Lung Sounds (by Stethoscope)

The stethoscope is an extremely useful instrument for evaluating lung disease.ย  This is the main exception to our basic principle, that the vast majority of medical diagnoses are made by careful history-taking, not by physical examination.ย  That may surprise patients, but itโ€™s absolutely true.ย  Normal lung sounds are simply a rush of air.  For certainContinue reading “Lung Sounds (by Stethoscope)”

Somatization Disorder

This means that the body (“soma”) reacts with physical symptoms due to a psychological cause.  It used to be called “psychosomatic”.  Patients may be casually dismissed as “hypochondriacs” by their friends (and medical providers), but that’s inappropriate.  It’s a rather severe form of Anxiety, with or without Depression.  Here are some examples: 1.  A 50-year-oldContinue reading “Somatization Disorder”


Ascites is abnormal free fluid floating in the abdomen (i.e. in the Peritoneal Cavity; see Diagram โ€“ The Gastrointestinal System). ย The main cause is Cirrhosis of the liver, because scars there block veins passing through the organ, slowing blood flow, so fluid leaks out.ย  The condition is also called โ€œPortal Hypertension,โ€ meaning too much pressureContinue reading “Ascites”


A laparoscope is an instrument that is inserted into the peritoneal cavity (see diagram toward the end ofย Gastrointestinal System).ย ย  Laparoscopy usually involves incising 3 holes, one for the scope itself (to see), and 2 others for surgical instruments to manipulate around.ย  Before its invention in the 1980s, surgeons had to perform a laparotomy, i.e. operatingContinue reading “Laparoscopy”

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that lives in the stomach; it’s been around for over 50,000 years.  It’s likely a cause of most Duodenal Ulcers (we all talk about “stomach ulcers,” but most of them occur in the duodenum, the very first part of the small intestine next to the stomach;  see DiagramContinue reading “Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)”


Bronchospasm is when the bronchi are narrowed by either constriction of bronchial muscle, and/or swelling / mucus inside.ย  See Lower Respiratory Tract, Diagram D (Asthma / Bronchospasm) for a picture-worth-a-whole-bunch-of-words.ย  Disease wich cause Bronchospasm include: Acute Bronchitis Asthma Chronic Bronchitis After viral lung infections, Post-Viral Bronchospasm can last up to 3 months. Heart Failure, whichContinue reading “Bronchospasm”

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