All Diseases

Self-injury, also called self-harm, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It's typically not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, self-injury is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.

While self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it's usually followed by guilt and shame and the return of painful emotions. And with self-injury comes the possibility of more serious and even fatal self-aggressive actions.

Because self-injury is often done impulsively, it can be considered an impulse-control behavior problem. Self-injury may be linked to a variety of mental disorders, such as depression, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder.

A separated shoulder is an injury to the ligaments that hold your collarbone to your shoulder blade. In a mild separated shoulder, the ligaments may just be stretched. In severe injuries, ligaments may be completely ruptured.

In most people, a separated shoulder doesn't usually require surgery. Instead, conservative treatment — such as rest, ice and pain relievers — is often enough to relieve the pain. Most people regain full shoulder function within a few weeks after experiencing a separated shoulder.

You used to leave your baby with loved ones or other trusted child care providers with a kiss on the cheek and a quick wave goodbye. Separation anxiety seemed to be a problem only for other kids. Now, however, your goodbyes trigger tears. What's going on?

Between ages 8 and 12 months, children often experience a period of separation anxiety. Frustrating as it may be, separation anxiety is actually an emotional milestone. Your child is beginning to understand that there's only one of you — and you still exist even when you aren't in sight. This can trigger tears when you leave the room or clingy behavior when you attempt to say goodbye.

Separation anxiety usually fades by age 24 months. In the meantime, say goodbye gently and reassure your child that you'll return soon. Separation anxiety rarely requires medical treatment.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

If sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically, which may lead to death.

Anyone can develop sepsis, but it's most common and most dangerous in older adults or those with weakened immune systems. Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.

Septic arthritis is an intensely painful infection in a joint. The joint can become infected with germs that travel through your bloodstream from another part of your body. Septic arthritis can also occur when a penetrating injury brings germs directly into the joint.

Infants and older adults are most likely to develop septic arthritis. The most common joints affected are the knees and hips. Septic arthritis can quickly and severely damage the cartilage and bone within the joint, so prompt treatment is crucial.

Treatment involves draining the joint with a needle or via an operation. Intravenous antibiotics also may be necessary to stop the infection.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when you take medications that cause high levels of the chemical serotonin to accumulate in your body.

Serotonin syndrome can occur when you increase the dose of such a drug or add a new drug to your regimen. Certain illegal drugs and dietary supplements also are associated with serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin is a chemical your body produces that's needed for your nerve cells and brain to function. But too much serotonin causes symptoms that can range from mild (shivering and diarrhea) to severe (muscle rigidity, fever and seizures). Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal if not treated.

Milder forms of serotonin syndrome may go away within a day of stopping the medications that cause symptoms and, sometimes, taking drugs that block serotonin.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness. SARS first appeared in China in November 2002. Within a few months, SARS spread worldwide, carried by unsuspecting travelers.

SARS showed how quickly infection can spread in a highly mobile and interconnected world. On the other hand, concerted international cooperation allowed health experts to quickly contain the spread of the disease. There has been no known transmission of SARS anywhere in the world since 2004.

Sex headaches are brought on by sexual activity — especially an orgasm. You may notice a dull ache in your head and neck that builds up as sexual excitement increases. Or, more commonly, you may experience a sudden, severe headache just before or during orgasm.

Most sex headaches are nothing to worry about. But some can be a sign of something serious, such as problems with the blood vessels that feed your brain.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are generally acquired by sexual contact. The organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids.

Some such infections can also be transmitted nonsexually, such as from mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles.

It's possible to contract sexually transmitted diseases from people who seem perfectly healthy — people who, in fact, aren't even aware of being infected. Many STDs cause no symptoms in some people, which is one of the reasons experts prefer the term "sexually transmitted infections" to "sexually transmitted diseases."

Shaken baby syndrome — also known as abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, inflicted head injury or whiplash shake syndrome — is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.

Shaken baby syndrome destroys a child's brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen. Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that can result in permanent brain damage or death.

Shaken baby syndrome is preventable. Help is available for parents who are at risk of harming a child. Parents also can educate other caregivers about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.