The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the iron supplements - oral, Feosol, Fer-In-Sol, Slow-Fe article.
Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic individual to a substance.
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.
Anti-: Prefix generally meaning "against, opposite or opposing, and contrary." In medicine, anti- often connotes "counteracting or effective against" as in antibacterial, anti-infective, and antiviral. Sometimes medical terms containing anti- take on new meanings as has occurred with antibiotic and antibody. As a prefix, anti- may be shortened to ant- as in antacid. "Anti" is the Greek word for "against."
Aspartame: A man-made sweetener with almost no calories used in place of sugar.
Blood count: The calculated number of white or red blood cells (WBCs or RBCs) in a cubic millimeter of blood.
Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth or nose due to muscle contraction and then exhaled due to muscle relaxation.
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.
Complete blood count: A set values of the cellular (formed elements) of blood. These measurements are generally determined by specially designed machines that analyze the different components of blood in less than a minute.
Constipation: Infrequent and frequently incomplete bowel movements. Constipation is the opposite of diarrhea and is commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, and medications. Paradoxically, constipation can also be caused by overuse of laxatives. Colon cancer can also narrow the colon and thereby cause constipation. A high-fiber diet can frequently relieve constipation. If the diet is not helpful, medical evaluation is warranted.
Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name "diabetes" because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria).
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.
Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of vision, the brain, balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear, and gastrointestinal system. Dizziness is a medically indistinct term which laypersons use to describe a variety of conditions ranging from lightheadedness, unsteadiness to vertigo.
Drain: A device for removing fluid from a cavity or wound. A drain is typically a tube or wick. As a verb, to allow fluid to be released from a confined area.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Fecal: Relating to the feces, the stool. The excrement discharged from the intestines.
Flush: (1) A redness of the skin, typically over the cheeks or neck. A flush is usually temporary and brought on by excitement, exercise, fever, or embarrassment. Flushing is an involuntary (uncontrollable) response of the nervous system leading to widening of the capillaries of the involved skin. Also referred to as a blush (or, as a verb, to blush). Flushing may also be caused by medications or other substances that cause widening of the capillaries, such as niacin. (2) Flush also means to wash out a wound or body area.
Folic acid: One of the B vitamins that is a key factor in the synthesis (the making) of nucleic acid (DNA and RNA).
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.
Hemochromatosis: An inherited disorder characterized by abnormally high absorption of iron by the intestinal tract, resulting in excessive storage of iron, particularly in the liver, skin, pancreas, heart, joints, and testes. Common early symptoms include abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, and weight loss. The onset of symptoms is usually between 30 to 50 years of age in males and after menopause in females. The excess iron gives the skin a bronze color and damages the liver, causing liver scarring (fibrosis) or cirrhosis, usually after age 40. Diabetes also occurs due to damage to the pancreas. Other findings include congestive heart failure or arrhythmias, arthritis, and hypogonadism. Treatment is removal of excess iron by periodic phlebotomy (removal of blood) to deplete the body iron. Early diagnosis and treatment before symptoms develop prevents all the complications of the disease. Hemochromatosis is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Also known as bronze diabetes and hereditary hemochromatosis.
Iron: An essential mineral. Iron is necessary for the transport of oxygen (via hemoglobin in red blood cells) and for oxidation by cells (via cytochrome). Deficiency of iron is a common cause of anemia. Food sources of iron include meat, poultry, eggs, vegetables and cereals (especially those fortified with iron). According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of iron are 15 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men. Iron overload can damage the heart, liver, gonads and other organs. Iron overload is a particular risk in people who may have certain genetic conditions (hemochromatosis) sometimes without knowing it and also in people receiving recurrent blood transfusions. Iron supplements meant for adults (such as pregnant women) are a major cause of poisoning in children.
Iron overload: Iron overload can damage the heart, liver, gonads and other organs.
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.
Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals and some medications. Also known as lab.
Levothyroxine: A synthetic thyroid hormone used as a thyroid hormone replacement drug (brand names include Levothroid, Levoxine, Levoxyl, Synthroid) used to treat an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
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.
Liver disease: Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver. The liver is a large organ in the upper right abdomen that aids in digestion and removes waste products from the blood.
Medical history: 1. In clinical medicine, the patient's past and present which may contain relevant information bearing on their health past, present, and future. The medical history, being an account of all medical events and problems a person has experienced is an important tool in the management of the patient.
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.')
Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.
Occult: Hidden. For example, occult blood in the stool is hidden from the eye but can be detected by chemical tests.
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.
Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.
Peripheral neuropathy: A problem with the functioning of the nerves outside the spinal cord. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include numbness, weakness, burning pain (especially at night), and loss of reflexes.
Pernicious anemia: Low red blood cell count caused by inadequate vitamin B12. Abbreviated PA. Patients with PA do not produce intrinsic factor (IF), a substance that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12 from foods. The resulting inadequacy of vitamin B12 hampers the production of red blood cells. PA can be treated by injection of vitamin B12: oral administration will not work because people with PA cannot absorb orally administered vitamin B12. Also known as Addison's anemia.
Pharmacist: A professional who fills prescriptions and, in the case of a compounding pharmacist, makes them. Pharmacists are very familiar with medication ingredients, interactions, and cautions.
Phenylalanine: An essential amino acid. (The human body cannot make it so it is essential to the diet.) Phenylalanine that is ingested is largely transformed (hydroxylated) to form the amino acid tyrosine, which is used in protein synthesis. Too little phenylalanine curbs physical and intellectual growth. Too much phenylalanine, as in phenylketonuria (PKU), is highly toxic to the brain. Phenylanine was first isolated in 1879 and first synthesized in 1882. Symbol: Phe.
Phenylketonuria: The inherited inability to metabolize (process) the essential amino acid phenylalanine due to complete or near-complete deficiency of the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase.
PKU: Short for phenylketonuria. See: Phenylketonuria.
Poison: Any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in, or absorbed through the skin. Many substances that normally cause no problems, including water and most vitamins, can be poisonous if taken in excessive quantity. Poison treatment depends on the 'substance.
Poison control center: A special information center set up to inform people about how to respond to potential poisoning. These centers maintain databases of poisons and appropriate emergency treatment. Local poison control centers should be listed with other community-service numbers in the front of the telephone book, and they can also be reached immediately through any telephone operator.
Poisoning: Taking a substance that is injurious to health or can cause death. Poisoning is still a major hazard to children, despite child-resistant (and sometimes adult-resistant) packaging and dose-limits per container.
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.
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.
Red blood cells: The blood cells that carry oxygen. Red cells contain hemoglobin and it is the hemoglobin which permits them to transport oxygen (and carbon dioxide). Hemoglobin, aside from being a transport molecule, is a pigment. It gives the cells their red color (and their name).
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
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.
Stomach cramps: A nonmedical term most often used to describe pain in the mid- or upper abdominal area. Abdominal pain (pain in the belly) can come from conditions affecting a variety of organs and does not necessarily arise from the stomach even though an individual may perceive that pain is originating in the stomach. Various organs can be the source of pain in the upper abdomen, including the small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
Tetracycline: A family of broad-spectrum antibiotics effective against a remarkably wide variety of organisms. Bacteria susceptible to tetracycline include H. flu (Haemophilus influenzae), strep (Streptococcus pneumoniae), Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (the cause of gonorrhea). Tetracycline is also used to treat nongonococcal urethritis (due to Ureaplasma), Rocky mountain spotted fever, typhus, chancroid, cholera, brucellosis, anthrax, and syphilis. It is used in combination with other medications to treat Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria associated with ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.
Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A preparation of the thyroid gland used to treat hypothyroidism. 3. Shaped like a shield. (The thyroid gland was so-named by Thomas Wharton in 1656 because it was shaped like an ancient Greek shield.)
Tongue: A strong muscle that is anchored to the floor of the mouth. The tongue is covered by the lingual membrane, which has special areas to detect different types of tastes. The tongue muscles are attached to the lower jaw and to the hyoid bone, a small, U-shaped bone that lies deep in the muscles at the back of the tongue and above the larynx. On the top surface of the tongue are small nodules, called papillae, that give the tongue its rough texture. Between the papillae, at the sides and base of the tongue, are the taste buds, which are small bulb-like structures. The muscle fibers of the tongue are heavily supplied with nerves. Babies have more taste buds than adults, and they have them almost everywhere in the mouth, including the cheeks. The tongue aids in the formation of the sounds of speech and aids in swallowing.
Ulcer: A lesion that is eroding away the skin or mucous membrane. Ulcers can have various causes, depending on their location. Ulcers on the skin are usually due to irritation, as in the case of bedsores, and may become inflamed and/or infected as they grow. Ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract were once attributed to stress, but most are now believed to be due to infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. GI ulcers, however, are often made worse by stress, smoking, and other noninfectious factors.
Vitamin B12: A vitamin important for the normal formation of red blood cells and the health of the nerve tissues. Undetected and untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia and permanent nerve and brain damage.
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