An infection is the condition of multiplication of parasitic organisms or microorganisms within the body. An inflammation is the reactions that occur in the affected blood vessels and adjacent tissues in response to an injury or abnormal stimulation caused by a physical, chemical, or biologic agent. Many people use the terms interchangeably since they have several symptoms in common and usually are treated similarly.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a small worm-like pouch attached to the large bowel. It can happen at any age but most cases are between 8 and 25 years of age. For young people, appendicitis is probably the most common cause of stomach pain requiring emergency surgery.
In most cases, the specific reason for the inflammation is not known but it is due to blocking of the opening connecting the large intestine and appendix. In many cases it is caused by small pieces of hardened stool (faecaliths) that get stuck in the appendix.
The first sign is usually a pain or discomfort in the centre of the abdomen. The pain usually begins near the umbilicus and moves down and to the right. This pain comes and goes in waves and increases on movement. Pain is often thought at first to be a simple stomach upset.
There is no one test that will diagnose appendicitis with certainty, usually doctors use CT scan or ultrasound to see whether the appendix looks inflamed. Surgery is performed on the basis of the doctor’s examination and results of the tests. Many diseases can cause the same symptoms as appendicitis.
The inflammation can cause infection, a blood clot, or rupture of the appendix. Because of the risk of rupture, appendicitis is considered an emergency. Anyone with symptoms needs to see a doctor immediately.
In uncomplicated cases, a two to three day hospital stay is typical. The person can go home when their temperature is normal and their bowel starts to function again. The stitches are removed 10 days after the operation. A return to ordinary daily life within four to six weeks is usual.
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum. The duodenum is the upper part of the small intestine. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine through a tube called the pancreatic duct. These enzymes help digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body use the glucose it takes from food for energy.
Normally, digestive enzymes do not become active until they reach the small intestine, where they begin digesting food. But if these enzymes become active inside the pancreas, they start digesting" the pancreas itself. This process is called autodigestion and causes swelling, haemorrhage, and damage to the blood vessels. An attack may last for 2 days
Either form can cause serious complications. In severe cases, bleeding, tissue damage, and infection may occur. Pseudocysts, accumulations of fluid and tissue debris, may also develop. And enzymes and toxins may enter the bloodstream, injuring the heart, lungs, and kidneys, or other organs.
Acute pancreatitis generally causes severe pain and the sufferer will need emergency treatment in a hospital. Pancreatitis is generally diagnosed quickly, by examination of the abdomen, and confirmed using a series of medical tests, including:
Some of the complications from pancreatitis are: low blood pressure, heart failure, kidney failure, ARDS (adult respiratory distress syndrome), diabetes, ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen) and cysts or abscesses in the pancreas.
Treatment depends on the causes and severity of the condition, but may include:
The word "hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver. This can be caused by a number of things, such as chemicals, alcohol, drugs and infection by viruses.
The symptoms of acute viral hepatitis include fever, headache, lethargy, nausea, dark urine, pale stools and jaundice. The most commonly encountered viral hepatitis are type A, type B and type C.
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver. It is spread by direct contact or by touching items that have been handled by, and contaminated with faeces from, an infected person. These can include food, drinks and other objects.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and can lead to serious illness or death. It is transmitted in several ways, including through unsafe sex and using other people’s needles. It can be passed from an infected mother to her baby. You can be immunised against hepatitis B.
Most people recover completely, but it can lead to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, increased risk of liver cancer and, in extreme cases, death. It is passed on by carriers who may not even know they have the virus.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which causes inflammation of the liver. It is most often transmitted through sharing needles, syringes and other equipment during drug use. There is currently no cure for hepatitis C and no vaccine to prevent it.
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An acute condition in which the gall bladder becomes inflamed and swollen because flow of bile into duodenum is blocked by Gallstones; result is biliary colic – intense pain in upper right abdomen or between shoulders, Indigestion, especially after fatty food, and Nausea with or without vomiting; untreated, condition can lead to Jaundice and occasionally, if gall bladder bursts, to Peritonitis. If site of pain is as described above, and pain persists for more than 3 hours, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours.
Go to the Hospital emergency or call the local emergency number if you have symptoms that may indicate peritonitis, as it is a medical emergency.
Alternative names: Indigestion and Heartburn
The term ‘indigestion’ is a layman’s term and is used to cover the symptoms of a few different medical conditions.
Medical conditions that are often described as ‘indigestion’ and which have ‘indigestion’ as a symptom are:
Many people with indigestion suffer in silence, sometimes for years, receiving little or no medical treatment apart from over-the-counter antacids.
While these are very effective in medicating heartburn, there are now many more medications available, which can provide perfect symptomatic relief.
There is also a greater awareness that acid reflux which causes the heartburn may damage the lining of the esophagus and increase the potential for serious health problems due to the process of chronic inflammation.
Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, which is the membrane that lines the wall of the abdomen and covers the abdominal organs.
Types of peritonitis include:
Intra-abdominal abscess (abdominal abscess). This condition involves a collection of pus in the abdomen and may cause peritonitis. Before peritonitis develops, it can still cause symptoms that are similar or identical to peritonitis.
The cause must be identified and treated promptly.
Treatment typically involves fluid infusion to control shock, surgery to drain the peritoneal cavity and repair the cause, and antibiotics to deal with the infection. In cases associated with peritoneal dialysis, antibiotics may be infused through the dialysis catheter, but if the infection is severe, the catheter itself must often be removed.
Treatment typically involves surgery and antibiotics. In cases associated with peritoneal dialysis, antibiotics may be infused through the dialysis catheter, but if the infection is severe, the catheter itself must often be removed.
The outcome is often good with treatment, but can be poor without treatment.
Sometimes the outcome is poor even with prompt and adequate treatment.
Peritonitis can be life-threatening and cause a number of different complications, depending on the type.
Go to the Hospital emergency or call the local emergency number (such as 000, for Australia) if you have symptoms that may indicate peritonitis, as it is a medical emergency.