Browse Conditions A-Z


Decompression sickness (the bends)

Decompression sickness, also known as ‘the bends’, is usually experienced because of change in pressure. For instance, divers experience ‘the bends’ if they ascend through the water too quickly and it can also happen while flying in unpressurised aircraft or spacecraft. 

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Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)

Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) is a disorder that occurs when a person regularly cannot fall asleep at their desired bedtime. It often starts in adolescence, although in some cases it can begin in childhood years. It is rare that it starts in someone older than 30.

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Dementia is an impairment of the mind that can be the result of a brain injury which gets progressively worse, faster than would be expected from normal ageing processes. It is more common in elderly people, but can occur at any age.

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Depression is just another term for feeling sad, which in itself is not unhealthy and is sometimes a necessary stage to go through, for instance, in the cases of grief or mourning.

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Dermatitis is an inflammation or redness of the skin. It is either the result of damage caused by an irritating chemical or substance or an allergic reaction to a substance. It can often accompany other allergic diseases, such as hay fever and asthma, but may also occur alone.

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Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin, or does not properly respond to insulin — which is a hormone produced by the pancreas. The body needs insulin to turn sugar and other foods into energy. In the case of diabetes, the sugar is not properly converted, and it accumulates in the blood and this leads to various symptoms and complications.

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Diagnostic techniques

There are many different diagnostic techniques within alternative or complementary medicine that use natural ways to discover the cause of disease. Often the presenting condition, such as a headache, is seen as a symptom of a slightly more serious underlying disease. So the aim of the diagnostic techniques within complementary medicine is to discover that underlying cause, and to recommend a therapy or treatment.

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Diarrhoea refers to loose or frequent bowel movements.

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Digestive disorders

Digestive disorder is an umbrella term for an enormous range of health conditions that can affect any part of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. Examples of digestive disorders are irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcer, but also include more severe conditions such as cancer of the stomach or bowel.

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There is a huge range of physical and mental impairments that come under the umbrella term of disability. And so to be regarded as disabled, the sufferer’s impairment must limit one or more of their major life activities, such as working, driving, gaining access to buildings or being able to shop.

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Dizziness or giddiness are usually the result of some kind of imbalance that creates an impairment in our spatial awareness, and we become uncentred.

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Drug addiction

Drug addiction means the continued and habitual use of a drug or substance (whether prescribed by their GP or from the ‘black market’) that is difficult to give up because the body and its processes have come to depend on the drug. In this case, the sufferer will have a constant preoccupation with obtaining the drug and in acute cases, this can lead to anti-social behaviour and illegal activities.

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Dyslexia is mainly defined as a problem with literacy skills. It is associated specifically with learning difficulties which include reading, writing and spelling and it can affect a number of areas, including memory, organisation and concentration.

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Dysphoria is generally characterised as a state of feeling unwell or unhappy. It can also include suffering from experiences of intense emotional and mental discomfort such as sadness, anxiousness, irritability, or restlessness.

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Dyspnea is a breathing disorder that makes breathing difficult, and can make the sufferer feel as though he or she is suffocating or fighting for air. It is frequently associated with problems either in the lungs or the heart.

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Dysthymic disorder

Dysthymic disorder is a fairly common type of depression.

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