|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Hello Shaun. You asked whether there are cures or treatments for clubbed fingers. Before getting into that, I would like to first look at what clubbing is and what can cause clubbing. You may already know these, so please bear with me. What is clubbing? The word "clubbing" describes the appearance of enlargement and rounding of the tips of the fingers and toes. Medical texts often use the term "broadening," "thickening," "splaying," and "rounding of the nails" to describe the condition. It is called "clubbing" because the fingers and toes can sometimes look a bit like clubs -- with narrow handles (fingers) and wider heads (finger tips). Clubbing is a symptom, not a disease. That is, it is the physical manifestation of of an underlying problem in the same way that a runny nose is often a symptom of an underlying cold. Since clubbing is just a symptom, it is important that anyone who has it (you, your family, your friends)get medical attention if they haven't done so already. What diseases is clubbing associated with? There are many. Some of them are: Congenital Heart Disease -- many kinds Lung Disease Cystic Fibrosis, Cancer, Emphysema, Bronchiectasis Liver Disease Hepatitis, Cirrhosis Intestinal Diseases Celiac disease, Crohn's disease Lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease Can clubbing be treated? Yes, often it can be cured -- or at least improved a great deal. This is done by treating the underlying problem causing the clubbing in the first place. What is the biological process that causes enlargement of the tips of the fingers and toes? No one knows for sure. Two theories are: 1.) Low blood oxygen causes overgrowth of the soft tissues in those areas. 2.) Abnromal platelet function or abnromal platelet trapping causes release of a growth factor which causes the symptom. Again, anyone with clubbing should see a doctor. For more information about clubbing and other medical problems, consider: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine Greenfield's Radiology of Bone Diseases Mayo Clinic website: www.mayo.edu WebMC website: www.my.webmd.com Children's Hospital of Iowa: www.vch.vh.org Dr.Koop website: www.drkoop.com
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