Pruritus

Pruritus – świąd (praktyczny angielski)

Pruritus (itch) is an irritation in the skin that elicits an urge or reflex to scratch. It may originate in the peripheral or in the central nervous system. It can be localized (limited to one area of the body) or generalized (occurring all over the body or in several different areas and usually more difficult to treat).
There are numerous causes of itching. Infections, dry skin (xerosis), bites and stings, infestations, chronic diseases such as metabolic or endocrine disorders (liver or kidney failure, hyperthyroidism), and sun exposure are among the most often. Pruritus is also common with allergies. Some reactions to drugs may manifest themselves by itching. It may also stem from a skin condition such as psoriasis. A common cause of itch is also psychological (stress, anxiety). What’s more stress may also aggravate pruritus (even if it is caused by other factors).
Not long ago people used to think that itch was just a weaker form of pain and that they were transmitted through the same neural pathways in the organism. Now we know that it is not that way. They are transmitted through separate pathways and they antagonize each other. When you create pain, you can suppress itch. Itch and pain sensations have also different biological functions in the organism.
There are many diverse ways to cure pruritus, although a majority of chronic itch is resistant to treatment. Topical anti-itch drugs, such as creams, lotions, ointments etc., are often available over-the-counter. Oral antipruritics are usually prescription drugs. The active substances used in the pruritus treatment appertain to the following classes:
• antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine etc.),
• corticosteroids (such as hydrocortisone, prednisolone etc.),
• local anesthetics (such as benzocaine etc.),
• counterirritants (such as menthol, camphor etc.).
In severe itching caused by some chronic diseases, such as renal failure, phototherapy turns to be helpful.


EXERCISE. CHOOSE TRUE OR FALSE.
1. Pain and itch are transmitted through the same neural pathways.
2. Chronic pruritus is easy to treat.
3. Drugs may cause itching.
4. Phototherapy is recommended for the initial treatment of all kinds of itch.
5. Overactivity of the thyroid gland may cause itching.


Glossary:

• pruritus [prʊˈraɪtəs] – świąd
• itch [ɪtʃ] – świąd
• irritation [ɪrɪˈteɪʃən] – podrażnienie
• to elicit [tə ɪˈlɪsɪt] – wywoływać, wydobywać
• urge [ɜrdʒ] – silne pragnienie, silna chęć
• to scratch [tə skrætʃ] – drapać
• xerosis [zɪˈroʊsɪs] – suchość, rogowacenie
• sting [stɪŋ] – ukąszenie, użądlenie
• infestation [ɪnfɛˈsteɪʃən] – inwazja pasożytnicza
• to manifest oneself by [tə ˈmænəfɛst wʌnˈsɛlf baɪ] – przejawiać się poprzez
• psoriasis [səˈraɪəsɪs] – łuszczyca
• to aggravate [tə ˈægrəveɪt] – zaostrzać, pogarszać
• topical [ˈtɒpɪkəl] – miejscowy
• antipruritic [æntiprʊˈrɪtɪk] – znoszący świąd, zapobiegający świądowi
• to appertain [tə æpərˈteɪn] – należeć
• antihistamine [æntɪˈhɪstəmin] – przeciwhistaminowy
• diphenhydramine [daɪfɛnˈhaɪdrəmin] – difenhydramina
• hydroxyzine [haɪˈdrɒksəzin] – hydroksyzyna
• corticosteroid [kɔrtəkoʊˈstɛrɔɪd] – kortykosteroid
• to stem [tə stɛm] – wywodzić się
• hydrocortisone [haɪdrəˈkɔrtəzoʊn] – hydrokortyzon
• prednisolone [prɛdˈnɪsəloʊn] – prednizolon
• local anesthetic [ˈloʊkəl ænəsˈθɛtɪk] – substancja miejscowo znieczulająca
• benzocaine [ˈbɛnzoʊkeɪn] – benzokaina
• counterirritant [kaʊntərˈɪrɪtənt] – leczniczy środek drażniący
• menthol [ˈmɛnθɔl] – mentol
• camphor [ˈkæmfər] – kamfora


Correct answers: False, false, true, false, true

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