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  • Chilblains

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    Chilblains — also known as perniones (sing. pernio), chill burns and perniosis — is a medical condition that occurs when a predisposed individual is exposed to cold and humidity, causing tissue damage. It is often confused with frostbite and trench foot. Damage to capillary beds in the skin causes redness, itching, inflammation, and sometimes blisters. Chilblains can be reduced by keeping the feet and hands warm in cold weather, and avoiding extreme temperature changes. Chilblains can be idiopathic (spontaneous and unrelated to another disease), but may also be a manifestation of another serious medical condition that must be investigated. A history of chilblains suggests a connective tissue disease (such as lupus). Chilblains may also be caused by Raynaud's disease. In infants, chilblains together with severe neurologic disease and unexplained fevers occurs in Aicardi–Goutières syndrome, a rare inherited condition. Ulcerated chilblains are referred to as kibes.

  • Frostbite

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    Frostbite occurs when exposure to low temperatures causes freezing of the skin or other tissues. The initial symptom is typically numbness. This may be followed by clumsiness with a white or bluish color to the skin. Swelling or blistering may occur following treatment. The hands, feet, and face are most commonly affected. Complications may include hypothermia or compartment syndrome. People who are exposed to low temperatures for prolonged periods, such as winter sports enthusiasts, military personnel, and homeless individuals, are at greatest risk. Other risk factors include drinking alcohol, smoking, mental health problems, certain medications, and prior injuries due to cold. The underlying mechanism involves injury from ice crystals and blood clots in small blood vessels following thawing. Diagnosis is based on symptoms. Severity may be divided into superficial (1st and 2nd degree) or deep (3rd and 4th degree). A bone scan or MRI may help in determining the extent of injury. Prevention is through wearing proper clothing, maintaining hydration and nutrition, avoiding low temperatures, and staying active without becoming exhausted. Treatment is by rewarming. This should be done only when refreezing is not a concern. Rubbing or applying snow to the affected part is not recommended. The use of ibuprofen and tetanus toxoid is typically recommended. For severe injuries iloprost or thrombolytics may be used. Surgery is sometimes necessary. Amputation, however, should generally be delayed for a few months to allow determination of the extent of injury. The number of cases of frostbite is unknown. Rates may be as high as 40% a year among those who mountaineer. The most common age group affected is those 30 to 50 years old. Evidence of frostbite occurring in people dates back 5,000 years. Frostbite has also played an important role in a number of military conflicts. The first formal description of the condition was in 1814 by Dominique Jean Larrey, a physician in Napoleon's army.

  • Diseases of the foot

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    Flatfoot in a 55 years old female with ankle and knee arthritis, 2008 Vascular ischemia of the toes with the characteristic cyanosis, 2010 Chilblains, also called perniosis, 2008 Bunion and hammer toe, 2013 Foot disease in a Ziguinchor hospital, Senegal, 1973 Athlete's foot, a fungal infection, 2009Diseases of the foot generally are not limited, that is they are related to or manifest elsewhere in the body. However, the foot is often the first place some of these diseases or a sign or symptom of others appear. This is because of the foot's distance from the central circulation, the heart and its constant exposure to pressures from the ground and the weight of the body. The foot may look simple but is a complex structure with 26 bones, 33 joints, numerous muscles, nerves and different ligament types. Any part of the foot can be affected. Some foot disorders may present with just a mild ache, but other foot disorders can be very serious and limit ability to walk or bear weight. Most minor cases of foot pain respond to home care treatments except when severe pain is present as it is a disabling condition and usually needs some type of medical attention.

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