HealthCommunities' Glossary


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abduct motion of a body part away from the midline of the body
abscess localized pocket or collection of pus in a cavity
absorbent products pads and garments, disposable or reusable, worn in cases of incontinence to absorb leaked urine
Achilles tendon tendon formed by the union of two muscles,the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which join in the mid-calf area and are known as the gastroc-soleal complex; prominent at the back of the ankle
Achilles tendonitis painful and often debilitating inflammation of the Achilles tendon
actinic keratosis common precancerous skin growth
adduct motion of a body part toward the midline of the body
adjuvant assisting the primary means of therapy, e.g., coupling radiation treatment with surgical excision of tumors
AIDS acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
allergen substance inducing an allergic state or reaction
allergic contact
dermatitis
dermatitis caused by sensitivity to an allergen
allergy inappropriate or exaggerated reaction of the immune system to substances that cause no symptoms in most people, e.g., reactions to chemical exposure, respiratory reactions to dust, pollen or other substances, reactions to food
alopecia hair loss; disease in which the hair falls out
alternative therapy therapy that is not standard, including herbal medicines, acupuncture, and acupressure, as well as medicinal therapies, such as shark cartilage, maitake mushroom, etc.
Alzheimer's disease most common form of dementia in older persons that affects many areas of cognitive function, including memory
amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS)
degenerative disorder affecting the motor neuron cells and the motor tracts in the brain and spinal cord; Lou Gehrig's disease
anaphylaxis severe, life-threatening allergic reaction, such as that caused by an insect sting or exposure to a drug, like penicillin or antitetanus (horse) serum, or that caused by certain foods, like peanuts or shellfish; anaphylactic shock
anemia deficiency in red blood cell count, in hemoglobin, or in total blood volume
angina discomfort and pain felt when a blockage in a coronary artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching part of the heart
angiogram invasive diagnostic test whereby a dye is injected into the arteries through a catheter in order to observe the blood vessels
angioplasty procedure for treating blockages and blood clots in which a small balloon is inflated to open clogged arteries
ankle joint joint made by the two leg bones (the tibia and the fibula) and the most superior bone in the foot (the talus)
annular ringlike
antiarrhythmic
agents
drugs that slow or eliminate rapid contraction of the ventricle
antibody protein produced in a controlled manner by certain white blood cells (lymphocytes) to neutralize an antigen or foreign protein and fight disease, but whose uncontrolled production can cause illness; immunoglobulin
anticholinergics quick-relief asthma medications that work by inhibiting nerve receptors in the airways and by blocking reflex bronchoconstriction of the nervous system
antigen substance that can trigger an immune response, resulting in production of an antibody as part of the body's defense against infection and disease; allergen
antihistamines drugs that block the effects of histamine, a chemical released in body fluids during an allergic reaction, and which reduce itching, sneezing, and runny nose
anti-inflammatory
agents
drugs that reduce inflammation and its effects
anxiety generalized feeling of apprehension, fear, or worry that interferes with normal life functions
aortic valve one-way valve that allows blood to flow only out of the left ventricle and into the aorta
aphasia acquired abnormality in the production or comprehension of language
apnea condition in which the upper airway tends to collapse repeatedly while sleeping
appendicolith small hard stone often seen in the appendix that is generally composed of enough calcium to be seen on x-rays and particularly on CT scans
applecore (lesion) appearance of the typical annular-shaped cancer of the colon whose concentric growth around the tubular large bowel resembles an eaten apple
arrhythmia irregular heartbeat that features either very rapid ventricular contractions (tachycardia), an excessively slow heartbeat (bradychardia) or, most commonly, extra or "premature" beats
arteries blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the organs
articulate process by which two adjacent bones form a joint and slide upon each other
artifact various types of image distortion and interference found in x-ray film
artificial urinary
sphincter (AUS)
surgically implanted device (consisting of three parts: pump, balloon reservoir, and cuff) that is used to control the involuntary release of urine associated with prostate and urinary tract surgery
assisted reproductive
technologies (ART)
fertility treatments that incorporate methods of sperm retrieval and preparation: artificial insemination (AI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and sperm microinjection techniques
asthma chronic, inflammatory lung disease triggered by allergens, infection, exercise, cold air, and other factors that cause narrowing of the airways, breathing difficulty, coughing, and wheezing
ataxia telangiectasia
(AT)
progressive, degenerative genetic disease, which causes degeneration of the nervous system, cancer, and immunodeficiency
atherosclerosis condition in which lipids (fats) collect under the inner lining of damaged artery walls, eventually narrowing or blocking the artery and obstructing blood flow
athlete's foot common, irritating, often persistent infection of the foot caused by a dermatophyte (microscopic moldlike fungus) that lives on dead tissues of hair, toenails, and outer skin layers
atony lack of muscle tone, usually leading to temporary weakness
atopy hereditary presence of antibodies associated with allergic reactions
atria (sing., atrium) right and left upper chambers of the heart
atrial fibrillation abnormal rhythm of the heart that can result in an increased risk of stroke due to the formation of emboli (blood clots) in the heart
atrophy wasting of tissue, cell, or organ
aura warning symptoms like disturbances in vision, strange smells, or hallucinations that occur prior to a particular neurological event, such as seizure or migraine
autism lifelong developmental disability that occurs by itself or in association with other disorders that affect the function of the brain, such as viral infections, metabolic disturbances, mental retardation, epilepsy, and fragile X syndrome; characterized by severely impaired social interaction and communication skills and restrictive or repetitive movements, interests, and behaviors
autoimmune abnormal response of the immune system that causes antibodies and immune-mediated cells to attack one's own tissues
autologous derived from or originating in an individual
AV node
(atrioventricular node)
patch of electrical-wire-like specialized heart tissue located between the atria and the ventricles that conducts contractile impulses from the atria to the ventricles
axon inner core of peripheral nerves
BAEP see brainstem auditory evoked potential
basal cell carcinoma most common skin cancer, derived from the basal cell
basal cells cells that form the bottom layer of the epidermis
basal ganglia series of structures located deep in the brain that are responsible for motor movements
behavioral modification
techniques
See biofeedback, bladder training, habit training, pelvic muscle exercises.
Bell's palsy paralysis of the facial nerve producing distortion on one side of the face
benign prostatic
hyperplasia
enlargement of the prostate associated with aging
benign not cancerous
beta2 agonists quick-relief medications that cause muscle relaxation and bronchoexpansion to relieve acute asthma symptoms
beta-blockers drugs that relieve stress on the heart by "blocking" the stimulating effect of adrenaline
bifurcation division of a single structure (usually vascular) into two paired structures, e.g., carotid bifurcation in the neck, where the common carotid arteries divide into the internal and external carotid arteries
bilateral affecting both sides of the body or two paired organs, e.g., the kidneys
biofeedback therapeutic training in which participants learn to control their involuntary nervous system through response to electric stimuli
biologic therapy systemic therapy utilizing interferon or interleukin
biopsy (v.) to remove a sample of tissue for diagnostic evaluation; (n.) tissue specimen
bladder training behavioral modification technique used to resist or inhibit the urge to urinate unpredictably
bladder hollow, muscular, balloon-shaped organ that stores urine until it is excreted
blanch to make white or pale; to take color out
blepharospasm involuntary closure of the eyes and lids
blood clot insoluble mass of blood
blood culture laboratory examination of a blood sample to detect the presence of disease-causing microorganisms
blood pressure
measurement
measure of the force of blood flow against artery walls taken with an inflatable cuff, inflating bulb, and a pressure gauge
blood thinners drugs that inhibit blood clotting
bone hard type of connective tissue, primarily made up of osteoblasts, osteocytes, and collagen, that supports and protects the body
bone scan nuclear medicine study used for detecting the presence of boney metastasis
bone survey radiologic study used to detect fractures and/or areas of boney destruction
brachymetatarsia condition in which one of the metatarsals (the five long bones of the foot) is abnormally short, making the toe short as well
brachytherapy radioactive pellets applied to the body area being treated; used to treat some cancers
bradykinesia slowing of motor movements due to dysfunction of the basal ganglia and related structures
brain attack see stroke
brain injury (1) closed head injury (CHI), which is caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head during which the brain bounces off the inside of the skull; (2) open head injury (OHI), caused by car accident, gunshot wound, or other external factor
brainstem auditory
evoked potential
test that measures how much auditory stimulus is required to cause a response from the brainstem
breast modified sweat gland that produces milk during pregnancy
bronchial provocation test used to diagnose asthma; also bronchoprovocation, bronchial challenge
bronchitis inflammation of the bronchi (lung airways) that causes a persistent cough and sputum (phlegm) production; especially common in smokers and in areas with atmospheric pollution
bronchoconstriction constriction of the bronchial airways in the lungs, causing shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and wheezing
bronchodilator drugs group of drugs that widen the airways in the lungs
bronchus
(pl., bronchi)
any of the larger air passages connecting the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs
bulla (pl., bullae) sharply circumscribed, elevated, fluid-filled lesions in the skin that are over 0.5 centimeters in diameter; blister
bunion bulge or bump that develops on the inner side of the foot, near the base of the first toe, caused by poor alignment of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint of the big toe, or hallux
bursa sac of fluid typically found in areas where muscles or tendons tend to rub against bone, such as the hip, knee, and ankle
bursitis condition in which a bursal sac becomes inflamed due to irritation
calcaneus heel bone, the largest bone in the foot
calcifications hard, dense, stonelike material that forms in numerous areas throughout the body, including arteries (plaque), veins (phleboliths), kidneys (stones), and gallbladder (gallstones)
calcium-channel
blockers
drugs that limit calcium entry into the cells and stimulate contraction
callus area of skin that grows thick in response to repeated pressure and friction
candidiasis infection of the skin, mucous membranes, and sometimes internal organs with the yeast Candida
carbuncle deep-seated infection involving a cluster of hair follicles, often accompanied by a large area of redness and swelling
carcinoma type of cancer that has the ability to spread, or metastatsize, to other areas of the body
cardiac catheterization diagnostic procedure using a flexible tube, or catheter, that is passed into the heart through a vein or an artery in order to withdraw samples of blood, measure pressures within the heart chambers or vessels, and inject x-ray contrast materials to view the heart
cardiac transplantation replacement of a damaged or diseased heart with a healthy heart from a donor who has died of other causes
carotid arteries paired (right and left) arteries that arise from the aorta or branch of the thoracic aorta; external carotid arteries in the neck supply blood to structures in the face, internal carotid arteries supply blood to much of the front of the brain
cartilage type of connective tissue found on the ends of bones, which protects and cushions them, and absorbs the forces transmitted throughout the body; living tissue without a direct blood supply
CAT scan
(computerized axial tomography)
specialized x-ray examination that is often used to visualize the brain and spinal structures, chest, abdomen, and pelvis
cataplexy sudden loss of postural tone, often resulting in complete collapse; common in narcolepsy or intense emotional response
catheter tube passed through the body for draining fluids, injecting fluids into body cavities, and performing certain tests
catheterization insertion of a catheter
cecum beginning of the large bowel where the end of the small bowel (ileum) empties into the cecum at the ileocecal valve
central nervous
system
the brain and the spinal cord
cerebral aneurysm weakness in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain
cerebrospinal fluid fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord
cerebrovascular
disease
disorders of the blood vessels that supply the brain
chancre hard, syphilitic, primary ulcer, usually occurring singularly; first sign of syphilis
charcot foot severe collapse and fracturing of the foot, seen most often in diabetic patients with neurological problems
Charcot-Marie-
Tooth disease
progressive debilitating neuromuscular disorder; also hereditary motor sensory neuropathy and peroneal muscular atrophy
chemolysis destruction through the use of chemicals; chemical injection treatment to dissolve kidney stones
chest pain see angina
cholesterol soft, waxy type of fatty particle (lipid) that circulates in the blood; building block for all cell membranes and many sex hormones
circle of Willis circle of arteries at the base of the brain that is fed by the two paired internal carotid arteries and the two paired vertebral arteries
clonus increase in involuntary muscle tone and subsequent movement that results in spasm
cluster headache one-sided severe pain around the eye that usually occurs at night; associated with nasal stuffiness and tearing of the eye
cm centimeter
colon tubular structure from the stomach to the anus that consists of the small intestine and the large intestine
colonoscopy test in which a length of fiberoptic tubing is inserted into the rectum and passed into the beginning of the large bowel (cecum), allowing the physician to directly visualize the bowel walls
coma state of unconsciousness, with the eyes closed
comedo
(pl., comedones)
thickened secretion of dead skin cells and oily material plugging a follicle or pore; closed (whiteheads), open (blackheads)
computerized axial
tomography
see CAT scan
congestive heart
failure (CHF)
potentially lethal condition in which congestion develops in the lungs that is produced by a heart attack, poorly controlled or uncontrolled hypertension, or disease processes that weaken the heart
conscious sedation medication that allows a patient to sustain what could be an unpleasant experience by producing "grogginess" and often complete amnesia of the event
contact dermatitis reaction that occurs when the skin comes into contact with a substance to which the body is allergic
cor pulmonale enlargement and eventual failure of the right ventricle of the heart, caused by lung disease
core needle biopsy used by a pathologist to detect abnormality in tissue
corns thickened areas of skin that form in response to excessive pressure and friction, usually hard and round, with a polished or translucent center, like a kernel of corn
coronary angiography x-ray imaging of the coronary arteries through a catheter
corpora cavernosa two spongy tissue chambers of the penis that run the length of the organ; tissue that fills with blood during an erection
corticospinal tract nervous system structures that begin in the brain and travel to the motor neuron cell to innervate the motor nerves
corticosteroids group of anti-inflammatory drugs similar to natural hormones produced by the cortex of the adrenal glands
creatinine waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys and expelled in urine
Crohn's disease inflammatory disease most prominent in the small bowel, which may involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract and other organs, and which is associated clinically with diarrhea and irritable bowel; regional ileitis
crust scablike coating of dried blood, pus, or drainage that covers wounds or damaged skin
cryosurgery destruction of a skin lesion by applying liquid nitrogen
cryotherapy therapeutic use of cold
CT KUB computerized tomography of the abdomen and pelvis in which no oral or intravenous dyes are used, which is often used to detect conditions such as acute appendicitis, renal or ureteral stones, and diverticulitis
CT scan see CAT scan
curettage and
desiccation
surgical technique in which a curette is used to scrape tissue, followed by drying and burning of that tissue with electrocautery
curette surgical instrument with a round, hollow, sharp tip that is used to scrape tissues
cutaneous T-cell
lymphoma (CTCL)
cancer of the T cells, often confined to the skin but has the ability to spread
cutaneous related to the skin
cyst sac that contains semisolid or liquid contents
cystectomy surgical removal of the bladder
cystocele herniation of the bladder into the vagina
cystoscopy procedure using a flexible scope inserted into the urethra and then into the bladder to determine abnormalities in the bladder and lower urinary tract
dander minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may be allergenic
de novo in a new manner or form
deep tendon reflexes deep muscle stretch reflexes that are triggered by tapping on the tendons; the "knee jerk"
deltoid ligament complex of four ligaments (anterior tibiotalar, tibionavicular, tibiocalcalcaneal, and posterior tibiotalar) that helps support the medial side of the ankle joint
dementia acquired loss of cognitive function that may affect language, attention, memory, personality, and abstract reasoning
demyelination destruction of myelin sheath that envelopes nervous system structures
density densities on plain x-rays vary from black to white, depending on the composition of the material the x-rays pass through; black indicates the lowest x-ray density (air) and white, the highest (bone)
depigmentation loss of pigment, especially melanin
dermatitis inflammation and irritation of the skin
dermis second layer of skin made up of a network of collagen and elastic fibers, blood vessels, and nerves
DESD see detrusor-external sphincter dyssynergia
desiccate to dry up
detrusor-external
sphincter dyssynergia
(DESD)
lack of coordination between the bladder and the external sphincter muscle, resulting in the inability to empty the bladder completely, which may cause severe urinary tract damage and life-threatening consequences
diabetes mellitus common form of diabetes in which the body cannot properly store or use glucose (sugar), the body's main source of energy
diastolic pressure arterial pressure measured while the heart rests between beats
digoxin or digitalis drug used to treat congestive heart failure by increasing the force of contraction; used to treat atrial fibrillation by slowing transmission of atrial electrical impulses (i.e., slowing the heart rate) and restoring normal heart rate
disease-free survival percentage of disease survivors still alive after a specified period of time
diuretic drug used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention by increasing the elimination of salt and water by the kidneys
diverticulum small outpouching of the lining of various tubular structures in the body
DNA deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic blueprint in all of our cells
dorsiflex upward motion of a body part
duodenum first segment of the small bowel
dust mites microscopic organisms that feed on dead skin, whose feces are a common environmental allergen that can trigger asthma
echocardiogram record produced by echocardiography
echocardiography noninvasive cardiac imaging procedure used to diagnose heart disease, valve disorders (valvular heart disease), weakened heart muscle, fluid around the heart (pericarditis), and other abnormalities or defects by reflecting sound waves off the heart
eczema disorder of the skin characterized by inflammation, itching, blisters, and scales
edema swelling as a result of fluid retention
EEG
(electroencephalogram)
test used to study brain wave activity, often used to evaluate seizure disorders
ejaculation ejection of semen during male orgasm
ejection fraction percentage of blood that is ejected out of the left ventricle into the aorta with each heart beat
electrocardiography/
electrocardiogram
(ECG, EKG)
graphical recording of the electrical currents that pass through the heart muscle during each heartbeat; commonly called an EKG because the procedure was developed in the Netherlands, where it was spelled "electrokardiogram"
electrohydraulic
lithotripsy (EHL)
technique that uses small shock waves to break up small kidney stones
electron-beam radiation radiation therapy in which the beams penetrate the skin only, thus limiting internal side effects
EMG/NCV
(electromyography/
nerve conduction study)
test to study the nerves and muscles for diagnosis of disorder, with electrical conduction studied in the NCV
encephalitis inflammation or infection of the brain
endocarditis inflammation and infection of a heart valve or the lining of the heart's chambers
endothelium layer of epithelial cells that lines the cavities of the heart, blood vessels, and the serous cavities of the body
enterocele herniation of the small bowel into the vagina
epidermis top layer of skin, composed mainly of squamous cells, as well as basal cells, melanocytes, and other types of cells
epididymis
(pl., epididymes)
coiled tube that extends the length of each testis and connects with the vas deferens
epilepsy episodic disorder resulting from temporary brain dysfunction which produces convulsive or nonconvulsive seizures
erosion moist, slightly depressed area of skin where the top layer (epidermis) has been removed
erythema redness and warming of the skin, typically due to inflammation caused by trauma or infection
erythroderma diffuse reddening of the skin, caused by one of many disorders including psoriasis, eczema, drug sensitivities, and lymphoma
esophagus muscular tube that begins at the back of the throat, passes through the neck and chest, and enters the stomach at the gastroesophageal junction just below the diaphragm
esphagogastric-
duodenoscopy (EGD)
test to observe the esophagus, stomach, and portion of the small intestine
estrogen hormone produced by the ovaries that is responsible for the development of female sex characteristics
eversion motion of a body part as it tilts away from the midline
evoked potentials series of electrophysiological tests to evaluate the function of specific nervous system elements associated with multiple sclerosis
exacerbation worsening of symptoms
excise to cut out
excisional biopsy surgical removal of tissue for pathological analysis
exfoliation shedding of the top layers of the epidermis
external-beam
radiation therapy
treatment that utilizes external-beam radiation
extracorporeal shock
wave lithotripsy
(ESWL)
highly focused electrical impulses that are projected from outside the body to pulverize kidney stones
extrinsic asthma asthma triggered by an allergic reaction, usually something that is inhaled
fasciculation twitching of the muscles that is seen in diseases of the peripheral nervous system
fibrillation uncontrolled rapid contraction of the fibers in the heart that occurs in the atrial, or upper, chambers (atrial fibrillation) and in the ventricular, or lower, chambers (ventricular fibrillation)
fibrosis formation of fibrous (scar) tissue after an injury
fine needle aspirate
(FNA)
insertion of small gauge needle into an area of abnormality with an attempt to suck out small amounts of tumor for review by a pathologist
first metatarsal
phalangeal joint
(1st MTJ)
where the big toe connects to the foot; common site for the development of osteoarthritis
fissure linear split or crack, usually in areas of chronic inflammation and skin thickening such as calluses on hands and feet
flexible sigmoidoscopy insertion of a small-sized tube into the rectum to visualize the rectum and a portion of the colon
follicle (hair follicle) tiny tubular structure in the skin, contiguous with the top skin layer, or epidermis, that includes the canal, the hair shaft, the sebaceous (oil) gland, and the muscle anchored to the follicle's side wall
folliculitis inflammation with or without infection of the hair follicle
fungus (p., fungi) member of a group of simple plantlike organisms that do not have leaves or flowers and that live off organic matter such as hair, skin, and nail cells of humans, animals, and plants
furuncle deep inflammation and infection of the hair follicle
gadolinium contrast agent that is given intravenously during MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to increase visualization of specific abnormalities
gait manner of walking
gallium scan nuclear medicine study used to monitor gallium-avid lymphomas
gamma-knife
radiation
radiosurgery used most often to treat brain tumors and vascular lesions
gantry the doughnut- or bagel-shaped device used for CT or MRI
gastroesophageal
(GE) junction
important junction between the esophagus and the stomach that normally permits one-way ingestion to the stomach
GI gastrointestinal
gout systemic disease caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints of the body, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain
grade system used to classify the aggressiveness of a tumor
granulocytes infection-fighting white blood cells (also called polymorphonuclear cells, PMNs, or polys)
Guillain-Barr´┐Ż
syndrome
inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves characterized by rapid onset of weakness and often paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles, and face.; acute idiopathic polyneuritis
habit training behavioral modification technique that establishes scheduled toileting at regular intervals
hallux proximal phalanx (end bone) of the first, big toe; site of many muscle attachments that, when imbalanced, contribute to the formation of a bunion
hammertoes common deformity caused by a muscle imbalance in the foot
hay fever See rhinitis.
heart attack See myocardial infarction.
heart failure See congestive heart failure.
heart murmur whooshing sound caused by the turbulent flow of blood from the left ventricle across the mitral valve and back into the left atrium
heart transplant See cardiac transplantation.
heel spur condition in which a small piece of bone is pulled away from the calcaneus
hematemesis act of vomiting blood
hematuria blood in the urine, visible or microscopic
hemiparesis weakness that affects one side of the body
hemoptysis act of coughing up blood
hemorrhage bleeding
heparin drug that inhibits blood clotting
her2-neu protein that indicates aggressive cancer, which is found in 30% of breast cancer patients
histamine chemical present in cells throughout the body, which is released during an allergic reaction
HIV (human
immunodeficiency virus)
virus that affects the immune system and causes the disease known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency disorder)
homograft valve aortic valve that has been taken from a human organ donor and used to replace a diseased heart valve
hormonal therapy systemic therapy to block the action of specific hormones; use of antiandrogens to deprive cancer cells of the testosterone they need for growth
hospice home-based health care and support for terminally ill patients and their families
hydrocele painless swelling of the scrotum caused by a collection of fluid around the testicle; common in middle-aged men
hypercholesterolemia,
or high cholesterol
excessive or disproportionate amounts of lipids (fats) in the circulating blood, including low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and tryglicerides
hypermobility inability of the pelvic floor muscles to provide the necessary support for the urethra and bladder neck, causing the bladder neck to drop when any downward pressure is applied, and leading to involuntary leakage
hyperpigmented accentuation or increase of pigment
hyperplasia excessive growth of normal cells of an organ
hypertension, or high blood pressure increased resistance to blood flow through small blood vessels (arterioles), which forces the heart to work harder
hypopigmented lessening or lightening of pigment
idiopathic without a known cause
idiopathic pericarditis inflammation of the tissues of the pericardium, with no known or detectable cause
immune cells cells produced in our bodies that protect us from disease-causing agents by producing antibodies
immune system collection of cells, proteins, and lymphatic tissues that help protect the body from potentially harmful, infectious microorganisms
immunity insusceptibility that usually results from previous exposure to an infectious agent, either naturally or by vaccination
immunoglobulins proteins found in blood and in tissue fluids that are produced by B-lymphocyte cells in the immune system and which bind to foreign substances in the body in order to destroy them; antibodies
immunotherapy preventive, incrementally progressive, anti-inflammatory treatment for allergies to substances such as pollens, dust mites, fungi, and insect venom; allergy shots
incisional biopsy surgical removal of tumor tissue through a small incision
inflammation redness, swelling, heat, and pain in a tissue caused by injury, infection, or hypersensitivity to an allergen
insemination deposition of semen into the uterus, cervix, or vagina
in-situ confined to the top layer or epidermis; cancer that has not spread to deeper tissues and has minimal propensity to metastasize
interstim continence control therapy therapy used to treat urge incontinence
interstitial laser laser probe used to destroy prostatic tissue and to allow easier urination
intrinsic asthma asthma that has no apparent external cause
intrinsic sphincter deficiency (ISD) weakening of the urethra sphincter muscles
intussusception when one section of intestine slips over the next, like a sheath
invasive procedure medical examination that invades the body either by incision or by insertion of an instrument through the skin
inversion motion of a body part as it tilts toward the midline
irritable bladder involuntary contractions of muscles in the bladder that cause uncontrolled urination
irritant contact dermatitis dermatitis caused by irritating chemicals that come into contact with the skin
ischemia lack of blood flow to a part, often caused by constriction or obstruction of a blood vessel
isolated systolic hypertension condition usually found in the elderly in which only the systolic blood pressure is elevated
Kegel exercises exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor in order to control urination and prevent leakage
keratoacanthoma mostly benign, rapidly growing skin tumor that regresses spontaneously
kidney one of a pair of organs located at the back of the abdominal cavity that makes urine through blood filtration
kidney stone hard mass composed of urine elements that form in the kidneys
KOH potassium hydroxide
KUB kidney, ureter, bladder
lacunar subtype of stroke that affects the deeper parts of the brain and involves the tiny perforating arteries
laparoscopic lymph node dissection (LLND) procedure using a laparoscope to obtain a tissue sample of a lymph node(s)
laparoscopy generally less invasive surgery that uses a laparoscope to visualize internal organs through a small incision
large bowel three-foot section of the gastrointestinal tract beginning in the lower right side of the abdomen; the colon
laser light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation; device that produces light in a coherent, intense beam
lateral describes the plane or movement that inclines away from the center or midline; opposite of medial
lateral collateral ligaments complex of three ligaments that helps support the lateral side of the ankle joint; consisting of the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular, and the posterior talofibular ligaments
left ventricular assist device (LVAD) complex pump that is implanted in the body to assist the left ventricle in pumping blood
ligament substance made of fibrous tissue that helps connect and stabilize joints, strengthening the gap between two or more bones, cartilage, and/or muscles
liquid nitrogen liquid form of nitrogen gas (-195 degrees Celsius) that is used to treat various skin lesions in cryosurgery
lithotripsy procedure that uses ultrasonic shock waves to break up stones in the urinary tract so their fragments can be passed
lumbar puncture (spinal tap) removal and analysis of some of the cerebrospinal fluid from the base of the spine, used to diagnose meningitis or nervous system syphilis
lung organ (pair) of the thorax whose contractions and expansions during respiration deliver oxygen to the blood
Lyme disease disease that affects the joints, nervous system, and heart that is transmitted by the deer tick and is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi
macule small area of skin different in color to the majority of the body, but flush with the surrounding skin
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
malignant cancerous tumor or other disease state that has a debilitating, unremitting course
medial inclining toward the center or midline of the body; opposite of lateral
melanocytes cells intermingled with the basal cells in the bottom layer of the epidermis that produce pigment globules known as melanin
melanoma skin cancer that originates in a melanocyte
melena blood in the stool, typically loosely formed or liquid
meningitis inflammation or infection of the meninges, the three laminated ultrathin membranes surrounding the brain
menopause period that marks the permanent cessation of menstrual activity, usually occurring between the ages of 40 and 58
metastasis spread of disease from one organ or part to another
metastasize to spread from one part of the body to another, as in cancer
metastatic pertaining to metastasis; cancer that has spread to either the lymph nodes (regionally metastatic) or organs, e.g., lung, liver, adrenal glands, bone, or brain (distant metastasis)
metatarsals five bones that run from the center of the foot to the beginning of the toes
metered-dose inhaler (MDI) most common device for administering quick-relief asthma medications, consisting of a tube-shaped mouthpiece connected to a canister that projects a measured amount of medication when actuated by the user
mg milligram
midline invisible reference line that runs longitudinally and divides any body or object in half
migraine headache characterized by throbbing, one-sided pain, that may be associated with nausea, vomiting, and aura (sensory disturbances)
mitral valve one-way valve that allows blood to pass from the left atrium into the left ventricle and normally prohibits its reentry
mixed incontinence stress and urge incontinence occurring simultaneously
mL milliliter
motor neuron cells cells located in the spinal cord that give rise to nerves that supply the muscles
MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) test in which an MRI scanner is used to focus on structures within which blood flows, such as the arteries in the neck, brain, and lungs
multi-infarct dementia dementia that is caused by the cumulative affect of multiple strokes
multiple sclerosis (MS) chronic neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system, i.e., the brain and spinal cord
muscular dystrophy congenital (hereditary) disorder resulting in muscular weakness and dysfunction
myasthenia gravis disorder affecting the space between the nerve and the muscle (neuromuscular junction) that results in transient motor weakness of the face and limbs
myelin outer lipid (fatty) layer that covers nerves and nervous system pathways in the brain and spinal cord
myelosuppressive therapy that diminishes white blood cell count
myocardial infarction medical emergency that occurs when a blood clot forms suddenly in a coronary artery and blocks blood flow to an area of the heart; heart attack
myopathy disease of muscular dysfunction, usually causing weakness and atrophy
nadir lowest white blood cell count measured between chemotherapy treatments
narcolepsy sleep disorder characterized by sudden and repeated attacks of sleep, usually accompanied by cataplexy, hypnogogic hallucination, and sleep paralysis
nebulizer device used to deliver inhaled medications, in which an air compressor is used to blow an atomized medication through a mouthpiece or face mask
needle localization biopsy needle marker is inserted to define abnormal area prior to biopsy
nephrectomy removal of the kidney
nephrotomography conventional tomograms of the kidneys, especially in small sections of the kidneys
neurofibromatosis genetic disorder which causes skin lesions, cutaneous and subcutaneous tumors, and tumors on internal organs
neurons nerve cells of the brain responsible for neurological function
neuropathy condition resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves that results in weakness or sensory loss and pain in the arms, hand, legs, and feet
neutropenia low level of neutrophils in the blood
neutropenic fevers fever associated with low white blood cell count and low granulocyte count
neutrophil most abundant type of white blood cell, or leukocyte, that is active in immune responses and inflammatory reactions
nevus (pl., nevi) congenital skin lesion, e.g., mole, birthmark, etc.
nodule elevated, solid mass or lump (up to 2 cm in diameter) that can be located in the epidermis, dermis, or the subcutaneous fat
noninvasive procedure medical examination that does not penetrate the skin or invade the body, except for minor needle sticks
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) drugs that act against inflammation, reduce fever, relieve muscle pain, and prevent blood clots
normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) increase in pressure within the ventricles of the brain, causing dementia, gait difficulties, and urinary incontinence
nystagmus jerking movement of the eyes associated with neurological disorder
occlusion closure; in sleep apnea, closing of the airway at the back of the mouth or top of the throat
oncologist physician specializing in cancer treatment
onychomycosis fungal infection of the fingernails or toenails that causes thickened, discolored, and often brittle nails
open nephrolithotomy surgical excision of kidney stones via the back or abdomen in which the kidney may be opened
orchiectomy surgical removal of one or both of the testicles
orchitis inflammation of the testicle
osteoarthritis deterioration of cartilage in the joints
osteomyelitis infection in a bone
overactive bladder condition characterized by involuntary, uncontrollable bladder muscle contractions during the bladder filling phase
overall survival percentage of disease survivors, with disease and free of disease, after a specified period of time
overflow UI leakage of small amounts of urine from a bladder that is always full
pacemaker battery-powered implantable device that electrically stimulates the heart to contract and pump blood throughout the body in cases where the heart's electrical system is dysfunctional
palliation relieving symptoms and maintaining comfort through either the use of surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy
palliative something that helps manage symptoms of, but does not cure, a disease
papule small (less than 1 centimeter), circumscribed, elevated skin lesion that is pointed, flat topped, dome shaped, smooth, or eroded
paraneoplastic disorders that occur due to the remote effects of cancer, such as through the mechanism of hormonal or antibody production
paresthesias unusual sensory symptoms of tingling, numbness, or other abnormal feelings of sensation
Parkinson's disease condition in which cells that produce dopamine degenerate, causing tremor, muscle stiffness, and loss of motor function
pathology field concerned with examination of tissues removed for the purposes of diagnosing disease and guiding patient care
PCP (primary care physician) large subset of physicians who do not provide specialized care, including internists, pediatricians, and general practitioners
peak expiratory flow measurement of the ability to blow air out of the lungs that is used to diagnose asthma
pelvic muscle exercises pelvic muscle exercises intended to improve pelvic muscle tone and prevent leakage associated with stress urinary incontinence; Kegel exercises
percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCN) manual extraction of kidney stones "through the skin"
pericardial effusion accumulation of fluid between the pericardium and the heart
pericardiocentesis surgical puncuture of the pericardial space in order to drain fluid
pericarditis inflammation of the tissues of the pericardium
pericardium thin membranous covering of the outer surfaces of the heart
perineal prostatectomy procedure to remove the prostate that uses a perineal incison, which allows easier visualization of the bladder/urethral anastomosis, quicker recovery, tissue spare, and blood conservation
peripheral nerves nerves outside the brain and spinal cord
peripheral nervous system peripheral nerves and muscular structures
periurethral bulking injections procedure in which injected implants are used to "bulk up" the area around the neck of the bladder, allowing it to resist increases in abdominal pressure, which can push down on the bladder and cause leakage
pes cavus highly arched feet
pes planus flat feet
petechiae (pe tek' ee) small, pinpoint red or brown spots that represent escape of blood from the vessels into the surrounding skin
phalanx (pl., phalanges) small bones of the foot that make up the toes; the first toe having two, the proximal phalanx (hallux) and the distal phalanx; the other four toes having three phalanges each: proximal, middle, and distal
phleboliths small stones, or calcium deposits, that form within veins, causing congestion
phlebotomy incision or needle puncture of a vein for the drawing of blood for transfusion, diagnosis, or experiment
photophobia visual aversion to light, as experienced with migraine headache
plain film basic x-ray with no contrast agents
plantar fascia band of connective tissue that anchors the calcaneus to the front of the foot in order to support the arch
plantar fasciitis inflammation of the plantar fascia, often occurring with, or caused by, a heel spur
plantar warts warts that occur on the sole or plantar surface of the foot
plantarflex downward motion of a body part
plaque broad, elevated patch of skin, frequently formed by papules joining together; lesion that occurs in the "white matter" of the brain due to demyelination; in atherosclerosis, a mixture composed of cholesterol, other fatty substances, fibrous tissue, and calcium that collects in the lining of an arterial wall
platelets coagulating blood cells
polyps small fingerlike outgrowths of tissue from the linings of various tubular organs that are usually benign
polysomnography sleep study, in which numerous physiological monitors are attached to the patient to record nighttime breathing, brain activity, and physical activity
porcine valve valve made of tissue from a pig that is used to replace a diseased heart valve
positive airway pressure technique for treating obstructive sleep apnea in which forced air, fed through a mask, is pumped into the nose and mouth, and which keeps the airway open during sleep
post-void residual (PVR) volume diagnostic test that measures how much urine remains in the bladder after urination
prophylactic medications or treatments that are preventative in the treatment of disease
prostaglandin various oxygenated unsaturated cyclic fatty acids of animals that have a variety of hormonelike actions, e.g., to control blood pressure or smooth muscle contraction
prostate muscular, walnut-sized gland that surrounds part of the urethra and secretes seminal fluid, a milky substance that combines with sperm (produced in the testicles) to form semen
prostatectomy surgical removal of the prostate; See also suprapubic prostatectomy, retropubic prostatectomy, radical retropubic prostatectomy, perineal prostatectomy.
prostatic stent wire device that expands after placement, pushing prostate tissue away from passageway and allowing for easier urination
prostatitis inflammation of the prostate
prostatron (TUMT, or transurethral microwave thermotherapy) microwaves used to open passageways, allowing for easier urination
ptosis drooping of the eyelids due to weakness of the muscles that normally keep the lids open
pubovaginal sling surgical procedure in which tissue or synthetic material is placed under the bladder neck to support and immobilize it, improving sphincter function and continence by decreasing bladder neck movement
pulmonary embolus blockage in the lung, namely a blood clot
pustule raised lesion on the skin that contains pus
pyelonephritis inflammation of the kidney, usually due to a bacterial infection
pyuria presence of pus in the urine, usually an indication of kidney or urinary tract infection
radiation oncologist physician trained in the use of radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer
radical retropubic prostatectomy removal of the entire prostate through an abdominal incision that allows the surgeon to spare nerve tissue and analyze lymph nodes
radiculopathy irritation and inflammation of one of the nerve roots in the vicinity of the spinal column
rectocele herniation of the rectum into the vagina
REM (rapid eye-movement sleep) stage of sleep that is characterized by significantly decreased muscle tone, rapid eye movements, and dreaming; stage 5 sleep
respiratory system group of body organs responsible for carrying oxygen from the air to the bloodstream and for expelling carbon dioxide as a waste product
restless legs syndrome common neurological disorder that causes pulling, tearing, and jerking sensations in the legs when a person is at rest
retrograde ejaculation discharge of semen into the bladder rather than through the urethra and out of the body
retropubic prostatectomy surgical procedure using an abdominal incision in order to incise the prostatic capsule and remove obstructing tissue
rheumatoid arthritis chronic inflammatory disease that causes the body's immune system to attack the joints
rhinitis inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the nose, often caused by allergies to pollen, dust, and other airborne substances
rigidity stiffness in the limbs or body due to dysfunction of the basal ganglia and related structures
SA node (sinoatrial node) small area of specialized heart tissue located in the right atrium that conducts impulses through the right and left atria, signaling these chambers to contract and pump blood into the ventricles
scales layers of skin cells (fine and barely visible, thick and silvery, waxy, or large and adherent) accumulated on top of the skin due to abnormal formation and shedding of the top layers
scar permanent fibrous skin changes, often elevated and thickened, that follow some sort of damage; pink to purple in hue, eventually fading to shiny white
sciatic nerve large nerve in the lumbar-sacral spinal region that is composed of multiple nerve roots that supply the lower extremities
seizure abnormal electrical discharge of brain cells (neurons) that results in a transient disturbance in brain function
SEP (somatosensory evoked response) measures function of the central nervous system, including pathways from the extremities
serotonin important neurotransmitter (communicates information chemically between brain cells) that is involved in pain sensation and emotional perceptions
sesamoiditis inflammation of the sesamoid bones
sesamoids bones contained within a ligament that provide strength and leverage to the ligament; two in the foot, located under the ball
sexually transmitted disease (STD) infection spread through sexual intercourse or genital contact
shinsplints injury or inflammation of the posterior tibial muscle and tendon caused by overstretching or improper/excessive use
silhouette sign observance of one type of tissue over another; x-ray
sling procedures surgical methods for treating urinary incontinence involving the placement of a sling, made of either a synthetic material or tissue obtained from the person undergoing the procedure
small bowel fourteen-foot section of the gastrointestinal tract, consisting of the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum, which empties into the beginning of the large bowel (the cecum) at the ileocecal valve
spasticity stiffness of the body involving the limbs that results from dysfunction of the corticospinal tracts
s-phase laboratory study to determine the percentage of cells preparing to divide, where low s-phase suggests less activity and biological aggressiveness, and high s-phase suggests increased activity and biological aggressiveness
sphincter ring of muscle fibers located around an opening in the body that regulates the passage of substances through the opening
spinal stenosis narrowing of the spinal canal due to disc disease, bony changes, ligamentous thickening, and congenital factors
spirometry medical testing procedure which measures the amount of air entering and leaving the lungs
squamous cell carcinoma second most common skin cancer that originates in the squamous cell
squamous cells flat cells that make up most of the epidermis
statins drugs that inhibit the manufacture of cholesterol by the liver; used to treat high cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia
status epilepticus seizures that continue for more than 20 minutes without an intervening period of responsiveness
stenosis condition that develops when any of the four major valves that regulate blood flow through the heart and lungs thickens, becomes damaged, or is diseased
stereotactic biopsy biopsy technique that relies on computer guidance to exactly locate and biopsy the tumor
stress test test that monitors the heart during exercise in order to identify the presence of heart disease or the risk of developing cardiac problems during strenuous activity; also, diagnostic test that requires patients to lift something or perform an exercise to determine if there is urine loss when stress is placed on bladder muscles
stress urinary incontinence involuntary loss of urine during periods of increased abdominal pressure, such as laughing, sneezing, coughing, or lifting
stroke medical event that occurs when a blood clot blocks the blood and oxygen supply to the brain; brain attack
subarachnoid hemorrhage bleeding in the area surrounding the brain, usually caused by a ruptured cerebral aneurysm
subcutaneous fat third layer of skin, located below the dermis and composed mainly of fat cells and blood vessels
suprapubic prostatectomy incising the bladder to remove obstructing prostatic tissue through a suprapubic incision below the navel
suture (n.) a stitch; (v.) to stitch
synovial fluid viscous substance that lubricates joints in the body and allows two adjacent cartilage caps to glide upon one another with minimal friction
systolic pressure arterial pressure measured as the heart contracts
T cell type of white blood cell that regulates the immune response; T lymphocyte
talus most superior bone of the foot that provides the primary connection between the leg and the foot and that articulates with the calcaneus to make up the subtalar joint
tarsal tunnel syndrome entrapment and compression of the tibial nerve that causes pain, burning, and tingling on the sole of the foot
TEE See transesophageal echo.
telangiectasia (tel an'je ek ta' zha) dilatation of tiny blood vessels in the skin that usually appear as fine red lines, sometimes in a meshlike pattern
tendon structure formed when a muscle condenses into a smaller complex before it attaches to a bone
tensilon test diagnostic test that is used to confirm myasthenia gravis
testosterone sex hormone that stimulates development of male sex characteristics and bone and muscle growth; produced by the testicles and, in small amounts, by the ovaries
theophylline bronchodilator drug, taken orally, that widens the airways in the lungs; used to prevent apnea and to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
thrombocytopenia decreased number of platelets in the blood
thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) hormone that stimulates hormonal secretion of the thyroid gland; thyrotropin
TIA See transient ischemic attack.
tibialis posterior dysfunction condition in which the tibialis posterior muscle and tendon weaken and tear often, causing muscle imbalance
tibialis posterior muscle in the leg that condenses to become a tendon in the foot; contributes to the arch of the foot and works with the Achilles tendon to allow people to stand on their toes with their heels off the ground
tinnitus ringing in the ears or head noises
tinea fungal infection of the skin, hair, or nails caused by one of several types of fungi
titration process of determining the proper concentration of a dissolved substance needed to produce a desired effect; in positive airway pressure, the proper amount of air pressure needed to prevent airway collapse (occlusion)
torticollis involuntary turning of the neck to one side, seen in disorders of the basal ganglia
toxoplasmosis common parasitic disease that presents as swollen "glands" (enlarged lymph nodes); when disease occurs in immunosuppressed people, it may cause encephalitis or brain abscesses
transesophageal echo (TEE) diagnostic procedure in which a transducer is passed down into the esophagus to a location behind the heart, where sound waves are sent and delivered to image the heart
transient ischemic attack (TIA) neurological symptoms that result from transient interruption of blood flow to the brain
transient urinary incontinence temporary episodes of urinary incontinence that are alleviated after the cause of the episode is identified and treated, such as a bladder infection
transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) destruction of prostate tissue with thermal energy that is passed through a needle
transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) common treatment for benign prostate hypertrophy, in which the inside of the prostate (urethra) is cored out to make the passage of urine easier
tremor uncontrollable shaking
trigeminal neuralgia disorder of the fifth cranial nerve that causes episodes of intense, stabling electric shock-like pain in the areas of the face where the nerve is distributed - jaw, lips, eyes, nose, scalp, and forehead
tuberous sclerosis genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to form in many different organs, but primarily in the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin, and lungs
tumor abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division, either benign or malignant; large and deep solid growth of skin or subcutaneous fat
ulcer area of skin loss involving the whole thickness of the skin, caused by infection, trauma, or cell death
ultrasonic lithotripsy use of high-frequency ultrasound waves to destroy kidney stones gradually, which are then passed naturally by the patient or removed by grasping forceps
underactive bladder bladder contraction of inadequate magnitude and/or duration that prohibits the bladder from emptying normally; See also overflow incontinence.
unilateral appearing on one side of the body
ureteroscopy flexible, fiberoptic instrument resembling a long, thin telescope that is inserted through the urethra and bladder up to the ureter for observation and often for retrieval of kidney stones
urge or urgency strong desire to void
urge UI involuntary loss of urine associated with a sudden and strong urge to void
urinalysis group of physical and chemical tests done on a sample of urine to check for various disorders, including those of the kidneys and urinary tract
urinary incontinence (UI) involuntary loss of urine sufficient enough to be a problem
urinary tract infections (UTIs) infections caused by bacteria that invade the urinary system and multiply, leading to an infection
urodynamic tests diagnostic tests to examine the bladder and urethral sphincter function
vaportrode type of cautery electrode that vaporizes prostatic tissue in order to expand the prostatic channel and make urination easier
varicocele embolization outpatient procedure in which the varicocele is closed off (occluded) by means of a balloon catheter (flexible tube with a tiny detachable balloon), steel coil, and/or sclerosing (vessel-hardening) solution
varicocelectomy cutting away of a varicocele
vascular related to blood vessels
vas deferens tubes that connect the epididymes to the prostate gland
vasectomy reversal See vasovasostomy.
vasoepididymostomy microsurgery that uses a microscopic camera and very small operative tools to remove blockage in the epididymis and to reattach the epididymis to the vas deferens
vasovasostomy reconnection of the severed ends of the vas deferens, which restores the flow of sperm through the vas deferens; vasectomy reversal
ventricles right and left lower chambers of the heart
VER (visual evoked responses) measures function of the central nervous system, including the pathway from optic tract
vertebrae (s., vertebra) bones that make up the spinal column
vertebral arteries paired arteries located behind the carotid areries that supply the back of the brain and the brainstem
vertigo dizziness or imbalance of equilibrium that usually causes a spinning sensation
vesica sling procedure See sling procedures.
vesicle small, sharply circumscribed, elevated, fluid-filled bumps in the skin measuring less than 0.5 centimeters; small blisters
vestibular system parts of the nervous system that control equilibrium and balance and that coordinate head and eye movement
vitiligo minimal or widespread appearance of white patches on otherwise normal skin due to loss of pigment
warfarin drug used to prevent blood clots
wheals solid, distinct elevations in the skin formed by localized swelling, ranging in color from white to dark pink; welts
white matter lipid-rich myelinated portion of the brain and spinal cord
Wilson's disease rare genetic disorder that causes progressive liver, neurologic, and psychiatric disorders that are - if untreated - always fatal
xerosis dry skin