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Appendicitis and TEOTWAWKI, by Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

 1. What is the cause?
2. How can it be recognized?
3. Who is most at risk?
4. Is it always fatal?
5. Can it be treated non-surgically?
6. Should it be removed before TEOTWAWKI?
Appendicitis is caused by a blockage of the appendix, which varies according to age. In children and young adults this is usually due to infection. In the elderly it is usually due to hardened feces. In developing countries appendicitis may be caused by parasites. In people with an inflamed bowel it can be due to swollen lymphoid tissue, which can also occur with stomach flu, viral respiratory infections, measles, or mononucleosis.
Once the blockage has occurred, the appendix swells due to continued production and trapping of secretions, causing the appendix to enlarge like a water balloon until it bursts, spewing the contents into the abdomen (peritoneal cavity), leading to sepsis (overwhelming infection), and death. The inflammation also draws white blood cells to the area, which produces pus and additional pressure.

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