Health A-Z

Fallopian Tubes

Clinical Definition The fallopian tubes are two hollow tubes attached to each side of the uterus that transport the ova from the ovary to the uterus. Sperm typically fertilize ova within the fallopian tubes, and the fertilized ovum travels to the uterus for implantation. Tubal ligation is a form of permanent contraception unless it is

Fatty Acids

Clinical Definition Fatty acids are chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms with an acid group at the end. They combine to form lipids, such as triglycerides. The number of bonds between fatty acids dictates whether the resulting compound is saturated or unsaturated. In Our Own Words Fatty acids are one of the building blocks of

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

Clinical Definition Fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS, is a collection of congenital defects, such as ventricular septal defect or atrial septal defect, facial abnormalities and other developmental problems caused by exposure of the fetus to alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during the first trimester is most hazardous. In Our Own Words Fetal alcohol syndrome, or


Clinical Definition Fever is a physiological response, usually to disease, characterized by elevated core body temperature outside the normal levels. The hypothalamus regulates body temperature. When a pyrogen triggers a fever, arachidonic acid metabolites are released. The metabolites affect the hypothalamus causing a complex, systemic response in the body, which then results in increased body

Fibrocystic Breast Tissue

Clinical Definition Fibrocystic breast tissue is a common condition in which breasts have atypically dense tissue, with benign changes such as fibrosis and cysts. Lumps, swelling and tenderness are typical symptoms. Dense breast tissue can make mammograms more difficult to read. Treatment is generally not needed if symptoms are not bothersome. Women with dense breasts


Clinical Definition A uterine fibroid, or leiomyoma, is a noncancerous tumor composed of muscle and connective tissue from the uterine wall. Fibroids grow as a single nodule or in clusters, ranging from a millimeter to more than 20 centimeters in diameter. Bleeding is a common presenting symptom. Not all fibroids need treatment, but treatments include


Clinical Definition Fibromyalgia is a disorder of unknown etiology marked by widespread pain in muscles, tendons and joints all over the body. The condition is also involved with sleep patterns, depression, fatigue and psychological distress. While the exact cause is unknown, one theory proposes that chronic stress contributes to the onset of the disorder, once


Clinical Definition An atypical tract or opening between internal organs or structures, a fistula may form between organs, or between a structure and the exterior of the body. The passage may occur due to genetic defect, pathology or trauma, or it may be artificially created by surgeons to facilitate movement of fluids. In Our Own


Clinical Definition Flatulence is gas in the intestines or stomach that is expelled from the anus.  Gas in the digestive tract originates from the normal breakdown of undigested foods by bacteria that normally live in the colon, as well as from swallowing air. While some gas is expelled by burping or belching, other gas is


Clinical Definition Flora are bacteria and other microorganisms that live on the skin and inside the body. The term refers most frequently to bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. In Our Own Words Flora are essentially tiny bugs, or bacterium, that live both inside the body and outside on the skin. Particular kinds of flora

Food Allergy

Clinical Definition Food allergy is caused by an abnormal immune response to food. Two main categories of food allergy are IgE-mediated and non IgE-mediated, and some allergic disorders have characteristics of both. Reactions involving the skin gastrointestinal, respiratory, or cardiovascular systems may develop. In severe food allergies, anaphylaxis is possible. In Our Own Words Food

Food Poisoning

Clinical Definition Food poisoning is the term used to describe an acute illness caused by ingesting contaminated food. The causative agent in food is usually bacteria, parasites or viruses. Bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning include Escherichia coli and Campylobacter. Food poisoning often causes gastrointestinal symptoms. In Our Own Words Whether we like it or


Clinical Definition A fracture is a condition in which the alignment of a bone in the skeletal system is broken or disrupted. Fractures are usually caused by excessive force on the bone due to trauma. Individuals with medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, that weakens the bones are at an increased risk of bone fractures. There


Clinical Definition Frozen shoulder is a condition where the connective tissue around the glenohumeral joint becomes inflamed, thick and stiff. Adhesion formation also results in a thickening of the tissue. A decrease in synovial fluid is also often present in individuals with frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder causes a progressive loss of range of motion and


Clinical Definition Fungi such as yeast and mold can act as pathogens or produce toxins, living as parasites on plants and animals. Fungi can cause an inflammatory condition known as a fungal infection. In Our Own Words As with bacteria, fungi can be good or bad, and they are virtually everywhere in our environment. A

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