Faeces that differ from normal in their
colour, odour, consistency, or content.
Abnormal faeces may be an indication
of a disorder of the
a related organ, such as the
change in the character of faeces, how-
is most often the result
change in diet.
(frequent passage of liquid
or very loose faeces) may simply be due
to anxiety. However, it may be the result
of an intestinal infection (see
an intestinal disorder (such as
irritable bowel syndrome
Loose stools may
also be an indication of
(impaired absorption of nutrients by
the small intestine).
very hard faeces) is generally harmless.
however, may be caused by a
disorder of the large intestine, such as
colon, cancer of
Pale faeces may be caused by diarrh-
oea, a lack of bile in the intestine as a
bile duct obstruction
or a dis-
ease that causes malabsorption (such
In malabsorption, the
paleness is caused by the high fat con-
tent of the faeces. This type of faeces
may be oily, foul-smelling, and difficult
to flush away.
Dark faeces may result from taking
iron tablets. If the faeces are black,
however, there may be bleeding in the
upper digestive tract.
Faeces that contain excessive mucus
are sometimes associated with constipa-
tion or with irritable bowel syndrome.
or a tumour of the
intestine, tumours of
mucus, often accompanied by blood.
Blood in the faeces differs in appear-
ance depending on the site of bleeding.
Bleeding from the stomach or duo-
denum is usually passed in the form of
black, tarry faeces (see
from the colon is red and is usually
passed at the same time as the faeces.
Bleeding from the rectum
w hich may be due to tumours or to
(piles), is usually bright
red. Occasionally, however, it may not
even be visible (see
occult blood, faecal
faeces, blood in the
faeces, abnormal; occult blood, faecal;
A temperature scale in w hich the melt-
ing point of ice is 3 2° and the boiling
point of water is 2 1 2°. On this scale,
normal body temperature is 98.6°F,
w hich is equivalent to 3 7° Celsius (C ).
To convert a temperature in Fahrenheit
to its Celsius equivalent, subtract 32
Fahrenheit, m ultiply by
then add 3 2. (See also
A rare, degenerative neurological dis-
appearance of abnormal calcium depos-
its and is associated cell loss in certain
areas of the brain. Fahr’s disease may be
in w hich it shows either an
autosomal recessive or autosomal dom-
inant pattern of inheritance (see
In many cases, however, the
cause of the disorder is unknown.
Symptoms of fahr’s disease include
brain function) and the loss of acquired
motor skills. Increased muscle stiffness
develop. Possible complications include
characterized by slow, invol-
untary, w rithing movements, or
characterized by irregular, rapid, jerky
movements. There may also be gradual
deterioration of eyesight.
Individual symptoms of Fahr’s dis-
ease are treated where possible, but
there is no cure.
failure to thrive
Failure of expected growth in an infant
or toddler, usually assessed by compar-
ing the rate at w hich a baby gains
weight w ith measurements on a stan-
An undiagnosed m inor illness such
as a urinary infection
cause; in some cases, failure to thrive
suggests a more serious disorder such
Emotional or physical deprivation
can result in failure to thrive, especially
if the child is undernourished or neg-
lected. A child who fails to grow at the
appropriate rate needs to undergo tests
Temporary loss of consciousness due
to reduced blood flow to the brain. The
medical term is “syncope” .
Episodes of fainting are often due to a
- an episode in w hich
(which controls vital organs such as the
the heartbeat and a fall in blood pres-
blood to the brain. Attacks are usually
preceded by sweating, nausea, dizzi-
ness, and weakness, and are commonly
the result of pain, stress, shock, a stuffy
Fainting may also result from postural
(low blood pressure), w hich
may occur when a person stands still
for a long time or stands up suddenly.
This problem is common in elderly
people, in those with
In most cases, recovery from fainting
occurs when normal blood flow to the
brain is restored. This restoration usu-
ally happens w ithin minutes because
the loss of consciousness results in the
person falling into a lying position,
w hich restores the flow of blood to the
brain. Medical attention is required in
cases of prolonged
repeated attacks of fainting.
The supposed ability of certain people
to cure disease by a healing force inex-
plicable to science.
w hich is caused by the parasitic proto-
l a s m o d i u m f a i c i p a r u m
One of the causes of
arches can develop as a result of weak-
ness of the muscles that support the
arches of the foot.
One of the two tubes that extend from
tube transports eggs and sperm and is
about 10 cm long. It opens into the
uterus at one end. The other end, w hich
is divided into
jections), lies close to the ovary. The
tube has muscular walls lined by cells
with cilia (hairlike projections).