Leg vein problems mainly encompass varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, both of which can be fairly distressing conditions. However, active treatment is not always necessary for varicose veins unless it is for cosmetic reasons or when they cause sufficient discomfort or produce complications. On the other hand, deep vein thrombosis needs to be diagnosed and treated at the earliest, so as to prevent the clot in the vein from breaking off and lodging in a blood vessel in the lungs, leading to the much dreaded and potentially life-threatening complication known as pulmonary embolism.
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What is the sternum?
The sternum, commonly referred to as the breastbone, is a flat elongated bone at front of the chest. It is the bone to which the ribs attach to through the costal cartilages and the clavicle (collarbone) meets with at the sternoclavicular joint . The sternum is a natural ‘shield’ that protects the important organs in the thoracic cavity – the heart and great blood vessels. It has three parts known as the manubrium (top), body of the sternum (middle) and xiphoid process (bottom).
Anatomy of the Sternum
The sternum lies just under the skin and can be easily felt on the front of the chest. It is about 17 centimeters in length on average extending from just below the neck to the upper border of the abdomen. The sternum is usually longer in males than in females.
The tongue occupies most of the oral cavity and any disorder affecting the mouth will usually involve the tongue as well. The outer part of the tongue is covered by a mucous membrane similar to most of the inner lining of the mouth. It has various papillae (projections) which house the taste buds. Moisture of the tongue is maintained by saliva, most of which comes from the major salivary glands (parotid, sublingual, submandibular) with a smaller yet significant contribution from the hundreds of minor salivary glands in the mouth. Therefore dryness of the mouth which is primarily due to reduced saliva secretion will also cause dryness of the tongue.
Heartburn is a burning chest pain or discomfort that is a characteristic feature of acid reflux – when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus (food pipe). The pain may be similar to that of a heart attack. It is not uncommon for patients with acid reflux or indigestion to present in an emergency room with the belief that they are experiencing a heart attack. However, acid reflux and a heart attack are two very different conditions with a few similar symptoms like a burning chest pain. It is important to understand the difference between these conditions and recognize the other symptoms that are more likely to be an indication of acid reflux or a cardiac event. Sweating is one such symptom. While profuse sweating for no apparent reason commonly occurs with a heart attack there are some instances when it can arise with a burning chest pain that is unrelated to a heart attack.
Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as sugar diabetes, is a growing problem globally largely associated with a more sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Despite it being one of the more common chronic conditions in most populations, there is still widespread ignorance about the serious nature of this disease and the consequences if the condition is left untreated. Since diabetes is largely asymptomatic in the early stages and eventually presents with several mild symptoms, there is a misconception that it is not a dangerous condition.
Diabetes mellitus can drastically reduce the quality of life if left untreated and eventually lead to life-threatening complications. The presence of diabetes mellitus even when well managed increases the risk of many other serious diseases. The most severe complications in diabetes is seen in long term cases that are poorly controlled but there are several diabetic emergencies that can suddenly arise which can be equally as dangerous even in a person who has been diabetic for just a short period of time.
What is intestinal pain?
Intestinal pain is any soreness or discomfort emanating from the intestines (bowels). It is often difficult to isolate pain to a specific internal organ, particularly with abdominal organs, since the abdominal cavity has the most amount of organs than any other cavity in the human body. Furthermore these organs lies in close proximity to each other. However, pain that is in the approximate location of the intestines, accompanied by other symptoms that start within 30 minutes to several hours after eating is most like to be associated with intestinal pain.
The human intestines are the longest part of the gut. It includes the small and large intestine, extending from the duodenum that is continuous with the stomach, to the rectum. The intestines occupy most of the abdominal cavity and the last portion of the large intestine dips downwards into the pelvic cavity. Most of the digestion, absorption of nutrients, reabsorption of water, the storage and subsequent evacuation of waste material occurs within the intestines. Therefore many intestinal diseases that result in pain will exhibit symptoms related to digestion, absorption and defecation.
The veins in the leg return oxygen-deficient blood laden with wastes back to the liver and heart for processing. There are two systems of veins in the lower leg – the superficial veins and the deep veins. The superficial veins lies just a short distance under the skin and empty into the deep veins. A common vein problem seen in the superficial veins is where it becomes enlarged – dilated (stretched) and tortuous (twisted) – known as varicose veins. The deep veins sit deeper in the leg covered by muscle and fascia. It carries the blood to the thigh which then travels to the trunk. A common and very serious problem that can arise in these deep veins is when a blood clot partially or completely blocks the vein. This can be dangerous if the clot dislodges from here and blocks an artery of the lung which can be fatal.
Why does the nose drip mucus?
Nasal problems typically present with a runny nose or nasal congestion. The mucous membrane lining the inside of the nasal cavity produces mucus throughout the day to keep the membrane moist. The constant movement of air through the nasal cavity with breathing can quickly dry up the membranes were it not for the mucus production. Normally this mucus drains into the back of the throat in small amounts. However, any irritation to the nasal mucosa (mucous membrane) can cause it to secrete profuse amounts of mucus which congest the nasal cavity and exit through the nose. This presents as dripping nose, also known as a leaky nose or runny nose. Medically the term is rhinorrhea.
The kidneys are the two bean-shaped organs located on either side of the abdominal cavity. It is responsible for the expulsion of waste substances from the body and also has an effect on blood pressure and other vital functions. The human kidneys filter blood throughout the day and night thereby producing some 1 to 2 liters of urine daily on average. The urine is then passed down the ureters on either side and drains into the urinary bladder. Here it is stored until there is the need to expel this urine.
The human bladder can hold about 500ml of urine and once full, the body is signaled that this accumulated urine needs to be passed out into the environment. When the setting is appropriate, the sphincters open and the muscular wall of the bladder contracts tightly thereby propelling the urine into the urethra and out into the exterior. Any blockage either in the upper or lower urinary tract can hamper the passage of urine. If the urine produced then accumulates to a significant degree, it can cause expansion of the urinary tract above the site of the obstruction.
What is hydronephrosis?
Hydronephrosis is the distention of certain parts of the kidney due to the accumulation of urine arising from an obstruction to its outflow. Another related term – hydroureter – is distention of the ureter due to excessive amounts of urine collecting within in. Stasis of urine increases the risk of urinary tract infections or kidney stones. Severe or untreated cases of hydronephrosis can cause permanent kidney damage and lead to kidney failure. Hydronephrosis and hydroureter can occur in adults, children, newborn babies and even in the fetus often for different reasons. Most instances of hydronephrosis are unilateral meaning that it affects only one kidney although it can occur on both sides (bilateral).
What is colon pain?
Colon pain is any soreness within the colon of the large intestine. It is a symptom of some underlying disease and may occur along with other symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and abdominal distention. In most instances it is difficult to attribute pain within the abdomen as arising from any specific organ especially if there are no other symptoms. Colon pain is one such instance and should therefore be investigated as abdominal pain as a whole, preferably localizing the pain to a specific abdominal quadrant or region.
The veins in the leg carry low-oxygen blood laden with wastes and carbon dioxide back to the heart just as do other veins in the body. However, the leg veins are a bit different in structure from veins elsewhere in the body. This is due to the fact that the blood has to return back to the heart against the force of gravity and has a long distance to travel – from feet to the heart. Special valves in the veins of the leg ensure that blood is gradually pushed up bit by bit towards the trunk of the body. Muscles in the feet and legs act as a pump which gradually push up the blood with every step and movement of the leg. The valves ensures that the blood does not flow backwards to the feet in the time in between each leg movement. Sometimes these valves become dysfunctional and the circulation in the legs becomes sluggish. One of these problems with poor blood flow in the lower limb is varicose veins which appears as unsightly bulging veins in the legs.
The flanks are the abdominal area between the ribs and pelvic bone (ilium) on either side of the body. The right flank is essentially the right lumbar region – one of nine abdominal regions. It includes area of the body running around the sides of the abdomen to the back. The lower part of the flank area is where fat tends to accumulate (midsection) and is commonly referred to as “love handles” or “spare tire”. The flanks are also known by several other common terms including the loins, sides and left and right lumbar regions.
What is a bubbling in the bowels?
Bubbling sounds from the bowels are a result of gas and fluid movement within the intestines. The bowels are not silent as is often thought. There are sounds constantly emanating from most of the gastrointestinal tract particularly from the stomach all the way down to the end of the colon. These bowel noises are considered to be normal and are a sign of activity within the intestines. It is medically referred to as borborygmus or borborygmi (plural). In most cases the bowel sounds are not audible for the majority of the time. Occasionally strong contractions or gas in the bowels may cause louder, audible sounds. This is just a momentary change in bowel activity and occurs as a once off episode. However, persistently loud sounds of any kind from the bowel may indicate a hyperactive bowel which means increased activity within the intestines.
Introduction to Self Breast Exam
Regular breast self-examination for women is often recommended by physicians as a means of checking for signs of breast cancer. Mammography is the most effective way of detecting breast cancer, but along with clinical breast examination by your doctor, a self breast exam is important in detecting any signs of abnormality and seeking medical attention. A home breast examination also makes a women more aware of her breasts, particularly the look and feel of the healthy breast, which will further aid in the early detection of any abnormality.
If you have decided to conduct regular self examination of your breasts, it is advisable to first speak to your doctor or gynecologist to learn how to do it properly and what to look for. For women older than 40 years of age, a self breast exam should not replace a clinical examination by a doctor and a mammography, both of which should conducted on a regular basis.
What is morning diarrhea?
Morning diarrhea is a term used to describe loose, watery stool and an urgent need to have a bowel movement upon waking. In some people, the need to pass stool may disturb sleep within the early hours of the morning. Morning diarrhea is not a specific symptom that clearly indicates a definite cause. It is frequently seen in most gastrointestinal disorders where diarrhea is a feature. However, it tends to be more common in a person suffering with bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This most likely indicates a psychosomatic element as both these disorders are aggravated with stress and anxiety.
What is a stomach hernia?
A stomach hernia is the protrusion of the upper part of the stomach through the diaphragmatic opening. This means that a portion of the stomach is abnormally protruding into the thoracic (chest) cavity. The proper medical term for a stomach hernia is a hiatal hernia or hiatus hernia. Although most cases are mild and largely asymptomatic (no symptoms present), in severe cases a stomach hernia can cause considerable discomfort and pain and lead to regurgitation. The rise of the acidic stomach acid contents into the esophagus (food pipe) has a host of other complications within the esophagus, throat and mouth.
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