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Worldwide, diarrhea claims several million lives annu-ally, mostly those of infants. Poverty, crowding, and con-
 

Summary: Worldwide, diarrhea claims several million lives annu-
ally, mostly those of infants. Poverty, crowding, and con-
taminated water supplies all contribute. Almost all of
these deaths could have been prevented with adequate
fluid replacement. Although its incidence is much lower
in the more affluent nations, diarrhea remains one of
the two most common reasons for visits to pediatric
emergency departments and is also common among the
institutionalized elderly. Chronic diarrheas, while less
common, often present diagnostic dilemmas and can be
difficult to manage. This article will begin by reviewing
the relevant physiology; then, with that as context, it
will consider pathophysiology, both general aspects and
specific diarrheal syndromes. Finally, rationales for
management will be briefly considered. The review is
amply referenced with some of the references listed at
the end of the article and some at the JCI website
(http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/111/7/931/DC1).
Physiology
All segments of intestine from duodenum to distal colon

  

Source: Akabas, Myles - Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine