Health Tips for Seniors

Archive for September, 2006

The Gall bladder and the Gall stones

The Gall bladder

Gallstones (Cholelithiasis). Gallstones are present in about seven percent of our population. They increase with years, so at

Gall bladder
Bile ducts from liver

Fig. 80. The gall bladder looks like a small toy balloon on a branch of the main bile tube which runs from liver to intestines. Water is absorbed from bile in the gallbladder, producing thicker bile. This is similar to evaporating salt water; salts remain and crystallize out to form “stones.” Stones may pass from the gallbladder into main bile tube and obstruct it, causing yellow jaundice, pain and other difficulties.

the age of seventy-five, almost one-third of the people have stones present. Women have four times as much gall bladder trouble as men, and the typical patient with gallstones is “fair, fat and forty.”

Gallstones are formed by the gall bladder itself through its water-absorbing action. Just as salt crystals form in the pan of evaporating salt water, salt or stone forms in bile from which water has been absorbed. From this point, irritation by the stones and inflammation are only steps away.

Gallstones present varying symptoms. Most people have no trouble with them and do not even know of their presence. Others have vague indigestion and are bothered by “gas,” while still others have exceptionally severe pain requiring diet, medication and occasionally an operation. It is well to know that gall-

Fig. 81. The gall bladder when severely inflamed has a greatly thickened wall and may contain stones and pus. It then has the appearance of a boiled lobster.

stones can never be dissolved in any manner, regardless of their kind, location, or length of time they have existed.

Gall bladder Attack (Acute Cholelithiasis). A gall bladder attack usually arises suddenly as a result of gallstones. The irritation started by the stones progresses rapidly to a highly inflammed stage in which the former toy balloon appearance begins to look more like a boiled lobster and the gall bladder, filled with pus, is very tender to the touch. There is usually an accompanying high fever, sweating and chills, nausea and vomiting, and frequently great pain in the right abdomen. The attacks may last a week and are frequently accompanied by some degree of jaundice. People who have had these acute attacks dread another such gruesome episode.

The inflamed gall bladder may have many complications and requires the best medical attention. Frequent severe pain usually convinces the gall bladder patient that the easiest way out is to have his gall bladder removed.

Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cancer of the Stomach

Cancer of the Stomach. Cancer of the stomach is a very serious disease, much rarer than the ordinary ulcer, and found among men twice as often as in women. It accounts for about 30 percent of all cancer deaths each year in the United States, which means that nearly 75,000 people a year die of stomach cancer in this country alone.

This treacherous disease is usually silent in its beginning and

Fig. 79. Cancer of the stomach includes about 30 per cent of all cancer. It can be removed surgically but often is too far grown when discovered. It is thought never to derive from an ordinary ulcer.

remains so until far advanced. Its cause is still unknown, but stomach cancer is found more often among the poor than among the wealthy, and heavy drinkers have much more stomach cancer than nondrinkers.

Like most cancers, stomach cancer is a disease of later years. It might appear in a man of fifty years or over, who has a loss of appetite, indigestion, and possibly pain similar to ulcer distress -relieved by eating food or liquid. Often there is a vague sick feeling in the abdomen, spoiling any desire for food and consequently small meals usually result in weight loss of great proportion. Unfortunately, the story of stomach cancer is not always the same, and frequently early symptoms are ignored. After the age of fifty years, any kind of stomach upset, lasting more than several days, should prompt a visit to the physician for an examination, possibly including an x-ray of the stomach to determine if a cancer problem exists. There is no other disease of the body in which early diagnosis is more important in achieving a final cure than in cancer of the stomach.

Achlorhydria (No Acid in the Stomach). The normal stomach secretes hydrochloric acid, which aids in digestion of foods. Frequently, we find people who have less than the normal amount of acids in their stomachs, and about one out of ten who possess little or no hydrochloric acid at all. When such a situation is found, hydrochloric acid is frequently given along with food at mealtime, and this therapy often results in improved appetite and digestion to the great satisfaction of the patient.

Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Next Posts »» «« Previous Posts