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Appendicitis

istock_000008683429xsmall2Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. This is a serious disease which may require surgery if it becomes inflamed and infected, then it may rupture. A ruptured appendix may lead to peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum or the serous membrane lining the walls of the abdominal and pelvic cavities). Appendicitis will occur if the appendix becomes plugged and normal drainage cannot occur. Grandular tissue in the appendix will increase, thus obstructing the lumen; therefore, allowing the organ more susceptable to bacterial infections.
Symptoms

Pain, nausea, vomiting, and low grade fevers in adults. Children will have high grade fevers. Pain will normally begin in umbilical cord region and centralize in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen over the appendix. Pain will be persistant and made worse by motion (walking, etc.). People will often bend over to tense their abdominal muscles. Also, a high white blood cell count will accompany appendicitis.

Management/Treatment

Notification of a physician if symptoms occur. Lie the patient down and have him or her be as queit as possible. Do not give one anything by mouth because of the danger of aggrevating the condition. Cathartics, laxatives, and heat are all contraindicated for this same reason. Preoperative patients may need to be hydrated while postoperative care is fairly routine, unless the appendix is ruptured. This person then needs aggressive and deligent nursing care. Antibacterial drugs are usually given to combat the infection.

For those who assume appendicitis symptoms should be treated as described and either a physician called or have the person taken to the hospital. Gallbladder attacks and kidney infections occur on the right side of the body and may be mistaken for appendicitis, so a physician or hospital needs to assess the patient. Persons who have pneumonia, rheumatic fever, or diabetic ketoacidosis can also imitate appendicitis.

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