All Diseases

Botulism is a rare but serious condition caused by toxins from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.

Botulism comes in several forms, with the three main forms being:

  • Infant botulism. This most common form of botulism begins after Clostridium botulinum bacterial spores grow in a baby's intestinal tract. It typically occurs between the ages of 2 and 6 months.
  • Foodborne botulism. The harmful bacteria thrive and produce the toxin in environments with little oxygen, such as in canned food.
  • Wound botulism. If these bacteria get into a cut, they can cause a dangerous infection that produces the toxin.

All types of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies.

A brachial plexus injury is an injury to the brachial plexus — the network of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm and hand.

A brachial plexus injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed or, in the most serious cases, torn. This can happen when your shoulder is pressed down forcefully while your head is pushed up and away from that shoulder; a direct contact hit also can compress these nerves.

Brachial plexus injuries are common in contact sports such as football, but they can also result from auto or motorcycle accidents or falls. Babies sometimes sustain brachial plexus injuries during birth. Other conditions, such as inflammation or tumors, may affect the brachial plexus.

Minor injuries may get better on their own, but severe brachial plexus injuries require surgical repair.

Bradycardia is a slower than normal heart rate. The heart usually beats between 60 and 100 times a minute in an adult at rest. If you have bradycardia (brad-e-KAHR-dee-uh), your heart beats fewer than 60 times a minute.

Bradycardia can be a serious problem if the heart doesn't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body. For some people, however, bradycardia doesn't cause symptoms or complications.

An implanted pacemaker and other treatments may correct bradycardia and help your heart maintain an appropriate rate.

A brain aneurysm (AN-yoo-riz-um) is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel in the brain. It often looks like a berry hanging on a stem.

A brain aneurysm can leak or rupture, causing bleeding into the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). Most often a ruptured brain aneurysm occurs in the space between the brain and the thin tissues covering the brain. This type of hemorrhagic stroke is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

A ruptured aneurysm quickly becomes life-threatening and requires prompt medical treatment.

Most brain aneurysms, however, don't rupture, create health problems or cause symptoms. Such aneurysms are often detected during tests for other conditions.

Treatment for an unruptured brain aneurysm may be appropriate in some cases and may prevent a rupture in the future.

A brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins. An AVM is usually congenital, meaning it dates to birth.

An AVM can develop anywhere in your body but occurs most often in the brain or spine. A brain AVM, which appears as a tangle of abnormal arteries and veins, can occur in any part of your brain. The cause isn't clear.

You may not know you have a brain AVM until you experience symptoms, such as headaches or a seizure. In serious cases, the blood vessels rupture, causing bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage). Once diagnosed, a brain AVM can often be treated successfully.

Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States.

Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it's far more common in women.

Substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped improve the screening and diagnosis and advances in the treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths steadily has been declining, which is largely due to a number of factors such as earlier detection, a new personalized approach to treatment and a better understanding of the disease.

Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs within your breast, which are usually not cancer (benign). You can have one or many breast cysts. They're often described as round or oval lumps with distinct edges. In texture, a breast cyst usually feels like a grape or a water-filled balloon, but sometimes a breast cyst feels firm.

Breast cysts don't require treatment unless a cyst is large and painful or otherwise uncomfortable. In that case, draining the fluid from a breast cyst can ease your symptoms.

Breast cysts are common in women before menopause, between ages 35 and 50, but can be found in women of any age. If you have breast cysts, they usually disappear after menopause, unless you're taking hormone therapy.

Breast pain (mastalgia) — a common complaint among women — can include breast tenderness, sharp burning pain or tightness in your breast tissue. The pain may be constant or it may occur only occasionally.

Breast pain can range from mild to severe. It can affect you just a few days a month, for instance just before your period, or can last for seven days or more each month. Breast pain may affect you just before your period or it may continue throughout the menstrual cycle. Postmenopausal women sometimes have breast pain, but breast pain is more common in younger, premenopausal women and perimenopausal women.

Most times, breast pain signals a noncancerous (benign) breast condition and rarely indicates breast cancer. Still, unexplained breast pain that doesn't go away after one or two menstrual cycles or that persists after menopause and occurs in one specific area of your breast needs to be evaluated by your doctor.

A broken ankle or broken foot is a common injury. You may experience a broken ankle or broken foot during a car crash or from a simple misstep or fall. The seriousness of a broken ankle or broken foot varies. Fractures can range from tiny cracks in your bones to breaks that pierce your skin.

Treatment for a broken ankle or broken foot depends on the exact site and severity of the fracture. A severely broken ankle or broken foot may require surgery to implant plates, rods or screws into the broken bone to maintain proper position during healing.

A broken arm involves one or more of the three bones in your arm — the ulna, radius and humerus. One of the most common causes of a broken arm is falling onto an outstretched hand. If you think you or your child has broken an arm, seek prompt medical attention. It's important to treat a fracture as soon as possible for proper healing.

Treatment depends on the site and severity of the injury. A simple break may be treated with a sling, ice and rest. However, the bone may require realignment (reduction) in the emergency room.

A more complicated break might require surgery to realign the broken bone and to implant wires, plates, nails or screws to maintain proper alignment during healing.