Appendicitis: Recognizing the Signs - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Appendicitis: Recognizing the Signs

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Appendicitis affects about five percent of the population at some point, but there isn't much that you can do to prevent it.

"Appendicitis is a common general surgical problem that we see quite frequently. It is more common in younger people but we can see it in people of all ages, and we do here," said Dr. Melissa Loveranes, Trauma Surgeon and Surgical Critical Care at UPMC Hamot.

It is most common in teenagers and young adults. While leading a healthy lifestyle is always recommended, there is no research that proves that diet and exercise can affect your chances.

Dr. Loveranes said recognizing the signs can help keep you aware.

"Often abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, sometimes they have fever and decrease appetite, and so they can become very sick if they don't seek surgical attention at that time," she said.

Even though there isn't a true indicator of appendicitis, there has been some research conducted to see if there is are trends around the seasons of the year.

"It seems that in adults, that appendicitis is actually more common in the summer time, there's not any rhyme or reason to why that is. There are several theories, but none have really been proven."

In children, they have seen more appendicitis cases in the winter. Similar to the adults, there is no correlation to why this is, and all the studies were conducted have been retrospective.

But if you need an appendectomy, you should be able to live a normal life.

"Patients can live a very full and fruitful life without their appendix, and most patients don't notice that they're missing it," said Dr. Loveranes.

If you notice any similar symptoms, Dr. Loveranes says to see your doctor immediately. 

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