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All Diseases

Von Willebrand disease is a condition that can cause extended or excessive bleeding. The condition is most often inherited but in rare cases may develop later in life.

The cause of von Willebrand disease is a deficiency in or impairment of a protein called von Willebrand factor, an important component in your blood-clotting process. In general, it takes longer for people with von Willebrand disease to form clots and stop bleeding when they're cut.

Treatment of von Willebrand disease focuses on stopping or preventing bleeding episodes, typically by using medications. With the right treatment, most people with von Willebrand disease can lead relatively normal, healthy lives.

Vulvar cancer is a type of cancer that occurs on the outer surface area of the female genitalia. The vulva is the area of skin that surrounds the urethra and vagina, including the clitoris and labia.

Vulvar cancer commonly forms as a lump or sore on the vulva that often causes itching. Though it can occur at any age, vulvar cancer is most commonly diagnosed in older women.

Vulvar cancer treatment usually involves surgery to remove the cancer and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. Sometimes vulvar cancer surgery requires removing the entire vulva. The earlier vulvar cancer is diagnosed, the less likely an extensive surgery is needed for treatment.

Vulvodynia (vul-voe-DIN-e-uh) is chronic pain in the area around the opening of your vagina (vulva) for which there is no identifiable cause. The pain, burning or irritation associated with vulvodynia may make you so uncomfortable that sitting for long periods or having sex becomes unthinkable. The condition can go on for months or years.

If you have vulvodynia, don't let the absence of visible signs or embarrassment about discussing the symptoms keep you from seeking help. Treatment options are available to lessen your pain and discomfort.

Wegener's granulomatosis (VEG-eh-nerz gran-u-loe-muh-TOE-sis) is an uncommon disorder that causes inflammation of your blood vessels. This inflammation restricts blood flow to various organs.

Wegener's granulomatosis, which is also called granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), often affects your kidneys, lungs and upper respiratory tract. The restricted blood flow to these organs can damage them. Wegener's can affect other organs, but this isn't as common, and generally isn't as serious.

Wegener's granulomatosis also produces a type of inflammatory tissue known as a granuloma that's found around the blood vessels. Granulomas can destroy normal tissue. There is no known cause for Wegener's granulomatosis.

Early diagnosis and treatment of Wegener's granulomatosis may lead to a full recovery. Without treatment, Wegener's granulomatosis can be fatal, most commonly from kidney failure.

Wet macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that causes vision loss in the center of your field of vision. Wet macular degeneration is generally caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the region of the macula (MAK-u-luh). The macula is in the center of the retina (the layer of tissue on the inside back wall of your eyeball).

Wet macular degeneration is one of two types of age-related macular degeneration. The other type — dry macular degeneration — is more common and less severe. Wet macular degeneration almost always begins as dry macular degeneration. It's not clear what causes wet macular degeneration.

Early detection and treatment of wet macular degeneration may help reduce vision loss and, in some instances, improve vision.

Wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to foods containing wheat, one of the top eight food allergens in the United States. Allergic reactions can result from eating wheat, but also, in some cases, by inhaling wheat flour. Wheat can be found in many foods, including some you might not suspect, such as beer, soy sauce and ketchup.

Avoiding wheat is the primary treatment for wheat allergy. Medications may be necessary to manage allergic reactions if you accidentally eat wheat.

Wheat allergy sometimes is confused with celiac disease, but these conditions differ. A wheat allergy generates an allergy-causing antibody to proteins found in wheat. In people with celiac disease, a particular protein in wheat — gluten — causes an abnormal immune system reaction.

Whipple's disease is a rare bacterial infection that most often affects your gastrointestinal system. Whipple's disease interferes with normal digestion by impairing the breakdown of foods, such as fats and carbohydrates, and hampering your body's ability to absorb nutrients.

Whipple's disease also can infect other organs, including your brain, heart, joints and eyes.

Without proper treatment, Whipple's disease can be serious or fatal. However, a course of antibiotics can treat Whipple's disease.

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it's marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like "whoop."

Before the vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease. Now whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have completed the full course of vaccinations and teenagers and adults whose immunity has faded.

Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants. That's why it's so important for pregnant women — and other people who will have close contact with an infant — to be vaccinated against whooping cough.

Wilms' tumor is a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Also known as nephroblastoma, Wilms' tumor is the most common cancer of the kidneys in children. Wilms' tumor most often affects children ages 3 to 4 and becomes much less common after age 5.

Wilms' tumor most often occurs in just one kidney, though it can sometimes be found in both kidneys at the same time.

Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of Wilms' tumor have improved the prognosis for children with this disease. The outlook for most children with Wilms' tumor is very good.

Wilson's disease is a rare inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in your liver, brain and other vital organs. Symptoms typically begin between the ages of 12 and 23.

Copper plays a key role in the development of healthy nerves, bones, collagen and the skin pigment melanin. Normally, copper is absorbed from your food, and any excess is excreted through bile — a substance produced in your liver.

But in people with Wilson's disease, copper isn't eliminated properly and instead accumulates, possibly to a life-threatening level. When diagnosed early, Wilson's disease is treatable, and many people with the disorder live normal lives.