be diagnosed several ways including a blood test and possibly an aspiration test that checks for uric acid in the joint fluid.

Treatment includes taking steps to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood, such as dietary changes. The use of anti-inflammatory drugs as soon as possible after the attack begins and prescription medications that either increase elimination through the kidneys or prevent the formation of uric acid are also recommended.

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)

Grand Mal Seizure
Other names: Tonic-clonic seizure, generalized seizure

A grand mal seizure occurs when a large, abnormal electrical discharge occurs in the brain causing a person to lose consciousness and experience rhythmic muscle contractions and rigid muscles. Seizures usually affect either part of the brain or the whole brain. A grand mal seizure occurs when the entire brain is affected.

Grand mal seizures may be caused by a number of factors, including abnormal blood vessels in the brain, atherosclerosis, bleeding in the brain, brain tumors, high blood pressure, stroke, epilepsy, encephalitis, bacterial meningitis, head injury, poisonous insect bites or stings, or the use of illegal drugs. Symptoms include:

  • Convulsions
  • Confusion and fatigue following a seizure
  • Loss of bladder control

Diagnosis of grand mal seizures may involve a physical exam and diagnostic tests such as an EEG, CT scan or MRI.

Treatment usually begins with a prescription for an anticonvulsant medication. If medicine does not control the seizures, a vagal nerve stimulator, which resembles a small pacemaker, may be inserted under the skin in the cheek. Those with severe and uncontrollable grand mal seizures may require brain surgery.

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)

Graves' Disease
Other name: Diffuse toxic goiter

Graves' disease is a defect in the immune system that causes the production of antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, causing it to become enlarged and overproduce thyroid hormone. Graves' disease, which is not contagious, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.

Graves' disease is not curable but can be effectively treated and managed. It is five times more common among women than men and tends to occur between adolescence and middle age. Some people have a genetic predisposition to autoimmune disorders, but other triggers of Graves' disease include infections, stress and pregnancy. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Rapid heart best
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vision problems
  • Disruptions in sleep patterns
  • Increased appetite
  • Decreased attention span
  • Anxiety
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Enlarged or bulging eyes

In diagnosing Graves' disease, your physician will probably conduct a physical exam, review your medical history and order blood tests, a thyroid scan and MRI. Three treatment methods exist for Graves' disease – the use of anti-thyroid drugs, radiation therapy or surgical removal of the thyroid gland. All three methods should be discussed thoroughly with a physician before a treatment method is determined.

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)

Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disease of the nervous system caused by damage of the tissue that surrounds the nerves. Most often GBS occurs following a viral infection, but the cause of the damage is not known.

Those with GBS usually experience extreme muscle weakness in the first few weeks. In some cases, the weakness can lead to temporary paralysis. About 85 percent of those diagnosed with GBS recover within a few months. In extreme cases, there may be concern about maintaining respiratory function during this time. Symptoms include:

  • Weakness, especially in the legs
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tingling sensations

Diagnosis involves evaluating the symptoms and testing a sample of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Treatment depends on the severity of the disease. Patients with extreme cases may be placed on a ventilator and/or receive a treatment called plasmapheresis to remove toxins from the blood and shorten the duration of the disease. Steps should be taken to ensure the patient does not become dehydrated. Blood pressure, heart rate and heart rhythm also should be monitored. A medication called immunoglobulin has been helpful in some cases.

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)