Category Archives: Medical Conditions

yellow fever

Viral infection prevalent in Central and South America and Africa, which occurs in Western Europe in travellers from these areas. The virus multiplies in the Aedes mosquito, and for the rest of its life span the insect can transmit the virus to man. There are two kinds of yellow fever, the urban variety, in which human beings carry the virus, and the jungle type in which a mosquito transmits the virus to man from infected monkeys.

The virus causes damage to the liver and the kidneys and the onset of the disease is marked by high fever (40°C), severe headaches, back and muscular pain. The mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat swell and become painful; the patient complains of pains in the stomach, nausea and vomiting. Jaundice sets in after a few days, with slight skin, stomach and intestinal bleeding, and the kidneys are also affected. In mild cases the condition begins to improve after a few days, in serious ones a second period of fever begins, after an initial improvement. At this stage organ failure and death are not uncommon.

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Disorder in the pigmentation of the skin. Pale patches occur as a result of the disappearance of pigment, mainly on the backs of the hands, the face and around the anus. They can form over a period of a few days. The spots are usually only noticed when they are already some centimetres in sizeContinue Reading


Millions of people are infested by parasitic worms, although in Europe parasitic infestations are mainly introduced by tourists and foreign employees. There are three major groups of worms: roundworms, flukes and tapeworms. Males and females occur only in round worms; the other worms are hermaphroditic, having both male and female sex organs. The part ofContinue Reading


Twisting of an intestinal loop around its own axis, possible because practically all the small intestine and a small section of the large intestine (sigmoid colon) are attached to the abdominal wall only by a single membrane containing the intestinal blood vessels. Volvulus is a very rare condition, usually congenital in children; volvulus of theContinue Reading


Abnormality in which the secretion of tears is reduced, so that the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye are not sufficiently moist. The symptoms consist of irritation, pain and redness. The absence of lachrymal fluid may cause damage to the cornea. In one form of xerophthalmia, Shigren’s syndrome, the secretion of fluid by all theContinue Reading


Forcible regurgitation of the contents of the stomach. Vomiting has various causes, which may lie in the abdomen, the stomach and intestine itself, the brain, or other disorders that stimulate the brain. Psychological causes should not be ruled out. Brain conditions can cause vomiting by stimulating the vomiting centres in the brain, and this canContinue Reading

Von Recklinghausen’s disease

Hereditary disorder involving characteristic skin patches and tumours of the skin and nerve tissue. In the nerves of spinal cord and brain, neurinomas and neurofibromas usually occur; they are normally both benign tumours. They can be very close to the spinal cord or brain, and cause discomfort by pressure. On rare occasions neurofibromas can becomeContinue Reading

wart (verruca)

Benign swelling of the skin that results from a virus infection. Warts measure anything from a few millimetres to a few centimetres in diameter and can occur anywhere on the skin. A wart begins as a small excrescence of the upper layers of the skin. This swelling expands into a small growth typically resembling aContinue Reading

ventricular septal defect

Hole in the septum between the heart’s ventricles. Ventricular septum defect is a congenital heart disorder; only in exceptional cases does it occur spontaneously, for example after a heart attack in which part of the septum dies. The consequence of a congenital ventricular septum defect is that blood flows from the left ventricle (where bloodContinue Reading

Weight loss

Persistent decrease in body weight, in medical terms including only abnormal cases, not justifiable or desired weight loss. Weight loss can have many causes, by no means all of them dependent on conditions of the digestive organs. The conditions which may be responsible can be divided into two principal groups: malabsorption (difficulties in absorbing foodContinue Reading

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