GINGIVITIS, ACUTE ULCERATIVE
G
gingivitis, acute ulcerative
Painful infection and ulceration of the
gums.
Acute
ulcerative
gingivitis
is
uncommon, prim arily affecting people
aged between 1 5 and 3 5. It is caused by
abnormal overgrowth of bacteria that
usually exist harmlessly in small num -
bers
in
gum
crevices.
Predisposing
factors include poor
oral hygiene
,
smo-
king, throat infections, and
stress
.
In
many cases, the disorder is preceded by
gingivitis
or
periodontitis
.
The gums become sore and bleed
easily. Crater-like ulcers, w hich bleed
spontaneously, develop on the gum tips
between teeth. There may be a foul taste
in the mouth, bad breath, and swollen
lymph nodes (see
glands, swollen
) .
The
infection may spread to the lips and the
insides of the cheeks (see
noma
).
A
hydrogen peroxide
mouthwash can
relieve the inflammation.
Scaling
is then
performed to remove plaque. In severe
cases, the antibacterial drug
metronida-
zole
may be given to control infection.
Example of gingivitis
The gums around the bases of the upper teeth are
puffy, shiny, and tender and overhang the teeth
margins. Affected gums often bleed when brushed.
gingivostomatitis
Inflammation of the gums and mouth.
Gingivostomatitis is often due to a viral
infection,
particularly
herpes simplex.
The condition can also be due to a bac-
terial infection or an adverse reaction to
a prescribed drug. (See also
cold sore
. )
ginkgo
An extract from the maidenhair tree,
G
i n k g o
b i i o b a
. Preparations containing
ginkgo are claimed to help treat circula-
tory disorders, reduced circulation in
the brain,
senility
,
depression
,
and
pre-
menstrual syndrome
.
Possible side effects
include muscle spasms and cramps.
gland
A
group
of
specialized
cells
that
manufacture and release chemical sub-
stances, such as
hormones
and
enzymes
.
There are two main types of gland: end-
ocrine and exocrine.
Endocrine glands
do
not have ducts and release their secre-
tions
directly
into
the
bloodstream;
examples include the pituitary, thyroid,
and adrenal glands.
Exocrine glands
have
ducts and release their secretions to the
surface or interior of the body Examples
include the sebaceous
glands, which
secrete sebum on to the surface of the
skin, and the salivary glands, which
secrete saliva into the mouth. The pan-
creas releases endocrine and exocrine
secretions (for example
insulin
and
chole-
cystokinin
,
respectively).
Lymph nodes
are
sometimes
called
glands,
particularly
when
they
are
enlarged due to infection (see
glands,
swollen
) .
Strictly speaking, this is incor-
rect usage because lymph nodes do not
secrete chemicals.
glanders
An infection of horses caused by the bac-
terium
P
s e u d o m o n a s
m a i i e i
.
It
rarely
affects humans. Symptoms include fever
and general aches and pains. Skin ulcers
may develop and, if bacteria enter the
lungs,
pneumonia
may occur. In severe
cases,
septicaemia
(blood poisoning) may
follow.Treatment is with
antibiotics
.
glands, swollen
Enlargement of the
lymph nodes
(which
are commonly called “ glands”), due to
inflammation and/or proliferation of
white blood cells w ithin them. Swollen
lymph nodes are a common symptom,
especially in children. They are usually
caused by a m inor infection or an aller-
gic reaction (see
allergy
) .
Rare causes include cancer affecting
the lymph nodes (see
Hodgkin’s disease
;
lymphoma
) or cancer of the white blood
cells (see
leukaemia
) .
glandular fever
See
mononucleosis, infectious
.
glans
The head of the
penis
.
The glans is cov-
ered by a loose fold of skin called the
prepuce
(foreskin), w hich retracts when
the penis becomes erect; in some males,
this skin is removed by
circumcision
.
The term “ glans” may also be applied
to the tip of the
clitoris
in females.
Glanzmann-Riniker syndrome
A
severe,
inherited
immunodeficiency
disorder
(failure of the body’s
immune
system
to fight infection). The condition
N e c k
G r o in
Common sites of swollen glands
The three most common sites where swollen lymph
nodes (glands) can be felt are in the neck, armpit,
and groin.
is more common in males. Inheritance
is
either
autosomal
recessive
or
X-
linked (see
genetic disorders
) .
In Glanzmann-Riniker syndrome, the
blood contains virtually no B-lympho-
cytes (a type of
white blood cell
)
and, as
a result,
antibodies
(proteins produced
by B-lymphocytes to destroy invading
microorganisms) fail to form.
The condition is evident from early
infancy, when an affected child fails to
thrive. It is characterized by absence of
the
thymus
(a gland that forms part of the
immune system) and susceptibility to
bacterial, and viral infections. Symptoms
and signs include watery diarrhoea and
lung abscesses. Children do not normally
survive beyond the first two years of life.
glare
The discomfort that results from bright
light entering the field of vision (see
eye
) either directly or by reflection from
another surface, such as a computer
screen or a stretch of water. The light
hits the
retina
and reduces central vision.
glasses
Devices, worn on the face, that contain
lenses to correct focusing errors in the
eyes and thereby achieve clear vision.
Lenses are made of glass or plastic,
and the shape and thickness of a lens are
chosen during a
vision test
.
Convex lenses
(which curve outwards) are needed for
hypermetropia
,
or longsightedness, and
340
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