The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the oxytocin-injectable, Pitocin article.
Afterbirth: The placenta and fetal membranes that are expelled from the uterus following the baby's birth. Hence, the "afterbirth." The placenta is what joins the mother and fetus. It also permits the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus besides the release of carbon dioxide and waste products from the fetus to the mother. As a uniquely disposable organ, the placenta is disk-shaped and at full term, measures about 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter and little under less than 2 inches (4 cm) thick. The fetal membranes - the chorion is the outer one and the amnion is the inner one - envelop the embryo and contain the amniotic fluid. The word "afterbirth" entered the English language in the 16th century. The term has also been applied to a child born after the father's death or last testament.
Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic individual to a substance.
Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or awareness, as when an anesthetic is administered before surgery.
Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It's measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measured before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called "hypertension".
Blurred vision: Lack of sharpness of vision with, as a result, the inability to see fine detail. Blurred vision can occur when a person who wears corrective lens is without them. Blurred vision can also be an important clue to eye disease.
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.
Dextrose: Glucose, a simple sugar.
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).
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.
Eclampsia: Convulsions (seizures) occurring with pregnancy-associated high blood pressure and having no other cause.
Elective: In medicine, something chosen (elected). An elective procedure is one that is chosen (elected) by the patient or physician that is advantageous to the patient but is not urgent.
Epinephrine: A substance produced by the medulla (inside) of the adrenal gland. The name epinephrine was coined in 1898 by the American pharmacologist and physiologic chemist (biochemist) John Jacob Abel who isolated it from the adrenal gland which is located above (epi-) the kidney ("nephros" in Greek). (Abel also crystallized insulin). Technically speaking, epinephrine is a sympathomimetic catecholamine. It causes quickening of the heart beat, strengthens the force of the heart's contraction, opens up the airways (bronchioles) in the lungs and has numerous other effects. The secretion of epinephrine by the adrenal is part of the fight-or-flight reaction. Adrenaline is a synonym of epinephrine and is the official name in the British Pharmacopoeia.
Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after conception, when the major structures have formed) until birth.
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.
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.
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.
High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chronic high blood pressure can stealthily cause blood vessel changes in the back of the eye (retina), abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, kidney failure, and brain damage. No specific cause for high blood pressure is found in 95 percent of patients. Treatment for high blood pressure involves dietary changes, regular aerobic exercise, and medication. There are many types of medications used to treat high blood pressure including diuretics, beta-blockers, blood vessel dilators, and others. Also known as hypertension.
Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs. Many hormones are secreted by special glands, such as thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Hormones are essential for every activity of life, including the processes of digestion, metabolism, growth, reproduction, and mood control. Many hormones, such as neurotransmitters, are active in more than one physical process.
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.
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.
Labor: Childbirth, the process of delivering a baby and the placenta, membranes, and umbilical cord from the uterus to the vagina to the outside world. During the first stage of labor (which is called dilation), the cervix dilates fully to a diameter of about 10 cm (2 inches). The first stage of labor is divided into two phases: the latent phase and the active phase. In the latent phase, contractions become progressively more coordinated and the cervix dilates to 4 cm (approximately 1.5 inches). The latent phase averages about 8 hours for a nullipara (a woman having her first baby) and 5 hours for a multipara (a woman having a subsequent baby). In the active phase, the cervix becomes fully dilated and the presenting part of the baby descends into the midpelvis. The active phase averages about 5 hours for a nullipara and 2 hours for a multipara. In the second stage (which is called expulsion), the baby moves out through the cervix and vagina to be born. Expulsion generally lasts 2 hours for a nullipara and l hour for a multipara. The third stage of labor begins with the delivery of the baby and ends when the placenta and membranes are expelled. Also known as parturition and childbirth.
Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals and some medications. Also known as lab.
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.
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.
Oxytocin: A hormone made in the brain that plays a role in childbirth and lactation by causing muscles to contract in the uterus (womb) and the mammary glands in the breast. Animal studies have shown that oxytocin also has a role in pair bonding, mate-guarding, and social memory.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preeclampsia: A condition in pregnancy characterized by abrupt hypertension (a sharp rise in blood pressure), albuminuria (leakage of large amounts of the protein albumin into the urine) and edema (swelling) of the hands, feet, and face. Preeclampsia is the most common complication of pregnancy. It affects about 5% of pregnancies. It occurs in the third trimester (the last third) of pregnancy.
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.
Saline: Relating to salt. As an adjective, "saline" means "salty, containing salt." As a noun "saline" is a salt solution, often adjusted to the normal salinity of the human body.
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.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
Uterus: A hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum. The narrow lower portion of the uterus is the cervix (the neck of the uterus). The broader upper part is the corpus, which is made up of three layers of tissue. In women of childbearing age, the inner layer (endometrium) of the uterus goes through a series of monthly changes known as the menstrual cycle. Each month, endometrial tissue grows and thickens in preparation to receive a fertilized egg. Menstruation occurs when this tissue is not used, disintegrates, and passes out through the vagina. The middle layer (myometrium) of the uterus is muscular tissue that expands during pregnancy to hold the growing fetus and contracts during labor to deliver the child. The outer layer (parametrium) also expands during pregnancy and contracts thereafter.
Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back to the heart. The deoxygenated form of hemoglobin (deoxy-hemoglobin) in venous blood makes it appear dark. Veins are part of the afferent wing of the circulatory system, which returns blood to the heart. In contrast, an artery is a vessel that carries blood that is high in oxygen away from the heart to the body.
Voluntary: Done in accordance with the conscious will of the individual. The opposite of involuntary.
Warfarin: An anticoagulant drug (brand names: Coumarin, Panwarfin, Sofarin) taken to prevent the blood from clotting and to treat blood clots and overly thick blood. Warfarin is also used to reduce the risk of clots causing strokes or heart attacks.
Womb: The womb (uterus) is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman's lower abdomen between the bladder and the rectum. The narrow, lower portion of the uterus is the cervix; the broader, upper part is the corpus. The corpus is made up of two layers of tissue.
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