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.
An age-related, non-reversible brain disorder that develops over a period of years. Initially, people experience memory loss and confusion, which may be mistaken for the kinds of memory changes that are sometimes associated with normal aging. The symptoms gradually lead to behaviour and personality changes, a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making and language skills and problems recognizing family and friends; and ultimately to a severe loss of mental function. Alzheimer's disease is one of a group of disorders called dementias that are characterized by cognitive and behavioural problems. It is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older.
A condition in which there is a beyond normal reduction in the number of circulating red blood cells, the amount of hemoglobin in the red blood cells, or the volume of packed red blood cells in the blood. Anemia may be caused by excessive blood loss, excessive blood cell destruction or decreased blood cell formation, and is characterized by weakness, vertigo, headaches, a sore tongue, drowsiness, pallor and general malaise.
An inflammatory condition affecting the joints which is usually accompanied by pain and, frequently, by changes in bone and muscle positioning.
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.
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.
An intestinal malabsorption syndrome that causes malnutrition and results in a wide variety of symptoms including abdominal pain and distention, diarrhea, constipation, anemia, bone and joint pain, depression and headaches.
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.
Any of a variety of illnesses that are mild in nature and are generally short-lived.
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.
An acquired reduction in mental capacity that is characterized by impairment of memory, judgment and intellectual functioning which is often accompanied by behavioural disturbances.
Diseases or other pathological conditions of the teeth, gums or oral cavity.
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.
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.
Any of a variety of diseases or conditions that affect the skull, facial structure and features.
A rare disease of iron metabolism in which iron accumulates in body tissue causing liver enlargement, skin pigmentation, diabetes and, frequently, cardiac failure.
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.
Infants and children who are at risk for developmental delays or other problems because of congenital abnormalities; perinatal medical complications including anoxia, low birth weight, prematurity, respiratory distress syndrome, or metabolic or central nervous system disorders; medical problems that have their onset following birth; or environmental factors including elements of risk that relate to the mother (minimal education, lack of prenatal care, history of drug abuse, pregnancy when younger than age 18 or older than age 35, having a developmental disability, having a sexually transmitted disease) or lack of appropriate stimulation during infancy and early childhood due to neglect, poverty or social isolation.
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.
A condition that is characterized by the inability or diminished ability of one or both partners to produce children.
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.
Any of a variety of disorders of the liver, the largest organ in the body which has a major role in a wide variety of vital metabolic functions.
An inflammation of the membranes of the spinal cord or brain which may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Acute meningitis is marked by a moderate and irregular fever, loss of appetite, constipation, intense headache, intolerance to light and sound, contracted pupils, delirium, retraction of the head, convulsions and coma. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and may resolve itself without specific treatment whereas the bacterial form may be quite severe, can be transmitted to others and may result in brain damage, hearing loss and other long-term problems.
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.
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.
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.
Any of a number of complications during pregnancy or delivery which negatively affect the health of the mother or child.
An acute infectious disease of warm-blooded mammals, especially carnivores, that is characterized by involvement of the central nervous system which results in paralysis and finally death. Symptoms include general malaise, depression of spirits or intense excitement and aggressiveness, respiratory problems, swelling of the lymph nodes near the wound, muscular spasms, fever, vomiting, unusual saliva and the presence of serum protein in the urine. The disease is usually transmitted to humans through bites from affected animals such as raccoons, dogs, foxes and bats.
Any of a variety of diseases that are acquired as a result of sexual activity with an individual who is infected.
Shingles (herpes zoster) is an acute infectious viral disease that is marked by inflammation of nerve tissue and eruption of herpetic blisters, usually on the trunk of the body along a peripheral nerve, but the face may also be involved. The pain, which can be quite severe, may persist after the rash heals for months, or, rarely, for years. The virus may cause meningitis, affect the optic nerve, or affect hearing. The herpes zoster virus is the chickenpox (varicella) virus that has remained in the nerves after recovery from chickenpox. It may be reactivated by the diminishing capacity of the immune system that comes with age or the physiological stress of disease.
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.
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.
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.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.