The appendix is not a very popular subject in our homes as far as health is concerned. Even among doctors and medical professionals little is known about the appendix. For instance, to this day scientists and medical professionals alike, do not know the exact function of the appendix.
For those who do not know, the appendix is a finger-like tube structure that is attached to the large intestine. As indicated earlier, little is known about the appendix and for a long time many dismissed it as a useless structure.
Charles Darwin, the first proprietor of evolution, was the first to theorize that the appendix was where cellulose was digested. Ancient man was said to consume a lot of uncooked leaves which needed special structures to digest cellulose. However, as man began to move towards domestication and cook their food, the need for cellulose digestion was reduced inhibiting the functionality of the appendix.
Today there are people who believe that the appendix plays a much more important role than previously thought. Recent studies show that the appendix is an important structure involved in the immunization of the body from foreign entities. The walls of the appendix are responsible for producing antibodies that are important when fighting potential infections in the large intestine, that could result from food ingested or harmful bacteria. The appendix is known to store ‘good’ bacterias which support healthy digestion.
Another important function known about the appendix, is that it makes immunoglobulins which are important substances to the immune system. Because immunoglobulins are produced in various places in the body, removal of the appendix does not present a problem in this respect.
The main point of concern in regard to the tube-shaped sac is appendicitis. Appendicitis by definition is the swelling or inflammation of the appendix. The exact cause of appendicitis is not clearly understood, but many people agree that its causation is facilitated by blockage of the large intestine, or appendix.
Blockages in the appendix can be caused by a hard stool, foreign body, or indigestible food. When a blockage occurs, bacteria is trapped in the appendix. Even less harmful bacteria trapped within the appendix, can be inimical to the body.
The bacteria produces pus which fills the appendix, and when not treated may cause the appendix to burst. When it bursts, the contents of the large intestine spill into the abdominal cavity. This answers the question as to whether appendicitis affects the large intestine.
If not recognized or treated, appendicitis develops into a more severe condition that could be fatal. The most common symptom of appendicitis is pain in the lower abdomen. For most people the pain starts in the central region of the tummy, but as time goes by it becomes more severe and moves closer to the appendix. For others the source of the pain might be different. In pregnant women for instance, the appendix tends to move vertically in the body due to the expansion of the uterus. Thus when the pain arrives, the victim will experience it closer to the diaphragm.
Other symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, swelling in the abdomen and low-grade fever. It is advised when experiencing pain in the abdomen, desist from pushing your fingers into the sensitive area as this might worsen the condition. It is recommended that whenever you experience persistent pain in the abdomen, consult a doctor or a qualified healthcare professional to determine the proper course of action.