The spleen's primary functions are to filter the blood and help defend the body against pathogens. In this article, we will explain its anatomy, what it does, and what happens when it goes wrong. Although in medieval times, people thought that the spleen was the source of anger, hence the phrase "venting your spleen," it is nothing to do with anger or any other emotions for that matter. The spleen sits in the upper left of the abdomen, protected by the rib cage. It is the largest organ of the lymphatic system — the circulation of the immune system. It recycles old red blood cells and stores platelets (components of the blood that help stop bleeding) and white blood cells. Although it varies in size between individuals, a spleen is typically around 3–5.5 inches long and weighs 5.3–7.1 ounces (oz). The spleen is a soft organ with a thin outer covering of tough connective tissue, called a capsule. There is a handy rule to remember the rough dimensions of the spleen, … [Read more...] about All about the spleen
Blood / Hematology
Kernicterus is brain damage caused by severe, untreated jaundice or high blood levels of a substance called bilirubin. The condition is typically associated with severe, untreated cases of jaundice in newborns. Globally, 60 to 80 percent of newborns experience jaundice. In industrialized countries, only 0.4 to 2.7 of every 100, 000 children develop kernicterus or a condition called acute bilirubin encephalopathy. This is where bilirubin levels are so high they spread to the brain and damage the central nervous system tissues. Currently, kernicterus refers specifically to severe damage to the nervous system caused by jaundice. However, all types of damage related to severe jaundice are also considered to be forms or stages of kernicterus. In this article, we examine the symptoms of kernicterus, along with its causes and risk factors. We also take a look at how the condition is diagnosed, and what can be done to treat it. Kernicterus develops from severe, untreated jaundice. Common … [Read more...] about What is kernicterus and what are the symptoms?
Hairy cell leukemia is a type of hematologic cancer. This type of cancer starts in the tissues that form blood, such as the bone marrow, or in the cells of the immune system. Hairy cell leukemia accounts for approximately 2 percent of all leukemias, is more common in men than in women, and is also more frequent in older people. Around 1,000 new cases are reported every year in the United States. It is a rare form of leukemia, in which the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of a type of white blood cell called B cells. These abnormal B cells do not develop into healthy cells but instead become harmful cells known as leukemia cells. Leukemia cells can build up in the blood or the bone marrow, taking up space from healthy cells. This may weaken the body's immune system and make it more prone to infections, anemia, and bleeding. The name "hairy" comes from the way the leukemia cells look under a microscope — they resemble hair. Hairy cell leukemia progresses slowly, if at all. … [Read more...] about What is hairy cell leukemia and how is it treated?
Petechiae are tiny, circular, non-raised patches that appear on the skin or in a mucous or serous membrane. They occur as the result of bleeding under the skin. Usually, a person will notice petechiae, pronounced (pi-TEE-kee-ee), appearing in clusters on the surface of their skin or inside their mouth or eyelids. Some causes are minor and do not require specific treatment, while others can be more severe. Petechiae often look like a rash, which can be alarming. The spots themselves are tiny pinpricks that can be purple, red, or brown, which is due to the bleeding under the skin. They are usually flat to the touch and, unlike a rash, will not lose color when pressed — this is a useful way to tell whether any skin abnormality is a rash or not. Petechiae occur when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) break open. When this happens, blood leaks into the skin. Some of the conditions that may result in the appearance of petechiae include: local injury or trauma causing damage to the … [Read more...] about What to know about petechiae
Palmar erythema is a rare condition that makes the palms of the hands turn red. There are a few different causes for the condition, such as pregnancy and liver cirrhosis. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of palmar erythema should contact their doctor for diagnosis and treatment of any underlying conditions. Palmar erythema, often called liver palms, is reddening in both of the palms. Reddening typically occurs on the lower part of the palm (the heel), but sometimes it may extend all the way up through the fingers. Redness may also show up on the soles of the feet, but this is called plantar erythema. The redness may resemble a rash, and the skin will turn pale when pressed. The degree of redness may vary depending on several factors, such as a person's body temperature, physical activity, and even their emotional state. Palmar erythema is not a harmful condition. It can be a primary condition with no underlying cause, but it is usually caused by another medical condition. These … [Read more...] about What is palmar erythema?
Anoxia occurs when a person's body or brain stops getting oxygen. The loss of oxygen to the body or brain can be extremely harmful and even life-threatening. In this article, we look at the most common causes and symptoms of anoxia, as well as how the effects of anoxia are treated. Anoxia is an extreme form of hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when one part of a person's body, such as the brain, can only obtain a reduced amount of oxygen. Anoxia occurs when the body does not get any oxygen. This may result in a hypoxic-anoxic injury. A lack of oxygen can cause severe damage or even death, so anyone who suspects they may have hypoxia should seek medical attention immediately. It only takes around 4 minutes without oxygen for the brain to become permanently damaged. A lack of oxygen in the brain causes brain cells to die and can increase the likelihood of brain damage or death. Signs and symptoms following mild anoxia include: mood swings or changes in personality or judgment difficulty speaking, … [Read more...] about Everything you need to know about anoxia
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar that can cause headaches, weakness, and anxiety. What foods should a person with hypoglycemia eat to reduce symptoms? In this article, we list meal plans for people with hypoglycemia, as well as other tips for managing the condition. People with persistent low blood sugar may have hypoglycemia. Having low blood sugar is often associated with diabetes, but it is possible to experience hypoglycemia without having diabetes. Other common causes include hormonal deficiencies, critical illnesses, and excessive alcohol consumption. When blood sugar drops within 4 hours of eating a meal, a person may be experiencing reactive hypoglycemia. This condition is caused by excessive insulin production after eating. Hypoglycemia symptoms including: trembling feeling weak or faint headache feeling mentally sluggish confusion anxiety and irritability feeling tearful heart palpitations turning pale blurred sight tingling lips A person should always try to eat breakfast … [Read more...] about What to eat for hypoglycemia
Vitamin K deficiency in adults is rare but does occur in infants. The main symptom of a vitamin K deficiency is excessive bleeding caused by an inability to form blood clots. In this article, we look at the function of vitamin K in the body, as well as the symptoms and treatments for a vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K comes in two forms. The first type is known as vitamin K-1 or phylloquinone and can be found in plants, such as spinach and kale. The second is known as vitamin K-2 or menaquinone and is found in the body and created naturally in the intestinal tract. Both vitamin K-1 and vitamin K-2 produce proteins that help the blood to clot. Blood clotting or coagulation prevents excessive bleeding internally and externally. While vitamin K deficiency is rare, it means a person's body cannot produce enough of these proteins, increasing the risk of excessive bleeding. Most adults obtain an adequate supply of vitamin K through the foods they eat and through what their body naturally … [Read more...] about Vitamin K deficiency: What you need to know
The hepatitis C virus can live outside the body in some circumstances, although it is unusual for a person to be infected by the virus in this way. We find out more about how long the virus can survive, and how hepatitis C usually spreads. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver. Viral means caused by a virus, a small particle that can grow and multiply within the human body and cause disease. The hepatitis C virus is passed on through contact with infected blood. The condition caused by hepatitis C can vary in seriousness from mild to lifelong, resulting in serious damage to the liver. The virus begins as a short-term illness known as acute hepatitis C. This usually happens within the first 6 months of someone being exposed to the virus. For 75 to 85 percent of people, acute hepatitis C develops into chronic hepatitis C. If the disease is not treated, it can cause serious damage to the liver over time. These complications include liver failure and liver disease, and … [Read more...] about Hepatitis C outside the body and other virus facts
Experiencing cold feet is normal from time to time. Changes in temperature, as well as health and lifestyle choices, are some of the most common causes of cold feet, and adjusting these factors will usually help relieve symptoms. In this article, we look at these and several medical causes of cold feet. We also list home remedies people can try to keep the feet warm and comfortable. There can be a variety of reasons for cold feet, from winter temperatures to circulation and nerve disorders. Causes of cold feet include: Cold temperatures Cold feet are one of the body's normal reactions to colder temperatures. When the body enters a colder area, blood vessels in the extremities, such as the hands and feet, will constrict. This reduces the blood flow to these areas, which also reduces the amount of heat the body loses. The extremities are the parts of the body furthest from the vital organs, so reducing blood flow to the extremities also helps keep warmth and blood flow in the more … [Read more...] about Causes and remedies for cold feet