These are medical definitions of medical terms from the MedTerms.com medical dictionary that appear in the Home Pharmacy article.
Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis. The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.
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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis. The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.
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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly (the abdomen). Abdominal pain can come from conditions affecting a variety of organs. The abdomen is an anatomical area that is bounded by the lower margin of the ribs above, the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below, and the flanks on each side. Although abdominal pain can arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity (the skin and abdominal wall muscles), the term abdominal pain generally is used to describe pain originating from organs within the abdominal cavity (from beneath the skin and muscles). These organs include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
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Acetaminophen: A pain reliever and fever reducer. Brand name: Tylenol. The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not known. Acetaminophen relieves pain by elevating the pain threshold (that is, by requiring a greater amount of pain to develop before it is felt by a person). Acetaminophen reduces fever through its action on the heat-regulating center (the "thermostat") of the brain. Generic is available.
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Acid indigestion: Excessive secretion of hydrochloric acid by the stomach cells. Medically known as hyperchlorhydria. Sometimes used interchangeably with heartburn. See also: Heartburn .
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Aleve: See: Naproxen .
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Aluminum: A naturally occurring element that makes up about 8% of the surface of the earth and is always found combined with other elements such as oxygen, silicon, and
Fluorine. Aluminum is is the most common metallic element in the earth's crust but has no clear biologic role. Everyone is exposed to low levels of aluminum from food, air, and
water. Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory problems (aluminosis). Inhalation of bauxite (aluminum ore) fumes may cause pulmonary fibrosis. Aluminum in the bloodstream may lead to neurological symptoms and may be fatal.
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Anaprox: See: Naproxen.
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Anesthetic: A substance that causes lack of feeling or awareness. A local anesthetic causes loss of feeling in a part of the body. A general anesthetic puts the person to sleep.
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Antihistamines: Drugs that combat the histamine released during an allergic reaction by blocking the action of the histamine on the tissue. Antihistamines do not stop the formation of histamine nor do they stop the conflict between the IgE and antigen. Therefore, antihistamines do not stop the allergic reaction but protect tissues from some of its effects. Antihistamines frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness. Newer "non sedating" antihistamines are generally thought to be somewhat less effective. Antihistamine side effects that very occasionally occur include urine retention in males and fast heart rate.
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Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis. (See osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis , psoriatic arthritis , lupus , gout , pseudogout ).
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Aspirin: A good example of a tradename that entered into the language, Aspirin was once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid.
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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms which can exist either as independent (free-living) organisms or as parasites (dependent upon another organism for life).
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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria. For example, a bacterial lung infection.
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Bicarbonate: In medicine, bicarbonate usually refers to bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate, baking soda) white powder that is common ingredient in antacids. Also, the bicarbonate level is an indirect measure of the acidity of the blood that is determined when electrolytes are tested. The normal serum range for bicarbonate is 22-30 mmol/L.
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Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a thrombus.
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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It's measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measured before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called â€œhypertension ".
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Bowel: Another name for the intestine. The small bowel and the large bowel are the small intestine and large intestine, respectively.
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Bronchitis: Inflammation and swelling of the bronchi. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic.
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Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is added to bones by cells called osteoblasts and is removed from bones by cells called osteoclasts. Calcium is essential for healthy bones. It is also important for muscle contraction, heart action, nervous system maintenance, and normal blood clotting. Food sources of calcium include dairy foods, some leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and collards, canned salmon, clams, oysters, calcium-fortified foods, and tofu. According to the National Academy of Sciences, adequate intake of calcium is 1,200 milligrams a day (four glasses of milk) for men and women 51 and older, 1,000 milligrams a day for adults 19 through 50, and 1,300 milligrams a day for children 9 through 18. The upper limit for calcium intake is 2.5 grams daily. Learn more about Calcium with evidence-based information on RxList.
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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains the lungs, the heart and part of the aorta. The walls of the chest are supported by the dorsal vertebrae, the ribs, and the sternum.
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Chest pain: There are many causes of chest pain. One is angina which results from inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle. Angina can be caused by coronary artery disease or spasm of the coronary arteries. Chest pain can also be due to a heart attack (coronary occlusion) and other important diseases such as, for example, dissection of the aorta and a pulmonary embolism. Do not try to ignore chest pain and "work (or play) though it." Chest pain is a warning to seek medical attention.
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Chickenpox: A highly infectious viral disease also known medically as varicella -- in many countries, this disease is always called "varicella" -- that causes a blister-like rash, itching, fatigue and fever. The rash crops up first on the face and trunk and can spread over the entire body resulting in 250 to 500 itchy blisters.
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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body, cholesterol has gotten something of a bad name. However, cholesterol is a critically important molecule.
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Chronic: This important term in medicine comes from the Greek chronos, time and means lasting a long time.
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Cirrhosis: An abnormal liver condition characterized by irreversible scarring of the liver. Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are among the many causes of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can cause yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. Diagnosis of cirrhosis can be suggested by physical examination and blood tests, and can be confirmed by liver biopsy in some patients. Complications of cirrhosis include mental confusion, coma, fluid accumulation (ascites), internal bleeding, and kidney failure. Treatment of cirrhosis is designed to limit any further damage to the liver as well as complications. Liver transplantation is becoming an important option for patients with advanced cirrhosis.
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Common cold: A viral upper respiratory tract infection. This contagious illness can be caused by many different types of viruses, and the body can never build up resistance to all of them. For this reason, colds are a frequent and recurring problem. In fact kindergarten children average 12 colds per year, while adolescents and adults have around seven colds per year.
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Congestion: An abnormal or excessive accumulation of a body fluid. The term is used broadly in medicine. Examples include nasal congestion (excess mucus and secretions in the air passages of the nose) seen with a common cold and congestion of blood in the lower extremities seen with some types of heart failure.
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Constipation: Infrequent (and frequently incomplete) bowel movements. The opposite of diarrhea, constipation is commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis , and medications (constipation can paradoxically be caused by overuse of laxatives). Colon cancer can narrow the colon and thereby cause constipation. The large bowel (colon) can be visualized by barium enema x-rays, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. Barring a condition such as cancer, high-fiber diets can frequently relieve the constipation.
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Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs typically in order to clear the lung airways of fluids, mucus, or material. Also called tussis.
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Decongestant: A drug that shrinks the swollen membranes in the nose and makes it easier to breath. Decongestants can be taken orally or by nasal spray. Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for more than five days without the doctor's advice, and if so, usually only when accompanied by a nasal steroid. Many decongestant nasal sprays often cause a rebound effect if taken too long. A rebound effect is the worsening of symptoms when a drug is discontinued. This is a result of a tissue dependence on the medication. Decongestants should not be used by patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) unless under doctor's supervision.
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Dextromethorphan: An oral cough suppressant available in the US without a prescription but which is sometimes abused as a recreational drug. Dextromethorphan (DXM) is chemically related to codeine and acts on the brain to suppress cough, but it does not have the pain relieving and addictive properties of codeine. DXM is an ingredient in more than 125 nonprescription cough and cold medications, including forms of Robitussin, Coricidin and Vicks.
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Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus . Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name "diabetes" because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria).
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Diarrhea: A familiar phenomenon with unusually frequent or unusually liquid bowel movements, excessive watery evacuations of fecal material. The opposite of constipation. The word "diarrhea" with its odd spelling is a near steal from the Greek "diarrhoia" meaning "a flowing through." Plato and Aristotle may have had diarrhoia while today we have diarrhea. There are myriad infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea.
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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of vision, the brain, balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear, and gastrointestinal system. Dizziness is a medically indistinct term which laypersons use to describe a variety of conditions ranging from lightheadedness, unsteadiness to vertigo.
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Earache: Pain in the ear. This can occur because of conditions within the ear itself, the ear canal, or the visible external portion of the ear. Acute infection of the middle ear , medically called acute otitis media , is inflammation of the middle ear and is the most frequent diagnosis in sick children in the US. The eustachian tube is shorter in children than an adult which allows easy entry of bacteria and viruses into the middle ear, resulting in acute otitis media in childhood. Infection of the ear canal ( otitis externa ) is also called swimmer's ear. Otitis externa is typically caused by bacterial infection. Earache can also be due to pain and inflammation of the outer portion of the ear. A child with a draining ear should not fly (or swim).
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Echinacea: An herb that has been claimed to boost the body's immune system and help fight off infections. Echinacea has been widely used to treat the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (URIs), including colds and the flu. The herb is derived from the purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, a drought-tolerant perennial plant native to North America with large purple flowers surrounding a large cone.
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Enteric: Pertaining to the small intestine. Also called (less often) enteral.
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Esophagus: The tube that connects the pharynx (throat) with the stomach. The esophagus lies between the trachea (windpipe) and the spine. It passes down the neck, pierces the diaphragm just to the left of the midline, and joins the cardiac (upper) end of the stomach. In an adult, the esophagus is about 25 centimeters (10 inches) long. When a person swallows, the muscular walls of the esophagus contract to push food down into the stomach. Glands in the lining of the esophagus produce mucus, which keeps the passageway moist and facilitates swallowing. Also known as the gullet or swallowing tube. From the Greek oisophagos, from oisein meaning to bear or carry + phagein, to eat.
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Expectorant: A medication that helps bring up mucus and other material from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea. An example of as expectorant is guaifenesin which promotes drainage of mucus from the lungs by thinning the mucus and also lubricates the irritated respiratory tract. Sometimes the term "expectorant" is incorrectly extended to any cough medicine. From the Latin expectorare, to expel from the chest, from ex-, out of + pectus, chest.
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FDA: The Food and Drug Administration, an agency within the U.S. Public Health Service, which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degrees F. (37 degrees C.), in practice a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C.).
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Fiber: The parts of plants that cannot be digested, namely complex carbohydrates. Also known as bulk or roughage.
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Food and Drug Administration: The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Public Health Service, which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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Generic: 1. the chemical name of a drug. 2. A term referring to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than to the advertised brand name under which the drug may be sold. 3. A term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising.
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Ginger: A perennial tropical herb that has been used as a treatment for nausea and bowel spasms.
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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or back ache, has many causes.
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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. It is positioned in the chest behind the sternum (breastbone; in front of the trachea, esophagus, and aorta; and above the diaphragm muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities. The normal heart is about the size of a closed fist, and weighs about 10.5 ounces. It is cone-shaped, with the point of the cone pointing down to the left. Two-thirds of the heart lies in the left side of the chest with the balance in the right chest.
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Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of blood supply is usually caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery, one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Death of the heart muscle, in turn, causes chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.
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Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is used narrowly and incorrectly as a synonym for coronary artery disease. Heart disease is synonymous with cardiac disease but not with cardiovascular disease which is any disease of the heart or blood vessels. Among the many types of heart disease, see, for example: Angina ; Arrhythmia ; Congenital heart disease ; Coronary artery disease (CAD); Dilated cardiomyopathy ; Heart attack (myocardial infarction); Heart failure ; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy ; Mitral regurgitation ; Mitral valve prolapse ; and Pulmonary stenosis .
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Heart rate: The number of heart beats per unit time, usually per minute. The heart rate is based on the number of contractions of the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart). The heart rate may be too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia). The pulse is bulge of an artery from the wave of blood coursing through the blood vessel as a result of the heart beat. The pulse is often taken at the wrist to estimate the heart rate.
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Heartburn: An uncomfortable feeling of burning and warmth occurring in waves rising up behind the breastbone (sternum) toward the neck. It is usually due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the rise of stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Heartburn has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart. It is a popular nonmedical term. It is medically called pyrosis.
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Herbal: 1. an adjective, referring to herbs, as in an herbal tea.
2. A noun, usually reflecting the botanical or medicinal aspects of herbs; also a book which catalogs and illustrates herbs.
The word "herbal" was pronounced with a silent "h" on both sides of the Atlantic until the 19th century but this usage persists only on the American side.
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Histamine: Substance that plays a major role in many allergic reactions. Histamine dilates blood vessels and makes the vessel walls abnormally permeable.
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Ibuprofen: A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to treat pain, swelling, and fever. Common brand names for Ibuprofen include Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin.
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Immune: Protected against infection. The Latin immunis means free, exempt.
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Inflammation: A basic way in which the body reacts to infection , irritation or other injury, the key feature being redness, warmth, swelling and pain . Inflammation is now recognized as a type of nonspecific immune response .
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Injury: Harm or hurt. The term "injury" may be applied in medicine to damage inflicted upon oneself as in a hamstring injury or by an external agent on as in a cold injury . The injury may be accidental or deliberate, as with a needlestick injury . The term "injury" may be synonymous (depending on the context) with a wound or with trauma .
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Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep. Individuals vary normally in their need for, and their satisfaction with, sleep. Insomnia may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
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Internal bleeding: Bleeding inside the body that is not seen from the outside. Internal
Bleeding occurs when damage to an artery or vein allows blood to escape the circulatory system and collect inside the body. The internal bleeding may occur within tissues, organs, or in cavities of the body including the head, chest, and abdomen. Examples of other potential sites of bleeding include the eye, lining tissues of the heart, muscles, and joints. Internal bleeding may not be evident for many hours after it begins, and symptoms occur when there is significant blood loss or if a blood clot is large enough to compress an organ and prevent it from functioning properly.
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Liver: An organ in the upper abdomen that aids in digestion and removes waste products and worn-out cells from the blood. The liver is the largest solid organ in the body. The liver weighs about three and a half pounds (1.6 kilograms). It measures about 8 inches (20 cm) horizontally (across) and 6.5 inches (17 cm) vertically (down) and is 4.5 inches (12 cm) thick.
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Liver disease: Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver. The liver is a large organ in the upper right abdomen that aids in digestion and removes waste products from the blood.
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Magnesia: Named after a town in present day Turkey where an ore containing magnesium carbonate was mined. Milk of Magnesia, the laxative , is magnesium hydroxide.
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Magnesium: A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the building of healthy bones, and normal muscle contraction. About 350 enzymes are known to depend on magnesium.
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Melatonin: A hormone produced by the pineal gland, melatonin is intimately involved in regulating the sleeping and waking cycles, among other processes. Melatonin supplements are sometimes used by people who have chronic insomnia. Always see your doctor before taking melatonin, as it is not recommended for all patients with sleep problems.
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Motion sickness: Motion sickness is a very common disturbance of the inner ear that is caused by repeated motion such as from the swell of the sea, the movement of a car, the motion of a plane in turbulent air, etc. In the inner ear (which is also called the labyrinth), motion sickness affects the sense of balance and equilibrium and, hence, the sense of spatial orientation.
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Mouth: 1. the upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and containing the teeth, gums, and tongue. Foodstuffs are broken down mechanically in the mouth by chewing and saliva is added as a lubricant. Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that digests starch. 2. Any opening or aperture in the body. The mouth in both senses of the word is also called the os, the Latin word for an opening, or mouth. The o in os is pronounced as in hope. The genitive form of os is oris from which comes the word oral.
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Mucus: A thick slippery fluid produced by the membranes lining certain organs such as the nose, mouth, throat, and vagina. Mucus is the Latin word for "a semifluid, slimy discharge from the nose." Note that mucus is a noun while the adjective is mucous.
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Naprelan: See: Naproxen.
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Naprosyn: See: Naproxen.
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Naproxen: A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. Naproxen blocks the enzyme cyclooxygenase that makes prostaglandins, resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. Brand names for naproxen include Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, and Aleve.
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Nasal: Having to do with the nose. Nasal drops are intended for the nose, not (for example) the eyes. The word "nasal" came from the Latin "nasus" meaning the nose or snout.
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Nausea: Nausea is the urge to vomit. It can be brought by many causes including, systemic illnesses, such as influenza, medications, pain, and inner ear disease. When nausea and/or vomiting are persistent, or when they are accompanied by other severe symptoms such as abdominal pain, jaundice, fever, or bleeding, a physician should be consulted.
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Nose: The external midline projection from the face.
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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia . Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.
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Pediatrics: "Pediatrics is concerned with the health of infants, children and adolescents, their growth and development, and their opportunity to achieve full potential as adults." (Richard E.Behrman in Nelson's Textbook of Pediatrics)
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Pharmacy: A location where prescription drugs are sold. A pharmacy is, by law, constantly supervised by a licensed pharmacist.
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Pharyngitis: Inflammation of the pharynx (the hollow tube in the back of the throat about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea ). Pharyngitis is popularly known as a sore throat.
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Physicians' Desk Reference: A thick volume that provides a guide to all prescription drugs available in the United States. Although not exactly recommended fare for bedtime reading, the PDR is a key reference to the American pharmacopeia.
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Poison: Any substance that can cause severe distress or death if ingested, breathed in, or absorbed through the skin. Many substances that normally cause no problems, including water and most vitamins, can be poisonous if taken in too large of a quantity. Poison treatment depends on the substance: if there are treatment instructions on the substance's container and you are sure it contained no other item, follow those directions immediately. Always contact your nearest Poison Control Center if you are concerned about possible poison ingestion.
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Poison ivy: Skin inflammation resulting from contact with oils from the poison ivy vine. Chemicals produced by this vine cause an immune reaction, producing redness, itching, and blistering of the skin.
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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.
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Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or device for a patient. A prescription has several parts. They include the superscription or heading with the symbol "R" or "Rx", which stands for the word recipe (meaning, in Latin, to take); the inscription, which contains the names and quantities of the ingredients; the subscription or directions for compounding the drug; and the signature which is often preceded by the sign "s" standing for signa (Latin for mark), giving the directions to be marked on the container.
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Public health: The approach to medicine that is concerned with the health of the community as a whole. Public health is community health. It has been said that: "Health care is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time."
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Rebound: Return of the original symptoms when maneuvers or treatment is discontinued.
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Reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.
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Reye syndrome: A sudden, sometimes fatal, disease of the brain (encephalopathy) with degeneration of the liver, occurs in children (most cases 4-12 years of age), comes after the chickenpox (varicella) or an influenza-type illness, and is also associated with taking medications containing aspirin.
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Runny nose: Rhinorrhea is the medical term for this common problem. From the Greek words "rhinos" meaning "of the nose" and "rhoia" meaning "a flowing."
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Sinus: 1. an air-filled cavity in a dense portion of a skull bone. The sinuses decrease the weight of the skull. The sinuses are formed in four right-left pairs. The frontal sinuses are positioned behind the forehead, while the maxillary sinuses are behind the cheeks. The sphenoid and ethmoid sinuses are deeper in the skull behind the eyes and maxillary sinuses. The sinuses are lined by mucous-secreting cells. Air enters the sinuses through small opening in bone called ostia. If an ostium is blocked, air cannot pass into the sinus and likewise mucous cannot drain out. See also: Sinusitis.
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Sinusitis: Sinusitis is inflammation of the lining membrane of any of the hollow areas (sinuses) of the bone of the skull around the nose. The sinuses are directly connected to the nasal cavities.
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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.
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Sodium: The major positive ion (cation) in fluid outside of cells. The chemical notation for sodium is Na+. When combined with chloride, the resulting substance is table salt.
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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful. I have sore fingers from typing dictionary terms. She has a sore throat. 2. (Noun) a nondescript term for nearly any lesion of the skin or mucous membranes. He has a number of sores in his mouth.
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Sore throat: Pain in the throat. Sore throat may be caused by many different causes, including inflammation of the larynx, pharynx, or tonsils.
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Stomach: 1. The sac-shaped digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upper part of the stomach connects to the esophagus, and the lower part leads into the small intestine.
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Stool: The solid matter discharged in a bowel movement.
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Stroke: The sudden death of some brain cells due to a lack of oxygen when the blood flow to the brain is impaired by blockage or rupture of an artery to the brain. A stroke is also called a cerebrovascular accident or, for short, a CVA.
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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. Anxiety, lower back pain, and fatigue are all symptoms. They are sensations only the patient can perceive. In contrast, a sign is objective evidence of disease. A bloody nose is a sign. It is evident to the patient, doctor, nurse and other observers.
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Syndrome: A set of signs and symptoms that tend to occur together and which reflect the presence of a particular disease or an increased chance of developing a particular disease.
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Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of the mouth, consisting anatomically of the pharynx and larynx. The throat contains the trachea and a portion of the esophagus.
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Tonsillitis: Inflammation of a tonsil, typically as a result of infection by either a virus or bacteria.
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Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. A topical agent is applied to a certain area of the skin and is intended to affect only the area to which it is applied. Whether its effects are indeed limited to that area depends upon whether the agent stays where it is put or is absorbed into the blood stream.
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Trauma: Any injury, whether physically or emotionally inflicted. "Trauma" has both a medical and a psychiatric definition. Medically, "trauma" refers to a serious or critical bodily injury, wound, or shock. This definition is often associated with trauma medicine practiced in emergency rooms and represents a popular view of the term. In psychiatry, "trauma" has assumed a different meaning and refers to an experience that is emotionally painful, distressful, or shocking, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.
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Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tubes, one on each side, which transport the egg from the ovary to the uterus (the womb). The Fallopian tubes have small hair-like projections called cilia on the cells of the lining.
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Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.
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Viral: Of or pertaining to a virus. For example, "My daughter has a viral rash."
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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. Infection with a virus can cause a person to develop symptoms. The disease and symptoms that are caused depend on the type of virus and the type of cells that are infected.
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Vitamins: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967). At the Lister Institute in London, Funk isolated a substance that prevented nerve inflammation (neuritis) in chickens raised on a diet deficient in that substance. He named the substance "vitamine" because he believed it was necessary to life and it was a chemical amine. The "e" at the end was later removed when it was recognized that vitamins need not be amines.
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Zinc: A mineral essential to the body, zinc is a constituent of many enzymes that permit chemical reactions to proceed at normal rates. It is involved in the manufacture of protein (protein synthesis) and in cell division. Zinc is also a constituent of insulin, and is concerned with the sense of smell.
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