The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the azithromycin, Zithromax, Zmax article.
Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis. The abdomen is separated anatomically from the chest by the diaphragm, the powerful muscle spanning the body cavity below the lungs.
Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect a major problem with one of the organs in the abdomen, such as appendicitis or a perforated intestine, or it may result from a fairly minor problem, such as excess buildup of intestinal gas.
Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.
Absorption: Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other substances) from the digestive tract.
Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care.
Antibiotic: A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms. Originally, an antibiotic was a substance produced by one microorganism that selectively inhibits the growth of another. Synthetic antibiotics, usually chemically related to natural antibiotics, have since been produced that accomplish comparable tasks.
Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) organisms or as parasites (dependent on another organism for life). The plural of bacterium. Examples of bacteria include Acidophilus, a normal inhabitant of yogurt; Gonococcus which causes gonorrhea; Clostridium welchii, the most common cause of gangrene; E. coli, which lives in the colon and can cause disease elsewhere; and Streptococcus, the bacterium that causes the common throat infection called strep throat.
Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.
Blister: A collection of fluid underneath the top layer of skin (epidermis). There are many causes of blisters, including burns, friction forces, and diseases of the skin. Also known as bleb and bulla.
Bronchitis: Inflammation and swelling of the bronchi. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic.
Cervicitis: Inflammation of the uterine cervix.
Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months or more. Chronic diseases are in contrast to those that are acute (abrupt, sharp, and brief) or subacute (within the interval between acute and chronic).
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: COPD. Any disorder that persistently obstructs bronchial airflow. COPD mainly involves two related diseases -- chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both cause chronic obstruction of air flowing through the airways and in and out of the lungs. The obstruction is generally permanent and progresses (becomes worse) over time.
Clostridium: A group of anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that thrive in the absence of oxygen). There are 100+ species of Clostridium. They include, for examples, Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens (also called Clostridium welchii), and Clostridium botulinum.
Clostridium difficile: A bacterium that is one of the most common causes of infection of the colon in the US. Patients taking antibiotics are at risk of becoming infected with C. difficile as antibiotics can disrupt the normal bacteria of the bowel, allowing C. difficile to become established in the colon. In some people, a toxin produced by C. difficile causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe inflammation of the colon (colitis), fever, an elevated white blood cell count, vomiting, and dehydration. In severely affected patients, the inner lining of the colon becomes severely inflamed (pseudomembranous colitis) with the potential to perforate.
Colitis: Inflammation of the large intestine (the colon). There are many forms of colitis, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, infectious, pseudomembranous, and spastic. For example, intermittent rectal bleeding, crampy abdominal pain and diarrhea can be symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Diagnosis can be made by direct visualization using (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) which is the most accurate test. Long-standing ulcerative colitis increases the risk for colon cancer. Ulcerative colitis can also be associated with inflammation in joints, spine, skin, eyes, the liver and its bile ducts. Treatment of ulcerative colitis can involve medications and surgery.
Colon: The long, coiled, tubelike organ that removes water from digested food. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the colon to the rectum and leaves the body through the anus. Also known as large bowel and large intestine.
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.
Ear: The hearing organ. There are three sections of the ear, according to the anatomy textbooks. They are the outer ear (the part we see along the sides of our head behind the temples), the middle ear, and the inner ear. But in terms of function, the ear has four parts: those three and the brain. Hearing thus involves all parts of the ear as well as the auditory cortex of the brain. The external ear helps concentrate the vibrations of air on the ear drum and make it vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted by a chain of little bones in the middle ear to the inner ear. There they stimulate the fibers of the auditory nerve to transmit impulses to the brain.
Erythromycin: Erythromycin is a common antibiotic for treating bacterial infection. Sold under many brand names, including EES, Erycin and Erythromia.
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.).
Flare: 1. an exacerbation of a chronic disease. Sometimes referred to as a flare-up, a flare occurs when symptoms of a disease that has been present for a time suddenly worsen. A flare is a transient worsening in severity of a disease or condition that eventually subsides or lessens. For example, in many arthritis conditions the joints can flare with worsening of stiffness, pain, and swelling. 2. An area of skin redness surrounding a site of an injection or other irritation.
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.
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.
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.
Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation can be external or internal.
Intestine: The long, tubelike organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion. It consists of the small and large intestines.
Laryngitis: An inflammation of the larynx. Inflammation of the larynx is most often caused by viral infections. In these cases, other symptoms, such as sore throat, cough, difficulty swallowing, and fever, generally occur. The voice changes may persist after the fever and other symptoms of acute infection have resolved. Laryngitis can also occur as a result of irritation to the vocal cords. People such as singers, cheerleaders, or even small children after bouts of screaming may find that they become hoarse or speak with a 'gravelly' voice after prolonged overuse. Environmental causes of irritation of the airway that can result in inflammation of the larynx include exposure to tobacco smoke or other chemicals.
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.
Macrolide: One in a class of antibiotics that includes Biaxin, Clarithromycin, Ery-Tab, and Erythromycin.
Middle ear: A part of the ear that consists of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) and, beyond it, a cavity (tympanum). This cavity is connected to the pharynx (nasopharynx) via a canal known as the Eustachian tube. The middle ear cavity also contains a chain of three little bones, the ossicles (the malleus, incus, and stapes), which connect the eardrum to the internal ear. The middle ear communicates with the pharynx, equilibrates with external pressure, and transmits the eardrum vibrations to the inner ear.
Mycobacterium: A large family of bacteria that have unusually waxy cell walls that are resistant to digestion.
Mycobacterium avium: A slow-growing bacterium found in the soil and in dust particles that causes tuberculosis in birds and swine and is responsible for the mycobacterium avian complex (MAC) in humans. See: Mycobacterium avian complex.
Mycobacterium avium complex: A serious opportunistic infection that is caused by two similar bacteria, Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intercellulare, which are found in the soil and in dust particles. Abbreviated MAC. In persons with suppressed immune systems, such as people with AIDS, MAC can spread through the bloodstream to infect lymph nodes, bone marrow, the liver, the spleen, spinal fluid, the lungs, and the intestinal tract. Typical symptoms of MAC include night sweats, weight loss, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, and enlarged spleen. Antibiotics are commonly used in MAC prevention (for persons with suppressed immune systems) and treatment.
Mycoplasma: A large group of bacteria, with more than 100 types identified. Mycoplasma are very simple one-celled organisms without outer membranes. They penetrate and infect individual cells. Mycoplasma hominis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae are examples of mycoplasma bacteria that occur in humans.
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.
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.
Otitis media: Inflammation of the middle ear characterized by the accumulation of infected fluid in the middle ear, bulging of the eardrum, pain in the ear and, if eardrum is perforated, drainage of purulent material (pus) into the ear canal.
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.
Pelvic: Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.
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.
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.
Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order determined by the base sequence of nucleotides in the DNA coding for the protein.
Pseudomembranous colitis: Severe inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. Pseudomembranous colitis is characterized by pus and blood in the stool and often caused by antibiotics.
Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.
Shock: In medicine, a critical condition that is brought on by a sudden drop in blood flow through the body. The circulatory system fails to maintain adequate blood flow, sharply curtailing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to vital organs. It also compromises the kidneys and so restricts the removal of wastes from the body. Shock can be due to a number of different mechanisms, including not enough blood volume and not enough output of blood by the heart. The signs and symptoms of shock include low blood pressure (hypotension); overbreathing (hyperventilation); a weak, rapid pulse; cold, clammy, grayish-bluish (cyanotic) skin; decreased urine flow (oliguria); and a sense of great anxiety and foreboding, confusion, and sometimes combativeness. Shock, which is a major medical emergency, is common after serious injury. Emergency care for shock involves keeping the patient warm, giving fluids by mouth or, if necessary, intravenously, and frequently the administration of drugs that act to improve cardiac and circulatory function.
Sinusitis: Inflammation of the lining membrane in any of the hollow areas (sinuses) of the skull around the nose. Sinusitis may be caused by anything that interferes with air flow into the sinuses and the drainage of mucous out of the sinuses. The sinus openings, called ostia, may be obstructed by swelling of the tissue lining the ostia and adjacent nasal passage tissue; for example, from colds, allergies, and tissue irritants (nasal sprays, cocaine, cigarette smoke). Less commonly, sinuses can become obstructed by tumors or growths. Stagnated mucous then provides a perfect environment for bacterial infection. The common symptoms of sinusitis include headache; facial tenderness or pain; fever; cloudy, discolored nasal drainage; a feeling of nasal stuffiness; sore throat; and cough. Acute sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotic therapy. Chronic forms of sinusitis require long courses of antibiotics and may require a sinus drainage procedure.
Staphylococcus: A group of bacteria that cause a multitude of diseases. Under a microscope, staphylococcus bacteria are round and bunched together. They can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly through products they make, such as the toxins responsible for food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome. The best-known member of the staphylococcus family is Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococci are the main culprits in hospital-acquired infections, and they cause thousands of deaths every year. Also known as staph.
Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upper part of the stomach connects to the esophagus, and the lower part leads into the small intestine. When food enters the stomach, muscles in the stomach wall create a rippling motion (peristalsis) that mixes and mashes the food. At the same time, juices made by glands in the lining of the stomach help digest the food. After about 3 hours, the food becomes a liquid and moves into the small intestine, where digestion continues.
Streptococcus: A group of bacteria that causes a multitude of diseases. Under a microscope, streptococcus bacteria look like a twisted bunch of round berries. Illnesses caused by streptococcus include strep throat, strep pneumonia, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever (and rheumatic heart valve damage), glomerulonephritis, the skin disorder erysipelas, and PANDAS. Familiarly known as strep.
Teaspoon: An old-fashioned but convenient household measure that is equal to about 5 cc of liquid.
Tonsillitis: Inflammation of one or both tonsils, typically as a result of infection by a virus or 'bacteria.
Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra, the tube that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body. Urethritis can have a number of causes, including irritation and sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia. Urethritis is closely associated with bacterial infection of the bladder (cystitis).
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