The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the colchicine, Colcrys 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.
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.
Amyloidosis: A group of diseases that result from the abnormal deposition of a protein, called amyloid, in various tissues of the body. Amyloid protein can be deposited in a localized area, and it may not be harmful or it may affect only a single tissue of the body. This form of amyloidosis is called localized amyloidosis. Amyloidosis that affects tissues throughout the body is referred to as systemic amyloidosis. Systemic amyloidosis can cause serious changes in organs throughout the body. Amyloidosis can occur as its own entity or secondarily, as a result of another illness, including multiple myeloma, chronic infections (such as tuberculosis or osteomyelitis), or chronic inflammatory diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis).
Analgesic: A drug that relieves pain.
Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity of hemoglobin. Anemia diminishes the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen. Patients with anemia may feel tired, fatigue easily, appear pale, develop palpitations, and become short of breath. Children with chronic anemia are prone to infections and learning problems. The main causes of anemia are bleeding, hemolysis (excessive destruction of red blood cells), underproduction of red blood cells (as in bone marrow diseases), and underproduction of normal hemoglobin (as in sickle cell anemia and in iron deficiency anemia). Women are more likely than men to have anemia because of menstrual blood loss. In children, anemia is most commonly due to insufficient iron in the diet. Anemia is also often due to gastrointestinal bleeding caused by medications, including such common drugs as aspirin and ibuprofen.
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.
Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small container of chemicals and water wrapped in a membrane. There are 100 trillion cells in a human, and each contains all of the genetic information necessary to manufacture a human being. This information is encoded within the cell nucleus in 6 billion subunits of DNA called base pairs. These base pairs are packaged in 23 pairs of chromosomes, with 1 chromosome in each pair coming from each parent. Each of the 46 human chromosomes contains the DNA for thousands of individual genes.
Clinical trials: Trials to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications or medical devices by monitoring their effects on large groups of people.
Colchicine: A substance found in a plant that is used in clinical medicine for the treatment of gouty arthritis and in the laboratory to arrest cells during cell division (by disrupting the spindle) so their chromosomes can be visualized. The name colchicine is from the Greek kolchikon meaning autumn crocus or meadow saffron, the plant from which colchicine was originally isolated.
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.
Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.
Enzymes: Proteins that act as a catalysts in mediating and speeding a specific chemical reaction.
Erythromycin: Erythromycin is a common antibiotic for treating bacterial infection. Sold under many brand names, including EES, Erycin and Erythromia.
Familial: A condition that tends to occur more often in family members than is expected by chance alone. A familial disease may be genetic (such as cystic fibrosis) or environmental (such as chicken pox).
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after conception, when the major structures have formed) until birth.
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.).
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.
Gout: Condition characterized by abnormally elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, recurring attacks of joint inflammation (arthritis), deposits of hard lumps of uric acid in and around the joints, and decreased kidney function and kidney stones. Uric acid is a breakdown product of purines, that are part of many foods we eat. The tendency to develop gout and elevated blood uric acid level (hyperuricemia) is often inherited and can be promoted by obesity, weight gain, alcohol intake, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney function, and drugs. The most reliable diagnostic test for gout is the identification of crystals in joints, body fluids and tissues.
Hair loss: Hair loss is the thinning of hair on the scalp. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. Alopecia can be temporary or permanent. The most common form of hair loss occurs gradually and is referred to as "androgenetic alopecia," meaning that a combination of hormones (androgens are male hormones) and heredity (genetics) is needed to develop the condition. Other types of hair loss include alopecia areata (patches of baldness that usually grow back), telogen effluvium (rapid shedding after childbirth, fever, or sudden weight loss); and traction alopecia (thinning from tight braids or ponytails).
Infant: A young baby, from birth to 12 months of age.
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.
Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to move. A joint is usually formed of fibrous connective tissue and cartilage. Joints are grouped according to their type of motion: ball-and-socket joint; hinge joint; condyloid joint, which permits all forms of angular movement except axial rotation; pivot joint; gliding joint; or saddle joint. Joints can move in only four ways: gliding, in which one bony surface glides on another, without angular or rotatory movement; angular, a movement that occurs only between long bones, increasing or decreasing the angle between the bones; circumduction, which occurs in joints composed of the head of a bone and an articular cavity, with the long bone describing a series of circles and the whole forming a cone; and rotation, in which a bone moves about a central axis without moving from this axis. Also known as articulation and arthrosis.
Lipitor: See: Atorvastatin.
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 platelets: see thrombocytopenia.
Marrow: The bone marrow.
Mediterranean Fever: A inherited disorder of unknown cause featuring short recurring bouts of fever together with pain in the joints, chest or abdomen. Also called Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF).
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."
Myopathy: Any and all diseases of muscle.
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.
Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory and motor information from one body part to another. The fibrous portions of a nerve are covered by a sheath called myelin and/or a membrane called neurilemma. (Note that entries for specific nerves can be found under the names of the particular nerves. For example, the optic nerve is not under 'nerve, optic' but rather under 'optic nerve.')
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.
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.
Placenta: A temporary organ that joins the mother and fetus, transferring oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus and permitting the release of carbon dioxide and waste products from the fetus. The placenta is roughly disk-shaped, and at full term it measures about 7 inches in diameter and slightly less than 2 inches thick. The upper surface of the placenta is smooth, and the under surface is rough. The placenta is rich in blood vessels. The placenta is expelled with the fetal membranes during the birth process; together, these structures form the afterbirth.
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.
Pseudogout: Inflammation of the joints that is caused by deposits of calcium pyrophosphate crystals, resulting in arthritis, most commonly of the knees, wrists, shoulders, hips, and ankles. Pseudogout usually affects only one or a few joints at a time. True gout is due to a different type of crystal, which is formed by the precipitation of uric acid.
Renal: Having to do with the kidney. For example, renal cancer is cancer of the kidneys.
Rhabdomyolysis: A condition in which skeletal muscle is broken down, releasing muscle enzymes and electrolytes from inside the muscle cells. Risks of rhabdomyolysis include muscle breakdown and kidney failure because the cellular component myo-
Scleroderma: A disease of connective tissue that causes scar tissue (fibrosis) to form in the skin and sometimes also in other organs of the body. Scleroderma is classified into diffuse and limited forms. Diffuse scleroderma affects many internal and external areas of the body, including the skin of the entire body, the bowels, and the lungs. Limited scleroderma affects only certain body sections. The CREST syndrome is the most common limited form of scleroderma. CREST stands for
See the entire definition of Scleroderma
Statins: A class of drugs that lower cholesterol.
Uric acid: A breakdown product of purines that are part of many foods. In gout, there are frequently, but not always, elevated levels of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). However, only a small portion of those with hyperuricemia will develop gout.
White blood cell: One of the cells the body makes to help fight infections. There are several types of white blood cells (leukocytes). The two most common types are the lymphocytes and neutrophils (also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes, PMNs, or "polys").
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