[ Browse by Service Category : Disabilities and Health Conditions : Sub-Topics of Health Conditions (124) ]

AIDS/HIV

Individuals who are at risk or have tested positive for infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), or have developed AIDS which is caused by the HIV virus and impairs the function of the body's immune system leaving affected individuals vulnerable to illnesses that would not otherwise occur.

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Allergies

A condition in which the individual has an acquired hypersensitivity to substances that normally do not cause a reaction. Manifestations most commonly involve the respiratory tract or skin and include eczema, hay fever, bronchial asthma, hives, inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane and nasal discharge.

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

A syndrome, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, that is marked by muscular weakness and atrophy with spasticity and increased action of the reflexes due to degeneration of the motor neurons of the spinal cord, medulla and cortex.

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Arthritis

An inflammatory condition affecting the joints which is usually accompanied by pain and, frequently, by changes in bone and muscle positioning.

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Asthma

A disorder of the bronchial system that is characterized by laboured breathing accompanied by wheezing that is caused by a spasm of the bronchial tubes or by swelling of their mucous membrane. Recurrence and severity of attacks is influenced by secondary factors, mental or physical fatigue, exposure to fumes, endocrine changes at various periods in life and emotional situations.

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Bladder Incontinence

A condition in which people are unable or unwilling to control their bladder function and urinate involuntarily during the night or the day after an age where continence is expected. The condition may have pathological or functional causes or may be a voluntary act that is representative of a behaviour pattern.

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Bowel Incontinence

An inability to retain feces that may be due to loss of sphincter control or cerebral or spinal lesions, or which may have causes not associated with an illness or organic defect. It is also associated with constipation, impaction and retention with subsequent overflow.

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Brain Disorders

Any of a variety of conditions that are characterized by significant impairment of brain tissue and resultant loss of brain function including degenerative illnesses (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, stroke and other cerebrovascular accidents), genetic variations or mutations that affect the development and functioning of the brain either in utero or following birth, traumatic brain injury, post infection damage, brain tumours, and permanent damage that occurs as a result of seizures, substance toxicity or other disorders as well as conditions affecting the brain that are present prior to birth.

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Cancer

Any of a broad group of malignant neoplasms which are either carcinomas which have their origin in epithelial tissues or sarcomas which develop from connective tissues and those structures which had their origin in mesodermal tissues (the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, lymphatic and urogenital systems and the linings of body cavities). Cancer is invasive and tends to metastasize to new sites spreading directly into surrounding tissues or through the lymphatic or circulatory systems.

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CFIDS

A complex illness also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), chronic Epstein-Barr virus (CEBV), myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) and "yuppie flu" that is characterized by incapacitating fatigue (experienced as exhaustion and extremely poor stamina), neurological problems, depression, anxiety, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, temporary memory loss, muscle aches and spasms, headaches, irritability, sore throat, sleep disturbances, fever and sensitivity to heat and light. The symptoms tend to wax and wane but are often severely debilitating and may last for many months or years.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

A group of diseases that includes asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and bronchiectasis which involve obstruction of an individual's airflow. The conditions may be chronic and irreversible or reversible but recurrent.

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COVID-19

A respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in 2019 which likely originally emerged from an animal source, has spread person-to-person in many locales as well as to other countries around the world and has been identified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Symptoms include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Those most at risk from the virus are older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions.

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Crohn's Disease

A regional inflammation of the ileum or the intestines.

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Cystic Fibrosis

An inherited disease that affects the pancreas, respiratory system and sweat glands, which usually begins in infancy and is characterized by chronic respiratory infection, pancreatic insufficiency and heat intolerance. Prognosis is poor as there is no cure, but antibiotics have prolonged the life of many patients.

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Dementia

An acquired reduction in mental capacity that is characterized by impairment of memory, judgment and intellectual functioning which is often accompanied by behavioural disturbances.

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Dental Problems

Diseases or other pathological conditions of the teeth, gums or oral cavity.

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Diabetes

A disorder in which the pancreas produces too little insulin with the result that the body is unable to adequately metabolize sugar. Principal symptoms are elevated blood sugar, sugar in the urine, excessive urine production and increased food intake. Complications of diabetes if left untreated include low resistance to infections leading to a susceptibility to gangrene, cardiovascular and kidney disorders, disturbances in the electrolyte balance and eye disorders, some of which may lead to blindness.

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Down Syndrome

A variety of congenital intellectual disability that is marked by sloping forehead, presence of epicanthal folds, gray or very light yellow spots at the periphery of the iris, short broad hands with a single palmar crease, a flat nose or absent bridge, low-set ears and generally dwarfed physique.

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Dwarfism

The condition of being abnormally small in stature which may be hereditary or a result of endocrine dysfunction, deficiency diseases, renal insufficiency or diseases of the skeleton.

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Epilepsy

A recurrent paroxysmal disorder of cerebral function that is characterized by sudden, brief interruptions in or complete loss of consciousness, motor activity and/or sensory phenomena. The seizures are caused by disruptions in the electrical and physiochemical activity of the brain.

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Facial Disorders/Disfigurements

Any of a variety of diseases or conditions that affect the skull, facial structure and features.

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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

A continuum of permanent birth defects caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, the effects of which can include physical problems and problems with behaviour and learning. A person with FASD might have abnormal facial features, small head size, shorter than average height, low body weight, poor coordination, hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention, poor memory, difficulty in school (especially with math), learning disabilities, speech and language delays, intellectual disability or low IQ, poor reasoning and judgment skills, sleep and sucking problems as a baby, vision and hearing problems and/or problems with the heart, kidneys or bones. Different terms are used to describe FASDs depending on the type of symptoms. Included are Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which represents the severe end of the FASD spectrum and is characterized by abnormal facial features, growth problems and central nervous system (CNS) problems; Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) which is characterized by intellectual disabilities and problems with behaviour and learning; and Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD) which is characterized by problems with the heart, kidneys or bones and/or with hearing. Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD) was previously known as Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE).

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Fibromyalgia

A condition that is characterized by chronic pain in tendons, ligaments and muscles surrounding joints. Other symptoms include muscle spasms, fatigue, stiffness, abnormal sleep patterns with unrefreshing sleep, headaches and, occasionally, depression. There is significant overlap with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFIDS) in which fibromyalgia may arise as a secondary disease process. The cause of the condition is unknown.

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Growth Disorders/Stature Issues

Any of a variety of conditions in which individuals are shorter or taller than expected for their age and gender. Included are children who have experienced poor growth or rapid or excessive growth due to endocrine disorders, systemic diseases, congenital conditions, poor nutrition or other conditions; and people with normal growth patterns who happen to be exceptionally short or tall.

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Heart Disease

Any of a number of pathological conditions that affect the heart and the blood vessels of the heart.

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Hemophilia

A hereditary blood disease that affects males and is characterized by greatly prolonged coagulation time. The blood fails to clot and abnormal bleeding occurs. Hemophilia is a sex-linked hereditary trait which is transmitted by normal females who carry the recessive gene.

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Hepatitis

An inflammation of the liver caused by a variety of agents including viral infection (hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and delta agents), bacterial invasion and physical and chemical agents. Symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, malaise, muscle and joint pain, headache, photophobia, cough followed by jaundice and an enlarged liver. Hepatitis A and delta agent hepatitis are spread primarily from person to person via the fecal-oral route, but may occur by contact with water or food contaminated by the virus. Hepatitis B and C are spread by blood and serum-derived fluids and by direct contact with body fluids.

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Huntington's Disease

An inherited disease of the central nervous system which usually has its onset in people age 25 to 55. The individual has progressive dementia with bizarre involuntary muscular twitching of the limbs or facial muscles. The posture is abnormal. The disease slowly progresses and death is usually due to an intercurrent infection.

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Hydrocephalus

A condition in which there is an increased accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles of the brain due to an interruption in the flow of the fluid which may have been caused by developmental anomalies, infection, injury or brain tumours. The condition results in enlargement of the skull and may cause damage to the brain.

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Hypertension

A condition in which the patient has a higher blood pressure than normal. In general, if on several separate occasions the systolic pressure is above 140 or the diastolic is above 90, the person is considered to have elevated blood pressure.

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Influenza

An acute, contagious respiratory infection that is characterized by sudden onset, high fever, chills, headache, muscle soreness, and sometimes prostration. Nasal discharge, cough and sore throat are also common; and stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, but are more often seen in children than adults. Most people recover from the flu in a few days to less than two weeks. People age 65 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children are more likely to get complications from influenza.

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Kidney Disease

Any of a number of pathological conditions of the kidneys, the organs that are responsible for urination and for helping to regulate the water, electrolyte and acid-base content of the blood.

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Leukemia

A chronic or acute disease of unknown etiological factors that is characterized by unrestrained growth of leukocytes (white blood corpuscles) and their precursors in the tissues. Leukemia is classified according to the dominant cell type and the severity of the disease.

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Lymphoma

Any of a variety of cancers that develop in the lymph system, a network of thin vessels and nodes throughout the body which filter the blood and help fight disease and infection. The site of the malignant transformation is usually a lymph node but may be the lymphatic tissue of the marrow, gastrointestinal tract, spleen, skin or other sites. The disease results from the uncontrolled growth and accumulation of malignant lymphocytes. Enlargement of affected lymph nodes is usually the principal manifestation.

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Multiple Sclerosis

A chronic, slowly progressive disease of the central nervous system in which the myelin sheath which covers the nerves hardens, resulting in difficulties with muscle control, involuntary movements of the eyeballs, speech problems and tremor. Multiple sclerosis is marked by a history of remissions and exacerbations.

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Muscular Dystrophy

A group of genetic diseases that are characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of the skeletal muscles that control movement. There are many forms of muscular dystrophy, some noticeable at birth (congenital muscular dystrophy), others in adolescence (Becker MD), but the three most common types are Duchenne, facioscapulohumeral, and myotonic which differ in terms of pattern of inheritance, age of onset, rate of progression, and distribution of weakness. Duchenne MD primarily affects boys and is the result of mutations in the gene that regulates dystrophin, a protein involved in maintaining the integrity of muscle fibre. Onset is between three to five years and progresses rapidly. Most boys become unable to walk at age 12, and by age 20 have to use a respirator to breathe. Facioscapulohumeral MD appears in adolescence and causes progressive weakness in facial muscles and certain muscles in the arms and legs. It progresses slowly and can vary in symptoms from mild to disabling. Myotonic MD varies in the age of onset and is characterized by myotonia (prolonged muscle spasm) in the fingers and facial muscles; a floppy-footed, high-stepping gait; cataracts; cardiac abnormalities; and endocrine disturbances. Individuals with myotonic MD have long faces and drooping eyelids; men have frontal baldness.

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Neurofibromatosis

A genetic disorder that affects the cell growth of neural tissue and is characterized by tumours of various sizes on the peripheral nerves.

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Pain

A condition in which the individual suffers from physical discomfort of various levels of intensity that arises from tissue damage.

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Parasites/Worms/Lice

Any of a variety of pathological conditions that are caused by organisms like protozoa, worms, ticks, fleas, lice, the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei which causes scabies or other parasites that live within, upon or at the expense of another organism, known as the host, without contributing to the survival of the host.

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Parkinson's Disease

One of a group of conditions called motor system disorders which result from loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Symptoms of PD include tremor (trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face), rigidity (stiffness of the limbs and trunk); bradykinesia (slowness of movement) and postural instability (impaired balance and coordination). As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. The disease usually affects people over the age of 50, can be difficult to diagnose accurately and may require brain scans or laboratory tests to rule out other conditions.

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Postpolio Syndrome

A syndrome experienced by polio survivors sometimes 30 years after the onset of the illness that is characterized by new symptoms of muscle and joint pain and weakness, fatigue and, in some cases, major loss of function including loss of self-care independence and community mobility. The cause of the syndrome is unknown, but accumulated strain from chronic muscle overuse is one possible explanation.

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Pregnancy/Birth Problems

Any of a number of complications during pregnancy or delivery which negatively affect the health of the mother or child.

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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

A chronic condition affecting the sympathetic nervous system, often resulting from an injury or trauma such as a sprained ankle or broken leg, complications from surgery, infection, casting or splinting or heart attack, that is characterized by severe burning pain at the site of the injury, changes in skin temperature and texture, diminished motor function, muscle spasms, swelling of the joints, contraction of the tendons, softening of the bones and bone atrophy.

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Sleep Disorders

Any of a variety of conditions in which the patient has difficulty falling or staying asleep, abnormal behaviours during sleep or trouble staying awake during the day.

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Spina Bifida

A congenital defect in the walls of the spinal canal caused by lack of union between the laminae of the vertebrae. As a result of this deficiency, the membranes of the cord are pushed through the opening forming the spina bifida tumour.

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Spinal Cord Injuries

Trauma or damage to the column of nervous tissue that extends from the medulla to the second lumbar vertebra in the spinal canal. All nerves to the trunk and limbs are issued from the spinal cord, and it is the centre of reflex action containing the conducting paths to and from the brain.

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Stroke

A sudden loss of consciousness followed by paralysis which is caused by hemorrhage into the brain, formulation of a blood clot or mass of undissolved matter in the blood that occludes an artery, or rupture of an extracerebral artery causing hemorrhaging in the membranes which enclose the brain and spinal cord.

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

The completely unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently well or virtually well infant.

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Tourette's Syndrome

A neurological movement disorder which begins when the individual is age two to 16 and is characterized by rapidly repetitive muscular movements called "tics" including rapid eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, head jerking, facial twitches or other torso/limb movements; and involuntary vocalizations including repeated sniffing, throat clearing, coughing, grunting, barking or shrieking.

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Ulcerative Colitis

A type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine (colon) and rectum. The disease usually begins in the rectal area and may eventually extend through the entire large intestine. Repeated swelling (inflammation) leads to thickening of the wall of the intestine and rectum with scar tissue. Death of colon tissue or severe infection may occur with severe disease. Symptoms include abdominal pain and cramping that generally disappear following a bowel movement, gurgling or other abdominal sounds, fever, rectal pain and weight loss.

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West Nile Virus

A mosquito-borne infectious disease that causes mild, flu-like symptoms in healthy people and serious inflammations of the brain and spinal cord in people who are elderly or have compromised immune systems. The virus also affects birds and equines.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.