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All Diseases

Craniosynostosis (kray-nee-o-sin-os-TOE-sis) is a birth defect in which one or more of the joints between the bones of your baby's skull close prematurely, before your baby's brain is fully formed. When your baby has craniosynostosis, his or her brain can't grow in its natural shape and the head is misshapen.

Craniosynostosis can affect one or more of the joints in your baby's skull. In some cases, craniosynostosis is associated with an underlying brain abnormality that prevents the brain from growing properly.

Treating craniosynostosis usually involves surgery to separate the fused bones. If there's no underlying brain abnormality, the surgery allows your baby’s brain adequate space to grow and develop.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob (KROITS-felt YAH-kobe) disease is a degenerative brain disorder that leads to dementia and, ultimately, death. Symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) sometimes resemble those of other dementia-like brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's, but Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease usually progresses much more rapidly.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease captured public attention in the 1990s when some people in the United Kingdom developed a form of the disease — variant CJD (vCJD) — after eating meat from diseased cattle. However, "classic" Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has not been linked to contaminated beef.

Although serious, CJD is rare, and vCJD is the least common form. Worldwide, there is an estimated one case of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease diagnosed per million people each year, most commonly in older adults.

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.

The inflammation caused by Crohn's disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn's disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.

While there's no known cure for Crohn's disease, therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. With treatment, many people with Crohn's disease are able to function well.

Croup refers to an infection of the upper airway, generally in children, which obstructs breathing and causes a characteristic barking cough.

The cough and other symptoms of croup are the result of inflammation around the vocal cords (larynx), windpipe (trachea) and bronchial tubes (bronchi). When a cough forces air through this narrowed passage, the swollen vocal cords produce a noise similar to a seal barking. Likewise, taking a breath often produces a high-pitched whistling sound (stridor).

Croup usually isn't serious and most cases can be treated at home.

Cryptosporidium infection (cryptosporidiosis) is an illness caused by tiny cryptosporidium parasites. When cryptosporidia (krip-toe-spoe-RID-e-uh) enter your body, they travel to your small intestine and then burrow into the walls of your intestines. Later, cryptosporidia are shed in your feces.

In most healthy people, a cryptosporidium infection produces a bout of watery diarrhea and the infection usually goes away within a week or two. If you have a compromised immune system, a cryptosporidium infection can become life-threatening without proper treatment.

You can help prevent a cryptosporidium infection by practicing good hygiene and avoiding swallowing water from pools, recreational water parks, lakes and streams.

Cushing syndrome occurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol for a long time. The most common cause of Cushing syndrome, sometimes called hypercortisolism, is the use of oral corticosteroid medication. The condition can also occur when your body makes too much cortisol.

Too much cortisol can produce some of the hallmark signs of Cushing syndrome — a fatty hump between your shoulders, a rounded face, and pink or purple stretch marks on your skin. Cushing syndrome can also result in high blood pressure, bone loss and, on occasion, diabetes.

Treatments for Cushing syndrome can return your body's cortisol production to normal and noticeably improve your symptoms. The earlier treatment begins, the better your chances for recovery.

Cyclic vomiting syndrome is characterized by episodes of severe vomiting that have no apparent cause. Episodes can last for hours or days and alternate with relatively symptom-free periods of time. Each episode is similar to previous ones, meaning that episodes tend to start at the same time of day, last the same length of time and occur with the same symptoms and level of intensity.

Once thought to affect only children, cyclic vomiting syndrome occurs in all age groups. Research suggests that cyclic vomiting syndrome may affect almost 2 percent of school-age children and that the number of cases diagnosed in adults is increasing.

Cyclic vomiting syndrome may be related to migraines. Episodes can be so severe that the person has to stay in bed for days.

The syndrome is difficult to diagnose because vomiting is a symptom of many disorders. Treatment generally involves managing symptoms and lifestyle changes to help prevent the events that can trigger vomiting episodes. Medications, including anti-nausea and migraine therapies, may help lessen symptoms.

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system.

An inherited condition, cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These secreted fluids are normally thin and slippery. But in cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become thick and sticky. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas.

Cystic fibrosis is most common in white people of Northern European ancestry, but also occurs in Hispanics, African-Americans and some Native Americans. It is rare in people of Asian and Middle Eastern origin.

Although cystic fibrosis requires daily care, most people with the condition are able to attend school and work, and have a better quality of life than in previous decades. Recent improvements in screening and treatments mean most people with cystic fibrosis now live into their 20s and 30s, and some are living into their 40s and 50s.

Cystitis (sis-TI-tis) is the medical term for inflammation of the bladder. Most of the time, the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection, and it's called a urinary tract infection (UTI). A bladder infection can be painful and annoying, and it can become a serious health problem if the infection spreads to your kidneys.

Less commonly, cystitis may occur as a reaction to certain drugs, radiation therapy or potential irritants, such as feminine hygiene spray, spermicidal jellies or long-term use of a catheter. Cystitis may also occur as a complication of another illness.

The usual treatment for bacterial cystitis is antibiotics. Treatment for other types of cystitis depends on the underlying cause.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that can infect almost anyone. Most people don't know they have CMV because it rarely causes symptoms. However, if you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system, CMV is cause for concern.

Once infected with CMV, your body retains the virus for life. However, CMV usually remains dormant if you're healthy.

CMV spreads from person to person through body fluids, such as blood, saliva, urine, semen and breast milk. CMV spread through breast milk usually doesn't make the baby sick. However, if you are pregnant and develop an active infection, you can pass the virus to your baby.

There's no cure for CMV, but drugs can help treat newborns and people with weak immune systems.