What are injuries?

A lesion is any area of ​​damaged or abnormal tissue in the body. Because they occur in so many different places and tissue types, they have many different causes and means of diagnosis and treatment. Most injuries are broadly classified by where they appear on the body, for example, skin and mouth injuries are some of the most common types, but there are also site-specific ways to classify them. The effects of any particular area of ​​abnormality depend on its location, type, and size.

Skin

Cutaneous lesions can be primary, meaning they cause a variation in the color or texture of the affected skin; or secondary, which includes things like the scabbing that forms naturally on an abrasion or peeling that follows a sunburn. Moles, birthmarks, warts, and hives are common primary types, while skin ulcers, scabs, fissures, and lichenification are all common secondary types. Skin abnormalities can also be classified by size, appearance, and whether they are cancerous or noncancerous.

Since this type of damage can be caused by so many different things, the way they are treated varies. If they are caused by an infectious disease, doctors usually try to treat the underlying condition rather than the lesions themselves. Sometimes topical antibiotics can help prevent further infection. Other topical treatments, such as cortisol cream, can be applied to soothe irritated or itchy skin. In many cases, treatment for harmless skin damage is primarily cosmetic: For example, patients may resort to laser surgery to reduce the appearance of a mole.

Although the vast majority of skin lesions are harmless, some can be an indicator of skin cancer. Moles or birthmarks that have an irregular border or a change in color can be cancerous, especially if they are larger than 5 mm (0.19 inches) in diameter.

Mouth

Oral lesions include any type of tissue abnormality in the mouth, such as tooth decay or cavities, herpes blisters, ulcers, gingivitis, and inflammation from fungal infections. People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely than those who don't to have some types of oral problems, including oral cancers and hairy tongues. Good dental hygiene can be very effective in preventing many types of oral injuries.

As with skin damage, treatment for oral abnormalities generally focuses on treating the underlying cause. Some oral conditions can be treated, such as gingivitis and fungal infections, but others, such as herpes blisters, cannot be completely cured. For conditions that can be treated, dentists may recommend patients use medicated mouthwashes, gels, and toothpastes, as well as tongue scrapers for conditions like hairy tongue. Lesions that affect the internal tissues of the mouth, such as oral cancer, can be surgically removed. Debridement, a procedure in which dead tissue is removed, may also be used when tissue is severely damaged, along with antibiotics to control infection.

Brain

Brain injuries are associated with a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Tumors, physical trauma, and aging can also cause this type of damage, as can bleeding, such as from a stroke. Environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins, can also cause brain abnormalities. Some remain small enough not to cause any symptoms. If this is the case, doctors often wait and see for the approach, monitor the area to make sure it doesn't start to cause damage, and treat it if it does.

Depending on the cause of the damage, doctors can treat some types of brain injuries. For example, a brain abscess can often be treated with antibiotics or antifungal medications. Other abnormalities can cause permanent damage. Although there are sometimes ways to treat symptoms caused by damage, as in the case of a stroke, damage caused by other conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, is progressive and untreatable. The location of the damage can also have an impact on treatment; for example, tumors deep in the brain are often more difficult to treat than those closer to the surface.

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Most lung injuries are caused by bacterial or viral diseases or cancer. Sometimes cysts, holes, or scar tissue can also form in the lungs. There are also several types of congenital lung anomalies, including congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (CCAM) and pulmonary sequestrations. One of the most common types of lung injury is a solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN), which is usually a benign tumor but can be malignant in about one in five cases. Tuberculosis also causes lung lesions, which can flare up after treatment and cause another round of the disease.

Many people with this type of lung problem don't know they have it, and only find out when they have a diagnostic test, such as an MRI for another condition. There are a variety of treatments available for these abnormalities, ranging from surgery and chemotherapy in the case of cancer to antibiotics in the case of tuberculosis. Not smoking and avoiding environmental factors such as air pollution and asbestos can help prevent this type of lung damage.

Other

People can get a lesion essentially anywhere they might have a tumor, so the liver, pancreas, genitals, intestines, kidneys, bones, eyes, and gallbladder can also be affected. Kidney and pancreas cysts are particularly common. Cells and molecules can also be damaged, as in the case of sickle cell disease.

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