I
the eye may be lost, and smiling is dis-
torted.
Depending
on
w hich
nerve
branches are affected, the sense of taste
may be impaired or sounds may seem
to be unnaturally loud.
TREATMENT
In many cases, facial palsy clears up
without treatment. Pain can be relieved
by taking
analgesics
(painkillers), and
exercising the facial muscles may aid
recovery It may be necessary to tape
the eyelid shut at bedtime in order to
avoid the risk of
corneal abrasion
.
Bell’s
palsy
may
be
treated with
corticosteroid drugs
to reduce inflam -
mation and speed recovery Re-routing
or
grafting
of nerve tissue may help
people suffering from palsy caused by
an injury or a tumour.
facial spasm
An uncom mon disorder in w hich the
muscles that are supplied by the
facial
nerve
twitch frequently Facial spasm,
w hich predominantly affects middle-
aged women, is of unknown cause.
facial tic
See
facial spasm
.
facies
A term used to denote facial expres-
sion, w hich is often used as a guide to
a person’s health. For example, the typ-
ical facies seen in a child w ith enlarged
adenoids is open-mouthed because of
difficulty breathing through the nose.
The term “ facies” may also be used
to refer to a particular surface of a
body structure, part, or organ.
facioscapulohumeral dystrophy
An autosomal dominant
genetic disorder
that causes muscle weakness and wasting.
The condition first appears in childhood
or
adolescence. The
muscle
wasting
chiefly affects the face, shoulder girdle,
arms, and later the pelvis and legs.
factitious disorders
A group of disorders in w hich a pa-
tient’s symptoms m im ic those of a true
illness but w hich have been invented
by, and are under the control of, the
patient. There is no apparent cause
other than a w ish for attention; the
desire to assume the role of a patient
may be an escape from everyday life in
order to be cared for and protected.
The most common disorder of this
type is
Munchausen’s syndrome
,
w hich is
characterized by physical symptoms.
FAECES
The sufferer may aggravate
existing
physical problems or even inflict self-
injury In
Ganser’s syndrome
,
symptoms
are psychological. Factitious disorders
differ from
malingering
,
in w hich a
person claims to be ill for a particular
purpose
(for
example,
in
order
to
obtain time off work).
factor V
One of the blood proteins that m ain-
tains the balance between the blood
clotting too easily or too slowly after
an injury About 5 per cent of the pop-
ulation have an inherited
mutation
in
the gene controlling factor V produc-
tion, known as factor V Leiden. They
are
at
increased
risk
of deep-vein
thrombosis (see
thrombophilia
) ,
partic-
ularly if taking the oral contraceptive
p ill or going on long aircraft journeys.
factor VIII
One of the blood proteins involved in
blood clotting
.
People w ith
haemophilia
have a reduced level of factor V III in
their blood and, consequently, have a
tendency to abnormal bleeding and to
prolonged bleeding when injured.
People with severe haemophilia re-
quire regular treatment with concentrates
of factor VIII. This treatment reduces
the bleeding tendency and allows the
affected person a normal quality of life.
factor IX
A protein in blood that plays an im por-
tant role in the clotting mechanism.
A deficiency
of factor
IX
causes
a
rare genetic
bleeding disorder
known as
Christmas disease
.
fad
See
food fad
.
faecal fistula
See
fistula
.
faecal impaction
A condition in w hich a large mass of
hard
faeces
cannot be evacuated from
the rectum. It is usually associated with
long-standing
constipation
.
Faecal im -
paction
is
most
common
in
very
young children and in elderly people,
especially those w ho are bedridden.
The main symptoms are an intense
desire to pass a bowel movement; pain
in the rectum, anus, and centre of the
abdomen; and, in some cases, watery
faeces that are passed around the mass
(and may be confused with diarrhoea).
Treatment of faecal impaction is with
enemas
or, in cases where these are
ineffective, by manual removal of the
faecal mass.
faecal incontinence
See
incontinence, faecal
.
faecalith
A small, hard piece of impacted faeces
that forms in a diverticulum (a sac in
the wall of the intestine). A faecalith is
harmless unless it forms a blockage at
the entrance to the sac, w hich causes
diverticulitis,
or to the appendix, which
causes
appendicitis
.
faecal occult blood test (FOBT)
A test, also known as a stool
guaiac
test, that is used to check for the pres-
ence of hidden blood in the faeces (see
occult blood, faecal
) .
FOBT is a screening
test that may be carried out because
such bleeding may be one of the earli-
est indications of colorectal cancer (see
colon, cancer of
;
rectum, cancer of
) .
One
example of a commonly used brand of
FOBT is Hemoccult.
faecal vomiting
The vomiting of matter that resembles
faeces, either in appearance or odour
or both. Faecal vomiting is a symptom
of serious intestinal obstruction (see
intestine, disorders of
) .
faeces
Waste material from the digestive tract
that is solidified in the large intestine
and expelled through the
anus
.
Faeces
are composed of indigestible food resi-
due (dietary
fibre
) ,
dead bacteria, dead
cells shed from the intestinal lining,
intestinal secretions such as mucus,
bile
from the liver (w hich is the sub-
stance that gives faeces their brown
colour), and water.
Examination of the faeces plays an
important part in the diagnosis of dis-
orders of the digestive tract, such as
malabsorption
.
Samples of faeces may be
examined physically for their colour,
odour, consistency, or for the presence
of blood. A special test, known as a
fae-
cal occult blood test (FOBT)
,
is used to
detect concealed blood in the faeces
(see
occult blood, faecal
) .
Microscopic
examination may
be
carried
out
to
detect pus, parasites, or microorgan-
isms. Chemical tests may be performed
to assess the excretion of fat. (See also
faeces, abnormal
. )
F
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