The appendix is a tubular organ located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. The organ is small, linked to the colon, and apparently serves no function. However, an infection in the appendix is potentially very life threatening. Infection can be caused by parasites, inflammation or feces. Men are more likely to develop appendicitis.
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis can have lethal effects. Without a definitive test, doctors have to rely on certain procedures to flesh out a diagnosis. Pressure applied to the area can clue the doctor for muscle tenderness. Blood tests can check for elevated white cell counts, indicative of an infection. Additionally exams and scans should be performed as well.
1. Vomiting and nausea
2. Diarrhea or constipation
3. Fever, loss of appetite
4. Swelling in the abdomen
5. Rapidly appearing quickly worsening pain in the abdomen
Doctors often mistake appendicitis for other conditions including intestinal obstruction and adhesions, constipation or IBS symptoms, female reproductive disorders or gastroenteritis.
Appendectomy, surgical removal of the appendix, is the only treatment option for appendicitis. Failure to treat this dangerous condition can result a ruptured appendix. When the appendix bursts, wastes and toxins are leeched into the abdominal area, and can result in death. This is especially serious In older adults where the mortality rate can be as high as 20 percent.
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