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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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

Worms

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

Volvulus

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

Xerophthalmia

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

vomiting

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

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