All Diseases

Epiglottitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the epiglottis — a small cartilage "lid" that covers your windpipe — swells, blocking the flow of air into your lungs.

A number of factors can cause the epiglottis to swell — burns from hot liquids, direct injury to your throat and various infections. The most common cause of epiglottitis in children in the past was infection with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), the same bacterium that causes pneumonia, meningitis and infections in the bloodstream. Epiglottitis can occur at any age.

Routine Hib vaccination for infants has made epiglottitis rare, but epiglottitis remains a concern. If you suspect that you or someone in your family has epiglottitis, seek emergency help immediately. Prompt treatment can prevent life-threatening complications.

Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.

Having erection trouble from time to time isn't necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection also can be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease down the road.

If you're concerned about erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor — even if you're embarrassed. Sometimes, treating an underlying condition is enough to reverse erectile dysfunction. In other cases, medications or other direct treatments might be needed.

Esophageal cancer is cancer that occurs in the esophagus — a long, hollow tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Your esophagus carries food you swallow to your stomach to be digested.

Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus. Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere along the esophagus, but in people in the United States, it occurs most often in the lower portion of the esophagus. More men than women get esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer isn't common in the United States. In other areas of the world, such as Asia and parts of Africa, esophageal cancer is much more common.

Esophageal spasms are painful muscle contractions that affect your esophagus, the hollow tube between your throat and your stomach. Esophageal spasms can feel like sudden, severe chest pain that lasts from a few minutes to hours.

Esophageal spasms usually occur only occasionally. But for some people, the muscle contractions are frequent and can prevent food and liquids from traveling through the esophagus. Esophageal spasms can lead to chronic pain and swallowing problems.

Treatment for occasional esophageal spasms may not be necessary. But if esophageal spasms interfere with your ability to eat or drink, treatments are available.

Esophageal varices are abnormal, enlarged veins in the lower part of the esophagus — the tube that connects the throat and stomach. Esophageal varices occur most often in people with serious liver diseases.

Esophageal varices develop when normal blood flow to the liver is obstructed by scar tissue in the liver or a clot. Seeking a way around the blockages, blood flows into smaller blood vessels that are not designed to carry large volumes of blood. The vessels may leak blood or even rupture, causing life-threatening bleeding.

A number of drugs and medical procedures can help prevent and stop bleeding from esophageal varices.

Esophagitis (uh-sof-uh-JIE-tis) is inflammation that may damage tissues of the esophagus, the muscular tube that delivers food from your mouth to your stomach.

Esophagitis can cause painful, difficult swallowing and chest pain. Causes of esophagitis include stomach acids backing up into the esophagus, infection, oral medications and allergies.

Treatments for esophagitis depend on the underlying cause and the severity of tissue damage. If left untreated, esophagitis can damage the lining, interfere with normal function and lead to complications such as scarring, stricture and difficulty swallowing.

Essential thrombocythemia is an uncommon disorder in which your body produces too many blood platelets (thrombocytes). It's also known as primary thrombocythemia (throm-boe-sigh-THEE-me-uh).

The most common symptoms of essential thrombocythemia include headache, lightheadedness, vision changes, and tingling, numbness or burning pain in the hands and feet. Essential thrombocythemia most often occurs in people over age 50 and is more common in women.

You may not need treatment for essential thrombocythemia if you don't have symptoms. If you have abnormal blood clotting or bleeding, however, medications can help you avoid potentially serious complications.

Essential tremor is a nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) that causes a rhythmic shaking. Essential tremor can affect almost any part of your body, but the trembling occurs most often in your hands — especially when you try to do simple tasks, such as drinking from a glass, tying shoelaces, writing or shaving. Essential tremor may also affect your head, voice, arms or legs.

Although usually not a dangerous condition, essential tremor worsens over time and can be severe in some people. It isn't caused by other diseases, although it's sometimes confused with Parkinson's disease. Essential tremor can occur at any age but is most common in people age 40 and older.

Exercise headaches occur during or after sustained, strenuous exercise. Some activities associated with exercise headaches include running, rowing, tennis, swimming and weightlifting.

Doctors divide exercise headaches into two categories. Primary exercise headaches are usually harmless, aren't connected to any underlying problems and can often be prevented with medication.

Secondary exercise headaches are caused by an underlying, often serious problem within the brain — such as bleeding or a tumor — or outside the brain — such as coronary artery disease. Secondary exercise headaches may require emergency medical attention.

Exercised-induced asthma is a narrowing of the airways in the lungs that is triggered by strenuous exercise. It causes shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and other symptoms during or after exercise.

The preferred term for this condition is exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (brong-koh-kun-STRIK-shun). This term is more accurate because the exercise induces narrowing of airways (bronchoconstriction) but is not the root cause of asthma. Among people with asthma, exercise is likely just one of several factors that can induce breathing difficulties.

For most people with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, treatment with common asthma medications and preventive measures enable them to exercise and remain active.