Accutane

Accutane is a form of vitamin A. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly.

Accutane is used to treat severe nodular acne. It is usually given after other acne medicines or antibiotics have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms.

Accutane may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Alcohol

For most adults, moderate alcohol use is probably not harmful. However, about 18 million adult Americans have an alcohol use disorder. This means that their drinking causes distress and harm. It includes alcoholism and alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a disease that causes

  • Craving – a strong need to drink
  • Loss of control – not being able to stop drinking once you’ve started
  • Physical dependence – withdrawal symptoms
  • Tolerance – the need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect

With alcohol abuse, you are not physically dependent, but you still have a serious problem. The drinking may cause problems at home, work, or school. It may cause you to put yourself in dangerous situations, or lead to legal or social problems.

Another common problem is binge drinking. It is drinking about five or more drinks in two hours for men. For women, it is about four or more drinks in two hours.

Too much alcohol is dangerous. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers. It can cause damage to the liver, brain, and other organs. Drinking during pregnancy can harm your baby. Alcohol also increases the risk of death from car crashes, injuries, homicide, and suicide.

If you want to stop drinking, there is help. Start by talking to your health care provider. Treatment may include medicines, counseling, and support groups.

Allergy

An allergy is a reaction by your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions areIllustration of a mast cell releasing histamine

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Food
  • Insect stings
  • Medicines

Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body’s defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm. Genes and the environment probably both play a role.

Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling, or asthma. Allergies can range from minor to severe. Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction that can be life-threatening. Doctors use skin and blood tests to diagnose allergies. Treatments include medicines, allergy shots, and avoiding the substances that cause the reactions.

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are man-made substances related to male sex hormones. Doctors use anabolic steroids to treat some hormone problems in men, delayed puberty, and muscle loss from some diseases.

Bodybuilders and athletes often use anabolic steroids to build muscles and improve athletic performance. Using them this way is not legal or safe. Abuse of anabolic steroids has been linked with many health problems. They include

  • Acne
  • Breast growth and shrinking of testicles in men
  • Voice deepening and growth of facial hair in women
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems, including heart attack
  • Liver disease, including cancer
  • Kidney damage
  • Aggressive behavior

Angina

Angina is chest pain or discomfort you feel when there is not enough blood flow to your heart muscle. Your heart muscle needs the oxygen that the blood carries. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. It may feel like indigestion. You may also feel pain in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.

Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common heart disease. CAD happens when a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, reducing blood flow.

There are three types of angina:

  • Stable angina is the most common type. It happens when the heart is working harder than usual. Stable angina has a regular pattern. Rest and medicines usually help.
  • Unstable angina is the most dangerous. It does not follow a pattern and can happen without physical exertion. It does not go away with rest or medicine. It is a sign that you could have a heart attack soon.
  • Variant angina is rare. It happens when you are resting. Medicines can help.

Not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. If you have chest pain, you should see your health care provider.

Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia is a rare but serious blood disorder. If you have it, your bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells. Causes include

  • Toxic substances, such as pesticides, arsenic, and benzeneIllustration of a long bone
  • Radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer
  • Certain medicines
  • Infections such as hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, or HIV
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Certain inherited conditions
  • Pregnancy

In many people, the cause is unknown.

Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath. It can cause heart problems such as an irregular heartbeat, an enlarged heart, and heart failure. You may also have frequent infections and bleeding.

Your doctor will diagnose aplastic anemia based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and test results. Once your doctor knows the cause and severity of the condition, he or she can create a treatment plan for you. Treatments include blood transfusions, blood and marrow stem cell transplants, and medicines.

Artificial Limbs

People can lose all or part of an arm or leg for a number of reasons. Common ones include

  • Circulation problems from atherosclerosis or diabetes. They may cause you to need anamputation.
  • Traumatic injuries, including from traffic accidents and military combat
  • Cancer
  • Birth defects

If you are missing an arm or leg, an artificial limb can sometimes replace it. The device, which is called a prosthesis, can help you to perform daily activities such as walking, eating, or dressing. Some artificial limbs let you function nearly as well as before.

Bone Cancer

Cancer that starts in a bone is uncommon. Cancer that has spread to the bone from another part of the body is more common.

There are three types of bone cancer:

  • Osteosarcoma – occurs most often between ages 10 and 19. It is more common in the knee and upper arm.
  • Chondrosarcoma – starts in cartilage, usually after age 40
  • Ewing’s sarcoma – occurs most often in children and teens under 19. It is more common in boys than girls.

The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain. Other symptoms vary, depending on the location and size of the cancer. Surgery is often the main treatment for bone cancer. Other treatments may include amputation, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Because bone cancer can come back after treatment, regular follow-up visits are important.

Bone Infections

Like other parts of the body, bones can get infected. The infections are usually bacterial, but can also be fungal. They may spread to the bone from nearby skin or muscles, or from another part of the body through the bloodstream. People who are at risk for bone infections include those with diabetes, poor circulation, or recent injury to the bone. You may also be at risk if you are having hemodialysis.

Symptoms of bone infections include

  • Pain in the infected area
  • Chills and fever
  • Swelling, warmth, and redness

A blood test or imaging test such as an x-ray can tell if you have a bone infection. Treatment includes antibiotics and often surgery.

Bone Marrow Diseases

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, such as your hip and thigh bones. It contains immature cells, called stem cells. The stem cells can develop into the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body, the white blood cells that fight infections, and the platelets that help with blood clotting.Illustration of a long bone

If you have a bone marrow disease, there are problems with the stem cells or how they develop.Leukemia is a cancer in which the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. With aplastic anemia, the bone marrow doesn’t make red blood cells. Other diseases, such as lymphoma, can spread into the bone marrow and affect the production of blood cells. Other causes of bone marrow disorders include your genetic makeup and environmental factors.

Symptoms of bone marrow diseases vary. Treatments depend on the disorder and how severe it is. They might involve medicines, blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant.

Bone Marrow Transplantation

Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, such as your hip and thigh bones. It contains immature cells, called stem cells. The stem cells can develop into red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, white blood cells, which fight infections, and platelets, which help the blood to clot.

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that replaces a person’s faulty bone marrow stem cells. Doctors use these transplants to treat people with certain diseases, such as

  • Leukemia
  • Severe blood diseases such as thalassemias, aplastic anemia, and sickle cell anemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Certain immune deficiency diseases

Before you have a transplant, you need to get high doses of chemotherapy and possibly radiation. This destroys the faulty stem cells in your bone marrow. It also suppresses your body’s immune system so that it won’t attack the new stem cells after the transplant.

In some cases, you can donate your own bone marrow stem cells in advance. The cells are saved and then used later on. Or you can get cells from a donor. The donor might be a family member or unrelated person.

Bone marrow transplantation has serious risks. Some complications can be life-threatening. But for some people, it is the best hope for a cure or a longer life.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood and stick to the walls of your arteries. This is called plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries or even block them.

High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high blood cholesterol, but it can be detected with a blood test. You are likely to have high cholesterol if members of your family have it, if you are overweight or if you eat a lot of fatty foods.

You can lower your cholesterol by exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables. You also may need to take medicine to lower your cholesterol.

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