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All Diseases

Krabbe (KRAH-buh) disease is an inherited disorder that destroys the protective coating (myelin) of nerve cells in the brain and throughout the nervous system.

In most cases, signs and symptoms of Krabbe disease develop in babies before 6 months of age, and the disease usually results in death by age 2. When it develops in older children and adults, the course of the disease can vary greatly.

There's no cure for Krabbe disease, and treatment focuses on supportive care. However, stem cell transplants have shown some success in infants who are treated before the onset of symptoms and in some older children and adults.

Krabbe disease affects about 1 in 100,000 people in the United States. It is also known as globoid cell leukodystrophy.

Kyphosis is a forward rounding of the back. Some rounding is normal, but the term "kyphosis" usually refers to an exaggerated rounding of the back. While kyphosis can occur at any age, it's most common in older women.

Age-related kyphosis often occurs after osteoporosis weakens spinal bones to the point that they crack and compress. Other types of kyphosis are seen in infants or teens due to malformation of the spine or wedging of the spinal bones over time.

Mild kyphosis causes few problems, but severe cases can cause pain and be disfiguring. Treatment for kyphosis depends on your age, the cause of the curvature and its effects.

Lactose intolerance, also called lactase deficiency, means you aren't able to fully digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products. It's usually not dangerous, but symptoms of lactose intolerance can be uncomfortable.

A deficiency of lactase — an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine — is usually responsible for lactose intolerance. Many people have low levels of lactase, but only those who also have associated signs and symptoms have, by definition, lactose intolerance.

You can control symptoms of lactose intolerance by carefully choosing a diet that limits dairy products.

Laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation or infection.

Inside the larynx are your vocal cords — two folds of mucous membrane covering muscle and cartilage. Normally, your vocal cords open and close smoothly, forming sounds through their movement and vibration.

But in laryngitis, your vocal cords become inflamed or irritated. This swelling causes distortion of the sounds produced by air passing over them. As a result, your voice sounds hoarse. In some cases of laryngitis, your voice can become almost undetectable.

Laryngitis may be short-lived (acute) or long lasting (chronic). Most cases of laryngitis are triggered by temporary viral infection or vocal strain and aren't serious. Persistent hoarseness can sometimes signal a more serious underlying medical condition.

Latex allergy is a reaction to certain proteins found in natural rubber latex, a product made from a milky fluid from rubber trees. If you have a latex allergy, your body mistakes latex for a harmful substance.

Latex allergy may cause allergic reactions ranging from skin irritation to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. Your doctor can determine if you have a latex allergy or if you're at risk of developing a latex allergy.

Understanding latex allergy and knowing common sources of latex can help you prevent allergic reactions.

Lazy eye (amblyopia) is decreased vision that results from abnormal visual development in infancy and early childhood. Although lazy eye usually affects only one eye, it can affect both eyes. Lazy eye is the leading cause of decreased vision among children. Left untreated, vision loss may range from mild to severe.

With lazy eye, there may not be an obvious abnormality of the eye. Lazy eye develops when nerve pathways between the brain and the eye aren't properly stimulated. As a result, the brain favors one eye, usually due to poor vision in the other eye. The weaker eye tends to wander. Eventually, the brain may ignore the signals received from the weaker — or lazy — eye.

Usually doctors can correct lazy eye with eye patches, eyedrops, and glasses or contact lenses. Sometimes lazy eye requires surgical treatment.

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources include contaminated air, water and soil. Adults who work with batteries, do home renovations or work in auto repair shops also may be exposed to lead.

While treatment is available for lead poisoning, taking some simple precautions can help protect yourself and your family.

Left ventricular hypertrophy is enlargement (hypertrophy) of the muscle tissue that makes up the wall of your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle).

Left ventricular hypertrophy develops in response to some factor, such as high blood pressure, that requires the left ventricle to work harder. As the workload increases, the walls of the chamber grow thicker, lose elasticity and eventually may fail to pump with as much force as that of a healthy heart.

Left ventricular hypertrophy is more common in people who have uncontrolled high blood pressure or other heart problems. Treating high blood pressure can help ease your symptoms and may reverse the left ventricular hypertrophy.

Legg-Calve-Perthes (LEG-kahl-VAY-PER-theez) disease is a childhood condition that affects the hip, where the thighbone (femur) and pelvis meet in a ball-and-socket joint.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease occurs when blood supply is temporarily interrupted to the ball part (femoral head) of the hip joint. Without sufficient blood flow, the bone begins to die — so it breaks more easily and heals poorly.

To keep the ball part of the joint as round as possible, doctors may use a variety of treatments to keep it snug in the socket portion of the joint. The socket acts as a mold for the fractured femoral head as it heals.

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacterium known as legionella.

You can't catch Legionnaires' disease from person-to-person contact. Instead, most people get Legionnaires' disease from inhaling the bacteria. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to Legionnaires' disease.

The legionella bacterium also causes Pontiac fever, a milder illness resembling the flu. Separately or together, the two illnesses are sometimes called legionellosis. Pontiac fever usually clears on its own, but untreated Legionnaires' disease can be fatal. Although prompt treatment with antibiotics usually cures Legionnaires' disease, some people continue to experience problems after treatment.