Arthritis Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Arthritis article.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Acetaminophen: A nonaspirin pain reliever or analgesic. Acetaminophen may be given alone t...

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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: The professional organization of American orthop...

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Analysis: In psychology, a term for conversation-based therapeutic processes used to gain ...

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Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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Ankylosing: Having a tendency to stiffen and fuse together.

Ankylosing spondylitis: A form of chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joi...

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Anorexia: An eating disorder characterized by markedly reduced appetite or total aversion...

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Antibiotic: A drug used to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics have no effect on viral...

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Arthralgia: Pain in a joint.

Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, w...

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Arthroscopy: A surgical technique in which a tube-like instrument is inserted into a joint...

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Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Autoimmune: Pertaining to autoimmunity, a misdirected immune response that occurs when the...

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Autoimmune disease: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own i...

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Back pain: Pain felt in the low or upper back. Causes of pain in the low and upper back in...

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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.

Bacterium: The singular of bacteria.

Biological response modifiers: Substances that stimulate the body's response to infection ...

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Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for ...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Capsaicin: Capsaicin is an active component of chili peppers that is used to relieve muscl...

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Carpal tunnel syndrome: Compression and irritation of the median nerve as it passes under ...

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Cartilage: Firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints. A flexible kind of cartilag...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest pain: Pain in the chest that can be a result of many things, including angina, heart...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Chronic illness: An illness that lasts 3 months or more.

Complication: In medicine, an unanticipated problem that arises following, and is a result...

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Connective tissue: A material made up of fibers forming a framework and support structure...

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Connective tissue disease: A disease (autoimmune or otherwise) that attacks the collagen o...

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Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the op...

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Cortisone: A naturally occurring adrenocorticoid hormone that is produced in minute amount...

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Cough: A rapid expulsion of air from the lungs, typically in order to clear the lung airwa...

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Cox-2: Cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme that acts to speed up the production of certain chemica...

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Degenerative arthritis: A type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventua...

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Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that cau...

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Dermatomyositis: A chronic inflammatory disease of skin and muscle which is associated wit...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Diarrhea: A common condition that involves unusually frequent and liquid bowel movements. ...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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Elbow: The juncture of the long bones in the middle portion of the upper extremity. The bo...

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Esophagus: The tube that connects the pharynx (throat) with the stomach. The esophagus lie...

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Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Fertility: The ability to conceive and bear children, the ability to become pregnant throu...

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Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37...

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Fibromyalgia: A disease characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscle...

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Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach.

Gastrointestinal: Adjective referring collectively to the stomach and small and large inte...

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Gene: The basic biological unit of heredity. A segment of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) need...

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Gene array analysis: A way of analyzing the differential expression of thousands of specie...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

Genetics: The scientific study of heredity. Genetics pertains to humans and all other orga...

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Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Glucosamine: A molecule derived from the sugar glucose by the addition of an amino group. ...

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Gout: Condition characterized by abnormally elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, rec...

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Growing pains: Mysterious pains in growing children, usually in the legs, likely occurring...

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of bloo...

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Henoch-Schonlein purpura: See: Schonlein-Henoch purpura.

Hyaluronic acid: A viscous slippery substance that lubricates the joints, maintains the sh...

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Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pa...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Inheritance: The transmission of a gene from parent to child. The pattern of inheritance i...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number ...

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Interleukin-1: A protein produced by various cells, including macrophages, interleukin-1 ...

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Iritis: Inflammation of the interior eye structures.

Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to m...

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Kawasaki disease: A syndrome that mainly affects young children, causing fever; reddening ...

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Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

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Knee: The knee is a joint which has three parts. The thigh bone (the femur) meets the lar...

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Lightheadedness: A feeling you are "going to faint." Lightheadedness is medically distinc...

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Lumbar: Referring to the five lumbar vertebrae, the disks below them, and the correspondin...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Lupus: A chronic inflammatory disease that is caused by autoimmunity. Patients with lupus ...

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Lyme disease: An inflammatory disease that is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi...

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Metabolism: The whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. ...

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Mixed connective tissue disease: A mixture of three diseases of connective tissue (the fra...

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Mortality: Susceptible to death.

Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Muscular: Having to do with the muscles. Also, endowed with above average muscle developme...

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Narcotic: 1. A drug that causes insensibility or stupor. A narcotic induces narcosi...

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Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Necrosis: The death of living cells or tissues. Necrosis can be due, for example, to ische...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.

NIH: National Institutes of Health.

NSAID: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a medication that is commonly prescribed or pu...

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Nutrition: 1: The process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repai...

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Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

Offspring: The progeny, or young, born to a person. In a larger sense, the offspring are c...

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Osteoarthritis: A type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss ...

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Osteomyelitis: Inflammation of the bone due to infection, for example, by the bacteria sal...

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Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calc...

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Osteotomy: Taking out part or all of a bone, or cutting into or through bone.

Overweight: The term "overweight" is used in two different ways. In one sense it is a way ...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Physical therapy: A branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Pseudogout: Inflammation of the joints that is caused by deposits of calcium pyrophosphate...

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Psoriatic arthritis: Joint inflammation that is associated with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthr...

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Purpura: Hemorrhage (bleeding) into the surface of the skin. The area of skin with purpura...

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Range of motion: The full movement potential of a joint, usually its range of flexion and ...

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Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical c...

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Raynaud's disease: A condition that results in discoloration of the skin on the fingers an...

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Reactive arthritis: A chronic form of arthritis featuring the following three conditions: ...

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Recurrent: Appearing or occurring again. For example, a recurrent fever is a fever that ha...

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Red blood cell: The blood cell that carries oxygen. Red cells contain hemoglobin and it is...

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Referral: The recommendation of a medical or paramedical professional. If you get a refer...

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Reflex: An involuntary reaction. For example, the corneal reflex is the blink that occurs ...

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Reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.

Retina: The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light, and cr...

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Retinal: Pertaining to the retina, the extraordinary layer of neurons (nerve cells) that ...

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Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of joint...

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Rheumatologist: A specialist in the non-surgical treatment of rheumatic illnesses, especia...

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Rheumatology: A subspecialty of internal medicine that involves the nonsurgical evaluation...

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Ringing in the ears: Medically called tinnitus, can be due to many causes including ear in...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Sarcoidosis: A disease of unknown origin that causes small lumps (granulomas) due to chron...

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Scleroderma: A disease of connective tissue that causes scar tissue (fibrosis) to form in ...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Serum: The clear liquid that can be separated from clotted blood. Serum differs from plas...

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Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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Spine: 1) The column of bone known as the vertebral column, which surrounds and protects ...

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Spondylitis: Inflammation of one or more of the vertebrae of the spine. Diffuse inflammati...

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Still's disease: See: Arthritis, systemic-onset juvenile rheumatoid.

Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Synovectomy: Surgical removal of the joint lining. A synovectomy may be done to remove the...

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Systemic: Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the wh...

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Systemic lupus erythematosus: A chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune di...

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Tear: A drop of the salty secretion of the lacrimal glands which serves to moisten the con...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Tinnitus: Ringing in the ears. Tinnitus has many causes, including some medications (inclu...

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Topical: Pertaining to a particular surface area. For example, a topical agent is applied ...

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Toxicity: The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm humans or animals. ...

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Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue. Tumors are a classic sign of inflammation, and can be ...

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Tumor necrosis factor: One of multiple proteins capable of inducing necrosis (death) of tu...

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Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Ulnar: Pertaining to the ulna, the larger bone in the forearm.

Ulnar nerve: A major nerve in the upper extremity that supplies both sensory and motor inn...

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Unwell: Not well or not in good health. Ailing, sick, or indisposed. For example, "I am we...

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Urine: Liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine is a clear, transparent fluid that norm...

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Vasculitis: A general term for a group of uncommon diseases that feature inflammation of t...

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Vessel: A tube in the body that carries fluids. Examples of vessels are blood vessels and ...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Voluntary: Done in accordance with the conscious will of the individual. The opposite of i...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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Wrist: The part of the hand that is nearest the forearm and consists of the carpal bones a...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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