Most anal disorders are minor but
may cause considerable discomfort
and concern. Many are aggravated by
constipation and may be helped by
regular toilet habits, an increased intake
of fluids, wholemeal products, fruits,
and vegetables to soften the faeces, and
the use of glycerine suppositories,
Imperforate anus is an uncommon
birth defect in which the anus is sealed
the anus is too
narrow to allow the normal passage of
faeces.This is sometimes a congenital
abnormality, but it can also result from
scarring following surgery to treat
originate from small
tears in the lining of the anus, usually
as a result of straining to pass hard,
Cancer of the skin around the anus is
anus, cancer of).
are enlarged blood vessels
under the lining of the anus and may
cause bleeding during defaecation,
itching, and pain.
is an abnormal tunnel
connecting the inside of the anal canal
with the skin surrounding the anus.
These fistulas usually result from an
abscess in the wall of the anus.
of the anus (pruritus ani) may
be a direct result of another disorder,
such as an anal fistula, haemorrhoids or
Anal warts (see
transmitted by sexual contact and are
caused by a papillomavirus.
Investigation of anal disorders is
usually by visual inspection,
(use of a rigid internal viewing tube)
and digital examination (feeling
with a finger). Sometimes a
(small sample o f tissue removed for
microscopic analysis) or
be taken for bacteriological culture.
include lightheadedness, sweating, pal-
lor, blushing, and a frequent need to
urinate or defaecate.
People with anxiety may have a con-
stant feeling that something bad is
going to happen. They may fear illness
or worry about the health and safety of
family and friends. Fear of losing con-
trol is also common.Anxiety often leads
to increasing dependence on others,
irritability, a sense of fatigue, and frus-
tration. Inability to relax may lead to
difficulty in sleeping.
People suffering from anxiety may be
If there is an underlying disorder, such
as depression, treatment with
can help. Antianxiety drugs
are used for short-term control of symp-
toms but are avoided for long-term
treatment because they are addictive.
A group of mental illnesses, including
several specific syndromes, in which
are the principal
feature. Anxiety disorders are common
and mainly affect young adults.
generalized anxiety disorder,
ted individual suffers from persistent
tension and apprehension that has no
specific focus or cause, together with
physical or psychological symptoms
that disrupt normal activity.
is characterized by sudden and
recurrent attacks of extreme, unreason-
irrational fears, such as the fear of open
spaces or of spiders, that lead to avoid-
ance of certain situations or objects.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
is a form of
stressful or traumatic event and
is a condition
in which a person’s obsessions and
fears lead them to carry out repetitive,
are used to treat anxiety disorders.
are often used, and
) may be used for short-
term treatment but are addictive.
of the body, which sup-
plies oxygenated blood to all other parts.
The aorta arises from the left ventricle
(the main pumping chamber of the
) and arches up over the heart
before descending, behind it, through the
chest cavity. It terminates in the abdo-
men by dividing into the two common
iliac arteries of the legs. The aorta is
thick-walled and has a large diameter to
cope with the high pressure and large
volume of blood passing through it.
The aorta, like other arteries, can become
narrowed as a result of
(fat deposits on its walls), which may
(high blood pres-
Coarctation of the aorta
the aorta is abnormally narrow at birth)
(inflammation of the aorta
wall) are examples of aorta-specific dis-
orders. Both aortitis and atherosclerosis
may result in an aortic
looning of the aorta wall), which may
require surgery. (See also
ders of; circulatory system.)
Leakage of blood through the aortic
valve (one of the
in a backflow of blood from the aorta
into the left ventricle (the heart’s main
Failure of the aortic valve to close pro-
perly may be due to a
from birth) abnormality in which the
valve has two leaflets (flaps) rather than
three. The valve leaflets can be destroyed
of the membrane lining the heart).
cause the root of the aorta to stretch so
that the valve does not close properly.
Aortic incompetence is also associated
(a disorder that
affects the spine), and
a congenital disorder of connective tis-
which is now rare,
may damage the valve, causing a combi-
the aortic valve) and incompetence. In
occur in untreated