In a previous block of instruction, you learned that the term anorexia meant loss or lack of appetite. As you might imagine, if this condition existed for too long, a condition of malnutrition could occur and a general physical wasting of the body might begin. The term cachexia1 refers to this condition.
The physical examination includes also a determination of whether or not there are any blockages or obstructions noticeable in the circulatory system. The circulation of the blood involves both arteries and veins throughout the body. Obstructions in the circulatory system may be referred to as arterial obstructions2 or venous obstructions3. Signs of an obstruction of the venous portion of the circulatory system include: dilated or distended veins and/or swelling of the extremities.
An obstruction in the arterial portion of the circulatory system prevents blood from getting to those tissues and cells served by the blocked artery. Thus, the cells and tissues die from lack of oxygen and food. This brings about a condition known as necrosis4. You may encounter the term necrosis quite often. Burns or severe injuries also can bring about necrosis. This is a derivation of the word "necropsy."
1cachexia — general physical wasting and malnutrition
2arterial obstruction — blockage or obstruction in the arteries
3venous obstruction — blockage or obstruction in the veins
4necrosis — death or decay of cells or tissues in a part of the body
Click here for Exercise 6 questions.