Simple Answers to Medical Questions

Disease & Conditions

What is Tinea Capitis? Ringworm of the Scalp

One of the most common sites for a fungal infection in the scalp, the skin on the top of the head that is usually laden with hairs. Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp skin caused by dermatophytes. Since dermatophytes cause a typical red ring-like rash, it is often referred to as scalp ringworm. However, it is important to note that a scalp ringworm has no involvement with any parasitic worm of any sorts. The fungus consumes the skin cells and the base of the hair in many instances thereby making it one of the most important infectious causes of hair loss.

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What is Dental Amalgam Fillings? What are Dental Composites?

Difference between dental amalgam and composites

Dental amalgam fillings and dental composites are widely used dental restorative materials. Dental amalgam is an alloy of mercury combined with metals such as silver, copper and zinc. It is used as the dental restorative material of choice for over a century in dentistry. It is one of most cost effective, durable and long lasting restorative material available. The major disadvantage of dental amalgam is the metallic color of restoration that causes cosmetic problems if it is used in the front teeth

Dental composites are restorative materials that are derived from combination of two or more chemically different material with a distinct interphase in between. The major advantage with the use of dental composite restorations is availability of various shades and hues to match the exact tooth color and reestablish the aesthetics. It is also a strong and long standing restorative material with minimum side effects.

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What is Asthma? Windpipe Wheezing and Hard to Breathe

Asthma is an immune-related disorder that results in narrowing of the airways when a susceptible person encounters certain environmental stimuli such as pollen and dust. Air flow through the windpipes to and from the lungs is therefore restricted and normal oxygenation of the blood is subsequently affected. Although the condition is commonly referred to as wheezing, it is important to understand that wheezing is the abnormal breathing sound heard in asthmatics. It is a symptom. Wheezing can occur in other respiratory conditions as well. The constriction of the airways is usually reversible but causes great difficulty in breathing at the time of the asthma attack. If left untreated, severe asthma can cause respiratory and cardiac arrest followed by death.

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Where is Appendix Pain Located and What are the Symptoms?

Appendix pain is any extreme discomfort or tenderness associated with some disease of  the appendix, the small outpouching from the cenum of the large intestine. Anatomically, it is more correctly known as the cecal appendix or vermiform appendix. Tenderness or pain associated with the appendix is a symptom due to a disease. It is difficult for any person to conclusively in a specific region of the abdomen as being appendix pain. Other symptoms accompanying the pain must be noted and diagnostic investigations need to be conducted in order to confirm that the pain is really originating from the appendix. Remember that the abdomen is packed with various organs and tissues, all of which lie closely to each other.

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What is Tinea Nigra? Dark Brown to Black Fungus Spots

Tinea nigra is a skin fungal infection where there are dark brown to black spots mainly on the hands (palms) and feet (soles). It can be caused by uncommon skin fungi known as dermatophytes and these fungi only consume the outermost layers of the skin. Unlike with other common skin fungi, tinea nigra is not typically itchy. The word tinea refers to dermatomycosis – superficial dermatophyte skin infection. Other tine infections like those on the scalp (tinea capitis), feet (tinea pedis) and groin (tinea cruris) tend to present with the typical ring-like lesion and is often referred to as ringworm.

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What is Venous Air Embolism? Air Bubbles in Vein

Venous air embolism is a condition where air bubbles are present within the blood in the veins. This is a very serious condition that most often occurs after surgery and other medical procedures. The air bubble may eventually reach a narrow vein where it will block the flow of blood. This condition can also occur in divers, pilots and astronauts where the change in environmental pressure allows gases dissolved in blood to return to to the gaseous state and form bubbles. Here it is known as decompression sickness, or more commonly as the bends. However, most instances of a venous air embolism occur within the hospital environment from catheterization or surgical procedures where a person is sitting upright.

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