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All Diseases

Dermatitis is a general term that describes an inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis can have many causes and occurs in many forms. It usually involves an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin.

Skin affected by dermatitis may blister, ooze, develop a crust or flake off. Examples of dermatitis include atopic dermatitis (eczema), dandruff, and rashes caused by contact with any of a number of substances, such as poison ivy, soaps and jewelry with nickel in it.

Dermatitis is a common condition that's not contagious and usually isn't life-threatening. Even so, it can make you feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. A combination of self-care steps and medications can help you treat dermatitis.

Dermatographia is a condition also known as skin writing. When people who have dermatographia lightly scratch their skin, the scratches redden into a raised wheal similar to hives. These marks usually disappear within 30 minutes.

The cause of dermatographia is unknown, but it can be triggered in some people by infections, emotional upset or medications such as penicillin.

Most people who have dermatographia don't seek treatment. If your signs and symptoms are especially bothersome, your doctor may recommend allergy medications such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

Dermatomyositis (dur-muh-toe-my-uh-SY-tis) is an uncommon inflammatory disease marked by muscle weakness and a distinctive skin rash.

Dermatomyositis affects adults and children alike. In adults, dermatomyositis usually occurs from the late 40s to early 60s. In children, the disease most often appears between 5 and 15 years of age. Dermatomyositis affects more females than males.

There's no cure for dermatomyositis, but periods of remission — when symptoms improve spontaneously — may occur. Treatment can clear the skin rash and help you regain muscle strength and function.

A deviated septum occurs when the thin wall (nasal septum) between your nostrils is displaced to one side. In many people, the nasal septum is displaced — or deviated — making one nasal passage smaller.

When a deviated septum is severe, it can block one side of your nose and reduce airflow, causing difficulty breathing. The additional exposure of a deviated septum to the drying effect of airflow through the nose may sometimes contribute to crusting or bleeding in certain individuals.

Nasal obstruction can occur from a deviated nasal septum, from swelling of the tissues lining the nose, or from both. Treatment of nasal obstruction may include medications to reduce the swelling or adhesive strips that may help open the nasal passages. To correct a deviated septum, surgery is necessary.

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). 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 causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.

Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes — when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes — and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.

Diabetes insipidus (die-uh-BEE-teze in-SIP-uh-dus) is an uncommon disorder characterized by intense thirst, despite the drinking of fluids (polydipsia), and the excretion of large amounts of urine (polyuria). In most cases, it's the result of your body not properly producing, storing or releasing a key hormone, but diabetes insipidus can also occur when your kidneys are unable to respond properly to that hormone. Rarely, diabetes insipidus can occur during pregnancy (gestational diabetes insipidus).

You may assume diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus — the more common form of diabetes involving blood sugar — are related. Although the disorders share a name and have some common signs, diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2) and diabetes insipidus are unrelated.

Treatments are available to relieve your thirst and normalize your urine output.

A diabetic coma is a life-threatening diabetes complication that causes unconsciousness.

If you have diabetes, dangerously high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can lead to a diabetic coma.

If you lapse into a diabetic coma, you're alive — but you can't awaken or respond purposefully to sights, sounds or other types of stimulation. Left untreated, a diabetic coma can be fatal.

The prospect of a diabetic coma is scary, but fortunately you can take steps to help prevent a diabetic coma. Start by following your diabetes treatment plan.

Diabetic hyperosmolar (hi-pur-oz-MOE-lur) syndrome is a serious condition that develops when your blood sugar reaches a very high level. When your blood sugar gets to this level, your blood becomes thick and syrupy, causing diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome. Excess sugar passes from your blood into your urine, triggering a filtering process that draws tremendous amounts of fluid from your body.

Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome usually affects people with type 2 diabetes, and may develop in people who haven't yet been diagnosed with diabetes.

Left untreated, diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome can lead to life-threatening dehydration. Prompt medical care is essential.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can affect people who have diabetes. It occurs when there's too much insulin and not enough sugar (glucose) in your blood. Hypoglycemia is defined as blood sugar below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 4 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Several factors can cause hypoglycemia in people with diabetes, including taking too much insulin or other diabetes medications, skipping a meal, or exercising harder than usual.

Pay attention to early warning signs, so you can treat low blood sugar promptly. Treatment involves short-term steps — such as taking glucose tablets — to raise your blood sugar into a normal range.

Left untreated, diabetic hypoglycemia can lead to seizures and loss of consciousness. This is considered a medical emergency. Tell family and friends what symptoms to look for and what to do in case you're not able to treat diabetic hypoglycemia yourself.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.

Diabetic ketoacidosis develops when your body is unable to produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as an alternate fuel. This process produces a buildup of toxic acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated.

If you have diabetes or you're at risk of diabetes, learn the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — and know when to seek emergency care.