Catarrh

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Catarrh
Other namesCatarrhal inflammation
Pronunciation
Specialty Pulmonology

Catarrh is inflammation of the mucous membranes in one of the airways or cavities of the body, [1] [2] usually with reference to the throat and paranasal sinuses. It can result in a thick exudate of mucus and white blood cells caused by the swelling of the mucous membranes in the head in response to an infection. It is a symptom usually associated with the common cold, pharyngitis, and chesty coughs, but it can also be found in patients with adenoiditis, otitis media, sinusitis or tonsillitis. The phlegm produced by catarrh may either discharge or cause a blockage that may become chronic.

Inflammation Signs of activation of the immune system

Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and initiate tissue repair.

Mucous membrane the protective layer, which lines the interior of hollow organs

A mucous membrane or mucosa is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. It consists of one or more layers of epithelial cells overlying a layer of loose connective tissue. It is mostly of endodermal origin and is continuous with the skin at various body openings such as the eyes, ears, inside the nose, inside the mouth, lip, vagina, the urethral opening and the anus. Some mucous membranes secrete mucus, a thick protective fluid. The function of the membrane is to stop pathogens and dirt from entering the body and to prevent bodily tissues from becoming dehydrated.

Throat anterior part of the neck, in front of the vertebra

In vertebrate anatomy, the throat is the front part of the neck, positioned in front of the vertebra. It contains the pharynx and larynx. An important section of it is the epiglottis, separating the esophagus from the trachea (windpipe), preventing food and drinks being inhaled into the lungs. The throat contains various blood vessels, pharyngeal muscles, the nasopharyngeal tonsil, the tonsils, the palatine uvula, the trachea, the esophagus, and the vocal cords. Mammal throats consist of two bones, the hyoid bone and the clavicle. The "throat" is sometimes thought to be synonymous for the fauces.

Contents

The word "catarrh" was widely used in medicine since before the era of medical science, which explains why it has various senses and in older texts may be synonymous with, or vaguely indistinguishable from, common cold, nasopharyngitis, pharyngitis, rhinitis, or sinusitis. The word is no longer as widely used in American medical practice, mostly because more precise words are available for any particular pathosis. Indeed, to the extent that it is still used, it is no longer viewed nosologically as a disease entity but instead as a symptom, a sign, or a syndrome of both. The term "catarrh" is found in medical sources from the United Kingdom. [3] The word has also been common in the folk medicine of Appalachia, where medicinal plants have been used to treat the inflammation and drainage associated with the condition. [4]

Medicine The science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of physical and mental illnesses

Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

In linguistics, a word sense is one of the meanings of a word. Words are in two sets: a large set with multiple meanings and a small set with only one meaning. For example, a dictionary may have over 50 different senses of the word "play", each of these having a different meaning based on the context of the word's usage in a sentence, as follows:

We went to see the playRomeo and Juliet at the theater.

The coach devised a great play that put the visiting team on the defensive.

The children went out to play in the park.

Rhinitis irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose

Rhinitis, also known as coryza, is irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose. Common symptoms are a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, and post-nasal drip.

Clinical relevance

Because of the human ear's function of regulating the pressure within the head region, catarrh blockage may also cause discomfort during changes in atmospheric pressure.

Etymology

The word "catarrh" comes from 15th-century French catarrhe, Latin catarrhus, and Greek Ancient Greek : καταρρεῖν [5] (katarrhein): kata- meaning "down" and rhein meaning "to flow." The Oxford English Dictionary quotes Thomas Bowes' translation of Pierre de la Primaudaye's The [second part of the] French academie (1594): "Sodainely choked by catarrhes, which like to floods of waters, runne downewards." [6]

<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> Premier historical dictionary of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

See also

Related Research Articles

Sinusitis Inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the sinuses resulting in symptoms

Sinusitis, also known as rhinosinusitis, is inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the sinuses resulting in symptoms. Common symptoms include thick nasal mucus, a plugged nose, and facial pain. Other signs and symptoms may include fever, headaches, a poor sense of smell, sore throat, and a cough. The cough is often worse at night. Serious complications are rare. It is defined as acute sinusitis if it lasts less than 4 weeks, and as chronic sinusitis if it lasts for more than 12 weeks.

Pharyngitis type of upper respiratory tract infection

Pharyngitis is inflammation of the back of the throat, known as the pharynx. It typically results in a sore throat and fever. Other symptoms may include a runny nose, cough, headache, and a hoarse voice. Symptoms usually last 3–5 days. Complications can include sinusitis and acute otitis media. Pharyngitis is a type of upper respiratory tract infection.

Mouth ulcer ulcer that occurs on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity

A mouth ulcer is an ulcer that occurs on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity. Mouth ulcers are very common, occurring in association with many diseases and by many different mechanisms, but usually there is no serious underlying cause.

Xylometazoline chemical compound

Xylometazoline, also spelled xylomethazoline, is a medication used to reduce symptoms of nasal congestion, allergic rhinitis, and sinusitis. Use is not recommended for more than seven days. Use is also not recommended in those less than three months of age and some say not less than 6 years of age. It is used directly in the nose as a spray or drops.

Allergic rhinitis Human disease

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a type of inflammation in the nose which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Signs and symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, red, itchy, and watery eyes, and swelling around the eyes. The fluid from the nose is usually clear. Symptom onset is often within minutes following exposure and they can affect sleep, the ability to work, and the ability to concentrate at school. Those whose symptoms are due to pollen typically develop symptoms during specific times of the year. Many people with allergic rhinitis also have asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, or atopic dermatitis.

Upper respiratory tract infection

An upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) is an illness caused by an acute infection, which involves the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, sinuses, pharynx, or larynx. This commonly includes nasal obstruction, sore throat, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, otitis media, and the common cold. Most infections are viral in nature, and in other instances, the cause is bacterial. URTIs can also be fungal or helminthic in origin, but these are far less common.

Nasal polyp polypoidal masses

Nasal polyps (NP) are noncancerous growths within the nose or sinuses. Symptoms include trouble breathing through the nose, loss of smell, decreased taste, post nasal drip, and a runny nose. The growths are sac-like, movable, and nontender, though face pain may occasionally occur. They typically occur in both nostrils in those who are affected. Complications may include sinusitis and broadening of the nose.

Nasal spray

Nasal sprays, are used to deliver medications locally in the nasal cavities or systemically. They are used locally for conditions such as nasal congestion and allergic rhinitis. In some situations, the nasal delivery route is preferred for systemic therapy because it provides an agreeable alternative to injection or pills. Substances can be assimilated extremely quickly and directly through the nose. Many pharmaceutical drugs exist as nasal sprays for systemic administration. Other applications include hormone replacement therapy, treatment of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Nasal sprays are seen as a more efficient way of transporting drugs with potential use in crossing the blood–brain barrier.

Nasal irrigation Personal hygiene practice for rinsing out nasal passages

Nasal irrigation, is a personal hygiene practice in which the nasal cavity is washed to flush out mucus and debris from the nose and sinuses. The practice is reported to be beneficial with only minor side effects. Nasal irrigation can also refer to the use of saline nasal spray or nebulizers to moisten the mucous membranes.

Olopatadine chemical compound

Olopatadine is a medication used to decrease the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis. It is used as eye drops or as a nasal spray. The eye drops general result in an improvement within half an hour.

Nasal congestion symptom

Nasal congestion is the blockage of the nasal passages usually due to membranes lining the nose becoming swollen from inflamed blood vessels.

Post-nasal drip disorder that occurs when excessive mucus is produced by the nasal mucosa

Post-nasal drip (PND) occurs when excessive mucus is produced by the nasal mucosa. The excess mucus accumulates in the back of the nose and eventually the throat once it drips down the back of the throat. It can be caused by rhinitis, sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or by a disorder of swallowing. Other causes can be allergy, cold, flu, and side effects from medications.

Rhinorrhea type of medical symptom where the nasal cavity is filled with fluid mucus

Rhinorrhea or rhinorrhoea is a condition where the nasal cavity is filled with a significant amount of mucus fluid. The condition, commonly known as a runny nose, occurs relatively frequently. Rhinorrhea is a common symptom of allergies or certain viral infections, such as the common cold. It can be a side effect of crying, exposure to cold temperatures, cocaine abuse or withdrawal, such as from opioids like methadone. Treatment for rhinorrhea is not usually necessary, but there are a number of medical treatments and preventive techniques available.

Maxillary sinus

The pyramid-shaped maxillary sinus is the largest of the paranasal sinuses, and drains into the middle meatus of the nose.

Respiratory disease disease of the respiratory system

Respiratory disease, or lung disease, is a medical term that encompasses pathological conditions affecting the organs and tissues that make gas exchange difficult in air-breathing animals. They include conditions of the respiratory tract including the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, pleurae, pleural cavity, and the nerves and muscles of respiration. Respiratory diseases range from mild and self-limiting, such as the common cold, to life-threatening diseases such as bacterial pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, acute asthma and lung cancer.

Chronic atrophic rhinitis, or atrophic rhinitis, is a chronic inflammation of nose characterised by atrophy of nasal mucosa, including the glands, turbinate bones and the nerve elements supplying the nose. Chronic atrophic rhinitis may be primary and secondary. Special forms of chronic atrophic rhinitis are rhinitis sicca anterior and ozaena.

A sinus is a sac or cavity in any organ or tissue, or an abnormal cavity or passage caused by the destruction of tissue. In common usage, "sinus" usually refers to the paranasal sinuses, which are air cavities in the cranial bones, especially those near the nose and connecting to it. Most individuals have four paired cavities located in the cranial bone or skull.

Nonallergic rhinitis is inflammation of the inner part of the nose that is not caused by an allergy. Nonallergic rhinitis involves symptoms including chronic sneezing or having a congested, drippy nose without an identified allergic reaction. Other common terms for nonallergic rhinitis are vasomotor rhinitis and perennial rhinitis. The prevalence of nonallergic rhinitis in otolaryngology is 40%. Allergic rhinitis is more common than nonallergic rhinitis; however, both conditions have similar presentation, manifestation and treatment. Nasal itching and paroxysmal sneezing are usually associated with nonallergic rhinitis in comparison to allergic rhinitis.

References

  1. "Catarrh - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  2. "Chronic Catarrh — Its Symptoms, Causes and Effects. — A Few Practical Remarks by Dr. Lighthill, Author of "A Popular Treatise on Deafness", "Letters on Catarrh." No. 34 St. Mark's-Place, New-York. Symptoms of Catarrh. Causes of Catarrh. Treatment of Catarrh. From J.S. Beecher, Esq., firm of Ives, Beecher and Co., No. 98 Front-St. From Maj. Alvin Walker, Paymaster, U.S.A. From W. Larrabee, Esq. - Article". NYTimes.com. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  3. "Catarrh". NHS Choices. GOV.UK. February 17, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  4. "A Guide to Medicinal Plants of Appalachia" (PDF). 1969. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  5. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Catarrh"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  6. "catarrh". OED Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
Classification
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