Health A-Z

Ebola virus

Clinical Definition Ebola virus, named after a river in Africa where it was first recognized in 1976, is typically zoonotic (i.e., animal borne, such as from monkeys) and can cause Ebola hemorrhagic fever, a serious and often fatal disease in people and animals alike. No approved anti-viral drugs are available, and the infection may result


Clinical Definition An echocardiogram is the record of images and other data obtained through use of ultrasound technology in the investigation of the heart and great vessels, and for the diagnosis of cardiovascular lesions. In Our Own Words Echocardiography, or echo, is recorded imagery that utilizes ultrasound technology to create moving pictures of the heart,

Ectopic Pregnancy

Clinical Definition An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a human embryo implants outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Implantation outside the uterus puts the mother at greater risk, and the embryo has almost no chance of developing into a baby. In Our Own Words When a human embryo implants in a fallopian


Clinical Definition Eczema is a chronic or recurrent inflammation of the skin, producing dryness, itchiness and flakiness manifesting as red to brownish patches; small raised bumps; and cracked, scaly or raw and inflamed skin. It may be accompanied by – or linked to – allergies, asthma or hay fever. In Our Own Words “Eczema” and


Clinical Definition Edema is systemic swelling caused by an abnormal accumulation of fluids in the tissues of the body. Peripheral edema, which occurs in the feet, ankles and legs, is the most common. In Our Own Words Edema is defined as an excessive accumulation of watery fluid in tissues or body cavities, marked by swelling


Clinical Definition Elastin is a flexible, stretchy protein found with collagen in the dermis, responsible for providing structure to the skin and organs throughout the body. Elastin, like collagen, is affected adversely with age and environmental exposure. When elastin levels in the dermis diminish, it can lead to the onset of rhytides. In Our Own


Clinical Definition Electrolytes are negatively and positively charged minerals and salts in the body, which assist in balancing cellular fluid levels. Proper levels of electrolytes are essential for maintaining normal pH blood levels, transmitting nerve impulses and muscle contraction. Electrolyte levels in the body may become imbalanced through emesis, excessive perspiration, endocrine disorders and kidney


Clinical Definition Embolism refers to the occlusion of a blood vessel by an embolus (mass) that moves down the bloodstream and gets lodged in a blood vessel, causing circulation problems. In Our Own Words An embolism is when an embolus, which is a clump, bubble or mass, gets stuck in the bloodstream and causes a

Emergency Contraception

Clinical Definition The morning-after pill is a form of emergency contraception, or the use of drugs or a device to minimize the chances of pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure. Emergency copper intrauterine contraception (IUD) has the lowest failure rate, followed by mifepristone or ulipristal acetate, and then levonorgestrel. Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy


Clinical Definition An EMG, or electromyogram, is a test that measures electrical activity of the muscles and the nerves that control them during a two-part examination. It is part of an evaluation to help to detect causes of numbness, paralysis and spasm as well as facial and extremity pain. In the first part, the ability


Clinical Definition Emphysema is a chronic respiratory disease that occurs when the alveoli of the lungs become damaged and lose their elastic properties. Respiratory function is compromised when atelectasis occurs (over-inflation of the alveoli), and damage to the alveoli interferes with gas exchange. Development of disease is due to long-term inhalation of lung irritants like


Clinical Definition Encephalitis is a severe irritation and inflammation of the brain, usually due to infection. Most often, the infection is viral, such as the herpes simplex virus. Other causes include autoimmune disease, an allergic reaction to vaccines, bacteria and parasites, as well as the after effects of cancer. In Our Own Words Encephalitis, a


Clinical Definition Endocarditis is an inflammation of the heart valves or the endocardium, most commonly caused by a bacterial infection. It occurs when organisms (usually bacteria, but rarely fungi) enter the bloodstream and then reach the endocardium or the valves. Without proper treatment, endocarditis can be fatal. In Our Own Words Endocarditis occurs when the

Enlarged Prostate

Clinical Definition A common urinary tract disorder for men over age 60, an enlarged prostate gland presses against the urethra (tubal transport) and can block the flow of urine from the bladder. In Our Own Words The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland at the base of the male bladder that produces a fluid that forms


Clinical Definition Epilepsy is a chronic condition marked by recurrent seizures, also known as events of altered brain function generated by excessive electrical discharges from brain cells. There are many different causes of epilepsy, including brain tumors, stroke, congenital abnormalities, trauma and infection. Many cases of epilepsy go undiagnosed. In Our Own Words Epilepsy is

Erectile Dysfunction

Clinical Definition Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. ED may or may not be associated with other kinds of sexual dysfunction, such as decreased libido or problems with orgasm and/or ejaculation. In Our Own Words Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when a man is unable to


Clinical Definition Esophagitis is a swelling and irritation of the esophagus. As a result, swallowing can be painful or difficult. Causes can include acid reflux, vomiting, medications, infections and an allergy-associated condition known as eosinophilic esophagitis. In Our Own Words Esophagitis is inflammation and irritation of the esophagus (i.e. the tube that transports liquids and


Clinical Definition In women, estrogen is a hormone produced primarily by the ovaries and to a lesser extent by the adrenal glands. Estrogen is responsible for inducing the estrus cycle and the development of female secondary sex characteristics. The hormone also plays a role in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. Estrogen levels decline in females post-menopausal,

Exercise-Induced Asthma

Clinical Definition Exercise-induced asthma is a condition in which bronchospasm, airway inflammation and increased mucus production result from physical exertion or exercise. Exercise is a trigger for asthma exacerbation for the following reasons: During physical exercise, hyperventilation and oral breathing often occur. The air is not humidified and warmed through the nasal passages. Cold, dry

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