All Diseases

Pulmonary atresia (uh-TREE-zhuh) is a heart defect present at birth (congenital) that's normally diagnosed within the first few hours or days of life. In pulmonary atresia, the valve that lets blood out of the heart to go to your baby's lungs (pulmonary valve) doesn't form correctly. Instead of opening and closing to allow blood to travel from your heart to your lungs, a solid sheet of tissue forms. Blood from the right side of your baby's heart can't go back to the lungs to pick up oxygen.

Pulmonary atresia is a life-threatening situation. Procedures to correct your baby's heart condition and medications to help your baby's heart work more effectively are the first steps to treat pulmonary atresia. Depending on your child's condition, more surgeries will often be necessary in childhood. Ongoing medical care through adulthood can improve your child's prognosis.

Pulmonary edema is a condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs. This fluid collects in the numerous air sacs in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

In most cases, heart problems cause pulmonary edema. But fluid can accumulate for other reasons, including pneumonia, exposure to certain toxins and medications, trauma to the chest wall, and exercising or living at high elevations.

Pulmonary edema that develops suddenly (acute pulmonary edema) is a medical emergency requiring immediate care. Although pulmonary edema can sometimes prove fatal, the outlook improves when you receive prompt treatment for pulmonary edema along with treatment for the underlying problem. Treatment for pulmonary edema varies depending on the cause but generally includes supplemental oxygen and medications.

Pulmonary embolism is when one or more pulmonary arteries in your lungs become blocked. In most cases, pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs or rarely other parts of the body (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT).

Because pulmonary embolism almost always occurs in conjunction with deep vein thrombosis, some doctors refer to the two conditions together as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Although anyone can develop deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, factors such as immobility, cancer and surgery increase your risk.

Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, but prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death. Taking measures to prevent blood clots in your legs also can help protect you against pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary fibrosis occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue makes it more difficult for your lungs to work properly. As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, you become progressively more short of breath.

The scarring associated with pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by a multitude of factors. But in most cases, doctors can't pinpoint what's causing the problem. When a cause can't be found, the condition is termed idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The lung damage caused by pulmonary fibrosis can't be repaired, but medications and therapies can sometimes help ease symptoms and improve quality of life. For some people, a lung transplant might be appropriate.

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart.

Pulmonary hypertension begins when tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arteries, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs' arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart's lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and eventually fail.

Pulmonary hypertension is a serious illness that becomes progressively worse and is sometimes fatal. Although pulmonary hypertension isn't curable, treatments are available that can help lessen symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Pulmonary valve stenosis is a condition in which a deformity on or near your pulmonary valve, the valve that influences the blood flow from your heart to your lungs, slows the blood flow. Adults occasionally have the condition as a complication of another illness, but mostly, pulmonary valve stenosis develops before birth as a congenital heart defect.

Pulmonary valve stenosis ranges from mild and without symptoms to severe. Mild pulmonary stenosis doesn't usually worsen over time, but moderate and severe cases may worsen and require surgery. Fortunately, treatment is highly successful, and most people with pulmonary valve stenosis can expect to lead normal lives.

Pyloric stenosis is an uncommon condition affecting the opening (pylorus) between the stomach and small intestine in infants. The pylorus is a muscular valve that holds food in the stomach until it is ready for the next stage in the digestive process.

In pyloric stenosis, the pylorus muscles thicken, blocking food from entering the baby's small intestine. Pyloric stenosis can lead to forceful vomiting, dehydration and weight loss. Babies with this condition may seem to always be hungry.

Pyloric stenosis can be fixed with surgery.

Pyoderma gangrenosum (pie-oh-DER-muh gang-ruh-NO-sum) is a rare condition that causes large, painful sores (ulcers) to develop on your skin, most often on your legs.

It's not certain what causes pyoderma gangrenosum, but it appears to be a disorder of the immune system. People who have certain underlying conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis, are at higher risk of pyoderma gangrenosum.

Treatment typically includes high doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, along with other drugs designed to suppress your immune system. It can take weeks or even months to heal the ulcers associated with pyoderma gangrenosum.

Q fever is an infection caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Q fever is usually a mild disease with flu-like symptoms. Many people have no symptoms at all. In a small percentage of people, the infection can resurface years later. This more deadly form of Q fever can damage your heart, liver, brain and lungs.

Q fever is transmitted to humans by animals, most commonly sheep, goats and cattle. When you inhale barnyard dust particles contaminated by infected animals, you may become infected. High-risk occupations include farming, veterinary medicine and animal research.

Mild cases of Q fever clear up quickly with antibiotic treatment. But if Q fever recurs, you may need to take antibiotics for at least 18 months.

Rabies is a deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals. The rabies virus is usually transmitted through a bite.

Animals most likely to transmit rabies in the United States include bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks. In developing countries of Africa and Southeast Asia, stray dogs are the most likely to spread rabies to people.

Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal. For this reason, anyone who may have a risk of contracting rabies should receive rabies vaccines for protection.