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Appendicitis

Inflammatory and Immune System

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix – a small finger-like shaped organ attached where the small intestine meets the large intestine in the lower abdomen. In the past, it was thought that the appendix served no function in the human body. However, new research suggests that the appendix functions as a secondary immune organ and stores healthy gut bacteria for the lower intestinal tract. The inflammation of the appendix occurs usually due to a blockage of some sort that causes the bacteria inside the small tube to multiply and cause pressure to build on the abdomen. The condition can be very painful and seriously life-threatening if the appendix ruptures. Appendicitis is the most common abdominal emergency needing surgical intervention with more than 10,000 people requiring treatment each year. Teenagers and people in their 20s commonly suffer from appendicitis, but it can happen at any age.

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