The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the aminolevulinic acid solution applicator - topical, Levulan article.
Actinic keratosis: Rough, scaly patches of skin that are considered precancerous and are due to sun exposure. Prevention is to cut sun exposure and wear sunscreen. Treatments include performing cryosurgery (freezing with liquid nitrogen), cutting the keratoses away, burning them, putting 5-fluorouracil on them, and using photodynamic therapy (injecting into the bloodstream a chemical that collects in actinic keratoses and makes them more sensitive to destruction by a specialized form of light). Also known as solar keratosis and senile keratosis.
Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic individual to a substance.
Breast milk: Milk from the breast. Human milk contains a balance of nutrients that closely matches infant requirements for brain development, growth and a healthy immune system. Human milk also contains immunologic agents and other compounds that act against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Since an infant's immune system is not fully developed until age 2, human milk provides a distinct advantage over formula.
Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth or nose due to muscle contraction and then exhaled due to muscle relaxation.
Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name "diabetes" because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria).
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.
Doxycycline: Brand name: Vibramycin. A synthetic broad-spectrum antibiotic derived from tetracycline. Doxycycline is used for many different types of infections, including respiratory tract infections due to Hemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It is also used for the treatment of nongonococcal urethritis (due to Ureaplasma), Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus, chancroid, cholera, brucellosis, syphilis, and acne.
Drain: A device for removing fluid from a cavity or wound. A drain is typically a tube or wick. As a verb, to allow fluid to be released from a confined area.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Flush: (1) A redness of the skin, typically over the cheeks or neck. A flush is usually temporary and brought on by excitement, exercise, fever, or embarrassment. Flushing is an involuntary (uncontrollable) response of the nervous system leading to widening of the capillaries of the involved skin. Also referred to as a blush (or, as a verb, to blush). Flushing may also be caused by medications or other substances that cause widening of the capillaries, such as niacin. (2) Flush also means to wash out a wound or body area.
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.
Keratosis: A localized horny overgrowth of the skin, such as a wart or callus. Among the common types of keratosis are actinic keratosis and seborrheic keratosis.
Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and containing the teeth, gums, and tongue. Foodstuffs are broken down mechanically in the mouth by chewing and saliva is added as a lubricant. Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that digests starch. 2. Any opening or aperture in the body. The mouth in both senses of the word is also called the os, the Latin word for an opening, or mouth. The o in os is pronounced as in hope. The genitive form of os is oris from which comes the word oral.
Mucous: Pertaining to mucus, a thick fluid produced by the lining of some tissues of the body.
Nose: The external midline projection from the face. The purpose of the nose is to warm, clean, and humidify the air that a person breathes. In addition, it helps a person to smell and taste. The nose is divided into two passageways by a partition called the septum. Opening to these passageways are the nostrils. Bony projections, called turbinates, protrude into each breathing passage; they help to increase the surface area of the inside of the nose. There are three turbinates on each side of the nose (the inferior, middle, and superior turbinates). The sinuses are four paired air-filled chambers that empty into the nasal cavity.
Pharmacist: A professional who fills prescriptions and, in the case of a compounding pharmacist, makes them. Pharmacists are very familiar with medication ingredients, interactions, and cautions.
Photosensitivity: Oversensitivity of skin to light. Photosensitivity can be a side effect of medications or result from diseases, such as lupus. Treatment depends on the severity of the reaction and the cause. Photosensitivity can be prevented by avoiding skin exposure to ultraviolet light.
Poison: Any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in, or absorbed through the skin. Many substances that normally cause no problems, including water and most vitamins, can be poisonous if taken in excessive quantity. Poison treatment depends on the 'substance.
Poison control center: A special information center set up to inform people about how to respond to potential poisoning. These centers maintain databases of poisons and appropriate emergency treatment. Local poison control centers should be listed with other community-service numbers in the front of the telephone book, and they can also be reached immediately through any telephone operator.
Porphyria: One of a variety of hereditary diseases that are characterized by abnormalities in the reactions needed for the production of heme, an essential substance for the body, resulting in increased formation and excretion of chemicals called porphyrins. Most porphyrias affect the skin or the nervous system. Attacks may range from mild to severe. Besides having abdominal and nerve pain, the patient may suffer rapid heartbeat, mania, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, breathing problems, hallucinations, and coma. Acute attacks are often precipitated by the use of certain drugs, such as barbiturates, sulphonamides, and birth control pills; alcohol use; hormonal changes during menstruation or pregnancy; dieting or fasting; and infections. One type of porphyria, acute intermittent porphyria, may have affected members of the House of Hanover in England, including 'Mad' King George, who may have suffered attacks of porphyria instead of being 'mad.'
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.
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.
Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical condition, hormonal cycles, allergies, or contact with irritating substances. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the rash. Medically, a rash is referred to as an exanthem.
Skin color: The color of skin which is complexly determined. Skin color depends on many factors including reddening caused by inflammation, the hemoglobin level in the blood, and the darkening caused by increased deposition of the pigment melanin. Melanin itself is a polymer that comes in two types -- a red-yellow form known as pheomelanin and a black-brown form known as eumelanin.
Tetracycline: A family of broad-spectrum antibiotics effective against a remarkably wide variety of organisms. Bacteria susceptible to tetracycline include H. flu (Haemophilus influenzae), strep (Streptococcus pneumoniae), Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (the cause of gonorrhea). Tetracycline is also used to treat nongonococcal urethritis (due to Ureaplasma), Rocky mountain spotted fever, typhus, chancroid, cholera, brucellosis, anthrax, and syphilis. It is used in combination with other medications to treat Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria associated with ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.
Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied to a certain area of the skin and is intended to affect only the area to which it is applied. Whether its effects are indeed limited to that area depends on whether the agent stays where it is put or is absorbed into the bloodstream. Cortisone creams are topical 'medications.
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