Catarrh

Catarrh

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Encyclopedia
Catarrh is a disorder of inflammation of the mucous membranes in one of the airways or cavities of the body. It can result in a thick exudate
Exudate
An exudate is any fluid that filters from the circulatory system into lesions or areas of inflammation. It can apply to plants as well as animals. Its composition varies but generally includes water and the dissolved solutes of the main circulatory fluid such as sap or blood...

 of mucus
Mucus
In vertebrates, mucus is a slippery secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. Mucous fluid is typically produced from mucous cells found in mucous glands. Mucous cells secrete products that are rich in glycoproteins and water. Mucous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which...

 and white blood cells
Granulocyte
Granulocytes are a category of white blood cells characterized by the presence of granules in their cytoplasm. They are also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes because of the varying shapes of the nucleus, which is usually lobed into three segments...

 caused by the swelling of the mucous membrane
Mucous membrane
The mucous membranes are linings of mostly endodermal origin, covered in epithelium, which are involved in absorption and secretion. They line cavities that are exposed to the external environment and internal organs...

s in the head
Human head
In human anatomy, the head is the upper portion of the human body. It supports the face and is maintained by the skull, which itself encloses the brain.-Cultural importance:...

 in response to an infection. It is a symptom
Symptom
A symptom is a departure from normal function or feeling which is noticed by a patient, indicating the presence of disease or abnormality...

 usually associated with the common cold
Common cold
The common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system, caused primarily by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Common symptoms include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever...

 and chesty cough
Cough
A cough is a sudden and often repetitively occurring reflex which helps to clear the large breathing passages from secretions, irritants, foreign particles and microbes...

s, but can also be found in patients with infections of the adenoid
Adenoid
Adenoids are a mass of lymphoid tissue situated posterior to the nasal cavity, in the roof of the nasopharynx, where the nose blends into the throat....

s, middle ear
Otitis media
Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear, or a middle ear infection.It occurs in the area between the tympanic membrane and the inner ear, including a duct known as the eustachian tube. It is one of the two categories of ear inflammation that can underlie what is commonly called an earache,...

, sinus
Sinusitis
Sinusitis is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which may be due to infection, allergy, or autoimmune issues. Most cases are due to a viral infection and resolve over the course of 10 days...

 or tonsils. The phlegm
Phlegm
Phlegm is a liquid secreted by the mucous membranes of mammalians. Its definition is limited to the mucus produced by the respiratory system, excluding that from the nasal passages, and particularly that which is expelled by coughing . Phlegm is in essence a water-based gel consisting of...

 produced by catarrh may either discharge or cause a blockage which may become chronic.

Problems caused by catarrh


A catarrh blockage may result in discomfort with (and what is known as ear fear of):
  • elevator
    Elevator
    An elevator is a type of vertical transport equipment that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel or other structures...

    s
  • airplanes and helicopter
    Helicopter
    A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

    s
  • traveling at elevation
  • swimming pool
    Swimming pool
    A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

    s and jumping baths
    Bathing
    Bathing is the washing or cleansing of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practised for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity....


and other activities associated with a change in pressure.

Even the shallow end of a swimming bath
Bathing
Bathing is the washing or cleansing of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practised for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity....

 can be troublesome; barotrauma
Barotrauma
Barotrauma is physical damage to body tissues caused by a difference in pressure between an air space inside or beside the body and the surrounding fluid...

-- a problem linked to head pressure changes which is affected by catarrh blockages—can occur in as little as 4 feet (1.2 m) of water depth.

Etymology


The word "catarrh" comes from the Greek "katarrhein": kata- meaning "down" and rhein meaning "to flow."

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