The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the propantheline - oral article.
Achalasia: A disease of the esophagus that mainly affects young adults. Abnormal function of nerves and muscles of the esophagus causes difficulty swallowing and sometimes chest pain. Regurgitation of undigested food can occur, as can coughing or breathing problems related to entry of food material into the lungs. The underlying problems are weakness of the lower portion of the esophagus and failure of the lower esophageal sphincter to open and allow passage of food. Diagnosis is made by an X-ray, endoscopy, or esophageal manometry. Treatment includes medication, dilation (stretching) to widen the lower part of the esophagus, and surgery to open the lower esophagus. A fairly recent approach involves injecting medicines into the lower esophagus to relax the sphincter.
Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic individual to a substance.
Alprazolam: A benzodiazepine sedative that causes dose-related depression of the central nervous system. Alprazolam is useful in treating anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and muscle spasms. The brand name is Xanax. A generic version is available.
Amitriptyline: An antidepressant medication. In some patients with depression, abnormal levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters may relate to the depression. Amitriptyline elevates mood by raising the level of neurotransmitters in brain tissue. Amitriptyline is also a sedative that is useful for depressed patients with insomnia, restlessness, and nervousness. It is sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia and symptoms related to chronic pain. Brand names are Elavil and Endep. A generic version is available.
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."
Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.
Antihistamines: Drugs that combat the histamine released during an allergic reaction by blocking the action of the histamine on the tissue. Antihistamines do not stop the formation of histamine nor do they stop the conflict between the IgE and antigen. Therefore, antihistamines do not stop the allergic reaction but protect tissues from some of its effects. Antihistamines frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness. Newer "non sedating" antihistamines are generally thought to be somewhat less effective. Antihistamine side effects that very occasionally occur include urine retention in males and fast heart rate.
Artery: A vessel that carries blood high in oxygen content away from the heart to the farthest reaches of the body. Since blood in arteries is usually full of oxygen, the hemoglobin in the red blood cells is oxygenated. The resultant form of hemoglobin (oxyhemoglobin) is what makes arterial blood look bright red.
Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narrow the airways, creating breathing difficulties that may range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness. The diagnosis of asthma is based on evidence of wheezing and is confirmed with breathing tests. Many allergens and irritants can precipitate attacks of asthma. Avoidance of precipitating factors can be helpful. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, activity reduction, allergy shots, and medications to prevent or reverse the bronchospasm.
Atropine: A drug, made from the belladonna plant, that is administered via injection, eye drops, or in oral form to relax muscles by inhibiting nerve responses.
Autonomic neuropathy: Disease of the nerves affecting mostly the internal organs such as the bladder muscles, the cardiovascular system, the digestive tract, and the genital organs. These nerves are not under a person's conscious control and function automatically (autonomically).
Belladonna: An herbaceous plant bearing the scientific name Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, also known as deadly nightshade. The leaves and berries of the plant are highly toxic and can lead to hallucinations and delirium when ingested. Eating just a few berries from the plant can be fatal in children. The belladonna plant has a long history of use by humans for medicines, cosmetics, and poisons. It is native to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa but has been naturalized in parts of North America.
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.
Bowel: The small and large intestine.
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.
Congestive heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it, with failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency. When this occurs, the heart is unable to provide adequate blood flow to other organs, such as the brain, liver, and kidneys. Abbreviated CHF. CHF may be due to failure of the right or left ventricle, or both. The symptoms can include shortness of breath (dyspnea), asthma due to the heart (cardiac asthma), pooling of blood (stasis) in the general body (systemic) circulation or in the liver's (portal) circulation, swelling (edema), blueness or duskiness (cyanosis), and enlargement (hypertrophy) of the heart. The many causes of CHF include coronary artery disease leading to heart attacks and heart muscle (myocardium) weakness; primary heart muscle weakness from viral infections or toxins, such as prolonged alcohol exposure; heart valve disease causing heart muscle weakness due to too much leaking of blood or causing heart muscle stiffness from a blocked valve; hyperthyroidism; and high blood pressure.
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.
Coronary artery disease: Impedance or blockage of one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart, usually due to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Abbreviated CAD. A major cause of illness and death, CAD begins when hard cholesterol substances (plaques) are deposited within a coronary artery. The plaques in the coronary arteries can lead to the formation of tiny clots that can obstruct the flow of blood to the heart muscle, producing symptoms and signs of CAD, including chest pain (angina pectoris), heart attack (myocardial infarction), and sudden death. Treatment for CAD includes bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty, and the use of stents.
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.
Dry mouth: The condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. This is due to inadequate function of the salivary glands. Everyone has dry mouth once in a while when they are nervous, upset or under stress. But if someone has a dry mouth most all of the time, it can be uncomfortable and lead to serious health problems.
Dry skin: Abnormally dry skin. Can be caused by a dry climate, winter weather, deficiency of vitamin A, systemic illness, overexposure to sunlight, or medication. The skin loses moisture. It may crack and peel. Or it may become irritated, inflamed, and itch. Bathing frequently, especially with soaps, can contribute to dry skin.
Esophagus: The tube that connects the pharynx (throat) with the stomach. The esophagus lies between the trachea (windpipe) and the spine. It passes down the neck, pierces the diaphragm just to the left of the midline, and joins the cardiac (upper) end of the stomach. In an adult, the esophagus is about 25 centimeters (10 inches) long. When a person swallows, the muscular walls of the esophagus contract to push food down into the stomach. Glands in the lining of the esophagus produce mucus, which keeps the passageway moist and facilitates swallowing. Also known as the gullet or swallowing tube. From the Greek oisophagos, from oisein meaning to bear or carry + phagein, to eat.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
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.
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.
Glaucoma: A common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eyes rises because of slowed fluid drainage from the eye. If untreated, it may damage the optic nerve and other parts of the eye, causing the loss of vision or even blindness.
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.
Heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically, failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency. When this occurs, the heart is unable to provide adequate blood flow to other organs such as the brain, liver and kidneys. Heart failure may be due to failure of the right or left or both ventricles. The signs and symptoms depend upon which side of the heart is failing. They can include shortness of breath (dyspnea), asthma due to the heart (cardiac asthma), pooling of blood (stasis) in the general body (systemic) circulation or in the liver's (portal) circulation, swelling (edema), blueness or duskiness (cyanosis), and enlargement (hypertrophy) of the heart.
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.
Hypertrophy: Enlargement or overgrowth of an organ or part of the body due to the increased size of the constituent cells.
Ileus: Obstruction of the intestine due to its being paralyzed. The paralysis does not need to be complete to cause ileus, but the intestine must be so inactive that food cannot pass through it, which leads to blockage of the intestine. Ileus commonly follows some types of surgery. It can also result from certain drugs, injuries, and illnesses. Regardless of the cause, ileus causes constipation and bloating. When one listens to the abdomen with a stethoscope, no bowel sounds are heard because the bowel is inactive. Also known as paralytic ileus.
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.
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.
Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and containing the teeth, gums, and tongue. Foodstuffs are broken down mechanically in the mouth by chewing and saliva is added as a lubricant. Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that digests starch. 2. Any opening or aperture in the body. The mouth in both senses of the word is also called the os, the Latin word for an opening, or mouth. The o in os is pronounced as in hope. The genitive form of os is oris from which comes the word oral.
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."
Myasthenia gravis: An autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that is characterized by fatigue and exhaustion of muscles. Abbreviated MG. MG is caused by a mistaken immune response to the body's own nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are found in junctions between muscles and the nervous system. The body produces antibodies that attack these receptors, preventing signals from reaching the muscles. A number of treatments are available that help, including steroids and other immunosuppressive medications and anticholinergic medications.
Narcotic: 1. A drug that causes insensibility or stupor. A narcotic induces narcosis, from the Greek "narke" for "numbness or torpor."
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.
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.
Paralytic ileus: Obstruction of the intestine due to paralysis of the intestinal muscles. The paralysis does not need to be complete to cause ileus, but the intestinal muscles must be so inactive that it prevents the passage of food and leads to a functional blockage of the intestine. Ileus commonly follows some types of surgery, especially abdominal surgery. It also can result from certain drugs, spinal injuries, inflammation anywhere within the abdomen that touches the intestines, and diseases of the intestinal muscles themselves. Irrespective of the cause, ileus causes constipation, abdominal distention, and nausea and vomiting. On listening to the abdomen with a stethoscope, few or no bowel sounds are heard (because the bowel is inactive). Also called paralytic ileus. Also simply called ileus.
Parkinson's disease: A slowly progressive neurologic disease that is characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, gait with short accelerating steps, peculiar posture and muscle weakness (caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia), and low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most patients are over 50, but at least 10 percent are under 40. Treatment involves use of medication, such as levodopa (brand name: Larodopa) and carbidopa (brand name: Sinemet). A surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which externally controlled electrodes are implanted into the brain, has also been shown to be helpful. There are no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose the condition. Although it is a chronic and progressive disease, the degree of disability varies among affected persons. Also known as paralysis agitans and shaking palsy.
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.
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.
Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for potassium is K+. The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. An abnormal increase in potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease in potassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and heart, and when extreme, can be fatal. The normal blood potassium level is 3.5'5.0 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or 3.5 international units.
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.
Psychiatric: Pertaining to or within the purview of psychiatry, the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.
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.
Scopolamine: A naturally occurring member of a large chemical class of compounds called alkaloids. Scopolamine was first introduced into medical usage in 1902. The name comes from that of the 18th-century Italian naturalist Giovanni Scopoli.
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
Sleep: The body's rest cycle.
Stenosis: A narrowing. For example, aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart.
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.
Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. These are small tubular glands situated within and under the skin (in the subcutaneous tissue). They discharge by tiny openings in the surface of the skin.
Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.
Tachycardia: A rapid heart rate, usually defined as greater than 100 beats per minute.
Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.
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.)
Ulcerative colitis: A bowel disease that is characterized by inflammation with ulcer formation in the lining of colon (large intestine). Its cause is unknown. The end of the colon (the rectum) is generally involved. When limited to the rectum, the disease is called ulcerative proctitis. The inflammation may extend to varying degrees into the upper parts of the colon. When the entire colon is involved, it is referred to as pancolitis or universal colitis. Symptoms include intermittent rectal bleeding, crampy abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Many patients experience long remissions, even without medication. Ulcerative colitis may mysteriously resolve after a long history of symptoms. Direct visualization (via sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) and biopsy of the lining of the bowel is the most accurate diagnostic test. Treatment of ulcerative colitis involves medications and/or surgery; changes in diet can sometimes help.
Vessel: A tube in the body that carries fluids. Examples of vessels are blood vessels and lymph vessels.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome: A rare disorder caused by a tumor called a gastrinoma, most often occurring in the pancreas. The tumor secretes the hormone gastrin, which causes increased production of gastric acid leading to severe recurrent ulcers of the esophagus, stomach, and the upper portions of the small intestine (the duodenum and jejunum).
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