The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the perphenazine/amitriptyline - oral, Etrafon, Triavil article.
Adrenal gland: A small gland located on top of the kidney. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, the way the body uses food, the levels of minerals such as sodium and potassium in the blood, and other functions particularly involved in stress reactions.
Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic individual to a substance.
Allergy: A misguided reaction to foreign substances by the immune system, the body system of defense against foreign invaders, particularly pathogens (the agents of infection). The allergic reaction is misguided in that these foreign substances are usually harmless. The substances that trigger allergy are called allergen. Examples include pollens, dust mite, molds, danders, and certain foods. People prone to allergies are said to be allergic or atopic.
Alprazolam: A benzodiazepine sedative that causes dose-related depression of the central nervous system. Alprazolam is useful in treating anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and muscle spasms. The brand name is Xanax. A generic version is available.
Amitriptyline: An antidepressant medication. In some patients with depression, abnormal levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters may relate to the depression. Amitriptyline elevates mood by raising the level of neurotransmitters in brain tissue. Amitriptyline is also a sedative that is useful for depressed patients with insomnia, restlessness, and nervousness. It is sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia and symptoms related to chronic pain. Brand names are Elavil and Endep. A generic version is available.
Antidepressant: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.
Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.
Antihistamines: Drugs that combat the histamine released during an allergic reaction by blocking the action of the histamine on the tissue. Antihistamines do not stop the formation of histamine nor do they stop the conflict between the IgE and antigen. Therefore, antihistamines do not stop the allergic reaction but protect tissues from some of its effects. Antihistamines frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness. Newer "non sedating" antihistamines are generally thought to be somewhat less effective. Antihistamine side effects that very occasionally occur include urine retention in males and fast heart rate.
Antihypertensive: Something that reduces high blood pressure (hypertension).
Antipsychotic: A medication (or another measure) that is believed to be effective in the treatment of psychosis. For example, aripiprazole (Abilify) is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia.
Aspiration: Removal of a sample of fluid and cells through a needle. Aspiration also refers to the accidental sucking in of food particles or fluids into the lungs.
Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narrow the airways, creating breathing difficulties that may range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness. The diagnosis of asthma is based on evidence of wheezing and is confirmed with breathing tests. Many allergens and irritants can precipitate attacks of asthma. Avoidance of precipitating factors can be helpful. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, activity reduction, allergy shots, and medications to prevent or reverse the bronchospasm.
Belladonna: An herbaceous plant bearing the scientific name Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, also known as deadly nightshade. The leaves and berries of the plant are highly toxic and can lead to hallucinations and delirium when ingested. Eating just a few berries from the plant can be fatal in children. The belladonna plant has a long history of use by humans for medicines, cosmetics, and poisons. It is native to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa but has been naturalized in parts of North America.
Bipolar disorder: A mood disorder sometimes called manic-depressive illness or manic-depression that characteristically involves cycles of depression and elation or mania. Sometimes the mood switches from high to low and back again are dramatic and rapid, but more often they are gradual and slow, and intervals of normal mood may occur between the high (manic) and low (depressive) phases of the condition. The symptoms of both the depressive and manic cycles may be severe and often lead to impaired functioning.
Blood count: The calculated number of white or red blood cells (WBCs or RBCs) in a cubic millimeter of blood.
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".
Blurred vision: Lack of sharpness of vision with, as a result, the inability to see fine detail. Blurred vision can occur when a person who wears corrective lens is without them. Blurred vision can also be an important clue to eye disease.
Bone marrow: The soft blood-forming tissue that fills the cavities of bones and contains fat and immature and mature blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Diseases or drugs that affect the bone marrow can affect the total counts of these cells.
Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It functions as a primary receiver, organizer, and distributor of information for the body. It has a right half and a left half, each of which is called a hemisphere.
Breast cancer: Breast cancer is diagnosed with self- and physician-examination of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy. There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading to other body tissues (metastasis). Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type and location of the breast cancer, as well as the age and health of the patient. The American Cancer Society recommends that a woman should have a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40 years. Between 40 and 50 years of age mammograms are recommended every other year. After age 50 years, yearly mammograms are recommended.
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.
Bulimia: Also called bulimia nervosa. An eating disorder characterized by episodes of secretive excessive eating (binge-eating) followed by inappropriate methods of weight control, such as self-induced vomiting (purging), abuse of laxatives and diuretics, or excessive exercise. The insatiable appetite of bulimia is often interrupted by periods of anorexia.
Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).
Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.
Complete blood count: A set values of the cellular (formed elements) of blood. These measurements are generally determined by specially designed machines that analyze the different components of blood in less than a minute.
Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea and is commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, and medications. Paradoxically, constipation can also be caused by overuse of laxatives. Colon cancer can also narrow the colon and thereby cause constipation. A high-fiber diet can frequently relieve constipation. If the diet is not helpful, medical evaluation is warranted.
Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airways of fluids, mucus, or other material. Also known as tussis.
Dementia: Significant loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory capacity, that is severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. Criteria for the diagnosis of dementia include impairment of attention, orientation, memory, judgment, language, motor and spatial skills, and function. By definition, dementia is not due to major depression or schizophrenia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Other causes include AIDS, alcoholism, brain injury, vascular dementia (damage to the blood vessels leading to the brain), dementia with Lewy bodies, brain tumors, drug toxicity, infection of brain, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, meningitis, Pick disease, syphilis, and hypothyroidism.
Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with depression cannot merely 'pull themselves together' and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression. The signs and symptoms of depression include loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex; loss of appetite, with weight loss, or overeating, with weight gain; loss of emotional expression (flat affect); a persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; social withdrawal; unusual fatigue, low energy level, a feeling of being slowed down; sleep disturbance and insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping; trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability; persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain that do not respond to treatment, and thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts. The principal types of depression are called major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (manic-depressive disease).
Dextromethorphan: An oral cough suppressant available in the US without a prescription but which is sometimes abused as a recreational drug. Dextromethorphan (DXM) is chemically related to codeine and acts on the brain to suppress cough, but it does not have the pain relieving and addictive properties of codeine. DXM is an ingredient in more than 125 nonprescription cough and cold medications, including forms of Robitussin, Coricidin and Vicks.
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).
Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. The opposite of constipation. There are many infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea. Persistent diarrhea is both uncomfortable and dangerous to the health because it can indicate an underlying infection and may mean that the body is not able to absorb some nutrients due to a problem in the bowels. Treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and taking over-the-counter remedies. People with diarrhea that persists for more than a couple days, particularly small children or elderly people, should seek medical attention.
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.
Dopamine: An important neurotransmitter (messenger) in the brain.
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.
Dry mouth: The condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. This is due to inadequate function of the salivary glands. Everyone has dry mouth once in a while when they are nervous, upset or under stress. But if someone has a dry mouth most all of the time, it can be uncomfortable and lead to serious health problems.
Duloxetine: See: Cymbalta.
Dyskinesia: The presence of involuntary movements, such as the choreaform movements seen in some cases of rheumatic fever or the characteristic movements of tardive dyskinesia. Some forms of dyskinesia are side effects of certain medications, particularly L-dopa and, in the case of tardive dyskinesia, antipsychotic drugs.
Emphysema: 1) A lung condition featuring an abnormal accumulation of air in the lung's many tiny air sacs, a tissue called alveoli. As air continues to collect in these sacs, they become enlarged, and may break, or be damaged and form scar tissue. Emphysema is strongly associated with smoking cigarettes, a practice that causes lung irritation. It can also be associated with or worsened by repeated infection of the lungs, such as is seen in chronic bronchitis. The best response to the early warning signs of emphysema is prevention: stop smoking and get immediate treatment for incipient lung infections. Curing established emphysema is not yet possible. Because patients don't have an adequate amount of space in the lungs to breathe, they gasp for breath, and may not be able to obtain enough oxygen. Those with severe emphysema usually end up using an oxygen machine to breathe. In some cases, medication may be helpful to ease symptoms or to treat infection in already-damaged lungs.
Erythromycin: Erythromycin is a common antibiotic for treating bacterial infection. Sold under many brand names, including EES, Erycin and Erythromia.
Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including information about diseases in family members.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degrees F. (37 degrees C.), in practice a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C.).
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.
Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thyroid gland.
Glaucoma: A common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises because of slowed fluid drainage from the eye. If untreated, it may damage the optic nerve and other parts of the eye, causing the loss of vision or even blindness.
Head injury: Damage to any of the structures of the head as a result of trauma. While the term "head injury" is most often used to refer to an injury to the brain, head injuries may also involve the bones, muscles, blood vessels, skin, and other organs of the face or head. A head injury does not always mean that there is an associated brain injury. Most head injuries are caused by blows to the head from numerous causes including motor vehicle accidents and falls. Head injuries are one of the most common causes of death and disability in the United States.
Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or back ache, has many causes.
Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. The heart is positioned in the chest behind the sternum (breastbone); in front of the trachea, esophagus, and aorta; and above the diaphragm. A normal heart is about the size of a closed fist and weighs about 298 grams or 10.5 ounces. It is cone-shaped, with the point of the cone pointing down to the left. Two-thirds of the heart lies in the left side of the chest, with the balance in the right side of the chest. The heart is composed of specialized cardiac muscle, and it is four-chambered, with a right atrium and ventricle, and an anatomically separate left atrium and ventricle. The blood flows from the systemic veins into the right atrium, thence to the right ventricle, from which it is pumped to the lungs and then returned into the left atrium, thence to the left ventricle, from which it is driven into the systemic arteries. The heart is thus functionally composed of two hearts: the right heart and the left heart. The right heart consists of the right atrium, which receives deoxygenated blood from the body, and the right ventricle, which pumps the deoxygenated blood to the lungs under low pressure; and the left heart, which consists of the left atrium, which receives oxygenated blood from the lung, and the left ventricle, which pumps the oxygenated blood out to the body under high pressure.
Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of blood supply is usually caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery, one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Death of the heart muscle, in turn, causes chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.
Heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically, failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency. When this occurs, the heart is unable to provide adequate blood flow to other organs such as the brain, liver and kidneys. Heart failure may be due to failure of the right or left or both ventricles. The signs and symptoms depend upon which side of the heart is failing. They can include shortness of breath (dyspnea), asthma due to the heart (cardiac asthma), pooling of blood (stasis) in the general body (systemic) circulation or in the liver's (portal) circulation, swelling (edema), blueness or duskiness (cyanosis), and enlargement (hypertrophy) of the heart.
Heartburn: An uncomfortable feeling of burning and warmth occurring in waves rising up behind the breastbone (sternum) toward the neck. It is usually due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the rise of stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Heartburn has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart. It is a popular nonmedical term. It is medically called pyrosis.
Herbal: 1. An adjective, referring to herbs, as in an herbal tea.
Infant: A young baby, from birth to 12 months of age.
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.
Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emotional sense. From the Latin injuria meaning injury.
Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals and some medications. Also known as lab.
Lithium: A naturally occurring salt that, in purified form, is used to treat certain psychiatric disorders, especially bipolar disease The therapeutic level of lithium'the amount needed to treat bipolar disorders'is perilously close to the level that can cause toxicity, so monitoring of blood levels is required. Symptoms of lithium toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, blurred vision, loss of coordination, and loss of motor control. Treatment of lithium toxicity involves immediately reducing or discontinuing lithium use under medical supervision.
Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side. The liver has a multitude of important and complex functions, including to manufacture proteins, including albumin (to help maintain the volume of blood) and blood clotting factors; to synthesize, store, and process fats, including fatty acids (used for energy) and cholesterol; to metabolize and store carbohydrates (used as the source for the sugar in blood); to form and secrete bile that contains bile acids to aid in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; to eliminate, by metabolizing or secreting, the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin, from the breakdown of old red blood cells and ammonia from the breakdown of proteins; and to detoxify, by metabolizing and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins.
Low blood pressure: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individual in a given environment. Low blood pressure is also referred to as hypotension.
Macrolide: One in a class of antibiotics that includes Biaxin, Clarithromycin, Ery-Tab, and Erythromycin.
Magnesium: A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the building of healthy bones, and normal muscle contraction. About 350 enzymes are known to depend on magnesium.
Malignant: 1. Tending to be severe and become progressively worse, as in malignant hypertension. 2. In regard to a tumor, having the properties of a malignancy that can invade and destroy nearby tissue and that may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Marrow: The bone marrow.
Medical history: 1. In clinical medicine, the patient's past and present which may contain relevant information bearing on their health past, present, and future. The medical history, being an account of all medical events and problems a person has experienced is an important tool in the management of the patient.
Migraine: Usually, periodic attacks of headaches on one or both sides of the head. These may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity of the eyes to light (photophobia), increased sensitivity to sound (phonophobia), dizziness, blurred vision, cognitive disturbances, and other symptoms. Some migraines do not include headache, and migraines may or may not be preceded by an aura.
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.
Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There are three types of muscle in the body. Muscle which is responsible for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called "skeletal muscle." Heart muscle is called "cardiac muscle." Muscle that is in the walls of arteries and bowel is called "smooth muscle."
Narcotic: 1. A drug that causes insensibility or stupor. A narcotic induces narcosis, from the Greek "narke" for "numbness or torpor."
Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constricted part of a bone or organ that joins its parts as, for example, the neck of the femur bone.
Neuroleptic: A term that refers to the effects of antipsychotic drugs on a patient, especially on his or her cognition and behavior.
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.
Organic: 1. A chemical compound that contains carbon.
Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.
Panic: A sudden strong feeling of fear that prevents reasonable thought or action. The word comes from the name of the Greek woodland god Pan, who was a frightening figure'part human, part goat'and whose pet caprice was to terrify people who ventured into rural areas.
Parkinson's disease: A slowly progressive neurologic disease that is characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, gait with short accelerating steps, peculiar posture and muscle weakness (caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia), and low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most patients are over 50, but at least 10 percent are under 40. Treatment involves use of medication, such as levodopa (brand name: Larodopa) and carbidopa (brand name: Sinemet). A surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which externally controlled electrodes are implanted into the brain, has also been shown to be helpful. There are no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose the condition. Although it is a chronic and progressive disease, the degree of disability varies among affected persons. Also known as paralysis agitans and shaking palsy.
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.
Phosphate: A form of phosphoric acid. Calcium phosphate makes bones and teeth hard.
Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneumonia is frequently but not always due to infection. The infection may be bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic. Symptoms may include fever, chills, cough with sputum production, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is suggested by the symptoms and confirmed by chest X-ray testing. Treatment includes antibiotics.
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.
Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for potassium is K+. The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. An abnormal increase in potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease in potassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and heart, and when extreme, can be fatal. The normal blood potassium level is 3.5'5.0 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or 3.5 international units.
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.
Prolactin: A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates lactation (milk production). It also has many other functions, including essential roles in the maintenance of the immune system. Abnormally high prolactin can delay puberty, interfere with ovulation in women, decrease libido in men, and decrease fertility. Elevated prolactin (hyperprolactinemia) may be due to a benign tumor in the pituitary gland called a prolactinoma.
Prostate: A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the bladder. Chestnut shaped, the prostate surrounds the beginning of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder.
Psychiatric: Pertaining to or within the purview of psychiatry, the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.
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.
Restless legs: See: Restless leg syndrome.
Saliva: a watery secretion in the mouth produced by the salivary glands that aids in the digestion of food. Saliva also serves to moisten and cleanse the mouth, including the tongue and teeth, and contains substances that can play a role in the prevention of infection. Saliva aids digestion by moistening food and contains enzymes that begin the digestion process. Also known as spit.
Schizophrenia: One of several brain diseases whose symptoms may include loss of personality (flat affect), agitation, catatonia, confusion, psychosis, unusual behavior, and social withdrawal. The illness usually begins in early adulthood. The cause of schizophrenia is not known, but there appear to be both genetic (inherited) and environmental components to the disease. Schizophrenia is not caused by abuse or poor parenting practices. Treatment involves use of neuroleptic medication and supportive interpersonal therapy. The prognosis is fairly good, with two-thirds of those diagnosed recovering significantly.
Scopolamine: A naturally occurring member of a large chemical class of compounds called alkaloids. Scopolamine was first introduced into medical usage in 1902. The name comes from that of the 18th-century Italian naturalist Giovanni Scopoli.
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Serotonin can trigger the release of substances in the blood vessels of the brain that in turn cause the pain of migraine. Serotonin is also key to mood regulation; pain perception; gastrointestinal function, including perception of hunger and satiety; and other physical functions.
Sleep: The body's rest cycle.
Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (noun) A nondescript term for nearly any lesion of the skin or mucous membranes. He has a number of sores in his mouth.
Sore throat: Pain in the throat. Sore throat may be caused by many different causes, including inflammation of the larynx, pharynx, or tonsils.
Sperm: A sperm is the male "gamete" or sex cell. It combines with the female "gamete," called an ovum, to form a zygote. The formation process is called "fertilization." (see ovum, zygote).
SPF (sun protection factor): A number on a scale for rating the degree of protection provided by sunscreens. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.
SSRI: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, one of a family of antidepressant medications (brand names: Celexa, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft) that affect the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood flow or rupture of an artery to the brain. Sudden loss of speech, weakness, or paralysis of one side of the body can be symptoms. A suspected stroke can be confirmed by scanning the brain with special X-ray tests, such as CAT scans. The death rate and level of disability resulting from strokes can be dramatically reduced by immediate and appropriate medical care. Prevention involves minimizing risk factors, such as controlling high blood pressure and diabetes. Abbreviated CVA. Also known as cerebrovascular accident.
Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
Suicidal: Pertaining to suicide. the taking of ones own life. As in a suicidal gesture, suicidal thought, or suicidal act. An "online lifeline for suicidal undergrads" may help prevent college students from committing suicide.
Sumatriptan: A triptan drug for the treatment of migraine. Marketed under the brand name Imitrex.
Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or injury. Surgery can involve cutting, abrading, suturing, or otherwise physically changing body tissues and organs.
Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. These are small tubular glands situated within and under the skin (in the subcutaneous tissue). They discharge by tiny openings in the surface of the skin.
Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.
Tardive dyskinesia: A neurological syndrome characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements caused by the long-term use of certain drugs called neuroleptics used for psychiatric, gastrointestinal, and neurological disorders. Features may include grimacing; tongue protrusion; lip smacking, puckering, and pursing; and rapid eye blinking. Rapid movements of the arms, legs, and trunk may also occur. The incidence of the syndrome rises with the dose and duration of drug treatment. The treatment of tardive dyskinesis is usually to stop or minimize the use of the offending drug if possible. Replacing the offending drug with substitute drugs may help.
Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of the mouth, consisting anatomically of the pharynx and larynx. The throat contains the trachea and a portion of the esophagus.
Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A preparation of the thyroid gland used to treat hypothyroidism. 3. Shaped like a shield. (The thyroid gland was so-named by Thomas Wharton in 1656 because it was shaped like an ancient Greek shield.)
Tiredness: See: Tired.
Tongue: A strong muscle that is anchored to the floor of the mouth. The tongue is covered by the lingual membrane, which has special areas to detect different types of tastes. The tongue muscles are attached to the lower jaw and to the hyoid bone, a small, U-shaped bone that lies deep in the muscles at the back of the tongue and above the larynx. On the top surface of the tongue are small nodules, called papillae, that give the tongue its rough texture. Between the papillae, at the sides and base of the tongue, are the taste buds, which are small bulb-like structures. The muscle fibers of the tongue are heavily supplied with nerves. Babies have more taste buds than adults, and they have them almost everywhere in the mouth, including the cheeks. The tongue aids in the formation of the sounds of speech and aids in swallowing.
Tremor: An abnormal, repetitive shaking movement of the body. Tremors have many causes and can be inherited, related to illnesses (such as thyroid disease), or caused by fever, hypothermia, drugs, or fear.
Tricyclic antidepressants: One of a class of medications used to treat depression. The tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are also used for some forms of anxiety, fibromyalgia, and the control of chronic pain.
Tryptophan: An amino acid, one of the 20 building blocks of protein. A dietary essential amino acid, tryptophan is necessary for optimal growth of children. Bacteria in the intestine break tryptophan down to compounds that largely are responsible for the unpleasant odor of feces. Symbol: Trp.
Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be benign or malignant (cancerous). There are dozens of different types of tumors. Their names usually reflect the kind of tissue they arise in, and may also tell you something about their shape or how they grow. For example, a medulloblastoma is a tumor that arises from embryonic cells (a blastoma) in the inner part of the brain (the medulla). Diagnosis depends on the type and location of the tumor. Tumor marker tests and imaging may be used; some tumors can be seen (for example, tumors on the exterior of the skin) or felt (palpated with the hands).
Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that normally has an amber color. The average amount of urine excreted in 24 hours is between 5 to 8 cups or 40 and 60 ounces. Chemically, urine is mainly a watery solution of salt and substances called urea and uric acid. Normally, it contains about 960 parts water to 40 parts solid matter. Abnormally, it may contain sugar (in diabetes), albumin (a protein, as in some forms of kidney disease), bile pigments (as in jaundice), or abnormal quantities of one or another of its normal components.
Vomit: Matter from the stomach that has come up into and may be ejected beyond the mouth, due to the act of vomiting.
Warfarin: An anticoagulant drug (brand names: Coumarin, Panwarfin, Sofarin) taken to prevent the blood from clotting and to treat blood clots and overly thick blood. Warfarin is also used to reduce the risk of clots causing strokes or heart attacks.
X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used in low doses to make images that help to diagnose diseases and in high doses to treat cancer.
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