GINGIVITIS
HOW GIARDIASIS IS SPREAD
Giardiasis is spread
by contaminated
water or food, or by
personal contact.
This parasitic
infection is most
common in the
tropics, but it has
become a more
frequent occurrence
in developed
countries, especially
among groups of
preschool children.
giardiasis
An
infection
of the
small
intestine
caused by the
protozoan
(single-celled)
parasite
G
i a r d i a
i a m b i i a
.
Giardiasis
is
spread by eating or drinking contami-
nated food or water or through direct
contact with an infected person.
SYMPTOMS
Most of those infected have no symp-
toms. If, however, symptoms do occur,
they begin between one and three weeks
after infection. They include diarrhoea,
and wind, as well as faeces that are foul-
smelling, greasy, and tend to float in the
toilet. Abdominal discomfort, cramps,
and swelling, loss of appetite, and nau-
sea may also
occur.
In some
cases,
giardiasis may become
chronic
.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
The infection is diagnosed from m icro-
scopic examination of a faecal sample
or by a
jejunal biopsy
(removal of a small
sample of tissue from the middle sec-
tion of the small intestine for analysis).
Acute
giardiasis
usually
clears
up
without treatment but the drug
metro-
nidazole
quickly relieves symptoms and
helps to prevent the spread of infection.
Infection can be prevented in the first
place by avoiding food or water that
could possibly be contaminated.
gibbous
A term meaning “hum ped” , as in a
gibbous
spine
,
w hich curves outwards
(see
kyphosis
) .
A deformity called a gib-
bus (an extreme hunch in the back)
was once a common condition caused
by
tuberculosis
of the spine.
giddiness
See
dizziness
.
GIFT
See
gamete intrafallopian transfer
.
gigantism
Excessive growth (especially in height)
during childhood or adolescence that
results from overproduction of
growth
hormone
by a tumour of the pituitary
gland (see
pituitary tumours
) .
If untreat-
ed, the tumour may compress other
hormone-producing cells in the gland,
causing symptoms of hormone defi-
ciency (see
hypopituitarism
) .
People with gigantism may be treated
with a drug that blocks the release of
growth hormone, such as
bromocriptine
,
or they may have to have surgery or
radiotherapy
to remove or destroy the
pituitary tumour. (See also
acromegaly
. )
Gilbert’s disease
A common inherited condition
that
affects the way in w hich
bilirubin
is
processed by the
liver
.
Usually there are
no
symptoms,
but
jaundice
may
be
brought on by unrelated illnesses. Suf-
ferers are otherwise healthy and no
treatment is necessary.
Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome
A rare, inherited neurological disorder
that is transmitted by an autosomal
dominant gene (see
genetic disorders
) .
Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome is
more common in males and starts in
childhood with repetitive grimaces and
tics. Involuntary barks, grunts, or other
noises may appear as the disease pro-
gresses. In some cases, the sufferer has
episodes
of compulsively using
foul
language (a condition called coprolalia).
People with Tourette’s syndrome usu-
ally have it their whole lives; in some
sufferers
antipsychotic drugs
may help to
relieve some of the symptoms.
gingiva
The Latin name for the
gums
.
gingival hyperplasia
See
hyperplasia, gingival
.
gingival pocket
A feature of chronic
periodontitis
.
gingivectomy
The surgical removal of part of the
gum
margin. Gingivectomy may be used to
treat severe cases of gingival
hyperplasia
(thickening of the gums) or to remove
pockets of infected gum in advanced
cases
of
periodontitis
(gum
disease).
Gingivectomy is usually performed by a
dentist under local anaesthesia.
gingivitis
Inflammation of the
gums
.
Gingivitis is
usually due to a build-up of
plaque
around the base of the teeth.
Toxins
pro-
duced by bacteria in the plaque irritate
the
gums,
causing them to become
infected, swollen, tender, and reddish-
purple in colour. Gingivitis may also
result from injury to the gums, usually
through rough toothbrushing or floss-
ing. Pregnant women and people with
diabetes mellitus
are especially suscepti-
ble to the disorder.
Gingivitis can be reversed; good
oral
hygiene
is the main method of prevent-
ing and treating it. If left untreated,
however, it may lead to damage of the
gum tissue, w hich may in turn lead to
chronic
periodontitis
(an advanced stage
of gum disease). Acute ulcerative gingi-
vitis (see
gingivitis, acute ulcerative
)
may
develop in people w ho have chronic
gingivitis,
particularly
those
with
a
lowered resistance to infection.
G
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