The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the etidronate, Didronel article.
Absorption: Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other substances) from the digestive tract.
Aluminum: A naturally occurring element that makes up about 8% of the surface of the earth and is always found combined with other elements such as oxygen, silicon, and fluorine. Aluminum is the most common metallic element in the earth's crust but has no clear biologic role. Everyone is exposed to low levels of aluminum from food, air, and water. Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory problems (aluminosis). Inhalation of bauxite (aluminum ore) fumes may cause pulmonary fibrosis. Aluminum in the bloodstream may lead to neurological symptoms and may be fatal.
Bisphosphonate: A class of drugs used to strengthen bone. Bisphosphonates are used to treat osteoporosis and the bone pain from diseases such as metastatic breast cancer, multiple myeloma, and Paget's disease. Bone is in a constant state of remodeling, whereby new bone is laid down by cells called osteoblasts, while old bone is removed by cells called osteoclasts. Bisphosphonates inhibit bone removal (resorption) by the osteoclasts. The bisphosphonates include Fosamax (alendronate), Actonel (risedronate), Boniva (ibandronate), and Reclast (zoledronate).
Bone density: Bone density is the amount of bone tissue in a certain volume of bone. It can be measured using a special x-ray called a quantitative computed tomogram.
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.
Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is added to bone by cells called osteoblasts and removed from bone by cells called osteoclasts. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and is also important for muscle contraction, heart action, and normal blood clotting. Food sources of calcium include dairy foods; some leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli and collards; canned salmon; clams; oysters; calcium-fortified foods; and soy foods, such as tofu. According to the National Academy of Sciences, adequate intake of calcium is 1 gram daily for both men and women. The upper limit for calcium intake is 2.5 grams daily.
Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).
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.
Chloride: The major anion (negatively charged substance) in the blood and extracellular fluid (the body fluid that lies outside cells). Blood and other body fluids have almost the same concentration of chloride ion as sea water. The balance of chloride ion (Cl-) is closely regulated by the body.
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.
Esophageal: Related to the esophagus.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
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.
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).
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.
Heterotopic: In the wrong place, in an abnormal place, misplaced. From the Greek roots "hetero-" meaning "other" + "topos" meaning "place" = other place.
Hypercalcemia: A higher-than-normal level of calcium in the blood. Hypercalcemia can be a result of malignancy, elevated parathyroid gland activity (hyperparathyroidism), or other conditions. It can cause a number of nonspecific symptoms, including loss of appetite, nausea, thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness, restlessness, and confusion. An elevated level of calcium may cause muscle weakness and constipation, affect the conduction of electrical impulses in the heart (heart block), lead to calcium stones (nephrocalcinosis) in the urinary tract, impair kidney function, and interfere with the absorption of iron, predisposing the person to iron deficiency.
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.
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.
Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and produce urine. As blood flows through the kidneys, the kidneys filter waste products, chemicals, and unneeded water from the blood. Urine collects in the middle of each kidney, in an area called the renal pelvis. It then drains from the kidney through a long tube, the ureter, to the bladder, where it is stored until elimination. The kidneys also make substances that help control blood pressure and regulate the formation of red blood cells.
Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, and in medical terminology, the portion of the lower extremity that runs from the knee to the ankle. The leg (in the medical sense) has two bones'the tibia (shinbone) and the fibula'both of which are known as long bones. The larger of the two is the tibia. The fibula runs alongside the tibia.
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.
Menopause: The time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop; it is also called the "change of life." Menopause is the opposite of the menarche.
Multiple myeloma: A bone marrow cancer that involves a type of white blood cell called a plasma (or myeloma) cell. The tumor cells in myeloma can form a single collection (plasmacytoma) or many tumors (multiple myeloma). Plasma cells are normally part of the immune system; they make antibodies. Because myeloma patients have an excess of identical plasma cells, they have too much of one type of antibody. As myeloma cells increase in number, they damage and weaken the bones, causing pain and often fractures. When bones are damaged, too much calcium is released into the blood, leading to loss of appetite, nausea, thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness, restlessness, and confusion. Myeloma cells prevent the bone marrow from forming normal plasma cells and other white blood cells that are important to the immune system, so patients with multiple myeloma may not be able to fight infections. Myeloma cells can also prevent the growth of new red blood cells in the marrow, causing anemia. Excess antibody proteins and calcium may prevent the kidneys from filtering and cleaning the blood properly. Chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant are the primary treatments. Also known as plasma cell myeloma and myeloma.
Myeloma: A tumor of antibody-producing cells, called plasma cells, that are normally found in the bone marrow.
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.
Ossification: The process of creating bone, that is of transforming cartilage (or fibrous tissue) into bone.
Osteonecrosis: Bone death resulting from poor blood supply to an area of bone. Also known as aseptic necrosis or avascular necrosis.
Osteoporosis: Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. Osteoporosis predisposes a person to fractures, which are often slow to heal and heal poorly. It is most common in older adults, particularly postmenopausal women, and in patients who take steroids or steroidal drugs. Unchecked osteoporosis can lead to changes in posture, physical abnormality (particularly the form of hunched back known colloquially as dowager?s hump), and decreased mobility. Treatment of osteoporosis includes exercise (especially weight-bearing exercise that builds bone density), ensuring that the diet contains adequate calcium and other minerals needed to promote new bone growth, use of medications to improve bone density, and sometimes for postmenopausal women, use of hormone therapy.
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.
Phosphate: A form of phosphoric acid. Calcium phosphate makes bones and teeth hard.
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.
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.
Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies within the vertebral canal and from which the spinal nerves emerge. Thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves originate in the spinal cord: 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 1 coccygeal. The spinal cord and the brain constitute the central nervous system. The spinal cord consists of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to and from the brain. Like the brain, the spinal cord is covered by three connective-tissue envelopes called the meninges. The space between the outer and middle envelopes is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear colorless fluid that cushions the spinal cord against jarring shock. Also known simply as the cord.
Steroid: One of a large group of chemical substances classified by a specific carbon structure. Steroids include drugs used to relieve swelling and inflammation, such as prednisone and cortisone; vitamin D; and some sex hormones, such as testosterone and estradiol.
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.
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.
Tooth: One of the structures within the mouth that allow for biting and chewing. Teeth have different shapes, depending on their purpose. The sharp canine and incisor teeth allow for biting, and the flattened, thick molars in the back of the mouth provide grinding surfaces for masticating food. All teeth have essentially the same structure: a hard crown above the gum line, which is attached to two or four roots by a portion called the neck. The roots are covered with a very thin layer of bone, and they keep the tooth embedded in the bones of the jaw. The exposed exterior of the tooth is covered with tough enamel. Under the enamel is a thick layer of dentin, and in the center is the pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves.
Vitamins: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967). At the Lister Institute in London, Funk isolated a substance that prevented nerve inflammation (neuritis) in chickens raised on a diet deficient in that substance. He named the substance "vitamine" because he believed it was necessary to life and it was a chemical amine. The "e" at the end was later removed when it was recognized that vitamins need not be amines.
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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