Health A-Z

Dry Eye

Clinical Definition Dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, has a literal definition: dryness of the cornea and conjunctiva (i.e., the membrane covering outer eye surface). It occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough moisture, resulting in stinging, burning and irritation. Treatments ranging from artificial tears to surgery can relieve symptoms. In Our Own Words Dry eye,

Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

Clinical Definition Ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, is non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer. Cells lining the ducts have developed the appearance of cancerous cells but have not invaded the ductal walls to surrounding breast tissues. The cure rate is high. In Our Own Words Ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, is early stage breast


Clinical Definition The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine, located between the stomach and the jejunum. In Our Own Words The duodenum is the part of the small intestine where food mixes with stomach acids and other digestive juices (bile) from the pancreas and stomach. Your body absorbs vitamins, minerals and macro-nutrients


Clinical Definition Dyslexia is a neurologically based learning disorder, which impairs comprehension and processing of written language. Dyslexia usually is characterized by difficulty with spelling, phonological processing and fluent and accurate recognition of words. Although intelligence level is usually normal, the ability to read is impaired. In Our Own Words Dyslexia is a common learning


Clinical Definition Dyspepsia is a subjective feeling of pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen due to irritation of the stomach or processes involving the stomach. It can be acute or chronic, and treatment focuses on medications to reduce symptoms and mitigate the underlying causes, such as agents to reduce stomach acid or quell infections


Clinical Definition Dysplasia is the abnormal development or changes in cellular tissue which may be due to discrepancies in size, shape and organization of adult cells. A potential early indication of a neoplastic process, dysplasia is sometimes classified as either high or low grade, depending on the severity of cellular changes. In Our Own Words

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

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


Clinical Definition A person’s gait is a series of rhythmical alternating movements of the trunk and limbs, which result in the forward progression of the center of gravity. In Our Own Words The way in which a person walks or runs, including the speed, stride length, posture and foot movements, is referred to as his


Clinical Definition A gallstone is a crystal deposit that forms in the gallbladder or bile ducts. Gallstones vary in chemical structure and form due to imbalances in the substances that makeup bile. For example, decreased amounts of bile salts, excess cholesterol or bilirubin may lead to gallstone formation. In Our Own Words The gallbladder is


Clinical Definition Gangrene is the death of tissue in part of the body because it has lost its blood supply as the result of injury, infection or other causes. Gas gangrene, a severe form that can progress rapidly and become lethal, is caused by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens and is more likely to affect those with underlying

Gastric bypass

Clinical Definition Gastric bypass is a surgical intervention for obese patients or for patients with combination of a higher BMI and an obesity-related health problem such as uncontrollable type 2 diabetes. Of the many procedures, the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most common. The surgeon creates a small pouch by dividing the upper end of


Clinical Definition Inflammation of the stomach mucosa, possibly in association with dyspepsia. Gastritis is sometimes used as a description (whether there is inflammation or not) of the lining of the stomach based on visualization during endoscopy. In Our Own Words Gastritis is an inflammation of the innermost layer of the stomach that can, in some


Clinical Definition Gastroenterology is study of the normal function and diseases of the esophagus, colon, rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver. The science of gastroenterology involves a detailed understanding of the normal actions of the gastrointestinal organs, including movement of material through organs, digestion, waste removal and organ function. In Our Own Words Gastroenterology


Clinical Definition GERD, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a digestive disorder that causes gastric contents to reflux from the stomach back up to the esophagus, and usually occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle fails to contract properly. Prolonged exposure to gastric contents can lead to complications and esophageal tissue damage, such as erosive esophagitis and Barrett’s

Gestational Diabetes

Clinical Definition Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy, when hormonal changes complicate the human pancreas’ ability to produce enough insulin for managing glucose levels. After childbirth, glucose levels usually normalize. In Our Own Words Pregnancy increases the body’s requirement for insulin, but often the pancreas will make enough extra insulin to compensate. In gestational diabetes, however,


Clinical Definition Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial growth in the mouth. If not properly treated, it can progress to periodontal disease and end up destroying the tissue that supports the teeth, leading to tooth loss. In Our Own Words Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease caused by the buildup


Clinical Definition Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to blindness. Often associated with higher pressures of the aqueous humor (clear fluid) that circulates inside the front part of the eye, when pressure builds, it can potentially damage the optic nerve, interfering with transmission of images to the brain. In Our Own Words Glaucoma

Gleason Score

Clinical Definition The Gleason score is a system used to classify adenocarcinoma of the prostate. A tissue sample is evaluated to determine glandular differentiation. A Gleason score may range from 2 to 10 based on the pattern of the tissue sample. A lower number indicates the tissue has a structure closer to normal prostate tissue.

Glucose Meter

Clinical Definition A glucose meter is a device used by diabetics at home to test their own blood glucose levels. Readings are often taken several times daily. These data help track blood glucose control in the short term; in contrast, A1C is a laboratory test that reflects blood glucose levels over recent months, a longer-term


Clinical Definition Gonorrhea, a common sexually transmitted infection (STI), is a bacterial infection that affects both men and women. Left untreated, in women it can spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes, triggering pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and an increased risk of tubal pregnancies; in men, it can contribute to epididymitis and sometimes scarring and


Clinical Definition A form of arthritis marked by acute and severe attacks of pain, inflammation and redness in the joints, gout commonly affects the big toe and is due to elevated levels of uric acid in the blood and the deposition of urate crystals around the joints. Uric acid is a byproduct of the breakdown

Grand Mal Seizure

Clinical Definition A grand mal seizure is a generalized seizure, involving both sides of the brain and loss of consciousness. It is characterized by two main phases, including the tonic phase and the clonic phase. The tonic phase consists of the sudden onset of muscle rigidity. The seizure then progresses into the clonic phase, which

Graves’ Disease

Clinical Definition Graves’ disease is a syndrome in which the sufferer has a thyroid gland that produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. This thyroid hormone controls bodily functions such as digestion, metabolism, body temperature and heart rate. In Our Own Words The thyroid gland, at the front of the neck, is crucial in regulating heart

Gum Disease

Clinical Definition Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory response of the gingiva to bacteria. It occurs due to a buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. The condition is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. In Our Own Words Gum disease is a very common condition,


Clinical Definition Gynecomastia is an abnormal development of the mammary glands in males. The condition is different from an enlarged breast area due to obesity and an increase in adipose tissue. Gynecomastia is usually benign and may develop unilaterally or bilaterally. In Our Own Words Gynecomastia is the abnormal enlargement of breasts in men or

H. Pylori Infection

Clinical Definition H. pylori is a bacterium that can infect the stomach or duodenum (first part of the small intestine), causing inflammation, irritation and ulcers. Infection with H. pylori is also a risk factor for some gastric cancers. The infection can be treated with antibiotics and acid-reducing medication. In Our Own Words H. pylori bacteria

Hairy Cell Leukemia

Clinical Definition Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a cancer of the bone and blood marrow characterized by the bone marrow overproducing lymphocytes. The rare cancer either progresses slowly or not at all, with fever, weakness and fever among the symptoms. Treatments may include chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants or biologic therapy to boost the immune


Clinical Definition Halitosis is a dental health condition characterized by odorous breath. It may occur due to oral pathology, such as poor oral hygiene, dental infections and gum disease. Some systemic diseases, such as renal and kidney disease, may also cause halitosis. In other instances, halitosis is the result of ingestion of certain foods. In


Clinical Definition Hammertoe or hammertoe syndrome describes a sometimes-painful condition in which a toe bends, curling up and under, resembling a hammer. The toe is initially still flexible, but as the condition progresses, it may become rigid and require surgical intervention. In Our Own Words Hammertoe, also called hammertoe syndrome, can be caused by a

Hashimoto’s Disease

Clinical Definition Hashimoto’s disease, or chronic thyroiditis, is a common thyroid gland disorder triggered by an autoimmune reaction against the thyroid gland, which can prevent it from producing sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. Signs and symptoms of thyroid deficiency include poor concentration, temperature intolerance, and weight gain. Diagnosis is aided by blood tests that measure

Hay Fever

Clinical Definition Hay fever, also called seasonal allergic rhinitis or simply rhinitis, is the most prevalent type of allergy. It is caused by an IgE-mediated immune response to allergens that are airborne and inhaled. The condition is marked by sneezing, a runny nose and itching. Avoiding exposure to the allergen; taking over-the-counter or prescription medicines;

Heart Ventricles

Clinical Definition The ventricles are the two lower chambers of the heart. In Our Own Words The heart is divided in two halves by a wall or septum. Each half of the heart has a smaller upper chamber (atrium) and a larger lower chamber (ventricle). The ventricles receive blood from the atria. The right half

Heat Exhaustion

Clinical Definition Heat exhaustion is a reaction to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It develops due to a depletion of electrolytes and dehydration without adequate replenishment. It is characterized by weakness, prostration and tachycardia. If heat exposure is allowed to continue, the condition may progress into heat stroke. In Our Own Words Normally, your body

Heat Stroke

Clinical Definition Heat stroke is the most severe of three types of heat emergencies, also including heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke can cause shock, brain damage, organ failure and death. Fever, irrational behavior and confusion are common. In Our Own Words Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and can


Clinical Definition Hematuria, or blood in the urine, indicates that red blood cells are present. Even if you cannot see blood, you might have microscopic blood in your urine. Normally, the kidneys prevent blood from entering urine, but blood coming from the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract (ureters, bladder, prostate, urethra) can


Clinical Definition Hemorrhoids are dilated vascular structures under the rectal mucosa. Hemorrhoids may develop outside of the external anal sphincter or inside the anal canal. They are often due to increased pressure on the anorectal area. Increased pressure may be due to constipation and straining during bowel movements. In Our Own Words Very common among


Clinical Definition A hernia is a bulge or protrusion of one organ or tissue through a wall or partition that normally contains it or holds it in. Hernias can develop in any number of locations in the human body, but often involve a portion of the gastrointestinal tract bulging through the abdominal/pelvic wall. In Our


Clinical Definition HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a retrovirus that destroys the vital CD4 + T-cells of the immune system. Destruction of CD4 cells decreases immune system function and leaves patients susceptible to infections and disease. The infection can progress into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) if CD4+ T cells decrease to less than 200

Hodgkin Disease

Clinical Definition Hodgkin disease, or Hodgkin’s disease, is a malignant neoplasm of lymphoid cells and is one type of lymphoma. It differs from other lymphomas in that it produces abnormal Reed-Sternberg cells. It is characterized by enlargement of the lymph nodes, spleen and possibly liver. Hodgkin disease is divided into two main subtypes based on


Clinical Definition Homeopathic medicine is a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that utilizing potentiated substances, which in larger amounts would cause illness in healthy people, will allow or stimulate the body to heal itself. Homeopathic medicines are often made from plants and minerals and are used to treat a wide variety of

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

Clinical Definition Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common infection caused by the papovaviridae family of viruses. There are many types of human papilloma viruses. More than 40 types of HPV are transmitted sexually and can affect the genitals. Genital HPV is associated with certain types of malignancies, including cervical neoplasia, laryngeal and anogential carcinomas.


Clinical Definition Hypertension is elevated pressure or tension on the arterial walls during systemic circulation. Increased force on the arterial walls can occur during the contractions of the myocardium, which is known as systolic pressure, and/or during rest, which is diastolic pressure. Although hypertension can be transient, a diagnosis of hypertension usually refers to a


Clinical Definition Hyperthyroidism is a endocrine-based condition that occurs when your level of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, are above normal, and your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is low. In Our Own Words Located in the lower part of your neck, your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your body temperature and control your heart rate


Clinical Definition Hyperventilation is an increase in alveolar ventilation. It can lead to hypocapnia if carbon dioxide is removed from the blood in excess of production. Hyperventilation may be caused by physical or emotional stimuli. In Our Own Words Hyperventilation is increased breathing, which may lead to low levels of carbon dioxide in the body.


Clinical Definition Hypogammaglobulinemia is a decreased level of immunoglobulins (i.e., antibodies). Because of the decrease in disease-fighting immunoglobulins, hypogammaglobulinemia can cause an increased susceptibility to certain diseases and infections. Although its etiology is not always known, it may be present from birth or acquired later in life. In Our Own Words Hypogammaglobulinemia is a condition


Clinical Definition A hysterectomy is a surgical operation to remove the uterus and possibly other reproductive organs, such as the ovaries and/or fallopian tubes. In Our Own Words There are many reasons why women undergo a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, and possibly other reproductive organs. Medical reasons may include severe endometriosis and uterine fibroids,


Clinical Definition Immunity is the protection against pathogens or infectious diseases. Immunity develops after antibodies to the disease are produced in the body. Types of immunity include innate, adaptive, active and passive. Active immunity refers to protection from a disease through a previous infection or through vaccinations. Passive immunity occurs when the antibodies come from


Clinical Definition Impetigo is a common, superficial dermatologic infection that is highly contagious, typically caused by Streptococcus (strep) orStaphylococcus (staph) bacteria. Typically, impetigo affects young children, ages 2-6. Blister-like sores form, sometimes filling with pus or yellow fluid, and can result in scabs. In Our Own Words Impetigo is the most common skin infection in children seeing primary care


Clinical Definition Incontinence is the loss of voluntary control of bowel movements or urination. Incontinence is a symptom or condition, rather than a disease, and can be caused by a variety of different processes, including damage to the sphincter muscles, anal surgery, certain medications, systemic diseases, chemotherapy or conditions that affect the functioning of the


Clinical Definition Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is a burning or painful feeling in the upper belly or abdomen that typically occurs after meals. Many different etiologies are possible, including digestive tract ulcer. More typically, though, the symptoms of indigestion come from excessive eating, rapid eating, eating high-fat foods or eating while stressed. In Our Own Words


Clinical Definition Inflammation is the body’s response to injury or infection, a key part of the natural defense and healing process. The affected body part typically becomes swollen, red and warm.  This defends the body from bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders, helping to repair tissue that has been damaged or to remove debris. However,


Clinical Definition Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that produce mild to severe symptoms that are sometimes life-threatening. While influenza is most prevalent during winter months, ”flu season” actually starts in late fall and persists until spring. In Our Own Words Influenza viruses are contagious respiratory illnesses that infect your nose,

Ingrown Hair

Clinical Definition An ingrown hair occurs when a hair does not follow the normal follicle channel and instead grows at an abnormal angle turning back towards the skin. This abnormal pattern causes the hair to penetrate the skin and leads to inflammation and possibly suppuration. In Our Own Words An ingrown hair is a common


Clinical Definition Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, is a common sleep disorder. Those affected may be unable to fall sleep or to stay asleep, or may have early morning awakening, when the patient awakes several hours ahead of schedule and can’t fall back asleep. In Our Own Words Insomnia, a common sleep disorder, affects many people,


Clinical Definition Insulin is a polypeptide hormone produced by the pancreas that is secreted into the blood to regulate how the body processes carbohydrates and fats, including the conversion of glucose to glycogen. Insulin and its normal cellular response results in blood sugar levels normalizing after a meal as glucose enters the cells, where it

Intestinal Obstruction

Clinical Definition An intestinal obstruction is an occlusion of the bowel, which prohibits normal movement of intestinal contents through the digestive track. It can be a partial or complete blockage. Intestinal obstructions are usually due to an ileus or a mechanical cause, such as a neoplasia or adhesion. Complications, such as infection and an electrolyte

Iron Deficiency

Clinical Definition Iron deficiency is a nutritional deficit, which occurs due to inadequate levels of iron in the body. Iron is an essential nutrient for several functions, such as oxygen binding and transport, muscle oxygen use and neurotransmitter synthesis. A deficiency in iron can cause a decrease in immune system functioning ability and compromise growth


Clinical Definition Ischemia is an insufficient blood supply to an organ or part of the body, adversely affecting blood flow and oxygen delivery, such as in myocardial ischemia. Visceral ischemic syndromes, also known as intestinal or mesenteric ischemic syndromes, occur when blood flow to the gastrointestinal system is decreased. In Our Own Words Ischemia is


Clinical Definition The small intestine is a 22-foot-long tube that breaks down food and consists of three segments, including the jejunum. The jejunum lies between the duodenum (i.e., the upper part of the small intestine) and the final section, known as the ileum. Along with the ileum, the jejunum is mainly responsible for nutrients being

Jet lag

Clinical Definition Jet lag, also called time zone change syndrome, is a sleep disorder affecting travelers who cross several time zones. It can occur when the body’s biological clock becomes out of sync with the local time, and as a result those affected may be afflicted with insomnia, daytime sleepiness, moodiness, reduced performance and other

Jock Itch

Clinical Definition Jock itch is a common dermatophyte infection affecting the groin area.  It is most common in adolescent males. In Our Own Words Jock itch is a type of fungal infection similar to ringworm. It can be found around the groin and upper inner thigh. Dermatophyte fungi like to live on moist areas of


Clinical Definition A joint is the point of articulation between two or more rigid skeletal components, which usually allows movement. Joints consist of the synovial membrane, fluid and fibrous tissue. Joints are classified functionally and structurally, and provide mechanical support. Synovial joints, which move freely, are the most common joint in the human body. In Our

Joint Injection

Clinical Definition Joint injections and aspirations are used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. For diagnostic purposes, fluid aspiration and analysis of the fluid can help identify a variety of joint pathologies. Also, a response to an injected anesthetic can help diagnose certain joint conditions. Injections of a glucocorticoids

Joint Sprain

Clinical Definition Joint sprain is the stretching or tearing of the connective tissue that connects bone to bone and supports the joints, also known as a ligament. It’s often confused with a strain, defined as an injury to a muscle or tendon, the cord of tissue that attaches muscle to bone. Pain, bruising, swelling and

Joint Sprain

Clinical Definition The jugular veins include the internal and external jugular, which are major blood vessels, located on each side of the neck. These veins transport deoxygenated blood from the neck, face and head back to the heart. In a physical exam, distention of the jugular veins can be a clinical sign of heart failure.

Kallman Syndrome

Clinical Definition Kallman syndrome is a rare genetic condition that causes delayed or absent puberty and an impaired sense of smell. It is also a form of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, a condition that affects the production of hormones involved in sexual development. This syndrome affects males more often than females, because it is often X-linked, and

Kawasaki Disease

Clinical Definition Kawasaki disease is a febrile illness and a type of vasculitis that primarily affects children. Kawasaki disease does not appear to be contagious, and the etiology is unknown. The condition also causes inflammation of the hands and feet. Its association with vasculitis is responsible for acquired heart disease in some children. In Our

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