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Pulmonary Embolism

When an artery in the lungs gets blocked, it is referred to as a medical condition of Pulmonary embolism. This condition can be life threatening. Often deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can lead to pulmonary embolism. The blood clots may originate in any other part of the body such as the arm, pelvis or legs. These clots travel through the bloodstream and enter the pulmonary arteries. Recent surgery or injury can lead to a blood clots. Persons with heart disease or those on estrogen therapy are at increased risk of pulmonary embolism. Typical symptoms experienced by those suffering from pulmonary embolism are chest pain, sudden shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. A patient might have wheezing and weak pulse. The symptoms of pulmonary embolism depend on the extent and size of clots. Embolus can also be the result of fat from the bone marrow that has escaped into the bloodstream. It can also occur due to air bubbles formed during intravenous infusion or surgery. While large emboli cause considerable distress such as chest pain, smaller ones cause shortness of breath. Patients suffering from pulmonary embolism tend to have cough that produces sputum. There may be bluish discoloration on the skin and pain in the legs. Fainting spells or seizures might occur due to sudden decrease in oxygen-rich blood to the brain and other organs. Bluish tint on the skin (cyanosis) is observed when one or more large pulmonary arteries are obstructed.


Diagnostic procedures to detect pulmonary embolism:

  • Chest X-ray helps in identifying any lung infections
  • CAT scan
  • ECG
  • Perfusion Scan of the lung - This test helps in outlining the blood flow to the lungs and helps in detecting any obstructions.
  • V/Q scan involves a a nuclear ventilation-perfusion study of the lungs.
  • Pulmonary angiogram involves injection of a special dye into the pulmonary arteries to detect obstructive clots.
  • D-dimer test is a test that spots d-dimer molecules released by the clots.

One of the initial steps to help a person suffering from pulmonary embolism is administration of oxygen and analgesics. Oxygen is administered through a nasal cannulae or face mask. Blood clots are treated with anticoagulant drugs like heparin or warfarin. But the duration and dosage of anticoagulants needs to be monitored so that it does not result in bleeding in other body organs. Thrombolysis is a procedure whereby Thrombolytic agents (clot-dissolving agents) are injected into the bloodstream to dissolve existing blood clots. Surgery (Pulmonary embolectomy) is often resorted to for removal of clots.

Stenosis

Unusual narrowing of the blood vessels or other tubular structures or organs is referred to as stenosis. In simple words stenosis means narrowing of the various body parts. The common causes for stenosis include birth defects, inflammation, neoplasm (abnormal proliferation of cells), ischemia (reduction of blood supply thus damaging tissues), infection, iatrogenic (complications arising from any treatment) and atherosclerosis.


Spinal stenosis: Specific causes include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, aging, spinal injury or tumor and spondylosis. Symptoms include pain and weakness in the legs along with cramps, imbalance and loss of control over bladder and bowel movements.


Mitral valve stenosis: Specific causes include endocarditis, atrial myoxma, rheumatic fever and Lutembacher syndrome. Symptoms of mitral valve stenosis are fatigue, recurrent respiratory infections and swelling in the feet.


Aortic valve stenosis: This type of Stenosis may be caused by rheumatic fever, Williams syndrome, LDL receptor deficiency and senile or bicuspid aortic valves. The typical symptoms of aortic valve stenosis are chest pain and heart murmur, fatigue and shortness of breath and heart palpitations.


Pulmonary valve stenosis: Specific causes include deformity during fetal development, rheumatic fever and endocarditis. This type of stenosis has symptoms of cough and fatigue, fluid retention and shortness of breath.


Treatment differs according to the type of stenosis. While physical therapy, drugs like analgesics and lumbar brace are used to manage spinal stenosis, aortic valve stenosis and pulmonary valve stenosis are treated with valve replacement surgery.


Canker sore

A canker sore or aphthous ulcer is a painful mouth sore. It can appear on the inner surface of the cheeks or palate. Typically it starts off as one painful bump that goes on to becoming an open ulcer. It can be accompanied by fever or uneasiness. Appearance of canker sores can be attributed to stress, hormonal fluctuations, food allergies, deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid, lack of sleep and immune reactions. Dental braces can often lead to aphthous ulcers. Canker sores take about a week to heal. Maintaining good oral hygiene and getting routine dental checkups can prevent such a condition. Zinc supplements, anti-inflammatory medications and analgesics are most often prescribed. A person suffering canker sores must avoid hot and spicy food. Applying Milk of Magnesia or diluted hydrogen peroxide can aid the healing. In very severe cases, corticosteroids are prescribed.

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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: July 22, 2019