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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Vertigo

Collective name for a number of sensations of movement, dizziness or a feeling of lightheadedness. The sensation can be of spinning or falling away, and is caused by disorders of the inner ear, of the eighth cranial nerve (which carries stimuli from the auditory organs and the organs of balance), the brain stem or theContinue Reading

welder’s eye

Acute inflammation of the cornea as a result of exposure of the eye to ultraviolet radiation, as from arc welding and UV lamps; a form of ophthalmia. It causes damage to the cornea which becomes evident 6 to 12 hours after exposure to the UV light. The eye can also be exposed to excessive quantitiesContinue Reading

Vincent’s angina

Inflammation of the tonsils and often also of surrounding mouth and throat tissue by bacteria normally present in the mouth, but which cause serious infection in the event of reduced resistance or serious nutritional deficiencies. The usual complaints are pain in the mouth and difficulty in swallowing, sometimes with general malaise and fever. There isContinue Reading

Wernicke’s disease

Serious disorder caused by a deficiency of vitamin B,. It leads to haemorrhages in the brain stem and certain low-lying parts of the brain. The chief cause is failure to eat properly because of alcoholism. The symptoms include diplopia (double vision) caused by paralysis of the eye muscles and by pressure on the eyeballs. OtherContinue Reading

virilism

Appearance of male external sexual characteristics in a girl or woman. This takes place under the influence of male sex hormones (androgens). The clitoris becomes enlarged, and hair distribution resembles a man’s (hirsutism), with hair on the chest and face. The voice deepens, the breasts either do not develop or become smaller, and menstruation doesContinue Reading

Whiplash injury

Damage to the spine in the nape of the neck, caused when it is suddenly jerked forwards and backwards. It happens usually when the rear of a car in which the victim is travelling is hit in a collision. Injury to the spinal cord occurs in a few cases, with mild symptoms of concussion orContinue Reading

Vitamin deficiency

Because vitamins do not form a coherent group, this term includes a number of different conditions with different causes. Vitamin deficiency is by no means always the consequence of inadequate nutrition. Two principal groups should be distinguished: vitamins soluble in fat (A, D, E and K) and those soluble in water (the rest). The followingContinue Reading

Whitlow

Inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue of the fingers which has spread to the bone of the phalanx. The condition is caused by bacteria (usually in association with an inadequately disinfected cut) which establish themselves in the marrow of the phalanx bones. The symptoms are pain in the affected finger and sometimes slight fever, and aContinue Reading

Vitiligo

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

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