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Copyright 2004 Tara K. Harper.  All rights reserved.

Medical Terms

Select by Letter:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

This file is for information only.  It is not intended for diagnosis.
The definitions listed here are brief reminders for the terms; they may not be either complete or detailed.

Related Files:
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Science and Technical  References for Writers


A
albuminaturia
- excessive amounts of albumin proteins (a simple protein) in the urine.
ALT - alanine aminotransferase.
antipyretic - antifebrile:  an agent that reduces fever.
apnea - absence of breathing; inhibition of breathing while swallowing, etc.
asthenia -
AST - aspartate aminotransferase.
ataxia - loss of muscular coordination for voluntary movement.
attenuated - weakened, as in, a weakened virus or one which is no longer pathogenic.  A common way to create an attenuated virus is to introduce it into a nonnatural host.

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B
bradycardia - slowness of the heartbeat; usually (for an adult) under 60 beats per minute.
bradysphygmia - slowness of the pulse.  Can occur without bradycardia (heartbeat might not produce a detectable pulse).
BSE - bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

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C
cerebellar ataxia
- loss of muscular coordination because of infection in the cerebellum.
conjunctivitis - inflammation of the mucous membrane which lines the inner surface of the eyelid and the front part of the eyeball.
contagious - communicable or transmissable by direct contact, either with the sick or with their secretions or excretions.

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D
defervesce - abatement of fever.
diascopy - the examination of skin lesions by pressing a flat glass plate against the lesion (to see, for example, if the lesion will blanch).

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E
ecchymosis
- a purplish patch (larger than petechiae) caused by blood being exuded into the skin.
edema
- swelling, or the accumulation of excessive amounts of watery fluid.
effusions - fluid escaping from blood vessels or lymphatics, and which collects in tissues or a cavity.
ELISA - enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assays.
encephalopathy - any disease of the brain.
enteritis - inflammation of the intestine.
eosinophilia - a condition in which there are organisms in the pulmonary system; the organisms can usually be seen on a chest x-ray.
epistaxis - profuse nasal hemorrhage.
erythema nodosum - knotlike or nodular lesions in the skin.
exudations - the oozing of fluid or pus, which can then become crusty or scabbed as a result of infection.

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F
Faget's sign
- a slow pulse with an elevated temperature.
febrile
- feverish.
figurate erythemas
- inflammatory (usually red) lesions in the skin.

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H
hemorrhagic diathesis - a tendancy toward spontaneous bleeding or abnormal bleeding from trivial trauma, such as from a needle puncture.
hyperesthesia - abnormal acuteness of sensitivity to touch, pain, or other stimuli.
hypertension - high blood pressure.

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I
iatrogenic - an unfavorable response to medicine or surgery, brought on by the medicine or surgery itself.
IFA - indirect fluorescent antibody technique.
infectious - transmitted by infection, with or without actual contact.
interstitial - relating to spaces within a tissue or organ, but not relating to the cavities or lumen of organs (such as the stomach cavity).

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L
leukocytosis
- an abnormally large number of leukocytes--white blood cell count of 10,000 or more per cubic mm.  
lymphadenopathy - infection of the lymph nodes.
lymphopenia - reduced number of lymphocytes in the circulating blood.

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M
melena
- the passing of dark, tarry stools, due to blood in the intestines;  the blood is discolored by intestinal juices.
metrorrhagia
- abnormal or acyclic bleeding from the uterus.
morbilus
- relating to measles.
myalgia
- muscular pain.
myelitis - inflammation of the spinal cord or bone marrow.

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N
neutrophilia - increased number of neutrophilic leukocytes in blood or tissues.

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O
odaxesmus
- a biting sensation; a form of paresthesia (an abnormal burning, tingling, biting, etc. sensation).
osteitis
- inflammation of the bone.
osteolytic lesions
- lesions which soften or destroy bony tissue.

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P
parenchyma
- the specific or distinguishing cells of a gland or organ.
pericarditis
- inflammation of the membrane around the heart.
perivascular - surrounding a blood or lymph vessel.
petechiae (petechia, pl) - minute hemorrhagic spots (pinpoint to pinhead size) in the skin which are not blanched by diascopy.
pH - a low pH => acidic environment;  a high pH => a base environment.  Acids = pH < 7.  Bases = pH > 7.
pharyngitis - inflammation of mucous membranes and the underlying parts of the pharynx.
prodromal - an early or premonitory symptom of a disease.
prostration - excessive loss of strength; weakness.
proteinuria - protein in the urine.
pruritis - itching.
pupura - a hemorrhage or lesion into the skin.

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S
splenomegaly
- enlargement of the spleen.

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T
tachycardia - rapid heartbeat.
tachypnea - rapid breathing.
thrombocytopenia - an abnormally low number of platelets in the circulating blood.
thrombocytopenic pupura - hemorrhages from mucous membranes and very low platelet counts.

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V
vascular permeability - permeability of the blood vessels.
viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) - a group of diseases caused by viruses from four families:  filoviruses, arenaviruses, flaviviruses, and bunyaviruses.


Copyright 2004 Tara K. Harper

All rights reserved.  It is illegal to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, any part of this copyrighted file without permission in writing from Tara K. Harper.  Permission to download this file for personal use only is hereby granted by Tara K. Harper.


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