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1. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It’s the most common cause of dementia – a group of brain disorders that results in the loss of intellectual and social skills. These changes are severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life. In Alzheimer’s disease, the connections between brain cells and the brain cells themselves degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.

2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and eventually death. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it in 1939. In the U.S., ALS and motor neuron disease (MND) are sometimes used interchangeably.

3. Arrhythmia of the Heart

Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses in your heart that coordinate your heartbeats don’t work properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. Heart arrhythmias (uh-RITH-me-uhs) are often harmless. Most people have occasional, irregular heartbeats that may feel like a fluttering or racing heart. However, some heart arrhythmias may cause bothersome – sometimes even life-threatening – signs and symptoms.

4. Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is usually caused by normal wear and tear, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. Other types of arthritis can be caused by uric acid crystals, infections or even an underlying disease, such as psoriasis or lupus.

5. Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly – out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness.

6. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle – so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. Bone is living tissue, which is constantly being absorbed and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone. Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women – especially those who are past menopause – are at highest risk. Medications, dietary supplements and weight-bearing exercise can help strengthen your bones.

7. Bedsores (pressure ulcers)

Bedsores – also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers – are injuries to skin and underlying tissues that result from prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores most often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heel, ankles, hips or buttocks. People most at risk of bedsores are those with a medical condition that limits their ability to change positions, requires them to use a wheelchair or confines them to a bed for prolonged periods. Bedsores can develop quickly and are often difficult to treat. Several care strategies can help prevent some bedsores and promote healing.

8. Bipolar Disorder (Manic-depressive illness)

Bipolar disorder – sometimes called manic-depressive disorder – is associated with mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. Although bipolar disorder is a disruptive, long-term condition, you can keep your moods in check by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be controlled with medications and psychological counselling (psychotherapy).

9. Cancer

Cancer refers to any one of a large number of diseases characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. Cancer also has the ability to spread throughout your body. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. But survival rates are improving for many types of cancer, thanks to improvements in cancer screening and cancer treatment.

10. Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car – especially at night – or see the expression on a friend’s face. Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.

11. COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that make up COPD. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs are gradually destroyed. Damage to your lungs from COPD can’t be reversed, but treatment can help control symptoms and minimize further damage.

12. Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood glucose, commonly called blood sugar. Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel. If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the reasons may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.

13. Heart Disease

Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a range of diseases that affect your heart. The various diseases that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include diseases of your blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); heart infections; and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects). The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as infections and conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or beating rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.

14. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

High blood pressure is a common condition in which the force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

15. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. In early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression, or your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time. Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications may markedly improve your symptoms. In occasional cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.

16. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by infection. Bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia is a particular concern if you’re older than 65 or have a chronic illness or weak immune system. It can also occur in young, healthy people. Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. Pneumonia often is a complication of another condition, such as the flu. Antibiotics can treat most common forms of bacterial pneumonias, but antibiotic-resistant strains are a growing problem. The best approach is to try to prevent infection.

17. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and taking care of yourself, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely shake up your life. In a case such as this, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.

18. Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications. The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented, and many fewer Americans die of stroke now than even 15 years ago. Better control of major stroke risk factors – high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol – may be responsible for the decline.

19. Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is like a stroke, producing similar symptoms, but usually lasting only a few minutes and causing no permanent damage. Often called a mini stroke, a transient ischemic attack may be a warning. About 1 in 3 people who have a transient ischemic attack eventually has a stroke, with about half occurring within a year after the transient ischemic attack. A transient ischemic attack can serve as both a warning and an opportunity – a warning of an impending stroke and an opportunity to take steps to prevent it.

20. Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain. You can develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in your brain, but strokes don’t always cause vascular dementia. Whether a stroke affects your thinking and reasoning depends on your stroke’s severity and location. Vascular dementia also can result from other conditions that damage blood vessels and reduce circulation, depriving your brain of vital and nutrients. Factors that increase your risk of heart disease and stroke – including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking – also raise your vascular dementia risk. Controlling these factors can help lower your chances of developing vascular dementia.