The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the hydrocortisone valerate, Westcort 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.
Atrophy: A wasting away or diminution. Muscle atrophy is a decrease in muscle mass, often due to extended immobility.
Body surface area: BSA. The total surface area of the human body. The body surface area is used in many measurements in medicine, including the calculation of drug dosages and the amount of fluids to be administered IV.
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.
Corticosteroid: Any of the steroid hormones made by the outer portion (cortex) of the adrenal gland. There are two sets of these hormones: the glucocorticoids, which are produced in reaction to stress and also help in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; and the mineralocorticoids, which regulate the balance of salt and water within the body.
Cortisol: A metabolite of the primary stress hormone cortisone. Cortisol is an essential factor in the proper metabolism of starches, and it is the major natural glucocorticoid (GC) in humans.
Eczema: A particular type of inflammatory reaction of the skin in which there are typically vesicles (tiny blister-like raised areas) in the first stage followed by erythema (reddening), edema (swelling), papules (bumps), and crusting of the skin followed, finally, by lichenification (thickening) and scaling of the skin. Eczema characteristically causes itching and burning of the skin.
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.
Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thyroid gland.
Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.
Immune response: Any reaction by the immune system. For example, poison ivy can cause an immune response in the skin characterized by inflammation with tiny blisters, and itching. Also, a flu shot is designed to produce an immune response by stimulating the production of antibodies against the flu virus.
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.
Itching: An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on the skin and makes the person want to scratch the affected area. Itching is medically known as pruritis; something that is itchy is pruritic.
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.
Ointment: An oil-based preparation that is applied to the skin. Whereas an ointment has an oil base, a cream is water soluble.
Pigmentation: The coloring of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, and retina of the eye. Pigmentation is due to the deposition of the pigment melanin, which is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. Other pigment-related terms include hyperpigmentation (too much pigment), hypopigmentation and underpigmentation (too little pigment), and depigmentation (loss of pigment).
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.
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.
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