how much do you know about appendicitis

Over the next few posts, our blog will discuss appendicitis, a potentially serious medical condition that affects roughly one out of every 15 people here in the U.S., and which is most common among people between the ages of 10 and 30.

What is appendicitis?

The appendix, a tube of tissue measuring close to three-and-a-half inches long that extends from the large intestine, is what is known as a vestigial structure. This essentially means that it performs no real function in the human body.

Appendicitis, classified as a medical emergency, is when the appendix becomes blocked (typically by a foreign body, infection, stool, cancer, etc.) and inflamed to such a degree that it may puncture or even burst.

Here, the danger is that any puncture or burst would cause infectious material to spill into the abdominal cavity, resulting in a serious and potentially deadly inflammatory condition called peritonitis.

What symptoms does a person show when they have appendicitis?

Medical experts indicate that some of the textbook signs of appendicitis include dull pain in the upper abdomen that sharpens as it moves toward the lower right abdomen, nausea/lack of appetite, swelling of the abdomen, fever, and cramping, to name only a few.

Can appendicitis be diagnosed rather easily?

For the most part, appendicitis can be readily diagnosed by physicians who have a battery of tests at their disposal from the standard abdominal exam and urine tests to blood tests and CT scans.

How is appendicitis treated?

While some research suggests that appendicitis can perhaps be treated with antibiotics, the standard treatment is traditional or laparoscopic surgery. Known as an appendectomy, it is a standard procedure in which the inflamed appendix is removed relatively quickly.

In our next post, we’ll discuss how medical malpractice may come into play concerning appendicitis.

Source: WebMD, “Appendicitis,” Accessed Dec. 12, 2014

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