The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the altretamine, Hexalen article.
Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.
Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.
Ataxia: Poor coordination and unsteadiness due to the brain's failure to regulate the body's posture and regulate the strength and direction of limb movements. Ataxia is usually due to disease in the cerebellum of the brain, which lies beneath the back part of the cerebrum.
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 "hypertension".
Breastfeeding: Feeding a child human breast milk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, human breast milk is preferred for all infants. This includes even premature and sick babies, with rare exceptions. It is the food least likely to cause allergic reactions; it is inexpensive; it is readily available at any hour of the day or night; babies accept the taste readily; and the antibodies in breast milk can help a baby resist infections.
Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).
Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small container of chemicals and water wrapped in a membrane. There are 100 trillion cells in a human, and each contains all of the genetic information necessary to manufacture a human being. This information is encoded within the cell nucleus in 6 billion subunits of DNA called base pairs. These base pairs are packaged in 23 pairs of chromosomes, with 1 chromosome in each pair coming from each parent. Each of the 46 human chromosomes contains the DNA for thousands of individual genes.
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.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
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.
Hypotension: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individual in a given environment. Hypotension is the opposite of hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure).
Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are not normally present within the body. An infection may cause no symptoms and be subclinical, or it may cause symptoms and be clinically apparent. An infection may remain localized, or it may spread through the blood or lymphatic vessels to become systemic (bodywide). Microorganisms that live naturally in the body are not considered infections. For example, bacteria that normally live within the mouth and intestine are not infections.
Lung cancer: Cancer of the major organ of respiration - the lung. Lung cancer kills more men and women than any other form of cancer. Since the majority of lung cancer is diagnosed at a relatively late stage, only 10% of all lung cancer patients are ultimately cured. Eight out of 10 lung cancers are due to tobacco smoke. Lung cancers are classified as either small cell or non-small cell cancers. Persistent cough and bloody sputum can be symptoms of lung cancer. Lung cancer can be diagnosed based on examination of sputum, or tissue examination with biopsy using bronchoscopy, needle through the chest wall, or surgical excision.
Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, including systemic illnesses (such as influenza), medications, pain, and inner ear disease.
Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.
Nursing: 1) Profession concerned with the provision of services essential to the maintenance and restoration of health by attending the needs of sick persons. 2) Feeding a infant at the breast.
Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for example, the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
Orthostatic hypotension: A temporary lowering of blood pressure, usually related to suddenly standing up. Healthy people may experience orthostatic hypotension if they rise quickly from a seated position, especially after a meal. Orthostatic hypotension occurs most commonly in older people. The change in position causes a temporary reduction in blood flow and therefore a shortage of oxygen to the brain. This leads to lightheadedness, dizziness, and, sometimes, a temporary loss of consciousness. Tilt-table testing can be used to confirm a diagnosis of orthostatic hypotension. Tilt-table testing involves placing the patient on a table with a foot support. The table is tilted upward, and blood pressure and pulse are measured while symptoms are recorded in various positions. Also known as postural hypotension.
Ovarian: Of or pertaining to the ovary.
Ovarian cancer: A malignant tumor of the ovary, the egg sac in a female. Women who have a family history of ovarian cancer are at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Hereditary ovarian cancer makes up a small percentage of all cases of ovarian cancer. Three hereditary patterns have been identified: ovarian cancer alone, ovarian and breast cancers, and ovarian and colon cancers. Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect early because there usually are no symptoms and the symptoms that do occur tend to be vague. Detection involves physical examination (including pelvic exam), ultrasound, X-ray tests, CA 125 test, and biopsy of the ovary. Most ovarian growths in women under age 30 are benign (noncancerous), fluid-filled cysts.
Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.
Peripheral neuropathy: A problem with the functioning of the nerves outside the spinal cord. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include numbness, weakness, burning pain (especially at night), and loss of reflexes.
Platelet: An irregular, disc-shaped element in the blood that assists in blood clotting. During normal blood clotting, the platelets clump together (aggregate). Although platelets are often classed as blood cells, they are actually fragments of large bone marrow cells called megakaryocytes.
Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This condition can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test, and confirmed through a blood test, ultrasound, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-ray. Pregnancy lasts for about nine months, measured from the date of the woman's last menstrual period (LMP). It is conventionally divided into three trimesters, each roughly three months long.
Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.
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.
Pyridoxine: One of the vitamin B6 group (which also includes pyridoxal and pyridoxamine) that is transformed in the body to pyridoxal phosphate, which functions as a coenzyme, a substance that enhances the action of an enzyme and thereby helps catalyze and speed a biochemical reaction. (A number of vitamins serve as coenzymes.)
Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by incoming nerve impulses from the sense organs to the nerve centers or to the senses themselves.
Vertigo: Aside from being the name of a classic 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film (with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak), vertigo is a feeling that you are dizzily turning around or that things are dizzily turning about you. Vertigo is usually due to a problem with the inner ear. Vertigo can also be caused by vision problems.
Vitamin B6: A group of closely related chemical compounds with related names -- pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine -- that are transformed within the body to yet another form of vitamin B6, pyridoxal phosphate, that acts as a coenzyme. (A number of vitamins serve as coenzymes, substances that enhance the action of enzymes and thereby aid in catalyzing biochemical reactions.)
White blood cell: One of the cells the body makes to help fight infections. There are several types of white blood cells (leukocytes). The two most common types are the lymphocytes and neutrophils (also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes, PMNs, or "polys").
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